Predicting the Top 5 Fantasy Football Players and Sleeper of the Year

Jasen ShenCorrespondent IAugust 29, 2012

Predicting the Top 5 Fantasy Football Players and Sleeper of the Year

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    The arrival of the NFL regular season means one thing: fantasy football is back!

    You already know which teams are going to put up points and you’ve already heard about where the dangers lay.

    Now it’s time to predict which players will finish atop the rankings in points scored and give you a chance at claiming your own virtual crown.

5. Calvin Johnson

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    Although there’s a bounty of reliable receiving options in fantasyland, Calvin Johnson sits atop in his lone-man tier. Last season, he was dominant in such convincing fashion that fantasy owners have all but dismissed the “Madden Curse”.

    Our video cover boy is once again set up favorably for a repeat performance. He’s featured in a vaunted Detroit Lions offense that passed for over 5,000 yards and averaged nearly 30 points per game. And as long as he has Matthew Stafford tossing it up to him, 2,000 yards receiving isn’t completely out of the question.

    Megatron’s ranking in the fantasy realm seems unfair, and borderline evil. But when you accept the fact that his floor for production rivals the ceiling of other top-10 wideouts, you learn to live with it.

4. LeSean McCoy

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    While other running backs live in a backfield split by committees, LeSean McCoy remains the undisputed go-to guy in Philly.

    His elusiveness and cut-on-a-dime abilities remain unrivaled in today’s NFL, and have drawn warranted comparisons to Barry Sanders.

    “Shady,” as they call him, is exactly what the name entails. At times, he may seem contained by a swarm of defenders, but his ability to dance around them usually results in a trip to the end zone.

    For those who are mesmerized by his escape artist qualities, don’t overlook the fact that he’s one of the best at catching the football too.

    This makes his chances of breaking his own single-season touchdown record more than a fantasy.

3. Arian Foster

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    From undrafted rookie to number one overall fantasy selection, Arian Foster has crossed the bridge in eye-opening fashion.

    In the past two seasons, he’s averaged 15 touchdowns to go along with over 2,000 yards from scrimmage—providing fantasy players with a model of production and consistency that only a handful of ball-carriers can achieve.

    On the field, his running style resembles that of a speeding locomotive—threatening to plow through anything that stands on his track.

    Pessimists will be quick to point to the looming presence of Ben Tate as a reason to bypass the Texans’ workhorse; however, those doubters should remember that Foster comes equipped with plenty of horsepower.

2. Tom Brady

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    Similar to the way they dominate today’s pass-happy NFL, quarterbacks take priority on the virtual gridiron.

    The well oiled machine that is the New England Patriots offense only functions with deadly efficiency because of the man at the helm.

    Tom Brady already boasted a receiving corps with headliner names like Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, but that didn’t stop the Patriots from teaming Brandon Lloyd with his former offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

    After taking the time to sort out all these names, one will realize that Deion Branch, Brady’s favorite target, is actually the fifth option of this group.

    With all these quality pass-catchers at his disposal, this is a much more dangerous version of the Brady Bunch.

1. Aaron Rodgers

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    No matter where you select this signal-caller, you’re guaranteed to get a discount double check for the rate.

    Aaron Rodgers is as safe as they come when it comes to the fantasy game, and has finished in the top-three quarterback rankings of standard-scoring leagues for the past four years.

    He can make every throw in the book, and has just as many sure-handed receivers as Brady.

    Aside from Tom’s single season-ending injury scare, the difference between him and Rodgers is what they do with their feet. 

    Aside from Lambeau Leaping into the crowd, the fleet-footed quarterback has averaged 284 yards rushing and four scores via the ground since 2008. This makes him the People’s Champ in more ways than one.

Sleeper of the Year

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    Believe it or not, the most dangerous sleeper in the fantasy game is now Michael Vick.

    Chances are that there will be at least five quarterbacks selected before the end of the second round and at least three others pre-ranked ahead of him. This means you can probably wait until the sixth round to get your hands on MV7—a ridiculous bargain for a player who has a legitimate chance at finishing the year as the top point scorer.

    Philadelphia is loaded with speed at every skill position, and it’s his duality that makes the unit so daunting.

    Vick’s surroundings are so fantasy-friendly that it would be a mistake of epic proportions if you slept too long on the quarterback of the Dream Team.