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These ranking will follow the scoring system:
Passing TD: 6 Points
Rushing TD: 6 Points
Passing Yards: 1 point for every 25 yards
Interception: negative 2 points
Last year, most people either took Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew or Chris Johnson. This year, I think it’s safe to say we can throw Arian Foster into the mix.
In 2010 Adrian Peterson rushed for 1,298 yards and 12 TD. He also caught 36 passes for 341 yards and a score.
Last year AP was without a competent offensive line, had a poor offensive attack behind him and a bad season for the Vikings altogether. Yet, last season was the worst of his career, and that’s saying something. One thing we can count on from the Vikings this year is an improved offensive line and that should tack on another 100 yards.
As his career has worn on, he has also become more involved in the passing attack, making him even more attractive in PPR leagues. He also has squashed any concerns about his injury history in college by missing just three games in his first four years in the league.
Chris Johnson ran for 2006 yards in 2009 and was widely considered as a consensus number one pick. He followed through with a respectable season, running for 1,364 yards and 11 TD. Johnson was a duel threat as well and caught 44 passes for 245 yards and a TD.
Johnson was the victim of the quarterback controversy last year, as teams were able to focus on stopping the speedster and is evidenced by his drop in yards per carry from 5.6 (2009) to 4.3 (2010.) Still, he got over 300 carries and found his way into the endzone plenty of times.
The Titans’ quarterback issues are still in the air and Johnson should have a similar season again this year, worthy of at least a top 5 pick.
Maurice Jones-Drew is a short, quick running back who specializes in making people miss in the open field. He has made most of his damage catching the ball, but has developed into an every down back despite the criticism from the “experts.” Last year, he ran for 1,324 yards and five touchdowns. He also caught 34 passes for 317 yards and two scores.
MJD has seen his reception total drop each of the last three years (he had 62 receptions in 2008,) yet he remains a top option in PPR leagues, as I expect him to rebound and up his total this year.
The biggest problem with MJD though, is that he doesn’t find his way into the end zone very often, due to the fact that he is simply not a goal-line back. MJD is a very good option, but I probably wouldn’t take him at number one in either PPR or non-PPR leagues.
I am proud to say that I was able to pick up Arian Foster last year before the season started (our draft was held before Ben Tate got hurt.) Foster ended up being my team MVP, and I rode him to the league-best record. Foster racked up 1,616 yards and 16 TD on way to his first rushing title.
Oh, but wait, there’s more! Foster was lethal in the passing game, picking up 66 receptions for 604 yards and two TD.
There’s only one thing I don’t like about Foster. He just seems primed for a letdown. I still expect him to rack up 1,200 plus yards on the ground, but not top pick worthy. I think it’s safe to say he could hit a sophomore slump because he only played six games his rookie year.
2011 Fantasy Football top 5:
1. Adrian Peterson
2. Chris Johnson
3. Arian Foster
4. Maurice Jones-Drew
5. Jamaal Charles
2010’s top 10 Clunkers
10. Chris “Beanie” Wells – Last year Beanie was a great addition via waivers or in a late round of the draft. He supplanted Tim Hightower as the main man in the Cardinals backfield. With Kurt Warner and Anquan Boldin leaving in the offseason, and a run oriented coach 2010 looked promising for Beanie. However an early season injury and an abysmal offensive year all around for the Cardinals left many owners disappointed, in Chris’s production. Carrying the ball 60 less times this season to the year previous Beanie fell nearly 400 yards, 5 TD’s and 7 receptions short of his rookie totals. Extremely disappointing as most thought he would surpass all previous totals this year.
9. Ryan Grant – unfortunate that Grant is so often underrated but it should be dually noted that the packers missed him this season. So much that they nearly made a move for a struggling Brandon Jacobs, and a burnt out Marshawn Lynch who’s only real play of value came in the playoffs. Fantasy owners unlike the general fan base did realize how much Grant was worth; since joining the league in 2007-08 Grant has put up at least 1100 yards from scrimmage every year. And each year he had managed to increase that total until this year when he went down in his first game and didn’t return to play the rest of the season. On top of his 1100+ yards, fantasy owners in PPR leagues also probably missed the 24.3 receptions he has averaged out of the backfield thus far in his career. Can’t blame him injuries happen it’s a rough game, but that doesn’t change the fact many owners wasted an early round pick.
8. Chris Johnson – I have to put him on here because of the huge drop in his numbers, comparatively to last season. Was he still worth a first round pick yes, but due to the large amount of hype after his last season I feel we should bring him back to earth? After his record breaking season last year CJ fell 900 yards from scrimmage, 4 TD’s, and 6 receptions short of his previous totals. Many fantasy experts tried to convey that CJ’s numbers would not even be in the same realm, but few listened as he still was the #1 pick in most standard leagues.
7. Ryan Matthews – For most people this first round pick, was a first round pick in fantasy drafts. Man that was a mistake. I think as a rule of thumb should now be induced; a rookie should never be a first round fantasy pick. Tolbert took most of the carries and rightfully so. Matthews the so called franchise back put up 800 total yards with 7 scores leaving several fantasy owners frustrated they passed on Jamal Charles, or Rashard Mendenhall.
6. Carolina skill players – Despite what kind of football the club is playing overall as a whole; the last few years the names Deangelo Williams, and Steve Smith have been well respected by fantasy owners. Deangelo missed 10 games this season. Aside from his obvious drop in overall production, he was less efficient dropping his yards per carry from 5.2 to 4.1. Steve Smith a top wide receiver for years had his worst season since 2004 where he only played 1 game. Smith posted a measly 563 yards from scrimmage and 2 TD’s on only 46 receptions. All 3 totals are his lowest in 5 years.
5. Donovan McNabb – Though McNabb hasn’t been an elite QB in years, many hoped that with the change of scenery he could be a solid back up or 2nd QB, in multiple Quarter back leagues. On the way to being benched and replaced by Rex Grossman, Donovan put up his lowest overall TD total since his rookie season. Meaning that in his 13 starts he put up less TD’s then 3 seasons previous where he only started 10, 10 and 9 games respectively. He also put up a career high in interceptions despite again playing 13 games. McNabb truly had it worst of both worlds and somehow managed to score a contract worth at best 78.5 million dollars.
4. Shonn Greene – A big part of this is due to the re emergence of the best RB of the decade (LaDainian Tomlinson). However for many owners Greene was a first or second round pick. After his solid playoff performance last year and the departure of Jones and Washington the backfield was supposed to be his to reside over. However he only started 2 games and didn’t even reach 1000 yards from scrimmage with a measly 2 TD’s.
3. Randy Moss – Randy was a headache for all owners this season including the Patriots, Vikings and Titans. His lack of heart was well rather disgusting and his total production was comical for someone who believes himself a top wide receiver of all time. Combined in his 16 games he still fell short of 400 total yards, he posted only 5 TD’s his worst since his days as a Raider. His 28 receptions were also a career low. My sincere apologies on behalf of Randy who really let down everybody this season; unfortunately Randy was amongst the top 5 WR’s drafted in almost all leagues.
2. Kevin Kolb – After his 2 starts the previous year the Eagles front office was so confident in this young man that they dealt their franchise QB of the past decade. Lucky for them Michael Vick would re emerge and even do his best to spoil Brady’s MVP season. However for owners who bought the hype on Kolb he was benched most of the season and in his 5 starts only put up 171 yards per contest, with both 7 touch downs and interceptions. Unless traded it is unlikely Kolb will even be drafted next year.
1. Brett Favre – I begged friends to not draft Brett this year. I warned them that father time along with yet another surgery would have their toll on the oldest starting QB in the NFL. But the success of his previous year had many owners reaching for Brett in the draft over younger and more reliable options in Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, and Carson Palmer. In 13 starts Brett put up 2500 yards, 11 touch downs, and a total of 24 turnovers. Hopefully Brett commits to his retirement this offseason and spares us both the drama and disappointment on our fantasy teams next season.
Buys (Players with the best potential to be the top performer of their position next year)
Sam Bradford – Bradford will finish as a top 10 QB in the upcoming year. I can’t see the Rams taking anyone other than a WR in the first round and Justin Blackmon looks like the guy. Jackson is still there to run the ball and a possible Blackmon – Amendola duo bodes well for Bradford.
Arian Foster – Big shocker here. Arian Foster is undoubtedly the top keeper for next year. The whole offense is basically back, and there’s no one vulturing carries away from him. If the Texans can get a couple of defensive players, Foster could be playing well into January next year.
Jamal Charles – I know I guess I’m not really going out on a limb with the first two, with Charles and Foster 1st and 2nd in the league in yards, but, like Foster, Charles won’t have anyone vulturing too many carries away next year with Jones aging. Matt Cassel will also have another year under his belt, thus throwing for more yards, thus getting more red zone and scoring opportunities.
Mike Wallace – Wallace is quickly becoming the Steelers top receiving option as Hines Ward regresses with age. Wallace is an incredible deep threat, 60 catches for 1257 yards and 10 TDs.
Mike Williams (TB) – Josh Freeman was a great QB this year, with the chance to improve to better than that. As he progresses, so is Mike Williams, and I don’t see any obstacles in their path.
Sells (Top bust candidates)
Michael Vick – Vick is easily the top bust candidate as he wore down, down the stretch. In the process, he showed us the old Michael Vick in the final two games he played in. Vick was great in all that he did this year, but he has such a tough time staying healthy, and I can’t trust his passing ability yet.
Michael Turner – He was great for me a couple years ago as a sleeper pick, but he had over 370 carries that year and missed 5 games the following year. Now this year he is back with over 300 carries and a 4.1 ypc average. I’m not so sure he can keep holding up at 30 years of age next year.
Peyton Hillis – Don’t get me wrong, I love Hillis. He’s one of my favorite players in the league. But combine the fact that in his first two years in the league, he has failed to stay healthy for a whole season, with the fact that he’s a bruising back. This year, he made the field for all 16 games, but had multiple injury concerns. He’s sadly the ultimate setup candidate to be a letdown.
Brandon Lloyd – Lloyd has had Orton throwing him the ball most of the year, but with Tebow going full time, I can’t trust him. That, and the fact that he’s been mediocre at best in his already long career, doesn’t bode well for his future prospects.
Jason Witten – Witten also is a player I love, but he had a resurgence this year that people weren’t expecting. Next year he’s 30, which isn’t much of a deal, but Romo will be back and looking more at Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Roy Williams.