Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Fantasy Football Rankings 2012: Top 100

1. Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
Despite missing three games due to injury, Foster still managed to have a great fantasy season. He finished as the fourth highest scoring running back in standard scoring leagues and led all fantasy running backs with 18.3 points per week.

2. Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Rice proved this year that he can score touchdowns, as well as rack up a ton of yards. Rice went from 6 touchdowns in 2010 to 15 TDs in 2011. He also tallied more than 2,000 total yards and never missed a game. Durability and production are why he's a top 5 fantasy pick. Also, the Ravens were 12-0 in 2010 when they ran the ball 20 or more times. That kind of success should mean more Rice in 2012.

3. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Despite playing behind a rookie quarterback in 2011, Jones-Drew still managed to have a solid fantasy season. He finished with nearly 2,000 total yards and 11 touchdowns. The arrival of the offensive-minded Mike Mularkey as head coach will only improve Jones-Drew's stock in 2012.

4. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
After years of debating which running back to select first overall, next year draft a quarterback. Rodgers finished this fantasy season as the top scorer in standard leagues, despite playing in just 15 games. He also was the most consistent fantasy player, averaging more than 25 points per week. His low scoring week was in Week 14 when tallied 17 points. That type of dominance and consistency lands you a top the fantasy rankings.

5. LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
All of those rushing touchdowns that Michael Vick was supposed to get this year went to McCoy. His 20 touchdowns led all running backs and solidified his spot in the top 5. McCoy is also someone who plays hurt, which fantasy owners always like to see from their players.

6. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
Brees was a statistical juggernaut this season, especially during the second half of the year. Brees will turn 33 this year, but is showing no signs of slowing down. Losing head coach Sean Payton to a year-long suspension will affect the Saints as a team, but shouldn't hurt Brees' stats.

7. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
Newton went undrafted in most fantasy leagues last year. This year, he'll be a top 10 pick. His 35 total touchdowns (21 passing, 14 rushing) as a rookie has made him an instant fantasy stud. I don't expect a sophomore slump for the Carolina QB.  

8. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions
He's the best wide receiver in football and he's the only getting better. Johnson solidify his spot a top the receiver list with a monster season in 2011. He finished with 96 catches for 1681 yards and 16 touchdowns. With a healthy Matthew Stafford throwing to him, Johnson is a threat to score on any play.

9. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
Brady will be reunited with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels next season. The last time the duo collaborated, Brady finished the season with 50 touchdown passes. The Patriots upgraded at wide receiver by adding Brandon Lloyd, which makes Brady even more valuable.

10. Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers
In his second NFL season, Mathews showed he could play hurt, be an every down back and score touchdowns near the goal line. He was the best player on the field for the Chargers late in the season. His value skyrockets now that Mike Tolbert is in Carolina.

11. Rob Gronkowski, TE, New England Patriots
After scoring 17 touchdowns this season, Gronkowski will be in high demand in 2012. His 2011 season wasn't a fluke and he should play a prominent role in McDaniels' offense. His injured ankle should be fully healed by the start of training camp.

12. Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
Stafford stayed health for a full season and ended with 5,038 passing yards and 41 touchdowns. The scariest part of Staffordís stunningly good season, he got better as the season went on. And at just 24 years old, he's only going to get better. Watch out.

13. Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Charles should be fully healed from an ACL tear suffered early in 2011. He's an explosive runner that fits perfectly into Kansas City's offensive system. The Chiefs have so few playmakers, Charles' return will be a very welcomed sight. The arrival of Peyton Hillis shouldn't impact Charles' numbers too much, as long as Charles is healthy.

14. Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans
It's been a far fall from grace for Johnson. After a dreadful 2010 season, Johnson is looking to rebound next season. Keep one thing in mind when drafting Johnson, he can't be as bad as last season.

15. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks
The more he ran this year, the better he got. Lynch finished the season with 13 touchdowns, including a stretch where he scored a touchdown in 11 straight games. He also emerged as the Seahawks every down back, getting close to 25 touches on average per game. Seattle invested a lot of money in Lynch this offseason, so look for him to be counted on even more this season.

16. Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants
His monster year in 2011 lands him in the top 20 in 2012. Cruz was dynamic for the Giants out of the slot. It'll be interesting to see if he can get open consistently when defenses are focused on stopping him. Still, he's a playmaker who will get a ton of targets, especially with Mario Manningham now in San Francisco.

17. Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints 
There were high hopes from Graham entering 2011, but no one expected him to explode like he did. His 11 touchdowns and 1,310 receiving yards made him a fantasy superstar this season. When you're Drew Brees' top target, you get a spot in the top 20.

18. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Despite another year of inconsistency at quarterback, Fitzgerald was the fifth highest scoring fantasy wide receiver in 2011. A full offseason with Kevin Kolb will hopefully improve his numbers next season.

19. Wes Welker, WR, New England Patriots
Welker is coming off his best season as a pro in 2011. He shouldn't miss a beat in 2012 with the return of McDaniels as offensive coordinator. Welker turns 31 in May and appears to be improving with age.

20. Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears
After an injury-shortened season in 2011, Forte has plenty to prove in 2012. Forte could be playing for a contract (again) if he plays the entire season under his franchise tag contract. Also, watch out for the possibility of a holdout from Forte.

21. Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers
Nelson made people stand-up and take notice during the Packers Super Bowl run in 2010-2011. Now, after a very successful 2011 season, he's a fantasy darling. Nelson doesn't get nearly as many targets as the other top 10 wide receivers, but he makes the most of his opportunities. Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has vowed to get Nelson more targets in 2012.

22. Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants
Nicks is a big play receiver who will get plenty of opportunities in the Giants high-flying offense. Durability is his only issue.

23. Fred Jackson, RB, Buffalo Bills
Jackson racked up 1,376 total yards and six scores before a leg injury ended his season in Week 10. Jackson's value took a slight hit when C.J. Spiller filled in nicely for him late in the season. Still, he'll likely be the centerpiece of the Bills offense again next year.

24. Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams
The Rams were awful last year, yet Jackson put together a solid season. He finished with nearly 1,500 yards and six touchdowns. New head coach Jeff Fisher says Jackson will get a heavy workload this season.

25. Darren Sproles, RB, New Orleans Saints
Sproles finished 2011 on a high note, catching 15 passes for 119 yards and a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs. His skill set is perfect for the Saints high-powered offense. Look for another solid season from Sproles in 2012.

26. Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders
I have a hard time trusting McFadden. He would be a top 5 fantasy pick if he could stay healthy. Another injury-plagued season in 2011 knocks him way down on this list. He's the definition of high risk, high reward player.

27. Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans
Once a first round pick, Johnson has slipped due to durability concerns and offensive strategy. The Texans run the ball more than any other team and Johnson hasn't played a full season since 2009. However, when he's healthy he's a matchup nightmare.

28. Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans
Before tearing his ACL in Week 3, Britt was on pace to have a monster season. A full offseason of rehab should get him back on the field for the start of training camp. However, his inability to stay healthy (17 missed games in three seasons) will cause him to fall in most drafts. He's the quintessential high risk, high reward player. If he plays a full season, he's a great value pick at this spot.

29. Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, New York Giants
The Giants struggled to the run in 2011. Still, Bradshaw has the versatility to have a fantasy impact. He can catch passes out of the backfield and will score a handful of touchdowns. A lingering foot injury is a concern, but at least Brandon Jacobs won't be around anymore to steal his touchdowns.

30. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

During his four years in New England, Green-Ellis averaged just over nine carries per game. Over that same time, Cedric Benson carried the ball nearly 20 times per game for the Cincinnati Bengals. Bottom line, Green-Ellis' carries are about to double and his stats should improve dramatically.

31. Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers
Smith returned to Pro Bowl form in 2011 thanks to the arrival of Cam Newton. Smith finished with 79 catches for 1,397 yards and seven touchdowns in 2011, his best season since 2008. Smith turns 33 this offseason, but don't expect him to slow down. He looks reborn in Carolina with Newton at quarterback.

32. Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Don't worry about Julio Jones stealing his targets in 2012. White led the Falcons with 181 targets in 2011 and finished with nearly 1,300 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. And when Jones had his big games, White was equally as good. There will be plenty of passes to go around in Atlanta.

33. Mike Wallace, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
While Wallace's 2011 season didn't live up to the hype after his breakout 2010 season, he's still a playmaker you want on your team. Wallace has the ability to score a touchdown on every play. That type of receiver is always a valuable fantasy commodity. The emergence of Antonio Brown will lead to fewer targets for Wallace, but not enough to have major impact on his numbers this season.

34. Michael Turner, RB, Atlanta Falcons
When you look at the just the stats for 2011, Turner appeared to have had a pretty good season. However, when you dig deeper on those numbers, you discover a concerning trend with him. Despite rushing for 1,340 yards and 11 touchdowns, Turner had a stretch at the end of the season where he struggled. From Weeks 12 to 16, Turner averaged fewer than 4 yards per carry and scores just one touchdown. At age 30, Turner's days as a featured back may be coming to an end. Monitor the Falcons running back situation this offseason, Turner may be moving down draft boards.

35. Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Wells put together a solid season last year for the Cardinals. His 1,047 rushing yards were good enough for 14th in the league and his 10 rushing touchdowns were eighth best in the league. Wells had offseason knee surgery, but should be healthy for the start of training camp. At age 23, Wells still has plenty left in his legs.

36. Miles Austin, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Austin had a down year in 2011, but still managed seven touchdowns. When he's healthy, he's the Cowboys' most consistent receiver. Don't be scared away by his injury-plagued season last year. His three touchdowns in the final four weeks of the season should be enough to convince you he'll bounce back this season.

37. Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears
Marshall is immensely talented and has a fresh start in Chicago. While he did post solid numbers with Matt Moore at quarterback for the Dolphins, Marshall's value improves now that he's paired with Jay Cutler.

38. Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants
If it weren't for his Super Bowl winning performance, I'm not sure many people would have noticed the great season Manning had in 2011. He finished with a career-high 4,933 passing yards, 29 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. He also added another 1,219 yards passing and nine touchdowns in the playoffs. Manning has the confidence and the offensive weapons around him to be a fantasy star again in 2012.

39. Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys
Romo is coming off his most productive season in four years. His 31 touchdowns in 2011 were the second highest total of his career, and he also had more than 4,100 yards passing. The Cowboys are a pass-first team, especially near the goal line. In 2011, the Cowboys scored just five rushing touchdowns, which was second fewest in the league.

40. Sidney Rice, WR, Seattle Seahawks
We've seen his potential, but he's only played a full season once in his five-year career. Rice has missed 17 games the past two seasons, including seven last year due to a shoulder injury that has required two surgeries this offseason. If Rice is healthy this season, he and Matt Flynn could be a dangerous combo in Seattle. He's a steal at this spot, if he can stay healthy.

41. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City
Bowe managed to catch 81 passes for 1,159 yards and five touchdowns despite having three different starting quarterbacks in 2011. He is still a top tier receiver, he just needs Matt Cassel to stay health for the full season. Bowe also signed the Chiefs franchise tag tender, which means it's another contract year for Bowe.

42. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Green is a superstar in the making and he made it look easy as a rookie. He'll be a 7-12 touchdown performer every year for the next 6-8 seasons. He's that good. Just imagine what he'll be able to do in 2012 after a full offseason with Andy Dalton.

43. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
With Roddy White and Julio Jones as his targets, Ryan should be able to throw 30 touchdown passes this season. Before getting embarrassed in the NFC playoffs by the Giants, Ryan had a strong finish in 2011. Twenty of Ryan's 29 touchdown passes came in the Falcons final nine games of the season.

44. Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Vick finished the season with three straight games with 20+ fantasy points and still has the ability to light up the stat sheet. However, don't reach for Vick. He's still a high-risk player.

45. Greg Jennings, WR, Green Bay Packers
Jennings doesn't rack up big fantasy numbers, but he always seems to score 10-plus points per week. Consistency!

46. Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets
Despite all the problems the Jets had this season, Greene wasn't one of them. He put together a decent year, rushing for more than 1,000 yards and six touchdowns. The hiring of Tony Sparano as offensive coordinator will benefit Greene. Sparano's offense is built around a power-running game. This is also a contract year for Greene.

47. Reggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins
A change of scenery did wonders for Bush in 2011. In his first year in Miami, he put up career numbers which included his first 1,000 rushing season. His six rushing touchdowns were also the most since his rookie season and his 1,382 total yards marked a career-high for him. I can't see Bush having the same success in 2012, simply because he hasn't been able to stay healthy for consecutive season. However, few expected him to have so much success in 2011 so he might be worth the gamble.

48. Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jackson cashed in this offseason, signing a monster deal with the Buccaneers. His 1,106 receiving yards in 2011 were the second most of his career and his nine touchdowns matched a career-high. Josh Freeman is not Philip Rivers, however, and that will hurt Jackson's fantasy numbers.

49. Percy Harvin, WR, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings made Harvin the centerpiece of their offense late in the season. Seven of his eight touchdowns came after Week 10 and 2011 was his best statistical season. Even once Adrian Peterson is healthy, Harvin will play a big role in Minnesota's offense.

50. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
Once Jones fully healed from a lingering hamstring injury last season, he showed flashes of dominance. Jones missed four games, but still managed to catch 54 passes for 959 yards and eight touchdowns. Six of those touchdowns came in the final four weeks of the season. A full offseason with Matt Ryan will only improve Jones' value.

51. DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Murray burst into the spotlight after a 253-yard rushing performance against the Rams. Murray is an aggressive runner and should enter camp as the starter ahead of Felix Jones, if he's healthy. An ankle injury ended Murray's season early in 2011. Also concerning is Murray's lack of touchdowns. He finished 2011 with just two scores. If he can bump that up, he's a steal at this draft position.

52. Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco 49ers
While he had a solid season in 2011, Gore's days as the Niners featured back may be numbered. Rookie running back Kendall Hunter will certainly get more looks next season and the signing of Brandon Jacobs doesn't bowed well for Gore either. However, Gore is still a valuable commodity because of the Niners run-first offense.

53. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Peterson says he'll be healthy enough for the start of the 2012 season, but realistically he probably won't be. Peterson tore his ACL and MCL late in 2011 and faces a long rehab. However, if there's a guy worth gambling on, it's Peterson. Monitor his situation closely this offseason.

54. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
Bryant could be on the verge of exploding in his third season. He finished 2011 with nine touchdowns and nearly 1,000 yards. If he puts in solid work this offseason and stays out of the news, he has the potential to be a fringe number one fantasy receiver by the start of the season.

55. Steve Johnson, WR, Buffalo Bills
The enigmatic receiver followed up his breakout season in 2010 with a solid year in 2011. His numbers came down slightly last season, but were still good enough to keep him in your fantasy line-up. Johnson signed a lucrative deal this offseason and it'll be interesting to see how he comes out and plays in 2012 with all that money now in the bank.

56. Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers
Rivers denied that he played hurt last season, but clearly he wasn't himself. He threw a career-high 20 interceptions and 27 touchdowns, which was a four-year low for the Chargers quarterback. Rivers' fantasy stock takes a slight hit with the departure of Vincent Jackson.

57. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Maclin's production dropped in 2011 due mostly to lingering shoulder and hamstring injuries that forced him to miss three games. Maclin was on pace to have his best statistical season of his career, at least with receptions and receiving yards. Maclin has been steady throughout his career, and at just 23 years old he still has plenty of upside.

58. Marques Colston, WR, New Orleans Saints
Now that it's known that Colston will be staying with the Saints, and Drew Brees, his fantasy value remains high. Colston is a perfect fit for New Orleans' offense and his numbers should remain steady in 2012.

59. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
After a slow start in 2011, Brown finished the season as the Steelers most consistent receiver. In Weeks 1 through 6, Brown had 18 receptions for 262 yards and zero touchdowns. The following 10 games her caught 51 passes for 846 yards and two touchdowns. That momentum, along with the departure of Hines Ward, should lead to more targets for Brown next season.

60. Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
After missing 2011 with a neck injury, Manning is expected to be healthy enough to play again in 2012. The Broncos signed the four-time MVP to a lucrative deal after he was released by the Colts. There are many question marks surrounding Manning this season. He'll be adapting to a new team, recovering from a delicate injury and will face a very challenging schedule. We should learn a lot more about Manning's future by watching his progress this offseason.

61. DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Last season was bad for the Eagles, and Jackson was one of the reasons why. His pouting about his contract became a distraction and his play on the field suffered. Jackson turned in his worst season in three years. He failed to reach 1,000 receiving yards and managed just four touchdowns. Worst, he was accused of quitting on his teammates. Jackson won't have to worry about his contract this year after the Eagles rewarded him with a lucrative deal this offseason. Still, he's another high-risk, high-reward player.

62. Trent Richardson, RB (R)
Richardson is expected to be the first running back selected in the 2012 NFL Draft. He's a powerful runner with great vision and agility, and should fit nicely into most offensive systems. Until he improves his pass catching and pass blocking, look for Richardson to be a 2-down back in his first year in the NFL.

63. Brandon Lloyd, WR, New England Patriots
After a monster 2010 season, Lloyd came back to earth in 2011. He was traded to the Rams early in the season and put together a handful of good games, but was never great. This year he'll reunite with Josh McDaniels in New England, which will improve his fantasy stock considerably. Not to mention he'll be catching passes from Tom Brady.

64. Isaac Redman, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
With Rashard Mendenhall likely sidelined for the start of the 2012 season, Redman becomes the starter for the Steelers. Redman, despite being 27 years old, doesn't have a lot of mileage on his legs. In three seasons with Pittsburgh, he's carried the ball just 162 times. However, Redman has been effective in his limited action. The two games last season, after Mendenhall's ACL injury, Redman rushed for 213 yards and touchdown. Monitor the Steelers running back situation this offseason.

65. Roy Helu, RB, Washington Redskins
Helu had a productive rookie season for the Skins, and should be the team's opening day starter. In his four games as the Redskins featured back, Helu rushed for 387 yards and two touchdowns. In the other 12 games, he managed just 253 yards and zero touchdowns. Helu would higher on this list if we knew he would be guaranteed 20-25 touches per game. Helu is also a dangerous threat as a receiver out of the backfield. However, as long as Mike Shanahan is his coach, drafting any Washington running back is a scary proposition.

66. Jermichael Finley, TE, Green Bay Packers
With a brand new 2-year contract signed, Finley can focus on football. He has the potential to be one of the top tight ends in the league, but too often loses focus and disappears during games. Finley has also had issues with dropped passes, something that was evident in the NFC playoff game against the Giants. A solid offseason of work should help Finley improve his numbers in 2012.

67. Torrey Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens
Towards the end of last season, Smith was one of Joe Flacco's favorite targets. Smith averaged nearly 17 yards per catch as a rookie and has the downfield speed to make big plays on a consistent basis. If he can improve his intermediate route-running this offseason, his fantasy value will only go higher.

68. DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers
Carolina invested a ton of money in Williams, and he paid them back with a solid season in 2011. Williams finished with more than 800 yards rushing, seven touchdowns and averaged 5.4 yards per carry. Williams will split time with Jonathan Stewart, which will limit Williams' fantasy upside. However, an injury to Stewart would move up Williams significantly in the rankings.

69. Robert Meachem, WR, San Diego Chargers
The Chargers brought Meachem in to replace Vincent Jackson, who signed with Tampa Bay. Meachem has a great opportunity in San Diego, and has the potential to be a fantasy WR2 this year. During his four seasons with New Orleans, Meachem's best year came in 2009 when he caught 45 passes for 722 yards and nine touchdowns. He'll be called on to do more with the Chargers, which will improve his numbers this year.

70. Jonathan Stewart, RB, Carolina Panthers
If the Panthers made Stewart their featured back, he's be a top 10 fantasy player. Unfortunately, he's splitting time with the well-compensated DeAngelo Williams and the recently-signed Mike Tolbert. Stewart was solid in 2011, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. He also tallied more than 1,100 yards and scored five touchdowns. However, as long as Williams stays healthy, Stewart is not on the field enough to be an every week fantasy starter.

71. Willis McGahee, RB, Denver Broncos
McGahee was supposed to be the back-up in Denver in 2011. Instead, he became the team's featured back and finished with with nearly 1,200 rushing yards. McGahee will turn 31 during the season, and one has to wonder how much he has left in his legs. With that said, he showed no signs of slowing down last season and had one of his best games of the year in Week 17.

72. Michael Bush, RB, Chicago Bears
Bush took advantage of his extended playing time last year filling in for the oft-injured Darren McFadden. Bush finished with 977 rushing yards and eight total touchdowns. As Matt Forte's back-up in Chicago, Bush will likely get 5-10 touches per game, which is similar to the number Marion Barber had in 2011 as Forte's back-up.

73. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos
Thomas has a ton of talent, but he has trouble staying on the field. In two seasons, he's missed 11 games, including five last year. While he and Tim Tebow worked well together, he'll benefit greatly from the arrival of Peyton Manning in Denver.

74. Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts
With Peyton Manning sidelined with an neck injury, Wayne suffered through his worst season in eight years in 2011. Despite his tough season, Wayne resigned with the Colts and will catch passes from a rookie quarterback next year. Wayne is crafty enough to still be effective, however gone are the days of 110 catches for 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns.

75. Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos
Decker started catching passes from his new quarterback, Peyton Manning, in March. If he and Manning can establish a connection, Decker will be in for a solid season. Decker, who's entering his third season, has the ability to be Manning's top playmaker, which would make him a steal at this draft position.  

76. Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots
With BenJarvus Green-Ellis now in Cincinnati, Ridley likely takes over the featured back role in New England. Ridley saw limited action during his rookie season, but played well when he got a chance. He averaged more than five yards per carry and showed a nice burst. Also, look for fellow second-year back Shane Vareen to get an opportunity for carries in 2012 as well.

77. Nate Washington, WR, Tennessee Titans
Washington may have had the quietest 1,000-yard receiving season in history in 2011. Washington filled in nicely for the injured Kenny Britt and should play a big role in the Titans offense this year. While Britt, if healthy, will get more targets, Washington should see plenty of single coverage from defenses.

78. Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco 49ers
After a sluggish start in 2011, Crabtree turned in a solid second half of the season. Crabtree hauled in 72 passes last year, 41 of those catches coming in Weeks 11 through 17. He also had his four best games of the year during that span. Despite the arrival of Randy Moss, Crabtree's numbers should improve next season.

79. Aaron Hernandez, TE, New England Patriots
The more defenses focused on Rob Gronkowski, the more Tom Brady focused on Hernandez. The second-year tight end finished 2011 on a role, scoring four touchdowns in the final six games of the season, including the playoffs. Hernandez's versatility makes him a miserable match-up for defenses and a nice player to have on your fantasy roster.

80. Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Brown emerged as the Colts featured back last season after an injury to Joseph Addai. Brown, who many considered to be a bust, showed flashes of promise. With Addai no longer on the Colts roster, Brown and second-year back Delone Cater will fight for carries. Monitor the situation this offseason.    

81. Malcom Floyd, WR, San Diego Chargers
Floyd's role in the Chargers offense should increase now that Vincent Jackson is gone. During his eight seasons with the Chargers, Floyd's career-high in receptions was 45 in 2009. He'll be asked to do more this year and that should drive up his stats. However, one issue that has plagued Floyd throughout his career is his durability. He has missed nine games the past two seasons and has only played a full season once.

82. Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints
Ingram's rookie season was cut short by a toe injury that forced him to miss six games and the playoffs. Ingram is a terrific young running back, who has a great situation in New Orleans. However, draft him with expectation that he'll miss some games and will sometimes get lost in the Saints high-flying offense.

83. Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys
Witten had his worst statistical season in five years in 2011. While his numbers were still solid, 79 receptions for 942 yards and five touchdowns, one has to wonder if he's on the downswing of his career. Still, Witten, who turns 30 this offseason, is a reliable player who you can count on being on the field every week.

84. LeGarrette Blount, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After a stellar rookie season, where he rushed for 1,007 yards and six touchdowns, Blount had a down year in 2011. He failed to reach 800 rushing yards and scored just five touchdowns in 14 starts. He also had fumbling problems, which landed him in head coach Raheem Morris' doghouse. However, with Morris out in Tampa, Blount will get a fresh start with new Bucs head coach Greg Schiano.

85. Toby Gerhart, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Even if Adrian Peterson is healthy enough to start the season, Gerhart will still get his carries. Look for Gerhart to be on the field early in the season as Peterson works his way back from a knee injury. Gerhart can also catch passes out of the backfield, which should keep him on the field all season even when Peterson is 100-percent healthy.    

86. Lance Moore, WR, New Orleans Saints
Moore has been one of Drew Brees' most reliable targets over the past two years. During that span, Moore has averaged 59 receptions, 695 yards and eight touchdowns. With Robert Meachem now in San Diego, Moore could be in line for more targets.

87. Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins
The former division III stand-out had his best season in 2011, which is surprising considering Peyton Manning wasn't throwing him the ball. Garcon will be asked to do more in Washington after signing a rich contract this offseason. However, fantasy owners beware, 63-percent of his 2011 fantasy points (77 of 122) came in just three games. With Garcon, you have to prepare yourself for games where he has little to no fantasy impact.

88. C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills
After a lackluster rookie season, and most of 2011, things finally clicked for Spiller. During the final six weeks of last year, with Fred Jackson out with an injury, Spiller rushed for 446 yards (79% of his total rushing yards) and scored five touchdowns (6 TDs total in 2011). He'll likely start the season as Jackson's back-up again, but his late-season success could get him on the field more in 2012.

89. Antonio Gates, TE, San Diego Chargers
Gates will be entering his tenth NFL season this year and one has to wonder how much he has left. Gates managed to catch 64 passes for 778 yards and seven touchdowns, but he missed three games with a lingering foot injury. Gates' career is clearly on the downswing, however he proved last season that even at less than 100-percent he's still not a bad option.

90. Santonio Holmes, WR, New York Jets
Holmes is coming off his worst season as a pro and was benched in Jets season finale against Miami. Holmes needs this offseason to get himself back to the player he once was. A focused Holmes is capable of 1,000 receiving and 8-10 touchdowns. However, if the 2011 version of Holmes carries over into 2012, prepare for another disappointing season ahead.

91. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have become a pass-first team and Roethlisberger's numbers show it. In 2011, Big Ben threw the ball 513 times, the most of his career. Look for that trend to continue in 2012, especially with Rashard Mendenhall likely out for a significant amount of time with a knee injury.

92. Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami Dolphins
After a promising start, Thomas' rookie season was mostly a struggle for the young Dolphin. In his first two NFL games, Thomas had 239 total yards and a touchdown. Unfortunately for Thomas owners, that 239 yards accounted for 36-percent of his total yardage for the season. And that touchdown was his only score of the year. With new head coach Joe Philbin now in charge, it's not clear what role Thomas will play in the offense. Monitor his situation this offseason.  

93. Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Oakland Raiders
After two miserable seasons to start his career, Heyward-Bey finally emerged as legitimate fantasy option in 2011. Heyward-Bey finished last year with nearly 1,000 receiving yards and four touchdowns. If you're looking for a reason to be excited about Heyward-Bey in 2012, look no further than his final three games of 2011. During that span, he and Carson Palmer connected on 21 passes for 355 yards and two touchdowns.

94. Mike Williams, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After a breakout rookie season, Williams came crashing back to earth in 2011. Williams' numbers took a significant hit last year as the Bucs and Josh Freeman regressed after a stellar 2010 season. Williams, who turns 25 in May, should benefit from a full offseason of work. Plus, the arrival of free agent Vincent Jackson should help take some of the defensive pressure off Williams.

95. Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans
Schaub was on his way to another solid season in 2011 until he broke his foot in Week 10. Schaub should be fully healed and ready for offseason workouts. Schaub's fantasy value is stifled slightly by the Texans commitment to the its running game. He could also benefit from having a better receiver opposite Andre Johnson.        

96. Pierre Thomas, RB, New Orleans Saints
Thomas had a very good season last year for the Saints, but he doesn't get enough touches to make him an impact fantasy player. Despite his limited role in New Orleans' offense, he still managed nearly 1,000 total yards, 50 receptions and six touchdowns. He's a solid player on a solid team, but his fantasy impact is limited because he will only get 5-12 touches per game.

97. Peyton Hillis, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
After a drama-filled season in Cleveland, Hillis will get a fresh start in Kansas City. Hillis' breakout season in 2010 made him a top 20 fantasy pick last year, only to fizzle out and leave many fantasy owners with a big hole in their line-up. As Jamaal Charles' back-up, look for Hillis to get 8-12 touches per game.

98. Denarius Moore, WR, Oakland Raiders
Moore burst onto the fantasy scene in Week 2 last season when he caught 5 passes for 146 and a touchdown. Unfortunately for the fantasy owners who picked him up, he disappeared for the next six weeks. He also missed time with an ankle injury before coming back and having solid games in Weeks 16 and 17. Moore is a speedster with a lot of potential. A full offseason with Carson Palmer will benefit him tremendously. He's a great value pick here, if he can stay healthy.

99. Anquan Boldin, WR, Baltimore Ravens
Boldin is coming off his worst statistical season in eight years in 2011. He finished the year with 57 receptions for 887 yards and three touchdowns, he also missed two games with a knee injury. Boldin will turn 32 this season and his role in the Ravens offense may begin to shrink. During Weeks 10-15, before Boldin's knee injury, Boldin had 33 targets. During that same span, rookie receiver Torrey Smith had 38 targets.

100. Titus Young, WR, Detroit Lions
A strong finish in 2011 should get fantasy owners excited about Young's potential in 2012. The second-year receiver scored 94 fantasy points in his rookie season, with 79-percent of those point (75) coming in the final nine games of the season. With so much focus on Calvin Johnson, Young should be able to find plenty of holes in opposing defenses.

1 comment:

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