Fantasy Breakout Stars (08/12/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
2015 Fantasy Football - sleepers, busts and breakout players.



Fantasy football is back!

With that in mind, over the next few days we will provide our picks for 2015 sleepers, busts and breakout players based PredictionMachine.com's 2015 Fantasy Football Rankings.

Here is how we define each:

Sleeper: A player not being drafted as a starter but should be.

Bust: A player drafted as a starter but will disappoint.

Breakout Player: A player we project to finish in the top five at their position but are not currently being drafted like a superstar.

Note: Average draft position (ADP) is a composite of rankings from ESPN and Yahoo. Be sure to use the Fantasy Football Draft Machine for an additional edge in all your drafts.

Looking for a daily fantasy edge? Check out our optimal lineups and projections.

Previously: 2015 Fantasy Sleepers, 2015 Fantasy Busts and now Fantasy Breakout Stars.

Tony Romo

2015 projections: 4,011.9 passing yards, 35.5 TDs, 13.0 INTs
2015 ADP: 8th quarterback, 56th overall
2015 PredictionMachine.com rankings: 4th quarterback, 38th overall

Romo is a polarizing quarterback playing for a team that fans either love or hate. Look past the jersey and you see an incredibly efficient quarterback that threw 34 touchdowns (4th most) while only attempting 435 passes (23rd) last season.

Dallas' line is great and the Cowboys will still look to run the ball but Romo's attempts, yards and touchdowns are projected to increase from a season ago. Romo finished outside the top ten last year but on a points-per-game basis he is a top three starter in 2015.

Cam Newton

2015 projections: 4,044.4 passing yards, 28.1 TDs, 15.5 INTs
2015 ADP: 9th quarterback, 60th overall
2015 PredictionMachine.com rankings: 5th quarterback, 43rd overall

Carolina's captain was a top five fantasy quarterback his first three years in the league. Injuries (ankle, rib) limited Newton early last season resulting in him finishing 15th among fantasy starters. A down year plus a fight in practice has depressed Newton's fantasy value, but we don't buy it.

We are projecting Newton to have career highs in passing yards and touchdowns. Newton is also a proven runner and we project him to rush for 543.7 yards (2nd most among QBs) and 4.1 rushing touchdowns. The Panthers quarterback is a top-five fantasy option that is currently going in the sixth round or later in drafts.

DeMarco Murray

2015 projections: 1,164.5 rushing yards, 243.5 receiving yards, 13.1 Total TDs
2015 ADP: 8th running back, 15th overall
2015 PredictionMachine.com rankings: 6th running back, 10th overall

Uncertainty in the fantasy community breeds opportunity for the smart owner. Yes, Murray had 392 rushing attempts last year, the sixth most ever in a single season. History has not been kind to backs that top 370 carries but we don't believe in curses. Murray will have over 1,400 combined yards and double-digit touchdowns. While the Eagles new running back doesn't technically rank in our top-five (closest at this position), he does have the potential to finish there at the end of the season..



Julio Jones

2015 projections: 1,565.3 receiving yards, 7.4 TDs
2015 ADP: 6th receiver, 17th overall
2015 PredictionMachine.com rankings: 4th receiver, 15th overall

This is pretty straightforward. Jones finished in the top three in targets, receptions and yards last season. Yet he wasn't a top-five fantasy receiver. Why? Julio finished tied for 29th among receivers in touchdowns. His targets and yards should mirror last year's totals. If a few more of those receptions cross the goal line Jones will become a top-five wideout.

Jordan Cameron

2015 projections: 667.5 receiving yards, 6.2 TDs
2015 ADP: 9th tight end, 101st overall
2015 PredictionMachine.com rankings: 6th tight end, 83rd overall

Cameron is an injury risk, no doubt, but if the Dolphins tight end can stay healthy he has top-five potential (but like Murray doesn't actual rank in our top five). Cameron is projected to average fewer than two points per game than Jimmy Graham, the second tight end off the board, but is going seven rounds later in drafts. A full season could see Cameron return to his 2013 production (917 yards, 7 TDs) when he became a fantasy stud.