Top Fantasy Football Players 2012: Young Stars Ready for Breakout Seasons
If there is one way to win a fantasy football league, it is to find the biggest bargains late and hope they hit big. While that sounds simple on the surface, anyone who has played the game knows it is anything but.
One big point of contention among players is what to do with young players in their first, second or, in some cases, third season in the league. With everything being so highly publicized in the NFL, if you don't produce right away, you are a bust.
Fair or unfair, that is the way the NFL has been set up by the viewing audience. So what does it take for young players to break into that elite category? They can't all be Aaron Rodgers, and sit for years before leading their team to a Super Bowl in their second year as a starter.
Here are the biggest potential movers on the fantasy football food chain in 2012.
Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins
Usually, I would tell you to avoid rookies, especially quarterbacks, like the plague. They have so much hype surrounding them that it is impossible to justify it in year one.
However, what the Redskins have done to surround Griffin with talent in order to help his maturation process makes me very optimistic about his present and future fantasy value.
Josh Morgan and Pierre Garcon are valuable additions to the outside, while also allowing Santana Moss to play a more integral role in the slot where he belongs. Fred Davis gives him a nice safety net at tight end.
The pieces are in place for Griffin to succeed right now. Plus, he has the added dimension of making plays with his legs, so even if he doesn't find himself completely comfortable dropping back, he can always scramble for big yards.
Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots
If You Had To Take One, Who Do You Want Starting On Your Fantasy Team?
As is often the case when discussing a running back for the Patriots, you have to throw in a couple caveats.
First, the Patriots are always going to use a multi-back system because that's how Bill Belichick likes to run things. He wants different dimensions to keep teams on their heels whenever he can.
Second, Tom Brady is still the quarterback, therefore, the Patriots are not likely to run the ball a ton.
That said, if Ridley is able to get 225-250 carries with this offense in 2012, he has the talent to become a 1,000-yard runner. He showed flashes of brilliance in limited action last season, so it is time for the Patriots to turn him loose.
Coby Fleener, TE, Indianapolis Colts
Yet another rookie on the list, Fleener has fantasy stud written all over him.
Let's start with the fact that he is a matchup nightmare at 6'6", 250 pounds. He is a big, physical player with tremendous hands and good speed. Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports had him clocked at 4.45 at his pro day prior to the NFL Draft.
Stanford TE Coby Fleener unofficially runs a 4.45 in the 40 at his pro day.— Bruce Feldman (@BFeldmanCBS) March 22, 2012
Second, Fleener is a built-in safety net for Andrew Luck. The two know each other extremely well having played at Stanford for the last three years. If Luck finds himself in a bind, the first person he is going look towards is Fleener.
Lastly, because he is so big and physical, when the Colts get down to the goal line, they are going to call Fleener's number more often than not. Even if he doesn't get the yardage and receptions this year, he could easily have eight touchdowns.
Tight end is a deep position in the NFL right now, but don't be surprised if Fleener is among the top 10 as far as fantasy value goes by the end of the year.
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