Fantasy Football Friday: Is Andrew Luck a 2015 1st Round Pick?

The fantasy season is coming to an end. It's never to early to look ahead, especially for those of you in keeper leagues.

(I want to thank everybody who has followed this Fantasy Football Friday column in 2014 and made it a success. I will continue to provide content for those of you in fantasy leagues for the NFL playoffs and as much relevant offseason content as we can through the lead up to identify fantasy relevant players in the NFL Draft, free agency, and beyond. If you'd like to e-mail story ideas for the Fantasy Football Friday column or tell us how awesome your league is, please send them to steve.andress@colts.nfl.net)


INDIANAPOLIS --- It's championship week in fantasy football. If you've made it this far, you don't need our help anymore. Start your studs. Don't overthink it.

For the majority of you though, it's the most depressing time of the year before the most wonderful time of the year. That time when you think what could have been in your favorite fantasy league before you finally realize the holiday season is a little more important than winning a fantasy championship (but barely).

But still that time when you realize you'll be asking yourself all offseason how the heck you traded Odell Beckham Jr. week 9...and now that 2-6 team you traded ODB to has won 7 weeks in a row and is in the fantasy championship after beating you in the semifinals (yeah, that happened to me; I hate myself).

But like the Chicago Cubs, there's always next year. And next year your favorite quarterback is going to come at a premium in fantasy football for most of you who are loyal Colts fans reading this column. Andrew Luck enters the final week of the 2014 fantasy season as the #1 overall performer. 322 points. 23 points per week. Aaron Rodgers is the only other fantasy player to hit the 300 point plateau right now. But Rodgers will be 32 next year. Luck will only be 26 and still improving.

And the Colts UpClose crew is unanimous on Luck as they ranked their top fantasy QB, RB, and WR for 2015:

TOP POSITION PLAYERS FOR FANTASY 2015:

Steve Andress

QB - Andrew Luck (Colts)

RB - Le'Veon Bell (Steelers)

WR - Antonio Brown (Steelers)

Jim Sorgi

QB - Andrew Luck (Colts)

RB - Le'Veon Bell (Steelers)

WR - Calvin Johnson (Lions)

Kevin Bowen

QB - Andrew Luck (Colts)

RB - LeSean McCoy (Eagles)

WR - Odell Beckham Jr. (Giants)

But will Andrew Luck be worth of a 1st round pick in fantasy drafts next season? Here is my way, way too early top-25 for 2015 as we exit this season (sidebar: if you aren't in a keeper league, I'd strongly recommend them. I'm in two. One with high school friends & one with college friends, and it's been an awesome way to keep in touch and have fun):

Steve Andress Way Too Early 2015 Fantasy Top-25

RB Le'Veon Bell

RB Eddie Lacy

RB Matt Forte

RB Jamaal Charles

RB DeMarco Murray

WR Antonio Brown

WR Demaryius Thomas

RB Arian Foster

WR Calvin Johnson

QB Andrew Luck

RB LeSean McCoy

RB Adrian Peterson

RB Marshawn Lynch

WR Jordy Nelson

WR Odell Beckham Jr.

WR Dez Bryant

WR Julio Jones

QB Aaron Rodgers

WR T.Y. Hilton

WR A.J. Green

RB C.J. Anderson

RB Jeremy Hill

WR Jeremy Maclin

TE Rob Gronkowski

RB Andre Ellington

Notes

Andrew Luck: In the past, I've been a strong advocate of waiting on a quarterback. I think next year will be different with Luck. Why? He's young and already the top QB in fantasy this season, despite 20 turnovers. Think about that. He's also young, unlike the other previous top tier quarterbacks of Manning, Brees, and Rodgers. Rodgers still isn't old though and is the only other quarterback I'd consider being in the first two rounds. You can't win your fantasy draft in the first two rounds, but you sure can lose it. The volatility of the RB position has shown us that in the past two years. For the love of all that is fantasy, if you can't keep a safe RB or WR, get Luck.

It remains to be seen if DeMarco Murray will be a Cowboy next year. If he is, he'll move up. If he isn't, he'll likely move down.

I'm not sure why Antonio Brown doesn't get more love as the top fantasy WR of 2014. Not only has he outperformed every other WR (and every RB except Bell, Forte, and Lynch this season), but he's done it with week-to-week consistency. That's GOLD in fantasy. He's had at least 5 receptions and 70 yards in EVERY SINGLE GAME THIS SEASON. He's also scored in double figures in standard scoring all but 2 weeks. Once the top 5 RBs are taken, there's no reason not to take Brown with how high his floor is. I didn't understand why people didn't rank him in the top-25 in the 2014 preseason, and I won't understand why people won't make him one of the first 2 WRs drafted in fantasy next season.

Given all of Adrian Peterson's off-the-field issues in 2014, if he's back with the Vikings for the start of training camp in 2015, you have to consider him a 1st round fantasy pick again. Not only is he uber talented, but he actually has a functional quarterback situation with Teddy Bridgewater now, and he did just go through a season with minimal wear and tear on his body. He still has a chance to be a top-10 pick again next year.

There are minuses next to Broncos players, because if Peyton Manning were to retire it would change everything. If Manning is back, game on for Thomas and Anderson (and Emmanuel Sanders).

Odell Beckham Jr. is a rookie freak of fantasy nature. It's amazing what he's done as a rookie. He's a top-12 fantasy WR this year, despite missing the 1st 4 games of the season. In just the weeks he's played, he's the #2 fantasy WR and less than 1 point per week behind Antonio Brown. It would not be crazy to make him a top-3 WR off the board next season in drafts.

T.Y. Hilton is another WR that is only getting better and his quarterback situation will only get better. He could definitely move up this list.

Jimmy Graham taught us why should not draft a TE in the first two rounds this season. The earliest I can justify drafting Rob Gronkowski would be at the turn of the 2nd and 3rd rounds. He has scored 3 points per week more than the #2 TE this year, Greg Olsen and 6.2 points per week more than the #10 TE, Dwayne Allen. But he is still an injury risk. Obviously, if you have him on your team, you have a distinct advantage over almost every other team in your league at that position, but you go safe in the first two rounds with stud RBs, WRs, or an elite QB.

Speaking of safe picks: running backs...not. It was a minefield again in the 1st round of drafts for the 2nd year in a row. I'm at the point now where if I don't have one of the top picks, I'm taking a top-5 WR or top-2 QB and banking those points. Then, take a RB in the 2nd round.

Lastly, there's no way these rankings will change in the next 7 months. Absolutely no way.

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