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Fantasy Football 2012: Top 10 Free Agents Of The Year

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Top 10 Free Agents of 2012

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy football is unpredictable.

One week, your roster can be chock-full of familiar faces and the next, it’ll be featured by a bunch of new faces. Week by week rosters can change.

It’s that very unpredictability that makes it so much fun. Every single year there are a handful of players who aren’t drafted that still become extremely relevant in fantasy land. These players, if added by fantasy owners, can easily be the difference between fantasy gold and fantasy failure.

So, with the fantasy season winding down (wipes tears away) I figured it would be an ideal time to look back at some of the best waiver wire darlings of the 2012 campaign. The following guys were unlikely drafted in the majority of leagues but were picked up off the waiver wire early in the year and certainly did not disappoint. It’s amazing because a few of the following players weren’t even heard of at the beginning of the season. And now? They are household names among fantasy football enthusiasts.

Now, let’s check out my 10 best fantasy free agents of 2012. Odds are if you are still fighting in your playoffs, you can thank some of these guys, as I’m sure they are on your roster. And if any of these players are still available in your league, well, what is wrong with your league?.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy football columnist and expert for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.

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10) T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

There have been so many impressive rookies in fantasy football this year. Rookie wideout T.Y. Hilton has easily been one of the most underrated. Hilton has been quite the pleasant surprise in fantasy land, scoring more points than guys like Larry Fitzgerald (sigh) and Hakeem Nicks. On the year, Hilton has caught just 44 balls, however, he has 716 yards and six touchdowns. Not to mention his productivity in the return game, ranking 8th in the league in punt return average. Those who grabbed Hilton off waivers and played him have been rewarded quite handsomely.

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9) Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

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Wilson was just an average quarterback towards the start of the year but has really come on as of late. Odds are he wasn’t added in most leagues towards the start of the year but lately, he has been winning many fantasy owners their matchups each week. Wilson has posted 20 plus fantasy points in six of his last seven games, including a monster Week 15 performance against the Buffalo Bills. With his dual threat play style, Wilson has become a legitimate number one quarterback option in fantasy land.

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8) Marcel Reece, RB, Oakland Raiders

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The very moment Raiders running back Darren McFadden went down to an injury, Marcel Reece became extremely relevant in fantasy land. Once he claimed the starting job, Reece made an immediate impact for fantasy owners who added him. During his four games as the starter, Reece didn’t only explode in the running game, but he also heavily produced in PPR formats. In fact, during the game against the New Orleans Saints, Reece racked up 193 all-purpose yards, resulting in a healthy 21.30 fantasy points. I personally picked up Reece and plugged him in my lineup for those four weeks. It’s safe to say that I won a good majority of those matchups.

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7) Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers

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Kaepernick has been the Tim Tebow of fantasy in 2012. Both quarterbacks claimed the starting job late in the season and both provided a spark off the waiver wire for fantasy owners. Kaepernick has been sensational since replacing Alex Smith. It all started with that Monday night performance against the vaunted Chicago Bears defense, where Kaepernick posted a very nice 22 fantasy points. Remember, that was his first career start. Ever since then he has been a very viable fantasy option, scoring at least 14 fantasy points in every game. During Sunday night’s wild game against the New England Patriots, Kaepernick had his biggest fantasy outing of the season, scoring four touchdowns, resulting in 33 fantasy points. With his elite dual threat ability, Kaepernick has been a very good waiver wire quarterback during the second half of this season.

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6) Brandon Myers, TE, Oakland Raiders

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

How many of you knew who Myers was at the start of the year? Not many, I presume. Myers certainly made a household name for himself in a position that has been a fantasy wasteland this year. In fact, Myers has scored more fantasy points than guys like Vernon Davis, Antonio Gates and Aaron Hernandez. The tight end position has been rough for owners but Myers has been a savior for many. On the year he has 72 catches for 743 yards and four touchdowns. He has developed quite the chemistry with Carson Palmer. That’s probably because they look so much alike.

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5) Danario Alexander, WR, San Diego Chargers

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Take away Alexander’s surprising zero-catch day on Sunday and “DX” has been one of the biggest surprises in fantasy land this year. Alexander was cut by the St. Louis Rams earlier in the season and on October 18th, the San Diego Chargers took a chance on the kid. In just seven games, Alexander has caught 33 balls for 555 yards and five touchdowns. He has also been targeted a whopping 51 times by Phillip Rivers. Those who grabbed him off the waiver wire have been pretty content, especially since he has scored 20 or more fantasy points in three of his seven games. Watch out for this kid in 2013 drafts, mark my word.

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4) Owen Daniels, TE, Houston Texans

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

Believe it or not, Daniels wasn’t drafted in many fantasy leagues this year. Boy did he make people regret that or what? He started the season off with a bang, sitting among the elite tight ends in fantasy points. While he has been pretty quiet over the last couple weeks, Daniels has still posted double digit fantasy games seven times this year, which is phenomenal considering the state of the tight end position. His six touchdowns ranks third among the position.

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3) Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

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Shorts has easily been one of the biggest breakout players in all of fantasy football. I mean, if you told me that this guy would have more fantasy points than Steve Smith, Stevie Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald at this point in the season, I’d think you were crazy. However, that is exactly the case. Shorts has 925 receiving yards and seven touchdowns on the year, rapidly approaching his first career 1,000-yard season. That is saying something considering the quarterbacks throwing him the football. This rising star has put together eight double digit performances on the year and has been one of the best waiver wire acquisitions of all.

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2) Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers

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Cobb started the season expected to be the Green Bay Packers return specialist and that’s about it. But he has turned into much, much more than that. In fact, over the course of this season, Cobb has become quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target by far. On the year, Cobb has 77 catches for 892 yards and seven scores. Rodgers has targeted him over 90 times on the year. Cobb ranks among the top 15 fantasy wideouts this year and has emerged from a waiver wire name to an elite fantasy option in all formats.

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1) Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In my eyes, rookie Alfred Morris has been the biggest breakout player in all of fantasy football. If you drafted him in your leagues, you are lying. Morris was a 6th round draft pick by the Washington Redskins in this year’s draft. That is why the season he is putting together is so impressive. This kid has come out of absolutely nowhere and made an immediate impact. Morris has carried the ball 280 times for 1,322 yards (3rd in the league) and nine touchdowns. He has not only been a top five running back in football but has also been at least a top 10 fantasy running back. With many other rookies getting much more attention, in my eyes, Morris has been the most impressive.