2015 Fantasy Football Projections & Rankings
Flex Projections | Version: 2.1
Fantasy Rankings updated explained here
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2015 Fantasy QB Breakdown
Written By Jody Smith
Clearly the highest scoring, and potentially most valuable players in fantasy football continue to be the top-tiered quarterbacks, but the cost to acquire their services can potentially torpedo the depth at other, more volatile and less deep positions. That top tier is remarkably short this season, as there are arguably two QB’s who are just a tad ahead of the rest of a deep, and talented pool of good-to-great fantasy quarterbacks. If you have the confidence that you will still land solid RB, WR and TE depth later in your draft, be ready to invest anywhere from a late first to third round pick to select from Tier 1.
The time has come for Andrew Luck to be the first QB selected in every fantasy football draft this year. Luck has improved in each of his three seasons and took a huge leap forward last year, with 43 total TD’s while leading the Colts to within a game of the Superbowl. Now Indy has added even more offensive weapons like Andre Johnson, Frank Gore and 2015 1st rounder Phillip Dorsett to an already potent attack. The Colts should have one of the highest scoring attacks in the league and Luck will threaten the 5000-yard mark and 40+ touchdowns.
Aaron Rodgers remains a truly elite quarterback in real and fantasy football. Rodgers’ 2014 season with a mere five interceptions was quite remarkable. In fact, with a career INT % of only 1.6%, Rodgers is the all-time leader in NFL history in that category. With Green Bay re-signing WR Randall Cobb, all the key offensive weapons from last season’s No. 6 offense are in place. Rodgers, 31, is comfortably in his prime and the Packers remain one of the favorites to represent the NFC in Super Bowl 50. Fantasy football owners who want to secure the services of one of the two top-tiered throwers this season are going to likely have to invest a third round pick or higher to do so.
The second tier of QB’s is where the vast majority of wining fantasy owners will be targeting their signal-caller this season. Since investing in Andrew Luck or Aaron Rodgers means an early pick and a hit to more important positions and depth, waiting until the middle rounds (5-9) to target this group seems like the best strategy…. Read more QB Forecasts Here
Running Back Projections | Version 2.1
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2015 Fantasy Running Back Forecasts:
Minnesota Vikings | Age: 30 | Bye Week: 5
Some might be hesitant to draft Peterson given his off the field issues and his age (30). While we can’t guarantee he’ll behave himself off the field, we can assure you it’d be foolish to discount Peterson because of his age. Not only has Peterson proven time and time again his body is unlike any other (See: 2,097 yards and 13 TDs, only months removed from reconstructive knee surgery), but he was also given the gift of a year off from taking hits from defensive linemen and linebackers. Remember the tear Lebron James went on with only two weeks of rest?
Adrian Peterson will be well-rested, anxious to explode on the scene in 2015. He enters a Norv Turner offense that wants to get him involved in the passing game and takes the reigns of a rushing attack that amassed 1800 yards and 12 TDs in his absence, with a rookie QB and the inexperienced combination of Matt Asiata and Jerrick McKinnon. Insert a well-rested running back who’s arguably one of the best of all-time and we should see a fantasy explosion from AP in 2015.
Kansas City Chiefs | Age: 28 | Bye Week: 9
There’s no such thing as a perfectly safe fantasy pick, but Jamaal Charles is about as close as it gets. The stalwart fantasy star has racked up at least 1,300 yards each season since he missed 2011 with a season-ending injury, and shows no signs of slowing down quite yet. Charles himself recently said he wants to play another six years, and while that might be a stretch, a stellar 2015 season is more probable than not.
Charles has yet to finish a season with a YPC average under 5.0, and besides the one missed season, he has only sat out of 3 regular season games over his 7-year career. In any league, Charles is a serious contender for the first overall pick, but he should top the most draft boards in RB-heavy PPR formats, or PPR formats with fewer wide receivers or flex spots, thanks to his heavy use in the passing game; he hasn’t finished a season with fewer than 35 catches since his rookie year. Charles is fast, strong, durable, and versatile. That’s always an excellent decision, and if you like safe in the first round, he’s as good as it’s going to get.
Chicago Bears | Age: 29 | Bye Week: 7
Antonio Brown led the league in receptions last season with 129, followed by Demaryius Thomas (111), Julio Jones (104) and…Matt Forte (102). That’s right. Matt Forte caught more balls than Emmanuel Sanders, Jordy Nelson, Odell Beckham Jr. and Dez Bryant.
In PPR formats, no one can fault you for grabbing Forte as early as possible. In standard scoring, its hard to argue there as well. Forte is the consummate workhorse, finding ways to grind out points both through the air and on the ground. With Brandon Marshall out of town, expect Forte to be Cutler’s security blanket in 2015. Over the last two seasons, Forte has averaged close to 1,900 yards and 11 TDs. Don’t let the change in oversight discourage you either. Under Adam Gase, the Broncos averaged over 1,800 yards and 15.5 rushing TDs the last two seasons.
Check out more: Can Matt Forte Remain an Elite Fantasy RB?
Green Bay Packers | Age: 24 | Bye Week: 7
Most people think about Eddie Lacy and remember a second consecutive quality season in one of the hottest offenses in the league, but owners of Lacy remember his agonizingly slow start to the season last year. He did manage to pick up the pace (otherwise he wouldn’t be this high in the rankings), but the confusing early-season struggles have to give prospective fantasy owners pause.
Whether it was Mike McCarthy saving Lacy for work later in the season, an undisclosed injury, or something else, fantasy owners hope we don’t see a repeat next season. Beyond that concern, Lacy is an excellent high pick. His YPC improved in his sophomore season, he played all 16 games, his pass protection improved, and he saw more targets in the passing game. He’s a big guy, but he has enough speed to hurt defenses if they focus too much on Green Bay’s other weapons.
There is one mild frustration in touchdown thief and fan favorite, John Kuhn, but Lacy’s production and all-around usage makes up for that small issue….
Wide Receiver Projections | version 2.1
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Wide Receiver 2015 Player Forecasts
Pittsburgh Steelers | Age: 26 | Bye Week: 11
Antonio Brown burst onto the scene in 2013 with 110 catches and 1,499 yards and eight touchdowns. He followed that up with another career year as he moved to another level of wide receiver performance. He caught 129 receptions for 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2014 and led the league in receptions and yards. What is impressive about Brown is that he doesn’t tend to take weeks off. He consistently performed last season and there was no week where he had fewer than five catches or 70+ yards receiving.
Brown dropped just five of the 134 catchable passes thrown his way and that kind of efficiency gets your more targets. No player has caught more passes than Brown in the last two years and he is increasing his touchdown catches every season while defying odds at the same time. With Le’Veon Bell in the backfield, a great repertoire built up with Ben Roethlisberger and Markus Wheaton, Martavis Bryant and rookie Sammie Coates available to take a little bit of pressure of Brown, the sky is the limit for Brown.
Denver Broncos | Age: 27 | Bye Week: 7
With three straight 1400+ yard, double digit touchdown seasons, Demaryius Thomas has become a legitimate stud receiver and will be a top 15 pick in nearly every fantasy draft. The only thing holding Thomas back is a hodout, as the 27-year old is seeking a Calvin Johnson-esque deal. Once he is signed, expect Thomas to continue to dazzle as he enters his prime.
New head coach Gary Kubiak’s offensive scheme tends to favor “X” receivers, so Thomas will remain the focal point of a high octance, Peyton Manning-led passing attack. Sounds like the formula for another top three fantasy wideout season.
Dallas Cowboys | Age: 26 | Bye Week: 6
Don’t worry; Dez Bryant won’t miss the first game of the season, despite the buzz about his contract holdout. What he will do is dominate consistently from week to week and continue to perform as one of the top receivers in the league. An absolute monster in the red zone, Dez has improved on his touchdown count every year since he was drafted, leading the league last season with 16. His improvements aren’t just on the stat sheet, either; his route running is improved, his body control and high-pointing ability are the best in the business, and he’s perfectly in sync with his (finally healthy) quarterback,Tony Romo.
Talking about the top few receivers in this draft, it’s all about personal preference. The only thing that could prevent Dez from finishing this season as a top-5 fantasy receiver is an injury, and with Dez’s physical style of play, he’s more likely to hurt defenders than himself. Expect another 1,300 yards and 13+ touchdowns from Dez this season.
Atlanta Falcons | Age: 26 | Bye Week: 10
Another one of the young receivers eyeing that beefy second contract, Julio Jones beasted in the fantasy playoffs for his owners last season. Any reason to think he won’t be a monster again next season? None whatsoever. This offense lives and dies by the success of its top receiver and his connection with Matt Ryan.
Julio set a franchise record for receiving yards last season with 1,593, yet only scored 6 touchdowns. That yardage will mostly likely go down, but the touchdowns should improve. He’s about the same size as Dez Bryant, but excels more in speed and less in muscling out defenders in the red zone. Still, 6 touchdowns is an improbable result for a receiver of Julio’s size and talents.
With what looks like an improved offensive line heading into 2015, Matt Ryan should have a little more time in the pocket to let Julio get open and find the end zone more frequently.
Look for Julio to get back to his 2012 form with 10 TDs, and somewhere between 1,200 and 1,400 yards.
New York Giants | Age: 22 | Bye Week: 11
Beckham only played in 12 games last year, but it was all he needed to take the league by storm. He didn’t really find his groove until Week 9 either. In fact, if you were to project his last 9 games over a 16 game season, OBJ would have finished with 144 catches for 2,132 yards (shattering the NFL record) and 16 TDs. Oh, and he’s only a rookie.
Hampered by a lingering hamstring injury, face to face with the Madden Curse, can Odell really do it again? The odds may be against it, but none of us would be shocked if it happened. Even if Beckham provides 60% of the production he amassed during that 9-game stretch, he would still have 86 catches for 1,280 yards and 10 TDs. Numbers that would have kept him inside the top-10 last season. If 60% of his best gives you that kind of production, why wouldn’t you take a chance on this kid?
Detroit Lions | Age: 29 | Bye Week: 9
We never thought we would see the day Calvin Johnson played at least 13 games and didn’t lead his team in receiving, but it happened. Golden Tate emerged as Matthew Stafford’s primary target in 2014, while Calvin hobbled his way to an underwhelming (per his standards) 1,077 yards and 8 TDs.
Megatron is the most physically gifted receiver in the NFL without question, but his durability falls on the other side of the spectrum. We have all seen what Johnson is capable of (122 catches for 1,964 yards), but the buyer must always beware with him. He aspires to become the new CJ2K, but that ambition seems unlikely realized, as the Lions seemed to have found their groove without forcing it his way. Johnson remains a top-10 guy, appropriately valued as a Round 2 pick, but for the first time in years, there’s more value elsewhere at wide receiver.
Tight End Projections | Version 2.1
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2015 Fantasy Rookies
|Fantasy Rookies Overall||Fantasy Rookie Running Backs||Fantasy Rookie Wide Receivers||Fantasy Rookie Tights Ends|
|Rnk||TM||Fantasy Rookie||Rnk||TM||Fantasy Rookie||Rnk||TM||Fantasy Rookie||Rnk||TM||Fantasy Rookie|
|1||Melvin Gordon||1||Melvin Gordon||1||Amari Cooper||1||Maxx Williams|
|2||Todd Gurley||2||Todd Gurley||2||Kevin White||2||Nick O’Leary|
|3||Amari Cooper||3||Tevin Coleman||3||Nelson Agholor||3||Clive Walford|
|4||Kevin White||4||T.J. Yeldon||4||Breshad Perriman||4||Tyler Kroft|
|5||Nelson Agholor||5||Ameer Abdullah||5||Devin Funchess||5||A.J. Derby|
|6||Tevin Coleman||6||Jay Ajayi||6||DeVante Parker||6||Blake Bell|
|7||T.J. Yeldon||7||Duke Johnson||7||Dorial Green-Beckham||7||Jeff Heuerman|
|8||Ameer Abdullah||8||David Johnson||8||Jaelen Strong||8||James O’Shaughnessy|
|9||Breshad Perriman||9||Jeremy Langford||9||Tyler Lockett||9||Jesse James|
|10||Devin Funchess||10||David Cobb||10||Phillip Dorsett||10||Nick Boyle|
|11||DeVante Parker||11||Josh Robinson||11||Devin Smith||11||C.J. Uzomah|
|12||Dorial Green-Beckham||12||Mike Davis||12||Sammie Coates||12||Randall Telfer|
|13||Jaelen Strong||13||Matt Jones||13||Andre Debose||13||Ben Koyack|
|14||Jay Ajayi||14||Bradley Pinion||14||Jamison Crowder||14||Geoff Swaim|
|15||Duke Johnson||15||Karlos Williams||15||Keith Mumphery||15||Rory Anderson|
|16||David Johnson||16||Kenny Hilliard||16||Vince Mayle||16||Gerald Christian|
|17||Jeremy Langford||17||Javorius Allen||17||Ty Montgomery||17||MyCole Pruitt|
|18||Jameis Winston||18||Marcus Murphy||18||Darren Waller||18||Kennard Backman|
|19||Maxx Williams||19||Cameron Artis-Payne||19||Justin Hardy||Fantasy Rookie Quarterbacks|
|20||David Cobb||20||Tony Lippett||Rnk||TM||Fantasy Rookie|
|21||Tyler Lockett||21||Chris Conley||1||Jameis Winston|
|22||Phillip Dorsett||22||Dezmin Lewis||2||Marcus Mariota|
|23||Devin Smith||23||Tre McBride||3||Trevor Siemian|
|24||Sammie Coates||24||Da’Ron Brown||4||Bryce Petty|
|25||Marcus Mariota||25||Mario Alford||5||Sean Mannion|
|26||Jamarcus Nelson||6||Brett Hundley|
|27||Rashad Greene||7||Garrett Grayson|
- GM- Projected games played
- Rec- Receptions
- RecYads- Receiving Yards
- RecTD- Receiving Touchdowns
- Projection- Total Fantasy Point Projection
- PPG15- Fantasy Points Per Game Projection
- FP14- 2014’s Actual Total Fantasy Points
- PPG14- 2014’s Points Per Game
- Fantasy DIV- Fantasy Differential
What is Fantasy Div?
This year Gridiron Experts is introducing a new column called Fantasy Div, which stands for Fantasy Differential. The idea behind this column is to compare our 2015 projections for a player this season to his actual points per game performance from last season.
It’s difficult to remember just how well, or how poorly a player performed so we’re subtracting the difference. If the number is positive than we are projecting a more points per game.
If the number is negative than we’re suggesting a decrease in fantasy points per game production
Check all of Gridiron Experts articles here