Fantasy Football 2012: Did Calvin Johnson Make Fantasy Football's Fab 5?

Jake MannContributor IIISeptember 7, 2012

Fantasy Football 2012: Did Calvin Johnson Make Fantasy Football's Fab 5?

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    In the first round of any fantasy football draft, almost every player has star power, but just a few can be classified as “take ‘em to the bank” performers each and every week.

    Here’s a quick look at the sport’s fab five. You should be feeling good if you have one of these hosses on your squad.

    If you're any bit as inquisitive as Lions WR Calvin Johnson looks in this candid shot, continue reading.

1. Arian Foster, RB, Texans

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    Ever since he started the 2009 season on Houston’s practice squad, Arian Foster’s rise to pigskin prominence has been truly astonishing. 

    After being the game’s top point scorer in 2010, Foster finished last season with more than 1,800 total yards and 12 touchdowns. A sore hammy limited him to 13 starts, though it’s worth noting that the RB actually led his position in fantasy points per game (18.3), above LeSean McCoy (18.0) and Ray Rice (17.7). 

    Interestingly, Foster did score five or fewer points in 15.4 percent of his starts, which was a higher “dud rate” than those of McCoy (6.7 percent) and Rice (6.3), but his sheer scoring potential outweighs these concerns.

2. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles

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    We went with “Shady” over Rice in this spot because of his schedule, which ranks as the 11th easiest for RBs. 

    Among the 13 teams the Eagles play in the 2012-2013 season, eight were in the NFL’s bottom half in terms of aggregate rushing defense (which consists of PPG, YPG, TD, first-down percentage, fumbles, and plays of 20-plus and 40-plus yards) last season. This plays well for McCoy, whose projections lie between 1,600 and 1,700 total yards to go along with 14 to 16 end-zone dances. 

    It’s easy to expect a slight regression from last year’s TD numbers (20), but McCoy could make up for that in the receiving game.

    The RB caught just 48 balls last year after flirting with 80 in 2010.

3. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens

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    Rice’s schedule is a bit harder than his those of his peers, ranking as the 12th toughest for RBs. 

    Charm City advocates will argue that at 5’8” and 210 pounds, the back’s stout frame will help him to break through any defensive front, but they should be aware that the Ravens failed to re-sign their starting left guard in the offseason.

    Now, we’re not suggesting Rice will go all Chris Johnson on us; in fact, we’re willing to bet that he’ll comes close to last year’s yardage totals. But his TD output (15) may have been an outlier. 

    Be warned that a fall back to pre-2011 averages (7.0) may be in the cards.

4. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers

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    Last year, Aaron Rodgers graced us with one of the best seasons of all time for a signal-caller, eclipsing 4,600 yards in the air while throwing a ridiculous 45 TDs and just six picks. The instigator of the championship-belt craze, Rodgers set an NFL record with a single-season passer rating of 122.5. 

    As remarkable as it seems, the Packers offense looks to have gotten better this offseason, most notably from the acquisition of Cedric Benson.

    Throw in the fact that Rodgers can score a few with his feet, and it is very possible that he’ll finish another season as the league’s top fantasy quarterback.

5. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions

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    We all know the legend of “Megatron.” Defenders cower beneath his wingspan, and his red-zone prowess is second to none.

    Consider these stats: In 28 games with Matthew Stafford under center, Calvin Johnson has averaged 5.6 receptions and 91.7 YPG while hauling in 23 scores. If these numbers are averaged over a 16-game season, we can set a floor of 89/1,467/13. 

    Even at this level, the wideout still would have led his position in fantasy scoring last year.

    With another offseason to strengthen his rapport with Stafford, it’s a losing move to bet that Johnson can’t at least jump over this mark.