Could Matt Forte be running away from the Chicago Bears in free agency? (Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE)

Fantasy Football: 2014 First Round Draft Tips & Predictions

Listen up fantasy enthusiasts! It’s time to draft your team, and I’m here to offer up some tips on how to have a successful first round. Some words of wisdom, ” You can’t win a league in the first round, but you can lose it.”

Four Tips for Drafting in Round 1:

-Many fantasy owners are concerned about taking a running back in the First Round, but reaching for one could be the downfall of your team. Don’t reach for running backs! There are five, possibly six, top-10 worthy running backs in this year’s draft. If you can’t get one of them, then wait for quality guys in the lower rounds.

- If you’re picking in the top-4, don’t mess with what works. The four guys that I have listed below are ranked that high every year. There is a reason for that.

- The NFL is a passing league! That fact proves true for fantasy football as well. If you’re drafting outside of the top-5, take Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers. These are two proven fantasy football commodities, who are excellent building blocks for any team.

- I’m reiterating the first point, but bare with me. I understand that it’s tempting to take Arian Foster or Doug Martin, but they’ll be there later. If they aren’t available in the 2nd or 3rd Rounds, then you’ll be able to take someone like Alfred Morris, who has proven to be a consistent back.

Here is my projected First Round board for a Standard 10-team league (Non-PPR):

1. RB LeSean McCoy

The Eagles added Darren Sproles this offseason, and Chris Polk proved last season that he’s going to be included in Chip Kelly’s offense, but Shady is the guy you want on your team. He was the best back in 2013, so don’t be surprised if he tops the running back list again this year.

2. RB Adrian Peterson

His nickname is All Day for a reason. Peterson is only two seasons removed from breaking the 2,000 yard barrier, one of the greatest feats in football, especially given the passing nature of the league. Don’t think about how good or bad Minnesota is as a team, just take him.

3. RB Jamaal Charles

Other than 2011, Charles has been a very durable back. His elusiveness makes him elite, and Andy Reid’s conservative, run-oriented offense makes him an even sexier option. Yes, he’s currently nursing a foot injury, after his moving day debacle at camp, but he’ll fine once the season comes around.

4. RB Matt Forte

Chicago is loaded with talent. Quite honestly, if someone other than Jay Cutler were playing quarterback then this could be the best offense in football. Forte has the potential to be the best in the game. He is arguably the best catching the ball out of the backfield and it helps having Marshall and Jeffery on the outside, keeping defenders out of the box.

5. RB Marshawn Lynch

The Seattle Seahawks are built around running the ball and their defense. Skittles takes care of the rushing part, just watch last year’s postseason game against New Orleans. Was that the first time he ran over the Saints like that?

6. WR Calvin Johnson

Megatron has been the best at his position for at least three years now. He is simply far and away better than anyone else. Matthew Stafford has a lot of growth left, but his cannon of an arm makes Johnson a threat on every play.

7. QB Peyton Manning

He’s had two seasons in his NFL career where he has thrown for fewer than 4,000 yards, and the first was his rookie year. The man is unmatched at the quarterback position. Although Eric Decker left offseason, the Broncos added Emmanuel Sanders to the mix in their receiving corps. Peyton may not repeat his incredible stats of 2013, but he’ll pretty close in 2014.

8. RB Eddie Lacy

Lacy broke 100 yards four times last season. Don’t read much into that statistic though. The former Crimson Tide back is physical and will be used more in 2014 in order to take some of the load off of Rodgers. The Packers are absolutely a passing team, but in the NFC North it is a must to have a solid run game.

9.  TE Jimmy Graham

When you are Drew Brees’ favorite target, you’re considered a great threat. Jimmy Graham is as talented as they come. He may be upset that he can’t dunk the football after touchdowns this season, but expect to see him in the end zone plenty.

10. QB Aaron Rodgers

The Packers may not look as threatening without James Jones or Jermichael Finley, but Rodgers makes all of his receivers look good. Don’t forget either, he still has Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb at his disposal.

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