Complete 2014 Projections

Season:

The default order for player projections is based on ESPN.com's recommended draft rankings, which take into account projected total points as well as upside and risk.

Position: ALL | QB | RB | RB/WR | WR/TE | LB | DL | DB | K | HC
     
PROJECTED 2014 SEASON STATS
1. Calvin Johnson, Det WRYEARTARRECYDSAVGTDRUSHYDSTDPTS
2013 Statistics15684149217.812000259
2014 Projections17494166417.712000290
2014 Outlook: Think about this: Since 2011, Megatron has over 1,000 receiving yards more than the next-best wideout. So don't read too much into his No. 3 ranking in WR fantasy production last year; it was actually remarkable he finished that high. Hampered by knee and finger injuries (both of which required offseason surgery), Johnson still totaled 12 TDs and nearly 1,500 yards. Finally back to 100 percent, Johnson will again be the undeniable focal point of the Lions' offense; he's the only player to garner 150-plus targets in each of the past three seasons. Don't get cute: Megatron is your No. 1 WR.
2. Jimmy Graham, NO TEYEARTARRECYDSAVGTDRUSHYDSTDPTS
2013 Statistics14486121514.116000264
2014 Projections13484111513.313000237
2014 Outlook: We regularly say that a tight end has to submit a truly historic season to justify a first- or second-round pick. Well, in 2013, Graham did just that. His 16 TD receptions led the NFL and was the second most ever by a tight end. It's true that after an incredible start -- 49 catches, 746 yards and 10 TDs through Week 9 -- Graham leveled off a bit. Bothered by a plantar fascia injury, he topped 73 yards receiving in just one of his final eight contests. But in that span, he also had 6 TDs, so we'll shut up. Perhaps the NFL's truest matchup nightmare, Graham is a cornerstone of the Saints' offense. Maybe historic seasons have simply become his norm.
3. Demaryius Thomas, Den WRYEARTARRECYDSAVGTDRUSHYDSTDPTS
2013 Statistics14392143015.514000269
2014 Projections14493140015.113000270
2014 Outlook: His vertical game gets a lot of pub -- and for good reason. Thomas netted 96 fantasy points off vertical throws in 2013, 10th most among WRs. But he isn't a one-trick Bronco: His strongest suit is actually turning short passes into long gains. In his two seasons playing with Peyton Manning, he's compiled 1,225 yards after the catch, tops in the league. And last season he racked up an NFL-best 115 fantasy points -- and scored 9 of his 14 TDs -- on dink-and-dunk throws. Expect more of the same in Manning's quick-hitting offense.
4. A.J. Green, Cin WRYEARTARRECYDSAVGTDRUSHYDSTDPTS
2013 Statistics18098142614.611000260
2014 Projections16190133614.811000253
2014 Outlook: Green is the reigning WR target champion (178) and might be the most dangerous deep threat in the league. His 8 TDs on vertical throws was tied for tops among wide receivers, and no one had more fantasy points per game on stretch vertical passes (5.9). The reason we don't rank him in the top two? The up-and-down Andy Dalton is still under center, and pass-friendly offensive coordinator Jay Gruden is now the head man in Washington. But Green, who has missed only one game in his three NFL seasons, is still one of the safest WR1 picks.
5. Dez Bryant, Dal WRYEARTARRECYDSAVGTDRUSHYDSTDPTS
2013 Statistics16093123313.313110234
2014 Projections170100132713.312180260
2014 Outlook: Last season the Cowboys scaled back their vertical throws by 14 percent, from 194 to 167. So it makes sense that Bryant finished with only 74 fantasy points on such passes (tied for 19th) and saw his yards per catch decrease by more than 11 percent. The saving grace for Bryant's fantasy owners was his 111 fantasy points on short throws; he was one of only two WRs to break triple digits in that category. With former Lions OC Scott Linehan now serving as the Cowboys' passing-game coordinator, don't be shocked to see Dallas stretch the field more this year with Bryant. He has the skill set to get separation deep and rack up yards on underneath throws.
6. Brandon Marshall, Chi WRYEARTARRECYDSAVGTDRUSHYDSTDPTS
2013 Statistics163100129513.012000243
2014 Projections15295123012.912000252
2014 Outlook: Since Marshall's arrival in Chicago two seasons ago, his fantasy value has exploded. Marshall is first in targets over that stretch (355), second in vertical targets (173), third in standard league scoring (408) and second in PPR scoring (626). And don't worry that third-year wideout Alshon Jeffery will siphon opportunities. They both got 140-plus targets last season. If Jay Cutler is smart, which he is, he'll continue to spread the wealth.
7. Julio Jones, Atl WRYEARTARRECYDSAVGTDRUSHYDSTDPTS
2013 Statistics604158014.1217088
2014 Projections15797138714.391190248
2014 Outlook: It's easy to forget, but before missing the final 11 games last season with a broken foot, Jones was on pace for 1,856 yards and 6 TDs. That would've tied him with Josh Gordon for the best fantasy year among pass catchers. With Roddy White's best years behind him and Tony Gonzalez retired, Jones is clearly Matt Ryan's most reliable target. Durability is the only concern: He has missed nearly 30 percent of his career games, and it remains to be seen whether his foot issues will sap any of his explosiveness.
8. Jordy Nelson, GB WRYEARTARRECYDSAVGTDRUSHYDSTDPTS
2013 Statistics12685131415.58000215
2014 Projections12082128615.710000236
2014 Outlook: To understand why Nelson is such a boom/bust wideout, consider the discrepancy between his short and vertical fantasy productivity. Nelson ranked fourth among WRs in fantasy points on vertical throws (118) and tied for 31st on short ones (47). That's why he saw his production fall off a cliff when Aaron Rodgers went down with a collarbone injury. Nelson scored 14.1 fantasy points per game with Rodgers as a starter and only 6.6 per game the other weeks. As long as Rodgers is healthy and throwing bombs with his usual precision, Nelson has a shot at being a top-five WR.
9. Alshon Jeffery, Chi WRYEARTARRECYDSAVGTDRUSHYDSTDPTS
2013 Statistics15089142116.07161050238
2014 Projections14185128415.1814851241
2014 Outlook: Marc Trestman's offense was a revelation for Jeffery. After a disappointing rookie campaign (24 receptions for 367 yards), the South Carolina product found his downfield groove, ranking second in vertical receiving yards (933) and first in stretch vertical receiving yards (590). His 3 TDs of at least 45 yards was tied for fifth most in the league. Jeffery's bandwagon is filling up, but we'd be remiss if we didn't bring up a few sore spots. First, his 7.6 percent vertical pass drop rate ranked last among wideouts with at least 50 such targets. Second, he never really got in a fantasy groove with Jay Cutler at QB, scoring only 10.1 points per game with Cutler under center versus 15 in backup Josh McCown's five starts.
10. Julius Thomas, Den TEYEARTARRECYDSAVGTDRUSHYDSTDPTS
2013 Statistics896578812.112000170
2014 Projections967292312.812000206
2014 Outlook: In his first year as a starter, Thomas established himself as a red zone freak -- 8 of his 12 TDs came inside an opponent's 20 -- and a trusted safety valve. Part of what makes Thomas tick as a fantasy option is the talent around him. Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Emmanuel Sanders should ensure that Julius will regularly see singled-up looks, and Peyton Manning trusts him to take advantage. The bottom line: The Broncos' offense is a machine, and Julius Thomas is an essential cog. He missed a couple of games with a knee injury in 2013, but he should be all systems go this season.
11. Antonio Brown, Pit WRYEARTARRECYDSAVGTDRUSHYDSTDPTS
2013 Statistics165110149913.68740291
2014 Projections163109143513.278470251
2014 Outlook: So much for missing Mike Wallace. Brown responded to the departure of Pittsburgh's deep threat by ranking fourth in vertical receptions (37) and tied for ninth in stretch vertical receptions (11) in 2013. This did nothing to hurt his productivity on passes of 10 yards or fewer; Brown actually increased his short-pass fantasy points per game by nearly 20 percent. His 110 receptions proved his mastery of the route tree -- and his value in PPR leagues. With Emmanuel Sanders now in Denver, expect Big Ben to look Brown's way early and often.
12. Randall Cobb, GB WRYEARTARRECYDSAVGTDRUSHYDSTDPTS
2013 Statistics473143314.04478091
2014 Projections11387123314.28101230236
2014 Outlook: Last season was supposed to be Cobb's coming-out party -- and it was for a few weeks. Cobb was solidifying his role as Aaron Rodgers' go-to slot guy and put up three double-digit fantasy outputs in his first four games. But then he broke his leg in Week 6 and disappeared to IR until Week 17. So now we're left to guess how to properly rate Cobb going into his fourth NFL season. On one hand, his 11.8 points per start ranked ninth among receivers last season. On the other hand, he's played only 38 percent of the Packers' offensive snaps since coming into the league. You have to figure that'll increase ' if he can stay on the field.
13. Andre Johnson, Hou WRYEARTARRECYDSAVGTDRUSHYDSTDPTS
2013 Statistics181109140712.95000220
2014 Projections164100136713.77000238
2014 Outlook: The Texans had more than their share of QB woes last year, but it would be difficult to spot them when reviewing Johnson's numbers. Johnson posted stellar totals in targets (175, ranked third), vertical targets (76, fourth), catches (109, third) and yards (1,407, seventh). In fact, if you eliminate his injury-riddled 2011 season, Johnson has had at least 80 catches and 1,200 yards every season since 2008. Sure, his age is becoming a concern, but he still has enough of a burst to be a borderline WR1/WR2.
14. Vincent Jackson, TB WRYEARTARRECYDSAVGTDRUSHYDSTDPTS
2013 Statistics15978122415.77100197
2014 Projections14073123516.981120214
2014 Outlook: Weeks 6-11 last season tell you everything you need to know about Jackson. During that stretch, he scored 20 or more points in three games, compiling a ridiculous stat line: 29 total catches, 139 yards per game and 5 TDs. The other three games? He had 10 fantasy points combined, including a two-catch, 11-yard performance against Seattle. All told, Jackson had only four games with 100-plus receiving yards, reaffirming that he has WR1 talent and WR2 reliability.
15. Larry Fitzgerald, Ari WRYEARTARRECYDSAVGTDRUSHYDSTDPTS
2013 Statistics1368295411.610280188
2014 Projections15288105712.082110205
2014 Outlook: It's hard to believe, but Fitz hasn't eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards in either of the past two seasons. In fact, he's posted two of the four worst yardage figures among WRs with 130-plus targets over that span. To be sure, the five quarterbacks who've played for Arizona since 2012 certainly share in the blame. With Carson Palmer under center last season, Fitzgerald finished with 146 fantasy points, 16th among WRs -- and even that was propped up by 10 trips to the end zone, his highest mark since 2009. It's hard to count on Fitzgerald to keep his TDs in the double digits, especially as he enters his age-31 season.