2015 Outlook: If we had a nickel for every time a player said he's in the best shape of his life, we'd be Bruce Wayne rich. But in Bell's case, dropping 20 pounds in advance of last season really did transform him into Batman. A ponderous plugger as a rookie, the nimbler Bell found the right combo of thump and agility in 2014 -- and it showed. He was fantasy's top RB from Week 5 on and failed to eclipse 100 yards from scrimmage in only three games all year. With that kind of productivity when he is on the field, and with his suspension reduced from three games to two, he ascends to the No. 1 overall player in our preseason rankings. If you spend a first-rounder on him, be sure to also grab his backup, DeAngelo Williams.
2015 Outlook: Peterson was the No. 1 overall fantasy pick last season but played only one game because of a personal-conduct suspension. As of this writing, he was still with the Vikings, so we'll assume that's his team in 2015. But what will Minnesota get from AP? While his age (30) and career carries (2,054) are red flags, Peterson is presumably fresh. Plus, the last time we saw him play, he still looked like one of history's greatest backs. We always knew Peterson would feel riskier around this time in his career. But given these circumstances, it's tough to know whether his career five-yards-per-carry average is realistic for 2015.
2015 Outlook: Cursed with difficult matchups last September, Lacy earned ire from fantasy owners by ranking 43rd in RB points after four games. But as the season continued, the tape proved an indisputable fact: Lacy is no fun to tackle. At 230 pounds with nimble feet and bad intentions, he pushes a pile as aggressively as any RB in the NFL. The Packers will never be run-centric while Aaron Rodgers is under center, but Lacy also has terrific hands -- he finished sixth in RB receiving yards in 2014 -- and can serve as his own third-down back. Heading into a season with no clear-cut No. 1 overall pick, Lacy has our favorite combo of upside and safety.
2015 Outlook: Fantasy's MVP in 2013, Charles saw his workload curtailed last year. A season after he registered 15 or fewer carries in a game only three times, it happened 10 times in 2014. He also lost 30 catches and 402 receiving yards off his 2013 pace. None of this happened because Charles has lost his trademark burst. The Chiefs have simply decided to include Knile Davis (rushing) and De'Anthony Thomas (receiving) in their backfield plans. Expect more of the same. Charles should threaten double-digit TDs and boast one of the NFL's best per-carry averages, but he could lag behind the NFL leaders in carries and touches.
2015 Outlook: There were red flags for Lynch entering 2014. Now there are signal fires. He's 29 and coming off four straight years of 280-plus carries; he's just the 15th RB since the merger to do that. There was no drop-off in Lynch's play last season (he was fantasy's No. 3 RB), and the Seahawks are committed to making him the focus of their offense for as long as he's healthy. But that's the question: Can Beast Mode continue to buck conventional wisdom and rack up a fifth consecutive season of double-digit TDs? Having Lynch on your roster isn't for the faint of heart, but the rewards can win your league.
2015 Outlook: Last season's No. 1 fantasy WR, Brown led the position in receptions (129) and yards (1,698), while ranking second in targets (180). The 5-foot-10, 186-pounder also managed to score 13 TDs, second only to Dez Bryant, thanks to 22 end zone targets (third overall). If you're looking for consistency, Brown is your guy: He was a top-10 fantasy WR in nine of 16 games last year and finished outside the top 25 just twice. A big reason for Brown's dependability? He has registered six or more targets in 33 consecutive games (including playoffs), with 10-plus in 23 of those and 12-plus in 15.
2015 Outlook: The same backfield triumvirate -- Anderson, Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman -- will labor in Denver this year. But considering that Anderson was fantasy's No. 1 RB from Week 12 on last season, new coach Gary Kubiak would be crazy not to give him a leg up. Anderson should benefit from Kubiak's zone-blocking scheme, which has made stars out of such disparate runners as Steve Slaton, Clinton Portis, Arian Foster and Justin Forsett. We doubt elite yardage totals are available to any Broncos RB as long as Peyton Manning is under center, but the team has averaged 14 rushing TDs since 2012. Most of those should belong to Anderson.
2015 Outlook: In 2014, Marc Trestman's offense propelled Forte to the record for RB receptions in a season (102). But it was still a frustrating year. He averaged his fewest yards per carry since 2009 as the run game found little rhythm behind a regressing O-line. New coach John Fox is likely to prefer a more run-oriented attack, and if Forte avoids injury, he has a shot to lead the NFL in touches and score double-digit TDs for the third straight year. But Forte has had at least 250 touches in all seven of his pro seasons and turns 30 in December. Although he's been nothing but solid lately, we're concerned his cliff could come fast.
2015 Outlook: Murray is the first reigning rushing titleholder to change teams since 1947. Even crazier? After ridding themselves of LeSean McCoy, the Eagles signed Murray and RB Ryan Mathews and changed their QB. There are so many moving parts here that Rube Goldberg is shaking his head. Here's what we know: 1) Murray leaves the NFL's best O-line, but Philly's unit is good; 2) he was injury-prone before 2014 and is coming off the sixth-most touches ever in a single season; plus, Mathews will steal work; 3) Murray proved he could be a complete power RB last year; 4) this craziness is sure to inject major uncertainty going forward.
2015 Outlook: With Peyton Manning back for another season, Thomas is locked in as a top-five fantasy WR. In three years with Manning under center, the Georgia Tech product has finished no worse than fourth in receiving yards, seventh in receiving TDs and fifth in fantasy points among WRs. Despite seeing his touchdowns dip from 14 in 2013 to 11 last season, Thomas actually paced the league with 23 end zone targets. New head coach Gary Kubiak is likely to call more runs and install more two-TE sets, but that should cost Thomas only a handful of looks. The 27-year-old is as safe as they come toward the end of the first round.
2015 Outlook: After winning his first rushing title in 2013, Shady struggled early last year behind a depleted Eagles line. But as Philly got its blocking pieces back, McCoy's numbers improved: He registered at least 80 rushing yards in nine of his final 12 games. Alas, that wasn't enough for Chip Kelly, who dealt McCoy to Buffalo, where he'll assume a lead role in Rex Ryan's ground-and-pound attack. RB Fred Jackson -- whose personal motto should be "Depleting the Fantasy Values of Others for a Decade" -- is on hand, and the Bills' blocking and QB situations aren't ideal. But Shady is the NFL's quickest RB, and he's still a top-10 fantasy back.
2015 Outlook: Gronk is great. Sixty TDs in 73 career games (including playoffs) proves he's a transcendent player in a fantasy-friendly system. But you should resist the temptation to go crazy for him on draft day. He lost significant time to injury in both 2012 and '13, and in the past 10 years, the highest-drafted TE has performed as the best fantasy TE only twice. As of this writing, Tom Brady was facing a four-game suspension. While Gronkowski should still be the first TE taken in your draft, Brady's suspension should remove any temptation to select Gronk in the first round.
2015 Outlook: Bryant has spent the better part of his NFL career putting up huge TD numbers, and last season was no exception. He led all wide receivers with 16 touchdowns in 2014 and has averaged 11.2 receiving TDs per season since 2010, tops in the league. In addition to converting a remarkable 54 percent of his career end zone targets into touchdowns, Bryant ranks eighth in total targets among WRs, ninth in receptions, fifth in receiving yards and first in receiving TDs over the past five seasons. Tony Romo's top target is primed for another WR1 campaign.
2015 Outlook: Hill isn't a complete back, but what he does well -- grind north/south and pound potential tacklers -- is prized in fantasy. After Gio Bernard suffered a hip injury in Week 8 last season, the rookie Hill took over as the Bengals' early-down back and topped 140 yards four times in nine contests. He's not a terrible pass catcher or blocker, but Bernard does those things better and is quicker, so he'll play in most third-down and passing situations. While that means Hill's production has the potential to be dependent on game flow, we'll take the walloping half of an RB platoon every time. Hill has a great chance to be among the NFL's TD leaders.
2015 Outlook: The poster boy for 2014's historic rookie receiver class, Beckham carried many of his owners to league titles with 91 receptions, 1,305 yards and 12 TDs in only 12 games. And his consistency was something to marvel at, as he provided WR1 numbers in a position-high 58 percent of his appearances. One big reason for that? Eli Manning relied on Beckham heavily near the goal line, throwing 18 end zone targets his way, eighth most in the league. Don't expect that to change any time soon, with Victor Cruz's effectiveness in doubt and Rueben Randle settling into a complementary role.