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.
2014 Outlook: Were it not for Peyton Manning's season for the ages, Brees would have garnered a ton of fantasy football MVP votes last year. He hit the 5,000-yard benchmark, threw 39-plus touchdown passes for the third consecutive season and had as many games with 30-plus fantasy points as Manning (five). Brees also has a highly favorable schedule -- only five games against teams that finished in the upper third of the league in fantasy QB points allowed. You can't go wrong with him.
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.
2014 Outlook: No rusher in 2013 was more of a revelation than Stacy. A fifth-round rookie, he seemingly vanished from the Rams' plans after an awful summer, but by Week 5 he ascended from nowhere to seize the starting job. From that point forward, he averaged more than 20 carries per game and flashed a punishing skill set that was reminiscent of a young Frank Gore. The Rams drafted Tre Mason this spring, perhaps signaling a slight decrease in Stacy's workload. But his proven track record near the goal line -- he had 6 TDs from inside the 5-yard line last year -- makes him an RB1.
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.
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.
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.
2014 Outlook: Alf is a pure inside, two-down runner perfectly suited for a zone-blocking scheme. Morris' uncanny vision makes up for his less-than-elite measurables. But his drawbacks are clear: When the Redskins trail, he doesn't play much because he won't contribute as a receiver. Jay Gruden's new coaching staff in DC has pledged to keep most of Mike Shanahan's old run-game concepts in place, which is what Morris owners want to hear. You're not getting a record-breaking, fantasy-MVP season from Alf, but he's not likely to bust either.
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.
2014 Outlook: Let's be clear: Ball didn't do enough in his rookie season to prove he's worth ranking among the top 20 running backs. In fact, he blew a golden depth-chart opportunity, allowing Knowshon Moreno to swoop in and become the No. 5 fantasy RB. The main culprit was his inadequate pass blocking, a big no-no in Peyton Manning's offense. But now that Moreno is gone, Ball will get first crack to inherit a workload that includes tons of catches, goal-line carries and garbage-time touches. He's a talented all-around player with size and short-area burst, and he should be a breakout star -- if he can learn to block for Mr. Manning.
2014 Outlook: The biggest test for Cincy's first-year offensive coordinator, Hue Jackson: how he handles his running backs. Bernard proved he had feature-back potential during his rookie season, but BenJarvus Green-Ellis still got a whopping 220 carries -- and then the Bengals spent a second-rounder on Jeremy Hill this spring. If given more touches, Bernard has the game-changing elusiveness and breakaway ability as a receiver to open up the Bengals' offense. Evidently, though, Cincy wants to pair him with a short-area bruiser. There's still a chance Gio busts out, but there's also a chance he gives away a ton of short TDs.
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 (as long as he's able to recover from his latest concussion) 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.
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.
2014 Outlook: Taken in total, Bush's first year in Detroit was a success. For the first time in his career, he eclipsed both 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards in the same season. But it was a bit of a wild ride. Bush missed two games with knee and calf injuries and also battled fumble issues. Most disconcerting was the emergence of Joique Bell, in whom the Lions made a significant investment this winter. While Bush is still a devastating receiver and lightning-quick in space, Bell is a better pure ball carrier. Bush deserves to be a fantasy starter in all leagues, but this is shaping up as a committee.
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.