Over the next few weeks we will begin to look at the 2012 fantasy football season. There will eventually be an entire week dedicated ranking players by position. Today we take a look at players currently going in the first round in Yahoo! drafts.
Arian Foster (RB, HOU): He’s a monster, especially in PPR leagues. He doesn’t scare me one bit. Every single week he’s going to do something for you. You can expect 1,500 yards rushing, 600 yards receiving and almost an average of 1 TD per week. He only missed 3 games last year, and was completely healthy the year before, so I’m not concerned with any injury risk. If you have the #1 pick overall he’s certainly worth consideration. You can’t go wrong with him.
Ray Rice (RB, BAL): Like Foster, Rice also does everything and is a duel threat. His numbers are also improving year to year. His season totals are slightly behind Foster’s, which makes him the #2 guy overall in the Yahoo! rankings. You must consider that he played three games less than Foster last year and still trailed him in the stat lines. If you have the #1 pick I can’t suggest taking Rice over Foster. While Foster is still your guy, But Rice is without a doubt in the top 3. That only thing that scares me about him was his hold out. Historical trend shows that hold outs prove to be risky in the regular season. It’s just bad karma or something. Be happy if you get Rice near the top of your draft, but don’t rank him above everyone else.
LeSean McCoy (RB, PHI): Be prepared for him to put up higher yardage totals than he ever has. Consider that he is a year younger than Rice, and two years younger than Foster. McCoy always finds a way to produce, even when he puts up inconsistent yardage totals. It seems that when he rushes for under 50 yards he scores. Then there are plenty of games where he goes over 100 yards. I expect McCoy to consistently put up high yardage games this year. It’s hard to predict more than the 20 TD’s he had last year though. So expect more yardage and slightly less TD’s. I would consider him over Ray Rice at the #2 spot. I wouldn’t be shocked if McCoy were the #1 fantasy player this season.
Ryan Mathews (RB, SD): At #4 overall, no thanks. Not after his injury. He is targeting a week 1 return. That doesn’t mean he will return in week 1. You know who else is targeting a week 1 return? Adrian Peterson. If Peterson is a 2nd round pick because of injury concern, then Mathews should be ranked under him. Because Peterson is better. Bottom line is that Peterson is a tremendous steal this year and shouldn’t be a second round pick. He should go at the end of round 1. He will probably perform like a high 1st round pick. Mathews should also go at the end of round 1. So don’t take him at the top. If you have a late pick you should grab him if he falls. If he doesn’t fall, then shame on the owners of the higher round picks. I like Mathews, I do. But he hasn’t put together a huge season yet, and he has injury concern. Not an ideal top 5 pick. An excellent #12 overall though.
Calvin Johnson (WR, DET): I’ve been playing fantasy football for an extremely long time. Long enough that Joe Montana was once my fantasy QB. I can’t remember a season in all my years that a WR was ranked this high. And it’s disappointing to see because I’ve literally owned Calvin Johnon all 5 years he’s played. Is he worth the price? Absolutely. The guy finished the year in his last 3 games with yardage totals of 244, 102, and 214. That’s what I like to see. Stafford is still growing up and will continue to get better. We could all be witnesses to one of the biggest WR seasons of all time. I think Calvin can break records if Stafford stays healthy. If I had the #4 pick I’d take him.
Aaron Rodgers (QB, GB): Here’s the deal: aside from Foster, McCoy, Rice, Calvin, and Rodgers, the rest of the field is a little risky. They are without a doubt the top guys in the draft. I would also probably include Peterson in that list. So if you have a middle round pick you shouldn’t even worry about taking a QB in the 1st round. Just do it. Rodgers is the #1 guy. He’s consistent. He wins weeks for you by himself. If QB TD’s have the same amount of points as the other positions, I’d think about taking him #1 overall.
Maurice Jones-Drew (RB, JAC): How much does he have left? Running back life in the NFL isn’t too long. He did reach a high in rushing yards last year, but that was probably his career year. The receiving yards are too inconsistent to count on with a bad QB throwing to him. He’s risky to me. The rushing yards have to drop, the TD total will stay respectable, and the receiving yards will stay around 320. He’s okay for the end of round 1. I’d personally rather have Peterson. Go ahead and take him near his rank, but understand the risk.
Chris Johnson (RB, TEN): I don’t know what to tell you about this guy. Chris Johnson’s drop-off was stunning. The numbers he put up last year aren’t worthy of a pick this high. The rank is based on the high upside because of what he’s done in the past. He’s still young enough to bounce back to that, but it’s unpredictable whether or not he will. He’s inconsistent and risky. With all of that being said, I’m going to tell you to take the chance. Towards the end of the season he started averaging about 100 combined yards per game. His TD total has got to rise. I’m sure he will be frustrating, but he does still have a lot of upside. I’d rather take the chance on him than other risky RB’s like Jones Drew, McFadden, and Forte.
Larry Fitzgerald (QB, ARI): Ugh. This is too high for me to take a WR that isn’t named Calvin. It would be too hard for me to take him here. I’d rather take a RB or QB, and then try to get him on the way back. If he doesn’t come back then there are other good WR’s and TE’s that can be taken. Sure he’s elite. And sure I still like Kevin Kolb. But Kolb isn’t a lock to succeed. So I don’t think Fitz has as much separation from the other WR’s behind him as the rankings suggest. I’d go with him around pick 11 and definitely take him in round 2.
Drew Brees (QB, NO): Yes yes yes. Take him. Be happy. I don’t have much else to add. He’s Drew Brees. He’s awesome. He’s happy now. He has a lot of weapons around him. He makes your fantasy team very strong at the top of your roster.
Trent Richardson (RB, CLE): Ever since Adrian Peterson broke out a few years ago, young high upside RB’s have jumped to the 1st round without any experience. And guess how many of them have worked out since Peterson? None. So I can’t do it. Especially not after his injury scare. I just can’t. At this point your looking for two great picks in a row. Getting two guys like Fitzgerald and Brady seem stronger to me than any combination with Richardson in it. RB isn’t as top heavy as it once was. You used to have to get a RB in round 1. Now I see a ton of them that I’d take in the middle rounds. I’d certainly go with Richardson if he fell to the middle of round 2 though. I wouldn’t take him in round 1.
Tom Brady (QB, NE): Of course I’d want Brady. But I’m not banking on him repeating last year’s career numbers. I’d much rather have Rodgers and Brees. And he’s no slam dunk to be a better pick than Newton or Stafford either. It’s all personal preference. Your paying a 1st round fee just for his name though. But you can’t go wrong with Brady and 2nd round WR/TE/RB combo with back to back picks.