Fantasy Football MVPs of 2012

(twitter.com)

(twitter.com)

It’s not just the first-round picks that make your fantasy team championship-caliber.  It’s the late-round and even free-agent pickups that can bring your team to the promise land.  With that being said, let’s take a look at this year’s top-5  Most Valuable fantasy Players.

Subsequent to jumping into the list, it is worth noting that the simplistic formula to figure out MVPs is expectation vs. output and what it costs to get the player.

Starting with:

(celebritynetworth.com)

(celebritynetworth.com)

5. Andrew Luck

Luck was drafted ,on average, between the 11th-13th round and had little-to any expectations as far as his fantasy value was concerned.  A team that had been gutted by trades and free-agency, Luck inherited an aging Reggie Wayne and a virtually non-existent run-game.  Yet he did not let that deter him from having a terrific rookie-season that is likely to lead  him to Rookie of the Year, and has led his team to the playoffs.

Through 16 weeks Luck had thrown for over 4,100 yards (7th in NFL) with 21 TDs yet 18 INT, adding another 5 TD on the ground to his stat-line.  Luck is the 9th ranked QB in fantasy and 10th overall (Ahead of Eli, Stafford, Flacco, and Dalton) thanks in part to having  7 games with 18+ points with 4 of those games netting he and his owners over 23 points.

4.  Doug Martin

Martin was taken off of the board as early as the 4th round and as late as the 8th round in most drafts.  Concerns lingering around him were the fear that Blount would steal some carries.  Yet, Martin alleviated those concerns, racking up 44 carries in the first two weeks, on his way to back-to-back double-digit performances.

With 16 weeks now in the books, Martin is the number 3 fantasy running back, and has over 1,700 all-purpose yards (1,312 on the ground  good enough for 6th in the NFL and 454 through the air) and 11 TDs (10 rushing tied for 5th in the NFL 1 receiving).  He has had four 100-yard games, two games with multiple TDs, 15 games with multiple receptions, and only 3 single-digit performances all season.

(thescore.com)

(thescore.com)

3. Robert Griffin III

Known for his immense athletic ability, owners drafted RG III in the 8th-9th round in the majority of drafts.  Owners who took him, hopes that he would somehow resemble Cam Newton and his rookie campaign. Those who took the chance on him had their gutsy choice payoff.

For the majority of the season, RG III was the #1 fantasy scorer.  Yet, having to miss time due to injuries, Griffin is still the 5th QB in fantasy, and 5th scorer overall.  Like Newton, Griffin has had his success through the air ( 3,100 passing yards 20 TD to 5 INT) and on the ground (752 rushing yards and 6 TDs).  Griffin had produced eight 20+ point performances with three of those going for 30+ points.  In fact Griffin’s only single-digit performance came when he was knocked out of the game early vs. the Falcons in week 5.

2. Alfred Morris

Undrafted in most drafts, Morris far exceeded his non-existent expectations.  Morris, currently the #6 running back through 16 weeks, has been a model of consistency for fantasy owners who have him everywhere.

Only two games throughout the season has Morris failed to reach 76 rushing yards, which he has more than offset with his 6 100+ rushing yard-games during his rookie season.  Morris has scored double-digit fantasy points in 12 games this season, with two of those games netting him over 20+ points.

Morris is averaging an impressive 4.7 ypc, on his way to gaining 1,413 rushing yards (4th in NFL) and 10 TDs  (5th in NFL) through 16 weeks.  The unknown player-turned fantasy stud has also carried the ball 20 or more times 9 times this season, becoming a real work-horse.

Peterson has been nothing short of amazing this season.(sportsflex.blogspot.com)

Peterson has been nothing short of amazing this season.
(sportsflex.blogspot.com)

1. Adrian Peterson

Is there even an argument here?  After recovering from major knee-surgery, it was unsure if AP would even be ready to go come week 1.  Yet some owners still took a chance on him, as he was drafted on average as early as the 2nd round and as late as the 4rh on average.  Those owners who took the risk were highly rewarded.

Peterson, who is the #1 running back by 35 points over #2 Foster, is also the only player who is not a QB to be in the top-10 (Peterson is #8).  AP has posted an incredible seven games with 20+ points (including a 31-point performance in week 9 vs. Sea).  In back-to-back-to-back weeks Peterson posted 28,28, and 27 points.  He also has 9 games where he has rushed for over 100 yards, and two games with over 200 yards rushing.

All of this amazing success this season has Peterson leading the NFL in rushing yards (1,898 which is 408 yards ahead of Lynch and under 200 yards away from Dickerson’s single-season record) yards/game (126.5) and is second in the NFL with 11 rushing TDs, while he is also averaging an awe-inspiring 6.0 ypc.

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Adrian Peterson or Peyton Manning, Who’s been more impressive?

(aol.sportsnews.com)

After Peyton Manning underwent neck fusion surgery, and Adrian Peterson went under the knife to repair a torn ACL and MCL, both of their statuses were in question for the 2012-2013 NFL and fantasy football season.

The skepticism for both players was not without reasoning, as this was Manning’s fourth neck surgery and many feared that one more good, clean, and hard hit would spell the end of his career, and history wasn’t on the side of Peterson, since only Jamal Lewis and Terry Allen were the only RBs in NFL history to return from an ACL injury and rush for over 1,000 yards the following year.

However, after 10 weeks of football, Manning currently ranks:

  • 5th in NFL in passing yards (2,705)
  • 3rd in NFL in passing TDs (21)
  • 1st in NFL QB Rat (108.0)
  • 5th in passing yards/game (301)
  • 2nd in competition % (69.7%)
  • 6th overall fantasy QB and 6th overall fantasy scorer (175 points) averaging 19.4/game
  • In 6 out of 9 games he’s had over 20 or more fantasy points

While Peterson ranks:

  • 1st in NFL rushing yards (1,128)
  • 3rd in yards/attempt (5.7) however the two ahead of him (Spiller and RG III) have a combined 168 attempts, while Peterson has 195 himself
  • 2nd in NFL rushing TDs (7)
  • 1st in NFL with rushes over 20+ yards (13) almost double second place (McCoy 7)
  • 1st in yards/game (112.8)
  • 7th overall fantasy scorer, and 1st RB (164 points) 16.4 ppg
  • 4 games with 20 or more fantasy points
  • Averaging 157.3 rushing yards/game last 4 weeks

While both have been more than remarkable, who is the most impressive?

I’m giving the slight edge to Peterson, although I do believe that Manning is having an MVP-type season.

Yet, Peterson is a mere 199 yards away from surpassing Jamal Lewis’s 2001 season’s rushing yards when he returned from ACL injury.  Not only Lewis’s season, but Peterson is only 632 yards away from surpassing his own season-high of 1,760 yards.  In addition, despite the both of them having phenomenal season’s, when you look at stats, AP is the #1 RB in fantasy, that means there is no one better than him right now, while Manning is ranked 6th.

But, taking a step back from statistics it’s the way Peterson continues to play despite his knee.  Every time he runs the ball he continues to look for contact, refuses to run out of bounds, cuts and jukes like he’s a rookie again, and looks better than anyone could’ve imagined.

Fantasy Football Week 1 Top-10 Performers

Fantasy football’s week 1 Top-10 Performers

Ryan has a lot to be happy about as he leads fantasy through week 1 (zimbio.com)

Here is a list of top-10 performers (in standard scoring leagues) after week 1:

1. Matt Ryan (31 points)

2. RGIII (24 points)

3. Tony Romo (23 points)

4. Kevin Ogletree (23 points)

5. Aaron Rodgers (22 points)

6. C.J. Spiller (22 points)

7. Julio Jones (22 points)

8. Drew Bress (21 points)

9. Alfred Morris (21 points)

10. 6 players tied with 20 points; Peyton Manning, Steven Ridley, Adrian Peterson, Stephen Hill, Mark Sanchez, and Kevin Smith

This list doesn’t exactly compile on your typical top-10 fantasy performers, and that isn’t always a bad thing.  Sometimes a nice shake-up is necessary, yet is this for real?  Are any of these surprise performers likely to stay in such an elite ranking, or will they fizzle out?  Also, I know it is very early, yet I will predict where these players will likely be ranked come the end of the season.

Matt Ryan- definitely for real, and do not be surprised to see him crack the top four or five for quarterbacks by the end of the season.  I have been very high on him all off-season, yet was shocked to see him go so late in most drafts (anywhere between 11th– 14th round).  He has arguably one of the best wide receiving threats in Jones, White, and Gonzales.  He also still has Turner back there and also showed us that he too can run (scoring on a 5-yard run and totaling 25 rushing yards on 3 carries).

End of season prediction- top-5 QB

RGIII- Before I make my prediction on him, I will admit he does remind of somewhat of Cam Newton.  I only say this because last season after Newton’s stellar week 1 performance, I proclaimed it was not for real and he was likely to fizzle out (man was I wrong).  Yet, once more I will proclaim as such, stating I do not believe RG III will still be in the top-10 come season’s end.  I just do not trust rookie quarterbacks enough to believe they will put up such consistently high numbers.  RG III is a good quarterback who had a great game, and maybe soon should be a starter in most leagues, maybe.

End of season prediction- top-12-14 QB

(nflrush.com)

Tony Romo- I believe in Romo, as far as fantasy goes.  Last year he was the 8th quarterback overall, only 5 points behind Eli.  This year all of his weapons seem to be healthy and clicking, which all point to Romo having another great fantasy season.  It’s also worth noting that Romo put up his week 1 numbers without his security blanket, Witten, playing any sort of role in the offense.

End of season prediction- Top-6 QB

Kevin Ogletree- Could he be the reincarnation of Laurent Robinson 2011?  Cowboy fans hope so, but I don’t see it.  For more, check out my previous article on Ogletree, Who Is Kevin Ogletree, and Should He Be On Your Team?

End of season prediction- top-20 WR

Aaron Rodgers- Of course he is for real, leading fantasy football in scoring in back-to-back seasons.  I won’t even waste my time writing, or yours to read as to why he will be a top-10 player.

End of season prediction- top-2 QB

(washingtonpost.com)

C.J. Spiller- I like him, a lot.  Especially with Jackson out for at least 3 weeks, that leaves the door wide open for Spiller to go off, which we all saw he is capable of doing (last season in the Bills final 6 games, when Spiller took over

for Jackson, he rushed for 446 yards with 3 TDs and caught for 187 yards and 2 TDs). My only concern for him is that when/if Jackson comes back he will obviously lose some carries.  Yet, if he does well enough over the next few weeks, he could cement himself, possibly, ahead of Jackson.  Only time will tell, yet for now I believe this season he is for real, especially with the lack of depth of good fantasy running backs this year.

End of season prediction- top-8 RB

Julio Jones- Absolute stud.  He will be towards the top of the list of wide receivers by the end of the season.   And those of you who were lucky enough to select him in any round past the 3rd got an absolute steal.  His combination of size, speed, strength, and athleticism make him a complete wide receiver.  Like I stated with Ryan, it doesn’t hurt that he has Roddy White and Tony Gonzales lining up with him to take some of the heat off of him.

End of season prediction- top-3 WR

Drew Brees- Yes, no brainer that he is for real, he’s flipping’ Drew Brees.  As long as he is playing, no matter who his coach is, who is suspended, or who isn’t suspended he will continue to put up huge numbers.

End of season prediction- top-4 QB (at worst)

(bleacherreport.com)

Alfred Morris- There are few rules I stick to in fantasy football regardless of anything, and one of those is to never trust a Mike Shanahan running back.  I don’t like them, I can’t trust them, and I definitely cannot rely on them.  They are huge none week, then not even in the line-up next week.  They’ll get 20 carries in one week, 5 the following.  No thank you and no offense to Morris, I just do not trust him.

End of season prediction- He’ll be lucky to be a top-20 RB

Peyton Manning- Peyton looked like Peyton in week one and he did it against a great defense in the Pittsburgh Steelers.  His neck seems to be just fine, his weapons are above average, and he gives me no reason to worry about him.

End of season prediction- top-7 QB

 

Adrian Peterson, Stephen Hill, Mark Sanchez, Kevin Smith, and Steven Ridley- I am putting them all together because I do not trust any of them.  Although Peterson is a freak of nature, I just have problems trusting that knee all season long.  Especially because he is a running back who loves contact, and with that the case can he knee hold up?  Mark Sanchez doesn’t have the weapons or the skill set to remain a top-tier fantasy quarterback, which is also why Hill won’t remain atop the wide receiver list.  Although I do like Smith a lot and he is capable of big fantasy points, he is injury prone and will likely lose touches once Leshoure comes back in week 3.  Finally, there is Ridley, who falls under my second rule of fantasy football and that is to never trust a Patriots running back.  Regardless of how good Ridley seemed in week 1, and there is no doubt that he is a good running back, there just is no consistency in the Patriots running game.  As long as Brady is under center, the Patriots will always be a pass-first team.

End of season prediction-

Peterson- if healthy, top-12 RB

Sanchez- top-15 QB

Hill- top-30 WR

Smith- top-17 RB

Ridley- top-15 RB

Percy Harvin, Jared Cook and Other Week 1 Man Crushes

Entering each week I will take a look at some players at each position, or sometime just one player whom I have a “man crush” on each week.  These crushes are due to the fact that I believe this/these player(s) will have breakout weeks.  Some of them will be obvious choices, while others will be sleepers.  Nevertheless, let’s take a look at my week 1 man crushes:

Jared Cook– Tennessee Titans TE

He is not as highly regarded as your Gronkowski’s or your Graham’s of course, yet that works to his advantage.  Since he isn’t scouted so highly many of you can get him at the end of your draft, and which is a steal.  Cook, who stands at 6’ 5” 248lbs ran a 4.5 40-yard dash, which alone shows how freakish of an athlete he is.  However, size and speed aside, Cook can play some football.  Last year alone, on a Titans team that struggled and had QB questions, Cook managed  49 receptions, 749 yards and 3 TDs (this year he is predicted to get 66 receptions, 693 yards and 6 TDs. Also for all you PPR leagues out there, Cook also is porjected 104 targets).  If that’s not enough, his college coach Steve Spurier once compared Cook’s skill set to Calvin Johnson’s.  Also, Cook’s week 1 matchup against the Patriots could result in his team falling down early, calling them to air it out a lot.

Percy Harvin– Minnesota Vikings WR

Not just this game, but all season I love this guy, and I’ll tell you why.  First, let’s not forget that Harvin is a crazy-fast wide receiver who gets a ton of targets.  Also, last year when Christian Ponder finally took over under center, Harvin lead EVERY wide receiver in offensive touches with 100, with Welker in 2nd with 74.  All of those touches are yet another reason I love him, because he gets those random carriers out of the back field.  Now those carriers aren’t enough to make a gigantic impact, however more touches= more points which is never a bad thing.  In addition, the health of Adrian Peterson is still uncertain, which will equal a lighter load, putting more emphasis on including Harvin in the offense.  With his week one match-up pitting him against the Jaguars, I am predicting a close game, again with a lot of attention of Harvin.

Josh Freeman– Tampa Bay Bucs QB

(zimbio.com)

Like Harvin, I like Freeman all year, yet ill spare you why and just focus on week 1. Plain and simple, while Carolina may be improving on both sides of the ball, their defense against the pass was and is still terrible.  Just last season they ranked 24th, allowing just under 250 yards/game through the air.  For more reason on why I am crushing on Freeman this week, check out my previous article on him.

Brandon Marshall– Chicago Bears WR

(articles.chicagotribune.com)

Do they Colts stand to be a good team again in a few years? Yes.  But that doesn’t mean they will be too good in week one, which speaks well to Marshall’s outlook.  Reuniting with his old QB, a strong run-game to take some pressure off, all mixed in with his opponent being the Colts, I am predicting a great week 1 performance from Marshall.

Kevin Smith– Detroit Lions RB

(rosterdoc.com)

Jhavid Best= out, Leshoure= suspended, that = Smith the only option.  Some are fretful because of his recent ankle injury, however the team has firmly stated it is not serious and he will be the starter in week one.  For fantasy owners that is great news, as he will be facing the Rams, who last year ranked 31st in the NFL in rushing yards allowed, at 152.1/game.

Is Adrian Peterson Still Worth Drafting in the 1st round?

Adrian Peterson after he went down with his injury, photo courtesy of cbssports.com

Vikings fans and fantasy owners everywhere felt their hearts’ plummet and had their throats overtaken by a 6’1” 220lblump, after star running back Adrian Peterson went down with a gruesome injury.  When all was said and done, it was revealed that Peterson had torn his ACL in his left knee, and also had done damage to his MCL.   While that is a devastating injury, many remain optimistic of a speedy return due to Peterson’s durability and freakish physique.  On the other hand, there are still doubters out there that believe he will never be the same player again.  To help settle this debate once and for all, and to determine if Peterson is still worthy of a first-round fantasy section, let’s look at the pros and cons.

Starting with the positives, Peterson is young, durable, and thus far has had a hall of fame-worthy career (if he continues to play at a high level).  As far as Peterson’s age is concerned, this season will only be his 6th NFL season, and he turned 27 earlier this year.  In regards to his durability, before this injury, Peterson has only missed three games total in his first four years, a pretty low number considering all the carriers he has had since entering the league (1198 in his first four seasons).  Finally, taking a look at his body of work, his first five NFL seasons put him in a highly-regarded class as far as total TD in his first five seasons, with his stats only surpassed by such names as LaDainian Tomlinson , Emmitt Smith, Eric Dickerson, and Jerry Rice. In addition, Peterson also leads the league in rushing yards since his rookie season with 6,752.

Yet, as impressive as he has been, Peterson is not the first RB to go down with this injury, and history hasn’t boded well for the others.  Such RB like Jamal Lewis, Ronnie Brown, and Edgerrin James have tried coming back

Ronnie Brown went down with the same injury in 2010, photo courtesy of palmbeachpost.com

the following season from the same injury, only to see their stats rapidly decrease.  That is not to say they didn’t have successful careers after, it just means the following seasons haven’t turned out the way people had hoped.  In addition, Peterson is the franchise player for the Vikings, and they are not going to rush him back before he is ready.  The last thing that franchise can afford is to lose him for even longer; therefore it is likely they will baby him until he is 100%.

Although it pains me to say this, Adrian Peterson is not worthy of a 1st round draft pick this year, it is just far too risky.

Yet, all you fantasy owners out there do not get too upset, as there is a

Lynch could see his stock rise this year, photo courtesy of stephenbrashear.com

plethora of other talented RB out there who are due for a big season.  Just to name a few who could replace him as a 1st round pick: Marshawn Lynch (finished 7th in rushing yards/game last season and 2nd in rush TD), DeMarco Murrary (only started 7 games last year and rushed for 900 yards), and Reggie Bush (first 1,000 rushing season last year, and all-around threat).