We’re about three months away from Draft Day 2012 and I would like to warm up everyone’s fantasy mind with my Top 20. Feel free to bash my rankings and offer your own opinion. In the end, we’ll be setting ourselves up for a more enjoyable 2012 NFL season.
These rankings are for a standard-scoring league (non-PPR) with one starting quarterback.
1. Arian Foster, RB, Houston/Age: 25
Foster has been tremendously productive the last two years and is the focus of a potent offense.
2. LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia/Age: 23
McCoy has also had back-to-back years of success and is also in a potent offense.
3. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay/Age: 28
He’s in his prime and motivated.
4. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans/Age: 33
Brees is coming off a record-breaking year but does not have his contract extension.
5. Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore/Age: 25
Rice has been consistently superb but Flacco is an average QB and his TD totals will come back to 2009-10 levels.
6. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit/Age: 26
The best receiver on the planet.
7. Tom Brady, QB, New England/Age: 34
Brady is one of the best ever but his 2011 numbers were a reflection of his defense. An improved Pats defense, means less passing.
8. Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego/Age: 24
Mathews flashed brilliance last year and is an upside selection. He’s expected to carry on third downs this year.
9. Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee/Age: 26
Was Johnson content with his contract, out of shape, or both? There’s risk here but big upside.
10. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville/Age: 27
Jones-Drew is coming off a brilliant year but the Jaguars offense is among the league’s worst.
11. Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit/Age: 24
The future is bright if he can stay healthy.
12. Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland/Age: 24
A huge injury risk but McFadden has averaged 5.3 yards per carry in 20 games over the last two seasons.
13. Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland/Age: 20
The Browns will rely on the Alabama product.
14. DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas/Age: 24
Another upside pick with risk.
15. Wes Welker, WR, New England/Age: 31
Welker edges Fitzgerald because of his QB situation.
16. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona/Age: 28
Fitzgerald was tremendous last year despite his quarterbacks.
17. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina/Age: 23
Newton is a bust possibility but there is also potential upside to a solid 2011 campaign.
18. Matt Forte, RB, Chicago/Age: 26
His position is contingent on his contract negotiations.
19. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England/Age: 23
A repeat is unlikely but he proved to be a monstrous red zone target.
20. Andre Johnson, WR, Houston/Age: 30
Up until last year, Johnson was a steady receiving stud.
Note: I am not buying the Marshawn Lynch hype. Everyone still sees him running over the Saints in 2010. He has a career 4.0 yards per carry average, which is solid but not spectacular. I’m not betting on an unspectacular back in a bad offense.
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