With the NFL Playoffs officially underway, Fantasy Football has come to an end for the 2014 season. For some, the season may have been a disappointment or ended in heartbreak, while for others, the season was full of promise, and ultimately a championship. As always, there are players who have down years and just don’t live up to the hype; however, there are players who come out of nowhere and can really elevate a team from average to serious contender. With that, here are your 2014 NFL Fantasy steals.
Odell Beckham Jr.
After missing the entire preseason and the first four weeks of the regular season, Odell Beckham made his NFL debut in week five, recording four catches for 44 yards and a touchdown. What was most significant about this game however, was that Giants receiver Victor Cruz, sustained a season ending knee injury, which ultimately placed Beckham in the starting role for the duration of the season. As the season went on Beckham showed that he was the top receiver taken in the 2014 NFL Draft, making highlight real catches game after game. In just 12 games, Beckham recorded 91 catches for 1305 yards and 12 touchdowns. The LSU product proved that he was one of the league’s most illusive players and should find himself ranked among the elite receivers in 2015.
After Ray Rice was suspended for the majority of 2014, the Baltimore Ravens had many questions regarding the running back position. After Bernard Pierce struggled, Justin Forsett was named the starter in week three, and he never looked back. In 16 games, Forsett gained 1266 yards, with 8 touchdowns, averaging a league best 5.4 yards per carry. This was the first time in his career where Forsett got the opportunity to start for the whole season. The Ravens can say goodbye to Rice, as they have found their playmaking back. Look for Forsett to be ranked among the top ten running backs for 2015.
After never recording a 1000 yard season in four previous years in Seattle, Golden Tate amassed career highs in receptions with 99, and yards with 1331, while recording four touchdowns. When Calvin Johnson missed several weeks due to injury, Tate proved a viable option for Matthew Stafford and excelled on third downs. The Notre Dame product proved that he’s a worthy number two fantasy receiver and was a mid to late round steal in most leagues. Although Tate is stuck behind Calvin Johnson on the depth chart, there is no doubt he will be ranked among the top 20 receivers in 2015.
Despite starting the season on the bench, Bengals running back Jeremy Hill provided great value and production down the stretch. After starter Giovani Bernard suffered multiple injuries, Hill got the chance to start, and never gave up the job. In all 16 games (only eight started), Hill accumulated 1124 yards and nine touchdowns. What’s most impressive about Hill is his speed, despite being 6’1 and 240 pounds. Hill can break tackles while also turning on the jets and bust a long run. There will still be a debate regarding the amount of carries that Hill will receive next season due to Bernard and his potential as well. But for now, Hill will be ranked in the top ten for running backs.
Despite not being named the starter to begin the year, Teddy Bridgewater had a very solid rookie season, and proved to be a solid option at quarterback. Bridgewater had three games in which he threw for over 300 yards, which is almost unheard-of as a rookie. In total, Bridgewater finished with 2919 yards and 14 touchdowns. The dual threat also rushed for over 200 yards and a touchdown. The Louisville product will continue to excel in his second year as a pro, and if the Vikings can give Bridgewater more weapons on the offensive side of the ball, there is no telling how good he can actually be.
Although there were many stars who made a name for themselves in 2014, these five stood out as the biggest ones. Prior to 2014, there was a good chance that these players would be drafted towards the late rounds; however, this won’t be the case come 2015. Odell Beckham, Justin Forsett, Golden Tate, Jeremy Hill and Teddy Bridgewater proved that they can be valuable components to any fantasy team, so when it comes time to draft, take a closer look at these dynamic talents.