2015 Outlook: Matthews saw his role increase last year as his rookie season progressed; he was fantasy's No. 11 wide receiver from Week 9 on, racking up 6 TDs and an impressive 15.8 yards per catch. All but four of Matthews' 98 targets -- and all eight of his touchdowns -- came out of the slot. Although his snap and target counts figure to rise, especially with Jeremy Maclin now in Kansas City, it appears Matthews will be ticketed for a Marques Colston-like role as long as Chip Kelly is in charge. Like Colston in his prime, expect Matthews to put up WR2 numbers.
2015 Outlook: A matchup nightmare still in his prime, Graham remains a premier red zone weapon: 40 of his 51 career TDs have come from inside the 20. But he's coming off a disappointing year during which he played through a serious shoulder injury. He also moves to the Seahawks, who ran the ball 51.4 percent of the time in 2014 (the NFL's second-highest rate) and employ Marshawn Lynch, an elite red zone back. So don't be surprised if Graham's target and TD totals decrease. Of course, the TE landscape is kind of a mess for fantasy, and Graham still has unguardable skills. He should be the No. 2 TE in all leagues.
2015 Outlook: When the 49ers didn't re-sign RB Frank Gore, it became clear they'd rely on Hyde to be their leading man this season. Sure, Reggie Bush is on hand, but his playmaking ability waned in 2014, and he's a crummy bet to stay healthy. This is Mr. Hyde's show now, and considering the Niners made an annual habit of giving Gore 250-plus carries, a big workload awaits the beefy second-year back. But how good is San Francisco's O-line, which dropped off in 2014 and just lost All-Pro G Mike Iupati? If the team is headed for a major decline post-Jim Harbaugh, even a talented young RB like Hyde might get caught up in the mess.
2015 Outlook: Forsett finished 2014 as fantasy's No. 8 RB, so why aren't we higher on him? Well, it's difficult to reconcile what we know about his size (5-8, 197), age (30 in October) and career with the 1,529 scrimmage yards he racked up as Baltimore's surprise starter. Forsett had never even eclipsed 1,000 total yards in any of his six previous seasons. Yet his quickness and vision were consistently excellent last year, and new OC Marc Trestman loves throwing to RBs. Lorenzo Taliaferro and rookie Javorius Allen loom as heftier options, and some kind of rotation could develop. But Forsett will get the benefit of the doubt in Week 1.
2015 Outlook: After a breakout rookie season (17th-ranked WR), Allen failed to live up to his preseason billing in 2014 (48th). He was used in more of a possession role, which explains his drop in yardage (from 1,046 to 783). The real trouble, however, came in the touchdown department. After catching six of 14 end zone targets as a rookie, Allen converted just one of his six looks in 2014. As a result, his TD total was cut in half, from eight to four. The reason a rebound could be in store? At 23, Allen is just approaching his prime, and history says that his size (6-2, 210) will lead to an uptick in TDs. He's a borderline WR2 with big upside.
2015 Outlook: This could be the year the Seahawks finally unleash Wilson as a thrower. In all three of his seasons, the Hawks have called at least 70 more running plays than passing, and as a result, Wilson has never finished higher than 15th in the league in single-season passing yards. But Seattle traded for Jimmy Graham, giving Wilson the kind of aerial weapon he's never had. Even if his rushing yards decrease from 849 (which led all QBs in 2014), his floor will remain relatively high, and we expect him to exceed his career-best 26 passing TDs. At long last, Wilson clearly belongs among the top fantasy options at QB.
2015 Outlook: Gordon should be the first rookie selected in 2015 drafts. He's an elite big-play threat and lands on a Chargers squad that needs a workhorse. Danny Woodhead will return from his broken leg and reassume a third-down role. But Gordon, who's a rocked-up 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, is a vastly superior player to Donald Brown and Branden Oliver and should dominate between-the-tackles work. When he was healthy at the tail end of 2013, ex-Charger Ryan Mathews averaged 22 carries per game. That's a fair ceiling for Gordon's workload as a rookie, and his collegiate history tells us he's less likely than Mathews to lose time to injury.
2015 Outlook: We tried to tell you: Drafting any fantasy QB (even Peyton!) in the first round is a mistake because you're chasing the prior year's stats -- and historic seasons rarely repeat. In 2014, Manning subtracted 750 yards and 16 TDs from his incredible 2013 campaign. On average, he was the No. 4 overall fantasy pick, but he finished as merely the No. 4 QB. Now he's 39, he has a new coach, and go-to targets Julius Thomas and Wes Welker are gone. No doubt, Manning's drop-off after Week 14 was the result of an injured quad. Still, while we trust his reads and instincts as much as any signal-caller's, last year served as a good reminder: Don't reach for Manning -- or any other QB.
2015 Outlook: Stewart took over the Panthers' backfield in Week 14 and looked like his younger self while averaging 5.1 yards per carry. He ran with power, as befits his 235-pound frame, but he also jump-cut and high-stepped through traffic like a smaller man. Sometimes late-season RB surges look fluky on tape, but not this one. And now that DeAngelo Williams is off to Pittsburgh, Stew Beef looks like the clear lead back. Oh, if we could only convince ourselves he'll stay healthy. Stewart has missed 20 games since 2012, including three last year. He has more raw talent than several guys ahead of him on our list but more risk too.
2015 Outlook: After a breakout season in which he caught 105 passes for 1,056 yards and 6 TDs, Edelman was tabbed by many as a lock to regress in 2014. His numbers dipped a bit (92-972-4) -- mostly due to his missing two games with a concussion -- but he remained one of Tom Brady's favorite targets. In fact, the QB looked Edelman's way 10 or more times in each of the final seven games Edelman played last season. The 29-year-old won't score much, and Brady's suspension will mean a slow start, but because he's a legit 100-catch candidate, Edelman remains a great PPR play.
2015 Outlook: Jackson finished a disappointing 35th in fantasy points among WRs last season, but it's important to note his lack of luck in the TD department. He scored only twice last year, due in part to an ugly 13 percent conversion rate on his 15 end zone targets. (He converted 43 percent of his end zone targets into TDs the previous five seasons.) Tampa Bay surely isn't paying Jackson almost $10 million to watch Mike Evans carry the offense, so expect the 32-year-old to be a major part of OC Dirk Koetter's game plan. With Jameis Winston now under center, Jackson is a sure bet to see a boost in TDs.
2015 Outlook: Remember when Gore was the bane of owners' existence because he kept getting hurt? Well, since 2011, he hasn't missed a start. He'll take his rock-solid act to Indy, where one of the NFL's highest-scoring offenses should afford him TD chances galore. The Colts don't have a legit threat to Gore on the depth chart; even better, he's an elite blocker who won't come off the field in passing situations. To be sure, there's risk in relying too heavily on a 32-year-old RB. Since 2001, Emmitt Smith and Ricky Williams are the only RBs that old to reach 1,000 yards rushing in a season. But Gore's upside as Andrew Luck's caddie is high.
2015 Outlook: Times have changed in New Orleans. Jimmy Graham is gone, and Brees' receiving corps consists of a declining Marques Colston and a bunch of unproven young guys. Meanwhile, RBs Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller are present -- and expensive. Brees tied for his fifth pass-yardage title in 2014, but it might have been his last. We expect the Saints to balance out an offense that threw 63 percent of the time last year, fifth most in the NFL. High volume has covered up the fact that Brees' play has dipped below elite levels; his 6.95 yards per dropback in 2014 was his lowest mark since 2010. If the volume slides, Brees might look like a decidedly mortal fantasy QB.
2015 Outlook: It was a wild season (and offseason!) for Tom Terrific. In the first four weeks of 2014, he amassed a pedestrian Total QBR of 46.5 (28th overall), and some fantasy owners were cutting him. After four months, though, he was streaking toward another Super Bowl crown. Brady's days as a downfield gunslinger are gone, but his incredible short- and intermediate-passing accuracy makes TE Rob Gronkowski and WR Julian Edelman awesome weapons.
2015 Outlook: The definition of boom-or-bust, Jackson ranked among the top 17 fantasy wideouts during eight weeks in 2014. In his other seven games, he finished no higher than 46th. And despite having just 56 receptions (47th among WRs), Jackson ranked 13th in receiving yards (1,169). That's what happens when you lead the position in average yards per target (13.4) for the second consecutive year. Jackson still has WR2 game, just be sure to strap in for a bumpy ride -- and a missed game or two. He has sat out at least one contest in five of his seven NFL seasons.