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Trent Richardson and guy from Ohio State with a nickname 'Boom.'
Those two running backs composed the backfield of the Indianapolis Colts for a majority of the 2014 season. As a team that managed to upset the Denver Broncos in the AFC divisional playoffs and sneak their way into the AFC Championship game all having a below average running game, you have to figure there's a good enough team around whoever is in the backfield that it could translate to decent fantasy production.
But last year, the running back wasn't a hot commodity in Indy. The Colts scored just nine total rushing touchdowns in 2014, which ranked 24th overall. They also led the league in fumbles with 10.
No running back really came in and took the reins as a 20-25 carry a game game. Richardson was the first to get a crack at it but his plodding style has continued to lead to less than stellar results in the NFL. Remember when everybody said Richardson just needed time to adjust to the Colts run scheme after his suspect year in 2013? Turns out that wasn't what was plaguing his numbers.
Richardson finished with just 519 yards on 159 carries (3.3 yards per carry) and was castoff to the Oakland Raiders this past offseason. It's crazy to think that the Alabama running back who was drafted the highest among his former teammates (Eddie Lacy and Mark Ingram) will likely be considered the biggest bust when all is said and done.
Ahmad Bradshaw offered the Colts a decent receiving option with 38 catches through 10 games before he broke his leg and ended up on injured reserve. The Colts also opted to not resign Ahmad Bradshaw and the 29-year-old back also dealt with some off-field issues that likely played a role in his departure.
But there were some bright spots for the Colts rushing attack in 2014. After stepping in for Richardson midway through the season, rookie Dan 'Boom' Herron didn't exactly unload two smoking barrels of fantasy worthy statistics, but he didn't exactly shoot blanks either. Herron outplayed Richardson by a wide margin during the regular season, averaging 4.5 yards per carry on his way to
Even though his numbers outshined Richardson, Herron failed to cross the 100-yard plateau in every game he started last season. His numbers also dipped in the postseason as his 4.5 ypc average dropped to 3.8 over the span of three playoff games. So the Colts went out and combated the problem with a key veteran signing.
Welcome Frank Gore
The Colts signed the former San Francisco 49ers running back to a three-year, $12 million deal that includes $7.5 million guaranteed. Coach Chuck Pagano already envisions Gore as the feature back which doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility despite Gore's age. Due to turn 32 in May, Gore finished 2014 off strong with back-to-back games of over 100 rushing yards. His 4.3 yards per carry average was more than respectable and while he only accumulated four rushing touchdowns, it's safe to say his has the potential to rush for more due to his total touchdowns over the last three seasons (9, 8, and 8). So for the sake of this article, let's assume Gore is healthy and still solid as ever and take a look at what could impact his value.
Woes on the offensive line
While we can always place blame on the running backs, we can't leave out Indy's offensive line. A unit that ranked in the bottom 10 in yards per carry (3.9) in 2014, the Colts have gone out and made some changes to hopefully improve their run blocking, but they still have a few question marks.
Colts starting tackle Gosder Cherilus struggled last year while battling knee problems and recently underwent a knee scope in January. They signed former basketball player and 6'8 athletic freak Demarco Cox as well, but he hasn't played any football and is unlikely to crack a roster spot.
Perhaps one of their best moves was picking up veteran Todd Herremans from Philadelphia. Now 32 years old, Herremans was part of one of the best offensive lines in the league in 2013 and helped LeSean McCoy claim the rushing title for the first time in his career. Herremans did struggle with injuries in 2014 though, as he eventually tore his bicep which rendered him useless for the rest of the season. There's a good possibility he takes over one of the starting spots in 2015 based on his upside.
There's also question marks at the center position as neither Khaled Holmes and Jonotthan Harrison really established themselves as an effective option and will likely have to battle it out in training camp for the starting role. Another darkhorse to start would be former CFL player Ben Heenan, a guy that Colts added last February. Now 25 years old, Heenan played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders for three seasons.
They also resigned the versatile Joe Reitz to a three-year deal, but he also wasn't rated that highly according to Pro Football Focus.
Overall, an average offensive line could be something that puts a minor dent in Gore's fantasy value. Remember, he played with some of the best offensive lines in San Francisco for a lengthy period of time, which was a big component to his success and run of 1,000-yard seasons.
You guys remember Ryan Mathews back in 2010? He was actually considered a Top 10 fantasy running back before he even saw a single snap in the NFL. Fresh out of Fresno State, Mathews (who was in his early 20s at the time) stepped into a situation where Hall of Fame running back Ladainian Tomlinson went ring chasing with the New York Jets. Fellow Chargers backup running back Darren Sproles remained with the team, but was still relegated to the role of receiving back and was never considered to be a real replacement for Mathews. So everything looked lined up for fantasy production right off the bat for the rookie.
Flashback to 2010
Due to his situation, Mathews had a rare opportunity to start off his NFL career as an RB1. It seems silly now considering Mathews was outrushed by the likes of Mike Tolbert during his rookie season. Tolbert finished 2010 with a team-high 735 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns. Mathews was much less impressive but still managed to rush for seven touchdowns and 678 yards (4.3 yards per carry).
One of the reasons Mathews ended up being a bust in his rookie season was his light workload. Even though then coach Norv Turner indicated he planned to run Mathews 20-25 times per game, that proved to not be the case in the early stages of 2010. Turner once again fell in love with Philip Rivers and the vertical passing offense, as the Chargers ranked second in the league in passing yards. This style of offense curbed Mathews' upside. Though he did rush 20 times for 79 yards in his first career game, he didn't carry the ball more than 9 times in the next three games. The coaching staff never fully trusted him to carry the offense and it resulted in passive numbers on a week to week basis.
Mathews average draft position in fantasy leagues for his rookie season was 14th overall in 2010. He was drafted ahead of players like Peyton Manning, Jamaal Charles, Brandon Marshall, Larry Fitzgerald and Tom Brady. Sure, most of those players are quarterbacks and wide receivers and we all know running backs are the most valuable but Mathews was still highly regarded considering he never took a snap in the NFL before that season.
The situation in San Diego served as the main reason Mathews was drafted as high as he was. But ultimately, the Turner style of offense just didn't fit him.
What we have in 2015
With Mathews now departed for Philadelphia, the Chargers now have a backfield very similar to what they had when Tomlinson left in 2010. They have a scat back in Branden Oliver, who led the team in rushing yards with 562 but averaged a very benign 3.6 yards per carry and was largely shutdown by almost every good run defense down the stretch last year and was even held in check by below average defenses like Oakland and Jacksonville as well. I think it's fair to say it's unlikely Oliver morphs into a starting running back over the offseason and will likely remain a change of pace back going forward.
They also have Donald Brown, a running back who the Chargers insist will be back in 2015. Brown struggled mightily in 2014, rushing for just 223 yards on 85 carries (2.62 yards per carry) through 13 games. Brown's best season was in 2010 with the Colts when he rushed for 537 yards and six touchdowns. He hasn't had more than 134 carries in a single season and isn't likely to take over as the top back either.
The last guy San Diego has is Danny Woodhead, a back who suffered a nasty injury last season where he fractured his fibula and ankle early in 2014 but will likely return this season. Woodhead played in just three games and finished with just 38 yards rushing.
However, Woodhead probably has the most fantasy value due to his 2013 season. Woodhead compiled a very solid 76 catches on 86 targets for 605 yards and six touchdowns.
Offensive line improvements
The Chargers were one of the worst run offenses in the league last year, ranking among the bottom in teams according to Pro Football focus. They went out and tried to remedy this problem during free agency, signing Orlando Franklin for five years and $36.5 million with $20 million of that guaranteed. Franklin helped running backs like Knowshon Moreno, Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson compile very good fantasy numbers during his four-year stint with Denver.
In the upcoming draft, the Chargers are picking at No. 17 overall, a spot that would perfect to grab one of the top running backs in this draft. If they opt to go for a guy like Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon, there's no way you can't immediately put them on the same level as Mathews was in 2010.
Overall, the Chargers present possibly one of the best fantasy situations for running backs in 2015 and are a team you must monitor in the offseason if you need a running back either on your dynasty team or if you're drafting one in a redraft league. If you want more information on Todd Gurley, check out Josh Mensch's prospect piece.
When news of Pierre Thomas' release from the New Orleans Saints broke earlier this month, Mark Ingram's stock skyrocketed. Prospective fantasy owners were beaming at the idea that Ingram may finally become the workhorse back that we've all wanted him to be. However, all of that changed in the past week when the Saints signed veteran running back C.J. Spiller to a hefty 4-year, $18 million contract. While the Saints are clearly going to benefit from signing Spiller, fantasy owners are at a loss and it's tough to get a good read on the situation. Will Spiller be relegated to "change of pace" duties, or are we going to see another true timeshare in New Orleans? In this article we will break down the strengths and weaknesses of both players and try to make sense of this headache of a backfield.
Numbers Don't Lie...
Although the Saints most likely plan on using these two great running backs in tandem, the simple truth is that both of them perform better when the spotlight is solely on them. Last year when Mark Ingram was finally given the reins, he posted a modest, yet respectable 4.3 yards per carry average. Though not eye-popping, his 9 TD's in 13 games shows that he has what it takes to produce as a starting fantasy RB. Likewise, during C.J. Spiller's breakout 2012 campaign, he averaged an incredible 6.0 yards per carry along with 8 total TD's. Although his numbers have been less than stellar since 2012, Spiller has undoubtedly proven that he has what it takes to be a viable starting fantasy RB. Additionally, both of these young veterans have been cursed by playing behind fan-loved veterans in Pierre Thomas and Fred Jackson. Now that both are free of that burden, the numbers will decide who gets the spotlight next year.
Rushing vs. Receiving
When looking at the numbers, both Ingram and Spiller have proven to be quality running backs, each averaging 4.2 and 5.0 yards per carry throughout their careers, respectively. However, in today's NFL an RB must be multi-dimensional. The days of 25+ carries per game are over. Today, it's about making the most of what little opportunities you have, and more importantly, being a threat in the passing game. This fact becomes even more important when talking about the Saints offense, as they attempted to pass on 61.8% of all offensive plays in 2014. So what does this mean for Spiller and Ingram? The simple answer here is that Spiller dominates Ingram in the passing game. In five seasons Spiller accumulated 158 receptions for 1,195 yards and 6 TD's. Likewise, in four seasons Ingram was only able to accumulate 53 receptions for 288 yards and 0 TD's. Although Ingram was playing with Pierre Thomas, a receiving back specialist, it is clear that Spiller will be the receiving back in New Orleans' offense, further boosting his stock in PPR formats.
Outlook for 2015
So far we've come to two simple conclusions. First, both Spiller and Ingram are capable of handling starting RB responsibilities and thrive in a workhorse back setting. Second, C.J. Spiller has proven to be the superior pass catching RB, a trait necessary to thrive in the Saints offense. Unfortunately these two facts lead to the likely conclusion that Ingram will handle 1st and 2nd down duties, while Spiller will come in on 3rd down and other passing situations. Unfortunately this means the worst for fantasy owners as neither Spiller nor Ingram will reach their true fantasy potential in 2015. However, there is a bright side. As both running backs have proven to be quality starters, and both have a seemingly unfortunate injury history, this combination should be looked at as one of the most valuable handcuffs going into 2015. If either Spiller or Ingram go down at some point in the season, expect the other to thrive as the sole rusher in the Saints backfield. Additionally, because Spiller is the more proven back, him taking over starting RB duties is not outside the realm of possibility. At the end of the day, against most mocks to date, I would take Spiller before Ingram come draft day (especially in PPR formats). Either way, if you decide to take either of these RBs in 2015, you had better make sure to grab the other while you can.
Rick Spielman and the Minnesota Vikings front office are not known for being big spenders in free agency. Last season the team "splurged" on Linval Joseph and Captain Mannerly, two players that had ups-and-downs during their first season with the Vikings. This season the splash for the Vikings came in the form of the disgruntled Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace, after the team acquired Wallace and a 7th round pick for the Vikings 2015 5th round pick.
After missing out on guard Clint Boling and defensive end Michael Johnson, both of whom re-signed with the Bengals, the Vikings turned their attention to improving the weakest position on the roster, the wide receiver position. Despite the near-diva attitude of Wallace, there is no doubting his ability to stretch defenses vertically.
If Wallace is able to keep his head on straight, and more importantly develop chemistry with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, this could turn into one of the more underrated acquisitions of the offseason.
Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Norv Turner is known to employ the Air Coryell offense, an offensive system predicated on a vertical passing game. If there is one thing Wallace has it is the ability to get behind defenses with his world-class speed.After being acquired by the Vikings for a late round pick Wallace will step in and become the team's no. 1 wide receiver, manning the "X" or vertical role in the Vikings offense.
Early on this offseason it seemed as if third-year wide receiver Charles Johnson was going to become the focal point of the Vikings passing game, as offensive coordinator Norv Turner called Johnson "far and away our best receiver". Despite having the measurables of a no. 1 receiver (6'3) Johnson struggled mightily during his first season with Minnesota making contested catches.
Although many people question Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater’s ability to drive the ball down the field, Bridgewater showed massive improvements during his rookie season.
Over the first 9 weeks of the season Bridgewater struggled with is accuracy and timing on vertical passes, completing just 9 of 26 attempts on balls 20+ yards down field.
From week 10 on, Bridgewater started to develop good timing with his receivers on vertical routes. In the last 8 weeks of the season Bridgewater ranked 2nd in the NFL on deep passes, completing 7 of his 15 pass attempts.
The biggest improvement in Bridgewater’s game came in his accuracy rating. During the first 9 weeks of the year PFF only charted 38.5% of Bridgewater’s deep passes as accurate. In the second half of the year Bridgewater seemed like a different quarterback, posting an accuracy % of 60.
As you can see from the table above Bridgewater was becoming a very efficient QB on deep throws, posting more yards and touchdowns on fewer attempts than he did the first half of the season. Bridgewater's progression in the second half of his rookie season has to be promising for Vikings fans and coaches for a team that has been held back by paltry quarterback play since Brett Favre retired.
The addition of Wallace to the Vikings finally gives the Norv Turner the vertical threat that he need to make his offense successful. As long as Wallace is able to stay committed and Bridgewater is able to continue his progression from his rookie season, the Vikings offense could be in a position to take a major leap forward next season.
Quarterback/Wide Receiver Disconnect
During Wallace's time in Pittsburgh he established himself as one of the premier deep threats in football averaging over 17 yards-per-reception during his his four years in black and yellow.
After signing a 5 year/$60 million deal with the Dolphins in 2013 the hope Wallace would bring his electric speed to South Beach and become the focal point of their passing attack. It seemed as if Wallace was starting to develop into an all-around wide receiver after posting a career high 73 receptions in his first season in Miami.
Despite posting a new career high in receptions, Wallace saw his yards-per-reception and touchdown receptions drop for the third straight season.
According to Pro Football Focus’ metrics that separate receptions by direction Wallace and Tannehill only connected for 6 out of 24 attempts for 199 yards and one touchdown on passes travelling 20+ yards down the field. The most staggering statistic I noticed was of the 24 attempts that Tannehill threw 20+ yards down field, only 7 of those passes were deemed “catchable”.
Last season Wallace scored a total of 170.5 fantasy points (.5 PPR leagues) a total good enough for the 21st highest wide receiver in fantasy football. In layman's terms, even with Tannehill's inconsistencies throwing the ball down the field, Wallace was still able to post number equating to a solid WR2 in fantasy football.
The move to Minnesota could be a blessing for Wallace's fantasy outlook. Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner loves to throw the ball down the field and with Bridgewater's improved accuracy on deep passes, and the addition of Wallace's speed is just what the Vikings offense needs to make Turner's system go.
According to fantasyfootballcalculator.com's ADP calculator Wallace is on average the 31st wide receiver drafted in fantasy drafts, slotting Wallace to be selected at the beginning of round 7. In my opinion that is incredible value for the speedster as he will likely be the Vikings leading receiver in 2015, and has a chance to produce his first 1,000 yard season since 2011.
Breathe a sigh of relief. Go out and enjoy some of the incoming spring weather for a second. The biggest wave of free agency has likely passed us. With most of the big time players like Ndamukong Suh, DeMarco Murray and Brandon Marshall now signed with new teams, it's time to let the dust clear and really look at how some of the players might be used and what their fantasy value could be in 2015. For this article, we will focus on the newest running back tandem in the league, Ryan Mathews and DeMarco Murray in Philadelphia.
How they got there
The Eagles first hinted they were looking for a new running back when they traded away LeSean McCoy last week to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso. The move shaved $11 million off the salary cap for Philly, but left some wondering what the Eagles were thinking. After all, McCoy won the rushing title just two seasons ago in 2013, plus there wasn't exactly a huge free agency market for running backs. The immediate thought was the Eagles planned to grab a running back through the draft which features a talented crop of RBs this season.
But of course, that wasn't the case. They signed DeMarco Murray to a five-year, $42 million with $12 million guaranteed just a week later. At the same time Murray entered the picture, the Eagles were also in the midst of signing former Chargers running back Ryan Mathews, who they eventually inked for three years and $11 million. Financially, it makes sense. McCoy was due more than $9 million in 2015 and would've saddled the Eagles with a $10 million cap hit roughly. Now, the Eagles have both Murray and Mathews for just a $7.5 million cap hit. Overall, it's two running backs, Alonso and cornerback Walter Thurmond for the price of what McCoy would've cost. Not a bad tradeoff. Another nice thing about the trade — both running backs are in the prime of their careers and have rushed for over 1,000 yards in multiple seasons. On paper, it's a worthwhile endeavor, but who knows if it'll translate to more wins on the field.
The Mathews deal looked more like Chip simply getting a potentially good running back at a bargain price, while the Murray deal cemented the former Cowboy as the newest franchise running back of the Philadelphia Eagles. But how will it all translate from a fantasy perspective.
The carry breakdown
The Eagles have become a more run-oriented team since Chip arrived in 2013. In the past two seasons, the Eagles ranked in the top 5 in total rushing attempts and have seen one of their guys win a rushing title (LeSean McCoy in 2013.) While McCoy was a true feature back, seeing the majority of carries compared to then-backups Bryce Brown and Chris Polk, it's looking like there could be more of a committee style attack in 2015 with Murray still assuming the majority of the carries.
Last season, there were 415 rushing attempts by running backs in the Philadelphia offense. Murray ran the ball a league-leading 392 times in 2013, a workload that dwarfed any other running back by 100 carries. Even though Murray ended up winning the rushing title with more than 1,800 yards, it's safe to say Philadelphia likely won't run him as hard as Dallas did. Murray slowed down as the season went along, averaging just 2.6 yards per carry in two of the Cowboys' last four games.
Assuming both Murray and Mathews are healthy, Murray is the obvious choice for the majority of the carries. While some may be wondering whether or not Mathews will still have fantasy appeal, the answer is a little cloudy but still important to know in case you plan on drafting him in redraft leagues. Mathews will have RB2/flex appeal in 2015. He might have hot and cold weeks, but some weeks he'll rush for 60 yards and a touchdown and that's still worth 12 fantasy points in most leagues. Other weeks, Murray will take over. But the track record for running backs coming off a season where they carried the ball as much as Murray did hasn't favored the running back. Going back to guys like Larry Johnson, who carried the ball over 400 times in one season, it's safe to say you're not going to get the same kind of fantasy production from Murray that you did last season.
One thing you have to remember with running backs is matchups also play a huge role. Take last year for example. Darren Sproles got off to a hot start in 2014. He rushed for 71 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 against a lowly Jacksonville team. LeSean McCoy, on the other hand, ran for 74 yards on 21 carries. McCoy had more carries, but Sproles ended up having a slightly better fantasy day. This gave him confidence to slay the Colts in Week 2 on Monday Night. In that game, Sproles caught seven passes for 152 yards, giving those who started him in fantasy plenty of production.
You will want to keep an eye on who the Eagles play in Week 1. If they play a run defense that looks like it could be below average, Mathews is an obvious flex start in the offense. Now, he could fall flat on his face in Week 1 and not produce at all, at least then you'll know what kind of player you're dealing with this season, and can remain hesitant to start him in the coming weeks.
But overall, Mathews is a player that has to be drafted in 12-to-14 team leagues this season. He's still a talented running back in a run oriented offense. Plus, Murray always comes with a 'handle with care' sticker and could find himself on the injured reserve list at some point during the season. But even if Murray stays healthy, Mathews will likely see touches on the field and if he has the hot hand, then he'll be the one getting you 10-12 fantasy points that particular week.
Throughout the 2014 season, one of the biggest stories was the immediate success of the rookie wide receiver class. Whether it was Odell Beckham’s “catch seen around the world,” or Mike Evans consistent production week in and week out, the fantasy world was buzzing over the unprecedented success of the rookie class. And it wasn’t just Beckham or Evans making headlines. In fact, for the first time ever, eight rookie wide receivers finished within the top 50 WRs on the season (almost 20%!). But can we expect this production again?
It is well known that the dreaded ‘sophomore slump’ has claimed many an NFL rising star (Michael Clayton, Mike Williams, and Zac Stacy to name a few). So what does this mean for the best WR class to date? Can we expect eye-popping numbers again, or are we doomed to fantasy peril by investing in these young stars? In this article we will examine the top rookie WRs from last season and predict whether they will rise or fall in their sophomore season.
1) Odell Beckham Jr. (5th WR Overall in Standard Scoring)
The man, the myth, the legend. The 2014 offensive rookie of the year had the greatest start to his career than any other wide receiver in history. Period. In only twelve games he caught 91 passes for 1,305 yards and 12 TDs. Wow! But what can we expect from the breakout rookie in 2015? It should come as no surprise that Beckham’s production was increased after the season ending injury suffered by wide out Victor Cruz. With Victor Cruz coming back next season we shouldn’t be surprised if Beckham’s targets drop a bit. However, his production may not take too much of a hit (if any at all). With Cruz back on the field defenses will have one more playmaker to keep their eyes on. And with the emergence of Rueben Randle towards the end of the season (further catching the attention of opposing defenses), OBJ will have plenty of space to work with. Additionally, with Eli Manning growing more and more accustomed to Ben McAdoo’s new offense, we should have a top 5 wide out on our hands.
Projected WR Rank: 4th Overall
2) Mike Evans (10th WR Overall in Standard Scoring)
Entering the offseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have many holes to fill, the most important of these being at the QB position. With the #1 pick in the 2015 draft, the Bucs are expected to take one of the top two QBs of the draft in Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Rookie QBs are always a big question mark going into a season, but if Mike Evans was able to produce top 10 numbers with Josh McCown and Mike Glennon under center, we shouldn’t expect less with either of the two rookie QBs. As a true deep threat, Mike Evans should pair nicely with the strong arm of Jameis Winston, giving us a possible WR1 next season.
Projected WR Rank: 12th Overall
3) Kelvin Benjamin (17th WR Overall in Standard Scoring)
In his rookie season, Kelvin Benjamin utilized his size, becoming one of the greatest red zone threats in the NFL. Unfortunately for Benjamin, he’s the only receiving threat on the field, and with a less than mediocre run game, defenses need only focus on Benjamin. Additionally, the Panthers must upgrade their offensive line in order to give Benjamin time to create space and allow Cam Newton to find the open man. With the recent release of veteran RB DeAngelo Williams, the Panthers need to add some playmakers to their roster if Benjamin has any chance of repeating his solid WR2 numbers in 2015.
Projected WR Rank: 18th Overall
4) Jordan Matthews (24th WR Overall in Standard Scoring)
As the 7th WR taken in the 2014 draft, Jordan Matthews exceeded expectations by finishing as the 4th best rookie wide out and the 24th overall wide out. The simple fact about Jordan
Matthews is that Chip Kelly really likes him. In fact, he had to trade up in the draft (10th pick of the 2nd round) just to get him. With the approval of Chip Kelly, Matthews saw plenty of playing time right off the bat. However, his production fell in the middle of the season (failed to gain more than 50 receiving yards in a game between weeks 4-10). This was not Matthews fault. The fact of the matter is that the Eagles need to address their quarterback situation, and if we know anything about Chip Kelly, he’s not a afraid to make a monumental deal that would give Matthews the help that he needs.
Projected WR Rank: 22nd Overall
5) Sammy Watkins (25th WR Overall in Standard Scoring)
At the beginning of the season, it appeared as though Sammy Watkins deserved to be the first receiver taken in the 2014 draft. However, as the season progressed Watkins’ numbers were devastated by poor QB play in Buffalo. Unless the Bills can trade up in the draft and grab Winston or Mariota (probably not going to happen), it is unlikely that the Bills QB situation will improve in 2015. A natural talent, Watkins is plagued by a poor offense and poor system. Additionally, Watkins doesn’t have the speed (4.43-40) of fellow rookie Brandin Cooks (4.33-40), or the size (6’1” 205 lbs) of fellow rookie Kelvin Benjamin (6’5” 243 lbs), or the hands of fellow rookie Odell Beckham Jr. Though it is undeniable that Watkins is a natural talent, all of these factors lead us to believe that we may see a true sophomore slump from Watkins next season.
Projected WR Rank: 28th Overall
Though we’ve only covered the top five rookie wide outs from last season, the rest of the rookie class deserves recognition, and in fact some may even make a jump ahead of the 5 WRs listed above. Listed below are the projected ranks of the remaining top 13 rookie wide receivers in order of their 2014 rank:
7) Martavis Bryant* – Projected WR Rank: 32nd Overall
8) Jarvis Landry* – Projected WR Rank 35th Overall
9) Brandin Cooks* – Projected WR Rank: 26th Overall
10 Taylor Gabriel – Projected WR Rank: 70th Overall
11 Allen Robinson – Projected WR Rank: 58th Overall
12 Donte Moncrief* – Projected WR Rank: 30th Overall
13 Davante Adams* – Projected WR Rank: 42nd Overall
Potential Sleepers = *