Fantasy Football 2014: Mock Draft Tips, Strategy and Cheat Sheet

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2014

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 04:  Mark Ingram #22 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates with teammate  Jimmy Graham #80 after running for a 4 yard touchdown in the third quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles during their NFC Wild Card Playoff game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 4, 2014 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

You asked for it—actually, I don't think anyone specifically requested this article—and now you have it: Timothy (call me Tim, please) Rapp's ultimate cheat sheet, strategy and mock draft guide. We probably could have crammed a few more enticing phrases in the title, but I'm pretty sure we have your attention. 

Below, I'm going to slap you in the face with a flurry of fantasy information. Sleepers? We've got sleepers. Rankings? I've got some of those, too. Links to other fantasy articles I've written? You better believe it. Random thoughts? More than you would either want or need.

This is the real deal, folks. So kick back, have a beer (or a cup of tea, whatever floats your boat) and get your knowledge on. 

Notes: Average draft position were determined by using the Fantasy Pros' aggregate ranking of average draft position from ESPN, CBS, NFL.com and Yahoo leagues. The following content is for standard-scoring leagues only, because I have serious philosophical issues with PPR leagues. Sorry, not sorry.

 

Top 30 Players

Fantasy Rankings
Draft SlotPlayerTeamPosition
1LeSean McCoyPhiladelphia EaglesRB
2Adrian PetersonMinnesota VikingsRB
3Jamaal CharlesKansas City ChiefsRB
4Matt ForteChicago BearsRB
5Peyton ManningDenver BroncosQB
6Marshawn LynchSeattle SeahawksRB
7Jimmy GrahamNew Orleans SaintsTE
8Calvin JohnsonDetroit LionsWR
9Eddie LacyGreen Bay PackersRB
10Drew BreesNew Orleans SaintsQB
11Aaron RodgersGreen Bay PackersQB
12Arian FosterHouston TexansRB
13A.J. GreenCincinnati BengalsWR
14Demaryius ThomasDenver BroncosWR
15Doug MartinTampa Bay BuccaneersRB
16Zac StacySt. Louis RamsRB
17Dez BryantDallas CowboysWR
18Brandon MarshallChicago BearsWR
19DeMarco MurrayDallas CowboysRB
20Alfred MorrisWashingtonRB
21Julio JonesAtlanta FalconsWR
22Matt StaffordDetroit LionsQB
23Cam NewtonCarolina PanthersQB
24Le'Veon BellPittsburgh SteelersRB
25Jordy NelsonGreen Bay PackersWR
26Montee BallDenver BroncosRB
27Randall CobbGreen Bay PackersWR
28Antonio BrownPittsburgh SteelersWR
29Julius ThomasDenver BroncosTE
30Alshon JefferyChicago BearsWR

 

Favorite Value Sleepers

Top Value Sleepers
PlayerPositionTeamADP
Cam NewtonQBCarolina Panthers52
Robert Griffin IIIQBWashington55
Ryan MathewsRBSan Diego Chargers37
Rashad JenningsRBNew York Giants50
Ray RiceRBBaltimore Ravens69
Trent RichardsonRBIndianapolis Colts72
Stevan RidleyRBNew England Patriots81
Wes WelkerWRDenver Broncos41
Victor CruzWRNew York Giants43
Jeremy MaclinWRPhiladelphia Eagles76
Jordan CameronTECleveland Browns60

 

Favorite Breakout Sleepers

Top Breakout Sleepers
PlayerPositionTeamADP
Johnny ManzielQBCleveland Browns134
Toby GerhartRBJacksonville Jaguars48
Bishop SankeyRBTennessee Titans58
Ben TateRBCleveland Browns63
Michael FloydWRArizona Cardinals62
T.Y. HiltonWRIndianapolis Colts68
Kendall WrightWRTennessee Titans85
Terrance WilliamsWRDallas Cowboys97
Jordan ReedTEWashington88
Zach ErtzTEPhiladelphia Eagles123

 

Favorite Deep Sleepers 

Top Deep Sleepers
PlayerPositionTeam
Latavius MurrayRBOakland Raiders
John BrownWRArizona Cardinals
Markus WheatonWRPittsburgh Steelers
Kelvin BenjaminWRCarolina Panthers
Ladarius GreenTESan Diego Chargers
Devonta FreemanRBAtlanta Falcons
Teddy BridgewaterQBMinnesota Vikings

Don't stress over ADP here, save these players for late in your draft or even the waiver wire.

 

And Now, My Blatant Self-Promotion Section

Give me a self! "SELF!" Give me a promotion! "PROMOTION!" What's that spell? "PAYING THE BILLS!"
Give me a self! "SELF!" Give me a promotion! "PROMOTION!" What's that spell? "PAYING THE BILLS!"Jamie Squire/Getty Images

For my full take on evaluating sleepers and how you should approach this staple of fantasy drafting, click here

For my article identifying one sleeper per every round of fantasy drafts (minus the first three rounds in 10-team leagues), click here.

For my general draft strategy for this season, click here.

For the way I generally feel after shamelessly plugging my own work, click here.

 

Random Thoughts

He just wants to be the best fantasy football teammate he can be.
He just wants to be the best fantasy football teammate he can be.Scott Halleran/Getty Images

You've got quite the cheat sheet lined up thus far, I'd say. Now, I'll hit you with some random thoughts about fantasy (and probably some other things, too) that hopefully will help you this season. 

If ever there was a year to draft running backs with your first two picks, this is the year. There is a ton of depth at quarterback and wide receiver, but there is uncertainty at running back after last year was such a fickle season for the position and more and more teams take the running-back-by-committee approach. I'm not saying you should reach for a running back in those rounds, but don't be afraid to go RB-RB to start your draft.

If you are more in favor of drafting players who maximize value over others at their position, Jimmy Graham should absolutely be a top-six pick. In 12-man leagues last year, Graham averaged 8.1 more points per week than the best bench player at his position, Coby Fleener (here, "bench player" is defined as the 13th-best tight end in fantasy, since that player ideally wouldn't be started in fantasy leagues). Only Jamaal Charles (11.7), Peyton Manning (10.3), LeSean McCoy (9.7) and Matt Forte (9.0) had higher marks in 2013. 

Guardians of the Galaxy was the most fun I've had going to the movies in a long time. It managed to pull off the rare feat of poking fun at the superhero genre while being an entertaining film in its own right. If you haven't seen it, please do—I'm guessing you'll find it quite refreshing, too.

There are a lot of players that either suffered injuries or had down seasons last year who could really make your fantasy team strong this year. I'm really intrigued to see how Arian Foster, Doug Martin, Victor Cruz, Robert Griffin III, Jeremy Maclin, Julio Jones and C.J. Spiller respond. Most of them can be had at really good values.

Oh yeah, Julio Jones does stuff like that. I forgot how freaking amazing he was.
Oh yeah, Julio Jones does stuff like that. I forgot how freaking amazing he was.Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

I don't know if the Arizona Cardinals can realistically get Andre Ellington 20 touches a game, but I love him as one of the biggest breakout candidates this season.

Is anybody else really hyped for the release of Destiny? Or FIFA 15? Or, course, Madden 15? Where my gamers at?

I think Marshawn Lynch's production will regress this year. He scares me as a top-10 pick. At some point, the wear and tear catches up to running backs.

Why would I take Julius Thomas over Rob Gronkowski? Because I no longer trust that the Gronk can consistently stay healthy. He's fast becoming the Darren McFadden of tight ends.

Preseason football is the worst. And yet I can't help but watch. This is a rough reenactment of what I look like while I do.

If all of the rookie quarterbacks ended up as their team's starters, this is the order I would put them in for fantasy purposes:

  1. Johnny Manziel
  2. Teddy Bridgewater
  3. Blake Bortles
  4. Derek Carr
  5. There is no No. 5 you need to be concerning yourselves with.

Bishop Sankey will be the Fantasy Football Rookie of the Year.

Latavius Murray, a running back with the Oakland Raiders, will be the Waiver Wire MVP. 

LeSean McCoy will be the Fantasy Football MVP. I mean, the man eats, sleeps and dreams of football:

I don't know about you, but I'm still heartbroken about Robin Williams. He was the very definition of unique, the very definition of talented, the very definition of brilliant. He'll be sorely missed.

Andy Dalton will not be a top-five fantasy quarterback this season. He won't be a QB1 at all, in fact. The addition of Hue Jackson as offensive coordinator will make the team more balanced and they'll lean on the running game more than they did a year ago. Oh, and the following tweet from Peter Schrager of Fox Sports doesn't help:

It's always safer to draft players from consistently prominent offenses than teams who are generally poor. If you have a stockpile of Denver Broncos, Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints (just not the running backs!), Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and New England Patriots, you should be just fine.

No, I don't have any thoughts on coffee I'd like to share with you.

 

Have fantasy questions? Hit me up on Twitter—I'll answer them and make some corny jokes, too. It's more fun than the ice-bucket challenge (but not not as rewarding). 

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