2014 Fantasy Football Season in Review: AFC North

Fantasy Football NFL Team Fantasy Analysis

Baltimore Ravens


            The Baltimore Ravens had an interesting fantasy football season in 2014. It is characterized by sleepers. Due to the absence of running back Ray Rice, the Ravens had the opportunity to give fantasy owners a new sleeper candidate. Little did owner know that possibly the biggest sleeper addition of the year would come from this team.

Justin Forsett was a huge break for fantasy owners who ended up with poor or even average running backs after the draft. He ranked fifth in rushing yards this season with 1,266. He also added an addition 263 receiving and eight touchdowns to his stat line.

Another impressive sleeper was the ageless wide receiver Steve Smith. Smith definitely declined in his final two seasons with the Carolina Panthers, but in his first year as a Raven he stuns all his doubter who said his career was over. Being released by the team that he had spent his entire career with and even helped elevate to a Super Bowl appearance must have put quite a chip on his should. By the end of the season, Smith had tallied 79 receptions for 1,065 yards and six touchdowns. 

Cincinnati Bengals

             The Cincinnati Bengals were a bit of a confusing team to follow this season. As fantasy owners expected, quarterback Andy Dalton was not a guy to have. Though Dalton had a few great games, he also had a number of terrible games. The problem is that there were no real factors that would give owners and indication as to whether it was going to be a good week or bad week for him.

The wide receiver position was easily the team’s most frustrating position. A.J. Green demanded a very high draft pick: in most cases a second rounder. He ended up missing a lot of time due to injuries. The once he returned he would be rather inconsistent. On weeks where he was still banged up, he would go off and on weeks where it was believed his was completely healthy he would bust. This opening allowed Mohammad Sanu to flourish in Green’s place. Sanu was one of the best wide outs to own until Green saw the field again. Then he once again was overshadowed.

Finally, there are the running backs. Giovani Bernard was expected to have a huge season. He started off with a bang. He was one of the best in the league early on, but a mid season injury quickly put him in a supplemental role. Rookie Jeremy Hill then took over as the team’s lead back and never looked back. Hill will be a highly targeted player drafts leading into the 2015. It will be very interesting to see what owners think of Bernard going into next season as well.

Cleveland Browns 

            The Cleveland Browns were one of those fantasy football wastelands. Nobody was good until Josh Gordon returned late in the season from his suspension. His return was one of the most interesting in fantasy football because it provided the opportunity for fantasy owners to pick up a huge addition off the waiver wire. He did not disappoint either.

In case you did not know, Johnny Football was worthless.


Pittsburgh Steelers

             If you bet your entire roster on one team, the Pittsburgh Steelers would have been a very fine choice. Big Ben was an absolutely stud during the middle of the season. He became the first quarterback in NFL history to record two straight games with six passing touchdowns.

Antonio Brown may have been the best wide receiver to own in fantasy football. He ended the season with an astonishing 129 receptions for a league leading 1,698 yards and 13 touchdowns. He will be the first wide receivers selected in most drafts going into next season. Of course, that depends on how fantasy owners feel about Calvin Johnson.

Finally there was LeVeon Bell. If you had Bell during the playoffs, you probably won your fantasy league. During the last half of the season, there was not a single player in fantasy football who had more value than the Steelers’ second year running back.

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