Tom Brady has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 32-straight games. With one more TD pass he will pass John Elway (300) for the 5th most passing scores in league history. The last three times that he has faced the Titans he’s thrown for 824 yards, eight scores and nary an interception.
Ronnie Brown should handle the majority of touches against the Raiders with Ryan Mathews on the shelf. It’s not like you should expect Brown to be a top-10 runner in Week 1, but he does have a nice career track record against the Silver and Black (in four career games he has averaged 94.5 yards a game).
Reggie Bush led the NFL in rushing yards last September and he finished the year with 4-straight games of at least 100 yards rushing. In two career games against the Texans he has carried the ball 21 times for 52 yards though he has caught 13 balls for 73 yards. Daniel Thomas had a lot more success against the Texans with a career best 107 yards on the ground in his last meeting against the Texans.
Jairus Byrd, a safety for the Bills, has four interceptions in six games against the Jets. With Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow throwing the pigskin, that number could grow in Week 1.
Matt Cassel is 10-4 in his career against NFC opponents. In those 14 games he has passed for 3,048 yards, 23 scores and just nine interceptions. He faces the Falcons in Week 1.
Jamaal Charles is averaging 6.1 yards per carry during his NFL career. With one more carry, he has 499, he will have the fifth best mark in the history of football (Michael Vick leads the way at 7.2 but Charles would be #1 amongst running backs).
Andy Dalton shredded the Ravens for a career best 373 yards and three scores in Week 11 last year. He completed only 22 of 44 passes for 232 yards and no scores against the Ravens in Week 17.
Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 264 yards and three scores the last time that he faced the Jets. In addition, he tore up the vaunted Jets’ pass defense for five scores and just one interception last season.
Antonio Gates has success against everyone. The Raiders are certainly not immune to his talents as he has caught 10 touchdown passes in 18 career games.
BenJarvus Green Ellis has scored 24 rushing touchdowns since the start of 2010. Only one other running back has more ‚Äď Arian Foster with 26. With Bernard Scott out of action for Week 1, look for BJGE to try his darnedest against a Ravens squad that is traditionally very difficult to run on (the Ravens were at the top of the AFC last year allowing just 92.6 yards per game on the ground as they allowed 10 rushing scores).
Santonio Holmes had a down season last year but he did tie his career best with eight touchdowns. In Week 1 he will be aiming for a 4th straight game against the Bills with a touchdown.
Andre Johnson just kills the Dolphins. In five games against the Fish he’s gone hog wild for four scores and an average of 104 yards per game. He appears to be over the leg woes that limited him this preseason.
Chris Johnson has faced the Patriots one time in his career. He ran for 128 yards on 17 carries.
Stevie Johnson is one of the few receivers in football who you can confidently start against Darelle Revis. In two outings against the Jets last year he caught 11 balls for 159 yards an a score. He says his groin is 90 percent, and he should be good to go for Week 1.
For his career Maurice Jones-Drew¬†is averaging 4.6 yards per carry. Rashad Jennings, who will get the start and the majority of touches in Week 1, has averaged 5.4 yards per carry in his career.
Dustin Keller isn’t 100 percent physically right now but he’s had two games against the Bills in his career in which he has scored twice (10/3/10 and 11/27/11).
Greg Little caught 61 passes last season, 2nd most in Browns history for a rookie wideout (Kevin Johnson had 66 in 1999). He’ll enter the 2012 as the Browns top option in the passing attack.
Jake Locker will make his first career start in Week 1. He will be facing a Patriots team that scores to often that teams are often forced to pass, heavily, to try and catch up. Last year the Pats defense was 2nd worst in the NFL allowing 294 yards passing a game. They also permitted 26 passing scores.
Peyton Manning will be wearing a Broncos jersey for the first time, but he’s faced the Steelers three times in his career (how is it only three times? Shocked it’s so low). In those three games he’s averaged 263 yards and two scores per contest.
Darren McFadden has posted a 5.5 yard per carry mark against the AFC West in his career. Against the Chargers that numbers is just 4.2 yards in four games.
Carson Palmer has made five career starts against San Diego. His per game average is 348 yards and 2.6 touchdown passes.
Ed Reed has intercepted nine passes against the Bengals, the most he has against any one team in his illustrious career.
Ben Roethlisberger really likes to throw the ball in Denver. In his last two starts there he has completed 70.3 percent of his passes for 523 yards and seven touchdowns. Seven. We’ll overlook the three interceptions if he passes at that rate again, right?
Mark Sanchez has been effective the last two times he has faced the Jets. He may have only thrown for 410 yards in those two games but he also has five passing scores an a 91.4 QB Rating.
Matt Schaub is 4-0 in his career against the Dolphins. Unfortunately he’s only thrown for five scores despite averaging an impressive 297 yards passing per contest. The last time he faced them he threw for 230 yards and two scores.
Torrey Smith had 165 receiving yards against the Bengals on November 11th last season, the most of any game in his young career.
Demaryius Thomas has fond memories of the Steelers. In the playoffs last season he not only scored a game winning 80 yard touchdown in overtime for the Broncos, he also caught three other passes 124 yards as well in that contest.
There is some concern that Mike Wallace might start out slowly after he held out for the majority of the preseason. Perhaps he’ll be able to get off to a quick start since he will be facing a Broncos club that he caught four balls for 69 yards and a score in his only career matchup against them.
Wes Welker had 10 receptions for 150 yards and two scores in his last outing against the Titans. He needs four receptions to reach 558 for his career which would be a new Patriots record (Troy Brown had 557).
RANDOM START OF THE WEEK
(That one player you would never consider starting but for some reason he might be worth a look if you’re desperate.)
Heath Miller has faced the Broncos three times in his career catching 13 passes for two scores if you are already desperate at the tight end position. You also read above just how impressive that Big Ben has been throwing the ball in Denver, so Miller is the choice here. Remember what this section is for before you go and start thinking that I’m telling you to bench Vernon Davis to start Miller (I’m not saying that). I’m merely saying that if you are looking for a hail mary play at tight end that Miller might be a solid option.
Everyone is ga-ga over quarterbacks this season, but remember this. IN THE HISTORY OF THE NFL only five quarterbacks have ever thrown for 4,500 yards in back-to-back seasons: Philip Rivers (2010-11), Dan Fouts (1980-81), Warren Moon (1990-91), Peyton Manning (2009-10) and Drew Brees (2010-11).
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, Monday through Friday, 7 PM EDT. Ray’s analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys’ Twitter account.
Green Bay Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers had a huge fantasy football season in 2011 and should continue right where he left off this year. Thus making him the first QB taken in all fantasy drafts and a top 5 overall pick in this year’s drafts…
Rodgers is coming off an incredible 2011 season where he threw for over 4,600 yards with 45 TD passes and only 6 interceptions. He also ran for over 250 yards and scored three rushing TD‚Äôs. Rodgers will once again be the biggest weapon in a high powered Packer offense in 2012. Green Bay is a pass happy offense that will put up big points every week, so Rodgers will have no problem putting up similar numbers this season. Without doubt he should be the #1 QB off the board in all fantasy drafts.
Brady also plays in a pass friendly offense with a load of talented pass catchers. Brady is coming off a year where he threw for over 5,200 yards and had 42 total TDs (39 passing, 3 rushing). With the addition of big play WR Brandon Lloyd to go along with Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, the Patriot signal caller should be able to attack the 5,000 yard mark and 40 plus TDs once again.
Stafford was able to stay healthy in 2011 to play all 16 games and we were able to see what type of fantasy numbers he can put up. He managed to throw for 5,038 yards and 41 TD passes and with a WR like Calvin Johnson to throw to fantasy owners will continue to see big things. As long as Stafford can avoid injury he will be considered an elite fantasy QB.
Brees set an NFL record with 5,476 passing yards in 2011 and added 46 touchdown passes. Brees has been as consistant as they come and will once again post great fantasy numbers. Saints are another team with a throw first attitude and Brees and company have no problem piling up the points against their opponents. Even with head coach Sean Payton suspended, look for Drew Brees to keep the Saints‚Äô¬†offense rolling.
Newton had a great rookie season throwing for over 4,000 yards with 35 total TDs (21 passing, 14 rushing). Newton is only going to get better and if he can cut down on his interception total his fantasy numbers will be huge. With the improvement he can make as a passer and the fact he is the Panthers #1 goalline rusher Newton should easily be considered a top 5 fantasy QB in 2012.
Romo threw for over 4,000 yards and 31 TDs even though he dealt with injured ribs throughout the 2011 season. With WRs Miles Austin and Dez Bryant along with his safety blanket Jason Witten, Romo should be able to surpass last year‚Äôs totals for a solid 2012 fantasy season.
Eli threw for almost 5,000 yards in 2011 and added 29 TD passes. As long as Manning can get a healthy Hakeem Nicks back and with the emergence of Victor Cruz, he should be a lock to throw for well over 4,000 yards again and 30 touchdowns.
Rivers is coming off what is considered a poor 2011 season, but still managed to throw for over 4,600 yards and 27 touchdowns. The downside was he threw 20 interceptions. The Chargers did lose Vincent Jackson in the off season, but they added WRs Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal. Plus with TE Antonio Gates healthy, Rivers should have a big bounce back year and he will again be considered an elite fantasy QB.
In 13 games last season Vick had 3,303 passing yards with 18 TD passes and 14 INTs. He also rushed for 589 yards and a touchdown. This was not the Michael Vick fantasy owners were hoping for in 2011. If Vick can stay healthy in 2012 he can put up big fantasy numbers and carry your team on any given week. Vick is an injury risk, but he is capable of turning your fantasy team into a champion.
Ryan threw for 4,177 yards and 29 TDs last season. With one of the NFLs top receivers in Roddy White, up and coming star Julio Jones and the idea that the Falcons will start throwing more and riding the arm of Ryan, he should exceed his production from 2011.
Big Ben is coming off a very non impressive season. He did manage to throw for over 4,000 yards, but only had 21 TD passes and threw 14 INTs. He will still have speedy Mike Wallace alongside dangerous Antonio Brown and with the running game without Rashard Mendenhall, Roethlisberger should be putting the ball in the air a ton. He will have no problem getting over 4,000 yards and upping his TD total as long as he can stay healthy.
Hopefully we will see a healthy Manning this year after he missed all of last season. If he is ready he can still put up the fantasy numbers that warrant him QB1 status. Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas can be solid WRs for Peyton and help him be the steal of the 2012 draft.
Griffin could be a fantasy star in 2012 just as Cam Newton was last year. He has great athleticism to go along with his strong arm and he will be able put up good weekly numbers in the air and on the ground. Griffin may not be worth drafting as your starter, but may crack fantasy lineups soon enough.
Flacco may never be considered an every week starter due to his inconsistent play and RB Ray Rice being the focal point of the Ravens‚Äô¬†offense. But Flacco can be a solid fantasy backup and can be used occasionally pending on his matchup.
Cutler may see a boost in his production this season with the addition of WR Brandon Marshall. Marshall gives Cutler his first bonified #1 WR since coming to Chicago. Cutler could have a pretty nice fantasy year, but not sure if he can be more than a QB2.
Schaub‚Äôs draft position will drop from where he‚Äôs been drafted in previous fantasy drafts. He is coming off a 2011 season where he played in just 10 games due to a foot injury. With WR Andre Johnson making plays and RB Arian Foster catching passes out of the backfield, Schaub can definitely find his way back into fantasy starting lineups. He can easily get his passing yards over 4,000 and add 25-30 TD passes.
Palmer will get his chance in 2012 to work with the Raiders‚Äô offense from the start. He can be a very good QB2 and have some quality fantasy weeks. With playmaker Denarius Moore and a healthy Darren McFadden, Palmer will be a great backup and bye week replacement on any fantasy squad.
Freeman had a terrible 2011 season, throwing only 16 TD passes and 22 INTs. Fantasy owners expected so much more from Freeman after his 2010 season where he had 25 TD passes and only 6 INTs. With Vincent Jackson coming to Tampa to help out what was a pretty poor receiving core, Freeman gets a legitimate #1 option. If Freeman can avoid the mistakes he will have the opportunity to bounce back and show 2010 was no fluke.
Dalton had a very impressive rookie year in Cincinnati throwing for just under 3,400 yards with 20 TD passes. Dalton should only get better as a starting NFL quarterback and his fantasy numbers will improve as well. He may not be considered a fantasy option just yet, especially because of the division the Bengals play in, but Dalton is not that far off.
Alex Smith has never been a fantasy option in the past, but with the additions of Randy Moss and Mario Manningham joining Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis, Smith has the weapons for him to put up some good numbers. If Jim Harbaugh can show trust in Smith and have him throw the ball more he may finally put himself on the fantasy map.
Fitzpatrick is coming off a season where he threw for over 3,800 yards and had 24 TD passes, but he also threw 23 interceptions. Fitzpatrick must cut down on his mistakes or he will only be considered an injury replacement at best.
The Rams are hoping Bradford can show some of the promise he did as a rookie in 2010. Last year was a disappointment for him as he dealt with injury and poor play. The Rams weapons don‚Äôt seem like enough to make Bradford relevant for fantasy owners.
Luck will no doubt go through a learning process in his rookie season. He has all the tools to become a solid NFL QB, but he doesn‚Äôt figure to be a fantasy standout in 2012. He may be worthy stashing on your fantasy roster if you can afford holding the spot for him.
As long as Hasselbeck can keep the starting QB job away from Jake Locker, he is capable of having pretty good fantasy statistics. Hopefully the Titans will have a healthy Kenny Britt back to boost their receiving core and help Hasselbeck to a solid 2012 season.
No doubt Johnson is the top WR in all fantasy leagues and a first round pick. He caught 96 passes for 1,681 yards, he averaged over 17 yards per catch and scored 16 touchdowns last year. Though those are huge numbers he put up in 2011, expect Johnson to do it again in 2012.
Roddy White finished the 2011 season with 100 catches for 1,296 yards and 8 touchdowns. Over the past 5 seasons White has averaged 94 receptions for 1,284 yards and 8 touchdowns. White has said he thinks his role in the Atlanta offense will decrease this year, but I don‚Äôt but it. Even with the emergence of Julio Jones, White will still be Matt Ryan‚Äôs top target and he will still be able to put up his usual numbers.
In 2011 Fitzgerald had 80 receptions for 1,411 yards and eight TDs. He put up those numbers despite some very inconsistent QB play. If the Cardinals can get better play from their starting quarterback Fitzgerald can improve on last season‚Äôs stats. He can get 90+ catches and possibly get back to scoring double digit TDs in 2012.
Johnson looks to be completely healthy from his arthroscopic knee surgery. If Johnson can remain healthy for the whole season he is capable of catching 100 passes for 1,500 yards and around 10 touchdowns. Expect him to bounce back from his injury in a big way in 2012.
In 13 games last season Jones had 54 grabs for 959 yards and eight TDs. The Falcons believe they have two #1 wide receivers with Jones and Roddy White. The potential of Jones is so high he can no doubt be a top 5 fantasy WR in 2012. Expect him to catch 90+ passes and score double digit TDs while catching for around 1,400 yards. He should go off draft boards by the 3rd¬†round and if you get him later than that you got a steal.
Nelson had a breakout year in 2011, he had 68 catches for 1,263 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also averaged 18.6 yards per catch. It may be tough for Nelson to match his TD total from last year, but he should be even more involved in the Packers game plan and he should easily break his career high in receptions that he set last year.
Wallace and the Steelers will eventually agree on a long term contract. He will then have to get familiar with new offensive coordinator Todd Haley‚Äôs offense. Wallace should have no problem with the new offense and should put up solid numbers with his big play capability. He should put up 1,200 receiving yards and around 10 TDs in 2012.
Welker has caught over 100 passes in 4 of the last 5 seasons. Welker is one of the most consistent WR in fantasy football. Welker caught a career high nine TDs in 2011 as well as a career high in receiving yards with 1,569. Not sure if he can beat those numbers in 2012, but he is a shoe in for 100+ grabs and 1,200 yards.
Jennings was limited to 13 games last season due to a knee injury, but still posted very good numbers. He had 67 receptions, 949 yards and 9 touchdowns. If Jennings can stay on the field for all 16 games he can catch for 1,200 yards and score double digit touchdowns. Jennings remains a WR1 in all fantasy formats.
Cruz is another up and coming star in the NFL. Cruz had 82 receptions, 1,536 yards and nine TDs last season. He will put up some big weeks for fantasy owners and it‚Äôs scary to think he could get even better. Cruz now will be a starter from week 1 and expect him to put up great numbers in 2012.
Smith had 79 catches for 1,394 yards and he scored seven touchdowns last season. Smith will continue to make plays for Carolina and as Cam Newton gets better as a passer, Smith will continue to have big fantasy weeks. Smith should post similar numbers this year as he did in 2011.
With the Dolphins last year Marshall had 81 grabs for 1,214 yards and six TDs, which was a solid year. When playing with Jay Cutler in Denver Marshall was a 100+ catch WR, so expect Marshall and Cutler to reconnect again in Chicago. He will be the #1 receiver that the Bears have been looking for and will get a ton of targets to prove it.
Nicks is expected to ready for the start of the season after suffering a fracture in his right foot. If Nicks is fully healthy going into the season he could be considered a WR1, but with there being a little question mark he could fall a bit in drafts. Either way Nicks will be a 1,000 yard receiver and score from 7-10 touchdowns.
Harvin caught 87 passes in 2011 with 967 receiving yards. He also added 345 rushing yards and scored 8 total touchdowns. When Christian Ponder took over as the Vikings‚Äô starter Harvin‚Äôs season took off. Ponder and Harvin built some good chemistry and it should continue in 2012. If Harvin and Ponder keep progressing together, Harvin‚Äôs numbers can be better than last year.
Green had an impressive rookie season with 65 catches, 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns playing with a fellow rookie, QB Andy Dalton. As Dalton and Green continue to mature as NFL players they will continue to get better and put up some very good fantasy numbers. Look for Green to have another solid season in 2012 and he should be able to improve on last year‚Äôs receptions, yards and touchdowns.
In 2011 Colston had 80 catches for 1,143 yards and scored eight touchdowns. Playing in the Saints‚Äô offense Colston has been very consistent over the years. He should be a lock for 80+ catches, 1,000+ yards and 7+ TDs in 2012. Colston makes for a rock solid WR2 in all formats.
In 10 games last year Austin had 43 grabs, 579 yards and seven TDs. If Austin is healthy he could have a great year for the Cowboys. Austin could easily be Dallas‚Äô¬†leading pass catcher in 2012. He can make the big play and with the weapons the Cowboys have he will see plenty of single coverage. In a full season Austin can catch for over 1,100 yards and score close to 10 touchdowns.
Bowe is coming off a year where he caught 81 passes for 1,159 yards and scored five touchdowns. His TD total was a little disappointing for fantasy owners after he scored 15 TDs in 2011. Bowe should be considered a WR2 in 2012 and lead the Chiefs once again in receiving. Bowe should be able to catch for over 1,000 yards again this year and expect him to hit the end zone more than the 5 times he did last season.
Maclin played in 13 games last year and caught for 859 yards. If Maclin can stay healthy for a full season, the 4th¬†year WR should be able to get his 1st¬†career 1,000 yard season. Maclin is a candidate for a breakout season and could be a nice WR2 with great upside, especially if he can get into the end zone like he did in 2010.
Thomas didn‚Äôt come on until the end of last year. In the Broncos last 5 regular games he had 25 catches for 448 yards and scored 3 TDs. He also had two big games for Denver in the playoffs, 10 grabs, 297 yards and a TD. That includes a 204 yards game against the Steelers and the game winning TD in overtime. He did this in a Broncos offense that was very run heavy in 2011. If Thomas can stay on the field and Peyton Manning is healthy, he can be a fantasy WR with major upside. Thomas should be able to catch for over 1,000 yards and score 7 TDs in 2012 and if everything clicks right he may smash those numbers.
Bryant caught for over 900 yards and scored nine touchdowns last year. Even with Bryant‚Äôs off the field incidents, it‚Äôs hard to argue what he can bring to the table on the field. Bryant is a strong and fast WR that is capable of being a top receiver in the NFL. If he can break out in 2012 is a tough question to answer, but he will still put up numbers that will warrant him a WR2 rating. Plus with the upside he has you may go off of fantasy draft boards as a very high WR2, no later than early to mid 4th¬†round.
Johnson was pretty steady for Buffalo last year. He had just over 1,000 receiving yards with seven touchdowns. Johnson is coming off of groin surgery and would be a risky bet to think he will improve much off of last season‚Äôs statistics.
Jackson caught for over 1,100 yards and scored 9 touchdowns with the Chargers last year. He also averaged 18.4 yards per catch. Now playing in Tampa Bay, where he is no doubt the team‚Äôs #1 receiving option, Jackson should be able to top his personal high of 68 catches in a season and pending on which Josh Freeman shows up for the Bucs in 2012, Jackson will have a chance to break all of his receiving highs this season. Be confident with Jackson as a good WR2, but he does have a good upside as Tampa‚Äôs main threat.
Jackson had 58 catches for 961 yards in 2011, but only had five total touchdowns. Jackson can get back over the 1,000 yard mark this season and add a few more TDs to make him a low WR2 or high WR3 in 2012.
Brown had 69 receptions for 1,108 yards while only starting three games in 2011. With Brown the starter opposite Mike Wallace he should get more opportunities this season and should post numbers to be an every week fantasy starter.
As a rookie Smith recorded 50 catches for 841 yards and scored seven touchdowns. He should be able to improve his game as a sophomore WR for Baltimore and could turn out to be the Ravens top receiver. Consider Smith a high end WR3 with upside.
Wayne had 75 receptions for 960 yards and four touchdowns in 2011. It was his lowest production in the last eight years. Wayne still managed to have a pretty respectable year despite not having Peyton Manning at the helm. This season Wayne will have to deal with rookie QB Andrew Luck and his growing pains. Though Wayne will be a nice safety blanket for Luck his fantasy numbers could struggle. He can still be included in fantasy lineups, but I would think not much better than a WR3.
Decker caught for over 600 yards and scored eight TDs in 2011 and now gets the chance to play will veteran QB Peyton Manning. Decker can be a viable fantasy starter as long as Manning is at full strength. In a full season Decker could catch for close to 1,000 yards and keep finding the end zone.
Boldin had 57 grabs for 887 yards and three touchdowns last season. He hasn‚Äôt been the producer in his first two years in Baltimore that he was in Arizona, and this will continue. Boldin will need to be a little more involved in the Ravens‚Äô offense and score a few more TDs to be considered an every week starter and not just being used in good matchups. Boldin may be a WR to pass on in drafts and take a chance on a good sleeper a bit later.
Moore had over 600 receiving yards and eight touchdowns last year. He has always been a player that Drew Brees has looked for in the red zone. With Robert Meachem now in San Diego, Moore should get even more chances in 2012 to make him a good WR3 option.
Moore showed big play capability in his rookie year. He caught for over 600 yards and averaged 18.7 yards per catch. Moore also scored five touchdowns. Moore has dealt with a hamstring injury, but should be fine when the season rolls around. With a full season upcoming with QB Carson Palmer, Moore can be a big surprise for fantasy owners.
Lloyd had 70 catches for 966 yards and five TDs playing for both the Broncos and the Rams in 2011. Lloyd has moved on and joined the Patriots this season and could be the big play WR that New England hasn‚Äôt seen since the departure of Randy Moss. Patriots‚Äô¬†QB Tom Brady should be able to get Lloyd enough targets to make him a solid fantasy WR even though their receiving core is stacked.
With Britt‚Äôs off the field problems and him coming off knee surgery makes him a very risky draft pick. There isn‚Äôt a guarantee either that he will be in the Titans‚Äô¬†lineup week 1. When Britt is playing he always puts up some big numbers for his fantasy owners. Consider him a high risk/high reward WR3 to begin the season.
Young hauled in 48 passes for 607 yards and tallied six touchdowns in his first NFL season. The Lions will look to get Young even more involved in their explosive passing game in 2012 which should make him a solid WR3.
Chargers big play receiver Malcom Floyd caught for over 800 yards with a whopping 19.9 yards per catch and scored 5 touchdowns in 2011. With Vincent Jackson now in Tampa Bay and the Chargers bringing in some new WR additions, Floyd may be in line for a breakout year. If he can stay healthy he should be able to get his first 1,000 yard receiving year and will have no problem getting into the end zone.
In 12 games last season Moss had 46 receptions for 584 yards with four TDs. With rookie QB Robert Griffin III now starting in Washington, and Moss playing a little more out of the slot, he could be a good safety net underneath and have a nice comeback season. Moss could end up being a solid WR3 for fantasy owners this year.
Blackmon has the speed and strength to be a good NFL receiver and a serviceable fantasy WR too. For Blackmon to be able to be considered for fantasy starting lineup he will need for QB Blaine Gabbert to show much improvement. He has to be considered a bit of a question mark in his rookie season, so think of him as a borderline WR3.
Moss is trying to make a comeback in 2012 after being invisible since the 2009 season. The 49ers have liked what they‚Äôve seen so far from Moss and feel like he can really contribute to their offense. The Niners haven‚Äôt been much of a passing team, and with their receiving core looking very good with Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Vernon Davis and Moss, it‚Äôs hard to think he can post big numbers. Treat Moss as a WR4 until you can really tell what direction the 49ers‚Äô offense will go.
Garcon moves on to Washington after having his best season in Indianapolis. He caught 70 balls for 947 yards and six TDs in 2011 for the Colts. Garcon had some really big fantasy weeks last year, but was somewhat inconsistent. The Redskins may look for Garcon more as a #1 WR, so he may be able to put up some good fantasy numbers on a more consistent basis this season.
Meachem had over 600 yards and six TDs in 2011 while playing with the Saints. He is now with the Chargers and will play in what should be another very good offense. Meachem can make the big play and may get more chances in San Diego than he did in New Orleans. Meachem could be a good WR sleeper in 2012.
In 13 games last season Foster ran for 1,224 yards, caught for 617 yards and scored 12 touchdowns. Foster has always been a big part of Houston‚Äôs passing game and he will continue his dominance in 2012. If he can stay on the field for all 16 games he should have no problem getting over 2,000 total yards. Foster will be the first RB taken in all fantasy drafts and deservingly so.
McCoy had over 1,600 total yards in 2011 with 20 total touchdowns. McCoy is capable of putting up big weekly numbers and doing it on a consistent basis. It will be tough for him to match his 20 TDs from last year, but he can definitely have more total yards and receptions.
Rice went for over 2,000 total yards and 15 touchdowns in 2011. He also caught 76 passes out of the Raven backfield. Rice is the focal point of Baltimore‚Äôs offense and they will continue to get him as many touches as possible, either in the running game or passing game. Rice should be able to put up similar numbers this season and worthy of one of the top 3 runningbacks selected in fantasy drafts.
Mathews will enter the 2012 season not having to split time with departed Mike Tolbert (Panthers), and should be the Chargers every down back. Mathews averaged 4.9 yards while rushing for over 1,000 yards and caught 50 passes splitting time with Tolbert. If Mathews can stay healthy, and with his increase of touches he will get, Mathews can rush for 1,300 yards, have 60 plus receptions and score double digit touchdowns.
Update: Mathews could likely miss the first game or two of the regular season due to a broken Clavicle. He will likely drop into the second round now and could be a steal. The Chargers still believe that Mathews can carry the load for them and with the lack of a serious backup he will get that chance when he returns.
McFadden only played in 7 games in 2011 due to a Lisfranc injury. He seems to be fully healthy coming in to this season and he will be the Raiders‚Äô #1 offensive threat. With Michael Bush now in Chicago and if McFadden can stay healthy for a full season, he can put up huge fantasy numbers in 2012. McFadden has big play capability and good hands out of the backfield, which makes him another RB candidate who has a shot for 2,000 total yards and 10+ touchdowns.
Jones-Drew has been as solid a fantasy running back than just about anyone. He is by far the main threat in Jacksonville‚Äôs offense and should continue to be so. It may be a tough task for him to equal last season‚Äôs totals of 343 carries and 1,606 rushing yards, but between his rushing and receiving and likely chance to score at least 10 TDs, he will still be an elite fantasy RB.
Richardson has all the tools to become an excellent NFL runningback as well as a big time fantasy RB. He will be the player in Cleveland that their team will be built around. Richardson should see a good amount of carries and be involved in the Brown‚Äôs passing game too. He should also be able to score between 7-10 touchdowns as a rookie.
Update: Richardson is questionable for the start of the regular season after having arthroscopic surgery to remove a tiny piece of cartilage in his knee. He is progressing well in his rehab and if he is not ready for the Browns opener he will drop a few spots in the draft.
Lynch had a breakout 2011 season, rushing for over 1,200 yards and scoring 13 total TDs. Lynch should be able to build off last season‚Äôs success and have another big fantasy year. Expect Lynch to also get involved more in the Seahawks‚Äô¬†passing game and improving on last season‚Äôs reception total of 28. Lynch is a rock solid RB1 coming into 2012.
In 12 games last year Forte had 997 rushing yards and 490 receiving yards on 52 catches. Forte may hold out in training camp, but he will be ready to go at the start of the season. The addition of Michael Bush will take away some of Forte‚Äôs touches and possibly touchdowns, but Forte will get enough chances in the running and passing game to put up great fantasy numbers on a weekly basis.
Johnson had a down year in 2012 rushing for only 1,047 yards and 4 TDs. He also only averaged 4.0 yards per rush attempt, which was his lowest in his brief career. Johnson did have a nice season in the Titans‚Äô¬† passing game though, grabbing 57 passes for 418 yards. He can be back to being a fantasy stud in 2012 once again if he can get back to his big play capability. Expect Johnson to come up with a 1,300 yard rush season and score double digit touchdowns to go along with 50+ receptions.
Murray was a star in the making before his ankle injury ended his 2011 season. Murray had 885 rushing yards and averaged 5.5 yds per carry before he got hurt. He is also a very good pass catcher and the Cowboys will look to get him the ball through the air too. If Murray can come back strong and avoid injury he will put up numbers to warrant him a top 10 fantasy RB.
Bradshaw will get the bulk of the carries this season with Brandon Jacobs moving on to San Francisco. With the playmakers the Giants have in the passing game, Bradshaw should find many holes in the running game. Look for Bradshaw to rush for 1,200+ yards and 10+ TDs this year. He is also a pretty good receiving RB, so Bradshaw could post more than the 34 receptions he had a year ago.
In 10 games last year Jackson had 1,376 total yards and caught 39 passes. Jackson will be fully healed from his broken leg and should pick up right where he left off in 2011. Jackson may lose some touches to C.J. Spiller this year, as the Bills look to get him more involved in the offense, but Jackson will get plenty of touches to make him a solid RB2 in all fantasy formats.
Jackson has always been a back to take a beating and keep pounding away, but it has to eventually catch up to him. Look for St. Louis to possibly lessen his workload this season, although he should still manage 20+ touches with his rushing and the role he plays in the Rams‚Äô passing game. Don‚Äôt expect Jackson‚Äôs TD total to get much higher since the Rams‚Äô red zone offense has been very poor. Count on Jackson as no better than a decent RB2 option.
Sproles had over 1,300 total yards, nine touchdowns and 86 receptions as a part time player in 2011. Playing in the Saints‚Äô offense and with their willingness to get him the ball makes it hard not to have Sproles in starting fantasy lineups especially in PPR leagues. Look for him to have similar numbers this season as a strong RB2.
Michael Turner has always been a consistent fantasy starter. Turner can give you 300 carries, 1,300 rush yards and double digit touchdowns. Though he has given basically nothing in the passing game and that will continue. Turner could also be looking at a decrease in his usual production if the Falcons start going to the pass a little more this season and it‚Äôs possible with a maturing Matt Ryan and emerging star Julio Jones alongside Roddy White. Plus Atlanta will look to get RB Jacquizz Rodgers more touches in the offense. Maybe the time has come to pass on Turner in drafts and look for a RB who may have a bigger upside.
Never thought we would see this fantasy stud so low in the rankings, but Peterson is coming off surgery after tearing ligaments in his knee after having a solid 12 games last year. Even if Peterson is ready to go there‚Äôs a good chance his normal workload will decrease. Peterson could be a risky draft pick and reaching Adrian Peterson like fantasy numbers won‚Äôt happen in 2012.
Update: Peterson is back practicing for the Vikings, but will not play in any preseason games. He is sure to be eased in the Vikings offense early in the season, but should once again be seeing the bulk of the work after a few weeks. Peterson could move up the draft ranks if he doesn’t have any setback before the season begins.
With the Jets figuring to give Greene the ball more often this season he should be able to hit the 1,200 rush yard mark. Greene had 30 catches last season and is also a good receiving option for Mark Sanchez out of the backfield. Greene may be a nice fantasy RB2 in 2012 with some good upside.
Bush is coming off his first 1,000 yard rushing season of his NFL career. The Dolphins may not lean on Bush as much this year and try to get Daniel Thomas some more opportunities, but Bush will prove to be Miami‚Äôs best option with his big play ability and his sure hands catching passes. With the amount of touches he will get he can once again be worthy of being in fantasy lineups on a weekly basis as a RB2.
Charles seems fully healed from his torn ACL injury. He can be one of the most dynamic players in the NFL if he can regain his previous form. You can count on Charles to make big plays for Kansas City and be active in their pass game. What hurts his value besides the injury question is the Chiefs addition of Peyton Hillis to the backfield. Hillis is guaranteed to take away some of Charles touches as well as goal line carries. Still Charles has good value and a high upside coming into the season.
Helu had a solid rookie season gaining over 1,000 total yards and grabbing 49 passes. He did most of his damage in the second half of the season when he took over as the starter. Helu will share touches in the Redskin backfield, but should still have enough opportunities weekly for him to make it into fantasy starting lineups.
Update: Helu is dealing with soreness in both Achilles’ tendons and with the depth in the Redskins’ backfield it’s beginning to look like Helu’s role could become less than originally expected. He is looking more like a RB3 than a RB2, so drop him down a bit in your rankings.
Green-Ellis should be the primary ball carrier for the Bengals this year. He is a tough inside runner with a knack of getting into the end zone. He should be to be a 1,000 yard back with a chance to get 10 TDs for an improving Bengal offense.
Wells is coming off knee surgery this off-season, but the Cardinals expect him to be ready. Wells rushed for 1,047 yard and 10 TDs in 2011, which is pretty much what you can expect from his this year. Just don‚Äôt expect much, if anything from Wells in the passing game.
Gore comes off a 2011 season where he rushed for over 1,200 yards and scored eight touchdowns. The surprising thing was he only had 17 receptions when he had averaged 51 catches over the past 5 seasons. Gore now gets Brandon Jacobs to join him in the 49ers‚Äô¬†backfield along with Kendall Hunter, so Gore‚Äôs touches in 2012 looks like they will be reduced and he won‚Äôt be the guy the Niners would count on to carry the team. Gore will have a tough time putting up the fantasy numbers he has in the past which might make him a borderline RB2 this year.
Martin may be the favorite to be the Bucs starter when the season begins, but even if he‚Äôs not he should definitely play an active role in Tampa Bay‚Äôs offense. Martin will be a solid RB3 with good upside as the season progresses.
Now with the Chiefs, Peyton Hillis finds himself in a backfield that includes speedy Jamaal Charles. Hillis and Charles will make a great combo for the Chiefs as long as they can stay healthy. Hillis is a punishing runner and has good hands to go along with his power. He will get a good amount of touches sharing with Charles and will be Kansas City‚Äôs goal line back. Hillis is also a must handcuff if you‚Äôre a Jamaal Charles owner.
Stewart had over 700 yards rushing, 400 yards receiving and a career high 47 receptions in 2011. Stewart put up these numbers while splitting time with DeAngelo Williams. He will not be a big touchdown producer with Cam Newton being the Panthers #1 option at the goal line and the addition of FB Mike Tolbert. Stewart won‚Äôt put up numbers better than he did last year so consider him as a RB3 or bye week replacement for 2012.
Redman will be the Steelers #1 runningback heading into 2012 with Rashard Mendenhall recovering from his torn ACL injury. Redman will get a good amount of touches and goal line chances to make him worthy of RB3 fantasy status.
Starks has the tools to be a¬† nice fantasy runningback, but playing in the Packers‚Äô offense doesn‚Äôt help his chances of putting up major fantasy numbers. Though Starks could do well with his 12-15 carries and a couple of catches each week, he probably won‚Äôt hit pay dirt often. Starks will put up average numbers each week for Green Bay, but probably not good enough for him to be in fantasy lineups on a consistent basis.
Update: Starks has been sidelined with Turf Toe. With the injury and the addition of Cedric Benson, Starks’ fantasy value has really taken a hit. The Packers seem pleased with what they will get from Benson and he may very well be the Green Bay RB with the most fantasy value. Move Starks down in the Rankings and consider him a risk on draft day.
Donald Brown could be a candidate for a good fantasy sleeper this year. With a rookie quarterback the Colts may look to their running game more in 2012. Brown rushed for over 600 yards with 5 TDs in limited play last season. He figures to get more a lot more touches this year and has the ability to become a good fantasy option. He is easily worthy of a RB3 rating with the upside of becoming a fantasy starter.
Ridley seems to be the #1 RB option in a great Patriots‚Äô¬†offense. Ridley will share some carries but should get the majority of the touches and should also be the Patriots‚Äô¬†goal line back. Consider Ridley a solid fantasy backup.
Williams is an explosive back, he averaged 5.4 yards per carry last season while gaining 836 rushing yards and 7 touchdowns. The problem is he will be in basically a 50/50 split with Jonathan Stewart and goal line chances will go to Stewart, Cam Newton and newly acquired Mike Tolbert. Williams will not make it into fantasy starting lineups, but should be on fantasy rosters as a RB3.
McGahee rushed for just under 1,200 yards and had four rushing TDs in 2011. With Tim Tebow now in New York, McGahee has a chance to better his touchdown total. Though the Broncos will be a more balanced team now that Peyton Manning is the starting QB, expect McGahee to be a solid RB3 with a chance of cranking into fantasy starting lineups.
When Fred Jackson went down last year it gave Spiller a chance to show what he could do. He finished the season strong and finished with over 800 total yards and six TDs. The Bills will get Spiller more involved in the offense even with Jackson‚Äôs return and with his big play capability he could be a sleeper to keep an eye on this year.
Bush got the opportunity to start last year in Oakland when Darren McFadden got hurt. He showed he could be a starting NFL RB and a starting fantasy back too. Bush signed with the Bears this year and will be the backup once again with Matt Forte the Bears starter. He will get a handful of touches each week, but not enough to use as a fantasy RB. He is a must handcuff if you have Forte.