Top 5 Fantasy Football Players in 2012
Well Fantasy Football is upon us, so I thought who wouldn’t want advice from a guy that got second place in his league last year.**
**The League of Extraordinary Buttholes (Yes, I came up with the name. No, I’m not a genius, but these things really do come to me naturally, don’t ask how.)
[Editor’s Note: (Yes, I’m the Editor too). I wrote this for a competition Grantland is doing. If they like it, they may even ask me to write for them, it’s a very long shot but, hey, what the heck?]
1. Arian Foster, RB – Houston Texans. Despite only coming in third in the Lensless Glasses Power Rankings in 2012 behind LeBron James and Russell Westbrook, Arian Foster comes in number one in my top fantasy football players this year, thankfully ESPN agrees with me. Despite starting off slow with a hamstring injury in his first three games in 2011 and sitting out the final game of the year, Foster still rushed for over 1,200 yards and scored 10 touchdowns while scoring double digits in 10 of his games. Foster also adds legitimate receiving points with over 600 yards receiving last year. The Houston Texans will rely on the running game more in 2012 since their passing game will take a small hit without a legit number two receiver next to Andre Johnson, who has had trouble staying healthy the past few years. If Foster can stay healthy, there’s no reason he can’t put up even bigger numbers and help you win your fantasy league.
2. Cam Newton, QB – Carolina Panthers. After being drafted first overall in the 2011 NFL Draft, Cam Newton slides a spot in my 2012 top fantasy football players to number two overall, and jumps ahead of Aaron Rodgers as my top quarterback in 2012. Last year, Newton came out the gates hot, passing for 854 yards in his first two games, but slowed down considerably with just over 228 passing yards per game. Newton’s real value is his dual-threat ability. He ran for 14 touchdowns, second most in the NFL and more than Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, and Ray Rice. If Newton can maintain his rushing totals, avoids the sophomore slump and puts up huge numbers this year, you may be rockin’ bigger pearly whites than he does. And Alex Smith still thinks he can’t win games, pshhh.
3. LeSean McCoy, RB – Philadelphia Eagles. Shady McCoy returns to the field in 2012 with a new contract and as the reigning rushing touchdown champion last year with 17 (20 overall). After a huge year and with Mike Vick getting injured every other week, the offense now runs through McCoy, who is now one of the few elite running backs in the league. McCoy’s rushing totals might drop a little bit this year, but Andy Reid will run a ton of screens, short passes, and use him as a safety valve so Vick gets the ball out quicker to avoid injuries to his 100 million dollar quarterback. Do yourself a favor and don’t be like me and draft him for your friend in your fantasy league.
4. Aaron Rodgers, QB – Green Bay Packers. Arguably the best quarterback in the NFL and he doesn’t even rank as my top fantasy quarterback in 2012, ain’t that some sh*t. After going 15-1, throwing for over 4,600 yards, 45 touchdowns and just six interceptions, he can’t get better can he? Oh, he can. All the usual suspects return for a now angry Rodgers, who will be lighting up defenses all year to avenge last years upset loss to the eventual champions, the New York Giants. Another reason that should help Rogers regain the belt, the Packers defense should be improved. With an improved defense, that means they get off the field more, which equates to more possessions for Rodgers and the Packers. If you miss out on Cam, Mr. Rodgers isn’t a bad second option.
5. Calvin Johnson, WR – Detroit Lions. Megatron may have been the only Detroit Lion that didn’t get arrested this offseason and he’s definitely the only receiver I would take in the first round in my fantasy draft and that shows just how beastly he really is. He’s just 26 years old, and his quarterback, Matthew Stafford is a year older and wiser, Johnson’s yards and touchdowns should go up, if that’s even possible.
Sleeper – Vernon Davis, TE – San Francisco 49ers. Vernon Davis is my sleeper of 2012, with the resurgence of the tight end position, thanks to Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, the position isn’t a “I hope I can squeeze out two or three points from Brandon Manumaleuna”. After the top two tight ends there certainly is a drop off, but following Vernon’s amazing playoff run — 292 yards and four touchdowns — I believe he is firmly the number three tight end. VD admitted he had trouble learning the offense last year and when it all finally clicked he put up huge numbers against the Saints and the Giants. With the additions of Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, Davis will see more single coverage over the middle, which will clearly help his stats. Vernon Davis might be so good this year he might make you cry.
– Lance Cartelli