2015 Fantasy Football Spring Top 100: Jamaal Charles sits at No. 1
The NFL draft is over, teams have gone through their voluntary offseason workouts and training camps are just about two months away. That means it’s time for our first fantasy football rankings of the year. There will be changes between now and draft season, but it’s time for us to plant our initial flag this season.
Where do we rank Le'Veon Bell following his three-game suspension? Who is our No. 1 overall wide receiver? Which rookie running back do you need to be monitoring this summer? Below is the SI.com spring top 100 for the 2015 fantasy football season.
He’s reaching the upper limits of running back shelf life, but Charles is still the center of the universe that is the Kansas City offense.
Lacy owns the Green Bay backfield, and he stepped up as a receiver last year. Drafting him is a great way to invest in the league’s best offense.
All things considered, Peterson could have a better year this season as a result of missing nearly all of last year. Still elite in most every way.
Marc Trestman may no longer be running the show in Chicago, but Forte is the key player in reviving the Bears’ offense. Expect 300-plus touches.
If you’re all about the floor, Lynch is your man. He has at least 1,500 total yards and 12 touchdowns in each of the last three seasons.
When you combine talent, red-zone ability, big plays and team context, Bryant is the best fantasy receiver in the league.
Bell would be the runaway No. 1 overall player if not for a three-game suspension to start the season. His all-around skill set still makes him an easy first-round selection.
Brown has 229 receptions for nearly 3,200 yards and 21 touchdowns over the last two seasons. That should say it all.
If not for Peyton Manning’s shaky health, Thomas would likely be the top receiver in the rankings. As it stands, he’s still a surefire first-round player.
Murray will be hard-pressed to match last year’s numbers without the great Dallas line in front of him, but he should get a full workload in Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense.
Higher than you’ll see him in most places, but I want Aaron Rodgers’s No. 1 receiver on my team. Environment matters, and few receivers can match Nelson’s.
Jones probably would have led the league in receiving yards if he didn’t suffer a hip injury at the end of last season. One of the league’s best players when he’s on the field.
Beckham was the No. 1 receiver in fantasy last year on a per-game basis. Even if he doesn’t reach the heights of his rookie year, he’ll be an elite WR1.
Hill took over as the starting running back in Cincinnati last year, and it’s his gig to lose after the way he ran the ball. Top-five potential.
The Off-season Of Gronk will eventually come to an end, and when it does he’ll go right back to being the best tight end in the NFL.
Injury woes and quarterback inconsistency have knocked Johnson down to his lowest ranking in years. That could make him a bargain come draft season.
You probably won’t get 16 games out of Foster, but he proved last year that he can still be one of the best running backs in the league on a per-game basis.
No matter if you’re talking real life or fantasy, he is the best quarterback in the league, hands down.
Jeffery has averaged 87 catches for 1,267 yards and 8.5 touchdowns the last two seasons. With Brandon Marshall gone, he should see even more targets this year.
Don’t let one injury-riddled season scare you away from Green. He has proven himself to be a top-flight receiver, even with Andy Dalton at the helm.
McCoy trades the video-game feel of Chip Kelly’s offense for the heavy workload promised to him by Rex Ryan and Greg Roman. Consider it a wash.
Morris remains one of the most underappreciated players in the NFL. Three straight seasons with at least 1,000 yards and seven scores.
You should sense a theme with the Packers by now—fantasy owners should invest in this offense. Cobb provides your last real opportunity to do so.
The runner-up in the 2014 Heisman race landed in a perfect spot in San Diego. The bet here is that he’s the runaway Offensive Rookie of the Year. Can be a dominant runner.
Not totally sold on Anderson being the workhorse, or on the Broncos relying on him as much as they did at the end of last season.
Luck was the model of consistency and likely carried most of his owners to the fantasy championship last year. Has the weapons and running ability to be even better this year.
Odell Beckham Jr. got all the attention, but Evans was nearly as good in his rookie season. Jameis Winston will be an upgrade over Josh McCown and Mike Glennon.
You probably won’t have to take him this early, but you’ll be happy to have him on your team. Does everything out of Miami’s backfield, and the team’s offense is improving.
Ingram finally had the breakout season last year that had been foretold since the dawning of time. Role could increase with Saints potentially running more this year.
With Frank Gore in Indianapolis, it’s Hyde’s show. He could be a breakout player, but expect his stock to rise over the summer.
The 10th pick in the draft figures to be the Rams’ starter, but he’s still working his way back from a torn ACL.
Hilton is the top receiver for an elite quarterback in a pass-happy offense. Andre Johnson’s presence should help him this year.
Graham’s fantasy stock takes a hit as a result of being traded to Seattle from New Orleans.
With new OC Marc Trestman and a lack of competition, Forsett could very well follow up on his breakout 2014 campaign.
Sanders enjoyed a banner season in Year 1 with Peyton Manning. He should be a rock-solid WR2 again in 2015.
The ageless Gore found himself an ideal fit in Indianapolis. Doubt him at your own peril.
Benjamin tailed off as the year progressed, but he still eclipsed 1,000 yards and found the end zone nine times. Should only continue to improve.
If Wilson became a top-three quarterback without a go-to pass-catcher, imagine what he can do with Jimmy Graham. Could make this ranking look foolish.
Everything went wrong in Washington last year, but Jackson still racked up 1,169 yards and six touchdowns. Think of what he can do if even 50% of things go right.
Hopkins has the talent to outpace this ranking, especially as the top receiver in Houston, but quarterback issues could restrict his ceiling.
For the first time in his career, Stewart has the Carolina backfield to himself. Now all he has to do is stay healthy.
Murray had to breathe a sigh of relief when the Raiders didn’t draft a running back. He’ll be the team’s starter and should be an RB2.
Just like Frank Gore, the veteran Johnson picked the perfect team in free agency. He could experience a renaissance catching passes from Andrew Luck.
With Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills out of town, Cooks is the unquestioned top pass-catcher for Drew Brees. That’s always a good look.
For now, we’ll keep Brady at this spot. If a suspension ends up coming, he’ll obviously slide down the rankings.
Ellington may not be capable of handling a workhorse role, but he was also dealing with injuries from training camp on last year. Getting some help in the backfield should keep him upright.
Don’t let the last month of the 2014 season obscure the fact that Manning was dominant for three months. He’s got one good year left.
Bryant burst on the scene at midseason, and ended up scoring eight touchdowns in 10 games. Pittsburgh’s offense is another one fantasy owners should target.
Speaking of the Steelers, Roethlisberger had arguably the best season of his career last year. He can follow up on that with Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant at his disposal.
The No. 1 receiver in Philadelphia during the Chip Kelly era has been a fantasy WR1 each of the last two years. That’s Matthews’s role in 2015.
Brees is no longer a top-tier fantasy quarterback, but he still put up a top-five season in 2014. Down, but not out.
All signs point to the Chiefs finally unleashing Kelce this year. If everything breaks right, he has the upside to be the No. 1 fantasy tight end.
Watkins would likely be higher if not for the shaky quarterback situation in Buffalo. It’s hard to trust the Matt Cassel-EJ Manuel duo.
Edelman is a PPR machine and a favorite target of Tom Brady’s. Both of those factors bode well for him in 2015.
When Calvin Johnson was injured, Tate filled in admirably as the No. 1 receiver in Detroit. Should be an easy WR2 this year.
Olsen set career-highs in receptions (84) and yards (1,008) last year. He should be just as popular with Cam Newton in 2015.
Marshall is with his fourth team and enters a questionable quarterback situation with the Jets. Don’t expect top-level production this year.
No one is ever excited to take Ryan, but he has averaged 4,526.25 yards and 28.75 touchdowns per season over the last four years.
The Lions drafted Ameer Abdullah, but Bell is still the primary runner in Detroit. Expect another season of RB2 production.
Bernard ceded the starting gig to Jeremy Hill, but he’ll still have a sizable role in the Cincinnati offense and a top-20 RB ceiling.
The quarterback so many people love to hate remains quietly effective for fantasy owners. Don’t let the secret out.
Allen crashed down to earth in his sophomore season, catching 77 passes for just 783 yards and four touchdowns. Year 3 should fall somewhere between that and his rookie year.
Spiller seems forever a disappointment, but the Saints will try to cast him in the Darren Sproles role. Could be a steal.
Don’t laugh. With Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Rashad Jennings and Shane Vereen, Manning won’t be hurting for weapons.
Every so often (Corey Dillon in 2004, Stevan Ridley in 2012), Bill Belichick relies on one running back. Blount could be that guy this year.
The Tannehill breakout began last season. With Jordan Cameron, Kenny Stills and Jay Ajayi added to his stable, it will accelerate this year.
Newton experienced a bit of a down year, but he was still a fantasy stalwart thanks to 539 yards and five scores on the ground.
Just wipe last year from your memory. No doubt that’s what Floyd did. His talent is undeniable, and Carson Palmer is back.
Jennings isn’t an exciting pick, but he’ll give you steady weekly production. A great target for those going cheap at running back.
Maclin may not be in Philadelphia anymore, but he’s not going to fall off the map playing with Alex Smith. Don’t be surprised if he’s a WR2.
The rookie out of Indiana has a great opportunity in a wide-open Atlanta backfield. Make sure he’s on your radar.
Jackson isn’t a WR1 anymore, but he can still be plenty productive as a second or third fantasy option at the position.
Cooper was the first receiver off the board in the draft. There’s no doubt about his talent and upside. If he connects with Derek Carr, look out.
Yeldon will have every chance to start for the Jaguars, but don’t assume he’s going to beat out Denard Robinson. The latter was impressive last season.
Bennett has had a couple nice seasons with the Bears, and remains one of the most productive tight ends in the league. Could get more looks with Brandon Marshall gone.
If any back in Dallas gets the lion’s share of the carries, he could end up being a fantasy monster. McFadden, of all people, looks like the odds-on favorite to be the starter.
White’s days are numbered, but he can still be a WR2 over the course of an entire season. At worst, he’s great for depth.
Wallace played/sulked his way out of Miami, and is now one of Teddy Bridgewater’s top receivers. That’s not a bad position to fall into.
If Cameron can stay healthy this year, he’ll be a top-five tight end. You heard it here first. Position drops off after him.
Smith got the job done with touchdowns rather than yards last year. No matter how he did it, he again contributed a top-25 season at the position.
The shine is off Stafford a bit, as inconsistency and an improving quarterback class have bumped him to the back end of the QB1 group.
Ertz could very well take a major step forward in the Philadelphia offense. Of course, we’ve been said that each of the last two years, and it hasn’t come to fruition.
After a hot start last year, Smith really tailed off in the back half of the season. Consider his 2014 numbers his ceiling for 2015.
Vereen was a bust last season, but the receiving skills that made him a hot commodity last year are still present. Should have a nice role with the Giants.
Gates just won’t give in to Father Time. The latter eventually catches up with everyone, but Gates will be a TE1 until the day he announces his retirement.
Don’t assume Crowell is going to run away with this job. Terrance West and rookie Duke Johnson will be involved, as well.
Stevan Ridley and Zac Stacy will push Ivory, but chances are he’s the starter for the Jets. Still, don’t hope for more than low-end RB2 numbers.
Johnson opened eyes in Minnesota at the end of last year and enters this season with major sleeper potential.
Robinson was enjoying a nice rookie season before a foot injury ended his year in November. He’s the No. 1 receiver in an improving offense.
The Bears used the seventh pick to team White with Alshon Jeffery. Gives Jay Cutler another big target in the red zone.
LaFell presents fantasy owners with a cheap way of investing in the New England offense. That’s never a bad thing.
Landry didn’t get much attention with all the big-time rookie receivers last year hogging the spotlight, but he was quietly productive. Give him a boost in PPR leagues.
Abdullah will likely inhabit the role manned by Reggie Bush in Detroit the last few seasons. Has a top-25 running back ceiling.
Cruz should be ready for the year after a gruesome knee injury ended his 2014. Circle his name. He could be a steal.
Fitzgerald has suffered through some tough seasons with the Cardinals, but he can still give fantasy owners WR2 production.
Decker learned last year how tough life can be without Peyton Manning. Those same issues may be present in 2015.
Daniels will be playing with a coach who loves his skills and a quarterback who is one of the all-time greats. He has top-five tight end potential.
It always seemed Stills was underutilized in New Orleans. Don’t expect that to be the case in Miami.
Don’t write Sankey off based on his lackluster rookie season. The Tennessee offense was a complete mess, and Shonn Greene was in the mix, for some reason. He’s a true sleeper.
Our bet is one of these two Tennessee running backs ends up putting up RB2 numbers at an RB4 price. Cobb, the rookie from Minnesota, will push Sankey for the starting job.