As a 21-year-old college senior, there is nothing more important in my life than fantasy football during the summer. Seriously, nothing. Not finding a job, not figuring out what I’m going to do with the rest of my life, and for sure not preparing for school to start school. Because of this, and because since the beginning of June, anytime someone mentions the Astros I fall into a week-long, near-crippling depression, I’ve been able to solely focus on fantasy football for months now! Here are my top five fantasy players for 2012 (based on standard ESPN scoring) and one sleeper (Pick ‘Em starting Week 1 of NFL season).
1) Arian Foster – If you have the number one overall pick, how can you not take Foster? Houston has one of the best running games in the league and Foster is sure to score touchdowns upon touchdowns. Plus, for those of you in PPR leagues, he has caught 119 passes the last two years combined – and that’s after missing 4 games in 2012 with a nagging hamstring injury. The hamstring is really only the only issue of concern for Foster, but everyone is prone to injury when 300-lb über-athletes are trying to crush you so I wouldn’t worry too much about it.
2) LeSean McCoy – After a stellar last two seasons, a case could be made to take Shady first overall. The only thing that might hinder his production this season (besides Andy Reid not being capable of properly managing the game clock) is that Michael Vick could take away some of his redzone scores. But, that didn’t seem to affect him last season so I see no reason for too much concern. And with 126 receptions on top of 480 touches out of the backfield in the last 2 seasons, there isn’t a more consistent, physical back in the league right now. I just love the way this guy runs – reminds me of LT from back in the day (I was born in ‘91 so 2005 is throwing it old school. Coincidentally, 2005 was also the last time the Astros were relevant outside of the immediate Houston area).
3) Aaron Rogers – This guy is a machine. He plays in the frigid confines of Lambeau Field against some of the best defenses in the league and just tears them to shreds. Last season alone he won the MVP, led the league in passer rating with a 122.5 and threw only 6 interceptions! Imagine the numbers he could put up if he was playing in warm weather or a dome year round. Rogers is surrounded by weapons and the Pack are poised to make another title run. This guy is the real deal and should be the first quarterback off the board in all formats.
4) Ray Rice – There is nothing but upside for Ray Rice this year. He’s coming off of a huge 2011 campaign where he set a career high with 12 rushing TDs and also had 76(!) receptions out of the backfield. Additionally, Rice doesn’t have any competition nor is he splitting carries with anybody else. If Rice continues to run like a semi-truck and put up his usual gaudy numbers, a huge 2012 season and possible league MVP are in his future.
5) Tom Brady – Watching Tom Brady read and dismantle defenses is like watching a brain surgeon perform surgery. He goes in with a plan and even though the situation may change, it never fazes him and he continues to execute with perfect precision. Brady is coming off of a giant 2011 season where he threw for 5,239 yards and 39 touchdowns. And, oh by the way, did I mention that he is married to Gisele Bundchen? So yeah, he pretty much has the most perfect life ever. Brady may be 35 years old but he is still a safe top-5 pick in this year’s draft.
Sleeper) Carson Palmer – An experienced veteran quarterback that’s now had a year to get fully acclimated with his team and learn the plays, I think Palmer might surprise some people this year. A healthy McFadden (at least until week 1) alongside Palmer in the backfield will only help open up the passing game. He’s got some weapons in Darrius Heyward-Bey and Denarius Moore that will at least give him the opportunity to spread the field and if he can take advantage of this, I expect Palmer to put up some big numbers this year.