The Best-Value Players by Position Heading into 2015

The Best-Value Players by Position Heading into 2015
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Looking for "value" in your upcoming 2015 fantasy football leagues? We'll take a look back to the 2014 season to assess which players outperformed their paychecks, making not of their current financial situation for the upcoming season as well.

Quarterbacks

USATSI_8307179_160074578_lowresAs you might imagine, Wilson was the best value among 2014 quarterbacks, and his expiring contract, and reports that no extension is coming this offseason, makes him both a must-watch and a great draft for 2015. Tannehill's progress over the past few years garnered him a 4 year $77M extension with the Dolphins, while Teddy Bridgewater might be the fantasy sleeper at this position in 2015.
PLAYER 2014 TEAM 2014 CAP 2015 TEAM 2015 CAP EXPIRES
Russell Wilson SEA $817,302 SEA $1,696,868 2016
Ryan Tannehill MIA $3,455,046 MIA $4,873,364 2021
Teddy Bridgewater MIN $1,245,364 MIN $1,556,705 2019
Colin Kaepernick SF $3,767,444 SF $15,265,753 2021
Andrew Luck IND $6,029,454 IND $7,034,363 2017
» Complete list of 2014 Best Value Quarterbacks
 

Running Backs

USATSI_8307179_160074578_lowresIt was a strong year for plenty of underpaid running backs, led once again by Le'Veon Bell (PIT), and Eddie Lacy (GB). Bell faces a 3 game suspension to start 2015, and is now somewhat handcuffed by backup DeAngelo Williams, but he's still an excellent fantasy asset. Forsett returns on a 3 year deal to the Ravens, while DeMarco Murray brings his heavy workload to rival Philadelphia in 2015.
PLAYER 2014 TEAM 2014 CAP 2015 TEAM 2015 CAP EXPIRES
Le'Veon Bell PIT $936,500 PIT $1,123,800 2017
Eddie Lacy GB $771,003 GB $925,203 2017
Justin Forsett BAL $570,000 BAL $1,600,000 2018
C.J. Anderson DEN $499,166 DEN $589,167 2016 (R)
DeMarco Murray DAL $1,596,625 PHI $5,000,000 2020
» Complete list of 2014 Best Value Running Backs
 

Wide Receivers

USATSI_8307179_160074578_lowresCobb would have been one of the most coveted free agents had the Packers not locked him up in the final hours. His $10M per year average ranks 8th among active WRs. Hilton is likely the first Colt to garner an extension in the coming months, while the Dez Bryant long-term contract situation looks bleak as the July 15th deadline approaches. Markus Wheaton figures to be a sleeper in upcoming fantasy drafts.
PLAYER 2014 TEAM 2014 CAP 2015 TEAM 2015 CAP EXPIRES
Randall Cobb GB $1,021,179 GB $5,350,000 2019
T.Y. Hilton IND $706,850 IND $1,673,850 2016
Odell Beckham, Jr. NYG $1,892,036 NYG $2,365,045 2018
Dez Bryant DAL $3,148,500 DAL $12,823,000 2016
Markus Wheaton PIT $662,844 PIT $752,844 2017
» Complete list of 2014 Best Value Wide Receivers
 

Tight Ends

USATSI_8307179_160074578_lowresAllen had an underrated 2014 campaign, heldback somewhat because of his counterpart TE Coby Fleener (10th on our list). Each of their contracts are set to expire after the 2015 season. Travis Kelce had an excellent start to the 2014 season, but averaged out as the year went on. He figures to be an impact player in 2015. The "Peyton" factor will test its limits this year as former Bronco Julius Thomas will become the featured offensive weapon in Jacksonville.
PLAYER 2014 TEAM 2014 CAP 2015 TEAM 2015 CAP EXPIRES
Dwayne Allen IND $835,826 IND $1,717,826 2016
Travis Kelce KC $700,826 KC $853,826 2017
Julius Thomas DEN $741,000 JAC $10,300,000 2020
Rhett Ellison MIN $645,146 MIN $1,617,146 2016
Andrew Quarless GB $1,250,000 GB $1,750,000 2016
» Complete list of 2014 Best Value Tight Ends 
 

Defensive Line

USATSI_8307179_160074578_lowresThe honeymoon is over now in Houston, as 2014 represented the last time J.J. Watt's cap figure fill be under $5M for the foreseeable future. His cap allocation jumpst to nearly $14M in 2015. Wilkerson's value to the Jets likely increased with the suspension to Sheldon Richardson for the first 4 games.
PLAYER 2014 TEAM 2014 CAP 2015 TEAM 2015 CAP EXPIRES
J.J. Watt HOU $4,575,567 HOU $13,969,000 2022
Mike Daniels GB $645,146 GB $1,617,146 2016
Johnathan Hankins NYG $916,065 NYG $1,099,278 2017
Kawann Short CAR $1,052,349 CAR $1,262,754 2017
Muhammad Wilkerson NYJ $2,187,500 NYJ $6,969,000 2016
 

Linebackers

USATSI_8307179_160074578_lowresThe Chiefs have plenty of defensive players to sign, but none might be more important than OLB Justin Houston, who currently stands on a $13.195M franchise tag for the upcoming season. Jamie Collins had a breakout year in New England, allowing for short-term cap flexibility on the defensive side of the ball. Khalil Mack showed why he was worth a Top 5 pick in his first year as a Raider.
PLAYER 2014 TEAM 2014 CAP 2015 TEAM 2015 CAP EXPIRES
Justin Houston KC $1,598,812 KC $13,195,000 2016
Jamie Collins NE $854,773 NE $1,025,727 2017
Brandon Marshall DEN $495,000 DEN $585,000 2016 (R)
Bobby Wagner SEA $1,174,854 SEA $1,370,663 2016
Khalil Mack OAK $3,395,818 OAK $4,244,773 2019
 

Secondary

USATSI_8307179_160074578_lowresDenver extended Chris Harris before Christmas last year, and will actually get cap RELIEF from him in 2015, before his figures soar to $9M in 2016. The Lions did well to bring back Rashean Mathis on a 2 year deal that averages just $1.75M per year, while Darius Slay accounts for just $1.4M and $1.6M of their cap space over the next two seasons on the other side of the field.
PLAYER 2014 TEAM 2014 CAP 2015 TEAM 2015 CAP EXPIRES
Chris Harris DEN $4,187,000 DEN $3,000,000 2020
Rashean Mathis DET $635,000 DET $1,625,000 2017
Mike Adams IND $635,000 IND $3,100,000 2017
George Iloka CIN $610,075 CIN $1,582,075 2016
Darius Slay DET $1,202,114 DET $1,442,537 2017
 

Kickers

USATSI_8307179_160074578_lowresTucker was the past rated kicker according to Pro Football Focus, and was tendered at a healthy $2.356M for the upcoming season. He'll be an extension candidate with a productive start to 2015. Catanzaro was a nice surprise for the Cardinals, who remains inexpensive through the 2016 season before becoming a restricted free agent. Blair Walsh remains a great value through the 2015 season, when the former 6th round pick's rookie contract is set to expire.
PLAYER 2014 TEAM 2014 CAP 2015 TEAM 2015 CAP EXPIRES
Justin Tucker BAL $570,000 BAL $2,356,000 2016
Chandler Catanzaro ARI $420,500 ARI $510,500 2017 (R)
Blair Walsh MIN $599,483 MIN $689,483 2016
Patrick Murray TB $420,000 TB $510,000 2017 (R)
Greg Zuerlein STL $617,756 STL $723,307 2016
 

Punters

USATSI_8307179_160074578_lowresHekker was rewarded for back-to-back top rated punter honors with a 6 year $18M extension in St. Louis. His cap number doesn't exceed $3M until 2020. Tress Way (WAS) and Ryan Quigley (NYJ) are on minimum salaries with restricted free agency still available in the future, meaning steals for their respective teams should they continue to produce at a high level.
PLAYER 2014 TEAM 2014 CAP 2015 TEAM 2015 CAP EXPIRES
Johnny Hekker STL $724,885 STL $2,373,773 2021
Sam Martin DET $535,075 DET $625,075 2017
Tress Way WAS $420,000 MIN $510,000 2016 (R)
Matt Bosher ATL $1,168,950 ATL $3,355,000 2020
Ryan Quigley NYJ $495,000 STL $585,000 2016 (R)



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