2013 Fantasy Football: Top Players Countdown #46-60
2013 Top Player Countdown: #46-60
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
After a long off-season it’s hard to remember what we saw with our eyes from the previous season. We overestimated the effect that injuries would have on two of the greatest players of all time. If you ask any football fan whether Manning is better than Stafford or if Peterson is better than McFadden, the answer is an undisputed “yes”. One of the most important things to remember on draft day is to believe your eyes more than you believe your ears.
With this 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.
#60 WR Steve Johnson - Buffalo Bills
Stevie Johnson produced a third straight solid season for his fantasy owners. This marks three years in a row that Johnson topped 1,000 receiving yards with at least six touchdowns. We tend to leave Johnson on the board for a bit longer than he should because of his lack of flash, average quarterback play and the lack of attention that the Buffalo Bills receive. Johnson will continue to be what he is and that's a top 20 receiver.
#59 RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis - Cincinnati Bengals
BenJarvus Green-Ellis was finally granted the role of a workhorse back with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2012. We didn't know what to make of it on draft day but he managed to meet our uncertain expectations. With that said, Green-Ellis was known for his ball security and lack of big-play ability. However, in 2012 he fumbled three times and broke several big runs. At the end of the day, he crossed 1,000 rushing yards and should be a candidate to do so again in 2013.
#58 QB Andrew Luck - Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck had a great rookie season and managed to lead the Indianapolis Colts into the playoffs. As Indianapolis continues to get better around Luck, his fantasy numbers will continue to improve. It will be a process for Luck to become an elite fantasy quarterback but he is a safe bet to be a top-10 finisher in 2013.
#57 WR Pierre Garcon - Washington Redskins
Pierre Garcon had an up and down 2012. The ups were associated with his emergence as the #1 receiver for the Washington Redskins but the downs saw him suffering through injuries which have plagued him throughout his career. Garcon was an underrated commodity on draft day but had he stayed healthy, would been a top-20 receiver. If he can avoid injury in 2012, it's likely that his big-play ability will make him a number two receiver in fantasy.
#56 TE Aaron Hernandez - New England Patriots
Aaron Hernandez would have been a top-five tight end in 2012 had it not been for injury. When he was on the field, Hernandez proved that he is a nightmare to defend. He is one of the most talented tight ends but playing on the same team as Rob Gronkowski will somewhat limit his value. If he can stay healthy, I expect him to reach 1,000 yards in 2013.
#55 TE Jason Witten - Dallas Cowboys
Jason Witten has always been a top target in one of the leagues most efficient passing offenses. He fill that role well in 2012 with as many as 18 catches in a single game. Even though he is getting toward the ladder part of his career, Witten has a few more years left of high production. He surrenders touchdowns to the more dynamic receivers on the Dallas Cowboys offense but he will continue to rack up targets and yards in 2013.
#54 WR Mike Wallace - Pittsburgh Steelers (Free Agent)
Mike Wallace failed to make as many big plays as he had made in the past. This appeared to be due to a lack of motivation. When he was on the field, Wallace had four games with two or less catches. The incentive should have been there as he tried to earn big bucks in his contract season. It's difficult to say where Wallace may end up next season but all signs point to the fact that we wont be back with the Pittsburgh Steelers. If he lands in an offense with a solid quaterback, Wallace could end up being a top-10 fantasy receiver.
#53 WR Reggie Wayne - Indianapolis Colts
Reggie Wayne showed that 2011 was a fluke by bouncing back in a big way with the addition of Andrew Luck. He was one of the most targeted receivers in 2012 and as Luck continues to improve, Wayne's numbers will at least be maintained for another season or two.
#52 WR Greg Jennings - Green Bay Packers (Free Agent)
Greg Jennings was injured for a significant portion of 2012. At the age of 30, we have to begin to wonder if Jennings is beginning to slide into the decline of his career. He will be a free agent this off-season and there's a good chance that he will not be retained by the Green Bay Packers. If he lands in the right situation, he will produce solid fantasy numbers for a few more season.
#51 WR Roddy White - Atlanta Falcons
Roddy White was supposed to take a back seat to teammate Julio Jones in 2012. The two talented receivers produced very similar fantasy numbers this season with White being the more popular target. White will be another year older in 2013 while Jones will be entering the prime of his career. White's numbers should only suffer a slight decline which will allow him to remain a consistent and top fantasy receiver.
#50 WR Michael Crabtree - San Francisco 49ers
Michael Crabtree finally began to realize the potential that made him the 10th pick of the 2009 draft. Once he linked up with Colin Kaepernick, he become one of the most targeted and productive fantasy receivers. A full season with Kaepernick could result in numbers better than his 1,105 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Crabtree is a high-end number two fantasy receiver in 2013.
#49 RB Vick Ballard - Indianapolis Colts
Vick Ballard was largely ignored from a fantasy perspective in his rookie season for the Indianapolis Colts. Henwas a workhorse in his time as the starter, totaling five games with 18 or more carries. Ballard received high praise from the Indianapolis coaching staff and should retain his role in 2013. If he can find the end zone at a higher rate, then Ballard could become a top-20 fantasy back.
#48 WR Jordy Nelson - Green Bay Packers
Jordy Nelson suffered through an injury-plagued season to follow an incredible 2011. Nelson will hopefully be back to full health in 2013 which means that his production will rise again. We have to consider the number of options in the Green Bay Packers offense and Aaron Rodgers' tendency to spread the ball around. With that said, Greg Jennings may not be back next season which will help him on his climb back to the fantasy elite.
#47 WR Danario Alexander - San Diego Chargers
Danario Alexander was perhaps the most surprising receiver to emerge during the 2012 season. Those who were familar with Alexander's talent were not exactly shocked by his success. The ability has always been apparent with Alexander but injuries have overshadowed his tremendous size and talent until 2012. Once he become a starter for the San Diego Chargers, Alexander totaled seven touchdowns in just eight games. If he can continue to stay healthy, he has the potential to be produce double-digit touchdowns and become an elite fantasy receiver at the age of 25.
#46 WR Eric Decker - Denver Broncos
Eric Decker received a lot of hype entering the 2012 football season and he met those high expectations. While he didn't produce the fantasy numbers that teammate, Demaryius Thomas did, he still accumulated over 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns. Decker should remain a top-15 receiver with upside in 2013, as he continues to hold the trust of quarterback, Peyton Manning.
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