There is always a debate around this time of year concerning who the top fantasy football player will be. As that debate heats up, you need to start paying attention to the latest information around the league and how it will impact the NFL's top players.
Right now there are five guys who have separated themselves as the top targets to become this year's No. 1 overall pick in fantasy football. Here is a look at each guy and what he brings to the table.
Calvin Johnson is, without a doubt, the best receiver in the NFL today. He finished the 2011 season with 96 catches for 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Johnson is a dominant physical talent who is virtually unstoppable. When he and quarterback Matthew Stafford are clicking, the Detroit Lions have one of the best offenses in the NFL.
Expect another MVP-type season from the man known as Megatron. He should be a lock to dominate in fantasy football.
Drew Brees broke Dan Marino's long-standing record for passing yards in a single season in 2011, racking up a ridiculous 5,476 yards through the air.
But the NFL's reigning Offensive Player of the Year also completed 71.2 percent of his passes and threw for 46 touchdowns and just 14 interceptions. He also set a new career high with a passer rating of 110.6.
While it would be easy to say that the numbers were a bit skewed in 2011 and that Brees will come back down to Earth a bit after a tumultuous offseason, I highly doubt that will be the case. Brees and the Saints will be extra motivated to prove themselves this year after the NFL hammered them for the bounty scandal.
Brees will also be motivated by the fact that he didn't win the MVP in 2011 despite his stellar numbers (Green Bay Packers signal-caller Aaron Rodgers took home the award).
Brees is always a candidate to go No. 1 overall in fantasy football drafts, and this year is no exception.
It's hard to argue against calling Aaron Rodgers the NFL's top quarterback. The Green Bay Packers put together a stellar regular season in 2011, and Rodgers was the man at the middle of it all.
In 15 games, the 28-year-old completed 68.3 percent of his passes for 4,643 yards and 45 touchdowns with just six interceptions. In the process, Rodgers set an NFL record with his 122.5 quarterback rating and won an MVP award.
Don't go thinking the Cal product is done yet though. He will be back in 2012 to prove last season was no fluke.
Rodgers has all of his weapons back, which means he has six capable receivers at his disposal plus tight end Jermichael Finley. That's a dangerous proposition, as he completed 25 or more passes to seven different receivers in 2011.
Rodgers should be at the top of your list as you approach your fantasy draft.
Arian Foster battled injuries to start the 2011 season but managed to rush for 1,224 yards and 10 touchdowns in 13 games. He also added 53 catches for 617 yards and two more scores.
Simply put, Foster has established himself as one of the top running backs in the NFL, and Gary Kubiak's Houston Texans should rely on him heavily in 2012.
During Kubiak's seven-year run as the head coach in Houston, the Texans have gone from a pass-heavy team to arguably the league's top running squad.
That spells good news for whoever owns Foster.
The 25-year-old Tennessee product is outstanding in the passing game and is a perfect fit for Houston's zone-blocking system.
Expect him to put together another huge season for the Texans, as he should easily be considered the top running back heading into your fantasy football draft.
Cam Newton had one heck of a rookie season, and, while his incredible numbers probably aren't repeatable in 2012, that doesn't mean he can't put together another huge year.
While Newton probably won't rush for 14 touchdowns again, we can expect his completion percentage (60 percent) and touchdown-to-interception ratio (21-to-17) to improve in his sophomore campaign.
New Carolina offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski is a pass-first guy who loves to get the ball vertical. Newton already has a sold rapport with top receiver Steve Smith, and the team upgraded at the No. 2 spot by adding Brandon LaFell.
If Newton isn't the top fantasy player heading into this fall, he's certainly knocking on the door. If you can get your hands on him, you likely won't be disappointed.