Fantasy Football 2014: Position Rankings, Mock Draft Tips and Best Team Names

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVAugust 25, 2014

ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 23: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons throws a pass under pressure from Jurrell Casey #99 of the Tennessee Titans in the second half of a preseason game at the Georgia Dome on August 23, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The anticipation continues to build for the 2014 NFL season, and fantasy owners everywhere are scurrying to prepare themselves for a successful draft that will build a championship roster.

So much goes into fantasy football. It's nearly impossible to keep up with all 32 teams and how various offseason changes will impact certain players' stocks. Star players drop off from year to year, and young, emerging studs take their place. 

Even more crucial to a fantasy owner's success is how he navigates the draft. Picking the right player at the wrong time can set off a chain of events that may put your chances of playoff contention in jeopardy.

Before submerging yourself in your many fantasy drafts, take a look below at everything you'll need to know—from player rankings to tips to creative team names—to have a successful fantasy season.

2014 Fantasy Football Skill-Position Rankings
Quarterback
RankPlayerTeamADP
1Peyton ManningDenver Broncos1.09
2Drew BreesNew Orleans Saints2.05
3Aaron RodgersGreen Bay Packers2.07
4Andrew LuckIndianapolis Colts5.03
5Matthew StaffordDetroit Lions4.06
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
1Jamaal CharlesKansas City Chiefs1.02
2LeSean McCoyPhiladelphia Eagles1.02
3Adrian PetersonMinnesota Vikings1.03
4Matt ForteChicago Bears1.05
5Eddie LacyGreen Bay Packers1.06
6Marshawn LynchSeattle Seahawks1.09
7DeMarco MurrayDallas Cowboys2.01
8Doug MartinTampa Bay Buccaneers3.02
9Montee BallDenver Broncos2.02
10Giovani BernardCincinnati Bengals2.04
Wide Receiver
RankPlayerTeamADP
1Calvin JohnsonDetroit Lions1.05
2Dez BryantDallas Cowboys1.11
3Demaryius ThomasDenver Broncos1.09
4A.J. GreenCincinnati Bengals2.01
5Brandon MarshallChicago Bears2.03
6Antonio BrownPittsburgh Steelers2.12
7Julio JonesAtlanta Falcons2.05
8Alshon JefferyChicago Bears3.01
9Jordy NelsonGreen Bay Packers2.09
10Vincent JacksonTampa Bay Buccaneers3.11
Tight End
RankPlayerTeamADP
1Jimmy GrahamNew Orleans Saints1.08
2Julius ThomasDenver Broncos3.06
3Rob GronkowskiNew England Patriots3.04
4Vernon DavisSan Francisco Giants5.07
5Jason WittenDallas Cowboys6.10
6Jordan CameronCleveland Browns5.11
7Greg OlsenCarolina Panthers7.12
8Jordan ReedWashington Redskins7.04
9Dennis PittaBaltimore Ravens8.07
10Kyle RudolphMinnesota Vikings8.10
Steven Cook's Rankings

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

 

Best Fantasy Team Names
NameWhy?
InstaGrahamBecause Jimmy Graham's fantasy output is just that—instant
Taste The Dwayne BoweIf you like to eat Skittles while watching the Chiefs, this one is for you
The Big GronkowskiPay homage to one of the greatest movies ever (and a star TE) with this one
Teenage Mutant Ninja BortlesBlake Bortles might be worth stashing on your bench just to validate using this name
Hyde Your Kids, Hyde Your WifePartly because of the viral video, partly because Carlos Hyde's running style is legitimately scary
Do The Sankey LegThis could become a household team name if the Titans rookie breaks out
Henne Given SundayGreat movie. But if Chad Henne is your starter, you have problems
Weeden Wayne BoweThe team name opportunities with Bowe's name are just endless
Geno 911Lieutenant Dangle approves
What Would Jones-Drew?New Raiders RB is a fantasy sleeper, as is this team name
Clowney Question, BroBryce Harper's trademarked saying meets No. 1 overall pick
Steven Cook's List

 

Draft Tips

Don't Force First-Round RB Selection if it's Not There

Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press

In an ideal world, Jamaal Charles, Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy or Matt Forte will be available when it's time for your first-round selection. But if that's not the case, don't panic to take a running back in Round 1.

Nothing has really changed in that running backs are still—by far—the most valued players in fantasy football. A back like Peterson, Charles or even Eddie Lacy or Marshawn Lynch are more than worthy of being selected with the first few picks.

But after that, it might be wiser to look to another position. Whether it's Peyton Manning possibly breaking more records, Jimmy Graham's constant breakout ability or even consistent big games from Dez Bryant and Calvin Johnson, other options might prove to be more successful than the fifth or sixth running back in the league.

In the first round, take the best player on the board. And don't be afraid if said player doesn't line up in the backfield.

 

Stack Up on WRs Early

Matt Strasen/Associated Press

Any seasoned fantasy owner knows that having two consistent receivers sometimes just isn't enough.

But in 2014, getting some of the top wideouts in the league in the opening rounds can put you ahead, even if it means missing out on the top running backs and quarterbacks.

For instance, the top eight fantasy receivers as rated by FantasyFootballCalculator.com's ADP rankings all come off the board before the third round. Wait too long, and you could be out of star-caliber options.

Should you find yourself able to land any pair of the top few receivers, don't hesitate to do so. There are always high-value running backs with breakout ability available in the middle rounds, and a big strength in wideouts can help you fill your flex spot week in and week out.

Just as well, grabbing receivers early can allow owners to wait on a QB and take a player like Tony Romo or Philip Rivers—someone capable of being one of your top scorers despite taking him after most of your starters. 

 

Wait—And I Mean Wait—To Draft Kickers/Defenses

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

After filling out the starting lineup, it's commonplace for inexperienced fantasy owners to go ahead and grab the top kickers and defenses in order to build the best list of starters possible.

Don't be that guy.

Defenses typically start to fly off the board starting in, Round 8 according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com, but waiting three or four rounds will still allow you to land a top-five defense that will put up big points. 

Broncos kicker Matt Prater's stock was huge with an ADP of 12.10 after emerging as one of the NFL's best kickers last season, but The Denver Post's Mike Klis reported Sunday that he'll be suspended for the first four games of the season. Meanwhile, whoever replaces him for those four games will more than likely be available on waivers along with many other formidable options.

With the waiver wire serving as such a good source for defenses and kickers, picking one too early in the draft can keep you from landing that key sleeper that might emerge. Don't jump at either position in your draft if there are better bench options available.