What’s that coming around the corner? Is it a bird? A plane? No! It’s a poorly constructed segue to our 2012 Fantasy Football rankings! If you wanna know where to find these tasty little morsels of information over the course of the season, you just need to click on that link. It will remember where to go so you don’t have to! If you’re more of a do-it-yourself’er, you can find this link up next to the home tab or under ‘2012 Fantasy Football Features’ section on the left hand side. Then you can show your mom you did it all by yourself like a big boy/girl (my wife says I shouldn’t put ‘big’ next to ‘girl’ in any of my writings but I’m a glutton for punishment). We’ll follow this top 10 with the remaining top 20 and then be well on our way to positions…woah, not those kind of positions. See above in the parentheses I have a wife? Keep in mind I have to get up real early to write these and by early I mean some of this was written in May. I can’t help if Chad Ochocinco goes bullriding and shatters his femur in July (though that might have helped fantasy owners last year who drafted him in August). I follow the Razzball mantra of tiers for fears that you won’t get the gist of me saying ‘this guy, this guy, this guy and that guy(girl?) are really all the same player when it comes to drafting’. With all that said and out of the way, let’s see what crazy ideas I have bouncing around in my head for the top 10 for fantasy football, shall we?
Projections: Running back stats are based on rushing yards/rushing TDs/receptions/receiving yards/receiving TDs. Quarterbacks based on passing yards/passing TDs/INTs/Rushing Yards/Rushing TDs. Wide Receivers and Tight Ends are based on receptions/receiving yards/receiving TDs/rushing yards/rushing TDs. Finally, Kickers are based on…come on seriously, why would that happen?
1. Ray Rice – And with the first pick of the 2012 Fantasy Football Rankings, Sky selects ‘alienate all razzball readers.’ This is the first tier and it goes from Rice to McCoy. I call this tier ‘Run to your nearest Running Back’ because this position gets worrisome fast and if you have a pick in the top 3, you’ll want to have one of these guys. Maybe 2009 and 2010 have permanently scarred people from seeing him as a #1 pick. Maybe it’s McCoy having a monster 2011 season or Foster’s 2010. Whatever the case may be, Rice was finally freed from touchdown purgatory and I’m buying. To make his 2012 season look even better, he no longer has to contend with ayurvedic hash brownie specialist Ricky Williams when it comes to first and goal. In fantasy football, being the team’s number one option with no true poachers to contend with makes getting TDs a bit easier. Add in that sucking sound that comes from Baltimore’s QB position and you have a guy destined to take the team on his shoulderpads in the redzone. 2012 Projections: 1450/13/65/600/2
2. Arian Foster – Like I said, guys come in tiers so I won’t argue with you if you want Foster ahead of Rice. If you do want to argue because that’s how you are, there’s a comments section below. Just keep in mind I’m a lover not a fighter. When healthy, Foster can turn in his 2011 line and that’s pretty awesome. Heck, I’d move to Utah with my wife and marry that line but I see some cracks in the Foster story that pushes him down below Rice for me. First off, he’s only had one full season in his career. Secondly, while he was on hiatus, a guy by the name of Ben Tate filled in admirably for him. Thricely, as Foster goes, so goes the Texans. This matters because he has such a good back-up in Tate, Foster might cede some touches to him for precautionary reasons over the course of the season. With all that said, heck he’s in the same tier and we know he can be a fantasy monster. Stop shaking your fist at me! 2012 Projections: 1500/10/55/500/6
3. LeSean McCoy - Rumble, young man, rumble! McCoy lit the fantasy world on fire with 20 total touchdowns, 17 of them on the ground and by far surpassing his previous career highs in rushing yards. When you factor in he’s only 23 and on what should be a strong offensive team for 2012, you have yourself a good candidate to jump over both guys I have listed above him. Overall, I think part of his emergence had a lot to do with a Michael Vick submergence in 2011. If Vick gets back on track – and I do believe he will – a few more of those goal line touches go back to Michael and away from LeSean. The flip side is with a closer to 2010 Vick, LeSean catches more passes and gets more chances for receiving TDs. Meanwhile, the third dimensional side says LeSean is not the real McCoy and that Colt is. Let us be thankful for this dimension. 2012 Projections: 1350/10/60/400/5
4. Aaron Rodgers – This is a new tier that goes to Rodgers and Rodgers alone. I call this tier ‘where the top QB is’. Admittedly, I don’t want Rodgers but not due to lack of ability. Quarterback is a pretty easy position to fill this year and I don’t want to waste a top pick on it in a 1 QB league. As you know, Rodgers had a season for the ages in 2011 and only did it in 15 games. Thankfully we only need him for 15 games, right? Heck, he sat out some second halfs and still put up video game numbers. It is scary to think what Aaron could’ve done if Mike McCarthy coached like Captain Insano. Well, that’s neither here nor there. What is here is the top QB for 2012 and I’m not drafting him…so there. 2012 Projections: 4200/40/5/200/2
5. Maurice Jones-Drew - This is a new tier and it goes to Johnson. I call this tier ‘Skills that pay the bills’ as it’s the final set of skilled position players before we get bombarded by more QBs I won’t draft. Even after what was a bit of a down year, crazy old Maurice still found a way to be the 12th best player in 2011. I’m not all googly eyes for him but that’s because my eyes weren’t glued on. Just because I’m from the internet doesn’t mean I’m not a real boy! But I digress, Maurice probably won’t give you another 15 rushing TD season any time soon but he’s going to be a solid RB1 to hang your hat on. Why you’d hang your hat on him is beyond me but you do what you feel is necessary. 2012 Projections: 1550/10/40/350/2
6. Calvin Johnson - The other most famous Calvin outside of Calvin & Hobbes had himself a great 2011 setting career highs in receptions (96), receiving yards (1,681) and touchdown receptions (16) all while putting himself well ahead of the wide receiver crop. That said, he was only the 11th best player last year as he was totally Scooby Doo’ed; he would’ve gotten away with a top 10 finish if it weren’t for those rotten Quarterbacks! He’d go higher if I didn’t believe there was depth at WR but if he’s my first player off the board, I won’t cry about it. I mean, it’s not like he’s spilt milk. 2012 Projections: 90/1550/14/20/0
7. Tom Brady - This is the next tier. This tier stretches from here to Stafford and is called the ‘QB for every first round occasion’ tier. This is where I put a bunch of quarterbacks that I won’t be drafting because if I wasn’t drafting Aaron at pick number 4, why would I do it around pick number 7? Brady has been at or near the top of fantasy QB ratings for as long as the ravine that is his cleft chin is deep. I see no reason to go against the grain with Tom. Even with a receiving corps of Wes Welker, Deion Branch and the zombified corpse of Chad EightFive, Brady made adjustments and ho-hummed himself into almost breaking Marino’s single season passing record. Let’s face facts, with a healthy Aaron Hernandez, new comer Brandon Lloyd and a more focused Gronkowski, Brady could have Michael Irvin come out of retirement and still throw 35 touchdowns. And that’s just what he’ll do. 2012 Projections: 4500/35/10/100/1
8. Drew Brees - Fo sheezy, D. Breezee had himself a banner 2011 season, throwing 46 TDs while breaking Dan Marino’s
heart 27 year old record for passing yards in a single season with 5,476. That said, I think we can safely say a repeat is going to be hard to accomplish. His previous career highs in both stats were 34 and 5,069, both set back in 2008. That’s good enough to stay in the top 10 as a quarterback but not enough to go Neil Armstrong and make any giant leaps for mankind. Just sit back and enjoy the cool Brees if you draft Drew and ignore that bad pun while you do. 2012 Projections: 4400/35/15/60/0
9. Matthew Stafford – Almost ignored behind all the talk about Brady and Brees breaking Marino’s record, Stafford had his own thrilling season for passing yards in 2011 with 5,038, good enough for 5th all time for a single season. Of all the guys I have in this tier of QBs, Stafford has the most potential to jump up but since I’m not drafting him it won’t matter for me. 2012 Projections: 4500/35/15/50/0
10. Ryan Matthews - This is the next tier and it stretches into the top 20. I call this the ‘slap chop’ tier because I’m not gonna lie to you, this is where it gets dicey for me. Matthews has the same great set up as Ray Rice being the master of his backfield domain so he has to be up here but there are blemishes. Blemish numero uno, he’s never played a full season. Blemish part deux, he has a slight case of the fumblies in his brief career with 10 total, 5 of which were lost. Blemish part third, I got some acne medication from skinID so there’s no more blemishes. Thanks Hayden Panettiere! There are lower risk running backs later in the draft and I won’t fault you for not drafting Matthews but I can’t ignore his set up for this season when doing rankings. 2012 Projections: 1350/10/45/400/2