Before the draft last year and afterward I did a series of articles called “The Final Countdown” and “Revisiting The Final Countdown“, I counted down my ranking of the rookies at each skill position. Now a year later I am going to re-rank them according to what has happened so far. Part 1 will be the QB’s and RB’s while Part 2 will be the WR’s and TE’s. Let’s begin!
1. Geno Smith – Previously #1
As I had predicted, Geno Smith was the best QB in this draft. He was the starter in New York from week 1. While that really isn’t saying much since this crop was unimpressive, he still was the best. Geno finished with 3,046 yards passing, 366 yards rushing, 18 total TD’s, 21 INT’s, with 55% completion rate (195 fantasy points). His job seems secure and Rex Ryan isn’t going anywhere so there is no reason to suspect Geno won’t be under center in 2014.
2. Mike Glennon – Previously #6
I wasn’t too high on Glennon previously. I found him too inconsistent and that is usually something that frustrates coaches. After three weeks of Josh Freeman starting, Schiano pulled the plug on Freeman and started Glennon. Glennon ended up finishing the year with 2,608 yards passing, 19 passing TD’s, and 9 INT’s (158 fantasy points). Glennon doesn’t have the running factor that Geno Smith does, he only had 37 rushing yards. Schiano is out as the coach in Tampa and now Leslie Frazier is in. Frazier has said nothing but positive things about Glennon so once again it looks as is Glennon will keep the starting gig in 2014.
3. EJ Manuel – Previously #2
EJ very easily could have been the best QB in this draft, however he was struggling to stay on the field. He missed 6 games in 2013 which was disappointing for Robert Woods owners. EJ was looking good and seemed to have found a favorite target in Woods. EJ finished the year with 1,972 passing yards, 13 TD’s, 9 INT’s, and 186 rushing yards (133 fantasy points). Not much has been said about EJ and his status but I cannot imagine the Bills are jumping ship on him after spending a 1st round pick. I suspect EJ will be back and better next year.
4. Matt Barkely – Previously #3
The Eagles had smoked a little something mid-season when they decided to let Barkely start a few games. This went poorly to say the least and I cannot imagine Barkely getting out of 3rd on the depth chart. With the emergence of Foles, Barkely’s chances of being the starter are slim to none. He finished the year with 300 passing yards, 0 TD’s, and 4 INT’s (2 fantasy points). I do not have high hopes for Barkely like I do for the other QB’s.
No other rookie QB had playing time in 2013 so it is hard to accurately rank them but if I had to…
5. Landry Jones
6. Ryan Nassib
7. Tyler Bray
1. Eddie Lacy – Previously #2
As I projected, Lacy was the workhorse for the Packers. He averaged 19 carries a game and played 15 games. He made the Packers have a more balanced offense and helped carry the team on his back when Rodger went down. I had previously thought that Johnathan Franklin would be a threat to Lacy, however Lacy played so well that Franklin never really had a chance in 2013. Lacy finished with 319 touches, 1,178 rushing yards, 257 receiving yards, and 11 TD’s with only 1 fumble (243 PPR fantasy points). Next year expect more of Lacy being the Packers workhorse. In fact until he breaks down and gets injured I would ride him like you used to with Arian Foster.
2. Giovani Bernard – Previously #1
Bernard had a great year despite splitting time with BenJarvus Green-Ellis. He ended up receiving almost the same amount of yards as he rushed for. Bernard finished with 226 touches for 695 rushing yards, 514 receiving yards, 8 TD’s, and 1 fumble (223 PPR fantasy points). Fantasy owners need to be patient as eventually Bernard will take over for Green-Ellis and become the main RB in Cincinnati. Expect to see a larger role in 2014.
3. Le’Veon Bell – Previously #3
After missing the first 3 games of the season, the struggling Steelers started riding him as soon as he came back in week 4. Bell was the sole bright spot in the Pittsburgh offense this year outside of Antonio Brown. Bell finished the year with 289 touches, 860 rushing yards, 399 receiving yards, 8 TD’s, and 1 fumble (217 PPR fantasy points/16.7 points per game). Bell isn’t going anywhere and I am actually more excited for him in 2014, as barring an injury, he should go over 1000 yards rushing and solidify himself as a RB2/borderline RB1.
4. Zac Stacy – Previously – #8
I wasn’t too high in Stacy before due to my thinking that the Rams would let Pead be the starter in St. Louis. While I was dead wrong about that, I did say Stacy had hope of showing Pead and Richardson up and taking the starting job. That is exactly what happened in week 5 when Stacy was handed the keys to the Rams backfield. Stacy finished the year with 276 touches, 973 rushing yards, 141 receiving yards, 8 TD’s, and 1 fumble (183 PPR fantasy points/15.25 points per game). Stacy knew he was being given a chance to prove himself and he did just that. There should be no reason to think that Stacy won’t be the starter headed into 2014.
5. Andre Ellington – Previously #6
I knew it! I had Ellington ranked higher than most. Ellington’s talent on tape shined but he had his age (24) and his poor pass blocking working against him. Turns out that the Cardinals figured out that they could use him to compliment Mendenhall and that is exactly what they did. Ellington finished with 157 touches, 652 rushing yards, 371 receiving yards, 4 TD’s, and 1 fumble (165 PPR fantasy points). I am not sure that Ellington will ever be a workhorse back in the NFL but I can foresee him maintaining a mid to lower RB2 status in PPR leagues.
6. Montee Ball – Previously #4
I liked Ball prior to the season and had him getting 15 touches a game (he got 8.75 a game) as long as he showed he can pass block. Well it turns out he struggles a bit with that and Peyton Manning has no time to wait. Knowshon Moreno ended up being the starter with Ball splitting carries with him occasionally. Ball finished the year with 140 touches, 559 rushing yards, 145 receiving yards, 4 TD’s, and 3 fumbles (108 PPR fantasy points). I am not exactly sure what will happen with Ball next year. Will Moreno leave in the off-season and the Broncos decide to trust Ball? Will Ball show he is better than Moreno and can pass block? Will Moreno leave and they draft another RB? I honestly don’t know. Ball could be anything from a flex to a RB2 next season.
7. Knile Davis – Previously Unranked
I was not too enamored with what I saw from Davis on tape. He had fumblitis and had not done anything impressive since 2010. I saw him going to a team with an established RB1 and had no expectations. Turns out Davis is a halfway decent backup and can hold his own if Jamaal Charles goes down (see his week 17 stats). Davis finished the year with 81 touches, 242 rushing yards, 71 receiving yards, 4 TD’s, and 3 fumbles. Davis is nothing more than a handcuff to Charles and I suspect when it is time to replace Charles that Davis will not be the answer.
8. Johnathan Franklin – Previously #3
I was half expecting Lacy to get injured and give Franklin a window to show his stuff. Turns out I was right but it only happened in one game (week 3 vs the Bengals). Franklin exploded that week with 16 touches and 126 yards, 1 TD, but 1 game ending fumble. That fumble and the combined reemergence of James Starks had Franklin seeing very limited playing time. I believe Franklin will improve and show his stuff once again if Lacy goes down. I have high hopes for Franklin as rounds out his game and shows he is better than Starks and possibly better than Lacy.
9. Mike James – Previously Unranked
Due to Doug Martin being a workhorse beast in 2012, I had zero expectations for any other Tampa RB. Well it turns out Martin is human and can be injured. Mike James emerged in week 7 with 17 touches, however he didn’t really explode till week 9 when he had 158 rushing yards. This of course led to him getting injured the next week and being placed on IR. James finished with 70 touches, 295 rushing yards, 43 receiving yards, no TD’s, and no fumbles. I don’t expect him to really be anything more than Martin’s handcuff, unless of course Leslie Frazier drafts another RB in the 2014 draft.
10. Joseph Randle – Previously #7
I knew eventually DeMarco Murray was going down and that Randle had to strut his stiff when this happened. Well Murray went down as predicted and Randle got his shot… Randle didn’t really do all that much with it, only averaging only 3 yards per carry. I still like him but only if Murray goes down again. Randle finished the year with 62 touches, 164 rushing yards, 61 receiving yards, 2 TD’s, and 0 fumbles. If you have Murray an the Cowboys don’t draft a back in 2014 then tarde for Randle as he will eventually be needed, if only for a few games.
Comments? Questions? Concerns? Let me know below!
Part 2 will be coming out in two weeks!