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The Top 25 Players at Every Position in 2013 Fantasy Football

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystJanuary 13, 2017

The Top 25 Players at Every Position in 2013 Fantasy Football

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    Training camp is just around the corner, and soon after that the preseason will follow. Before you know it September will be here, and the Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos will squaring off to kick off the 2013 NFL season.

    For fantasy football enthusiasts, training camp and the preseason bring with them the best time of the year. It's draft season, where fantasy owners gather far and wide, in man caves and online, to assemble their teams for the upcoming campaign.

    To assist you in doing so, here's a look at the 25 players at each position in fantasy football leagues for the 2013 season.

    Note: These rankings assume PPR scoring that awards 1 point per 25 passing and 10 rushing/receiving yards, 6 points for all touchdowns, 1 point per reception, and -2 points for interceptions and lost fumbles.

    Kicker scoring awards 3 points for all field goals with a 2 point bonus for field goals of 50+ yards, while defensive scoring awards points for turnovers, sacks and points allowed.

     

Quarterbacks

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    1.) Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: In 2012 Brees became the only passer in NFL history to top 5,000 yards in successive seasons. He may not make it three in a row, but 4,500 yards and 30 touchdowns is a conservative estimate.

    2.) Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: The ninth-year veteran has topped 40 total touchdowns each of the past two years, and he's thrown a paltry 14 interceptions over that same stretch.

    3.) Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers: Newton has finished as a top-five fantasy option in each of his first two NFL seasons, and his ability to hurt teams with his legs is a big boost to his fantasy value.

    4.) Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos: Manning showed no ill effects of his multiple neck surgeries last year. In Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker, Manning may have the NFL's best trio of wide receivers at his disposal.

    5.) Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: Ryan posted career numbers across the board in 2012, and this year the sixth-year pro adds running back Steven Jackson to an embarrassment of riches in the passing game.

    6.) Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: Yes, Stafford only threw 20 touchdown passes last year. However, the youngster has averaged over 5,000 passing yards the past two years and the Lions throw as much as any team in the NFL.

    7.) Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys: Romo very quietly threw for a career-high 4.903 yards last year, and he can be drafted well after most of the so-called "elite" fantasy options at the position.

    8.) Tom Brady, New England Patriots: There's a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the New England passing game this year, and Brady may be hard-pressed to match his gaudy statistical production of the past few seasons in 2013.

    9.) Robert Griffin, Washington Redskins: Griffin's ACL tear in the playoffs last year is cause for concern, but his rehab reports have been overwhelmingly positive. If Griffin is healthy we're talking about a player who was a top-five fantasy option in points per game in 2012.

    10.) Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks: The second-year pro was a top-three fantasy quarterback down the stretch last year. It might not be reasonable to expect that level of production, but Wilson is a fine dual-threat option for teams who wait a bit before drafting their signal-caller.

    11.) Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts: Luck topped 4,000 yards through the air as a rookie, and the installation of former Stanford offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton in Indianapolis helps Luck's chances of building on his rookie success.

    12.) Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers: Kaepernick is being drafted much higher than this by fans with visions of last year's playoff game against Green Bay dancing in their heads. Still, Kaepernick barely cracked the top 10 in fantasy points per game last year, and he lost his favorite weapon in the passing game in wide receiver Michael Crabtree. Caveat emptor.

    13.) Eli Manning, New York Giants: Manning failed to top 4,000 passing yards last year for the first time since 2008, but the return of a healthy Hakeem Nicks helps Manning's chances of rebounding.

    14.) Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals: It happened without much fanfare, but Dalton finished 2012 as fantasy football's 12th-ranked quarterback. That makes the third-year pro a serviceable "platoon" option or high-end backup.

    15.) Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers: There are more questions than answers where the Pittsburgh offense is concerned in 2013, so Roethlisberger is best drafted as a fantasy reserve this year.

    16.) Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers: Once an elite fantasy option at the position, Rivers' statistical production has declined steadily the past couple of years, including an eye-popping 47 turnovers over that span.

    17.) Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals: Palmer topped 4,000 yards last year for an awful Oakland Raiders team. If the Arizona offensive line holds up, Palmer could wind up being one of the better values at the quarterback spot this year.

    18.) Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Freeman is capable of huge fantasy outings, but he's just as apt to lay an egg. That inconsistency leaves the 25-year-old firmly planted in backup territory.

    19.) Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears: The installation of Marc Trestman's pass-centric offense should be a boost to Cutler, who is entering a contract year. The 30-year-old is a solid bye week option, but counting on Cutler as a weekly starter is asking for trouble.

    20.) Matt Schaub, Houston Texans: In simple terms, Matt Schaub is who he is. He's a veteran game-manager playing on a run-first team. Still, the presence of wideout Andre Johnson usually means a big game or two each season.

    21.) Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens: Flacco may be worth $100 million in the NFL, but in fantasy football he just doesn't throw the ball enough to make him anything more than a ho-hum backup passer.

    22.) Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams: The Rams have a bevy of young (if unproven) wideouts and added tight end Jared Cook. If things fall into place he could easily outperform this ranking, but there's substantial risk involved with spending more than a late pick on Bradford.

    23.) Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins added wide receiver Mike Wallace and tight end Dustin Keller in free agency, and Tannehill has drawn raves from teammates and the media alike in minicamps and OTAs.

    24.) Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns: Weeden had a very up-and-down rookie season, but Norv Turner's vertical offense is a much better fit for Weeden's skill-set than Pat Shurmur's dink-and-dunk attack was.

    25.) Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs: Even when Smith was winning in San Francisco he wasn't much of a fantasy option, but the Chiefs appear set to open up the offense more for Smith than the 49ers did under Jim Harbaugh.

Running Backs

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    1.) Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings: History hasn't been kind to 2,000-yard rushers or the last five top fantasy backs, but Peterson thrives on being the exception to the rule. He's not the slam dunk top pick that many think, but it'd be hard to pass on his upside at 1.01.

    2.) Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Martin's fantasy production last year was inflated by two huge games, but the fact remains that he's a talented runner and receiver who is the unquestioned lead back for his team.

    3.) Arian Foster, Houston Texans: Foster's career-low 4.1 yards a carry in 2012, 350+ carries last year and a healthy Ben Tate are all concerns, but Foster has averaged 53 receptions and over 15 total touchdowns a year over the last three seasons.

    4.) Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs: Peterson's miraculous recovery from an ACL tear hogged the headlines, but Charles topped 1,500 rushing yards in his own rebound season last year. The West Coast offense of Andy Reid made fantasy studs of Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy, and Charles has the skills to excel in the scheme as well.

    5.) C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills: If you're the type who likes risk/reward picks, then Spiller is your man. A capable receiver who averaged six yards a carry in 2012, Spiller could be set for a huge season if he gets 300+ touches in 2013.

    6.) Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens: The middle of a fantasy draft is generally considered an unfavorable slot, but fantasy owners in 2013 can start their drafts from the middle of round one with a reliable fantasy RB1 in Rice. Believe me, you could do worse.

    7.) LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles: After an injury-marred 2012 season McCoy has an excellent shot at rebounding in a big way in 2013, given how much new Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly ran the ball at Oregon.

    8.) Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns: Rib and knee injuries limited Richardson to 3.6 yards a carry and less than 1,000 rushing yards as a rookie. However, Richardson did score 11 touchdowns on the ground in 2012 and will see a heavy workload under new offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

    9.) Matt Forte, Chicago Bears: Forte isn't the flashiest first-round pick, but the sixth-year veteran has gained at least 1,400 total yards in each of his first five seasons. Forte is a solid choice as a low-end fantasy RB1 at the end of the round.

    10.) Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks: Lynch topped 1,500 yards on the ground last year and gets a big boost in standard scoring formats, but his lack of involvement in the passing game limits Lynch's fantasy upside in PPR leagues.

    11.) Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans: The arrival of Shonn Greene may cost Johnson some short-yardage work, but the 27-year-old can make that ground up in the passing game and could be in for a big year behind an improved offensive line in Nashville.

    12.) Steven Jackson, Atlanta Falcons: After years of posting good numbers on bad teams with the Rams, Jackson gets the best shot of his career at a deep playoff run with the Falcons. His dual-threat ability as a runner and receiver could help your fantasy squad make one as well.

    13.) Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins: Morris was a revelation as a rookie in 2012, gaining over 1,600 rushing yards and finishing second in the NFL in rushing. Like Lynch, Morris isn't used much in the passing game, but he's a rock-solid pick as a fantasy RB2.

    14.) Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints: Many fantasy owners considered Sproles' 2012 season relatively disappointing, although he finished in the top 15 at his position in PPR leagues. The year before that, when Sean Payton was calling the shots, Sproles was a top-five fantasy option.

    15.) Reggie Bush, Detroit Lions: After finishing as a top-15 fantasy back each of the past two years with the Miami Dolphins, Bush signed a free agent deal with the Lions. Jahvid Best was very productive when healthy as the tailback for Detroit, and there's no reason why Bush can't be as well.

    16.) David Wilson, New York Giants: The release of Ahmad Bradshaw leaves Wilson as the leading candidate to be the number one back for Big Blue. The possibility of a substantial workload for Andre Brown adds some risk to drafting Wilson, but the second-year pro oozes upside.

    17.) Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers: Despite that fact that Gore finished as a top-10 fantasy back last year, the 30-year-old has been slipping in early drafts, likely due to his age. Still, the Achilles injury suffered by wideout Michael Crabtree will cause the 49ers to lean on the run even more in 2013, making Gore one of the better RB2 value picks this season.

    18.) Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars: Jones-Drew led the NFL in rushing in 2011, but a Lisfranc injury wiped out most of his 2012 campaign. If he's healthy the 28-year-old has top-10 fantasy upside, but the status of his balky foot is still very much up in the air.

    19.) DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys: When Murray's on the field he's got game-breaking ability, but to this point in his NFL career injuries have been a big problem. Like Jones-Drew, Murray is a somewhat risky bet as your second fantasy back.

    20.) Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots: The third-year pro gained over 1,250 yards on the ground for the Patriots in 2012. Given all the uncertainty surrounding the New England offense this summer, Ridley should be in for a big workload in 2013 as well.

    21.) Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins: With Reggie Bush now in the Motor City Miller moves into the lead role in the Dolphins backfield. The second-year pro doesn't have much of an NFL resume, but the talent is there for top-20 fantasy numbers if things break right.

    22.) Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders: Heading into a contract year and with a power-blocking scheme re-installed in Oakland, there's some room for optimism with McFadden. That is, until you remember that the sixth-year veteran just cannot stay healthy.

    23.) Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers: The top rookie running back in redraft fantasy football leagues in 2013, Bell would appear to have the clearest path of all the newcomers to an every-down role, provided that he can demonstrate some ability to pick up the blitz.

    24.) Chris Ivory, New York Jets: Ivory averaged over five yards a carry in limited duty over the past three seasons in New Orleans and will see the most carries of his career with the Jets. However, durability is a concern that robs some of Ivory's fantasy upside.

    25.) Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers: Just last season some fantasy pundits were touting Mathews as a top-five pick. Now, after another injury-plagued season and with Danny Woodhead set to poach passing-down work, Mathews is a marginal fantasy RB2 at best.

Wide Receivers

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    1.) Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions: "Megatron" was fantasy football's top wideout in 2012 after setting the NFL record for receiving yardage. He was also the most-targeted wide receiver in the league last year, and is the top dog at his position by a country mile.

    2.) A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals: Green caught 97 passes for 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012. He's far and away the top receiving option in the Queen City, and the third-year pro should see a boatload of targets again in 2013.

    3.) Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears: Marshall tied for second in the National Football League with 118 catches last year. The eighth-year veteran may be hard-pressed to flirt with 120 receptions again, but he's Jay Cutler's go-to guy with the Bears.

    4.) Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos: Thomas exploded in his third NFL season to the tune of over 1,400 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, and he's rock-solid fantasy WR1 as Peyton Manning's deep-ball target with the Broncos.

    5.) Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys: Bryant finally put it all together down the stretch last year, finishing with a dozen touchdown grabs on the season. A dominant weapon in the red zone, if Bryant can keep up that level of production over a full season, look out.

    6.) Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals: Horrific quarterback play led to a down year from Fitzgerald in 2012. Now that Carson Palmer is under center and new head coach Bruce Arians is moving him around in the formation, look for Fitzgerald to bounce back in a big way in 2013.

    7.) Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons may have lost the NFC Championship game to the San Francisco 49ers last year, but Jones' record-setting performance in the game served notice that a new superstar has emerged at the position.

    8.) Andre Johnson, Houston Texans: It's a testament to the depth at the wide receiver position this year that a player who had over 100 catches last year and led the AFC in receiving yards can be had as the eighth wideout off the board.

    9.) Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons: The ninth-year veteran may not be the explosive downfield threat that Julio Jones is, but 92 catches for over 1,300 yards and seven scores isn't exactly chicken feed.

    10.) Percy Harvin, Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks paid a high price (both in picks and financially) to acquire Harvin's services, and the 25-year-old's fantasy upside is limited only by how many touches he gets in Seattle's run-heavy offense.

    11.) Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers: With Donald Driver retired and Greg Jennings in Minnesota, Cobb could be in for a big jump in targets this year, and the third-year pro is a danger to go the distance every time he touches the football.

    12.) Victor Cruz, New York Giants: Cruz has two straight seasons of over 80 receptions and 1,000 yards under his belt, and there's no reason to think Cruz won't salsa his way to a third straight big year in 2013.

    13.) Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The 30-year-old tallied a career-high 1,384 receiving yards in 2012. In fact, Jackson would likely be ranked higher if he played with a more consistent quarterback than Josh Freeman.

    14.) Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints: Despite being the top wideout for one of the NFL's most prolific offenses and having four straight 1,000-yard seasons to his credit, Colston seems to be undervalued in fantasy drafts every year.

    15.) Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers: After exploding for over 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2011, injuries caused a big-time slide for Nelson last year. That bad year can be used to your advantage, as it's caused Nelson to fall in many fantasy drafts this summer.

    16.) Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants: A broken foot in OTAs ruined Nicks' 2012 season for all intents and purposes. However, there's ample reason to expect a rebound with Nicks playing for his next contract in 2013.

    17.) Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs: Much like Fitzgerald, Bowe's recent fantasy production has been limited by lousy quarterbacks. This year, Bowe will be catching passes from Alex Smith, who is probably the best passer Bowe has ever played with.

    18.) Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts: Fantasy owners who rolled the dice on Wayne last year were rewarded to the tune of 106 catches and over 1,300 yards. The 34-year-old may not repeat those numbers this year, but Wayne's a very good WR2 candidate.

    19.) Danny Amendola, New England Patriots: One of the bigger risk/reward candidates among wide receivers this season, Amendola could be in for a top-10 fantasy campaign replacing Wes Welker if he can stay healthy.

    20.) Wes Welker, Denver Broncos: Speaking of Welker, fantasy owners who draft the 10th-year veteran in 2013 expecting his usual production are going to be disappointed. There are just too many mouths to feed in the Denver passing game for Welker to catch 100 passes.

    21.) Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers: Brown's numbers dropped in 2012, but with Mike Wallace now in Miami, Brown becomes the number one receiver for a Pittsburgh Steelers team that struggled running the ball last year.

    22.) Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins: Wallace signed a big free-agent deal to join the Dolphins, and if he and Ryan Tannehill develop a quick rapport, there's considerable fantasy upside to be had. However, Wallace can be streaky, so there's a measure of risk involved in drafting him as well.

    23.) Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers: Despite topping 1,000 yards the past two seasons and facing little competition for targets, Smith is once again undervalued this year. A viable fantasy WR2 that can be drafted as a WR3.

    24.) Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings: Jennings hasn't topped 1,000 yards since 2010, and the Minnesota passing game isn't exactly the Greatest Show on Turf. With that said though, Jennings is a talented receiver who should see plenty of action, making him a serviceable WR2 this year.

    25.) Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins: If you're the type that loads up on running backs early and need an upside WR2 pick who can be drafted a bit later look to Garcon, who showed a strong rapport with Robert Griffin last year. If Garcon can stay healthy, there's a good chance he outperforms this spot.

Tight Ends

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    1.) Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints: In spite of what many considered a "down" year for Graham, the fourth-year pro still finished the year as fantasy football's top player at the position. He enters 2013 in the exact same spot.

    2.) Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys: Witten set an NFL record last year for catches by a tight end with 110. It would be nice if the veteran would find the end zone a bit more often, but in leagues that award a point for catches Witten is as steady as they come.

    3.) Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots: Were it not for the handful of surgeries that Gronkowski had this offseason he'd be the top-ranked player at the position. Of course, if frogs had wings they wouldn't bump their butts when they hop.

    4.) Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons: Gonzalez eschewed retirement for one more run at the Super Bowl with the Falcons. His age (36) is a concern, but we are talking about a player who has missed only two games over his entire career.

    5.) Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers: Davis vanished over the second half of last season but went bananas in the playoffs. With Michael Crabtree likely out for the year Davis is the closest thing the 49ers have to a vertical threat, so while there's substantial risk involved in drafting him, it's a gamble that could pay huge dividends.

    6.) Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers: Olsen set career highs in receptions and yardage with the Panthers in 2012. If you miss out on the "elite" tight ends but still want a dependable weekly starter, then Olsen is a player you should be targeting.

    7.) Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens: Third-year breakouts aren't confined to wide receivers, as Pitta had one of his own in 2012. With Anquan Boldin now in San Francisco, Pitta will serve as the primary underneath target for Joe Flacco and the Ravens in 2013.

    8.) Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings: In his second NFL season Rudolph emerged as the primary red zone target for Christan Ponder and the Vikings in 2012. However, Rudolph also had less than 500 receiving yards last year, which leaves him as something of a "feast or famine" fantasy option.

    9.) Jared Cook, St. Louis Rams: Cook is a very talented but inconsistent player with the ability to stretch defenses. The Rams are hard-up for dependable receiving talent, so there's real fantasy upside here if Cook can get his act together.

    10.) Owen Daniels, Houston Texans: If Cook is a high-upside, risk/reward pick then Daniels is the exact opposite. He's a high-floor, limited upside fantasy option with all the sizzle of a popsicle. Still, the 30-year old is an OK starter for teams that wait to draft a tight end.

    11.) Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers: With loads of talent and a spot on one of the NFL's best offenses, Finley has all kinds of potential. However, he's never been able to turn that potential into consistent fantasy production.

    12.) Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers: For several seasons Gates was the gold standard at his position in fantasy football, and as recently as 2011 he was a top-10 fantasy option. Gates may not be able to recapture his glory days of the past, but if the 33-year-old can stay healthy, Gates may have one more year as a fantasy starter left in him.

    13.) Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears: Bennett had by far the best season of his five-year career last year, finishing as fantasy's 12th-ranked tight end. He should be able to post similar numbers in Chicago, which makes Bennett a solid choice as a fantasy reserve.

    14.) Dustin Keller, Miami Dolphins: Injuries were the story of 2012 for Dustin Keller. The year before Keller topped 800 yards and scored five touchdowns, however, and Keller could be set for a solid season as a checkdown target for Ryan Tannehill with the Dolphins.

    15.) Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns: Fantasy owners looking for upside in their TE2 should be targeting Cameron in 2013. He didn't do much as a rookie, but the talent's there and Norv Turner has been using Cameron on a lot of downfield routes in minicamps.

    16.) Brandon Myers, New York Giants: Myers was one of the biggest surprises in the NFL at tight end last year, pacing the Oakland Raiders with 79 catches. However, Myers is going to have a hard time matching that production playing on a Giants team in 2013 that doesn't use the tight end a lot.

    17.) Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions: Pettigrew plays for a Detroit Lions team that throws the ball a ton, but the 27-year-old has struggled with drops and will lose some targets to Tony Scheffler, especially in the red zone.

    18.) Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals: Gresham's 64 catches and 737 receiving yards in 2012 were good enough for a top-10 fantasy finish, but the arrival of rookie Tyler Eifert makes an encore performance unlikely.

    19.) Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts: Surprisingly, it was Allen and not fellow newcomer Coby Fleener who was the Colts' top tight end last year. Fleener's presence caps Allen's fantasy upside, but in the right matchups the second-year pro is a serviceable bye-week fill-in.

    20.) Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers: Miller posted career numbers for the Steelers last year, finishing as a top-five fantasy option at his position. However, a late season ACL tear clouds Miller's fantasy prospects for the upcoming year considerably.

    21.) Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals: Eifert was the Bengals' first-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft. The former Notre Dame star will eventually be the top tight end in Cincy, but it may take Eifert a while to unseat Jermaine Gresham.

    22.) Robert Housler, Arizona Cardinals: The third-year pro very quietly had 45 catches last year for the Cardinals, despite horrific quarterback play. With Carson Palmer now in town, Housler is a trendy fantasy pick in 2013 as an upside TE2.

    23.) Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs: The rookie hasn't been named a starter yet, but the former Cincinnati standout combines the best skills of Tony Moeaki and Anthony Fasano in one package. By Week 1 Kelce will be atop the depth chart, so get him while he's still a bargain.

    24.) Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles: Celek finished 17th among fantasy tight ends last year, and the arrival of Zach Ertz casts a shadow over his future. However, for the time being at least Celek remains the starter for the Eagles.

    25.) Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts: Fleener was a non-factor with the Indianapolis Colts as a rookie, but he played with Andrew Luck at Stanford and is now reunited with offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton.

Kickers

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    1.) Matt Bryant, Atlanta Falcons: Fantasy's third-ranked kicker in 2012, Bryant hit on nearly 87% of his field goal attempts and plays for one of the NFL's top offensive teams.

    2.) Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots: Gostkowski was the top fantasy kicker a season ago, but the tumultuous offseason in Beantown costs him the top spot in these rankings.

    3.) Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings: The second-year pro was 10-for-10 from over 50 yards last year, and in many fantasy leagues long kicks get a bonus.

    4.) Matt Prater, Denver Broncos: Prater struggled down the stretch last year, but he still finished with a career-high 133 points kicking in the thin air in Denver.

    5.) Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens: A relative unknown in fantasy circles who hit over 90 percent of his field goal attempts last year, Tucker is a great last-round kicker target.

    6.) Greg Zuerlein, St. Louis Rams: "Legatron" started off his rookie season white-hot, but it's worth noting that Zuerlein missed eight of his last 16 tries last year.

    7.) Sebastian Janikowski, Oakland Raiders: The big man with the even bigger leg has a maddening tendency to hit long field goals while shanking the gimmes.

    8.) David Akers, Detroit Lions: A hip injury caused Akers to struggle badly in 2012, but fantasy's leading kicker in 2011 could be set to bounce back kicking indoors in the Motor City.

    9.) Randy Bullock, Houston Texans: Bullock lost his rookie season to a groin injury, but he'll take over the kicking duties this year for a Houston offense that made Shayne Graham a top-five fantasy option in 2012.

    10.) Phil Dawson, San Francisco 49ers: The only kicker that the "new" Cleveland Browns have ever known now finds himself in the Bay Area. Dawson is a serviceable low-end fantasy starter who can be had very late in drafts.

    11.) Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys: Bailey was second in the NFL in field goal accuracy at 93.5 percent in 2012, but barely finished inside the top 10 in fantasy points.

    12.) Steven Hauschka, Seattle Seahawks: Hauschka was the 12th-ranked fantasy kicker in 2012, and it's not unreasonable to expect a similar finish in 2013.

    13.) Garrett Hartley, New Orleans Saints: Hartley made only 18 field goals last year despite playing for one of the NFL's top offenses, making him an iffy fantasy option at best.

    14.) Josh Brown, New York Giants: The 34-year-old is playing for his third team in as many seasons, which basically tells you everything you need to know.

    15.) Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts: Don't fall for the name. Vinatieri hasn't been a viable fantasy starter since 2007, when his finished 12th at the position.

    16.) Kai Forbath, Washington Redskins: Forbath was the NFL's most accurate kicker last year, missing only once in 18 tries, but he needs more attempts to have real fantasy value.

    17.) Alex Henery, Philadelphia Eagles: Henery didn't have an especially good season last year, but he could see a lot of opportunities to produce in 2013 if Chip Kelly's offense catches on with the Eagles.

    18.) Robbie Gould, Chicago Bears: From an NFL perspective Gould is a fine kicker, but he hasn't finished as a top-10 fantasy option since 2007.

    19.) Mike Nugent, Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals brought back Nugent despite an injury-marred 2012 season, but fantasy owners can all but certainly do better.

    20.) Nick Novak, San Diego Chargers: Novak's 90 percent success rate in 2012 was the third-best in franchise history, but he was still only a marginal fantasy starter.

    21.) Rob Bironas, Tennessee Titans: Bironas hasn't finished as a top-10 fantasy option since 2009, and the Titans offense can't be counted on to end that streak this year.

    22.) Jay Feely, Arizona Cardinals: Feely hit on 10 of 12 tries from 40 yards or longer last year, but unless the Arizona offense improves by leaps and bounds in 2013 Feely isn't a startable fantasy option.

    23.) Shaun Suisham, Pittsburgh Steelers: Suisham barely finished inside the top 15 last year, so best-case he's little more than a bye-week fill-in.

    24.) Lawrence Tynes, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers signed Tynes after Connor Barth tore his Achilles, but Tynes doesn't have Barth's leg.

    25.) Shayne Graham, Cleveland Browns: Graham was a top-five fantasy option last year, but there's a big difference between the offenses in Houston and Cleveland.

Team Defenses

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    1.) Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks added to an already talented defensive line in the offseason, and the free-agent acquisition of cornerback Antoine Winfield gives Seattle the best defensive backfield in the NFL on paper.

    2.) San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers boast a front seven that's loaded with talent, including the strongest group of starting linebackers in the NFL. So long as the secondary holds together, the 49ers defense will be formidable in 2013.

    3.) Denver Broncos: No team in the NFL racked up more sacks in 2012 than the Broncos, and Peyton Manning puts a lot of pressure on opposing offenses to keep up. That pressure, in turn, leads to mistakes and turnovers.

    4.) Chicago Bears: The Bears were fantasy football's top defense in 2012, spurred to those heights by a ridiculous nine defensive touchdowns. However, fantasy owners can't reasonably expect the Bears to repeat that performance this season.

    5.) Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals' defense represents solid value for fantasy owners. Their stalwart defensive line gives the team top-five fantasy upside, but the Bengals don't carry the price tag of the so-called "elite" units.

    6.) Houston Texans: The Texans weren't an especially good fantasy defense in 2012, ranking outside the top 10. However, any team that has J.J. Watt chasing after quarterbacks is worth a look from fantasy owners.

    7.) New England Patriots: Despite the fact that the Patriots finished second among fantasy defenses last year, they've been slipping in early drafts in 2013. That makes linebacker Jerod Mayo and company an attractive target for teams that wit a bit before drafting a defense.

    8.) St. Louis Rams: Not only do the Rams boast one of the NFL's better front fours and a solid pair of cornerbacks in Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins, but the Rams also start off the 2013 season with a pair of favorable matchups.

    9.) Green Bay Packers: The zone blitz scheme of defensive coordinator Dom Capers generates a lot of sacks and turnovers, but the Packers also have a tendency to give up yardage in bunches and more than a few points.

    10.) Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens finished 12th among fantasy defenses last year and have experienced significant roster turnover in the offseason. Don't reach for the Ravens based off prior reputation.

    11.) Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers were one of the NFL's top defenses last year in terms of yardage and points allowed. However, unless they force more sacks and turnovers in 2013, it's not going to equate to fantasy upside.

    12.) New York Giants: There's some fantasy value to be had with Big Blue, but much will depend on the health of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, the play of a questionable group of linebackers and whether or not the G-Men let David Wilson return kicks this season.

    13.) Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons compensated for the loss of end John Abraham with the addition of Osi Umenyiora, and the Falcons were one of the NFL's top teams in 2012 in terms of turnover differential.

    14.) Arizona Cardinals: Despite the god-awful state of the offense last year, the team finished seventh among defenses in 2012. The departure of coordinator Ray Horton adds a measure of uncertainty. Return ace Patrick Peterson helps mitigate that risk, however.

    15.) Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings have one of the NFL's top pass-rushers in Jared Allen and added a quality linebacker in Desmond Bishop, but the loss of Antoine Winfield leaves the secondary as a question mark.

    16.) Cleveland Browns: The Browns are making the switch to a 3-4 defense this year under Ray Horton. That transition carries with it some risk, but the Arizona Cardinals were a top 10 fantasy defense in 2012 under Horton.

    17.) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tampa Bay was fantastic against the run in 2012 but horrible against the pass. If cornerback Darrelle Revis is healthy, the Buccaneers should improve in the latter category and at least merit consideration as a matchup play.

    18.) San Diego Chargers: The Chargers were a top-five fantasy defense in 2012, but personnel losses and injuries have taken their toll in the offseason. Don't get caught chasing last year's production.

    19.) Dallas Cowboys: On one hand, the Dallas defense boasts quite a bit of talent, from defensive end DeMarcus Ware to linebacker Sean Lee. However, the switch to the 4-3 under new coordinator Monte Kiffin adds more than a little risk to their fantasy prospects this season.

    20.) New York Jets: The Jets have reportedly pledged to become more aggressive on defense this season. If your fantasy league penalizes for yardage and points allowed, however, beware. The Jets' offense may put the D in more than a few binds in 2013.

    21.) Carolina Panthers: The Panthers beefed up the interior of the defensive line in the 2013 draft and boast a solid cadre of defensive ends and linebackers. The same cannot be said of the secondary though, and that could be a big problem.

    22.) Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins were very aggressive about improving the team through free agency on both sides of the ball, but it's hard to get too excited about a squad that finished outside the top 25 fantasy defenses in 2012.

    23.) Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles are undergoing a major overhaul on defense in 2013, moving to a 3-4 front. There are some talented defenders on Philly's roster, but this is a defense that's as apt to be terrible as great this year.

    24.) New Orleans Saints: Even in last year's nightmare of a season the Saints were still a top-20 fantasy defense. With the team switching schemes this year, doubts abound, but the Saints may be worth an in-season waiver add when the matchup is right.

    25.) Tennessee Titans: The Titans have good players at every level of the defense, from end Derrick Morgan to linebacker Zach Brown and safety Bernard Pollard. However, no team in the NFL gave up more points last year than the Titans.

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