Fantasy Football 2015: Best Players to Pick in Keeper Leagues

Richard JanvrinFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2015

Fantasy Football 2015: Best Players to Pick in Keeper Leagues

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    OBJ gave keeper league players a gift in 2014. Who will this season?
    OBJ gave keeper league players a gift in 2014. Who will this season?John Minchillo/Associated Press

    Keeper leagues are just another way to get in on the fantasy football fun. They allow you to basically help your team from year-to-year in an attempt to make your squad that much more formidable.

    Last season we saw some great keep values in Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Jeremy Hill, C.J. Anderson and Justin Forsett.

    But the million-dollar question is this: Who will be some later-round picks who could prove to be keeper worthy at a very affordable price for next season?

    I found eight guys who are ranked 25th or less among their respective positions. These guys could pay huge dividends next season. Remember: The name of the game is value!

    As always, all ADP data will be from the FantasyPros points-per-reception section.

1. Chris Ivory, RB, New York Jets

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    Leon Halip/Getty Images

    Average Draft Position: RB31 (73rd overall)

     

    In what is a sketchy position in running backs, I'm not sure why Chris Ivory is being ignored.

    He's coming off of a 2014 campaign in which he carried the ball nearly 200 times, for more than 800 yards with seven total touchdowns.

    So far this preseason, Ivory has been performing very well. It is a small sample size (11 carries), but he's averaging more than five yards per carry, with a long run of 33 yards.

    This season Ivory will have a quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick who has never thrown for less than 23 touchdowns under new Jets offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.

    The other plus side is Ivory has an offensive line, that while isn't a top-tier offensive line, has shown some improvement this preseason as opposed to last season.

    This could be the year Chris Ivory finally becomes that guy everyone has thought he could be since coming over from New Orleans. He no longer has Chris Johnson to compete with, and fellow running back Stevan Ridley is expected to start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform List, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.

    Something else worth pointing out is that the Jets had a combined 386 carries from the running back position last season. Like I said above with Stevan Ridley probably starting the year on the PUP list and Zac Stacy (though I'm still a believer!) probably being an afterthought, Ivory will benefit.

    I expect Chris Ivory to receive well over 200 carries and, with an improved team, produce better statistics.

     

    Projections: 245 carries, 1,100 rushing yards, eight touchdowns

2. Matt Jones, RB, Washington Redskins

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Average Draft Position: RB55 (168th overall)

     

    As I mentioned in a previous column, I think Alfred Morris will bust this season due in part to the man pictured above—Matt Jones.

    First off, have you seen how this guy has been running this preseason? Holy smokes! If you haven't, just watch this video from NFL's Twitter page.

    According to OverTheCap.com, it appears Alfred Morris will also hit free agency after this season. That alone makes all eyes turn to Matt Jones. As is, it's already pretty much secured that [Matt Jones] will be the third-down running back in Washington, but could he also cut in to his primary carries, according to John Keim of ESPN.com (h/t Rotoworld).

    If Matt Jones runs remotely close to how he has been this preseason, you better believe the Redskins will take a look at either letting Morris walk or having a timeshare.

    Last season the Redskins ran the ball a total of 324 times, with Alfred Morris leading the team with 265 carries.

    The one knock against Jones isn't him at all, but rather his offensive line, which is been horrendous for years.

    If Alfred Morris walks in free agency, Matt Jones will instantly garner keep consideration.

     

    Projections: 135 carries, 625 rushing yards, six touchdowns

3. Charles Johnson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    Average Draft Position: WR32 (78th overall)

     

    Charles Johnson has been very popular lately. Take a look at this ADP chart, courtesy of Fantasy Football Calculator.

    In addition to his ADP rise, you cannot ignore the rumors that he is the receiver who Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater "trusts the most," according to Matt Vensel of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

    After starting the 2014 season with the Cleveland Browns, he eventually made his way to the Vikings where he flashed tons of big-play ability and made Cordarrelle Patterson an afterthought.

    In 2015, Charles Johnson is the real deal, and I'm trying to get as many shares as I can.

    With another year out of Teddy Bridgewater, Charles Johnson could propel into top-20 wide receiver territory and be a huge asset to your keeper team in 2016.

     

    Projections: 128 targets, 75 receptions, 1,050 receiving yards, seven touchdowns

4. Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Average Draft Position: WR28 (69th overall)

     

    Oh man, am I excited to see what this guy can do with the Eagles.

    So far this preseason, Nelson Agholor has already scored a touchdown and has more than 100 receiving yards. He's shown some big-play ability, and he should catch quite a few balls this season.

    Remember in 2014 Jeremy Maclin had 140 targets, and those will be spread out among the receivers currently on the Eagles.

    Yes, the Eagles have a three-headed monster at running back, but the Eagles should once again lead the league in seconds per play.

    Look for Agholor to make his mark on the league and continue the run of successful rookie wide receivers.

     

    Projections: 70 receptions, 1,035 receiving yards, seven touchdowns

5. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Average Draft Position: RB25 (49th overall)

     

    The Jacksonville Jaguars found themselves a very reliable running back in this year's draft.

    If you take a look at our scouting report of T.J. Yeldon, you'll find that he should make a rookie impact.

    Over the past two season, Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley has run the ball an average of 316 times with his running backs.

    I personally own Yeldon in a few leagues, and I'm extremely excited.

    Additionally, Yeldon will get a crack at running with the first-team offense in the team's third preseason game, according to Hays Carlyon of the Florida Times Union.

    During his time with the Alabama Crimson Tide, Yeldon showed a bit of ability catching the ball, having done so 20 times in 2013.

    Additionally, the offensive line has picked it up this preseason, as compared to last season. Of course, this is a small sample size we are working with.

    Is it crazy to think that Yeldon could receive 235 or more carries in his rookie season?  I don't think so. Yeldon could become one of the most valuable running back assets this season.

     

    Projections: 235 carries, 1,000 rushing yards, six touchdowns

     

6. Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

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    David Goldman/Associated Press

    Average Draft Position: RB33 (74th overall)

     

    I really like Tevin Coleman a lot. Yeah, some of that probably has to do with my distaste for Devonta Freeman, but Tevin Coleman is the real deal.

    One big component to Coleman's success is his offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan.

    Last season, Shanahan ran the ball 425 times with Cleveland, posting a total over 1,612 yards, with 16 touchdowns.

    One could argue that Coleman is just as or more talented than Cleveland's running backs.

    Out of the gate, Coleman and Freeman will see a timeshare, but I have no doubt, barring injury, that Coleman will take the job.

    Coleman was fortunate enough to land on a team with an established quarterback and passing game, which will keep opposing defenses honest.

    Also of note, Coleman was a decent pass-catcher during his collegiate career.

    Look for Coleman to be in your keeper conversation next season.

     

    Projections: 190 carries, 855 rushing yards, five touchdowns

7. John Brown, WR, Arizona Cardinals

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Average Draft Position: WR38 (95th overall)

     

    Pittsburgh State rise up!

    Man, do I love watching this guy. Last season we met John Brown. John Brown had 99 targets. This season John Brown may not have Michael Floyd to worry about for a couple of weeks due to his finger injury, according to Darren Urban. John Brown will get targeted more.

    It's really beautiful how that works, how one man's injury is another's fantasy football value.

    Another season of John Brown with a healthy Carson Palmer could be glorious. Larry Fitzgerald isn't getting any younger, and Michael Floyd has obvious concern. I can see his targets being slightly enhanced, and he should see a few more big plays this season.

    Where you can get him in drafts and with his upside in this season, he may not be a terrible keeper option depending on your team in 2016.

     

    Projections: 68 receptions, 975 receiving yards, six touchdowns

8. Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Average Draft Position: WR27 (64th overall)

     

    Now I know I've said I love a few players so far (OK, more than a few), but I'm in love with Allen Robinson.

    First off, coming out of college, I compared him to Dez Bryant (I cannot wait for the comments to rip me apart on that).

    Allen Robinson is going to essentially smash any computer-simulated projection and catapult himself into elite territory this season. Oh yeah, I went there.

    OK, I understand Blake Bortles is his quarterback, but he was producing pretty well considering Bortles was a rookie and well, not very good.

    This season the Jaguars did add tight end Julius Thomas to nip away at his targets, but have no fear.

    If you need some advanced stats to help corroborate my theory, take it from my good friend Matt Harmon of NFL.com and his Reception Perception data on Allen Robinson. It really is a beautiful thing.

    In his column on Robinson, he ranks second among rookie wide receivers in SRVC (success rate versus coverage) at 71.1 percent.

    If all of the previous two paragraphs was gibberish to you, go look at his Reception Perception work. It will open up a new door for how you look at wide receivers.

    Allen Robinson is the man among men. Keep him in 2016.

     

    Projections: 85 receptions, 1,150 receiving yards, seven touchdowns

     

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