If you had the pleasure of owning the following 10 fantasy players listed here on your 2012 squad, chances are you had yourself a quality season and maybe even a little championship hardware to go with it.
It was another year where tried and true vets came through, but it was also a year of great comebacks and rookies stealing the spotlight. While not mentioned in this slideshow, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the astonishing seasons that Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Trent Richardson and Alfred Morris just had.
Alas, this slideshow will consist of only the cream of the crop and this list is exclusive to just 10 players.
Obviously, in every fantasy format, quarterbacks are the top point producers, but these 10 players were by far the most valuable players of the fantasy season.
So counting down from No. 10 to No. 1, here are your most valuable point producers.
As previously mentioned, there were some great comeback stories this season and Peyton Manning is one of them. Manning returned with vigor this year after sitting out all of last year with a neck injury. Manning looked better than ever while playing in a new environment.
Manning took a liking to Denver like a fish to water. Equipped with talented receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, Manning passed for 4,659 yards and 37 touchdowns. When you combine the yardage and the touchdowns, Manning was simply beastly and a standout at the position.
Now that he is healthy once again and looking like his former self, Manning should be a solid pick in the early rounds of next year’s drafts.
It seems all Marshall needed to return to his elite ways was to hook up with Jay Cutler once again.
Once he reunited with Cutler in Chicago this year, Marshall resumed to be posting monster numbers on a weekly basis. Marshall ended the season tied for fourth in receiving touchdowns (11) while coming in third in receiving yards with 1,508.
As long as Marshall and Cutler remain teammates, then you should draft Marshall with the utmost of confidence. Marshall should be drafted at either the tail end of the first round or early in the second round next summer.
Ho-hum, Brady rolled along in 2012 and had another phenomenal season. What else is new?
Brady finished third in passing with 4,827 yards while also throwing for 34 touchdowns (fourth in the NFL). Those are the numbers you are accustomed to getting from Brady and it does not appear he will slow down anytime soon.
Hence, expect Brady to be a fringe first-rounder or high-end second-rounder in next year’s drafts.
Lynch picked up where he left off last year and was in full-on “Beast Mode” all season.
Proving last year was no fluke; Lynch was at it again this year as he ran for a staggering 1,590 rushing yards (third in the league) while also scoring 11 touchdowns (plus a receiving touchdown).
Lynch will continue to be an integral part of the Seahawks offense and he too, like the rest of the players mentioned here, should be a first-round selection next year.
Drafted unanimously as a top-five pick, Rice lived up to the billing as being one of the game’s elite running backs.
Rice topped 1,000 (1,143) yards rushing again while also reaching the end zone a combined 10 times. While he did not have the season he had in 2011, Rice was nevertheless one of the top five options at running back this year.
At 25, Rice is in the prime of his career and he’ll no doubt be worthy of being one of the top 10 picks next year.
While some of his rookie brethren may have had more value to their teams (think RGIII, Luck, Wilson, etc.), perhaps no other rookie had more fantasy value than Martin.
Martin was billed as a Ray Rice-clone coming out of college and he showed the goods that made himself a first-round pick. The multidimensional Martin finished tied for fourth in rushing touchdowns (11) while racking up 1,454 rushing yards (fifth in the league). Martin also had 49 receptions for 472 yards and a touchdown.
Martin should only get better, and with him being the focal point of the Buccaneers offense, he should be a no-brain, first-round selection next year.
If you break Jerry Rice’s record for receiving yards in a season, you’re definitely doing something right.
Johnson again was head and shoulders the best wide receiver in the game. Johnson led the NFL in both receptions (122) and receiving yards (1,964) to go along with five touchdowns. While you’d like Johnson to have closer to double digits in touchdowns, Johnson more than made up for it with the receptions and yardage he accumulated.
There should be no doubt that Johnson ought to be the first receiver off the board in next year’s drafts and he makes for excellent first-round selection.
Brees never let the “bounty gate” scandal affect his play on the field, as he went about his business this year in his usual pass-happy ways.
Brees was far and away the leader in touchdowns thrown with 43 (eight more than the next closest competitor). Brees also once again threw for over 5,000 yards (5,177 to be exact) and was tops in the NFL in that department as well.
If you want dependability, durability and performance at quarterback, Brees is your man. Expect him to go in the first round in most drafts next year.
While overshadowed by the exploits of Peterson this year, Foster predictably had another stellar season in his own right.
Foster was tops in the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 15 while coming in fifth in rushing yardage (1,328). Foster also chipped in with 40 receptions for 217 yards and two additional receiving touchdowns.
Foster’s versatility, reliability and productivity will lead to him either being next year’s No. 1 or No. 2 overall pick in fantasy drafts.
Talk about comebacks!
Peterson was the comeback story of all comeback stories this year, as Peterson not only came back from a torn ACL and MCL, but he came back with enough vengeance to perhaps post his finest season ever as a pro.
While he didn’t break Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record, Peterson ran away with the rushing title by running for a spectacular 2,097 yards. Peterson was not shabby in the scoring department either, as he finished with 12 rushing touchdowns while also securing a receiving touchdown on the final day of the regular season.
Peterson will now compete with Arian Foster for the right to be next year’s No. 1 pick.