Fantasy

2014 Fantasy Football Draft Guide: Eric Mack's Ultimate Blueprint

Eric MackFantasy Football Lead WriterAugust 15, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Draft Guide: Eric Mack's Ultimate Blueprint

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Somewhere Over the Dwayne Bowe (h/t to my Fantasy FatCast co-host David Gonos of About.com for that team-name gem), you are officially on the clock.

    "Uh, (panic) um, (lost bodily functions), I'll pick..."

    It doesn't have to be so stressful or complex. Bleacher Report has you prepared as well as anyone with the Ultimate Blueprint from our 2014 Fantasy Football Draft Guide. This slideshow breaks down every position comprehensively, and we present you with all the options and reasoning.

    All you need to do is read up now and push the buttons in a couple of weeks. Class is now in session...

Top 100 Overall: Jamaal Charles Still No. 1, but LeSean McCoy Is Closing Ground

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    Matt Rourke/Associated Press

    Fantasy owners tend to complicate things. It might be because of very meticulous fantasy analysts.

    When you are drafting, take just one tool with you. You don't want to be flipping through pages or a multitude of Internet links when you are making your decisions round by round.

    K.I.S.S.: Keep it simple, stupid.

    Most of the organization in Bleacher Report's Top 100 overall players for 2014 is explained in the following slides, but here is how everything comes together in one tidy package.

    You will notice, analysts and the public are united in thinking the first four picks should be running backs in a standard draft this season. We will examine it a bit deeper in the running backs slide, but Jamaal Charles is clinging to a lead on LeSean McCoy as the No. 1 overall pick.

     

    Bleacher Report Top 100

    2014 Overall Draft Rankings—Eric Mack
    RankOverall RankingsTeamECRvs. ECR
    1Jamaal CharlesKC10
    2 LeSean McCoyPhi20
    3Adrian PetersonMin30
    4Matt ForteChi40
    5Jimmy GrahamNO7+2
    6Calvin JohnsonDet60
    7Eddie LacyGB5-2
    8Peyton ManningDen20+12
    9DeMarco MurrayDal10+1
    10Marshawn LynchSea12+2
    11Doug MartinTB26+15
    12 Zac StacyStL21+9
    13A.J. GreenCin130
    14Demaryius ThomasDen8-6
    15Dez BryantDal9-6
    16Montee BallDen11-5
    17Aaron RodgersGB25+8
    18Drew BreesNO27+9
    19Brandon MarshallChi15-4
    20Alfred MorrisWas22+2
    21Julio JonesAtl14-7
    22 Alshon JefferyChi23+1
    23 Le'Veon BellPit16-7
    24 Giovani BernardCin17-7
    25Andre EllingtonAri28+3
    26Julius ThomasDen36+10
    27Antonio BrownPit24-3
    28Jordy NelsonGB19-9
    29Randall CobbGB290
    30C.J. SpillerBuf300
    31Pierre GarconWas38+7
    32Victor CruzNYG35+3
    33Arian FosterHou18-15
    34Reggie BushDet42+8
    35Rob GronkowskiNE34-1
    36Larry FitzgeraldAri40+4
    37DeSean JacksonWas55+18
    38Michael CrabtreeSF44+6
    39Chris JohnsonNYJ59+20
    40Andrew LuckInd54+14
    41Roddy WhiteAtl410
    42Frank GoreSF46+4
    43Ryan MathewsSD39-4
    44Keenan AllenSD32-12
    45Vernon DavisSF65+20
    46Vincent JacksonTB31-15
    47Torrey SmithBal52+5
    48Jeremy MaclinPhi75+27
    49 Rashad JenningsNYG43-6
    50Matthew StaffordDet45-5
    51T.Y. HiltonInd67+16
    52Michael FloydAri48-4
    53Ben TateCle57+4
    54Toby Gerhart Jac33-21
    55Bishop Sankey Ten51-4
    56Nick FolesPhi62+6
    57Cam NewtonCar72+15
    58Robert GriffinWas64+6
    59Julian Edelman NE78+19
    60Trent RichardsonInd68+8
    61Wes WelkerDen50-11
    62Eric DeckerNYJ77+15
    63Lamar MillerMia630
    64Matt RyanAtl66+2
    65Marques ColstonNO71+6
    66Percy HarvinSea53-13
    67Tom BradyNE73+6
    68Ray RiceBal61-7
    69Stevan RidleyNE70+1
    70Andre JohnsonHou37-33
    71 Cordarrelle PattersonMin49-22
    72Kendall WrightTen69-3
    73Jordan CameronCle58-15
    74Russell WilsonSea96+22
    75Tony RomoDal76+1
    76Shane Vereen NE56-20
    77Jason WittenDal84+7
    78Steven JacksonAtl74-4
    79Maurice Jones-DrewOak90+11
    80 Joique BellDet47-33
    81Greg OlsenCar82+1
    82Cecil ShortsJac97+15
    83Jordan ReedWas89+6
    84Sammy WatkinsBuf95+11
    85Mike WallaceMia60-25
    86Riley CooperPhi108+22
    87Terrance WilliamsDal79-8
    88Colin KaepernickSF81-7
    89Andy DaltonCin123+34
    90Dwayne BoweKC94+4
    91Jay CutlerChi87-4
    92Dennis PittaBal93+1
    93Mark IngramNO127+34
    94Bernard PierceBal100+6
    95Darren SprolesPhi111+16
    96Hakeem NicksInd121+25
    97Emmanuel SandersDen85-12
    98Kelvin BenjaminCar112+14
    99 Brandin CooksNO990
    100DeAngelo WilliamsCar103+3
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros

Quarterbacks: Pass on Peyton Manning? He'll Pass All over You

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Fantasy analysts pound the pavement repeatedly in saying "wait on the quarterback position." There is even a whole website (LateRoundQB.com) and book by JJ Zachariason devoted to the strategy.

    It was an effective strategy last year. Manning slipped into Round 5 of some drafts and wound up being the highest-scoring fantasy football player in history, as my former colleague Tristan Cockcroft wrote at ESPN.com.

    Waiting on a quarterback this year will mean passing on the most prolific single-season passer in NFL history.

    If you want options, strategies and the kitchen sink, we have it at B/R with our QB blueprint here.

    Here are the highlights:

    • Tiers: It is Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and then everybody else. If you don't get one of those elite three, you should wait until Round 6 to pick your starting passer in a standard, one-quarterback league.
    • Rookies: Blake Bortles has been impressive in the preseason, but as of preseason Week 2, there isn't a rookie starting quarterback on the board. Don't draft any of them...yet.
    • Breakout: The third time is a charm for Andrew Luck. He has the weapons set for a huge breakthrough into the fantasy elite.
    • Bust: Nick Foles hasn't been a full-year starter yet in the NFL, but he is being drafted like he is a megastar at a position full of them. Consider this a warning.
    • Sleeper: Every quarterback after that top trio above can fall to a position of great value in drafts.

     

    B/R's Top 40 QBs (Updated)

    2014 Quarterback Draft RankingsEric Mack
    RankQuarterbacksTeamECRvs. ECR
    1Peyton ManningDen10
    2Aaron RodgersGB20
    3Drew BreesNO30
    4Andrew LuckInd5+1
    5Matthew StaffordDet4-1
    6Nick Foles Phi60
    7Cam NewtonCar9+2
    8Robert GriffinWas7-1
    9Matt RyanAtl8-1
    10Tom BradyNE100
    11Russell WilsonSea14+3
    12Tony RomoDal11-1
    13Colin KaepernickSF12-1
    14Andy DaltonCin17+3
    15Jay CutlerChi13-2
    16Philip RiversSD15-1
    17Ben RoethlisbergerPit16-1
    18Eli ManningNYG21+3
    19Joe Flacco Bal24+5
    20Ryan Tannehill Mia18-2
    21Alex SmithKC20-1
    22Carson PalmerAri19-3
    23Brian Hoyer Cle31+8
    24Josh McCown TB23-1
    25Sam BradfordStL250
    26EJ ManuelBuf27+1
    27Johnny ManzielCle22-5
    28Jake LockerTen26-2
    29Geno SmithNYJ290
    30Chad Henne Jac34+4
    31Matt CasselMin32+1
    32Matt SchaubOak33+1
    33Ryan FitzpatrickHou28-5
    34Blake Bortles Jac39+5
    35Teddy Bridgewater Min30-5
    36Case Keenum Hou43+7
    37Michael VickNYJ35-2
    38Derek CarrOak37-1
    39Tom SavageHou41+2
    40Kirk CousinsWas38-2
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros

Running Backs: You Still Have to Draft Them Early and Often

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    As the NFL continues to trend toward favoring the downfield passing games, fantasy football is following suit in passing up on running backs more and more. There should be only one way to attack the still-critical running back position: Take them early and often.

    Our comprehensive B/R RB blueprint has all the machinations at the position you cannot loosen your grip on in drafts. Here are the highlights:

    • Tiers: There is a clear top four that has developed, and you can make a case for any of them projecting to be the best running back in fantasy. We say it is either Charles or McCoy at No. 1, with Charles' slight lead dwindling by the day.
    • Rookies: Bishop Sankey might be the only Week 1 starter of this group, but he still hasn't won his position battle. There are a lot of viable rookie handcuffs who will fly off the board in the middle rounds.
    • Breakouts: While we cannot be sure of the rookies, we sure love a trio of second-year backs on the verge of fantasy stardom. Montee Ball, Andre Ellington and Giovani Bernard look ready to carry teams in 2014.
    • Busts: Fantasy's biggest busts always come from this position and from the players you least expect to fall apart. In order to be labeled a bust, you would have had to have early-round expectations that were unmet. Look out at running back; everyone is suspect.
    • Sleepers: It is impossible to see it now, but there are going to be late-rounders—and even waiver pickups—who wind up carrying you at this position. You cannot merely wait on them and pray, but drafting a slew of backs throughout can give you the best chance to snag one of those big-time surprises.

     

    B/R's Top 90 RBs (Updated)

    2014 Running Back Draft RankingsEric Mack
    RankRunning BacksTeamECRvs. ECR
    1Jamaal CharlesKC10
    2 LeSean McCoyPhi20
    3Adrian PetersonMin30
    4Matt ForteChi40
    5Eddie LacyGB50
    6DeMarco MurrayDal60
    7Marshawn LynchSea8+1
    8Doug MartinTB14+6
    9 Zac StacyStL12+3
    10 Montee BallDen7-3
    11Alfred MorrisWas13+2
    12 Le'Veon BellPit9-3
    13 Giovani BernardCin10-3
    14Andre EllingtonAri15+1
    15C.J. SpillerBuf16+1
    16Arian FosterHou11-5
    17Reggie BushDet19+2
    18Chris JohnsonNYJ26+8
    19Frank GoreSF21+2
    20Ryan MathewsSD18-2
    21 Rashad JenningsNYG20-1
    22Ben TateCle25+3
    23Toby Gerhart Jac17-6
    24Bishop Sankey Ten23-1
    25Trent RichardsonInd29+4
    26Lamar MillerMia28+2
    27Ray RiceBal270
    28Stevan RidleyNE30+2
    29Shane Vereen NE24-5
    30Steven JacksonAtl31+1
    31Maurice Jones-DrewOak34+3
    32 Joique BellDet22-10
    33Mark IngramNO46+13
    34Bernard PierceBal35+1
    35Darren SprolesPhi40+5
    36DeAngelo WilliamsCar37+1
    37Jeremy HillCin38+1
    38Pierre ThomasNO32-6
    39 Knowshon MorenoMia43+4
    40Darren McFaddenOak41+1
    41Christine MichaelSea49+8
    42Andre WilliamsNYG47+5
    43Carlos HydeSF44+1
    44 Khiry RobinsonNO48+4
    45Fred JacksonBuf33-12
    46 LeGarrette Blount Pit55+9
    47Terrance WestCle39-8
    48 Devonta FreemanAtl45-3
    49 Tre MasonStL64+15
    50Danny Woodhead SD36-14
    51Chris IvoryNYJ42-9
    52 Knile DavisKC57+5
    53 Shonn GreeneTen51-2
    54Jonathan StewartCar52-2
    55Ahmad BradshawInd50-5
    56Ronnie Hillman Den59+3
    57Charles SimsTB61+4
    58Bryce BrownBuf71+13
    59 BenJarvus Green-EllisCin68+9
    60 Jacquizz RodgersAtl74+14
    61Robert Turbin Sea69+8
    62 Ka'Deem CareyChi77+15
    63Donald BrownSD56-7
    64 Bilal PowellNYJ76+12
    65Roy Helu Was650
    66Jonathan GrimesHou63-3
    67Daniel ThomasMia82+15
    68James WhiteNE54-14
    69Brandon Bolden NE99+30
    70Lorenzo Taliaferro Bal90+20
    71James StarksGB58-13
    72 Stepfan TaylorAri66-6
    73Storm JohnsonJac730
    74 Latavius MurrayOak67-7
    75Dexter McCluster Ten72-3
    76Alfred BlueHou89+13
    77 Jerick McKinnon Min95+18
    78 Lache Seastrunk Was94+16
    79Isaiah Crowell Cle87+8
    80Chris PolkPhi70-10
    81Dion LewisCle105+24
    82Lance DunbarDal53-29
    83 Denard RobinsonJac92+9
    84Joseph RandleDal96+12
    85C.J. AndersonDen78-7
    86Mikel Leshoure Det108+22
    87Marcel ReeceOak81-6
    88Peyton Hillis NYG98+10
    89 Dri ArcherPit80-9
    90Marcus Lattimore SF86-4
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros

Wide Receivers: They Are Sneaking Up into the 1st Round More Than Ever

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Round 1 of fantasy drafts has tended to have one, maybe two, wide receivers getting picked. It has been Calvin Johnson for years. The 28-year-old Megatron looks like he has plenty of company now. Demaryius Thomas, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant and perhaps even Brandon Marshall are candidates to go among the top 12 picks in fantasy.

    We break it all down in B/R's WR blueprint, but here are the bullet points:

    • Tiers: Everyone is unanimous in thinking Megatron is No. 1 here, but those four first-round candidates above have closed the gap. It should be noted that Megatron was merely the third-highest-scoring fantasy wideout a year ago, per FFToday.com.
    • Rookies: They tend to be overhyped at this position, because receiving can be more art than skill and takes time to develop. Sammy Watkins is the No. 1 rookie wideout, but Kelvin Benjamin and Brandin Cooks are also getting a lot of love this preseason.
    • Breakouts: Get ready for Jeremy Maclin to smash his modest WR3 expectation/draft position. Also, Michael Crabtree is not a sorry receiver, and Randall Cobb is in that famed "contract-year" category.
    • Busts: We all know to avoid running backs over the age of 30, but wide receivers are equally likely to decline at that advanced age. In fact, the fantasy statistical decline begins after the age of 27. Are you listening, Megatron owners?
    • Sleepers: Dozens of late-round picks can emerge to be useful fantasy starters at this very deep position. So, while you keep plucking receivers off the board early, there will be some fantasy owners finding legit starters late.

     

    B/R's Top 120 WRs (Updated)

    2014 Wide Receiver Draft Rankings—Eric Mack
    RankWide ReceiversTeamECRvs. ECR
    1Calvin JohnsonDet10
    2A.J. GreenCin4+2
    3 Demaryius ThomasDen2-1
    4 Dez BryantDal3-1
    5Brandon MarshallChi6+1
    6Julio JonesAtl5-1
    7 Alshon JefferyChi8+1
    8Antonio BrownPit9+1
    9Jordy NelsonGB7-2
    10Randall CobbGB100
    11Pierre GarconWas15+4
    12Victor CruzNYG13+1
    13Larry FitzgeraldAri16+3
    14DeSean JacksonWas24+10
    15Michael Crabtree SF18+3
    16Roddy WhiteAtl17+1
    17Keenan AllenSD12-5
    18Vincent JacksonTB11-7
    19Torrey SmithBal22+3
    20Jeremy Maclin Phi29+9
    21T.Y. HiltonInd26+5
    22Michael FloydAri19-3
    23Julian Edelman NE31+8
    24Wes WelkerDen21-3
    25Eric DeckerNYJ30+5
    26Marques ColstonNO28+2
    27Percy HarvinSea23-4
    28Andre JohnsonHou14-14
    29 Cordarrelle PattersonMin20-9
    30Kendall WrightTen27-3
    31Cecil ShortsJac39+8
    32Sammy WatkinsBuf38+6
    33Mike WallaceMia25-8
    34Riley CooperPhi43+9
    35Terrance WilliamsDal32-3
    36Dwayne BoweKC37+1
    37Hakeem NicksInd50+13
    38Emmanuel SandersDen34-4
    39Kelvin BenjaminCar45+6
    40 Brandin CooksNO400
    41Golden TateDet33-8
    42 DeAndre HopkinsHou420
    43Tavon AustinStL49+6
    44Reggie WayneInd35-9
    45Danny Amendola NE55+10
    46 Rueben RandleNYG36-10
    47Anquan BoldinSF44-3
    48Steve SmithBal60+12
    49Steve JohnsonSF69+20
    50Miles AustinCle74+24
    51James JonesOak56+5
    52Mike EvansTB41-11
    53Doug BaldwinSea58+5
    54Greg JenningsMin48-6
    55Aaron Dobson NE57+2
    56Odell BeckhamNYG70+14
    57Kenny StillsNO51-6
    58Brian HartlineMia47-11
    59Mike WilliamsBuf73+14
    60Kenny BrittStL59-1
    61Jordan MatthewsPhi610
    62Mohamed Sanu Cin87+25
    63Jarrett Boykin GB52-11
    64Andrew HawkinsCle63-1
    65Cody Latimer Den75+10
    66 Kenbrell Thompkins NE76+10
    67Harry DouglasAtl64-3
    68Justin HunterTen46-22
    69Brandon LaFell NE94+25
    70Markus Wheaton Pit54-16
    71Ryan Broyles Det109+38
    72Donte Moncrief Ind97+25
    73Andre HolmesOak67-6
    74Nick Toon NO100+26
    75Robert WoodsBuf65-10
    76 Denarius MooreOak88+12
    77Marvin JonesCin53-24
    78 Da'Rick RogersInd780
    79Rod Streater Oak68-11
    80Andre RobertsWas92+12
    81Nate BurlesonCle99+18
    82 Marqise LeeJac66-16
    83Nate WashingtonTen77-6
    84Marlon BrownBal90+6
    85Jerricho CotcheryCar72-13
    86 Davante AdamsGB860
    87Dexter McCluster Ten91+4
    88Marquess WilsonChi81-7
    89Paul RichardsonSea95+6
    90Jeremy Kerley NYJ101+11
    91 Malcom FloydSD71-20
    92Lance MoorePit83-9
    93Chris GivensStL98+5
    94Brian QuickStL93-1
    95Josh HuffPhi121+26
    96Eddie RoyalSD102+6
    97Jermaine Kearse Sea89-8
    98Allen RobinsonJac82-16
    99 Jalen SaundersNYJ161+62
    100 Martavis BryantPit105+5
    101Marquise GoodwinBuf116+15
    102 Stedman BaileyStL96-6
    103Jacoby JonesBal122+19
    104Greg LittleOak132+28
    105A.J. JenkinsKC119+14
    106Kris DurhamDet150+44
    107Ted GinnAri112+5
    108 Jerrel Jernigan NYG80-28
    109Donnie AveryKC84-25
    110Brandon GibsonMia104-6
    111Stephen HillNYJ85-26
    112John BrownAri79-33
    113Vincent BrownSD126+13
    114Jerome SimpsonMin135+21
    115Joe MorganNO124+9
    116Quinton PattonSF117+1
    117Jason Avant Car130+13
    118 Tiquan UnderwoodCar114-4
    119Austin Pettis StL123+4
    120Josh GordonCle62-58
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros

Tight Ends: Jimmy Graham Now a SurefIre 1st-Rounder

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    USA TODAY Sports

    A tight end going off the board in the middle of Round 1? Yeah, it is fantasy's reality in 2014. Jimmy Graham is a freak show in his prime at age 27 and the focal point of a pass-heavy Sean Payton-Drew Brees offense.

    Assuming you are not lucking out with Graham falling to you, B/R's TE blueprint examines how you can attack the leftovers. Here is a sneak peak at the dynamics:

    • Tiers: Jimmy Graham is alone at the top, but Julius Thomas is an example of how you can score big-time value here late.
    • Rookies: Forget about them this year. Eric Ebron has potential, but he is still too far down his own team's depth chart to be picked as a starter right now. You shouldn't bother drafting a backup tight end in most leagues. Don't waste the roster spot when you need all the fliers you can get at running back and wide receiver.
    • Breakouts: Ladarius Green is all the rage as a late-round pick right now. He can be this year's Thomas or Jordan Cameron.
    • Busts: Again, be wary of injury risk (Rob Gronkowski) and age (32-year-old Jason Witten).
    • Sleepers: Outside of the few top tiers, everyone at tight end is a sleeper, because we should be drafting our starter late. Jordan Reed and the aforementioned Green are good ones to put your latter-round stock in.

    On Gronk, B/R's Michael Freeman quotes two players here who marvel at what Gronk is able to manage in terms in injury and pain. 

    "I don't know if I would have been able to keep playing through everything he has," one told Freeman.

    Freeman wrote another said: "He is displaying guts and toughness like I've never seen. Now I want him to look out for No. 1."

    It sounds ominous for Gronk being ready for the start of the season, which makes him an extreme risk to be picked before Round 4 in drafts.

     

    B/R's Top 50 TEs (Updated)

    2014 Tight End Draft Rankings—Eric Mack
    RankTight EndsTeamECRvs. ECR
    1Jimmy GrahamNO10
    2Julius ThomasDen3+1
    3Rob Gronkowski NE2-1
    4Vernon DavisSF5+1
    5Jordan CameronCle4-1
    6Jason WittenDal7+1
    7Greg OlsenCar6-1
    8Jordan ReedWas80
    9Dennis PittaBal10+1
    10 Martellus BennettChi12+2
    11Antonio GatesSD17+6
    12 Ladarius GreenSD14+2
    13Kyle RudolphMin9-4
    14Zach Ertz Phi11-3
    15 Coby Fleener Ind24+9
    16Charles ClayMia13-3
    17Jared CookStL22+5
    18Dwayne AllenInd180
    19Tyler Eifert Cin190
    20Eric Ebron Det200
    21Heath MillerPit15-6
    22Travis Kelce KC23+1
    23Owen DanielsBal35+12
    24 Delanie WalkerTen16-8
    25Joseph Fauria Det49+24
    26Brent Celek Phi44+18
    27 Jace Amaro NYJ26-1
    28Scott ChandlerBuf39+11
    29Garrett GrahamHou21-8
    30Jermaine GreshamCin43+13
    31Tim WrightTB25-6
    32Richard RodgersGB41+9
    33Andrew Quarless GB29-4
    34Brandon MyersTB28-6
    35Austin Seferian-JenkinsTB34-1
    36 Marcedes LewisJac27-9
    37Larry DonnellNYG53+16
    38Brandon Pettigrew Det380
    39Rob Housler Ari45+6
    40Levine Toilolo Atl31-9
    41Tony Moeaki Buf67+26
    42Ryan GriffinHou40-2
    43Zach MillerSea42-1
    44Mychal RiveraOak33-11
    45Luke Willson Sea50+5
    46Gavin Escobar Dal37-9
    47Lance KendricksStL57+10
    48Ed DicksonCar56+8
    49Demetrius HarrisKC48-1
    50John CarlsonAri46-4
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros

Defense/Special Teams: What Does the Legion of Boom Do for an Encore?

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Defense wins championships. The Seattle Seahawks proved that once again.

    This does not apply to fantasy football. Defense is an afterthought...at least it should be. 

    We show you why in-depth in B/R's D/ST blueprint, but here is the skinny: 

    • Tiers: The Seattle Seahawks might be the only sure thing, but there are plenty of ways to wind up set at this late-round position.
    • Breakouts: Lovie Smith is a fantasy football-defense godsend. He is going to turn the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense into this year's Carolina Panthers.
    • Busts: Jadeveon Clowney working opposite J.J. Watt makes the Houston Texans an immediate defensive juggernaut? 'Naut so fast. The Texans' offensive woes will mitigate Clowney's addition. The Texans D/ST was bad last year. Actually, it was dead last, according to FFToday.com.
    • Sleepers: Like waiting on quarterbacks and tight ends, you can score a suitable answer at D/ST in the very last round. Why bother eschewing the more important positions like running back and wide receiver in the 10- to 12-round range? Meh. Just pick your defense last. You are likely to rotate it out based on matchups anyway.

     

    B/R's Complete D/ST Rankings (Updated)

    2014 Defenses and Special Teams Draft Rankings—Eric Mack
    RankDefenses and Special TeamsTeamECRvs. ECR
    1Seattle SeahawksSea10
    2San Francisco 49ersSF20
    3Carolina PanthersCar30
    4Denver BroncosDen6+2
    5Cincinnati BengalsCin50
    6St. Louis RamsStL4-2
    7New England PatriotsNE8+1
    8Tampa Bay BuccaneersTB12+4
    9Arizona CardinalsAri7-2
    10Kansas City ChiefsKC9-1
    11New Orleans SaintsNO14+3
    12Baltimore RavensBal10-2
    13New York JetsNYJ19+6
    14Houston TexansHou11-3
    15New York GiantsNYG21+6
    16Pittsburgh SteelersPit160
    17Green Bay PackersGB18+1
    18Cleveland BrownsCle13-5
    19Buffalo BillsBuf15-4
    20Miami DolphinsMia200
    21Indianapolis ColtsInd26+5
    22Detroit LionsDet220
    23Chicago BearsChi17-6
    24Tennessee TitansTen240
    25Minnesota VikingsMin250
    26Philadelphia EaglesPhi23-3
    27San Diego ChargersSD270
    28Jacksonville JaguarsJac280
    29Washington RedskinsWas290
    30Atlanta FalconsAtl300
    31Oakland RaidersOak310
    32Dallas CowboysDal320
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros

Individual Defensive Players: IDP Leagues Are Awesome but Still Unrefined

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Individual defensive player fantasy football is a great idea in theory. It is very poor in its execution. As important as defense is in real football—the Seattle Seahawks showed that while stomping the guts out of the most prolific offense in NFL history—and the NFL draft every year, it is conversely marginal in its impact in fantasy.

    Still, fans love the thought of picking defense players, so we break down how to do it in B/Rs IDP blueprint

    • Defensive linemen: Watt might be overshadowed by the eyes on Clowney this preseason, but he is the consensus No. 1 individual defensive player off the board.
    • Linebackers: This is where the real points rack up, especially with the big studs in the middle after top-ranked outside linebacker Lavonte David and/or Vontaze Burfict are off the board.
    • Defensive backs: This is a pass-happy NFL, and corners are at a premium in real football...not fantasy. You can draft them as late as your kicker or defense/special teams unit.
    • Top 100: After Watt, it is a lot of gobbling up the elite linebackers. Like we said, those big-time tacklers are where the real points are at in these formats.
    • Rookies: The hit TV miniseries known as the NFL draft amps up the hype, but you need to turn the channel when it comes to picking these developmental defensive players in IDP leagues.

     

    B/R's Top 100 IDP Rankings

    2014 IDP Draft Rankings—Eric Mack
    Rank IDP RankingsTeamECRvs. ECR
    1J.J. WattHou10
    2 Lavonte DavidTB20
    3Luke Kuechly Car30
    4 Vontaze Burfict Cin40
    5James Laurinaitis StL16+11
    6Robert QuinnStL60
    7Chandler JonesNE70
    8Patrick WillisSF9+1
    9Paul PoslusznyJac5-4
    10Derrick JohnsonKC8-2
    11Bobby WagnerSea10-1
    12 Jerod MayoNE11-1
    13Cameron WakeMia15+2
    14Alec Ogletree StL18+4
    15Mario WilliamsBuf27+12
    16 Karlos Dansby Cle12-4
    17Von MillerDen36+19
    18Paul Worrilow Atl14-4
    19Greg HardyCar13-6
    20Earl ThomasSea61+41
    21DeMarcus WareDen19-2
    22Rob Ninkovich NE220
    23Calais CampbellAri230
    24Barry ChurchDal21-3
    25Brian Cushing Hou17-8
    26Chad Greenway Min20-6
    27Eric WeddleSD34+7
    28Cameron JordanNO280
    29Muhammad WilkersonNYJ35+6
    30Curtis LoftonNO39+9
    31Jared AllenChi70+39
    32 D'Qwell JacksonInd31-1
    33 Jerrell FreemanInd44+11
    34Jonathan Cyprien Jac37+3
    35Jason Pierre-PaulNYG24-11
    36C.J. MosleyBal33-3
    37T.J. WardDen47+10
    38 Jadeveon Clowney Hou60+22
    39Khalil MackOak58+19
    40Carlos DunlapCin30-10
    41Lawrence Timmons Pit38-3
    42Clay MatthewsGB76+34
    43Justin HoustonKC59+16
    44Mychal KendricksPhi43-1
    45Wesley Woodyard Ten29-16
    46Thomas DavisCar51+5
    47Richard ShermanSea  
    48 Lamarr HoustonChi41-7
    49Olivier VernonMia48-1
    50Donald ButlerSD40-10
    51Harrison SmithMin26-25
    52DeMeco RyansPhi42-10
    53Ezekiel Ansah Det49-4
    54Daryl SmithBal46-8
    55Antrel RolleNYG68+13
    56Charles JohnsonCar53-3
    57Ryan Shazier Pit54-3
    58Stephen Tulloch Det45-13
    59Perry RileyWas50-9
    60 Kam ChancellorSea  
    61Brad JonesGB57-4
    62Jamie CollinsNE69+7
    63Kenny Vaccaro NO55-8
    64Bernard PollardTen63-1
    65Morgan BurnettGB25-40
    66Nick RoachOak660
    67Chris LongStL670
    68Mark BarronTB52-16
    69Mason FosterTB62-7
    70Michael JohnsonTB56-14
    71 Tyvon BranchOak64-7
    72Kevin MinterAri80+8
    73Lance BriggsChi72-1
    74 Everson Griffen Min79+5
    75Jon BeasonNYG73-2
    76 Navorro BowmanSF78+2
    77Justin TuckOak74-3
    78 DeAndre LevyDet75-3
    79Geno AtkinsCin81+2
    80Nigel Bradham Buf85+5
    81Gerald McCoyTB95+14
    82Eric BerryKC65-17
    83Michael BennettSea92+9
    84Matt ElamBal  
    85D.J. WilliamsChi87+2
    86 Jurrell CaseyTen77-9
    87Vincent ReyCin  
    88Donte WhitnerCle97+9
    89Charles TillmanChi101+12
    90Sheldon RichardsonNYJ83-7
    91 Jairus ByrdNO  
    92Cliff AvrilSea90-2
    93 Koa Misi Mia930
    94 Joplo Bartu Atl940
    95Adrian ClaybornTB  
    96 LaMarr Woodley Oak86-10
    97Stevie BrownNYG88-9
    98Brian Robison Min96-2
    99Kyle WilliamsBuf  
    100 Ndamukong Suh Det98-2
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros

Kickers: Draft Them Not Only Last but (Most Certainly) Least

9 of 10

    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    B/R's mea culpa: We didn't do a comprehensive blueprint for the kicker position in fantasy football. Here's why: Pick your kicker in the last round. Done.

    We didn't think that even needed to be said anymore. We know that full well by now. If you're new, don't make a fool of yourself on draft day by thinking something like: "It's Round 5, nobody good is left. I am going to make sure I have the No. 1 kicker!"

    (Don't lie, you said that to yourself at some point...when you picked in your first fantasy league when you were four years old.)

    Still, you need to see where the lines are drawn at picking the position...

     

    B/R's Top 25 Ks

    2014 Kicker Draft Rankings—Eric Mack
    RankKickersTeamECRvs. ECR
    1Stephen GostkowskiNE2+1
    2Matt PraterDen1-1
    3Steven Hauschka Sea4+1
    4Justin TuckerBal3-1
    5Phil DawsonSF50
    6Mason CrosbyGB7+1
    7Adam VinatieriInd10+3
    8Matt BryantAtl80
    9Dan BaileyDal6-3
    10Shayne GrahamNO13+3
    11Blair WalshMin9-2
    12Greg Zuerlein StL15+3
    13Alex Henery Phi14+1
    14Ryan Succop KC17+3
    15Robbie GouldChi12-3
    16Nick Novak SD11-5
    17Nate Freese Det21+4
    18Mike NugentCin25+7
    19Caleb Sturgis Mia190
    20Nick FolkNYJ22+2
    21Sebastian JanikowskiOak16-5
    22Connor BarthTB28+6
    23Shaun Suisham Pit230
    24Kai Forbath Was20-4
    25Graham Gano Car18-7
    Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) from over 100 experts provided by FantasyPros

Mock Draft, Consensus Rankings, ADP: Wrapping Up Everything

10 of 10

    Brian Ach/Associated Press

    We started this ultimate fantasy football blueprint by saying in the first slide fantasy owners need to simplify their materials at the draft table.

    Here is a personal secret we are going to let you in on (don't tell my bosses and paycheck-signer): Average draft position is the only tool you need. After spending months analyzing, debating, projecting, reviewing and agonizing over players, as well as watching camps and the preseason, a good, updated ADP list is No. 1 tool this trusty fantasy analyst arms himself with.

    Who cares what one man (or woman) thinks? We gave you a B/R mock draft earlier this week. It has been the most read piece of content in B/R's 2014 Fantasy Football Guide. Take it with a grain of salt.

    That doesn't give you a representation of how your draft will go. Ah, now analysts consensus rankings and ADP can do that for you.

    We like the ADP at FantasyPros.com, because it breaks down each of the major fantasy football draft sites. Every league, every draft and every drafting platform is different, so watch that, but in general the fantasy masses pick the way ADP lines up.

    There's your single cheat sheet after consuming all the complexities of B/R's blueprints.

     

    Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, is the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game.

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