Fantasy Football 2014: Who’s Value Is Rising?

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

 

It’s Christmas. That means a few things.

Of course, you gain many, many things. Gifts, time with friends and family, great good and basketball. Okay, so maybe not GREAT basketball, but you get the point. However, for as incredible as this time of year is, many people lose a very precious thing.

Fantasy football.

On Monday evening, most fantasy championships came to a close, ending the 2013 season. Unless you are one of those folks who play during the treacherous Week 17, in that case, good luck. It’s been a pretty memorable season, and owners have seen plenty of players take a hit in value. Guys like Ray RiceC.J. Spiller (wipes tears) and Trent Richardson come to mind. However, there were also plenty of guys who posted career seasons, seeing their fantasy values skyrocket.

Is it 2014 yet?

Nick Foles (ADP: undrafted)

It turns out that this sophomore signal caller was anything but “Foles Gold.”

We knew that the quarterback position was insanely deep coming into the 2013 season. I mean, in 2012, 21 quarterbacks eclipsed 200 fantasy points, which is the most we have ever seen. Guys emerge each and every year from under center. Foles did just that…

And then some.

Saint Nick has been exactly that: A Saint. Since Week 8, Foles is the second-highest scoring fantasy quarterback, behind only Peyton Manning. In fact, Foles’ fantasy points per game (32.6) is only behind Manning this season, but, of course, Foles only started nine games this season. The offense has been a big factor in Foles’ success, but a large part of it was just Foles playing beyond his years. The second-year signal caller leads the league in passer rating (118.8), despite also leading the league in yards per attempt (9.03). His 25;2 TD/INT ratio is outstanding, and on Sunday night, he set the franchise record for highest completion percentage in a single game. He is very much legit, and should be a top-seven quarterback in drafts next season. If he is a top-12 quarterback now, despite only playing in nine games, I can’t wait to see what he will do with a full slate next year. He has terrific weapons around him, a creative, exciting offensive-minded head coach, and, oh, unless the Eagles let him walk, Jeremy Maclin will be back next year.

Josh Gordon (ADP: 122)

Duh.

Like, is there anything else to say about Gordon that hasn’t already been said? Despite being suspended for the first two games, Gordon is currently the number one wide receiver in all of fantasy football, averaging almost 17 standard points per game. He has been incredibly consistent, posting just three games with fewer than 11 fantasy points. Gordon has finished as a top-12 fantasy wideout seven times this season, the most among any receiver. And according to ESPN, his 1,652 total yards since Week 3 are just four fewer than the likes of LeSean McCoy, the league’s leading rusher. Keep in mind that he posted monster numbers, including becoming the first player in NFL history to post consecutive 200-yard games, with a constant shuffling at the quarterback position. He’ll be a second-round pick next season, and probably the second or third wideout selected.

Now imagine if he gets a quarterback…

Alshon Jeffery (ADP: 123)

Marc Trestman, we are not worthy.

Okay, okay. It obviously wasn’t all Trestman responsible for Jeffery’s breakout year. I mean, this guy is a stud. At times, Jeffery was a better and more reliable fantasy wideout than his teammate, Brandon Marshall, but is currently five points behind the veteran. Still, Jeffery was incredible this season, posting his first 1,000-yard season, adding seven touchdowns. In fact, if he can manage to post 168 yards this week, he’ll break Marshall’s franchise record from a season ago. As long as Trestman is calling the shots in Chicago, Jeffery will continue to see plenty of opportunity.

The offensive-minded head coach has worked wonders for fantasy owners of the Bears. Chicago is averaging an impressive 27.8 points per game, which is the third-most in the NFL. They are also just 74 yards shy of breaking the Bears all-time franchise record for yards in a season, and are also 40 points away. Trestman has been a savior for fantasy purposes, and Jeffery will be terrific again next season with him on the sidelines. Chicago will continue to throw the ball a lot. During Trestman’s past, guys like Jake Plummer have attempted almost 600 passes. Also, as the offensive coordinator in Oakland, Rich Gannon won the MVP award, posting a career-high in pass attempts (618). This season, the combination of Jay Cutler and Josh McCown have totaled 555 pass attempts. Jeffery, meanwhile, is an immense talent who can make big plays, out-leap any defender, and with Marshall still opposite him, he won’t ever see double-coverage.

Feel free to snatch him in the second or third round next year.

Other notables: Knowshon Moreno, Julius Thomas, Zac Stacy, Keenan Allen

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.


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