Hopefully you read Part I, where Jordan gave you his Top 5 fantasy players in 2012 along with a sleeper (Snorlax-esque).
Before we get to my Top 5 + Sleeper, here’s a little introduction to my theory about fantasy football.
It’s become tradition to play Sardines when my family gets together for summer vacation. The game is simple –
- Shut off all the lights in the house and gather in one room.
- Send one “sardine” to go out and hide while the group counts to an agreed number.
- After he/she is hidden, the rest of the group scatters trying to find them.
- Once found, the seeker hides with the sardine.
- The last person to find the group loses.
Fantasy football is a lot like Sardines. We’re all wandering through a dark house, waving our arms around trying to find the sardines (See: 2011 Cam Newton, “The Gronk”, etc) before everyone else while avoiding stubbing on our toe (See: Philip Rivers) or falling down the stairs (See: 2011 Jamaal Charles).
Is their luck involved? Definitely. That said, it helps to know the lay of the land. Allow me to show you around my fantasy football household before we turn the lights off and you embark on the 2012 season.
1. Arian Foster
With Adrian Peterson only 8 months removed (!!!) from knee surgery, Foster climbs to the top of the RB mountain. Foster struggled with a nagging hamstring and still managed to put up huge numbers for Texans in 2011. He may be the strongest runner in the league and is dangerous catching the ball too. Look for him to be back full strength and get closer to 2010 numbers this year (2220 All-Purpose yards and 18 TDs).
Important Sidenote: The RB position has less depth at the top than ever, so you’re going to be getting more value here. Many will disagree, arguing Aaron Rodgers will actually add more value because he will outscore second and third tier QBs by a greater margin. The problem with this logic is that you can easily find value at your second QB position. Remember, if you’re drafting in the top 3 spots you likely won’t be getting a chance at another RB until the 20-24th pick in most leagues. It wouldn’t be the worst to take two of best RBs left on the second and third round swing, but if you are going to argue for Rodgers’ value being greater than Foster, you have to be committed to going RB-RB in the next two rounds.
2. Ray Rice
Rice is almost as potent a fantasy force. He’s going to get more receptions, averaging almost a full reception per game more than Foster over the last 3 seasons (4.52 vs. 3.57). If anyone in the NFL makes 20 yard gains look easy, it’s this guy.
3. LeSean McCoy
LeSean is another talented back, though I look for him to regress in the TD column. Not since LT has someone seemed so magnetized to the endzone. That said, his injury history scares me at #3 overall – but you can’t argue against the upside. If Foster and Rice are gone, go with this guy – he’s Brian Westbrook 2.0.
4. Aaron Rodgers
It’s time to stray from the RBs and give the best player in the league his due. Rodgers has stunning numbers across and his championship belt celebration has gone viral. Did I teach my 3 year old nephew to do it? Yes, yes I did.
If you want consistency and value, then this is your guy.
Just for fun, here’s his 2011 numbers again – 122.5 QBR, 4,643 yds, 45 TDs, 6 Int.
After you pick your jaw up off the floor, I should add that he missed out on Matt Flynn’s 6 TD Week 17 against the Lions, and his 257 yards rushing with 3 Rushing TDs.
If you get him at #4, do the championship belt – you’ve just made a great choice.
5. The Gronk
The Gronk scored more touchdowns and had more receiving yards than any TE ever. In history.
His value over his TE peers is unquestioned. With Lloyd on the team, look for the middle to open up even more. It’s going to be difficult to double team him with Hernandez, Welker, and Lloyd on the field as well. Even if he only gets a third of Brady’s TDs, that’s going to be 12.
Sleeper – Jordy Nelson
Sure, Jordy had a great year in 2011, but I’m calling him a sleeper because I think he’s primed for one of the best seasons by a WR in 2012. I’m calling it now – Jordy finishes in the top 3 for fantasy WRs or you can push me down the stairs of a dark house.