(Go ahead, jump up and down, scream and yell ... you know you want to!)
With just a few more weeks before the regular season kicks off in the Great Northwest, it's time for my final one-man, five-round mock draft for the 2014 campaign. You're going to see plenty of changes, including the moving up of two elite pass catchers and the falling down of several running backs who now come with a lot of risk.
This mock draft is based on NFL.com's standard 10-team leagues with a basic (non-PPR) scoring system that rewards four points for touchdown passes and six points for all other touchdowns scored. Each numbered position represents an individual fantasy team, so no more than one quarterback, three running backs, three wide receivers or one tight end will be selected per roster.
1. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings: Peterson experienced a decline in production in 2013, but that was to be expected after the monstrous totals he recorded in the previous campaign. Still, he did finish eighth in fantasy points among running backs despite also missing time due to injuries. Peterson is no mere mortal, and the addition of new OC Norv Turner is huge.
2. LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles: The NFL's leading rusher, McCoy piled up 1,607 yards with 11 touchdowns and 278.60 fantasy points in the offense of Chip Kelly. The Pitt product has now finished second in fantasy points among backs in two of the last three seasons, and at 25-years-old he's in the prime of his career. His value won't decline with Darren Sproles in town.
3. Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: Charles is coming off the best season of his career, recording 70 receptions, 1,980 scrimmage yards, 19 total touchdowns and 308 fantasy points. Whether he can duplicate his top status among running backs remains to be seen, but at age 27 he's still in his "salad days." Look for Charles to remain the focus of Andy Reid's offensive attack.
4. Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears: Forte thrived in the offense of coach Marc Trestman with career-bests in rushing yards (1,339), rushing scores (9), receptions (74) and receiving yards (594). The 28-year-old runner also averaged 4.6 yards per carry, proving he can be both explosive and versatile. Forte will be a top-four selection and could go top three in countless PPR formats.
5. Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers: Lacy started his rookie campaign with a combined 15 carries in his first three games, due in large part to a concussion that cost him some playing time. From Weeks 5-17, though, he averaged 20.7 carries per game. One of the NFL's best young running backs, Lacy is in line to see a true featured role in a great offense led by Aaron Rodgers.
6. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks: It seems like Lynch has been in the league forever, but he's just 28-years-old and should still have one more strong season left in him. He's ranked among the top five running backs based on fantasy points in three straight seasons, and I'm not buying that Christine Michael or Robert Turbin is going to put a massive dent into his carries.
7. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions: I am not a fan of taking wide receivers in Round 1, but grabbing Megatron here makes sense. He is a safer bet than any of the running backs still on the board, and I won't lose much by waiting an extra pick or two to nab a runner. Johnson has finished no worse than third in fantasy points at wideout since 2011, so he's guaranteed to produce.
8. Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints: How valuable is Graham? His 217.5 fantasy points would have ranked him as a super stud regardless of position ... he would have finished as the sixth-best running back, the top-ranked wide receiver and the top-ranked defensive unit. I like taking runners in Round 1, but there's too much risk there for me not to grab Graham right here.
9. Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos: Some might think this is too high to draft the unproven Ball, but the departure of Knowshon Moreno (Dolphins) makes him a prime breakout candidate. Running backs have almost always had success playing alongside Peyton Manning, so there's oodles of potential here. Ball has the tools and upside to post similar numbers to Moreno this season. Buy in!
10. DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys: Murray shook his prone-to-injuries label to start 14 games in 2013. Outside of Dez Bryant, he was the best statistical performer on the field for coach Jason Garrett. Murray even caught 53 passes, which showed how versatile he can be out on the field. It also helps that he's 25 and playing in an offense that will suit his skill set well.
11. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys: Bryant is a fantasy monster, scoring a combined 25 touchdowns over the last two seasons. He's also a stud when it counts, scoring in each of his last five games of 2013. With new OC Scott Linehan at the helm and his pass-laden offense now in Big D, Bryant is a serious threat to push Megatron for the top spot among fantasy wide receivers in 2014.
12. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos: Thomas has emerged into a stat-sheet stuffer, as his fantasy-point totals have risen in each of the last three seasons. He's finished with 90-plus catches, 1,400-plus yards and a combined 24 touchdowns over the last two seasons as the main threat in the pass attack for Manning, and at age 26 he's barely in the prime of his career.
13. Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: The addition of new OC Hue Jackson in Cincinnati will be massive for Bernard, who is a major candidate to move up in future mock drafts. Fantasy owners need to keep tabs on what happens with BenJarvus Green-Ellis and rookie Jeremy Hill in camp, but Bernard is the Bengals running back to target in all fantasy football formats for 2014.
15. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: One of the most talented young wide receivers in the NFL, Green has finished fourth in fantasy points at his position in each of the last two seasons. He has also seen his reception and yardage totals increase during that time. Like Thomas, Green is entering the prime of his career and should remain a fantasy star for years to come.
16. Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears: In his first two seasons in Chicago (with Jay Cutler), Marshall has recorded a combined 218 catches, 2,803 yards and 23 touchdowns. He's also finished no worse than fifth in fantasy points among wide receivers. Even with Alshon Jeffery emerging into a fantasy star, Marshall is still easily one of the top five players at his position.
17. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons: Jones missed most of the 2013 season due to injuries, but don't let his absence make you forget about him. He was on pace to average over 100 yards per game and would have ranked among the top 10 players at his position based on fantasy points. The Alabama product has what it takes to be a top-five fantasy wideout heading into the 2014 campaign.
18. Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos: Manning is coming off a historical season that saw him set new NFL records for passing yards (5,477) and passing touchdowns (55), and he also led all players with over 400 fantasy points. That won't happen again in 2014, but Manning is still the top fantasy player at his position. He'll go higher in almost all drafts, but not in mine.
19. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Brown broke out in 2013, recording career bests almost across the board while finishing second among wide receivers in catches (110). He ranked among the top 10 wideouts in fantasy points in all standard leagues as well, and went third in PPR formats. Consider Brown a mid-tier No. 1 fantasy receiver and a top-25 overall player.
20. Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers: Nelson has recorded 1,200-plus receiving yards and a combined 23 touchdown catches in each of his last two full seasons for the Packers. As long as he can avoid injuries, which has been a problem in the past, Nelson should post strong totals. It also doesn't hurt to have a stud quarterback in Rodgers throwing him the football once again.
31. Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Ellington might lack size at just 5-foot-9 and 199 pounds, but he makes up for it in versatility and big-play ability on the field.
32. Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers: Allen was by far the best rookie wide receiver in fantasy football this past season, not to mention the top option for Philip Rivers.
33. Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams: Stacy remains the top back in St. Louis, but the addition of rookie Tre Mason could hurt his value a bit. He's a viable RB2 in all drafts.
34. Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers: Mathews, who is entering a contract year, is coming off the best statistical year of his NFL career and is in the RB2 conversation.
35. Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons: White, who is being undervalued in drafts, should rebound after what was a injury-plagued and disappointing statistical campaign in 2013.
36. Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins: Garcon lost some of his luster with the addition of DeSean Jackson, but he's still a surefire WR2 in standard and PPR leagues.
37. Julius Thomas, TE, Denver Broncos: There aren't many tight ends who will warrant a draft pick in the first five rounds of 2014 drafts, but Thomas is clearly one of them.
38. Rashad Jennings, RB, New York Giants: An underrated running back, Jennings will see a prominent role for the G-Men and could turn into a serious steal in all re-drafts.
39. Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts: Luck didn't put up a ton of monster stat lines in 2013, but he still ranked an impressive fourth in fantasy points among quarterbacks.
40. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots: Will Gronkowski be ready for the start of 2014? Regardless, he's a risk well worth taking once we get this late into Round 4.
41. Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants: Cruz should rebound under new OC Ben McAdoo after what was a dreadful 2013 campaign. He'll turn into a nice WR2/3 for fantasy leaguers.
42. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings: If you're looking for a sleeper/breakout wide receiver for upcoming season, look no further than the talented Patterson.
43. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Fitzgerald has failed to record 1,000-plus yards in each of his last two seasons, but he did find the end zone 10 times in 2013.
44. C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills: Spiller was a major bust last season, but he'll be back at 100 percent health in 2014 and is well worth a roll of the dice in this round.
45. Wes Welker, WR, Denver Broncos: As long as Welker's concussion issues don't return, he's a good bet to post No. 2 fantasy wideout numbers in an offense led by Manning.
46. Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco 49ers: Crabtree has all the tools to record No. 1 wideout numbers, so landing him at this stage of the draft could be a massive steal.
47. Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers: Gore keeps putting up numbers,despite his extended age. Does he fall of a cliff this year? Time will tell, but don't count him out.
48. Percy Harvin, WR, Seattle Seahawks: Harvin is a risk due to his proneness to injuries in recent seasons, but he'll be worth a roll of the dice at this stage of the draft.
49. Toby Gerhart, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars have a lot of faith in Gerhart, who could see 300-plus carries in an offense that will lean on the run quite a bit.
50. DeSean Jackson, WR, Washington Redskins: Jackson was a top-10 fantasy wideout in Philadelphia last year, but a move to Washington a bit less desirable. Draft him as a WR3.