Top Fantasy Football Players 2013: Stars Worth Considering with No. 1 Pick

Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIAugust 15, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 30: Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings after a game against Green Bay Packers on December 30, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Packers 37-34. (Photo by Andy Clayton King/Getty Images)
Andy King/Getty Images

Fantasy football is taking the world by storm, and speaking for the entire NFL community, we wouldn't have it any other way. Drafts are being held, and lists of player rankings are being created.

The question is, what should you do if you come across the first overall draft choice?

There are some who view the first overall draft choice as an opportunity to lock up Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings. After all, AP did just win the NFL MVP award, dominating in every manner imaginable.

Before we write off the other possibilities, however, it's imperative that we acknowledge the countless other possibilities.


Arian Foster, Houston Texans

Position: Running Back

Age: 26

Experience: 5th Season

2012 Season Statistics

351 ATT, 1,424 YDS, 15 TD; 40 REC, 217 YDS, 2 TD


Many fantasy football owners have grown concerned with Arian Foster's declining production. By that, of course, we mean to say that they're focusing on his 4.1 yards per carry and not the league-best 15 rushing touchdowns or the quality 40 receptions that he amassed in 2012.

For those curious, Foster scored at least one rushing or receiving touchdown in 13 of his 16 games played.

Furthermore, Foster tallied at least 10 points in standard, non point-per-reception leagues, in all but two games. He also picked up at least 15 points in 12 separate games, which bodes well entering the 2013 regular season.

For the first time since arriving in Houston, the Texans have a quality second receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, to alleviate the pressure off of Foster.

Foster is risky for the No. 1 pick, and a strong case could be made that he isn't even the best available option at the position. With that being said, if you're skeptical of Adrian Peterson being able to repeat his success, Foster is a primary target.

Declining averages or not, 15 rushing touchdowns is an attractive number to work with.


Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

Position: Wide Receiver

Age: 27

Experience: 7th Season

2012 Season Statistics

122 receptions, 1,964 yards, 5 touchdowns


What if I told you that Calvin Johnson is in store for a significantly better season in 2013?

Johnson was legendary in 2012, catching 122 passes for 1,964 yards to set records and become a fantasy football dream. What he also did, however, was haul in just five touchdown passes, which actually diminished his value from—fine, he was still outstanding.

Look at it like this—if Johnson catches five more touchdowns and tallies 300 less yards in non-PPR leagues, he'd have the same point total.

I'm inclined to believe Johnson will amass 100 receptions, haul in 10 touchdown passes and secure roughly 1,500 yards. Not only is Matthew Stafford still one of the most productive and free-throwing quarterbacks in the league, but the Detroit Lions' offense is improved in an all-around manner.

Reggie Bush is the best running back they've had since Barry Sanders—and there haven't been many, if any, quality backs since him—and rookie Terrence Austin has big-play ability alongside Nate Burleson.

Bush is the X-Factor, as he offers a significant improvement over their previous running games. This will force defenses to either allow Bush, who has run for 2,072 over the past two seasons, to exploit defenses or force them to collapse.

Either way, Johnson will have an abundance of opportunities to shine, and if we had to make a bet, he'll post another monster season.


Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings

Position: Running Back

Age: 28

Experience: 7th Season

2012 Season Statistics

348 ATT, 2,097 YDS, 12 TD; 40 REC, 217 YDS, 1 TD


Who else?

Adrian Peterson, the reigning MVP, topped 2,000 yards during the 2012 regular season, rushing for 12 touchdowns and leading the Minnesota Vikings to the playoffs. He topped 10 points in standard leagues in 13 of his 16 appearances and dominated every defense he faced.

With an improved offense surrounding him, it's going to be even more difficult to prevent Peterson from racking up points.

There are reasons for concerns, as Peterson averaged an obscene 6.0 yards per carry in 2012—a number that's quite unlikely to be reproduced. Even still, Peterson is the safest pick for the first overall draft choice and does offer the highest potential reward.

Keep in mind, Peterson has run for at least 10 touchdowns in each of his six seasons in the league.

Peterson will give you quality points on his off days, still managing to find the end zone with a passing attack that added Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson. Assuming Christian Ponder makes the necessary strides, that suggests Peterson's yards will decline, but his touchdown count will rise.

That's a good thing for fantasy owners.


Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

Position: Running Back

Age: 26

Experience: 6th Season

2012 Season Statistics

257 ATT, 1,143 YDS, 9 TD; 61 REC, 478 YDS, 1 TD


If you're playing in a PPR league and you don't want to take Peterson, your best bet is to go with Ray Rice. Not only is he preparing to line up behind the reigning Super Bowl MVP, Joe Flacco, but he does it all.

61 receptions should be enough to catch your eye.

Rice topped 10 points in 11 of his 16 games, with Week 17 serving as a game in which Baltimore's starters were limited. He also topped 20 points in four separate games, and we haven't even begun to touch upon his numbers from PPR leagues.

Rice caught at least five passes in seven separate games.

There's no question that Rice will need to score more touchdowns to warrant the top pick, but his pass-catching ability is top tier. On a Ravens team with a shortage of receivers, there's a high probability that he actually catches more passes in 2013.

If you can't wrap your head around drafting AP, Rice is a safe pick for No. 1 overall.