Fantasy Football 2014 Preview

With the start of the National Football League season only days away, fantasy football season is just around the corner for many fans. And with many drafts occurring in the next few days before the Packers and the Seahawks face off in the season opener on Thursday, let’s go over some players to either draft or stay away from in the hopes of winning your league and all the bragging rights that go along with it.

Rashad Jennings should be a target for most fantasy football team owners. The former Oakland Raider backup running back is now the starter for the New York Giants and has exceled in the preseason in his new role. 

After second-year back David Wilson had to retire due to a recurring neck injury, Jennings lost all competition for his job, leaving only rookie Andre Williams as his backup.

 Jennings showed flashes of brilliance as a backup in recent years and seems poised to succeed in his new role. As long as Eli Manning can put together enough of a passing attack to keep defenses from stacking the line of scrimmage, Jennings should have a breakout year for New York.

Rookies are typically dangerous players to waste early picks on, but Sammy Watkins should be an exception to the rule. Watkins has had an incredible preseason, impressing with some highlight-real plays along the way. The Bills’ wide receiver seems destined for stardom, and could have a huge rookie campaign. The only concern in drafting him will be the progress of Buffalo’s sophomore quarterback E.J. Manuel, but Watkins will probably be the

most productive rookie in fantasy football this year.

I would stay away from Marshawn Lynch this year, despite the very productive numbers that he has put up over the last few years as the running back for the Seattle Seahawks. Lynch has a very physical style of play and is relied upon heavily by Seattle. Even though he has shown no signs of wearing down, if you want Lynch, you will have to spend a first round pick on him, and I believe that the price is too high based on the risk. Look elsewhere at backs like Jamaal Charles, Eddie Lacy or Matt Forte before picking Lynch.

Additionally, don’t pick Wes Welker. After being diagnosed with a concussion last week, Welker’s future in the NFL has been questioned as of late. The veteran wide receiver was also suspended on Tuesday after testing positive for amphetamines, specifcally Adderall, a drug used mainly to test ADHD patients.  Rumors of retirement have floated around Welker because of health issues, so there are no guarantees that we see him on the field this season. 

Moreover, the Broncos still have a plethora of receivers for Peyton Manning to throw to, so Welker’s productivity is not a guarantee even if he is healthy. Demaryius Thomas is still the number one receiver for the Broncos, and Julius Thomas and new addition Emmanuel Sanders will provide competition. It’s probably safer to stay away from Welker right now.   

Finally, I would try to grab Chris Johnson of the Jets. Gang Green does not have much of a passing attack, relying on Michael Vick and Geno Smith to lead the attack with no weapons outside of Eric Decker. 

Chris Ivory has done nothing to show that he is worthy of a starting job, so if Chris Johnson can regain his “CJ2K” status he will be incredibly productive

this year.

So, those are a few players to keep in mind while you are drafting over the next few days. Remember to go get your running backs first, and wait on a quarterback, as the supply clearly outweighs the demand at the position. 

Wide receiver is deep once again this year, so if you grab a top-tier player like Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant or Demariyus Thomas early you’ll be able to wait a few more rounds to add more depth at the position.