Fantasy Football 2013: Calvin Johnson Must Be A Top Five Redraft Pick

By Adam Pfeifer
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports



A dominating, massive figure who can destroy anyone that crosses his path. There are two Megatrons in today’s world. One, a robotic member of the Transformers, is serious in his attempts to take over the world. The other, is very serious in a much different attempt.

To take over the NFL.

There is no denying the fact that Calvin Johnson is by far the greatest receiver in the league, the best we have seen in the past 10 years, at least, and who knows? He could possibly be the best of all time when it’s all said and done. However, that’s for an entirely different discussion. We are hear to cover fantasy, and sometimes, you’d think you were living in a fantasy world after seeing some of the stat lines Calvin will produce. It’s truly jaw-dropping, and I for one am honored to be fortunate enough to watch his Hall Of Fame career progress. But it’s not even close to being finished, and 11 weeks into the 2013 season, Johnson is reminding everyone that not only is he the best wideout in the game, but quite possibly the best player.

After watching him go off (again) for 179 yards and two more touchdowns, a thought popped into my head. In a time where running backs are scarce, and wideout is deep, Calvin Johnson cannot fall passed the fifth overall pick in redraft leagues, perhaps even the top-three.

He’s too good.

Calvin in 2013

No, you aren’t watching a re-run of last season when Calvin set a single season record for receiving yards. Johnson is just that darn good. Through nine games this year, Johnson has already surpassed 1,000 receiving yards, has hauled in 59 balls for 11 touchdowns, resulting in 169 fantasy points in ESPN standard scoring leagues. He has only had three games with less than 20 fantasy points, and keep in mind, he missed one game due to injury. In case you weren’t quite sure, he is far and away the number one fantasy wideout right now. Over his last four games, he has more receiving yards (746) than runners Ray Rice and Trent Richardson have on the season …


Calvin compared to RBs 

I know, I know, I know. Running back was insanely scarce coming into the season, and now with injuries dominating the league, it’s even more shallow. There are only a handful of stud, unquestioned fantasy running backs out there today, and when you have the opportunity to grab one, you should go for it. But what if you don’t? I mean, I think we’d all agree that you will never, ever be “settling” for the likes of Calvin Johnson in fantasy land.

In 2012, only five running backs finished with more fantasy points than Johnson in ESPN leagues (214). He averaged almost 14 fantasy points per contest last season, making for a safe weekly option. Keep in mind, however, that despite breaking that monster yardage record, Johnson only found the end zone five times. It was a bit of an outlier, considering he was targeted a ridiculous 205 times, while quarterback Matthew Stafford threw the football a whopping 727 times last year, which is another single season record. And, of course, Calvin was tackled inside the one-yard line more than Peyton Hillis in a goal line situation recently. Taking a look at Tristan Cockroft’s 2012 Consistency Ratings, Johnson sported a consistency percentage of 68.8%. That means that almost 70 percent of the time, Johnson finished as a WR1 for that week. That number was the 13th-highest in fantasy, and despite being drafted later than them, only 11 rushers posted a higher rating than Calvin. Brandon Marshall finished with a higher rating than him, but if not for that touchdown anomaly, Calvin would have probably taken that spot.

So far in 2013, Calvin already has 169 fantasy points, easily on pace to surpass last season’s total. Say you are in a standard, 12-team league. In that case, Johnson has finished as a WR1 in six of his eight games this season, including three weeks where he finished as the number one fantasy wideout. As good as these running backs are in this league, none provide that kind of week-t0-week consistency.

Roster Construction 

I personally didn’t draft Calvin in any of my leagues, so I couldn’t use my draft results. However, a buddy of mine picked Calvin fifth overall this summer, and has been handsomely rewarded thus far. Below you will find some of his picks in a 12-team, standard league:

Calvin Johnson                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Brandon Marshall                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Reggie Bush                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Ryan Mathews                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Andrew Luck                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         DeSean Jackson                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     DeAngelo Williams

Now obviously, every league is different, but he is currently in first place with the most points in his league. And that’s with going WR-WR, a rather different approach. He could have potentially grabbed a running back like Frank Gore or Chris Johnson with his second overall pick. Too many times do backs come out of nowhere and thrive. Alfred Morris last season, Zac Stacy and Knowshon Moreno this year. Why not use your top-five pick on a guy who has finished number one at his position in two of the last three seasons?

Remember, folks. This is a passing league. I’m not saying I’d draft Calvin ahead of Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and perhaps LeSean McCoy. But other than that, no one should be selected before Johnson.

No one.

The best wide receiver on the planet, playing on the league’s pass-happiest offense with a gunslinger under center, the upside is obviously huge. He’s done it year after year, and at least in PPR leagues, Calvin needs to be considered a top-three pick at least.

Heck, I wouldn’t quite argue number one overall right now.

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.


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