C.J. Spiller, Running Back
All Fantasy Football Leagues: 1st-round pick
C.J. Spiller should be a first-round draft pick in any fantasy football league, especially in points per reception (PPR) leagues. There’s no crystal ball to see how a season will pan out, but a healthy Spiller has an incredibly high ceiling as a runner and receiver.
In redraft leagues, Adrian Peterson is the only running back I would absolutely take ahead of Spiller. As of Aug. 6, five running backs have a higher ADP than Spiller, according to Fantasy Football Calculator: Peterson, Doug Martin, Jamaal Charles, Arian Foster and Marshawn Lynch. All of the backs are deserving, but beware of Foster and Lynch. Foster has a lot of tread on the tires, while Lynch may not receive as many carries due to running back depth and Russell Wilson getting more opportunities in the passing game.
In keeper leagues, Spiller won’t be available unless you’re in the first year of your league. Someone is benefiting from selecting Spiller around the ninth round in 2012. If this is a first-year league, Spiller is a first-round pick. You won’t benefit in future years when selecting Spiller in the first-round of a keeper league, but he may help you win a title this year.
In first-year dynasty leagues, Spiller is a top three running back alongside Doug Martin and Trent Richardson. All three backs are young with plenty of good football ahead of them.
Fred Jackson, Running Back
Redraft: 9th-11th round
Keeper: 9th-11th round
Dynasty: 13th-15th round
In any fantasy football league, you want to draft a few backups who may start at some point in the season. Jackson is a back that fits that mold. “Fred-Ex” has shown the ability to be a No. 1 running back with Buffalo and if C.J. Spiller sustains an injury, Jackson can fill in and put up strong numbers. In any fantasy league format, it’s a great idea to draft Jackson if you also draft Spiller. Currently, Jackson has an ADP of 9.04 which is about 40th among all running backs. In a dynasty format, take Jackson a few rounds later than this due to his age (32).
Stevie Johnson, Wide Receiver
Redraft: 8th-9th round
Keeper: 8th-9th round
Dynasty: 8th-9th round
Johnson is pretty consistent in draft formats. He has been a solid second wide receiver on fantasy teams for the past few seasons, but that is his ceiling. If you own Stevie in a dynasty league, trading him isn’t the worst idea. Yes, Johnson has produced over 1,000 in the last three seasons, but Buffalo hasn’t had much else at wide receiver. The Bills changed this by drafting Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin. They also have T.J. Graham entering his second year and Da’Rick Rogers, who is as talented as anyone on the team.
Due to the new weapons at wide receiver and Spiller’s likely increased production in the pass game, you can also expect Johnson’s targets to go down. Johnson had 148 targets in 2012 and 135 targets in 2011, ranking ninth in the NFL among wide receiver targets in both seasons.
Johnson currently has an ADP of 8.02. Danario Alexander, Mike Williams and Josh Gordon, all ranked after Johnson, are better options going forward.
Robert Woods, Wide Receivers
Redraft: 13th-14th round
Keeper: 11th-12th round
Dynasty: 13th or 14th round in startup draft, 1st-2nd round in rookie draft
Robert Woods is the most NFL-ready rookie wide receiver in the draft class. He’ll contribute this season and he’s currently sitting at 14.05 in ADP rankings. In a redraft format, that sounds about right. In a keeper league, you’ll want to select Woods a few rounds earlier than his ADP. In the 11th or 12th round, you’re getting a terrific option as a keeper at an important fantasy position.
In dynasty leagues, his average draft position is similar to his redraft ADP, unless there is a separate rookie draft. In a separate rookie draft, take him in the first or second round. There aren’t many rookie wide receivers who will produce as much as Robert Woods this year and he should consistently produce.
T.J. Graham, Da’Rick Rogers, Marquise Goodwin (Wide Receivers)
In redraft formats, all three players may go undrafted. Graham probably has the best shot of being taken, but his ADP isn’t even on the board currently. He may be a late-round draft pick, but in most formats he’ll be on the waiver wire to start the season. Rogers and Goodwin will go undrafted in redraft formats.
In keeper leagues, I’d take a late round flier on Da’Rick Rogers, T.J. Graham and Marquise Goodwin in that order. Rogers has the highest upside of the three receivers and could pay huge dividends in 2014. All three are young receivers with starting potential. In the last two rounds of a keeper league, it’s always a good idea to take guys with high upside.
In dynasty draft formats, Goodwin and Rogers will be solid mid-round additions in rookie drafts. It’s likely that someone will have Graham on their roster from last season, but he’s worth a flier if available. You can sign Graham to a one-year deal and re-sign him if he emerges in 2013.
Scott Chandler, Tight End
Redraft: No sooner than 16th round
Keeper: No sooner than 16th round
Dynasty: Late-round pick
The tight end position is getting thinner by the day, but Chandler is not a viable starting option at tight end. He’s a late second tight end at best in each format. Chandler is coming off of an ACL injury, and while it’s healing nicely according to Sal Maiorana of the Democrat and Chronicle, he’s not worth a pick unless you wait until very late to draft your backup tight end.
In a dynasty league, Chandler may be on a roster already. If available, he’s worth a late-round pick on a one- or two-year contract. Chandler is a decent tight end, but he alone is not going to win you any fantasy football games.