Top Fantasy Football Players 2013: Best Choices for a No. 1 Overall Pick

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IAugust 17, 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

The trendy pick to go No. 1 overall in fantasy football drafts around the globe will be Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings after a monster 2012 campaign. But if you're not happy with taking AP this season, don't fret because there are other viable options to go No. 1 this year.

The overwhelming thought is that a running back should be your first choice when picking your team, but that isn't always a lock to work. Granted, the class of quarterbacks and wide receivers will be pretty deep this season, but running back doesn't tend to be that consistent of a point-scoring position week to week.

And that's especially true when compared to the quarterback position. Considering this logic is what makes having the very first pick of a fantasy football draft a tough decision to make.

So, while spitting in the face of common thought, let's take a look at the top player from each of the three major offensive positions who you could choose with a No. 1 overall selection.


Quarterback: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

After a dreadful season for the Saints as a whole, things are looking up in 2013 thanks to the return of head coach Sean Payton who missed all of last season thanks to a suspension.

While the rest of the team suffered, Brees still had his normal impressive season with 5,177 yards through the air and 43 touchdowns while completing 63 percent of his passes. The only sour note besides his team's record was the fact that Brees tossed 19 picks, which was five more than his 2011 total.

There's no question that the Saints suffered without their head man roaming the sidelines last season and the offense was the biggest victim of that. Granted, the Saints still put up great numbers through the air as the No. 1 passing attack in the NFL, but it makes all the difference in the world when a head coach isn't around to make adjustments at halftime.

With his head coach back, Brees figures to have an even better season in 2013. Payton is an offensive guru and his presence alone with make the pieces around Brees better. If that turns out to be the case, that will only help Brees improve on his immense production from last season.

Not to mention, unlike Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, Brees has many of his favorite options in the passing game returning and like in years past, that will make for one of the best passing attacks in the NFL.


Running Back: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings


I'm going out on a limb with this one and telling you that Peterson is a smart choice if you go running back with the No. 1 overall pick. Just kidding, of course.

Peterson came just nine yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing yards record and went hand-in-hand with Minnesota's defense to help lead his squad to an improbable playoff appearance.

All of this was done without the aid of any semblance of a passing attack or help on the offensive side of the ball, and Peterson was coming off an ACL injury that was supposed to slow him down. It didn't.

In all, Peterson ran for 2,097 yards and 12 touchdowns and caught 40 passes for 217 yards and another score. All of this production was done with opposing defenses knowing exactly what was coming from the Vikings offense.

Now, to expect that Peterson will do this again is a bit unrealistic. The kind of season he had in 2012 only comes around once in a generation, but expect Peterson to still put up impressive numbers that put him in the MVP conversation once again.

Minnesota also added some weapons to its passing attack in order to give some help to quarterback Christian Ponder, so if all goes well with that, Peterson should have some extra room to work with this season.


Wide Receiver: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions


To say that Johnson dominated and abused opposing secondaries during the 2012 season would be the understatement of the century. Johnson caught a ridiculous 122 passes and gained 1,964 yards with five touchdowns last season.

His final yardage total was good enough for the most by any receiver in a single season in NFL history. If that isn't enough for you, Johnson also became the first player in NFL history to gain 100 yards in eight straight games and catch 10 passes in four straight games. 

After filling himself full of records, the only thing left for Johnson was to have some success with his team as a whole. Unfortunately, the Lions had a poor season that fell far short of expectations and quarterback Matthew Stafford definitely took a step back.

With that being said, Stafford has proven to be a talented signal-caller in the past and 2013 should be a year in which he rebounds drastically. Even with Stafford's struggles, Johnson still owned the league.

On top of that, the Lions added running back Reggie Bush during the offseason, so that will go a long way in trying to balance the Lions offense.

The only concern is the amount of touchdowns Johnson caught. Touchdowns are important to the output of a receiver in fantasy football, so any worries over that are understandable. However, Johnson caught a grand total of 28 touchdowns combined in 2010 and 2011, so he's due to rebound in 2013.

Now that Johnson and company will have a formidable rushing attack for opposing defenses to respect, that should open things up for the Lions passing attack, and while it'll be hard for Johnson to top his numbers from last season, he will certainly have another elite season in Detroit.