2016 Fantasy Football Rankings – Wide Receivers

My draft strategy changed significantly last year when it came to valuing consistent scorers and drafting them early for my teams. I also think there is a changing of the guard when it comes to big scorers in a league that relies heavily on passing. That was evident with contending Fantasy owners who had 2 of the top 7 wide receivers from this list.

Wide receivers 1) Have the best chance and big scoring plays that can change a game for you and 2) add a whole new dynamic in PPR setting leagues. Here are the 40 I will consider drafting at this point in the year.

1. Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

Antonio

On an team full of playmakers, it’s amazing how Antonio Brown racks up the numbers he does. Brown’s numbers were very close with Julio Jones’s as they tied for first in receptions (136). He ranked second in receiving yards (1,836), just 37 behind Jones. Brown did get the edge scoring more touchdowns than Jones, 10-8. He also averaged 10.5 catches per game in the second half of the year.

2. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

Julio

While I think Antonio Brown is the best athlete in the NFL right now, I do believe Julio Jones is the best wide receiver. You know the numbers and his measurables, but the only thing that may be holding back from breaking single season records may be Matt Ryan. Maybe Ryan needs more time in the pocket, but Julio did beat the best corner in the league, Josh Norman, for 9 catches, 178 yards and a touchdown. Throw it up and the man will get it.

3. Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants

ODB2015.jpg

If you took Odell Beckham Jr. with your late-1st/early-2nd round pick, you were treated to a 6 game stretch (Week 8-14, a Week 11 bye) averaging 132 yards and scoring 8 touchdowns. Similar to Julio Jones, a better quarterback would help him get to astronomical numbers but at least Eli is getting the ball into the open field. His speed and unreal catching ability lead me to think the production will be there again in Week 3.

4. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans

DeAndre

When you watch Hard Knocks each year, it’s easy to fall in love with the one offensive player that you’ll eventually target in your upcoming Fantasy draft. DeAndre Hopkins was clear and away THAT GUY in 2015 and lived up to the hype, ranking 3rd in receiving yards (1,521), 3rd in receptions (111), and adding 11 touchdowns.

5. Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars

ARob

Allen Robinson was a touchdown machine in 2015. Led the league with 14 TD catches and was only held scoreless 4 times during the regular season. He also racked up a nice 1,400 yards to go with that scoring, and it’s hard not to imagine his connection with Blake Bortles will improve in 2016…which is scary.

6. AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals

AJ Green has never been a 100 catch guy, but he’s still one of the best athletes at the position. Andy Dalton’s improvement in the last year only bodes well for a guy who finishes Top 10 in yards and touchdowns year in, year out. Green also always seems to be the benefactor of big heads up plays on tipped balls that result in touchdowns scored by him.

7. Brandon Marshall, New York Jets

GTY 489498088 S FBN SPO USA IN

Yes, Marshall is the first player to record over 100 catches in a season for 4 different different teams…but that’s not necessarily a good thing. There’s a reason he’s been moved to 3 different teams via trade, and I’m not certain you can bank on Ryan Fitzpatrick repeating his performance from last season. When things go awry, so does Marshall. His production from last season is tough to argue against though.

8. Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos

Demaryius

The only reason people still talk about Tim Tebow as an NFL player is because of Demaryius Thomas practically beating the Steelers in OT by himself. The Broncos #1 WR saw a dip in his TD numbers go from double digits to 6 last season, but that may have more to do with the issues at quarterback than him. 1,304 yards and 105 catches make him still valuable in the mid-2nd/early-3rd round.

9. Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins

Jarvis

Amidst the mess in Miami, Jarvis Landry was the standout on the team catching 110 passes and accumulating 1,947 total yards (receiving, rushing, returning). New head coach Adam Gase is going to love using Landry and it will be fun to see him continue to compete for the national limelight with former LSU teammate, Odell Beckham Jr.

10. Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks

Baldwin

It’s hard for me to doubt a guy who caught the most touchdown passes (14) in the league and had a run down the stretch of your fantasy season like Doug Baldwin. When the Seahawks finally let Russell Wilson sling it, Baldwin caught 11 touchdowns in 5 games (Week 12-16). If the Seahawks want to build on the success that made them look like the best 6th seed ever, keep throwing it downfield to guys like Baldwin.

11. Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills

Sammy

In his sophomore season, Sammy Watkins dealt with injuries but still busted out some serious speed and big play ability on opposing defenses. 17.4 yards per reception was enough proof of that, as were the 6 catches,158 yards, 2 TDs against KC and the 11 and 136 on the Jets. If the Bills are going to make any noise in the AFC East, it’s going to be from putting the ball in Sammy’s hands.

12. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

In the 6 games Alshon Jeffery was mostly healthy (2 less than the games he played), he averaged 105.6 yards and 8 catches per. Unfortunately, that’s all Bears could get from him and that’s why he slides on my list for now. There were a lot of questions around how hurt he was and whether the missed time had to do with his contract status, but when he’s on the field he’s too good to just pass up.

13. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys

Dez

Health and effort issues last season were pretty eye-opening for Dez Bryant. He got his big pay day, got hurt, and then was a complete non-factor without Romo playing. The 41 total touchdowns from the 3 seasons before make it hard to let Dez slide too much further though.

14. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals

Larry Fitz

Larry Fitzgerald had a great bounce back year with 109 catches (5th in the league) for 1,215 yards. A big reason for it was his use in the slot position, as John Brown and Michael Floyd occupied the outside, and making the most of his size, hands and speed. Another season like that is not out of the realm of possibility.

15. Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers

Jordy Nelson

I don’t think people realized how much Jordy Nelson would be missed when the season started. We all assumed that Aaron Rodgers just made everybody better. Randall Cobb couldn’t fill Nelson’s shoes or match his route running ability. Not sure what Nelson will be like coming off a knee injury, but the 1,500+ yards and 13 touchdowns from the year before are an upside worth hoping for.

16. Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars

Hurns

Don’t know if you’ve heard, but the Jaguars wide receivers are REALLY good. Robinson got his, but Allen Hurns scored touchdowns in 9 of his 16 games, 7 of them in a row. Add 1,031 yards and you’ve got a solid WR2/WR3.

17. Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints

Cooks

Brandin Cooks is the definition of a home run threat. When Brees needs to dial up the deep ball, there’s Cooks underneath a floater downfield. He averaged 13.3 yards per catch, and caught 84 passes and 9 touchdowns in 13 starts last season.

18. Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers

Martavis

Martavis Bryant’s numbers were hampered by his early season suspension and injury, but he was still capable of looking like Antonio Brown WITH Antonio Brown on the field with him. I rate him higher based more on potential, but the guy has as much ability as anyone on very talented offensive squad.

19. Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs

Maclin

Remember when the Chiefs went a whole year without throwing a touchdown to a wide receiver? Enter Jeremy Maclin, who caught 8 of them along with 87 receptions and 1,102 yards from scrimmage. While I don’t particularly trust the arm of Alex Smith, I do trust Maclin’s talent and knack for getting open.

20. Amari Cooper, Oakland Raiders

Amari

Amari could and should move up this list, as he looked like about as natural a pro receiver as there is. We’ll see how he builds on his rookie effort of 72 catches, 1,067 yards and 6 touchdowns. He and Michael Crabtree did a heck of a job working the sidelines for Derek Carr.

21. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Evans.jpg

Count Mike Evans as another player who has the talent to move up this list. He improved on both his reception and yardage numbers, but his touchdown total between his rookie and sophomore years dropped from 12 to 3. If he fixes his drop rate, he could be devastating paired with Jameis Winston’s deep ball game.

22. Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers

Keenan

Paired with Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen was the most targeted player in football before going down for the season with a kidney laceration. Through 8 games, Allen was on pace to almost match Antonio and Julio for the league lead in receptions too. If he comes back healthy, as expected, Allen’s 90 yards and 11 targets per game will be a nice pickup in the middle rounds.

23. Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos

Broncos Chargers Football

Similar to Thomas, I think Sanders had his numbers effected by the weird goings on under center for the Broncos. When used in underneath and possession routes, Sanders is a killer, and that could be huge in the Super Bowl this week…as well as next season with either Brock Osweiler or Peyton Manning’s heir.

24. Eric Decker, New York Jets

Decker

Eric Decker’s production in 2015 (80 catches, 1,027 yards, 12 touchdowns) suggests he should be higher on this list, but I’m sticking to my bad feeling that Ryan Fitzpatrick’s “Fitzmagic” isn’t going to be all that next season. Still a very solid W3/Flex option though.

25. T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts

T.Y.

T.Y. Hilton’s stock is only as good as whoever is throwing to him. If Andrew Luck is back and in “40 touchdown” form, then you could Hilton as a steal. He’s as good a deep threat as there is in the league. Just needs someone to get the ball down there.

26. Michael Crabtree, Oakland Raiders

Crabtree

Michael Crabtree was a nice story, statistically, in 2015. He had bounced back after injuries and being associated with the San Francisco sinking ship that led to Jim Harbaugh’s departure. He caught 85 passes for 922 yards and 9 touchdowns. He won’t ever be the Heisman candidate type that he was in college, but he’ll get plenty of looks while Amari Cooper draws double-coverage.

27. Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers

Cobb

The other player besides Rodgers who could benefit the most from Jordy Nelson’s return is Randall Cobb. When put into Nelson’s role, Cobb saw his touchdown total cut in half, as well as his catches and yardage drop dramatically as well because of tougher coverage. James Jones might have had a comeback, but nobody else was freeing up Cobb like Jordy used to.

28. John Brown, Arizona Cardinals

JohnBrown

John Brown made big strides in 2015, improving in every category from his rookie season. His 65 catches, 1,025 yards and 7 touchdowns would have increased too if it weren’t for a couple goose eggs in his box score, which were attributed to injuries. Excited to see him play better in his 3rd season with a sick WR group.

29. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots

Edelman

Getting knocked out for 7 games with a foot injury hurts Edelman’s stock a little, but you remember how much of a grinder the guy is. You also can’t forget the Welker-esque amount of targets he gets either.

30. Golden Tate, Detroit Lions

Golden

With Calvin Johnson retiring, Golden Tate is currently the #1 receiver in Detroit. You may remember that Tate’s numbers spiked in 2014 when Megatron was out for much of the time, with 99 catches for 1,361 yards and 4 touchdowns. I don’t expect the Lions to be satisfied with Tate as their top guy, so we’ll see what roster moves are made in the offseason.

31. Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings

Diggs

Stefon Diggs showed flashes of being a #1 caliber receiver in Minnesota last year, but was weirdly inconsistent down the stretch. The Vikings offense still lives and dies by Adrian Peterson, but Diggs is capable of taking the top off opposing defenses…as long as Teddy Bridgewater can throw it that far.

32. Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers

Kelvin

The Panthers are heading to the Super Bowl. Cam Newton is coming off an MVP caliber season. A band of no-name wide receivers and Greg Olsen proved they can hang with anyone. And then…

*glass shatters* 

“It’s Kelvin Benjamin’s music!”

Yes, Kelvin is Stone Cold Steve Austin in this analogy. But seriously, the Panthers are getting back one of the best red zone targets and rookie WRs from 2014.

33. Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles

Matthews

Jordan Matthews improved on his rookie season but not as dramatically as he was expected to. Blame Chip for that. He has size, speed and a new offensive minded head coach coming in.

34. Tyler Lockette, Seattle Seahawks

Lockett

Tyler Lockett is a burner, and definitely faster than Baldwin. He’ll make a strong late round pick that should improve on a Pro Bowl rookie season where he scored 6 touchdowns receiving and 2 returning.

35. Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals

Floyd

When healthy, Michael Floyd is as effective as Fitzgerald. However, it’s his health that is usually a question. The Cardinals go about 5 deep in quality receivers, so having their #3 (with #1 talent) isn’t too shabby.

36. Travis Benjamin, Cleveland Browns

Travis

The Browns and Travis Benjamin need a quarterback. Not Josh McCown. Not Johnny Manziel. An actual starting quarterback. Benjamin clearly has talent having recorded 1,302 all-purpose yards last season. His next season will depend greatly on who is throwing him the ball.

37. Steve Smith Sr., Baltimore Ravens

Steve Sr.

Steve Sr. decided that he wasn’t going to let his career end on injury and will come back for one more go in 2016. I’m not certain how good he’ll be or if his body will hold up, but he does have a knack for proving people wrong.

38. Willie Snead, New Orleans Saints

Snead

Other than Cooks, Brees has another deep threat option in Willie Snead. After being cut by the Browns and the Panthers, Snead made the Saints practice squad…then he played 15 games and caught 69 passes for 984 yards and 3 touchdowns. An offseason training with Brees in San Diego should build a rapport to be confident in.

39. Rueben Randle, New York Giants

Randle

While ODB got most of the attention from defenses, which he’ll get more of, Rueben Randle scored 8 touchdowns and made 57 catches for 797 yards. His numbers dipped a little after 2014, and that’s to be expected when a majority of the targets go to Beckham. He might be better for a spot start, but he still has back end of the draft talent.

40. Kamar Aiken, Baltimore Ravens

Aiken If Steve Sr. is healthy, Kamar Aiken becomes another option for Flacco if he’s double covered. If Steve Sr. gets hurt, Aiken is his #1 option (unless they suddenly feel good about Breshad Perriman)…until Baltimore adds more viable options.

Anyone too high or too low? Was anyone left out? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter.

For more position rankings:

Quarterbacks / Running Backs / Wide Receivers

 

 

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2016 Fantasy Football Rankings – Running Backs

The running back position was the most unpredictable in 2015. Just 1 (Adrian Peterson) of the first 5 drafted (Marshawn Lynch, Jamaal Charles, Le’Veon Bell and Eddie Lacy) were healthy or reliable.

That makes you wonder who is worth taking in the first round and who will give you better value later in your next draft.

1. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

AP

It’s hard to imagine AP won’t be the first running back taken in your league. He led the league in rushing for the 3rd time of his career, after almost an entire year off from suspension, and was tied for the league’s lead in rushing touchdowns.

2. Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Gurley

Todd Gurley only started in 12 games and still ranked 3rd in rush yards and 10 touchdowns as well. A full season at the rate he went could have eclipsed AP in both yards and easily touchdowns. Gurley will be a superstar in Los Angeles as long as he stays healthy, and hopefully the Rams find a quarterback that can alleviate the attention defenses will give him.

3. Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

Le'Veon

If you’re wondering if Le’Veon Bell is worth a first round pick again, the answer is “yes, yes he is.” In the 6 games Bell played (after suspension and before injury), he scored 6 touchdowns and averaged 115 yards from scrimmage per game. He’s as good an athlete as anyone in the league and Pittsburgh would be smart to preserve some of his mileage with a proven DeAngelo Williams. Either one in the Steelers’ backfield is a Top 3 back.

4. Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons

Devonta

In his second season and with just 13 starts, Devonta Freeman led the league in total (rush/receiving) touchdowns (14) and rushing touchdowns (11), while ranking 5th in yards from scrimmage (1,634), 7th in rush yards (1,056) and 2nd in touches (338).

5. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Bucanneers

Hamster

Count me as one of Doug Martin’s biggest doubters before the 2015 season, and I was very wrong. He only went over 100 yards on 4 different occasions, but he was consistent enough down the stretch to finish 2nd in rushing with 1,402 yards. His scoring was average with just 6 rushing touchdowns, but you can feel better after he lasted an entire season for the first time since his rookie year.

6. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs

Jamaal Charles is coming off his 2nd early season ending injury, but he’s a proven scorer when healthy. In the 5 games he played in 2015, he averaged 108 yards from scrimmage with 5 total touchdowns. He may go later in most drafts, coming off the injury, but he will give you some of the best value if he can stay healthy.

7. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals

DJ2K

Bruce Ariens annoyed the hell out of me with his coy approach to using David Johnson. When he said the rookie wouldn’t see any carries, DJ2K (that’s what I’m calling him) scored 6 touchdowns in 5 weeks. Then when he got his chance in a starting role, Johnson went off on his opposition. The fact that Chris Johnson could lead the league in rushing for a time in the Cardinals system makes me more intrigued in the younger DJ2k in that spot. This ranking is based on the assumption Ariens plans to start DJ…They should considering he was the only one with any fight in their playoff game with Carolina.

8. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears (FA)

NFL: Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings

Wherever Matt Forte lands in 2016, he’s going to be solid get for whoever signs him. Much like the 2015 Bears season, Forte had to fight through injuries and still accumulated 1,287 yards from scrimmage and 7 touchdowns in 13 games. If he doesn’t re-sign with the Bears, I would expect either New England or Dallas to be great places for him.

9. Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (FA)

Lamar

Like Forte, Lamar Miller is a free agent this offseason. He’s weighing whether or not to return to Miami and I think he’d benefit from Adam Gase’s play-calling. Whoever does pick him up will probably use him better than the last coaching regime in Miami. The Dolphins were 6-1 when they handed the ball off to Miller 13+ times. Miller young and underutilized, but has 19 touchdowns in his last 2 seasons and can score from anywhere on the field.

10. Latavius Murray, Oakland Raiders

Latavius

The Raiders have a pretty awesome young core on the offensive side of the ball. In his first full season, Latavius Murray held his own with the 6th most rushing yards in the league. His usage was certainly there too as as he was 4th in touches and 3rd in carries. If Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are taking the tops off opposing defenses, Murray should take advantage of front 7’s on their heels.

11. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints

Ingram

Mark Ingram started the most games of his young career before having it cut down by an injury. I think one factor in his sudden shut down were the playoffs being so far out of reach. 1,174 yards from scrimmage, 6 touchdowns and 50 receptions in 12 games is a solid showing for a higher PPR pick.

12. Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers

Stewart

Jonathan Stewart had a slow start to 2015 while Cam Newton was doing most of the work. He exploded in Week 6 though for 2 touchdowns, and never looked back. Stewart has never gone a whole season healthy as a feature back, but the 13 he started last season were encouraging enough for an early-mid round pickup.

13. Thomas Rawls, Seattle

Rawls

As a huge fan of The Wire, I’m tempted to call him “Deputy Commissioner Rawls”. But for now, Thomas looks like a front runner for the starting running back job in Seattle. If they were to move on from Marshawn Lynch, Rawls would jump up much further on this list. Rawls averaging 118.6 yards per game and 5 touchdowns in 6 starts would justify it.

14. DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers

DeAngelo Williams

I wouldn’t usually rank a backup running back so high, but this one tied the league high in rushing touchdowns (11) and 1,274 yards from scrimmage. Your best move would be to handcuff him to Le’Veon Bell, knowing what they both are capable of.

15. Arian Foster, Houston Texans

Foster

There are reports that Arian Foster may be released by the Texans, but Coach Bill O’Brien is still commenting on his progress working to get back. I’ll keep an eye on his status but despite turning 30 by the start of the season and not going a full season since 2012, his upside is worth a mid round pick.  1,573 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns in 2014 say so.

16. Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks

Marshawn

Considering the money Seattle would save releasing Marshawn Lynch and their backup plan in Dep. Commander Rawls, I don’t see him in a Seahawks uniform next season. I do think Lynch might have another run in him though and would benefit great behind a veteran offensive line. Only a year ago, Lynch led the league in total touchdowns (17) and recorded the 5th most yards from scrimmage (1,673).

17. Chris Ivory, New York Jets

Chris Ivory

The East Coast version of Marashawn Lynch started out hot in 2015, with 460 yards in his first 4 games. Then he only went over 87 yards 3 separate times the rest of the way. It was Ivory’s first time going over 1,000 yards though and his highest touchdown total (8), so one could say he’s trending up.

18. Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals

Hill

Jeremy Hill went pretty high in most drafts, between the end of the 1st and 2nd round. Hill never rushed for more than 100 yards all season long, but he did accumulate the league high 11 rushing touchdowns…7 of those came after Week 10. His backup, Giovani Bernard, was much better between the 20s and he may be better built for it. We’ll see how new OC Ken Zampese distributes the ball in 2016. He was quarterbacks coach under Hue Jackson.

19. DeMarco Murray, Philadelphia Eagles

DeMarco

How does DeMarco Murray go from being the league’s leading rusher to barely running a third of that total the year after? For starters, being started just 8 of the 15 games he played…Doug Pederson comes in as head coach after calling plays for the 6th best running offense that also ranked 1st in rushing touchdowns. If Sam Bradford (or whoever’s the next Eagles QB) is going to be managed like Alex Smith, Murray should be better depended on.

20. LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins

Any worry you had about Shady McCoy’s mileage is warranted. He missed 4 games and ran 112 yards 3 times. Those were the only times he ran for 100+ and it’s kinda weird that it was exactly 112 each time. If you take him, have Karlos Williams on standby.

21. Dion Lewis, New England Patriots

Dion

Two things are encouraging about Dion Lewis: His extension that the Patriots gave him midseason and James White’s usage after his injury. Lewis showed he has playmaker ability and a nose for the end zone too. Hopefully injuries don’t continue to be an issue going forward.

22. T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars

Yeldon.jpg

T.J. Yeldon had a sturdy rookie season. He was fine. Fine doesn’t win games but he wasn’t really depended on to do it as the Jaguars were content throwing it like crazy. If the Jags improve their defense and Dante Fowler pans out next season, Yeldon will get more touches to maintain leads and control possession time.

23. Justin Forsett, Baltimore Ravens

Forsett

I was rooting for Justin Forsett before the season started. His touches theoretically could’ve been threw the roof with Marc Trestman calling plays. Instead everyone in Baltimore got injured, and his 10 starts were less than stellar. His 320 total yards for Weeks 4 and 5 were encouraging though.

24. Danny Woodhead, San Diego Chargers

Woodhead

Death, Taxes, and Danny Woodhead PPR. 80 catches in 2015 actually, and that wasn’t surprise as Philip Rivers lost his go-to guy Keenan Allen.

25. Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans

Frank Gore getting multiple goal line chances in 2015 seemed like a dream. Without Andrew Luck getting it there regularly, that’s all it was. Maybe it’ll work in try #2, but the 5-time pro bowler isn’t getting any younger. He’ll be 33 in May and hoping to improve on a 1,200+ total yard 1st season in Indy.

26. Darren McFadden, Dallas Cowboys

McFadden

Darren McFadden may have finished the season as the 4th leading rusher, but I’m not sure he’s destined to be the Cowboys’ #1 back and his lowly 3 touchdowns are why. He’ll move up if they don’t add any of the possible moving backs.

27. Eddie Lacy, Green Bay Packers

Lacy

As we’ve pointed out multiple times on here, Eddie Lacy was the biggest bust of 2015. The Packers are hoping there was a fire lit under his ass, and maybe the improvement in the passing game getting Jordy Nelson back will help take pressure off the run game.

28. Jeremy Langford, Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears v San Diego Chargers

Jeremy Langford has many of the same tools as Forte, like running, catching and blocking, and he also has breakaway speed. If Forte walks, and very well could, Langford will shoot up these rankings.

29. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals

Gio

Gio went back to putting up similar yardage numbers that he had as a rookie, but unfortunately Jeremy Hill got most of the touchdowns down the stretch. 49 catches are nice for PPR though.

30. C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (FA)

Denver Broncos vs. Indianapolis Colts in an AFC divisional playoff game

CJ Anderson is made a nice run late in the season, not as crazy as his 2014 campaign, and his post season work is redeeming him for the rocky start to 2015. His Super Bowl performance may decide whether the Broncos bring him back or if he gets paid well elsewhere. Worth following for sure.

 

31. Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers

Hyde

I have no clue what’s going to happen to Carlos Hyde in Chip Kelly’s system but for now he’s #1 on the 49ers depth chart.

32. Karlos Williams, Buffalo Bills

Karlos

Karlos Williams should be on-call and ready to go in case McCoy goes down. His streak of scoring a touchdown in each of the first 6 games of his career was promising too.

33. Ameer Abdullah, Detroit Lions

Ameer.jpeg

So many people wanted Ameer Abdullah to be a big deal in his rookie season but Lions play-callers had other plans. With Calvin Johnson retiring, maybe they’ll actually run the ball with their best running back.

34. LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots

LeGarrette

Things we know about LeGarrette Blount:

  • Best with the Patriots
  • Free Agent in 2016
  • Devastating in the red zone
  • Tends to get in trouble

Maybe a late round flyer depending where he lands.

35. Charcandrick West, Kansas City Chiefs

Charcandrick

Pretty decent Jamaal Charles substitute, in the case you need one. Although Spencer Ware got admirable work as well, the two may switch places here in coming months when we see what KC does with their personnel.

36. Rashad Jennings, New York Giants

USP NFL: NEW YORK GIANTS AT DALLAS COWBOYS S FBN USA TX

The Giants simply don’t run the ball very often…but when they do, Rashad Jennings is getting his number called. A career high in yards from scrimmage (1,159) didn’t hurt last year either.

37. Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns v San Diego Chargers

In Hue Jackson’s system, Duke Jr. is your Gio Bernard. He was also a pass catching machine with 61 receptions in his rookie season.

38. Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys

Sproles is gonna Sproles, no matter who he plays for next season.

39. Bilal Powell, New York Jets

Bilal

In the last 4 games of the season, Bilal Powell became even more dependable than Chris Ivory but with a very different game. During that span, he caught 25 passes. That was more than half his total for rest of the year.

40. Alfred Blue, Houston Texans

Blue

During Fosters’s absence the past two seasons, Blue has shown he can handle heavy workloads with some production. If Foster is released, Blue becomes much more relevant on this list…until Houston replaces Foster with someone else.

Anyone too high or too low? Was anyone left out? Let me know on Facebook or Twitter

For more position rankings:

Quarterbacks / Running Backs / Wide Receivers

Fantasy Cheat Sheet 2015: Defenses and Kickers

The last two things on your mind in a Fantasy Football Draft are Defenses and Kickers, but they are still positions that will either put you over the top in a close game…or kill you. 

Aggressive Fantasy players rarely stick with the defenses and kickers that they drafted, always rotating for great matchups. If you grab a solid point producer though, that’s one less stress you need to deal with for your weekend.

Here are my Top 10 for both defenses and kickers. You know when you should be drafting them already, so I spared the recommendations this time. 

Defenses

1. Philadelphia

Eagles D

2014: 28 Takeaways, 49 sacks, 1,405 Return, 11 TDs

Eagles defense won games for people by themselves last year. Seattle will get overdrafted because they are talked about the most, but they don’t really score much. Philly gets pointage and they’ve improved in the off-season by adding Kiko Alonso. Philly is also insane in special teams situations blocking kicks and returning.

2. Buffalo

Bills D

2014: 30 Takeaways, 54 sacks, 1,124 Return, 4 TDs

The Bills upgraded their already excellent D by hiring Rex Ryan. They don’t score a lot of TDs, but they do get to the quarterback a lot which forces turnovers and scoring chances.

3. Seattle

Seahawks D

2014: 24 Takeaways, 37 sacks, 1,072 return, 3 TDs

The Seahawks give you the best opportunities for shutouts and control the game by running a lot. They can pack on the INT and Sack points as long as they get the opportunity to…Oh and #LegionOfBoom

4. St. Louis

Rams D

2014: 25 Takeaways, 40 sacks, 1,581 return, 5 TDs

The Rams D-Line could be the best in football and with an unreliable offense, they get plenty of opportunities to reek havoc on opposing quarterbacks.

5. Kansas City

Chiefs D

2014: 14 Takeaways, 46 sacks, 2,035 return, 3 TDs

The Chiefs didn’t generate many takeaways last year, but they have the best return game and pass rusher (Justin Houston) in football. They also get one of the best safeties in the league back in Eric Berry, 

6. Houston

Texans D

2014: 34 Takeaways, 38 sacks, 630 return, 6 TDs

Houston is the anti-KC. They take the ball away and they score. Plus, they have JJ Watt.

7. Arizona

Cardinals D

2014: 25 Takeaways, 35 sacks, 684 return yards, 5 TDs

The Cardinals were very vulnerable to the pass last year, which is surprising when they have Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu in their secondary. That may be the bright side because they DO have Peterson and Mathieu, two of the league’s best athletes…and an excellent pass rush.

8. New England

_ELA4486.JPG

2014: 25 Takeaways, 40 sacks, 1,124 return, 5 TDs

Patriots lost Revis but they always fill in their vacancies well. Very savvy pass rushers and special teams have a penchant for coming up big.

9. Baltimore

Ravens D

2014: 22 Takeaways, 49 sacks, 1,359 return, 3 TDs

The Baltimore D isn’t going to carry you like they used to, but they are very good for spot starts and getting sacks. Their divisional games are generally slugfests too that work in their favor.

10. Green Bay

Packers D

2014: 27 Takeaways, 41 sacks, 888 return, 6 TDs

The formula to GB’s success last season was getting out to a big lead early and then forcing opposing teams to throw and and be pressured into turnovers. I anticipate that to be a similar circumstance for them again this year, but they can give up a lot of points at times.

Kickers

1. Stephen Gostkowski, NE

Gostkowski

2014: 35/37 FG, 51 XP

What you generally want in your kicker is someone who doesn’t miss often, gets a lot of opportunities, and picks up plenty of XPs. The Patriots spend a lot of time in their opponents’ territory and that Gostkowski rarely misses.

2. Cody Parkey, PHI

Parkey

2014: 32/36 FG, 54 XP

Similar to the Patriots, the Eagles get into their opponents’ territory plenty for Parkey to get attempts. It also helps that they score TDs on both offense and defense for him to pick up XPs

3. Steven Hauschka, SEA

Seattle Seahawks vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Steven Hauschka

2014: 31/37 FG, 41 XP

Hauschka has some of the best range in the league, his longest FG last year being from 58 yards out. His leg definitely shortens the field for the Seahawks.

4. Randy Bullock, HOU

Bullock

2014: 30/35 FG, 40 XP

Bullock benefits from getting to play in a dome for most of his season without dealing with the elements. Not sure how many scoring chances the Texans will get with their quarterback and running back situations, but Bullock’s good.

5. Dan Carpenter, BUF

Carpenter

2014: 34/38 FG, 31 XP

Scuzzy Dan made the 2nd most FGs in the league last year, and will get a chance to kick plenty more if Buffalo commits to their run game. Scoring touchdowns may still be an issue without a viable quarterback in their system.

6. Matt Bryant, ATL

MBry

2014: 29/32 FG, 40 XP

Bryant is reliable. As long as the Falcons offense does their job this year, his attempts and extra points will certainly rise.

7. Adam Vinatieri, IND

Vinatieri

2014: 30/31 FG, 50 XP

Vinatieri is SO OLD but still SO ACCURATE. The Colts should be scoring in the bunches again this season, and having a better RB in Gore will make Vinatieri an excellent pick for your team.

8. Justin Tucker, BAL

Photo: Shawn Hubbard

2014: 29/35 FG, 42 XP

Tucker admittedly plays Fantasy Football as well and is well aware that you depend on him each Sunday….and he is very dependable.

9. Blair Walsh, MIN

Walsh

2014: 26/35 FG, 29 XP

So much of a kicker’s success is dependent on the offense putting him in a position to kick. Year 2 of Bridgewater and the return of Adrian Peterson should bode well for Blair Walsh getting more attempts.

10. Dan Bailey, DAL

Bailey

2014: 25/29 FG, 56 XP

At the very least, you want your kicker to kick a lot of PATs. Bailey led the league in XPs last season and I don’t expect his attempts to waver too much this year. Cowboys Stadium has never been too bad to him either.

Do your rankings look different? Let me know on Facebook and Twitter

Also…

Quarterbacks Cheat Sheet

Running Backs Cheat Sheet

Wide Receivers Cheat Sheet

Tight Ends Cheat Sheet

Fantasy Cheat Sheet 2015: Running Backs

Typically, the first handful of spots in your draft go to the running back position. This year is no exception…

As you prepare to make your picks, here are my Top 40 running backs and where I recommend you take them in your upcoming draft. 

1. Marshawn Lynch, SEA

Danny McCray, Marshawn Lynch

2014: 1,306 rush yards, 367 receiving, 37 receptions, 17 TDs

Marshawn is why the Seahawks offense works. He also just got paid some more, so he’s motivated to ball out.

Pick 1st Overall

2. Jamaal Charles, KC

Jamaal

2014: 1,033 rush yards, 291 receiving, 40 catches, 14 TDs

Probably the best when healthy, but that hasn’t been a consistent quality of his as of late. Worth the gamble if he’s available. Always finds the end zone.

Pick Early 1st round

3. Le’Veon Bell, PIT

LeVeon

2014: 1,361 rush yards, 854 receiving, 83 catches, 11 TDs

Best running back in the league but out for the first 2 games due to suspension. Worth picking if you can because he’ll be huge for down the stretch, both rushing and receiving.

Pick Early 1st Round

4. Matt Forte, CHI

Forte

2014: 1,038 rush yards, 808 receiving, 102 catches, 10 TDs

Won’t catch nearly as many passes, but the Bears are going to run the ball a lot this season and he is still one of the best. Cutler will use him in play-action and he’ll set up wide at times too.

Pick: Has Early 1st Round value but seems to be falling to late 1st, early 2nd

5. Adrian Peterson, MIN

Vikings running back Peterson celebrates touchdown during NFL football game against Packers in Minneapolis

2014: Spent most of it suspended

Another year older, AP’s still one of the best in the game and will be the focal point to the Vikings offense. Also fresh after not playing, but you don’t know if another legal issue will come up. Not likely, but the red flag is there now.

Pick Middle 1st Round

6. Eddie Lacy, GB

Lacy

2014: 1,139 rush yards, 427 receiving, 42 catches, 13 TDs

Lacy is solid, but started slow with the Packers offense last season. Packers also depend way more on passing which keeps the ball out of his hands more than you’d like. Might be relied upon more with Nelson.

Pick Middle-Late 1st Round  

7. DeMarco Murray, PHI

DeMarco

2014: 1,845 rush yards, 416 receiving, 57 catches, 13 TDs

Murray was the league’s leading rusher last year and should get a lot of touches with the Eagles because their quarterbacks are so bad.

Pick: Late 1st, early 2nd

8. Jeremy Hill, CIN

Jeremy Hill, Donte Whitner

2014: 1,124 rush yards, 215 receiving, 27 catches, 9 TDs

Hill will have a big increase in workload this season and has Giovani Bernard to complement him. Expecting more handoffs to him as the Bengals try to get Andy Dalton right again.

Pick: 2nd Round

9. LeSean McCoy, BUF

LeSean

2014: 1,319 rush yards, 155 receiving, 28 catches, 5 TDs

McCoy is expected to be ready for Week 1. He’ll get a lot of carries but is in a crowded backfield with Fred Jackson and Boobie Dixon. Health is also going to be an issue for him with so many carries in his career already.

Pick: 2nd round

10. Arian Foster, HOU

Foster

2014: 1,246 rush yards, 327 receiving, 38 catches, 13 touchdowns

As of now, there is no timetable for Foster’s return from groin injury. He is someone who should be available on waivers, but will definitely help you late in the season…best case scenario. 

Pick up on waivers and stash him on IR if need be.

11. CJ Anderson, DEN

Denver Broncos v Kansas City Chiefs

2014: 849 rush yards, 324 receiving, 34 catches, 10 TD (all second half of season)

Anderson is the lead candidate for Denver’s #1 running back spot and Manning loves him. New head coach Gary Kubiak’s zone-run scheme is why Foster and Forsett produced so well the last few seasons.

Pick Late 2nd Round

12. Justin Forsett, BAL

Forsett

2014: 1,266 rush yards, 263 receiving, 44 catches, 8 TDs

Forsett is the #1 guy in Baltimore and should benefit from a lack in WR depth for Flacco. His receiving numbers will get a boost too with Marc Trestman running the offense

Pick: 3rd Round

13. Frank Gore, IND

Gore

2014: 1,105 rush yards, 111 receiving, 11 catches, 5 TDs

Gore could be huge in the Colts high power offense. With defenses worrying more about Luck throwing deep on them, less attention will be paid to Gore and that means serious gashing.

Pick: 3rd Round

14. Alfred Morris, WAS

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 4.01.09 PM

2014: 1,074 rush yards, 155 receiving, 17 catches, 8 TD

Morris hardly ever catches the ball but he is important to the Washington offense as nobody has any faith in RG3. Solid health-wise as well.

Pick 3rd or 4th Round

15. Mark Ingram, NO

Ingram

2014: 964 rush yards, 145 receiving, 29 catches, 9 TD

Ingram is very good but he is usually getting injured. Should get a lot of red zone opportunities but also will split passing situations with CJ Spiller.

Pick: 4th Round

16. Melvin Gordon, SD

Gordon

2014: Hesiman Trophy Candidate

I don’t normally like drafting rookies high in Fantasy, but Gordon is the clear starter for the Chargers ahead of Branden Oliver and Danny Woodhead. Starting RBs tend to do well in Mike McCoy’s offense.

Pick: 4th – 5th Round

17. Latavius Murray, OAK

Kansas City Chiefs v Oakland Raiders

2014: 424 rush yards, 143 receiving, 2 TD, 429 returning

Latavius showed he is fast and can score from anywhere on the field, but also hasn’t proven he can stay healthy yet.

Pick: 4th, 5th round

18. Andre Ellington, AZ

Ellington

2014: 660 rush yards, 395 receiving, 46 catches, 5 TDs

Ellington can score a lot of points but he can’t stay on the field. He has already had some hamstring troubles in camp.

Pick 5th Round

19. Lamar Miller, MIA

Lamar

2014: 1,099 rush yards, 275 receiving, 38 catches, 9 TDs

Lamar goes into the season as the #1 guy in Miami and proved how solid he can be with Tannehill running a read option offense. Stays healthy too.

Pick: 5th round

20. Jonathan Stewart, CAR

Stewart

2014: 809 rush yards, 181 receiving, 25 catches, 4 TDs

Stewart is a strong option when healthy. This the first time he won’t be splitting carries with DeAngelo Williams and doesn’t have anyone else to challenge him on the depth chart. Expect the workload to be heavier too with Benjamin out.

Pick: 5th round

21. LeGarrette Blount, NE

Blount

2014: 547 rush yards, 54 receiving, 10 catches, 5 TDs

It’s really tough to trust New England RBs because Belichick will just go with whoever he likes most that day. Blount turned out to be the hot hand after Patriots picked him up late last season but will miss Week 1 due to suspension. Could be solid 3rd RB.

Pick: 6th Round

22. Todd Gurley, STL

Gurley

Rookie

Gurley can be the best athlete in all of football but he was injured last season for Georgia and he’s likely going to miss all of the preseason because of an ACL injury. Hard to feel confident about drafting him, but the potential is too high to pass up.

Pick: 6th Round

23. TJ Yeldon, JAX

Yeldon

Rookie

Doesn’t have as high an upside as Gurley, but Yeldon has the best shot at being the feature back in Jacksonville. If converted QB/WR Denard Robinson could break out like he did last season, Yeldon should do well as a full-time back.

Pick 7th Round

24. Joseph Randle, DAL

NS_12CowboysSeahawks56.jpg

2014: 343 rush yards, 23 receiving, 4 catches, 3 TDs

Randle is first in line for feature back duties behind the best OL in football. He leads Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar who are also fighting for carries. Randle also has a shoplifting problem, but can be helpful as a backup on your roster with high upside.

Pick 7th Round

25. Carlos Hyde, SF

Hyde

2014: 333 rush yards, 68 receiving, 12 catches, 268 return yards, 4 TDs

San Francisco is an absolute mess and is probably the worst team in the NFL. They also don’t have a set depth chart yet and Hyde is splitting carries with Reggie Bush. He didn’t really do much last season to get anyone excited about this year but he’s one of the last possible #1 RBs left, while expected to get most of the workload. 

Pick 7th Round or later

26. CJ Spiller, NO

Spiller

2014: 300 rush yards, 125 receiving, 19 catches, 306, 2 TDs

Spiller is in a better place than Buffalo. He will be used on 3rd down and will be a better version of Pierre Thomas if Ingram gets hurt. Also gets return points but has his own health issues. He’s currently coming back from arthroscopic knee surgery.

Pick 8th Round

27. Rashad Jennings, NYG

Jennings

2014: 639 rush yards, 226 receiving, 30 catches, 4 TDs

Jennings and Shane Vereen are both playing with the first team. If healthy, Jennings is a solid RB2 or Flex player.

Pick 8th Round

28. Isaiah Cowell, CLE

Cowell

2014: 607 rush yards, 87 receiving, 9 catches, 8 TDs

Cowell is Cleveland’s best option at RB with Terrence West not far behind and Duke Johnson coming off a hamstring injury. With a choice between Johnny Manziel and Josh McCown at quarterback, Cleveland will want to run the ball a lot.

Pick 8th round

29. Ameer Abdullah, DET

Abdullah

Rookie

Abdullah is getting a lot of praise in camp, but is also in the mix with Joique Bell and Theo Riddick. He’s probably the most talented of the 3, but Stafford just called the Lions backfield a “running back by committee” situation. We’ll see who the hot hand is come Week 1.

Pick: 8th round

30. Chris Ivory, NYJ

Jets vs Patriots

2014: 821 rush yards, 123 receiving, 18 catches, 7 TDs

Ivory is a poor man’s Marshawn Lynch with his downhill running style and will be depended on for the bulk of the workload with Steven Ridley still rehabbing an ACL injury.

Pick 8th Round

31. Tevin Coleman, ATL

Coleman

Rookie

Coleman has been neck-and-neck with Devonta Freeman for feature back touches for the Falcons. Coleman is the more complete back though with pass catching and return capabilities. With the two sidelined and set to return from injury this week, I like Coleman’s chances better with them on even ground.

Pick 9th Round 

32. DeVonta Freeman, ATL

Freeman

2014: 248 rush yards, 225 receiving, 30 catches, 2 TDs

Freeman had the best shot at starting for the Falcons until he joined Tevin Coleman on the sidelines with a hamstring injury. Has a year of experience under his belt, but Coleman is expected to be a full-package back when he catches up.

Pick 9th or 10th 

33. Joique Bell, DET

Joique

2014: 860 rush yards, 322 receiving, 34 catches, 8 TDs

Bell is coming off an injury in camp but is still the most accomplished in the Lions backfield.

Pick 9th Round

34. Giovani Bernard, CIN

Bernard

2014: 680 rush yards, 349 receiving, 7 TDs

Gio is expected to be part of a 1-2 punch with Hill. He’ll get 3rd down and passing play reps for sure. Depending on Hill’s durability as a full-time starter, Gio can get some of his workload back.

Pick 10th Round

35. Tre Mason, STL

Mason

2014: 765 rush yards, 148 receiving, 16 catches, 5 TDs

Depending on Gurley’s health, Mason could be a boom or bust with a late pick. He’s as talented as anyone when given a shot and good insurance if Gurley misses time.

Pick 10th round

36. Doug Martin, TB

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Oakland Raiders

2014: 494 rush yards, 64 receiving, 13 catches, 2 TD

I don’t trust Tampa RBs. They don’t stay healthy, they turn the ball over, and they always seem like regular waiver wire pickups (and drops). Martin is only ranked here because he’s slated as their lead back, but he’s only disappointed people since his rookie year.

Pick 11th Round 

37. Shane Vereen, NYG

Vereen

2014: 391 rush yards, 447 receiving, 52 catches, 5 TD

The Giants still aren’t very good on defense which forces their offense to pass more. Vereen is one of the better pass catching RBs and that’s exactly why they brought him in.

Pick 11th Round or higher

38. Darren McFadden, DAL

Darren McFadden

2014: 534 rush yards, 212 receiving, 36 catches, 2 TD

If he can get on the field and fully healthy, he could be a late sleeper behind the Dallas OL. McFadden’s getting toward the end of his career so you shouldn’t bank on that.

Pick 12th or higher

39. Fred Jackson, BUF

Washington Redskins v Buffalo Bills

2014: 524 rush yards, 501 receiving, 65 catches, 3 TD

F-Jax has been the Bills version of Dirty Harry for the last few seasons. At this current time, he is the only healthy back out of McCoy, Dixon, Bryce Brown, and Karlos Williams. Although McCoy is expected to be ready Week 1, Jackson would make a strong start in a run-heavy system.

Pick 12th Round or later

40. Reggie Bush, SF

Bush

2014: 297 rush yards, 253 receiving, 40 catches, 2 TD

As I mentioned before, SF is an absolute mess. On top of that, Reggie is now playing in one of the best defensive divisions in football. If they’re forced to play catch-up with that horrible defense, Reggie should get the ball more than Hyde.

Pick 12th Round or higher

Do your rankings look different? Let me know on Facebook and Twitter! Stay Tuned for Wide Receiver rankings tomorrow.

Also…

Quarterbacks Cheat Sheet

Wide Receivers Cheat Sheet

Tight Ends Cheat Sheet

Defenses & Kickers Cheat Sheet

NBA Draft 2015: Who Fits For Bulls With 22nd Pick?

Get your fancy suits and flat-billed team hats ready, it’s NBA Draft Day!

Wiggins and Jabari

Best suit in NBA Draft history right there. I wonder if Andrew Wiggins kept the hat…

Commissioner Adam Silver, who has yet to give Draft attendees a reason to boo him, is expected to shake the hands of the 2015 draft class and its coveted triumvirate. That group include’s Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, and Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell. After that, the field of college basketball’s best and international stars becomes much less predictable. Trade talks have heated up across the league, and it doesn’t appear to be as much smokescreen as it has in the past (Way to blow your cover, George Karl).

The Chicago Bulls, for the time being, appear to be staying put in the 22nd spot and that’s not a bad thing. In recent years, Vice President John Paxson and General Manager Gar Forman have found “diamonds in the rough” late in the first round after selecting Taj Gibson 26th in 2009 and All-Star Jimmy Butler 30th in 2011. They flipped 28th overall pick Norris Cole and 2nd rounder Malcolm Lee for Nikola Mirotic, who was selected 23rd by Houston before making his way to Minnesota via trade, also in the 2011 draft. Tony Snell, selected 20th overall in 2013, made strides as an athletic scorer last season. However, Marquis Teague (29th overall in 2012) may or may not have changed professions after being traded to Brooklyn in 2014 for Tornike Shengelia (we hardly knew thee…No, we never thee at all). Hitting on four out of five picks is still a nice batting average though…

While it’s nice to have a lottery choice in the draft, picking between the 20 and 30 spots is still significantly valuable. The players available are older, better developed for specific roles, and ready to contribute right away. They are also nearly 20% the price of a the Top 3 draft picks. In 2013, frenchman Rudy Gobert was selected 27th by the Utah Jazz. Gobert was 11 blocked shots behind Anthony Davis for the league lead this past season and earned $1.1 million. 1st overall 2013 pick Anthony Bennett has averaged just 4.7 points per game, is on his second team in as many years (and back on the trading block), and made $5.6 million last season.

So who will be there for the Bulls after the Dallas Mavericks make their choice at 21? Let’s take a look at who fits their needs and can realistically be available.

Jerian Grant, Notre Dame

Grant Bulls

Senior / Guard / 6-5

Son of former NBA forward Harvey Grant and nephew of four-time NBA Champion Horace Grant, Jerian Grant may be the best fit. Backcourt depth was a glaring issue for the Bulls, especially in the playoffs, and Grant is one of the best point guard prospects in this draft. His size and ball handling allows Grant to play both 1 and 2 guard spots, making him a flexible option for new head coach Fred Hoiberg to pair with either Derrick Rose or Butler. With an ability to create his own shot and excel in transition, Grant can also be utilized in small lineups in case Hoiberg wants to play him with both Rose and Butler. He averaged 16.5 points, 6.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game in his senior season while also shooting over 57% from 2-point range. Being older, Grant can contribute right away for a Bulls team that wants to win now…and he can certainly finish at the rim.

Grant Dunk

Rashad Vaughn, UNLV

Vaughn Bulls

Freshman / Guard / 6-6

The Bulls lacked dependable scoring off the bench in the postseason last year. Rashad Vaughn is an “instant offense” pure scorer who has shown he can generate scoring in bunches. Averaging 17.8 points per game, Vaughn is a natural scorer and played his best in catch-and-shoot opportunities. He can create off the dribble in isolation situations and is athletic enough to be a decent defender. Vaughn’s freshman season was ended prematurely due to a meniscus tear against Fresno State in February, which has contributed to his slide in draft projections.

RJ Hunter

RJ Hunter

Junior/ Guard / 6-6

During March Madness this year, the country was made aware (if they weren’t already) of RJ Hunter as he knocked out #3 Baylor from the tournament…and his coach/dad out of his chair.

RJ Huner shot

As 3-star recruit from Indianapolis, Hunter passed on much bigger programs than Georgia State so he could play for his father and led the Panthers to 25+ victory seasons. Hunter provides two things the Bulls are in need of…scoring and 3-point shooting. As they wait and see who Doug McDermott is in Hoiberg’s system, adding Hunter’s 19.7 points per game and 51% shooting from the field doesn’t hurt either.

Trey Lyles, Kentucky

Trey Lyles

Freshman / Forward / 6-10

Had he not been on the same team as Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein, Trey Lyles would be a much higher prospect in this draft. Lyles was forced to play out of position at small forward with Alex Poythress going down to injury, but it allowed him to showcase how skilled he is off the dribble. Lyles is one of the best well-rounded forwards in the 2015 class and would bolster a very thin front court rotation for the Bulls. With Joakim Noah playing on one leg and Gibson out recovering from ankle surgery, Lyles provides a post up game that the Bulls don’t have with either Pau Gasol or Mirotic.

Sam Dekker, Wisconsin

Sam Dekker Bulls

Junior / Forward / 6-9

It is probably a stretch to think Sam Dekker would fall to the Bulls at 22, but his projections for tonight’s draft have varied from 8th overall to 25th. Like Hunter, Dekker provides scoring and range beyond the arc, but he is more polished and has done it against better competition. Dekker’s versatility on both ends of the floor and athleticism make him more than a role player off the bench. He can defend multiple positions, can play the 4 in small lineup scenarios, and is better prepared to play right away.

Have your eye on someone else? Let’s talk about it on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03