Here we go with picks 21-40 in my Top 100 PPR Fantasy Draft Picks. Hit me up on Twitter @NFLClark to tell me why your guy is ranked too low, or tell me how little I know about football in general.
In case you missed it, here are picks 1 - 20 in my Top 100 PPR Fantasy Draft Picks for 2015:
20) TY Hilton, WR Ind (10)
For this to be the first Colt off the board says something. I don’t know what that is just yet, but it is curious. Indy upgraded their receiver group, and I still believe in Frank Gore. I think the added talent enhances Hilton’s game, and that he remains one of Luck’s favorites.
Hilton is another guy that is just too quick, he’s just too fast, too. He is a big problem for defenses and seems to have a great rapport with Luck. Hilton didn’t enter the league a finished product, improving year over year. Luck knows a good matchup when he sees it, and Hilton can beat all kinds of coverage. I wouldn’t be surprised if Hilton took another big step this year, adding to the wave of smaller, quick, young, unstoppable receivers.
21) LeSean McCoy, RB, Buf (8)
McCoy led the league in rushing 2 years ago and rushed for the 3rd most yards in 2014. He lost a lot as a receiver, didn’t score much, and did not look that good at times last year. This is a classic year early / year late player. I’ll take my chances if he falls this far to me, but I won’t reach. I had to put him somewhere so I just put him not on my team ranking.
He’s in Buffalo and plays for a pound 5the rock coach. The Bills will likely struggle to score, but McCoy will get enough work to lead the league in rushing, touches, and touchdowns. If McCoy has a banner year, touches the ball 20, 25 times a game, Buffalo will make the playoffs. If McCoy can’t do it all, well, the Bills also have a 3 way QB competition. I’ll just leave it at that.
22) Andrew Luck, QB, Ind (10)
You can stream QBs and do well, but I believe in getting players that dominate their position when you can. For 10-12 team leagues, taking this quarterback a little early this year is fine.
Luck continues to improve while the defense in Indy does not. I always want to temper off-season moves hype, but replacing Trent Richardson, Reggie Wayne, and Hakeem Nicks with Frank Gore, Andre Johnson and Donte Moncrief seems like quite the set of upgrades.
Luck is the second best QB in the league who’s his team asks the most of him. This pushes Luck in to some bad decisions and taking some extra punishment but also pushes his numbers way up.
23) Aaron Rodgers, QB, GB (7)
Speaking of the best QB in the league, Rodgers is amazing. He has a great group of skill position guys around him, utilizing each of them effectively.
In several games last year, Rodgers let off the gas once he drove his team to a very healthy lead. Coming off a bitter loss to the Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game, the Packers may keep the pedal to the metal all year. If they do, Rodgers and Luck could square off and chase records a-la Peyton, Brees and Brady of years past.
I want the weekly upside of one of these stud QBs this year. If I can get that 40 point potential and only have to worry about who’s starting for me for 1 bye week, I’ll take the shot at the end of the 2nd round.
24) Jimmy Graham, TE, Sea (9)
I don’t believe Graham’s move to Seattle is the fantasy death-sentence that some are making it out to be. He moves to an up and coming offense driven by a strong running game. Graham moves from one of the game’s greatest quarterbacks to one of the league’s best up and comers.
Jimmy should be targeted heavily, even on a team with limited targets to go around. Graham will be the best target Wilson has played with, and Seattle may have to push it more on offense if their death-grip defense takes a steps back.
If Graham can stay healthy, he can close the gap with Gronk and move himself back in to first round consideration next year.
25) Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chi (7)
Jeffery is the top receiving option on an offense well equipped to put up more than its fair share of points. With Brandon Marshall moving on, and I’ve-never-met-a-rookie-I’ve-liked John Fox in town, Jeffery could have a monster year.
This is the first time we’ve seen Alshon as the number 1 receiver, and John Fox will want to run the ball first. I don’t think that does enough to keep Jeffery down, but it is enough for me to move him down to this tier of prospect.
26) AJ Green, WR, Cin (7)
Green is a beast saddled with an average QB. He’s a stud anyone is happy to have. His upside just feels glaringly limited with Dalton as his battery mate. Green should go higher than where I have him, but I can’t bring myself to take him higher this year.
27) Justin Forsett, RB, Bal (9)
Both Justin and his story are easy to like. Forsett had a break out year under Gary Kubiak, and Mark Trestman states he wouldn’t be coming in to re-invent the wheel in Baltimore. Forsett can do everything you ask of him, a poor man’s Matt Forte (and I say that as a great compliment both to Forsett and Forte).
This is a running back to target as a flex or one of the remaining RBs that can give you consistent production if you go tight end or wide receiver early.
28) Mark Ingram, RB, NO (11)
Ingram had to have a nice year last year. He performed and was rewarded with both a new contract and a leading role in, what is reported to be, a run first offense (we’ll see if a zebra can change his stripes).
Even if the Saints don’t fully commit to 3 yards and a cloud of dust, they should at least make more of an effort to run. They’ve taken steps to upgrade their line, and Ingram has shown capable in all facets of the game.
Ingram will be sharing, as is the Saint’s way with their running backs. But, Ingram does enough to be a nice RB 2 this year again.
29) Frank Gore, RB, Ind (10)
It took a great deal of restraint for me to rank Frank this low. The reason for restraint is that we’ve recently seen aging veteran running backs move to an explosive offense and fizzle out before. Gore, though, is the kind of back that people have been betting against to their detriment for a few years now.
Indy really has the potential to do something great this year with a loaded offense in a weak division. Insert all the arguments why we thought Trent Richardson was going to do great in the same situation, I know. But, I’ll buy the ticket and take the ride again.
30) DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Hou (9)
Full disclosure, I am a Texans fan. You may want to take this ranking with a grain of salt.
Hopkins is an amazing wide receiver playing on a mediocre team. When I say amazing, I mean last year alone he had at least 2 catches rivaling darling Odell Beckham’s now famous snag. The problem was 1 grab got called back on a penalty and both were made for the 8-8 Texans.
Hopkins will be playing with less from the quarterback spot this year with Fitzmagic now in New York. Still, he is clearly the best receiver on the team, has stick-em hands, exquisite body control, speed, and he seems to live to show how much better he is than his defender.
31) Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Den (7)
I am completely torn between Emmanuel Sanders’ awesome talent and what I’ve seen number 2 wide receivers do for Gary Kubiak. Sanders is undoubtedly the best #2 to play for Kubiak, but Manning scares the bejesus out of me. If Manning really is done, or CJ Anderson gets 300 touches and 2200 yards, you might regret taking Sanders here.
When torn between fear and talent, I’ll take my chances with the talent. The Broncos should score a lot and Sanders is just a really good football player.
32) Andre Johnson, WR, Ind (10)
Johnson managed to eke out a fine career in Houston despite never having a better than an average quarterback. A few years past his peak, he gets to play with one of the best passers in the game.
This is going to be a high variance pick, but I think we see something special from Indianapolis this year. Johnson looked good on the field last year, and I believe that Andre will find a little extra hutzpah when his abilities are questioned. Even with all the Colts that need to eat, Johnson gets his this year.
33) Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Car (5)
Certain athletes can make up for glaring weaknesses with overwhelming strengths. Shaq never shot a high percentage from the free throw line, but I’d say he was one of the most dominant Centers the NBA has ever seen.
The worst thing you can do to Benjamin is put a ball right on his hands when he’s open. Fortunately, he rarely gets separation and Cam Newton is his quarterback. Benjamin drops passes, he isn’t crisp out of his breaks, ‘he’s got stiff hips’, he makes great plays on the ball, and is probably half a foot taller than your cornerback and safety. He’s just so damn big that you can’t stop him.
Benjamin will likely not be the best of his era, but he had an absolutely amazing rookie season. I expect Cam and Carolina to continue to slowly improve on offense, and Kelvin Benjamin takes another huge step forward.
34) Mike Evans, WR, TBB (6)
Evans is another receiver coming off of a great rookie campaign. He played for the worst team in the league and still acquitted himself of all doubts. He’ll be on the same team unfortunately, but with Josh McCown and Mike Glennon manning the pocket, Evans performed. I think Jameis can at least take as many chances downfield as that previous duo.
Evans is another guy that is just too big for you to cover. He helped make Johnny Manziel a first round draft pick, and I expect he’ll contribute (greatly) to how the wind blows with Jameis.
35) Brandon Cooks, WR, NO (11)
When I put Cooks here I think, how could you possibly rank an undersized second year wide out that finished the year on injured reserve this high? When I rank Cooks 3 picks later I think, how are you ranking Drew Brees’s most talented wide receiver here?!?!
For all the talk about the run in New Orleans, they’re going to throw, eventually. Cooks looks poised to be the guy. After the Saints let him be a real wide receiver last year, Cooks looked good. Now he’s the best play in town. I’m betting Cooks having a big sophomore year with the Saints.
36) Andre Ellington, RB, Ari (9)
Ellington finished as the RB19 last year with a torn tendon in his foot and Ryan Lindley, Drew Stanton, and Logan Thomas at quarterback. He looked good at the beginning of the year when he and Palmer were relatively healthy. In the end, there ended up being too much to overcome in Arizona last year. That Arizona managed a playoff berth from the NFC West was a coach of the year worthy feat.
Palmer should be ready to go to start the season and Ellington is reportedly mended as well. While there is added competition out in the desert, I think Ellington will win out. Relying on Palmer is the scariest thing about this rank, but you have to take some chances somewhere. Ellington has the upside to make you look like a genius if you pass on RBs early.
37) Joique Bell, RB, Det (9)
Bell is solid back in an offense that should score a lot this year. The backfield situation is muddy with Ameer Abdullah and off-season surgery for Joique. But, Bell’s size and age/experience (and being in the 2nd year of a 3 year deal) make me think he’ll get first crack at the lion’s share of the work.
We’ve seen this backfield split before, and when the offense is firing on all cylinders, there are plenty of fantasy points to be had. Abdullah is new, full of sizzle, speed and quicks, but he is a rookie. Abdullah may take the reins eventually, possibly even this year, but I tend to side with experience over the new and shiny (a strategy that has both backfired and proved true before).
38) Jeremy Maclin, WR, KCC (9)
Maclin bet on himself last year, and it paid off. He put up numbers and looked good in Philadelphia in 2014. He goes to the Chiefs and is reunited with Andy Reid. I believe that while Alex Smith is a little conservative, he was a little extra conservative due to the outbreak of sloth and alligator-arm that ran through KC’s WR meeting room.
The move back to Missoura’ for Maclin is clear win for the Chiefs this offseason. Andy Reid had a lot of very dynamic offenses in Philly and I expect he’ll get back to that bit by bit. Maclin will do enough to give steady, if unspectacular production this year.
39) Brandon Marshall, WR, NYJ (5)
There are a lot of moving pieces this year in New Jersey. Marshall being the first Jet off the board should serve as a cautionary tale for buying what Chan Gailey is selling. A change of scenery means a big drop in quarterback talent, but Marshall is not too far removed from his top 5 WR days.
At this point you’re looking at young receivers with a lot of questions or older guys, like Marshall, with a lot of questions. If situations and talent are about equal, longer track records usually win out with me. Marshall is only 31, and reportedly, takes great care of his body. He had a few nagging injuries last year that were either the beginning of the end, or one of the big reasons why you’ll get a great value this year in round 4. I’ll roll the dice on Marshall as a potentially irritating, potentially top 10 WR at this point.
40) Melvin Gordon, RB, SDC (10)
I think Gordon has enough to take advantage of his opportunity in San Diego. He will have to share with Woodhead, mainly, but I think he will be the lead in the committee. With Phillip Rivers and his cast of receivers, opposing defenses will have to play pretty honest. We saw what Brandon Oliver could do last year, now we’ll see how Gordon does.