2013 Fantasy Football: Top Players Countdown #16-30
2013 Top Player Countdown; 16-30
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
It is becoming trendy in fantasy drafts to pick toward the end of the first round. I have never been an advocate of this if the choice is within my power. As the consensus 2012 first round indicates in comparison to the re-draft, we can see that five out of the top six picks produced as advertised while only two out of the final six met their draft day expectations.
Yes, you sacrifice an earlier selection in round two but the difference between a few spots in the second round is far less significant than the implications that come with a first round pick.
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.
#30 WR Andre Johnson - Houston Texans
Andre Johnson set a career high in receiving yards with 1,598 at the age of 31. While Johnson's draft stock fell off after injuries derailed his 2011 season, he proved that he still has a lot left to offer. He is clearly the go-to receiver for the Houston Texans and has room to improve as he registered the 7th most fantasy points from all wide receivers with just four touchdowns.
#29 WR Percy Harvin - Minnesota Vikings
Percy Harvin provided for owners that drafted him for his upside in 2012. A season-ending injury was the only thing that kept Harvin from a top-10 finish. Harvin lived up to his hype as a dynamic and versatile receiver, as he accumulated receiving, rushing and return touchdowns. At the age of 25, he has incredible upside for 2013.
#28 WR Vincent Jackson - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Vincent Jackson was the dominant force for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that he showed flashes of in San Diego. Not only was he overpowering with his size, but he led the league with 19.2 yards per reception. He is a rare combination of size, strength and big play ability. His rapport with Josh Freeman should continue to grow in 2013, making him a potential top-five receiver.
#27 WR Hakeem Nicks - New York Giants
Hakeem Nicks missed a handful of games in 2012 and suffered through the remaining with a lingering knee injury. He will be an elite receiver again in 2013 with a long off-season of rest. Nicks as proved that he is a 1,000 yard receiver with the upside for 10+ touchdowns. He's entering the prime of his career and with a great quarterback and a hungry New York Giants offense, Nicks will provide great value for his owners in 2013.
#26 RB Reggie Bush - Miami Dolphins (Free Agent)
Reggie Bush totaled a career high in carries this season but he was limited by a cautious Miami Dolphins offense. The play calling in Miami did not suit the big-play ability that Bush offers. Luckily, he will hit the free agent market this off-season. The right situation could finally allow Bush's career to take off. If he is given the bulk of a team's carries and is used effectively as a pass catcher, Bush holds top-10 fantasy running back potential.
#25 TE Jimmy Graham - New Orleans Saints
Jimmy Graham led all tight ends in fantasy points but failed to live up to the expectations that he set in his breakout 2011 season. He battled through injuries but managed to stay on the field through most of them. His performance showed minimal impact as Graham fell just short of 1,000 yards. He proved that he can still be an elite tight end even at less than 100%. His value holds strong as a top tight end and should be drafted like one.
#24 TE Rob Gronkowski - New England Patriots
Rob Gronkowski was thought to be indestructible until he was struck down by injury and forced to miss five games. He still managed to rack up 11 touchdowns in just 11 games which gave fantasy players comfort that he will rebound in 2013. He will always be a touchdown machine and can be counted on for at least 12 touchdowns next season.
#23 WR Demaryius Thomas - Denver Broncos
Demaryius Thomas was even better than fantasy owners could have expected in 2012. Thomas accumulated an incredible 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns in his first season in the fantasy spotlight. Teaming up with Peyton Manning allowed his talent to shine and it isn't unreasonable to expect even greater things from the pair in 2013. Despite the Denver Broncos having a plethora of options, Thomas always manages to get his share.
#22 RB DeMarco Murray - Dallas Cowboys
DeMarco Murray lived up to his injury-prone reputation again in 2012, which caused him to miss six games. When he was healthy, Murray only managed one 100 yard rushing effort and lacked some of the explosiveness that he showed in his rookie season. Despite his regression, fantasy owners know what they get with Murray. If he can stay healthy, 1,000+ yards and close to 10 touchdowns are a possibility.
#21 RB Stevan Ridley - New England Patriots
Stevan Ridley burst onto the scene for the New England Patriots in 2012. He received minimal hype entering the season but those that caught wind of the talented second-year backs potential, were rewarded for their investment. Ridley had some poor games and struggled with fumbled but when all was said and done, ended up with 1,263 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. As the lead runner in New England, plenty of scoring opportunities will be there for Ridley in 2013.
#20 RB Doug Martin - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Doug Martin posted tremendous numbers during his 2012 rookie campaign. He totaled over 1,500 yards and one of the biggest fantasy performances of all time in Week 9. Provided that Martin does not fall back down to earth in 2013, he will receive enough carries and has enough ability to provide top-five value again for his owners. He is a risky first round selection but as he demonstrated, has plenty of upside.
#19 WR Larry Fitzgerald - Arizona Cardinals
Larry Fitzgerald was in the discussion for most disappointing fantasy player of 2012. With none of his failures due to his own shortcomings, Fitzgerald should rebound next season if the Arizona Cardinals bring in a decent quarterback. Fitzgerald is one of the most talented receivers in the game and is an elite fantasy player when he has the slightest amount of help. If help arrives, Fitzgerald will be back to his old self in 2013.
#18 WR A.J. Green - Cincinnati Bengals
A.J. Green started the season on a ridiculous touchdown binge with scores in nine of his first 10 games. His production fell of a bit in the second half but Green still managed to finish forth among fantasy receivers. In his coveted third year, Green could put up numbers even better than the 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns that he posted in 2012.
#17 WR Brandon Marshall - Chicago Bears
Brandon Marshall was one of the most targeted and dangerous receivers in his first season with the Chicago Bears. Marshall was the only receiver that routinely beat the games top cornerbacks, proving that he is on another level. If the Chicago offense can click in 2013, Marshall's value will stay constant at the very least. 1,500 yards and double-digit touchdowns are high, but reasonable expectations for Marshall.
#16 RB Ryan Mathews - San Diego Chargers
Ryan Mathews was a major disappointment in 2012 and crushed the owners that spent first round picks on him. His injury problems have become routine but his inability to find the end zone or break off big plays were concerning. 2013 will be just his third season and there is still plenty of room for improvement. Mathews may have been stifled by the San Diego Chargers system. With new coaches in place, Mathews' production could hit its peak.