Fantasy Football: Ranking Series (Round Four)
- Jonathan Stewart, RB Carolina Panthers: The Carolina Panthers may be relying on Stewart a little bit more this year. DeAngelo Williams has moved on to Pittsburgh, and now that Kelvin Benjamin is down for the season, Jonathan Stewart may see a uptick in carries. Stewart shared quite a bit of time with Williams over the last few years. With Williams out of the picture, Fozzy Whittaker may be used as change of pace back. We will see Mike Tolbert on the goal line, but Stewart will see most of the work. He’s a good RB2 in my mind.
- Carlos Hyde, RB San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers are going to be awful this year. They have no defense, and their offense is subpar at best. Even though this season doesn’t look very bright for the 49ers, Carlos Hyde is going to get a majority of the work in the bay. It’ll be a decent year for Hyde. Now that Frank Gore is gone, Hyde is the main man. He did good as a backup to Gore, averaging four yards a carry and getting four touchdowns in 2014. We’ll see how Hyde does as top back in San Fran. I’ve got him as an early fourth round pick.
- Andre Johnson, WR Indianapolis Colts: He did move to a much better offense by transitioning from Houston to Indy, but he’ll be the second option behind T.Y. Hilton. He also developed a little fumbling problem his last year in Houston. Prior to last year, he had fumbled six times in his entire 12-year career, without fumbling since 2010. Last season, he fumbled three times and lost them all. He has been healthy as of late, only missing one game in the last three years. I have Johnson going early in the fourth round.
- Latavius Murray, RB Oakland Raiders: He broke out as the starter at the tail end of last season, and has looked good so far in the preseason. The Raiders acquired some weapons this year by drafting Amari Cooper and picking up Michael Crabtree in the offseason. As of now, the Raiders look good on paper, but we have yet to see what they can do in a full game. That being said, I have Murray going towards closer to the middle of the fourth.
- Russell Wilson, QB Seattle Seahawks: By now you have either two running backs or two wide receivers. If you have the former, take Wilson. Russell Wilson is a guy you don’t have to worry about having a good amount of weapons, because for his last two years he hasn’t had a good group of receivers. The Seahawks picked up Jimmy Graham, and Wilson can make plays with either his arm or his legs or even a combination of both. Either way, you still get points. I usually like to take quarterbacks later in the draft, but I feel good finding Wilson here in the fourth.
- Peyton Manning, QB Denver Broncos: The offseason was rough for this team. Head Coach John Fox, Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase, and Defensive Coordinator Jack Del Rio all moved on to new teams. The Broncos did hire offensive guru Gary Kubiak, but I will always believe that Manning runs this offense. Despite who the Broncos hire, Manning will do what he always does and that’s picking defenses apart. Number five and six boiled down to who could I trust to be around longer in the season, and Wilson won by decision. Manning will score big in a lot of games, which will be a huge boost to your team. I still like him mid-fourth.
- Andre Ellington, RB Arizona Cardinals: The Cardinals recently signed Chris Johnson, and I’m really not running his value way down. Andre Ellington would be higher on my list, but he needs to prove he can stay healthy. Ellington is by far the best option for his team, but he runs the risk of losing his starting role. Not because the talent is not there, but because he struggles being around. We all saw what happened in Denver with Montee Ball. The Cards have a good defense, which will allow them to control the clock. They will control it with Ellington, but due to his health issues, I’m staying away from him until mid fourth.
- Joseph Randle, RB Dallas Cowboys: Due to the Cowboys being weird with their roster and having some bad luck with injuries, I reserve the right to change my pick here. From what I have heard, as it stands, Randle is the number one back in Dallas. We’re also starting to get into the guys that are good, but will have some major time shares. It’ll be interesting to see how the Cowboys use their backs, because remember, they picked up Darren McFadden this offseason as well. Keep an eye on Randle this preseason, I certainly will. Right now I have Randle going towards the tail end of the fourth.
- DeSean Jackson, WR Washington Redskins: He could be a good addition to your team in the fourth round, but being on the Redskins, he’ll have a few rough games. He will certainly score some garbage time points. The Skins will be down late in a lot of games, going to the air to try and catch up. Robert Griffin is down right now, but I think we can all agree that he’s a bust and him being out doesn’t hurt Jackson’s value. DeSean Jackson is by far Washington’s best option in the passing game. I’ll probably pass over him, but if I had to take him, it would be late fourth.
- Todd Gurley, RB St. Louis Rams: I’d say Gurley is the starting guy in St. Louis, because I don’t think you take him that high to sit on your bench. Gurley was great in college, and despite a suspension last year, he would have been a strong Heisman trophy candidate. The Rams have a good defense, which may allow them to run the clock down often. I believe it’ll be a bit of a timeshare between Gurley and Tre Mason this year, But Gurley can score from anywhere on the field. I’ll take him late fourth if he’s around.
- Greg Olsen, TE Carolina Panthers: I touched on it earlier, but once again, Kelvin Benjamin is out for the year with an ACL tear. With such a young receiving corps in Carolina, look for Olsen to see quite an uptick in targets this year. Prior to the Benjamin injury, Olsen was easily a top five tight end. I moved Olsen above Travis Kelce in my rankings because of the unfortunate situation, but if you’re a dynasty owner, swap Kelce with Olsen. I am ranking this by standard re-draft, so I am going Olsen late fourth before Travis Kelce.
- Travis Kelce, TE Kansas City Chiefs: Kelce is in a great system in K.C. They’re conservative, small check down throws. In PPR, Kelce is going to be a beast. The Chiefs also haven’t thrown a touchdown pass to a wide receiver since their wild card game against the Colts. Travis Kelce is a great red zone target for Alex Smith. I think Kelce will be a great option once again, and I look for him as the last pick in the fourth round.
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