When the fantasy football season comes to an end several months from now and you finally have chance to go back and evaluate your fantasy draft, much of your success will come down to two things:
1. The players you drafted in the high rounds that underperformed
2. The players you drafted in the low rounds that overperformed
Think back to last season. Were you the one who drafted Adrian Peterson in Round 1 or Keenan Allen in Round 2? Either of those decisions would have significantly hurt your chances of contending for your fantasy playoffs.
But what about if you took a flyer on C.J. Anderson with one of your final picks? Or were savvy enough to draft Jeremy Hill in the middle rounds? Now we're telling a completely different story, aren't we? In fact, you might be shining your championship trophy as we speak.
Here's a look around the league at one player from each team with the potential to make or break your season in 2015. Next to each player, his average draft position is listed, and any references to draft rounds is based on a 10-team league.
New England Patriots: Rob Gronkowski (ADP: 15.1)
Gronk led all tight ends in targets (131), yards (1,124) and touchdowns (12) last season, but are you prepared to use an early-to-middle second-round pick on someone who'll be without his starting quarterback -- future Hall of Famer Tom Brady, no less -- for the first four weeks of the season?
Buffalo Bills: Sammy Watkins (ADP: 50.3)
There's no questioning Watkins' talent. The No. 4 overall pick from 2014 put up good numbers as a rookie (65 receptions, 6 touchdowns) despite poor quarterback play, but the Bills are still looking at EJ Manuel or Matt Cassel to guide them in 2015. You better hope that they connect with Watkins often to warrant a fifth-round pick.
Miami Dolphins: Jarvis Landry (ADP: 84.7)
The 2014 second-rounder was targeted 111 times as a rookie and finished his first NFL season with 84 receptions and five touchdowns. Those numbers should bump up in year two with Ryan Tannehill making great strides at quarterback (27 touchdowns, 12 interceptions in 2014) and Mike Wallace (115 targets last season) now a part of Minnesota's receiving corps.
New York Jets: Brandon Marshall (ADP: 67.3)
Marshall provides the Jets with a big upgrade at receiver, but the 31-year-old is coming off a largely disappointing season in Chicago (61 receptions, 8 touchdowns). Does he have anything left in the tank as he enters his 11th NFL season? Do the Jets have a quarterback who can get the 6-foot-4, 230-pounder the ball? If so, Marshall could be a steal where he's being drafted.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Martavis Bryant (ADP: 90.9)
Bryant and Markus Wheaton are entrenched in a battle for the Steelers' No. 2 wide receiver role. According to ESPN Insider Field Yates, Wheaton logged 67.1 percent of the team's snaps in 2014 compared to just 26.6 percent for Bryant. That's significant because if Bryant becomes a bigger part of the offense in his second season, his numbers (26 receptions, 8 touchdowns) have a chance to soar.
Cincinnati Bengals: Giovani Bernard (ADP: 66.6)
Bernard lost his starting job to Jeremy Hill last season, but the 5-foot-9 versatile back still managed to rack up the stats with 680 yards and five touchdowns on the ground and 43 receptions and two touchdowns via the air. That's enough to warrant a draft spot in the mid-60s right now, but if Hill misses time, suddenly Bernard is an enormous value.
Baltimore Ravens: Justin Forsett (ADP: 35.7)
Forsett finished fifth in the league in rushing last season with 1,266 yards and led all running backs with 5.3 yards per carry. Age may seem like a concern, since he turns 30 in mid-October, but you must remember that the long-time backup has only 582 career rushes, making his running back age closer to 25 or 26.
Cleveland Browns: Isaiah Crowell (ADP: 82.0)
Crowell is the most athletically gifted and talented of Cleveland's backs, but he's dropping in drafts with Terrance West and rookie third-rounder Duke Johnson also in the picture. If the run-oriented Browns commit to Crowell as their No. 1 option early in the season, you're looking at someone who could run for double-digit touchdowns.
Indianapolis Colts: T.Y. Hilton (ADP: 27.5)
Hilton was targeted 131 times last season, the 10th-most in the NFL, and it will be difficult for him to repeat that on a Colts team that suddenly has an assortment of offensive options due to the additions of Andre Johnson, Frank Gore and first-round receiver Phillip Dorsett. Add in Coby Fleener, Dwayne Allen and Donte Moncrief and it's clear Andrew Luck will have to spread the ball around more than in years past.
Houston Texans: Jaelen Strong (ADP: Undrafted)
Yes, Strong is a rookie on a team that prefers to run the ball. But he's also a big target at 6-foot-3 who put up huge numbers at Arizona State and has a chance to replace Andre Johnson as the starter opposite DeAndre Hopkins. Remember, last season 26 of Houston's 64 red zone targets went Johnson's way.
Jacksonville Jaguars: T.J. Yeldon (ADP: 59.5 )
The rookie out of Alabama is said to have picked up the Jaguars' offense quickly, and he's pegged to be the starting running back in Week 1, ahead of Denard Robinson and Toby Gerhart. But he's being taken pretty high in drafts considering he's on a team that scored the fewest points in the NFL last season (249).
Tennessee Titans: Bishop Sankey (ADP: 104.2)
How quickly we forget that Sankey was the first running back selected in the 2014 NFL draft (54th overall). The 5-foot-10, 209-pounder may not have the size or power to be an every-down back in the league, but if he solidifies the starting role over rookie fifth-rounder David Cobb, he's someone who can outperform his draft slot. Stop laughing.
Denver Broncos: C.J. Anderson (ADP: 11.9)
After leading all running backs in fantasy points from Week 10 on last season, Anderson is now a late first-round pick in many leagues. It makes sense, given his starting role on an offensive-minded team like the Broncos, but that's a hefty price to pay for someone who remains largely unproven aside from that six-game stretch last winter.
Kansas City Chiefs: Jeremy Maclin (ADP: 73.1)
Maclin leaves the dynamic Eagles offense, where he hauled in 85 receptions for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, to become the No. 1 receiving option for the run-oriented Chiefs. His low average draft position reflects the team change, but if he can find a way to approach last season's numbers as one of the few threats in the Chiefs' passing game, Maclin would be a great value.
San Diego Chargers: Keenan Allen (ADP: 56.7)
Allen was a major disappointment for fantasy owners last season, despite catching six more passes and being targeted 16 more times than he was as a rookie. The problem was his lack of touchdowns, which dropped from eight in 2013 to four in 2014. With Philip Rivers in a contract year and Antonio Gates facing an early-season suspension, a rebound season is certainly within reach for Allen.
Oakland Raiders: Latavius Murray (ADP: 53.8)
Murray showed flashes last season and has a good chance to win the starting running back job over Trent Richardson with Darren McFadden no longer in the picture. His 5.2 yards per carry last season is an encouraging sign for the former sixth-rounder, who stands to double or triple his 82 rushing attempts from 2014.
Dallas Cowboys: Joseph Randle (AD: 64.9)
It's scary to use a seventh-round pick on a player who isn't even assured the starting job, but Randle could be well worth it. Randle will have to beat out Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar for the job, which Yates believes he'll do, and if that's the case he'll have the benefit of running behind one of the best offensive lines in football after a season in which he averaged 6.7 yards per carry.
Philadelphia Eagles: DeMarco Murray (ADP: 10.9)
Murray leaves a run-oriented Cowboys team where he carried the ball a whopping 392 times in 2014 and joins another run-oriented team in the Eagles that loves to spread it around in Chip Kelly's offense. The presence of Darren Sproles and Ryan Mathews will likely lead to fewer touches for Murray, whose touchdowns could decrease like LeSean McCoy's did (from 11 in 2013 to five last season). If that happens, his current ADP is a high price to pay for Murray.
New York Giants: Rashad Jennings (ADP: 69.9)
Jennings is still being drafted way higher than his new backfield mate, Shane Vereen (93.8 ADP), and the big question is whether Vereen's presence will help or hurt Jennings' production. On one hand, Vereen will take some of his touches, but on the other hand that could improve the chances of Jennings staying healthy. Jennings has never played a full 16 games in any of his five NFL seasons.
Washington Redskins: Alfred Morris (ADP: 31.9)
Morris has had at least 282 touches in each of his first three seasons in the league, but that could be curtailed some this season thanks to the addition of rookie third-rounder Matt Jones out of Florida, who has been compared to a young Marshawn Lynch due to his downhill running style. If Jones becomes a factor as a rookie, Morris could have a hard time living up to this draft slot.
Green Bay Packers: Davante Adams (ADP: 119.9)
With so much of Green Bay's offense being firmly established, one of the few questions is how much Adams' role will grow in year two behind Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. The 2014 second-rounder showed big-time potential as a rookie last season, and it wouldn't be surprising if his receptions (38) and touchdowns (3) took a nice bump up in 2015.
Detroit Lions: Joique Bell (ADP: 52.8)
Bell no longer has to worry about competing with a veteran for the starting job, as Reggie Bush has moved on to San Francisco. But he does have to compete with rookie second-rounder Ameer Abdullah. How much of a role Abdullah plays will determine the type of season Bell has, after rushing for 860 yards and seven touchdowns in 2014.
Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson (ADP: 3.5)
After basically a full season away from the game due to suspension, Peterson is again regarded as one of the top overall fantasy players in 2015. You know the 30-year-old Peterson is hungry and ready to get back out there, but there's no telling what the year away will do to his durability after 2,054 career rushing attempts. If he shows fresh legs, though, he may be worthy of the top overall pick.
Chicago Bears: Kevin White (ADP: 75.5)
The Bears lost Brandon Marshall and replaced him with White, the seventh overall pick out of West Virginia. White is falling to an area of the draft where bigger names like Golden Tate and Jeremy Maclin are already off the board, but he has a chance to outperform them if he can mesh quickly with Jay Cutler and put his 6-foot-3 size and sub-4.4 speed to use.
Carolina Panthers: Devin Funchess (ADP: 146.1)
Generally speaking, you know what to expect out of Cam Newton and Kelvin Benjamin this season. The big question is how much Funchess, the 6-foot-4 rookie second-rounder out of Michigan, can help the Panthers' passing game. He hauled in 62 receptions for 733 yards and four scores in Ann Arbor last season.
New Orleans Saints: Brandin Cooks (ADP: 42.9)
With Jimmy Graham now in Seattle and Kenny Stills in Miami, the opportunity is there for Cooks (53 receptions, 550 yards, 3 touchdowns as a rookie) to emerge in the Saints' passing game in his second season. Drew Brees will have to find Cooks often in order for the receiver to live up to his current average draft position.
Atlanta Falcons: Tevin Coleman (ADP: 66.1)
The rookie third-rounder out of Indiana is expected to win the starting running back job ahead of Devonta Freeman. The question is how much of the workload Coleman will share with Freeman, a fourth-rounder in 2014 who caught 30 passes out of the backfield as a rookie.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Doug Martin (ADP: 97.2)
Martin has never looked the same since carrying the ball 319 times as a rookie, having combined for just 261 carries in 17 games the past two seasons. Still, he is being chosen higher than players like Bishop Sankey and Darren Sproles. If Jameis Winston's presence at quarterback can open up the running game, Martin has a chance to return to glory.
Seattle Seahawks: Jimmy Graham (ADP: 29.5)
Graham is a major upgrade to Seattle's passing game, but from a fantasy perspective you have to wonder if there's any way he can repeat the production he had in New Orleans. Among tight ends last season, Graham ranked third in targets (123), second in receptions (85) and third in touchdowns (10). Since fewer passes are expected to come his way in Seattle's run-based offense, Graham will have to find the end zone more to warrant a third-round pick.
Arizona Cardinals: Andre Ellington (ADP: 57.5)
Attempting to play through injuries only hurt Ellington's fantasy value last season, as his yards per carry dropped from 5.5 in 2013 to 3.3. The versatile 26-year-old is slated to be the starting back in Week 1, but he'll have to stay healthy and fend off rookie third-rounder David Johnson to live up to sixth-round value.
San Francisco 49ers: Carlos Hyde (ADP: 39.6)
Hyde ran the ball well while backing up Frank Gore as a rookie last season, and there's reason to believe he could be in for a big season in 2015. But there are also questions. For one, Reggie Bush is in the mix and stands to take some carries away. And this is a team that also lost prized guard Mike Iupati to Arizona during the offseason, which is a huge blow.
St. Louis Rams: Todd Gurley (ADP: 54.9)
Gurley is coming off a torn left ACL, and there is still no precise date for his return. But he's on the team's active roster heading into training camp, and if he's able to participate in a few preseason games and remain healthy we're talking about a stud running back on a run-based team who has a chance to be ready for Week 1 against Seattle.