With the fantasy football season exciting many NFL fans as much as the regular season itself, it’s time to analyze the rankings of the mid-round steals that will lead the league in at least one category.
The key to success in any league is finding the best value, and that is almost always done in the middle rounds.
Your job as a fantasy GM is to find the players that go from mid-round picks in 2012 to first-round picks in 2013.
All of the following players will fit right into that category after career seasons. Whether or not you should sell these players high or not after the season is another story, but enjoy their productivity in 2012!
Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts
2012 Projection: 112 receptions (league leader), 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns
With rookie quarterback Andrew Luck depending heavily on Indianapolis Colts star receiver Reggie Wayne, fantasy fans should expect a monstrous statistical season.
Wayne has never had the numbers projected above before, but Peyton Manning loved to spread the wealth. When Luck gets in trouble, he will look to Wayne to bail him out.
The average draft position of 75th overall means he is definitely worth the risk, and passing up on him that late would be an absolute travesty for your team. Do not miss out on this mid-round steal.
2012 Projection: 300 carries for 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns (league leader)
While Peyton Manning is going to improve the Denver Broncos' passing game, he will also team up with the team's great offensive line to make veteran running back Willis McGahee’s life much easier.
At 31 years old, McGahee will have the unquestioned best season of his career. With the power to block blitzers, McGahee will see plenty of third-down action on top of his 300 carries. Therefore, you can expect even more all-purpose yards.
These numbers may be on the high side. However, the combination of John Fox’s love for running the ball and Manning’s ability to keep the offense on the field by converting on third down will mean McGahee reaches career highs and leads the league in touchdowns if he stays healthy.
Stevie Johnson, WR, Buffalo Bills
2012 Projection: 95 receptions for 1,600 yards (league leader) and 10 touchdowns
With 1,000 yards receiving in each of the last two years, it’s time for Buffalo Bills star wide receiver Stevie Johnson to have a career-defining campaign. At 26 years old, now is as good a time as any.
Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will find the necessary rapport with the controversial receiver and they will push each other to amazing limits.
Their performances will be so great that they will bring the Bills to the playoffs in 2012.
Johnson is falling somewhere in the area of 63rd overall in terms of average draft position. Therefore, his league-leading receiving yards will be an amazing steal in the fifth or sixth round. Don’t pass on Stevie this season, you will regret it.
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