2013 Fantasy Football: Top Players Countdown #61-75
2013 Top Player Countdown: #61-75
The 2012 fantasy football season was a wild and unpredictable for owners as we saw a transition from the established veteran to promising youth. Looking back on our draft results from the summer, they epitomize the uncertainty that accompanies the beginning of every fantasy football season.
The consensus first round in 12-team fantasy drafts looked something like this: 1. Arian Foster, 2. Aaron Rodgers, 3. Ray Rice, 4. LeSean McCoy, 5. Tom Brady, 6. Calvin Johnson, 7. Drew Brees, 8. Chris Johnson, 9. Darren McFadden, 10. Matthew Stafford, 11. Cam Newton, 12. Matt Forte.
If we keep the positions consistent and fill them with the players who actually achieved at a first round level, it would have looked like this: 1. Adrian Peterson, 2. Drew Brees, 3. Arian Foster, 4. Doug Martin, 5. Tom Brady, 6. Calvin Johnson, 7. Aaron Rodgers, 8. Marshawn Lynch, 9. Alfred Morris, 10. Cam Newton, 11. Peyton Manning, 12. Ray Rice
Congratulations to those that drafted #5 and #6 and took Brady and Megatron, you were right on the money. The rest looks considerably different and the results only get more dramatic as the rounds continue. Looking back on the top players drafted at each position and those that finished at the top we realize the dilemma that we face every year on draft day.
The quarterback position actually faired pretty well with four out of the top five and seven out of the top 10 producing as top players.
Running back was a different story with just one player drafted in the top five performing up to expectations and four out of 10 performing as top 10 fantasy backs.
A similar result for wide receivers with just one out of the top five drafted finishing in the top five and six out of the top 10 fulfilling expectations. Tight end was more of the same with just four out of the top 10 rewarding their draft position.
With these numbers in mind, we should already begin to speculate and question any expert rankings that we see leading up to our 2013 drafts. Over the next week I will name my top 75 players for the 2013 season.
These rankings will not be in terms of where they should supposedly be drafted but where they will finish. That’s why they may look a bit unconventional but past trends are the best way to predict the future.
#75 Jeremy Maclin - Philadelphia Eagles
Jeremy Maclin battled another injury-plagued season and his production suffered as a result. 2012 was supposed to be a breakout year for Maclin but his health problems and consistency problems at the quarterback position resulted in another average year. If he can stay healthy and the Philadelphia Eagles can find stability at quarterback, Maclin's breakout season might come a year late. With the likelihood of Nick Foles becoming Philadelphia's regular quarterback, we should keep expectations in check.
#74 Ahmad Bradshaw - New York Giants
Ahmad Bradshaw may be falling out of favor with the New York Giants. New York likes the spark that David Wilson provides to the offense and if he can improve his pass protection, they may even look to part ways with Bradshaw. He can still be productive but the number of opportunities may not be conducive to fantasy success.
#73 Miles Austin - Dallas Cowboys
Miles Austin fell short of 1,000 yards receiving for the second straight season. He was often the third option in the Dallas Cowboys pass game behind emerging #1 receiver, Dez Bryant and tight end, Jason Witten. Dallas throws enough to support three productive receivers but Austin is no longer a top fantasy option.
#72 - Tavon Austin - Draftee
Tavon Austin is the most explosive player in the 2013 draft. A lot of his success will be dependent upon where he is drafted but the speedy Austin showed that he can play running back and wide receiver. He plays the same style of football as Percy Harvin and could potentially become an elite receiver in the NFL. He always seemed to be playing at a higher speed than anyone that shared the field with him in college.
#71 - Jonathan Dwyer - Pittsburgh Steelers
Jonathan Dwyer appears to have the advantage for lead back of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013. Dwyer makes up for his lack of speed with excellent vision and tremendous power. Dwyer could be a 1,000-yard-back in 2013 depending on how many carries he has to split with Isaac Redman and Chris Rainey.
#70 - Willis McGahee - Denver Broncos
Willis McGahee was on pace to finish the 2012 season as one of the top running backs in the league until he suffered a major injury. McGahee's accomplishments were diminished by the success his replacement, Knowshon Moreno. The two will likely share carries with Ronnie Hillman in the mix as well.
#69 Cecil Shorts - Jacksonville Jaguars
Cecil Shorts emerged as one of the most explosive in 2012 by averaging 17.8 yards per reception and hauling in a handful of long catches for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Shorts may be one of the more talented receivers in the game but he will continue to be limited by a mediocre Jacksonville offense.
#68 Torrey Smith - Baltimore Ravens
Torrey Smith continued to progress in his second season with the Baltimore Ravens. Although his hands improved, he still had a tendency to disappear, catching two or fewer passes in eight games. With Anquan Boldin a candidate to be released, Smith will be the clear #1 target in the Batimore offense in 2013.
#67 Robert Griffin III - Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III was one of the most electrifying players in the league during his rookie season with the Washington Redskins. Unfortunately the knee injury that Griffin III suffered makes him a question mark entering the 2013 season. There is a strong possibility that he won't be ready for the start of the season. Even if he does return for most of the season, this injury could limit what he is capable of producing on the ground.
#66 Matt Ryan - Atlanta Falcons
Matt Ryan began the 2012 season with a flash and was considered to be an MVP candidate through the first half of the season. Ryan led the Atlanta Falcons to the best record in the NFC. His season was characterized by ups and downs but he eventually finished in the top five in quarterback rating and passing touchdowns. Expect more of the same from Ryan in 2013.
#65 Darren McFadden - Oakland Raiders
Darren McFadden proved to be the biggest bust of consensus 2012 fantasy first round picks. McFadden showed flashes of brilliance in 2011 when he was able to stay healthy, leading to a lot of hype entering 2012. Unfortunately, the flash disappeared in another injury plagued season for McFadden. He managed just three total touchdowns and 3.3 yards per carry. If the Oakland Raiders can get their act together in 2013, there is hope that McFadden can contribute for fantasy owners.
#64 Eli Manning - New York Giants
Eli Manning failed to live up to the elite status that he showed when he led the New York Giants to the 2011 Super Bowl. Manning should produce better numbers for fantasy owners in 2013 when his top receiver Hakeem Nicks regains his health.
#63 Mikel Leshoure - Detroit Lions
Mikel Leshoure emerged as the lead runner in the Detroit Lions backfield. Leshoure pleased his fantasy owners by routinely finding the end zone in 2012. His lack of explosiveness may result in a higher number of carries for Joique Bell in 2013 but Leshoure will not be challenged as the top fantasy scorer in that backfield.
#62 Matthew Stafford - Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford was a popular first round pick after a record-breaking 2011 season. Stafford surpassed his attempts total from the previous season but managed to produce just half the number of passing touchdowns. I fully expect Stafford's touchdown totals to increase in 2013 which will be good for making him a top 10 fantasy quarterback.
#61 Steve Smith - Carolina Panthers
Steve Smith failed to match his 2011 production but was still an efficient fantasy receiver. As he continues to age, his production is likely to suffer. Smith will still be Cam Newton's number one option in the Carolina Panthers pass attack but he no longer has upside as more than number two fantasy receiver.