Last time on ‘As The Razzball Turns’ we found out that Ryan Matthews rounded out our top 10 for 2012 fantasy football and that he scared the dickens out of me. Now he’s not even in my top 10 which is a dickens in and of itself. Today we should not only find out what the dickens a dickens is but who finishes off the ‘slap chop’ tier and the remainder of our top 20. Truth be told, if I could’ve put Matthews in the second round, I would’ve since this is where safety gets elusive. But then I would’ve put up a top 9 and that’s just weird because we all like to be able to divide our rankings by the number five which – in and of itself – is also weird. Someone contact a numerologist for an explanation please! Anyways, someone in here could easily finish outside the top 20 and most likely someone will. As much as you wish I had a crystal ball that I’m letting you peer in to with via my rankings for 2012 fantasy football, I don’t. All I can offer you is my expertise and some pomade to keep you looking as dapper as I do. With that, let’s journey through round two of your draft and hope we don’t trip on a landmine while we’re at it…psyche! Before we get into this top 20, I’d like to remind all you Razzball readers about our contest as we look for The Next Great Fantasy Football Writer. In that link you’ll find out not only who won round one of our contest but also what topic #2 is and how to submit your response. We kindly ask you use our emails only for the contest…or possibly for a great chili recipe. Alright, now that we’ve covered that, onto the rankings!
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?
11. Cam Newton - You’ll notice Newton’s stats actually have him outscoring Brees and yet I have him down here. Trust me, I’m no hypocrite, I’m just cautiously optimistic about Newton. On the one hand, he’s going to have a full training camp under his belt and will have a chance to learn the offense. On the other hand, he’s going to have a full training camp under his belt and will have a chance to learn the offense. Writing the same thing twice and putting it in two different hands doesn’t make two different points…or does it? Let’s look at last season. Without a training camp, a pure athlete does what he does best: he goes out there and shows off his athleticism. Newton ran for over 700 yards and scored 14 TDs on the ground. His passing game? He had 21 TDs, 17 INTs and at least 3 OMGWTFs (last stat not counted in normal fantasy scoring). This all to say, perhaps learning the playbook puts him in the pocket more than he’s comfortable with and throwing the ball more when he’d normally run it. His season was a tale of two Vicks: He had a Vick passing game from 2011 masked by a Vick rushing game from 2010. Though he’s more durable than Vick due to his size, I still think Carolina is going to try and get the ball in the hands of playmakers this year and out of his. And with Cameron, we end our ‘slap chop’ tier. I know, the suspense was killing you! 2012 Projections: 3800/20/15/500/10
12. Chris Johnson - CJ is the start of a new tier called ‘RB or not RB, that is the question’ and ends with Richardson. I call it that as if you believe in taking two RBs with your first two picks, well you best be grabbin. Unlike the last tier, I’m willing to dive in here even though there’s risk, it’s fairly mitigated if I’m using mitigated correctly. What happened last year with Johnson was a downright travesty. Blame the lockout, blame the holdout, blame him for simply being a flameout, CJ certainly didn’t live up to his top billing in 2011. I want to believe in him as an upside play but Tennessee has a history of running running (stutterer!) backs into the ground pretty early in their careers (see George, Eddie). What I see is two straight years of decline after nearly 400 touches in 2009 and though a rebound off of 2011 is almost a given, I don’t think it goes all that high. Projections 2012: 1200/8/50/400/1/1
13. DeMarco Murray – Some say if it weren’t for bad luck in the health department for Felix Jones, he would’ve put up a strong season and Murray would’ve been an afterthought going into 2012. Though that might be true, Felix seems more and more like a change of pace back that will compliment Murray, not the other way around. Again, DeMarco is a risky pick but when we’re talking talent and projections, we have to throw caution to the wind and hope it doesn’t come back and splat in our faces. Projections 2012: 1350/8/40/350/1
14. Trent Richardson - The rookie had to land somewhere, might as well be at the 14th pick off the board. Is there room for downside? Yup. Is he way better than Mark Ingram with regards to his versatility? Uh-huh. Hey, if Peyton Hillis can grace a Madden cover while playing for the Browns, I don’t see why someone with Trent’s talent can’t be ranked here. 2012 Projections: 1200/8/40/300/3
15. Darren McFadden - Darren gets his own tier. I call it the ‘go on and draft McFadden, I’m darin ya!’ tier. When run DMC is healthy, he’s closer to MJD as far as rankings are concerned. BTW, DMC has been on the PUP list more often than you’d want him to be, FWIW. Keep in mind running back is anything but safe this year so Darren’s ranking is a delicate balance between what I think he can do and his dubious health history. You can pro-rate Darren’s stats to your heart’s content but he hasn’t played a full season yet. Speaking of pro-rating stats… 2012 Projections: 1400/9/40/300/2
16. Larry Fitzgerald - This tier goes from here to Graham. This tier is called ‘you throw it, we catch it, it’s not that hard’ since it features three top receiving threats from 2011. What Fitzgerald we get this year will largely depend on what happens at quarterback for Arizona. Kevin Kolb had one simple job last season: when in doubt, throw it to Larry. Somehow the only guy who got that was John Skelton. Unfortunately, he didn’t know how to throw it to anyone else. All this to say, last year proved how talented Fitzgerald was as even with that QB mess, he still hauled in 80 of the 83 catchable passes he saw in 2011. You see that stat and tip your cap to good ‘ole Fitzy, son. 2012 Projections: 85/1400/10/0
17. Rob Gronkowski - Welcome to your first 2012 TE ranking, Razzballers. I wanted to put Rob higher but couldn’t bring myself to do it. Maybe it’s the Superbowl after-party thing. Or maybe it’s the jealousy thing. Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because Aaron Hernandez should come back healthy this year and be the TE yin to the Gronk’s TE yang. Yeah, that’s it. Kid’s still good, though. And I’m still jealous. 2012 Projections: 85/1200/12/0/0
18. Jimmy Graham – Well looky here, the top two TE’s from last year all huddled up together at the end of the top 20 as cute as a basket of sleeping kittens. Doesn’t it just melt your heart?!? Like the Gronk, Graham has four things going for him: a great quarterback at the helm of a strong offense, the speed of a man half his size, the height of a giraffe, and the strength of most DC comic book characters. This is what they call in the NFL ‘a winning combination’. Overall, I’ll be taking neither high end Tight End in the draft. Like QB, TE isn’t tight at all. 2012 Projections: 95/1250/11/0/0
19. Matt Forte - Forte is the start of the final tier that stretches into the top 50. I call this tier ‘the RB value menu’ as you may get 4 running backs for 5 bucks, but they may give you indigestion as well. Sorry if you don’t have an Arby’s where you live because if not, that was probably lost on you. I talked a little bit about Forte already this off-season but as we all know, talk is cheap. Actually, the article was written more as an analysis of Michael Bush as the goal line running back for Chicago than it was truly to tarnish Matt. My only gripe with Matt is this: though I appreciate a fine back just as much as the next guy, deep down I’m a pig and I love big TDs. If that made sense, it means you’re old enough to get it but juvenile enough to laugh at it and I thank you for that. 2012 Projections: 1200/4/50/500/2
20. Marshawn Lynch – Trust me when I say I wasn’t expecting 2011 from Lynch either but now that it’s happened, we have to put him here. You wish he were a bigger part of the passing game, but Lynch showed he can still go beast mode on the ground rushing for 12 TDs. I don’t think he’s getting that again this year but he’ll make you smile like you’ve got Grillz by the time the season’s done. Projections: 1250/9/25/175/0
And now for the names you normally see but for various reasons don’t. These are guys I couldn’t justify putting in here but should be mentioned.
Andre Johnson - Health. That’s really the only question here. It’s what separates him from Calvin Johnson and the ability to project for him. He’s really the only major target in that receiving corp but the Texans are a run first team now. All this to say, the talent would put him in the top 10 but the doctor’s note says Andre doesn’t have to come to school today. 2012 Projections: 95/1300/8/10/0
Adrian Peterson – You know he’d have been higher up the food chain than this if we knew anything about how healthy he’ll be in 2012. He still finished as the 7th best RB last year despite missing 4 games (which was in reality 5 when you consider how much time he missed from the games he got hurt in). That’s ridiculous in so many ways, there are truly no words for it. The dude is good but the leg is not so he has to get put down here for pondering. 2012 Projections: 950/10/20/200/1 (12 games)
Jamaal Charles – Another guy with ‘random letter’-CL issues last year, Jamaal got off to a great start…that is in his one start of the year when he wasn’t hurt. Jamaal has two things holding him back: first, he’s got the same problem Forte does (small TDs) and secondly he’s a small back in general. You can try to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee all you want but when someone wants to smash you like Hulk and they’re twice your size, you’re going to go down hard. When you factor in the Chiefs bringing in Peyton Hillis as the bruiser back of the two, Jamaal is going to see his goal line chances diminish even further and maybe his reps as well so that they can keep him healthy. 2012 Projections: 1100/4/40/450/4