Fantasy

Fantasy Football 2014: Mock Draft Strategy and Skill Positions Cheat Sheet

Dec 29, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy (25) walks on the field after the game against the Dallas Cowboys with a belt at AT&T Stadium. The Eagle beat the Cowboys 24-22. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports
R. Cory SmithSenior Writer IAugust 18, 2014

Fantasy draft season is upon us, and things are about to get fun.

After waiting several months and contemplating how to win the championship this season, it's go time for nearly every league around the country. While some leagues have drafted already, the intrigue is teeming before compiling dream rosters.

Preparation is a huge key before the actual day arrives. Rather than stalling and worrying when the draft comes, knowing exactly who to take and when to take them makes the process much more pain-free.

Before your fantasy draft takes place, here's a look at the skill positions cheat sheet and mock draft strategy for the 2014 season.

2014 Top Skill Position Players
Quarterback
RankPlayerTeamADP
1Peyton ManningDenver Broncos1.09
2Drew BreesNew Orleans Saints2.05
3Aaron RodgersGreen Bay Packers2.07
4Matthew StaffordDetroit Lions4.06
5Andrew LuckIndianapolis Colts5.03
6Cam NewtonCarolina Panthers7.09
7Nick FolesPhiladelphia Eagles7.01
8Robert Griffin IIIWashington Redskins7.05
9Philip RiversSan Diego Chargers10.01
10Colin KaepernickSan Francisco 49ers8.07
Running Back
RankPlayerTeamADP
1Adrian PetersonMinnesota Vikings1.03
2LeSean McCoyPhiladelphia Eagles1.02
3Jamaal CharlesKansas City Chiefs1.02
4Matt ForteChicago Bears1.05
5Eddie LacyGreen Bay Packers1.06
6Marshawn LynchSeattle Seahawks1.09
7Doug MartinTampa Bay Buccaneers3.02
8DeMarco MurrayDallas Cowboys2.01
9Le'Veon BellPittsburgh Steelers2.05
10Montee BallDenver Broncos2.02
Wide Receiver
RankPlayerTeamADP
1Calvin JohnsonDetroit Lions1.05
2Dez BryantDallas Cowboys1.11
3Demaryius ThomasDenver Broncos1.09
4A.J. GreenCincinnati Bengals2.01
5Brandon MarshallChicago Bears2.03
6Jordy NelsonGreen Bay Packers2.09
7Antonio BrownPittsburgh Steelers2.12
8Julio JonesAtlanta Falcons2.05
9Alshon JefferyChicago Bears3.01
10Vincent JacksonTampa Bay Buccaneers3.11
Tight End
RankPlayerTeamADP
1Jimmy GrahamNew Orleans Saints1.08
2Julius ThomasDenver Broncos3.06
3Vernon DavisSan Francisco 49ers5.07
4Rob GronkowskiNew England Patriots3.04
5Jordan CameronCleveland Browns5.11
6Greg OlsenCarolina Panthers7.12
7Jason WittenDallas Cowboys6.10
8Jordan ReedWashington Redskins7.04
9Dennis PittaBaltimore Ravens8.07
10Kyle RudolphMinnesota Vikings8.10
R. Cory Smith's Fantasy Rankings

*Average draft position (ADP) courtesy of FantasyFootballCalculator.com.

 

Know the Value in Sleepers

Not every sleeper is created equal. Some players are designed to stash away for later, while others can make an immediate impact.

For example, Bishop Sankey, Sammy Watkins and Kelvin Benjamin will be rookies relied upon immediately by their offenses. Johnny Manziel and Carlos Hyde, on the other hand, might be on the other end of the spectrum with battles to win.

While Sankey might be a high pick thanks to his position, Watkins and others can be had much later. Hyde is a player on the rise after injuries to other backs in camp, as Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee notes:

The battle royale among Kendall Hunter, rookie Carlos Hyde, LaMichael James and Marcus Lattimore ended almost as soon as it started. Everyone but Hyde is injured, and Hyde has looked every bit the heir to Frank Gore the 49ers were hoping he would when they took him in the second round.

Rookies aren't the only sleepers, though. With players like Bernard Pierce and DeAndre Hopkins likely earning an increased role, both can be had in later rounds and used as flex options.

Needless to say, know the sleepers and where to take them. Don't jump on a sleeper too early, but don't wait to watch another owner steal your glory.

 

Stick to the Big Board

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 1:  Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball for ten thousand career rushing yards against Chris Conte #47 of the Chicago Bears on December 1, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome i
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Whether it's yours, mine or anyone else's list, believe in the big board.

Heading into a real or mock draft, know exactly which players you're comfortable selecting in fantasy. While the idea of big boards seems foolproof in theory, coming in with an idea of the players you want makes the process easier.

Nearly every site has a big board, with Yahoo Sports putting quite a few surprising names at the top:

That's not to say that any owner will find a perfect list that matches their ideals for a fantasy team. Therefore, some modifications are typically in order.

Another aspect to pay attention to is which players are already on your roster. Loading up with Keenan Allen, Cordarrelle Patterson and T.Y. Hilton will instantly lead to regret because, as you'll soon find out, they all have Week 10 byes.

Don't settle for someone else's opinion for your team because it typically leads to skepticism for owners. Lastly, and probably most importantly, always take the best player available rather than drafting for position—a practice that can ruin rosters.

 

Draft with Your Head, Not Your Heart

Brian Ach/Associated Press

Here's the thing about fantasy football: It's not just about picking players you have a rooting interest for.

Denver Broncos fans are allowed to cheer on Jamaal Charles. Carolina Panthers faithful can hope Jimmy Graham scores multiple touchdowns. And, even though it seems like blasphemy, Dallas Cowboys fans can pull for Robert Griffin III.

Regardless of who owners support, the best fantasy players have diverse teams filled with talent that complements their roster. If every owner picked with their heart, teams would live and die by each individual team's performance.

Not to mention, picking several players from one team also leaves owners in bye week hell. In fantasy football, be diverse and rely on what will eventually win a championship—what's upstairs.

 

Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.

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