3-2-1… that’s the season. And with a 43-8 Seattle Seahawks victory over the Denver Broncos to become the Super Bowl Champions, the 2013 season quickly became the past. While some may find this premature, the fantasy football die hard in us already has us thinking, “Who should be the top 2014 fantasy football pick?” So who are they?
TOP-25 2013 FANTASY FOOTBALL POINT SCORERS (ESPN LEAGUES)
Not to be a pessimist, but despite being the fantasy football quarterbacks guy at FFLockerRoom I have to simply say that I have NEVER been a fan of drafting a quarterback early in fantasy football drafts. And that goes ten-fold for #1 overall, especially when the top candidates, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, are both on the wrong side of 35. Manning in fact is just a sneeze and hiccup away from joining the 40-club.
Early analysis shows sixteen quarterbacks placed in the top-25 for fantasy football point scorers in 2013. That alone shows that the urgency to grab a quarterback isn’t nearly as great as one would think. In fact, it should be non-existent unless you play in a annual, 6-point fantasy points quarterback league. And even then, there are so many quarterbacks and so few top running backs and wide receivers that it is very hard to side with grabbing one.
So who is left?
TOP-25 MINUS THE QUARTERBACKS
Just looking at this list you can see who the studs and very guds (good) are. Personally I am taking off Forte, Lynch, Gordon, Moreno and Thomas. Simply they are not the best at their given position so there is no way they should be drafted #1. So the list trickles down more…
TOP-25 MINUS THE QUARTERBACKS AND LESSER PLAYERS
After the last cut, we are now down to four players. Four players that I truly believe deserve consideration as a #1 overall pick. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not foolish. I would never draft Graham number one overall, especially considering all of the depth of the tight end position. So we are really looking at three players here, Charles, McCoy and Johnson.
Jamaal Charles – Charles peaked at the age of 27 for the Kansas City Chiefs, playing in 15 games while grabbing 1,287 yards rushing, another 693 through the air and scoring a total of 19 touchdowns. While his overall production yardage wise was not a surprise, Charles more than doubled his previous touchdown best. With the offense set up for Charles to succeed, it is hard to believe that he will suffer much of a set-back. A return to normalcy on the touchdown front may occur though, especially his 7 receiving touchdowns. Look for a line of 1,700 all-purpose yards, 12 touchdowns and extremely satisfied owners in 2014.
LeSean McCoy – McCoy at 25-years-old proved that he could be a productive workhorse, grabbing a career high 366 total touches for over 2,100 yards and 11 touchdowns. While his visits to 6-point-land wasn’t nearly as impressive as Charles’, he did prove that his 4.2 YPC average of 2012 was more of a off-year more than anything else.
In a new offense that will be lead by Nick Foles, McCoy will be relied on heavily to carry the backfield game and should prove worthy of a top-3 choice come fantasy football draft day.
Calvin Johnson – It may be hard to believe, but Calvin is now entering his eighth season in the NFL. While his years are progressing, he is still going to be in his 20’s, 29 to be exact. He has gone for at least 1,492 yards in each of the last three seasons, with 1,964 in 2012 along with 33 total touchdowns in that span, it is hard to look past Johnson.
In fact, with injuries to key players such as Julio Jones, it is tough to find another wide receiver worthy of the #1 overall selection in 2014 fantasy football drafts. The Matthew Stafford to CJ connection should be running at full-force, especially now that the Lions have a new regime that is offensively geared towards success. Career highs in touchdowns while a return to the 100 reception mark should be easily attainable.
In non-ppr formats I personally would recommend going with Jamaal Charles. While all three will be the main focus of their team’s offenses, both McCoy and Johnson have their own question marks. Will McCoy still remain a steady workhorse with the added elements of the Eagles offense next season, health wise and through free agency? Will Calvin actually have a second, let alone a third receiving option to help take the defensive coverage away from what will soon be a 30-year-old receiver’s body? While all three merit consideration for the first overall pick in non-ppr formats, I would go with Charles.
As for ppr formats, it is a coin flip. Last season Charles had 70 receptions, by far the best total of his career. McCoy was as steady as always pulling in his near-50 receptions, and while Johnson’s totals dipped almost 40 receptions last season, he still almost grabbed 90. In a keeper league, given all that I know and considering who would be there at the 24th pick, I would still go running back. But most likely it would be Charles as he is proving that he will be the red-zone target, both on the ground and through the air.
You can’t go wrong with any of the three, and while this list very well could change after the NFL Draft, from where everything stands right now, Charles deserves consideration as the top-overall pick in every 2014 fantasy football draft.