Every offseason, we all have a difficult decision to make. We need to decide who we’d choose with the first overall pick in 2015 Fantasy Football leagues.
It’s a decision that is tantamount to naming your first child and choosing what flavor blood you’d like in your transfusion.
This past week, I signed on to help two different Fantasy Football magazines with their content, and I had to decide pretty early this offseason who I thought should be the first overall pick in 2015 Fantasy Football leagues.
It wasn’t an easy decision, by any means.
First, let’s say that unless otherwise specified on this site (and most Fantasy sites, really), we’re talking about non-PPR leagues. Someday, PPR leagues will be the default leagues – but today is not that day.
Secondly, this decision can change, as it sometimes does, throughout the course of the Fantasy Football offseason. We don’t always have a consensus first overall pick. Sometimes, there’s great debate between two and even three players for the top honor. Looking back over the past few years on MyFantasyLeague.com’s Average Draft Position, we can see the tightest races between first, second and third overall pick:
- 2010: 1-Chris Johnson (1.81), 2-Peterson (2.47), 3-Jones-Drew (4.66)
- 2011: 1-Peterson (2.23), Foster (3.38), 3-Rice (5.09)
- 2012: 1-Foster (2.33), 2-Rodgers (3.12), 3-Rice (4.20)
- 2013: 1-Peterson (1.78), 2-Martin (4.22), 3-Foster (5.52)
- 2014: 1-McCoy (2.77), 2-Charles (3.55), 3-Peterson (4.92)
It looks like the most obvious No. 1 overall pick was in 2013 with Adrian Peterson, then Peterson again in 2011. While CJ2K might have had a higher ADP, the second-place person was only 0.66 ADP spots behind him, whereas A.P. in 2011 was 1.15 ADP spots ahead of Arian Foster.
I think this year, we’ll see a pretty close battle, as the running back position continues to have problems year over year, from suspensions, to injuries, to changing offenses, to the Zero-RB Theory.
People just don’t respect running backs like they used to!
Who’s the First Overall Pick in 2015 Fantasy Football Leagues?
First, let’s go through the candidates for the top overall pick – in alphabetical order:
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh: The super-sophomore out of Michigan State was the most valuable running back in PPR leagues last season, with only Matt Forte catching more passes among running backs. Only teammate Antonio Brown scored more Fantasy points in PPR leagues than Bell last season, who many steered clear of because of his meager 3.5 yards per carry in 2013. He rushed for 4.7 yards per carry last season. He’d be the unquestioned first overall pick in 2015 Fantasy Football leagues, had he not been busted with a DUI and possession of marijuana last August. He’s suspended for the first three games of the season, though, barring a reduction on appeal.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh: Brown was the highest scoring player in PPR formats last season, and he’s not facing any suspension. But he’s a wide receiver, and we’re RB-elitists around here! Go back to the huddle, you route-runner! We don’t like your kind! Don’t be surprised to see him get drafted by some Zero RB Theorist in PPR leagues this summer, though.
Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City: Charles was a steady producer last year, scoring in nine games, but he eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark just once in 2014. He’ll be in his third year in Andy Reid’s offense, and the passing game is finally getting some vertical help with Jeremy Maclin and Chris Conley. If Alex Smith can throw deep once in a while (please?), that will open up the running game for Charles.
Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay: Lacy improved on an excellent rookie season, rushing for over 1,100 yards in consecutive seasons. He’s a good pass-catcher out of the backfield, is used in the red zone and has stayed healthy for 31 of 32 career regular season games. The bad news is that he only had three 100-yard rushing efforts last year, and he had under 75 total yards in six games last season. However, he really picked it up late in the season,
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle: “Beast Mode” finally got paid this offseason, as Seattle ponied up $31 million for his services over the next three years. He led the NFL with 12 rushing touchdowns for the second year in a row, and no one has come up from the depth chart to challenge him. Over the final eight weeks of the season, no running back scored more Fantasy points than Lynch, who rushed for 824 yards and 10 touchdowns. The problem is that he just turned 29 years old, and he has had a rough 2,200-plus touches in his nine NFL seasons.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas: He was the NFL’s leading rusher last season (by 500 yards!), he’s still young (27 this season) and he was the top Fantasy scorer among RBs in 2014. But he signed with Philadelphia, after Ryan Mathews, and he’s not expected to come close to the 450 touches he got last year.
Each player has a good case for being the top pick — but I think I’m going with Jamaal Charles!
His offensive line was bad last year and he still dominated, so I expect that line to improve some in 2015. Even with that bad line, he rushed for 5.1 yards per carry, and he scored more touchdowns than anyone but Lynch. Charles has 50-percent fewer career touches than Lynch, also. The added weapons around Charles should also give him more breathing room in the box.
Who do you plan to take with the first overall pick in 2015 Fantasy Football leagues?
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.