2013 Fantasy Football Preview: Ranking the Top Players at Each Position

Bill Pivetz@@BPiv_SportsCorrespondent IIIAugust 17, 2013

2013 Fantasy Football Preview: Ranking the Top Players at Each Position

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    Last season was full of surprises.

    Rookies emerged as sure-fire Pro Bowlers. Quarterbacks Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, and running backs Alfred Morris and Doug Martin lit up the stat sheets.

    Adrian Peterson is not human. He rushed for over 2,000 yards after tearing his ACL in December 2011. It was later revealed that he was also dealing with a sports hernia since Week 10 of the 2012-13 season.

    A full year off is nothing for Peyton Manning. Aaron Rodgers can throw to whomever and make him a star.

    The free-agency period was a bigger shock. Tom Brady lost his security blanket in Wes Welker to the rival Denver Broncos. He then gained a receiver in Danny Amendola a few hours later.

    The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers were going move-for-move during free agency, trying to one-up each other with signings. Reggie Bush signed a four-year deal with the Detroit Lions. The Buffalo Bills released quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

    This 2013 fantasy football preview will look back at the 2012 season, which players succeeded and which can continue their success in the upcoming season.

    All stats courtesy of NFL.com, and all mention of fantasy points are based on NFL.com leagues with standard scoring. With that being said, let’s begin previewing the 2013 fantasy football season.


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    The quarterback position is very deep this year.

    You have the usual suspects like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. Then, you have the upcoming sophomores like Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson. And finally, there are the borderline star players like Matthew Stafford and Tony Romo.

    Quarterback isn't the most important position to draft. Yes, they score a lot of points, but there's no need to draft one in the first two rounds when you can draft one in the sixth round. Go after running backs and wide receivers first.

1. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)

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    2012 stats: 4,295 pass yards, 39 TDs, 8 INTs; 259 rush yards, 2 TDs

    Aaron Rodgers had a great year, even though the Packers started off slow, going 2-3 in their first five games. He threw for 10 touchdowns in the last three games of the season.

    Throughout the season, the Packers were dealing with many injuries on the offensive side of the ball. Star wide receiver Greg Jennings missed seven games while dealing with a groin injury. Wide receiver Jordy Nelson missed multiple games while dealing with hamstring and knee injuries throughout the season.

    However, this didn’t hinder Rodger’s playmaking. He made stars out of two second-string players—Randall Cobb and James Jones—who caught 22 combined touchdowns.

    The Packers will be a well-oiled, healthy machine. Losing Greg Jennings won’t have a big effect on the team. The emergence of Jones and Cobb gives the Packers a deadly pass attack alongside veteran Jordy Nelson.

    When to draftLate first to early second round

2. Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)

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    2012 stats: 5,177 pass yards, 43 TDs, 19 INTs; 5 rush yards, 1 TD

    Despite going 0-4 in the first four games, Brees scored 89.9 fantasy points in the first four weeks, third among the top 10 quarterbacks.

    The loss of No. 2 receiver Robert Meachem didn’t affect Brees either. Marques Colston and Lance Moore stepped up by hauling in 16 total touchdowns.

    Brees also relied heavily on tight end Jimmy Graham, who was the highest scoring tight end last season.

    He led the league with the most touchdowns with 43. Just like Brady and Rodgers, Brees has a full arsenal of targets. Colston, Moore and Graham are joined by veteran running back Darren Sproles, who caught 75 passes.

    Even though he threw 19 interceptions, Brees still throws the ball a ton and scores a lot. He's a hero in fantasy football.

    When to draftSecond round

3. Peyton Manning (Denver Broncos)

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    2012 stats: 4,659 pass yards, 37 TDs, 11 INTs

    The biggest story of the 2011 offseason was the Indianapolis Colts releasing Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos signing him.

    Manning wasn’t affected by the change of scenery or missing a full season. Although he didn’t have years of chemistry with his Broncos receivers like he did with Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, they developed a bond very quickly.

    Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas are two young receivers who had over 1,000 yards and at least 10 touchdowns each.

    The Broncos signed Wes Welker on March 13 to a two-year deal. He will be used as a slot receiver while Thomas will be a downfield threat. Welker has led the league in receptions in 2007 (112), 2009 (123) and 2011 (122). He will most likely be the No. 2 receiver, taking Decker’s spot.

    Manning ended the season with 311.06 fantasy points, sixth among quarterbacks.

    With Peyton Manning back with a full season under his belt after surgery, I wouldn’t worry about drafting him as a top-five quarterback.

    When to draftBetween third and fourth rounds

4. Tom Brady (New England Patriots)

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    2012 stats: 4,827 pass yards, 34 TDs, 8 INTs; 32 rush yards, 4 TDs

    Despite turning 36 in August, Tom Brady is still an elite quarterback. He is one of the most consistent quarterbacks in history, and 2012 was no different. He threw at least one touchdown in all 16 games.

    The loss of Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez will affect Brady a little bit, as he relied on them to pick up crucial first downs.

    However, the Patriots signed former Rams receiver Danny Amendola to a five-year deal. He provides the Patriots with the same skill set that Welker had.

    The Patriots have even developed a running game with Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen to relieve Brady of some pressure. This past season, Brady had four rushing touchdowns, the most of his career, which is always a plus for fantasy owners.

    The Patriots have lost four out of five players who led the team in receiving yards. That hurt Brady's stock a little, but he will still be a top-five quarterback.

    When to draftBetween third and fourth rounds

5. Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers)

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    2012 stats: 3,869 pass yards, 19 TDs, 12 INTs; 741 rush yards, 8 TDs

    Cam Newton was on fire during his rookie year. He had the most passing yards for a rookie with 4,051. He had 35 total touchdowns on the ground and in the air. At the end of the 2012 season, he was better than ever.

    Despite getting off to a slow start, Newton finished fourth in fantasy points among quarterbacks.

    After the Week 6 bye, Newton went on a tear. He scored double-digit points in all of the games, including two games over 37 points. He had 15 passing touchdowns, five rushing touchdowns and only six interceptions.

    Going into his third season, Newton will be on every fantasy owner’s radar. Steve Smith and Greg Olsen were Newton's top two receivers, and nothing will change heading into this season.

    He could easily be taken late in the second round if owners decide to reach for a quarterback, but somewhere in the middle rounds is more reasonable.

    When to draftFourth round

6. Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco 49ers)

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    2012 stats: 1,814 pass yards, 10 TDs, 3 INTs; 415 rush yards, 5 TDs

    Early in the season, the 49ers used Colin Kaepernick solely as a Wildcat quarterback. It wasn’t until Week 10 when Alex Smith sustained a concussion that Kaepernick would receive his big break.

    Kaepernick got the start the following week and didn’t disappoint. He had 243 pass yards and two touchdowns and was named the starter for the rest of season, despite Smith being cleared to play.

    Kaepernick had a career game against the New England Patriots in Week 15. He had 221 passing yards, four touchdowns and one interception, totaling 25.64 fantasy points, the fourth-most among quarterbacks for the week.

    The addition of veteran receiver Anquan Boldin will help Kaepernick tremendously, especially with the absence of Michael Crabtree.

    When to draftBetween fifth and sixth rounds

7. Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)

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    2012 stats: 4,719 pass yards, 32 TDs, 14 INTs; 138 rush yards, 1 TD

    Matt Ryan is slowly but surely proving why he deserves to be considered an elite quarterback. His passing yards and touchdowns have increased each season. His 4,719 passing yards and 32 touchdowns were the fifth highest in 2012.

    However, Matt Ryan was seventh in fantasy points with 304.56. His 14 interceptions may have contributed to that.

    The Falcons are a young team with Ryan at quarterback and Julio Jones at wide receiver. Receiver Roddy White can still produce at a high level at the age of 31. White and Jones were one of three sets of teammates to have over 1,000 receiving yards in the same season.

    Veteran tight end Tony Gonzalez almost joined them with 930 yards. All three players combined hauled in 25 touchdowns. Gonzalez decided to return for one more shot at a Super Bowl. Ryan relied a lot on him throughout the season and was a great security blanket for Ryan.

    Ryan is a risky quarterback to draft, regardless. He can either get out 20 to 25 points or less than 10 as he did on a few occasions.

    When to draftBetween sixth and seventh rounds

8. Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins)

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    2012 stats: 3,200 pass yards, 20 TDs, 5 INTs; 826 rush yards, 7 TDs

    In the first four weeks RGIII had 1,070 passing yards, 245 rushing yards, four passing touchdowns and four rushing touchdowns.

    Griffin was injured in Week 5 against the Falcons, but he came back in Week 6 and destroyed the Vikings. He threw for 182 yards, ran for 138 more and had three total touchdowns, earning 35.08 fantasy points.

    At the end of the season, RGIII had the fifth-most fantasy points with 318.60.

    2013 will be an interesting year for both the Redskins and RGIII. He tore both his ACL and LCL in the Wild Card Game against the Seahawks. RGIII tweeted on July 22 that he was cleared to practice, a mere seven months after tearing his ACL and LCL.

    As a threat in the air and on the ground, RGIII will be a hot item for fantasy owners. He should be drafted in the middle rounds, but could fall even further if owners are weary of the injury.

    When to draft: Between sixth and seventh rounds

9. Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions)

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    2012 stats: 4,967 pass yards, 20 TDs, 17 INT; 126 rush yards, 4 TDs

    Matthew Stafford was 33 yards away from posting back-to-back 5,000-yard seasons. However, his touchdown total dropped by more than 20 from 2011 to 2012.

    Stafford had a really good season even with only having one star wide receiver—Calvin Johnson. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew was the next closest receiver with 567 yards.

    He had multiple three-touchdown games during the 2012 season. Yet, he also had a couple of three-interception games. His best game of the season came in Week 8 against the Seahawks when he posted 352 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. He also scored a rushing touchdown.

    If Stafford can bring his touchdown total up, then he will be a steal in the later rounds.

    When to draftBetween seventh and eighth rounds

10. Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)

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    2012 stats: 3,118 pass yards, 26 TDs, 10 INTs; 489 rush yards, 4 TDs

    Many thought that when Seattle signed Packers backup quarterback Matt Flynn, he would be the starter. However, the Seahawks drafted Russell Wilson in the third round and was named the starter at the end of August.

    He finished in the top 10 in fantasy among quarterbacks and was one of three rookies to do so.

    The beginning of the season was rough for the rookie. He had only 8.12 points against the Cardinals in Week 1 and 1.8 points against the Rams in Week 4.

    It wasn’t until Week 6 when Wilson displayed his skills. He pulled off an upset against the Patriots when he threw for 293 yards and three touchdowns.

    After the Week 11 bye week, Wilson had four of five games with 20 or more fantasy points.

    If the top-tier quarterbacks are taken early (Brady, Rodgers, Brees, Manning), waiting until the later rounds for Wilson isn’t a bad idea. The loss of Percy Harvin definitely hurts, but he didn't have him last year and won't need him this year.

    When to draft: Between eighth and ninth rounds

Running Backs

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    Unlike quarterbacks, the running back position isn’t as deep.

    Despite tearing his ACL in December, Adrian Peterson was better than ever. Rookies Alfred Morris and Doug Martin were great late-round gambles. CJ Spiller finally got a break while Fred Jackson dealt with injuries. Each running back in the top 20 comes with a little bit of a risk.

    There are 10 legitimate No. 1 running backs to draft for your team. The other 10 listed should be drafted as a No. 2, not a running back you can rely on to score 200 fantasy points. This is the first position you should draft.

1. Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings)

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    2012 stats: 2,097 rush yards, 12 TDs; 217 receiving yards, 1 TD

    All day. That’s how long it seemed Adrian Peterson ran for in 2012. Although he didn’t play in the preseason, everyone knew Peterson was ready for the regular season to begin. In his first game, he ran for 84 yards and two touchdowns.

    In nine of his last 10 games, Peterson ran for at least 108 yards, including two 200-yard games.

    Peterson cannot be stopped, even when defenses know he’s getting the ball. According to ESPN’s Stats and Info Twitter page, Peterson ran for 1,019 yards after first contact.

    The Vikings aren’t that stacked on offense. Quarterback Christian Ponder is pedestrian. The Vikings signed Greg Jennings as a replacement for Percy Harvin. Tight end Kyle Rudolph was hit or miss throughout the season. This is Peterson's team, no question.

    If you have the No. 1 pick in your draft, take Peterson. He was the best before his injury and could be even better after it.

    When to draft: First overall

2. Arian Foster (Houston Texans)

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    2012 stats: 1,424 rush yards, 15 TDs; 217 receiving yards, 2 TDs

    Arian Foster was one of the most reliable running backs in 2012. He started in all 16 games and averaged just under 22 rush attempts per game. Foster led all running backs with 15 rushing touchdowns and added two receiving touchdowns. He only lost two fumbles all year and 10 throughout his three-year career.

    Quarterback Matt Schaub is iffy, but throws the ball a ton. Foster had seven games with over 100 rushing yards, but only averaged 89 per game, which was sixth in the league.

    The Texans have plenty of weapons and that is the reason why Foster doesn’t average a lot of yards. They have Andre Johnson (a 1,000-yard receiver), two tight ends in Garrett Graham and Owen Daniels, and backup running back Ben Tate, who had 279 rush yards.

    Regardless, Foster should and will be the second running back taken and with good reason. His schedule is great, and he scores a lot of touchdowns.

    When to draft: Within the first five picks

3. Doug Martin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

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    2012 stats: 1,454 rush yards, 11 TDs; 472 receiving yards, 1 TD

    Nicknamed the “Muscle Hamster,” Doug Martin was slow getting out of the gate. In his first four games, Martin rushed for 247 yards with only one touchdown. It wasn’t until a Week 8 game against the Vikings when Martin exploded. He ran for 135 yards and a touchdown. He also had 70 receiving yards and another score through the air.

    The following week had fantasy owners going crazy. Against the Raiders, Martin rushed for 251 yards and four touchdowns. He finished with 51.2 fantasy points, the highest single-game output among running backs all year.

    He also scored at least 11 points in seven straight games from Week 6 to Week 12.

    Martin was taken in the top half of the third round in most fantasy drafts last year. This year, on the other hand, Martin will be taken in the first round.

    He is the guy in Tampa and will dominate the ground game. So, if you want him, don’t wait.

    When to draft: Top five overall

4. Ray Rice (Baltimore Ravens)

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    2012 stats: 1,143 rush yards, 9 TDs; 478 receiving yards, 1 TD

    Ray Rice had an up-and-down 2012 season. Former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron didn’t use Rice in the way many thought he should have used him. In five weeks, Rice did not eclipse 50 rushing yards.

    He finished the season with only nine touchdowns, tied for sixth in the league. His 1,143 rush yards were the lowest since his rookie year.

    Yet, a full preseason with Caldwell as coordinator will help get Rice more involved in the game. The Ravens lost a few key players, like receiver Anquan Boldin during the offseason and tight end Dennis Pitta to injury. Rice will carry the ball more than usual in 2013.

    Rice can also catch the ball in the open field, as seen by him picking up a first down on 4th-and-29 against the Chargers.

    With Joe Flacco signing a new contract, the Ravens could become a bigger passing team, but Rice will still be a top-five running back.

    When to draft: Mid-first round

5. Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks)

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    2012 stats: 1,590 rush yards, 11 TDs; 196 receiving yards, 1 TD

    Marshawn Lynch's first year in Seattle was dull. He had 573 rush yards and six touchdowns. Lynch then blew it up the next year. He had 1,204 rush yards and 12 touchdowns. This past season was even better as Lynch rushed for 1,590 yards, a career high, and 11 touchdowns.

    Lynch is only 5'11", but 215 pounds. When Lynch is on fire and untouchable, “Beast Mode” is engaged, and 2012 was all “Beast Mode.”

    He had 10 games, including the last four of the season, where he surpassed 100 rushing yards. Week 14 against the Cardinals was his best game. He had 128 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the way to a 58-0 victory.

    As the fifth-ranked running back, fantasy owners will be looking at Lynch in the middle of the first round and could go as high as No. 3

    Lynch is only 26 and hasn’t had a major injury in his career, so he could post bigger numbers this season.

    When to draft: Mid-first round

6. C.J. Spiller (Buffalo Bills)

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    2012 stats: 1,244 rush yards, 6 TDs; 459 receiving yards, 2 TDs

    Third-year running back C.J. Spiller became a bigger part of the Bills offense last year, despite competing for time with Fred Jackson.

    Spiller started nine of the 16 games while Jackson dealt with a knee injury. He put up a little over 1,700 yards from scrimmage and eight total touchdowns.

    In Week 1 against the New York Jets, Spiller ran for 169 yards and a touchdown, and he didn’t even start. The following week, Spiller was in the starting lineup and ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns.

    After a poor Week 3 performance, Spiller wouldn’t start again until Week 11. It didn’t matter because from Week 9 to Week 17, he had double-digit fantasy points in eight of those games.

    The Bills don’t have that many offensive weapons. New head coach Doug Marrone would be mistaken not to feature Spiller more in the upcoming season. If he was able to rush for over 1,200 yards and started only half the games, imagine what he can do with a full season as the starter.

    When to draft: Late first round

7. Trent Richardson (Cleveland Browns)

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    2012 stats: 950 rush yards, 11 TDs; 367 receiving yards, 1 TD

    Trent Richardson was one of several rookies who stood out last year. He started in 15 of the Browns’ 16 games and finished as a top-10 fantasy-scoring running back.

    In Week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals, he had 109 rushing yards, 36 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

    In the latter half of the season, Richardson averaged 16.06 points per game, a good average for a No. 1 running back. From Week 12 to Week 15, he had at least one touchdown and 15 fantasy points.

    Richardson is going into his second year and, with the running back position not very deep, could be taken early. Brandon Weeden isn’t the best quarterback, so the Browns will have to rely on their young running back even more this season.

    When to draft: Late first round

8. Jamaal Charles (Kansas City Chiefs)

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    2012 stats: 1,509 rush yards, 5 TDs; 236 receiving yards, 1 TD

    Jamaal Charles was a little inconsistent in the beginning of the season, but when he was good, he was an excellent running back.

    In the first six weeks, Charles scored less than 10 points in half of those games and only two touchdowns. One of those touchdowns came in a 34.80-point game in Week 3 against the Saints.

    Charles turned his season around after a Week 10 game against the Steelers. This began a string of five games, and six out of seven, where Charles scored at least 10 fantasy points. Down this stretch, he had 822 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

    Charles is one of the few stars this Chiefs team has. They signed wide receiver Dwayne Bowe to a five-year deal and traded for 49ers quarterback Alex Smith.

    Former Eagles head coach Andy Reid relied heavily on the pass game. Smith showed in the few games he played in 2012 that he improved, but the Chiefs’ success comes from the legs of Charles. Charles is not the receiving running back like the ones Reid had in Philadelphia. Charles has totaled 152 receptions and 1,282 yards in five years.

    When to draft: Late first round

9. Alfred Morris (Washington Redskins)

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    2012 stats: 1,613 rush yards, 13 TDs; 77 receiving yards

    The Washington Redskins relied heavily on rookie Robert Griffin III, but rookie running back Alfred Morris emerged as a fantasy stud.

    In a backfield always suffering from “Shanahanigans” (a term derived from head coach Mike Shanahan always causing shenanigans for fantasy owners), Morris came out as the clear starting running back. He finished fifth in fantasy points, second in rushing yards and second in rushing touchdowns.

    In 11 of 15 weeks, Morris scored double-digit fantasy points. He scored double-digit points in five straight games on two different occasions.

    He is a No. 1 fantasy option and can be taken early in the first round, right after Peterson and Foster.

    I wouldn’t fault teams if they drafted Morris over Rice, Lynch and McCoy. All of these running backs are good options to lead your team.

    When to draft: Second round

10. LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles)

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    2012 stats: 840 rush yards, 2 TDs; 373 receiving yards, 3 TDs

    LeSean McCoy was a disappointment to fantasy owners—and Eagles fans—but 2013 looks to be a promising year for the fourth-year running back. McCoy missed four games while dealing with a concussion, but when he played, he was one of the best.

    In his first nine games of the season, McCoy had eight games with double-digit fantasy points. He was on pace for another strong season, but the concussion halted that. As a result, McCoy finished with the 21st-most fantasy points among running backs.

    With new coach Chip Kelly, things can only go up. Running backs do well under Kelly. Former Oregon running back LaMichael James rushed for over 5,000 yards and 51 touchdowns in three seasons.

    McCoy is also a threat in the air. In his four seasons, he’s totaled 220 receptions and 1,588 yards. With Jeremy Maclin out for the year, McCoy will play an even bigger part in the passing game.

    When to draft: Early second round

11. Chris Johnson (Tennessee Titans)

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    2012 stats: 1,243 rushing yards, 6 TDs; 232 receiving yards

    Chris Johnson got off to a very slow start in 2012. He had only 10.8 fantasy points in the first three weeks. Many fantasy experts were calling Johnson a bust during this time. He didn’t get back on track until Week 6, which began a string of five straight games with double-digit points.

    The Titans signed former New York Jets running back Shonn Greene as a backup.

    Johnson is no longer a No. 1 running back, but could be drafted as a No. 2 back. There’s no telling if he’s on the decline, but you should believe he’s motivated to prove the doubters wrong. He busted out a 58-yard touchdown in a preseason game against the Redskins.

    The Titans receivers aren't anything to brag about. Nate Washington had the 49th-most receiving yards. Johnson will have to carry the Titans if he wants to go back to the playoffs.

    When to draft: Second round

12. Stevan Ridley (New England Patriots)

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    2012 stats: 1,263 rushing yards, 12 TDs

    When people talk about the New England Patriots, they rarely talk about the running game. From 2004 to 2011, there were only two 1,000-yard rushers: BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Corey Dillion. They found another great rusher in Stevan Ridley, though. He stood out in a crowded Patriots backfield as he rushed for 1,263 yards in 290 attempts.

    He was a great fantasy running back in 2012, scoring over 20 points in two of the first four weeks. Ridley finished with 199.4 fantasy points, 11th among running backs.

    Now that Danny Woodhead is in San Diego, Ridley will get more carries and play a bigger role in the Patriots’ rushing game. Although they signed Leon Washington, he’ll be featured as the return man while Ridley competes with Brandon Bolden and Shane Vereen.

    The Patriots traded for LeGarrette Blount, who could take goal-line carries away from Ridley.

    Ridley should be taken as a high-end No. 2 running back in upcoming drafts.

    When to draft: Early second round

13. Matt Forte (Chicago Bears)

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    2012 stats: 1,094 rushing yards, 5 TDs; 340 receiving yards, 1 TD

    When former Raiders running back Michael Bush signed with the Bears, many fantasy analysts said this hurt Matt Forte’s fantasy value. Forte’s knock was that he couldn’t score from short yardage. This is where Bush’s skills came to use.

    However, Forte was still able to rack up over 1,000 yards and five touchdowns—97 more yards and two more touchdowns than the 2011 season.

    Unfortunately for Forte owners, he went six weeks without a rushing touchdown. On the bright side, Forte hauled in 47 passes and 340 yards as well.

    From a fantasy perspective, Forte is not in the same class as Adrian Peterson or Arian Foster, but he is still a great No. 2 option.

    When to draft: Mid-second round

14. Steven Jackson (Atlanta Falcons)

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    2012 stats: 1,042 rushing yards, 4 TDs; 321 receiving yards

    Longtime Rams running back Steven Jackson had another 1,000-yard season, making it eight in a row. His four touchdowns were his lowest since 2009. Jackson started the 2012 season very slow. He didn’t get over 10 points in the Rams’ first five games. He also lost carries to rookie Daryl Richardson.

    Jackson wasn’t going to let that happen as he had eight games with double-digit fantasy points between Week 6 and 16. He finished the fantasy season with five consecutive games with at least 11 fantasy points.

    The 29-year-old running back knew he wasn’t done and wanted to prove it to other teams who were looking for a running back for the 2013 season.

    Now that Jackson is with Atlanta, he will no doubt be getting the majority of the carries. Jacquizz Rodgers will garner some carries, but not half like Richardson did in St. Louis. Jackson will also be the goal-line back, a place the Falcons will be in a lot this season now that all of their offensive stars are back. Let's just hope the offensive line improves.

    When to draft: Mid-second round

15. Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars)

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    2012 stats: 414 rushing yards, 1 TD; 86 receiving yards, 1 TD

    Maurice Jones-Drew held out of training camp in order to get a new contract. He eventually returned, but not for long. He missed all but five games with a foot injury. Jones-Drew was doing well as he had a 12.7-point game in Week 2 and a 25.3-point game in Week 3.

    The Jaguars didn’t have much success in 2012. The team finished 2-14 while transitioning from Blaine Gabbert to Chad Henne at quarterback. Wide receivers Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon were the only bright spots of the season. The returning Jones-Drew will provide Jacksonville with the spark it needs to be a threat in the AFC South.

    While many teams will pass on him, other owners could steal Jones-Drew as late as the third round as he will be the featured back.

    When to draft: Third round

16. Frank Gore (San Francisco 49ers)

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    2012 stats: 1,212 rushing yards, 8 TDs; 234 receiving yards, 1 TD

    Frank Gore had one of his best years in 2012. He increased his 2012 rushing yards total by three and had eight touchdowns, most since 2009. The 29-year-old running back can still get the job done, even when a more versatile quarterback in Colin Kaepernick took over.

    Gore finished with 202.60 fantasy points, 10th best in NFL.com standard leagues.

    When Gore is healthy and able to play all 16 games, he’s a beast. He’s played a full schedule the last two seasons and could possibly do it again in 2013. Now that the 49ers are more of a pass-first team, there won’t be much wear and tear on his body.

    When drafting, look for Gore to be taken in the fourth round as a No. 2 back for most teams. He can still score in the red zone and get over 1,000 yards if healthy.

    When to draft: Late third to early fourth round

17. DeMarco Murray (Dallas Cowboys)

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    2012 stats: 663 rushing yards, 4 TDs; 251 receiving yards

    DeMarco Murray started the first five games of the season before injuring his foot. He was forced to miss six games. He came back for the final five games, and he came back strong. Murray finished the season with 111.4 fantasy points.

    In the first five games, he had 50.8 points. However, he only had one touchdown in those five games.

    With Romo getting an extension and Dez Bryant still with the team, the Cowboys could give opponents some trouble.

    Murray will be the featured back, something not seen a lot in today’s NFL. In many mock drafts, Murray was taken at the beginning of the fifth round. This could be the perfect spot for him, considering the Cowboys will be more of a passing team.

    When to draft: Fourth to fifth round

18. Darren Sproles (New Orleans Saints)

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    2012 stats: 244 rushing yards, 1 TD; 667 receiving yards, 7 TDs

    On a team with a crowded backfield, Darren Sproles continues to stand out. In the 2011 season, Sproles set a record with 2,696 all-purpose yards. He, unfortunately, couldn’t reach those numbers in 2012 because he missed seven starts and three full games with a fractured hand.

    Sproles was not much of a rusher, but he was very useful in the passing game. He had 14 touchdowns in the last two seasons combined through the air. He had three rushing touchdowns in the last three combined seasons.

    Thomas and Ingram will be featured more in the running game this season and will see more carries than Sproles. Sproles is an integral part of the Saints’ passing game, and that is a great asset in the fantasy football world.

    He doesn’t get enough rushing attempts to be a No. 1 fantasy running back, but his ability to catch passes helps his stock a lot.

    When to draft: Fourth round

19. David Wilson (New York Giants)

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    2012 stats: 358 rush yards, 4 TDs; 23 receiving yards, 1 TD

    In 2012, the New York Giants featured a three-headed rushing attack with David Wilson, Andre Brown and Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw led the team with 1,015 rushing yards while Brown had eight touchdowns.

    Wilson was not a factor for most of the season as he did not eclipse 50 rushing yards for the first 12 games. It wasn't until Week 13 against the Saints when Wilson had his breakout game. He had 100 rushing yards with two touchdowns.

    Now that Bradshaw is in Indianapolis, Wilson is in line to be the starter. He may lose some carries to Brown, but Wilson is the more productive player of the two.

    Draft him as a No. 2 running back who could get you 100 yards and a score more often than not.

    When to draft: Late third to fourth round

20. Reggie Bush (Detroit Lions)

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    2012 stats: 986 rush yards, 6 TDs; 292 receiving yards, 2 TDs

    After five years with the New Orleans Saints, Reggie Bush posted his first 1,000-yard rushing season with the Miami Dolphins in 2011. He was 14 yards shy from having another 1,000-yard season in 2012. His eight total touchdowns were tied for his career high.

    Bush signed with the Detroit Lions in the offseason and will be competing for the starting job with Mikel Leshoure.

    In a pass-first offense in Detroit, Bush could be a big factor. Throughout his career, he's averaged 4.1 receptions and 30.0 yards per game.

    Of his 16 games, seven of them will be against teams that gave up 17 or fewer fantasy points to opposing running backs. Bush will most likely win the starting job and could be a good No. 2 fantasy option.

    When to draft: Late fourth to fifth round

Wide Receivers

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    Nineteen receivers racked up over 1,000 receiving yards. It was a great season to find high-scoring receivers who could help your team make it to the championship.

    Calvin Johnson broke Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving yards record of 1,848. Brandon Marshall reconnected with quarterback Jay Cutler. Mike Williams broke out of his sophomore slump with nine touchdowns.

    This year, the position is in the same, if not better, shape. You have the usual big names, like Andre Johnson and Dez Bryant, but there were some breakout players like Cecil Shorts and Danario Alexander who could be late-round steals in 2013.

    This is a very deep position. It would be rare if you weren't able to draft three wide receivers who reach 900 yards this season. Stacking up on wide receivers is a great strategy to use. You can then trade one or two of them to strengthen another position on your team.

1. Calvin Johnson (Detroit Lions)

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    2012 stats: 1,964 receiving yards, 5 TDs

    Any shock as to who is No. 1?

    Calvin Johnson, also known as Megatron, is hands down the best receiver in the game. Johnson was only 36 yards away from being the first 2,000-yard receiver. He’s also led all receivers in terms of fantasy points for two straight years.

    Johnson lit the stat sheets on fire. From Week 9 to Week 16, he had at least 118 receiving yards, including two 200-yard games. He also had one touchdown from Week 10 to Week 13, four of his five on the year.

    Despite the large amount of yards, he only had five touchdowns, the lowest since 2009. Quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 20 touchdowns, but only four went to Johnson.

    With Titus Young out of the picture, Johnson will no doubt catch more than five touchdowns in 2013. That, along with his consistency throughout the season, makes Johnson the dependable No. 1 receiver he is every year.

    Johnson has a great chance to reach 2,000 yards, and you want him on your fantasy team.

    When to draft: Late first to early second round

2. A.J. Green (Cincinnati Bengals)

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    2012 stats: 1,350 receiving yards, 11 TDs

    A.J. Green busted on the scene in 2011. He had over 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns. With the “sophomore slump” becoming more than just a myth every year, some fans didn’t think Green would put up even bigger numbers in 2012.

    He was able to play in all 16 games, catching 97 passes for 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns, which had him 10th and fourth in the league among receivers, respectively.

    Green was not only reliable to the Bengals, but he also helped out many fantasy owners as well. Green posted double-digit fantasy points in 10 different weeks. He ended up with the fourth-most fantasy points among wide receivers.

    Green has been the second or third receiver taken in mock drafts. He is the main option in the Bengals offense and has the hands and legs to be a No. 1 receiver in the league for years to come.

    When to draft: Second round

3. Dez Bryant (Dallas Cowboys)

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    2012 stats: 1,382 receiving yards, 12 TDs

    Dez Bryant got off to a really slow start in 2012. He had 162 yards and zero touchdowns in the first three games combined.

    It wasn’t until Week 10 in Philadelphia that Bryant woke up. He had 87 yards and a touchdown. From Week 10 to Week 16, he scored double-digit fantasy points in six of those games. He also had seven straight games with at least one touchdown, and in three of those games, he had two touchdowns.

    Bryant had career-best numbers in 2012. His 1,382 receiving yards were 454 yards more than last year, and he increased his total touchdowns by three each of the past three seasons.

    The next-closest receiver was Miles Austin with 943 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Kevin Ogletree had a great Week 1, but disappeared after that. Bryant is the No. 1 target on this team, and Tony Romo will continue to look his way.

    When to draft: Second round

4. Brandon Marshall (Chicago Bears)

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    2012 stats: 1,508 receiving yards, 11 TDs

    Brandon Marshall saw his career resurrected when he reunited with Jay Cutler. He ended 2012 as the second-highest scoring wide receiver with 216.60 points, only 3.8 less than Calvin Johnson.

    Marshall is the only legitimate target for Cutler. The Bears have Earl Bennett and Alshon Jeffery at the position, but they won’t be putting up big numbers anytime soon.

    They refuse to let Devin Hester, an excellent kick-return man, become a full-time wide receiver. New head coach Mark Trestman is an offensive-minded coach, which will allow Marshall to rack up even more yards in 2013.

    Marshall did undergo a surgical procedure for his hip during the offseason, but he will be ready for the regular season.

    When to draft: Late second round

5. Julio Jones (Atlanta Falcons)

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    2012 stats: 1,198 receiving yards, 10 TDs

    The second-year wideout improved from his rookie year with an explosive 2012 campaign. Julio Jones had just under 1,200 yards and hauled in 10 touchdowns. He will continue to get better as long as Matt Ryan, who is also improving, is the Falcons’ quarterback.

    The return of tight end Tony Gonzalez will take away from some of his yards, but it won’t make that much of a difference.

    After the bye week, Jones had back-to-back 123-yard games and totaled 32.9 fantasy points in the two games. After a couple of off games against the Saints and Cardinals, he came back strong against the Buccaneers by putting up 147 yards and one touchdown.

    Jones will no doubt be a top-10 fantasy receiver in 2013. He will have the opportunity to boost his stats going up against the four worst passing defenses—the Patriots, Redskins, Saints (twice) and Bucs (twice).

    When to draft: Late second round

6. Demaryius Thomas (Denver Broncos)

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    2012 stats: 1,434 receiving yards, 10 TDs

    Demaryius Thomas didn’t put up these numbers in 2010 and 2011 when he had Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow, respectively, as his quarterback.

    In comes Peyton Manning and Thomas is the fifth-best fantasy wide receiver.

    Thomas almost tripled his yards and touchdowns. Surprisingly, there were still enough passes to go around, allowing teammate Eric Decker to eclipse 1,000 yards as well.

    Thomas is only 25, so this is just the beginning. In nine of his 16 games, Thomas had over 10 fantasy points. As long as Manning is still with the Broncos, Thomas should be drafted as a surefire No. 1 fantasy receiver.

    In terms of passing yards allowed per game, the Broncos play 11 games against teams in the bottom half of the league. The toughest team they face is Philadelphia, which allowed the seventh-fewest yards per game.

    The addition of Wes Welker won’t affect Thomas as much as it will affect Eric Decker, but he will suffer nonetheless. His targets will be down a little as Manning tries to feed Welker more.

    When to draft: Late second to third round

7. Randall Cobb (Green Bay Packers)

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    2012 stats: 954 receiving yards, 8 TD; 132 rush yards

    At the beginning of 2012, Randall Cobb was not even thought of as a starter. He was the fourth receiver behind Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and James Jones.

    Fast forward to the end of the season and Cobb was the second-highest scoring Packers receiver, finishing only 7.8 points behind Jones.

    Cobb benefited a lot from Nelson and Jennings dealing with injuries throughout the season. Having Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback could have had something to do with it as well. Cobb stepped up during the middle of the season. From Week 5 to Week 11, he had five games with double-digit fantasy points, including a 22.8-point game against the Rams.

    Cobb, and the other Packers receivers, will benefit from Jennings signing with the Minnesota Vikings.

    He could replace Jennings as the downfield threat while Nelson remains the No. 2 receiver and Jones stays in the slot.

    When to draft: Third round

8. Roddy White (Atlanta Falcons)

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    2012 stats: 1,351 receiving yards, 7 TDs

    Roddy White joins his teammate in the top 10 heading into 2013.

    The dual threat of Jones and White gave defenses a lot to handle. When defenses shut one down, the other would shine. In Week 4 against the Panthers, Jones only had 30 yards, but White had 169 yards and two touchdowns. It wouldn’t last, as Jones took more of a featured role later in the season.

    White went six straight games without a touchdown, but he had three games in a row where he surpassed 100 receiving yards.

    Matt Ryan didn’t forget about White, though. He had 153 yards and two touchdowns against the Lions in Week 16. This No. 2 receiver is still better than a lot of teams’ No. 1 receiver and should be drafted as such in fantasy leagues.

    Despite his touchdown totals dropping each of the past four seasons, White is still a 1,000-yard receiver and hasn’t scored less than 170 fantasy points in the last four seasons. He’s a consistent and reliable player. White has started at least 15 games every season since 2007.

    When to draft: Late third round

9. Andre Johnson (Houston Texans)

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    2012 stats: 1,598 receiving yards, 4 TDs

    Andre Johnson was looked at as a bust in the first half of the 2012 season. The longtime Texans receiver had one 100-yard game and two touchdowns after the first seven games.

    He turned it around after the bye week, as he had over 100 yards in five of the last nine games and was able to achieve a career high in receiving yards.

    Not counting his injury-plagued season in 2011, his four touchdowns was his lowest total since 2006. However, he still finished in the top 10 among wideouts in 2012, just ahead of the two Falcons receivers.

    Johnson is no longer a top-five draft pick, but he’s still worth drafting as a low-end No. 1 receiver. Matt Schaub is an average quarterback who can put up 4,000 yards and 23 touchdowns with ease. The ball will find Johnson, and Johnson will find the end zone.

    When to draft: Late third round

10. Vincent Jackson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

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    2012 stats: 1,384 receiving yards, 8 TDs

    Not many receivers can go from a quarterback like Philip Rivers to a guy like Josh Freeman and still put up the numbers Vincent Jackson did.

    In San Diego, Jackson was Rivers’ favorite target. He had 1,106 yards and nine touchdowns last season. At the end of the season, he signed a five-year, $55.55 million deal with Tampa Bay. He provided Freeman with a deep-ball threat while Mike Williams was the short-route man.

    In the 2012 season, Jackson finished as the sixth-highest scoring wide receiver with 188.4 points.

    After the bye week, Jackson came out strong. In Weeks 6 and 7, he had 282 yards and three touchdowns. He then had four more games with double digits, despite the Bucs losing five of their last six games.

    Jackson is 30 heading into this season and will still perform at a high level. Freeman will continue to improve but plays in a tough division.

    When to draft: Fourth round

11. Victor Cruz (New York Giants)

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    2012 stats: 1,092 receiving yards, 10 TDs

    Victor Cruz burst onto the NFL scene during the 2011 season. He was third on the depth chart behind Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks. In Week 3 against the Eagles, he had three receptions, 110 yards and two touchdowns. A star was in the making.

    Despite not starting for half of the 2011 season, he had 1,536 yards, nine touchdowns and 205.9 points, fourth best among receivers. Cruz then finished the 2012 season as the 13th highest-scoring wide receiver with 169.2 points. His 10 touchdowns were tied for sixth in the league.

    He started 2012 the way he ended 2011. In the first seven weeks, he had five games with double-digit points, including two 23-point games. He had 627 yards and seven touchdowns.

    Eli Manning then began to struggle, and Cruz’s numbers dropped. He wouldn’t climb back into the top 10 in terms of fantasy points until Week 13 against the Redskins.

    When to draft: Middle of the fourth round

12. Reggie Wayne (Indianapolis Colts)

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    2012 stats: 1,355 receiving yards, 5 TDs

    Reggie Wayne must be thankful that the Colts had the No. 1 overall pick, because Andrew Luck is a blessing. Two years ago, while Peyton Manning sat out, Wayne had four touchdowns and 960 yards, his lowest since 2002 and 2003, respectively.

    In 2012, Wayne had 1,355 yards and five touchdowns. He ended the 2012 season with 163 points, 15th best according to NFL.com.

    He recorded 62.6 fantasy points in the first four games. Wayne hasn’t scored more than six touchdowns in the last three seasons. He gets most of his fantasy points from the yards he racks up. That will continue with the emergence of T.Y. Hilton and addition of former Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey.

    Wayne signed a three-year deal last March and will be the veteran safety blanket Luck can rely on during his sophomore season.

    When to draft: Fifth round

13. Marques Colston (New Orleans Saints)

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    2012 stats: 1,154 receiving yards, 10 TDs

    Saints receiver Marques Colston has been a very consistent receiver. He’s finished in the top 20, according to fantasy points in NFL.com leagues, in the last four seasons.

    Over the seasons, the Saints have had a lot of talented receivers alongside Colston, such as Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, Robert Meachem and tight end Jimmy Graham. Surprisingly, Colston was still able to be the cream of the crop.

    Colston had some big games early in the season. He had 284 yards and four touchdowns in Weeks 4 and 5 combined. He also had 13.3 points in Week 7.

    There was then a drought of double-digit games from Week 10 to Week 15. However, he came back with a 15.3-point and 17.2-point game in Weeks 16 and 17, respectively.

    With Sean Payton coming back after a year-long suspension, the Saints will look to improve their 7-9 record and will rely on Brees and Colston to lead the offense. The NFC South is a very strong division, especially on the offensive side of the ball. They will need to outscore their opponents because their defense will be a weakness.

    When to draft: Late fourth to early fifth round

14. Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals)

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    2012 stats: 798 receiving yards, 4 TDs

    I give a lot of credit to Larry Fitzgerald. He’s played with some terrible quarterbacks—Josh McCown, Matt Leinart, John Skelton, Kevin Kolb, Ryan Lindley and Brian Hoyer.

    He did have great success with Kurt Warner from 2007 to 2009. Those were three of the four seasons he's had double-digit touchdowns (the other being 2005).

    Fitzgerald struggled in the first two games last season, only scoring 6.7 points combined. However, in three of the next four games, he had double-digit fantasy points.

    He had another double-digit game in Week 9, but that would be the last one until Week 16. However, he didn’t score another touchdown for the rest of the season.

    Fitzgerald should be welcoming new quarterback Carson Palmer with open arms. He’s not Kurt Warner, but he is a big upgrade from the other quarterbacks. Quietly, Palmer put up over 4,000 yards in Oakland.

    When to draft: Middle fourth round

15. Dwayne Bowe (Kansas City Chiefs)

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    2012 stats: 801 receiving yards, 3 TDs

    Despite having Matt Cassel as his quarterback, Bowe has still been drafted high in many drafts over the years. Unfortunately, his high value came crashing down in 2012.

    Now that Alex Smith, who looked to be having a career year with the 49ers last season, will be throwing to Bowe, he might be worth an early-round draft pick again.

    Bowe had two double-digit point games in the first four weeks but did not reach eight points for the rest of the season. He then injured his ribs against the Browns and was placed on injured reserve for the remaining three games.

    He finished the season with 96.1 fantasy points. He had 147.1 in 2011 and 206.6 in 2010 and finished as the second-highest scoring wide receiver.

    Andy Reid is the new head coach in Kansas City and if the offensive scheme he had in place in Philadelphia is any indication, Alex Smith will be throwing the ball a lot.

    When to draft: Fifth to sixth round

16. Wes Welker (Denver Broncos)

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    2012 stats: 1,354 receiving yards, 6 TDs

    It’s very rare when a wide receiver can go from playing with one future Hall of Famer one year to another the following season. But that’s exactly what Wes Welker did when he left Tom Brady and the Patriots and joined Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

    However, Welker won’t be the No. 1 option in Denver like he was in New England. The Broncos already have Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, both of whom had at least 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.

    After a mediocre first two weeks, Welker had four straight games of double-digit outputs, including 19.8 points in Week 6 against Seattle, where he had 138 yards and a touchdown.

    It will be tough for Welker to duplicate his 2012 numbers, but nothing is impossible. If anything, his touchdown totals will likely increase while his receiving yards drop. Welker will affect Decker’s numbers more than Thomas’s because Thomas is the long-ball receiver.

    When to draft: Fourth to fifth round

17. Danny Amendola (New England Patriots)

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    2012 stats: 666 receiving yards, 3 TDs

    Danny Amendola came into the league in 2009 and has played only one full season. In 2011, he dislocated his elbow in the season debut and wouldn't return. The following year, he injured his clavicle and missed multiple games.

    With Wes Welker in Denver, the Patriots needed someone who could fill his spot.

    Enter Danny Amendola. He had 351 yards and two touchdowns in the first four weeks. He did not start in Week 5 and missed three straight games from Week 6 to 8. He missed two more games and had only one more 100-yard game.

    The Patriots are taking a chance on the injury-prone Amendola, but if he stays healthy, he can be a top-10 receiver. Tom Brady will target him early and often. He will be a nice fit as a low-end No. 2 or 3 wide receiver.

    When to draft: Fifth round

18. Pierre Garcon (Washington Redskins)

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    2012 stats: 633 receiving yards, 4 TDs

    Former Colts receiver Pierre Garcon was limited to 10 games last season, as he tore a ligament near his second toe on his right foot. However, he finished the season as the Redskins’ leading receiver, recording 60 more yards than Santana Moss.

    He was able to play in the last seven games and played pretty well, despite not being 100 percent. Rotoworld.com reported, “If Garcon progresses as hoped, then the expectation is that the wideout will avoid offseason surgery and be at full strength to start the 2013 season.”

    Looking ahead, the Redskins have some key players recovering from injuries, especially their quarterback. If everyone is 100 percent by the time Week 1 rolls around, the Redskins could be a dangerous team.

    Garcon plays against eight teams that gave up 22-plus fantasy points per game to wide receivers last year and has the 15th-easiest schedule among wide receivers.

    When to draft: Sixth round

19. Jordy Nelson (Green Bay Packers)

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    2012 stats: 745 receiving yards, 7 TDs

    After a spectacular 2011 season, it was hard not to draft Jordy Nelson again. He finished seventh in the league with 1,263 yards. However, his 15 touchdowns were second in the league. With Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, big things were heading Nelson’s way.

    Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, as he missed four games while dealing with hamstring and knee issues.

    The first three games weren't his best, according to Nelson’s standards. He ended that streak with a 15.3-point game against the Saints in Week 4 and a 30.1-point game against the Texans in Week 6. He had 121 yards and three touchdowns in that game. The following week, he had 122 yards and another touchdown.

    Now that Greg Jennings is playing for the rival Minnesota Vikings, Nelson will play a much bigger role. I expect Randall Cobb to be the long-ball target and Nelson can fit comfortably as the No. 2 receiver. He will still give cornerbacks and safeties trouble.

    When to draft: Sixth round

20. Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers)

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    2012 stats: 787 receiving yards, 5 TDs

    The Steelers did not have a 1,000-yard receiver last season. However, two players—Mike Wallace and Heath Miller—had over 800. One of them now plays in Miami. This leaves the No. 1 receiver spot open.

    Antonio Brown led all receivers (not counting tight ends) in receptions. He was also second in touchdowns (five). Although he did not have a 100-yard game, he came close a few times.

    Despite that, Brown ended the season by scoring a touchdown in four straight games.

    With Wallace with the Dolphins, Brown can exceed 100 receptions and 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. Right now, though, he isn't more than a No. 2 wideout for most fantasy teams.

    When to draft: Sixth to seventh round

Tight Ends

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    Unlike the other positions, good tight ends are very hard to come by.

    There are the great ones like Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski, the only ones worth a pick as early as the third or fourth round.

    Then, there are the good ones like Jason Witten and Tony Gonzalez. Finally, there are the average ones like Kyle Rudolph and Jermaine Gresham.

    If you have to draft one out of the top 10, don’t expect much from them throughout the season. It’s a rare occurrence to draft a tight end in the third or fourth round. If you miss out or pass on those two, it’s best to wait until the later rounds.

1. Jimmy Graham (New Orleans Saints)

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    2012 stats: 982 receiving yards, 9 TDs

    Despite totaling 43 less fantasy points than 2011, Jimmy Graham still outscored every tight end in the league last year. His 982 receiving yards and nine touchdowns were both second among tight ends.

    Even though Graham didn’t score a touchdown for five straight weeks from Week 12 to Week 16, owners should not be discouraged. The Saints had a rough year all around. Their defense was the worst in the league, which forced Brees and the rest of the team to play catch-up and go for the long passes.

    Graham will be the first tight end taken in most, if not all drafts. With other tight ends available in the later rounds, there's no need to reach for another tight end if you miss out on Graham.

    When to draft: Third round

2. Rob Gronkowski (New England Patriots)

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    2012 stats: 790 receiving yards, 11 TDs

    Despite breaking his forearm late in the 2012 season, Rob Gronkowski still finished second in fantasy points, mostly because of his league-leading 11 touchdowns.

    He has found the end zone a combined 39 times in his first 43 regular-season games. Because of this, he is the most valuable tight end in the league. Many consider drafting Gronk the equivalent of grabbing another top receiver.

    Gronk is Brady’s favorite target. Wes Welker may get a lot of yards, but he's gone and Gronk will get the ball where it counts—the end zone.

    According to Rotoworld, it is unlikely that Gronk will start the season on the PUP list, so it's clear that his recovery is going well.

    When to draft: Fourth to fifth round

3. Jason Witten (Dallas Cowboys)

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    2012 stats: 1,039 receiving yards, 3 TDs

    Jason Witten had a mixed season. He led all tight ends in receiving yards, yet he had his lowest touchdown total since 2009. Besides Dez Bryant, no other Cowboys player had a good 2012. Witten only had four games with double-digit fantasy points.

    Witten was second in receiving yards for the Cowboys last year, averaging 64.9 yards per game.

    Witten will look to have more touchdowns since he plays some bad teams in 2013. Nine of Dallas' games will be against teams in the lower half in terms of passing yards allowed per game, including four against the Giants and Redskins, who are 28th and 30th, respectively.

    When to draft: Seventh round

4. Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta Falcons)

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    2012 stats: 930 receiving yards, 8 TDs

    Originally, Tony Gonzalez was not going to be on my list because he stated that 2012 would be his last year. However, Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer tweeted that he spoke to Gonzalez, who told him that he “officially informed the Falcons he is coming back…”

    Despite being 37 years old, he is still one of the best tight ends in the league. He finished with 930 yards and eight touchdowns last season, his highest totals since 2008. He also finished as the third-best fantasy tight end.

    To kick off the 2012 season, he had at least 50 yards and a touchdown in three straight games. He then lit up the Redskins for 123 yards and a touchdown. Five weeks later, he had 122 yards and two touchdowns.

    Those were his only two games eclipsing the 100-yard mark. During a year in which tight ends were hit-or-miss, Gonzalez was a steal for many owners. In one of my leagues, he was drafted in the eighth round, behind Jermichael Finley, Jason Witten, Fred Davis and many others. In another, he was drafted in the 10th round, after Dustin Keller (my choice) and even a few kickers.

    He will have good matchups in 2013. The Rams, Patriots and Redskins were some of the worst teams defending tight ends. They allowed 2,697 yards and 23 combined touchdowns to tight ends, according to Junkyardjake.com.

    When to draft: Sixth round

5. Vernon Davis (San Francisco 49ers)

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    2012 stats: 548 receiving yards, 5 TDs

    Vernon Davis had a very lackluster 2012 season. His 548 receiving yards and five touchdowns were his lowest totals since 2008. He had double-digit fantasy points just once after Week 5.

    Davis' best game came in Week 2 against the Detroit Lions, when he posted 73 yards and two touchdowns. He had only two more touchdowns for the rest of the season.

    With Michael Crabtree out for most of the year with an Achilles injury and Mario Manningham recovering from ACL and PCL surgery, Davis will have to step up in the passing game.

    It does help that he has the eighth-best schedule among tight ends. He will play 11 games against teams that gave up seven-plus points to tight ends. Draft him as a No. 1 tight end.

    When to draft: Sixth round

6. Kyle Rudolph (Minnesota Vikings)

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    2012 stats: 493 receiving yards, 9 TDs

    While Percy Harvin dealt with injuries, Kyle Rudolph stepped up in the passing game. He led the Vikings in receiving touchdowns with nine.

    Now with Greg Jennings on the team and Harvin in Seattle, Rudolph will be an important part in the passing game, regardless if Matt Cassel or Christian Ponder starts at quarterback.

    Throughout the 2012 season, Rudolph did not have a game in which he eclipsed 70 receiving yards. However, he is a touchdown fiend, which is an easy six points. Harvin went down in Week 9 and the following week, Rudolph had 64 yards and a touchdown.

    In the last six games of the season, Rudolph had three touchdowns. His nine total touchdowns were tied for second highest among tight ends.

    There’s no doubt that Adrian Peterson is the star of this team and the passing game is just a change of pace.

    When to draft: Eighth round

7. Antonio Gates (San Diego Chargers)

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    2012 stats: 538 receiving yards, 7 TDs

    Antonio Gates, known for his injuries, played in 15 games last season—his most since 2009. His 538 receiving yards, however, were the lowest since his rookie season.

    The only game Gates missed was in Week 2 against the Titans. He finished the season scoring three straight touchdowns. His best game of the season came in Week 6 against division rival Denver Broncos. He had 81 yards and two touchdowns.

    The Chargers offense took a bit of a blow with the loss of Danario Alexander. Malcom Floyd injured his right knee during practice. Next on the depth chart is third-year receiver Vincent Brown.

    Gates will haul in 50 to 60 passes, if not more. If you miss on the top three tight ends, it won't hurt to wait a couple of more rounds to draft Gates.

    When to draft: Eighth round

8. Greg Olsen (Carolina Panthers)

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    2012 stats: 843 receiving yards, 5 TDs

    Last season, Greg Olsen had 843 receiving yards, his career high, and five touchdowns, the most since 2009.

    The Panthers aren't the best offensive team. They have Newton under center, the aging Steve Smith as their No. 1 receiver and a committee of running backs led by D’Angelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert.

    Olsen proved that he shouldn't be overshadowed. In Week 10 against the Denver Broncos, he had a season-high 102 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 22.2 fantasy points, which was the third-highest total of the week.

    Olsen could be a good sleeper tight end to draft in the later rounds when many teams are looking for a backup quarterback or fourth-string receivers and running backs.

    When to draft: 10th round

9. Owen Daniels (Houston Texans)

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    2012 stats: 716 receiving yards, 6 TDs

    2012 was a great season for Owen Daniels. His 716 yards were his most since 2008, and his six touchdowns were a career high. Much of this success stemmed from Joel Dreessen leaving Houston for Denver.

    However, there was some tight end competition as Garrett Graham began to play a bigger role. Daniels had two 13-point games in a row and then an 11-point game in Week 7.

    The second half of the season wasn’t too kind to Daniels. He finished the season going five games without a touchdown and not reaching 50 receiving yards. Despite this, Daniels finished eighth in fantasy points among tight ends, just 1.3 points behind Dennis Pitta.

    Daniels will be drafted as a No. 1 tight end since the position is fairly shallow. Daniels will be the No. 2 option for Matt Schaub and will look to increase his numbers from last year.

    When to draft: 10th round

10. Martellus Bennett (Chicago Bears)

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    2012 stats: 626 receiving yards, 5 TDs

    After four unsuccessful years with the Cowboys, Martellus Bennett broke out with the Giants. He caught 55 passes, second behind Victor Cruz. He was also behind Cruz in touchdowns, 10 to five.

    His best game last year came in Week 13 against the Redskins. He had 82 yards and a touchdown, posting 14.2 fantasy points. He had a couple of 13-point games early in the season.

    The Bears got a huge upgrade at tight end, going from Kellen Davis to Bennett. With Brandon Marshall the only one to catch over 50 passes, a proven receiver was necessary.

    The schedule could be tough for Bennett in 2013. He goes up against only three teams that gave up more than eight points to tight ends last year. If you're waiting for a tight end this late in the draft, you shouldn't be expecting 100-plus fantasy points from whomever you draft.

    When to draft: 12th round


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    In the NFL, there are about five or six really good defenses, five or six horrible defenses and then everyone else in between.

    But, just like with kickers, you don’t want to draft one too early and risk missing out on a player who breaks out late in the season.

    Often times, the No. 1-ranked defense, in fantasy terms, changes every week. With defenses, you are looking for the hot team that will help you win every week, even if that means dropping one every other week. Some owners draft a defense in the 10th round or so to get an upper hand on their opponents, but then they're stuck with position players who don’t even see the field.

    If you can wait it out until the last round to draft a defense, your bench will be stacked with position players to use as trade bait. Here is your list of top defenses to target.

1. San Francisco 49ers

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    2012 stats: 38 sacks, 14 interceptions, 3 TDs

    The Super Bowl-losing 49ers had a really good defense throughout 2012. They were in the top four in terms of least total yards allowed per game (294.4) and points allowed per game (17.1). Their sack and interception totals were down from 2011, but that didn't affect the 49ers' regular-season record.

    With Colin Kaepernick as their quarterback, their defense doesn't need to compensate for his poor play. However, they will still be a coveted defense in fantasy drafts.

    With star players like cornerback Carlos Rogers and linebacker Patrick Willis, the 49ers will be a tough defense for any team to go up against.

    The 49ers go up against some weak offenses this upcoming season. The Jaguars, Titans, Rams and Cardinals don’t have the weapons like other teams do to defeat an all-around team like the 49ers. The defense’s numbers will go up in 2013 and will be one of the first defenses taken in drafts.

    When to draft: 11th round

2. Seattle Seahawks

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    2012 stats: 36 sacks, 18 interceptions, 5 TDs

    The 49ers' NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks had one of the best defenses in 2012. Cornerback Richard Sherman made news in the offseason, calling out former Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, saying he (Sherman) was a better player.

    It’s tough to disagree with Sherman. He had eight interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, and forced three fumbles in 2012.

    Sherman is a young player who will be entering his third season and is a staple for Seattle’s defense.

    The Seahawks rejuvenated their franchise with the arrival in head coach Pete Carroll. The offense is more explosive and the defense is hard-hitting. The Seahawks only allowed 15.3 points per game, 1.8 points less than the 49ers. Their 18 interceptions were tied for eighth in the league.

    It’s been a while since the Seahawks had a great defense, so jump on the bandwagon while there’s room.

    When to draft: 10th round

3. Denver Broncos

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    2012 stats: 52 sacks, 16 interceptions, 6 TDs

    The Denver Broncos were tied with two other teams for the most sacks in the season. They also had the third-most touchdowns for a defense with six.

    These high numbers allowed the Broncos to become the second-highest scoring fantasy defense with 182 points. In two of my leagues, I added the Broncos defense in Week 12. In the last five weeks of the season, they scored 52 points.

    The Broncos were one of the best overall defenses in 2012. They only allowed 18.1 points (fourth), 199.6 passing yards (third) and 91.1 rushing yards (third) per game.

    Cornerback Champ Bailey is still playing at a high level. He had two interceptions in each of the past three seasons. Defensive end Elvis Dumervil and linebacker Von Miller had 29.5 sacks. However, a snafu in the restructuring of Dumervil’s contract forced the Broncos to release him.

    In 2013, the Broncos have an easy schedule. Their division rivals aren’t much competition. They also play the Jaguars and Titans, two of the lowest-scoring teams last year.

    When to draft: 13th round

4. Houston Texans

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    2012 stats: 44 sacks, 15 interceptions, 5 TDs

    The addition of Wade Phillips improved the Texans defense greatly.

    Sophomore J.J. Watt lit the football world on fire. He recorded 20.5 of the Texans' 44 sacks, only two away from Michael Strahan’s record. He also had 16 passes defended, earning him the nickname “J.J. Swat.”

    The Texans were able to replace departing free safety Glover Quin with former Ravens safety Ed Reed. Reed signed a three-year deal with Houston. He totaled 61 interceptions and 505 solo tackles during his career in Baltimore.

    The Texans were 14th in the league with 15 interceptions last year, down two from 2011. They also allowed a little over 20 points per game, which was good for 10th in the league.

    The Texans will have a hard time getting better numbers since they play some high-octane offenses in 2013, such as the Broncos, Patriots, Ravens and 49ers.

    When to draft: 13th round

5. Chicago Bears

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    2012 stats: 41 sacks, 24 interceptions, 10 TDs

    Last season, the Chicago Bears were the highest-scoring fantasy defense by 40 points. Their 10 touchdowns had a lot to do with it. They had five games with over 20 fantasy points, including three straight from Week 3 to Week 5.

    Cornerback Charles Tillman contributed greatly, as he had three interceptions, which he took back to the house. Tim Jennings, the other starting cornerback, had nine interceptions, the most of his career.

    Chicago led the league with 24 interceptions, two more than the second-ranked team.

    The Bears' four linemen helped disrupt opposing quarterbacks, as they totaled 27 sacks on the year. Longtime linebacker Brian Urlacher had a very down year. He didn’t record a sack and only had one interception. However, he only played in 12 games. Urlacher chose not the re-sign and the Bears will look to replace not only his production over the years but his leadership as well.

    When to draft: 13th round

6. New England Patriots

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    2012 stats: 37 sacks, 20 interceptions, 5 TDs

    With a quarterback like Tom Brady on your team, having a good defense usually isn’t a requirement. Yet the Patriots defense stepped up. They ended the 2012 season as the fourth-best fantasy defense.

    Although their sacks and interceptions were down by three from 2011, they had the fifth-most interceptions last season. Cornerback Devin McCourty had a team-high five interceptions.

    The Patriots defense allowed the 10th-most points per game (20.7) last year. On the plus side, they led all teams in fumble recoveries with 21, one more than the Bears.

    The Patriots defense will have a tough challenge with the Broncos, Texans, Saints and Falcons in 2013. However, they play the Jets, Dolphins and Bills, all of whom are bad offensive teams.

    When to draft: 14th round

7. Cincinnati Bengals

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    2012 stats: 52 sacks, 14 interceptions, 3 TDs

    The Bengals defense scored the fifth-highest fantasy points in 2012 at 164, mostly because of their league-leading 52 sacks. Defensive linemen Geno Atkins and Michael Johnson had a combined 23 sacks. Atkins’ 12.5 sacks were tied for third in the NFL. The team also had the third-highest total of fumble recoveries with 16.

    In six of the last seven games, they scored double-digit fantasy points, including 20-point games against the Eagles and Steelers in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively. 

    Looking ahead, the Bengals' toughest games will come against the Patriots and Packers. The Browns and Steelers aren’t good offensive teams, and the Bengals scored 40 fantasy points in four games against those two division foes last year.

    When to draft: 14th round

8. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    2012 stats: 37 sacks, 10 INTs, 1 TD

    Speaking of the Steelers, they come in as my eighth-best fantasy defense for 2013. They didn’t score a lot of fantasy points last year, a total of 110, but that had a lot to do with injuries.

    Despite injuries to linebackers LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison, they were able to increase their sack total by two.

    They allowed 21 points per game, 22nd in the league, compared to 20.3 in 2011, 11th in the league. In total, they allowed the fifth-lowest amount of points to their opponents with 290.

    As long as the Steelers’ veterans stay healthy, the defense will be a threat to opposing teams. Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor are important parts of Pittsburgh’s defense. Ryan Clark is becoming a staple in the defense. He had two interceptions, two forced fumbles and 74 solo tackles, all in the top three among the team.

    When to draft: 15th round

9. Baltimore Ravens

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    2012 stats: 37 sacks, 13 INTs, 2 TDs

    Ray Lewis. Bernard Pollard. Ed Reed. Dannell Ellerbe. Paul Kruger. These five players were all key players for the Ravens defense.

    None of them will be on the team in 2013. Lewis retired, but the other players were free agents the Ravens chose to let walk. The Ravens replaced these players by signing Elvis Dumervil, Michael Huff and Marcus Spears.

    Looking back, the Ravens defense started strong. In the first five games of 2012, they had four games with 10-plus fantasy points, including an 18-point game against the Bengals in Week 1. At the end of the season, the Ravens defense wasn’t fantasy relevant. They scored less than 10 points from Week 13 to 16, including a one-point game.

    Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata, who totaled seven combined sacks, are still with the team. Dumervil will add to that as he had 11 sacks with the Broncos last year.

    When to draft: 15th round

10. Arizona Cardinals

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    2012 stats: 38 sacks, 22 INTs, 4 TDs

    While the Cardinals offense struggled in 2012, their defense shined. Their 22 interceptions and 313 allowed points were the second most and 11th lowest in the league, respectively. They had only 10 interceptions in 2011.

    Cornerback Patrick Peterson picked off seven passes, fourth in the league. Safety Kerry Rhodes was behind him with four.

    The defense had 24 points against the Eagles in Week 3. They were all over Mike Vick, as they had five sacks, three forced fumbles, a touchdown return and held Philadelphia to only six points.

    They weren’t always the best defense, though, especially in Week 14 when the Seahawks scored a remarkable 52 points. They recovered the following week with a 26-point performance against the Lions. They had two sacks, three interceptions and two touchdowns.

    The Cardinals improved their defense in the offseason. They signed former Chargers cornerback Antoine Cason and former Jets safety Yeremiah Bell. They also used the draft to improve their defense, selecting cornerback Tyrann Mathieu in the third round.

    When to draft: 15th round


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    There is no kicker more valuable than a fifth wide receiver or a running back. In 2012, there was only a 26-point difference between the top-scoring kicker, Blair Walsh, and the 10th highest-scoring kicker, Connor Barth.

    There is always that one player who reaches for a kicker. Don't be that guy. Drafting an extra position player could be beneficial if a star gets injured.

    Kickers are the hardest players to predict. It's not matchup based like the other positions. It's just skill mixed with a little bit of luck.

    Kickers should be the last players drafted in your league. If a player doesn't wait, they are making a mistake.

1. Stephen Gostkowski (New England Patriots)

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    2012 stats: 29/35 field goals, 66/66 PATs

    Stephen Gostkowski scored the second-highest fantasy points with 157. When you’re the kicker for the Patriots and Tom Brady is the quarterback, there’s going to be a lot of kicking.

    Gostkowski made the most extra points with 66, nine more than the next player. His 29 made field goals were tied for eighth in the league.

    Gostkowski has a pretty good leg. In 2012, he made 19 field goals between 30 to 49 yards. He didn’t have a lot of opportunities to kick longer field goals, but when he did, Gostkowski succeeded. He was 2-for-2 in field goals longer than 50 yards. Gostkowski will score most of his points off of extra kicks, which isn’t a bad thing. Three or four PATs could be the difference between a win and a loss.

    When to draft: 16th round

2. Blair Walsh (Minnesota Vikings)

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    2012 stats: 35/38 field goals, 36/36 PATs

    Vikings kicker Blair Walsh led all kickers in fantasy football last season with 161 points. Out of his 35 made field goals, 10 of them came from 50 yards or more, which led the league. Walsh was perfect from that distance as well.

    Two of the missed field goals were from 40 to 49 yards and the third was from 30 to 39 yards.

    On December 16, Walsh passed Randy Moss for the Vikings franchise record in points scored by a rookie with 119.

    As mentioned earlier, the Vikings don’t have the best all-around offense. Adrian Peterson is the cornerstone, no doubt, but with a quarterback like Christian Ponder, Walsh will be on the field a lot.

    The only defense that can possibly stop Walsh from kicking these long field goals is the weather. A little wind could force the Vikings to punt instead. However, Walsh is young, so he could very well lead kickers in fantasy points again in 2013.

    When to draft: 16th round

3. Matt Bryant (Atlanta Falcons)

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    2012 stats: 33/38 field goals, 44/44 PATs

    Matt Bryant was tied for the second-most made field goals in 2012 with 33. However, his 87 percent success rate was 16th in the league.

    Despite that, Matt Bryant is a great fantasy kicker. Ten of his 33 made field goals were from 40 to 49 yards, which usually gets you an extra bonus point in most fantasy leagues. Bryant had four more from 50-plus yards, which can yield an extra three to five points. He was the third-highest scoring fantasy kicker with 151 points.

    As I mentioned, the Falcons have a high-powered, fast-paced offense. They scored 419 points during the regular season and 26.2 per game, seventh highest.

    Because of this, Bryant will be kicking a lot of extra points. His 44 extra points were tied for eighth in the league. As long as the Falcons continue to score a lot of points, and there seems to be no sign of that changing, then Matt Bryant will be a great option as your kicker.

    When to draft: 16th round

4. Sebastian Janikowski (Oakland Raiders)

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    2012 stats: 31/34 field goals, 25/25 PATs

    Ageless wonder Sebastian Janikowski continues to be a valuable kicker in fantasy leagues. His 91.2 success rate for field goals last season was the highest of his career. He made 31 field goals, tied for fifth in the league.

    However, he only scored 130 fantasy points last year, 11th in the league. In 2011, he was fifth with 143 fantasy points, as he kicked a league-high seven field goals from over 50 yards.

    This past season, "SeaBass" kicked six field goals from over 50 yards, tied for fourth in the league. On the other hand, Janikowski didn’t kick a lot of extra points—25 to be exact. This wasn’t his fault, though. The Raiders only scored 290 points, 26th in the league.

    The Raiders don’t seem to be getting better, but Janikowski is always a threat to kick the long field goal, sometimes over 60 yards, as he’s done on multiple occasions.

    When to draft: 16th round

5. Justin Tucker (Baltimore Ravens)

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    2012 stats: 30/33 field goals, 42/42 PATs

    Ravens rookie kicker Justin Tucker started the 2012 season strong. He had 29 fantasy points after the first two games—a treat for fantasy owners. He had seven PATs and five field goals of 40 yards or more in those two games.

    Tucker then came back down to earth in the next four games. He finished the season with 140 fantasy points, sixth among kickers.

    As Joe Flacco struggled during the regular season, Tucker was relied on throughout the season. The rookie made 10 field goals between 40 to 49 yards and four more from 50 or more.

    No fantasy owner should expect a lot from a kicker, but with a rookie season like the one Tucker had, he should be a good option in 2013.

    When to draft: 16th round

6. Greg Zuerlein (St. Louis Rams)

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    2012 stats: 23/31 field goals, 26/26 PATs

    The rookie kicker out of Missouri Western State attempted the most field goals from 50-plus yards (13). Unfortunately, he only made seven of them, giving him a 54 percent success rate. He was 100 percent between 40 and 49 yards.

    As mentioned before, the Rams offense isn't as high-powered as other teams. The team scored 299 points, 25th in the league, last year. The Rams are rebuilding with second-year running back Daryl Richardson and rookie Tavon Austin on the offense. The young players could be the spark the Rams need to get back to their winning ways.

    Heading into his second season, Zuerlein will be much improved. 

    When to draft: 16th round

7. Matt Prater (Denver Broncos)

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    2012 stats: 26/32 field goals, 55/55 PATs

    Matt Prater was a saint to the Broncos when Tim Tebow was the quarterback in 2011. He made six out of 11 field goals from 40 yards or longer but finished with only 93 points.

    Last season, he was 8-for-13 from the same distance. The Broncos offense exploded with Peyton Manning at the helm. Prater ended the season with 139 fantasy points, seventh in the league. His 55 PATs were the third highest in the league.

    After scoring eight points combined in the first two games, Prater scored 13 and 15 points in Weeks 3 and 4, respectively, as he had a 50-plus yard field goal in both games. From Week 10 to Week 16, Prater had five double-digit games.

    Now, the addition of Wes Welker will provide the Broncos with more scoring opportunities, giving Prater more PAT chances.

    When to draft: 16th round

8. Dan Bailey (Dallas Cowboys)

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    2012 stats: 29/31 field goals, 37/37 PATs

    Dan Bailey is going into his third year as the Cowboys kicker. He finished the 2012 season as the 11th-highest scoring kicker with 130 points. He made 10 field goals from 40 or more yards, including going 7-for-7 between 40 and 49 yards.

    Bailey had six games with double-digit outputs—great for fantasy owners, including two 13-point games. He also had six games where he scored between seven and eight points, a good output for kickers on any day.

    The Cowboys offense got better toward the end of the 2012 season and will look to continue that progress in 2013. Bailey is a young kicker who has improved in each of the last two seasons. If the offense is the high-scoring offense it can be, Bailey’s PAT total will increase.

    When to draft: 16th round

9. Phil Dawson (San Francisco 49ers)

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    2012 stats: 29/31 field goals, 29/29 PATs

    Starting in 1999, Phil Dawson has spent his entire career with the Cleveland Browns. He made a career-high 30 field goals in 2008. Last year, with Brandon Weeden as quarterback, he made 29. He was 7-for-7 from 50-plus yards.

    Dawson kicked a 50-plus yard field goal in five different games. There were a couple of games, however, where he was held without a field goal. Dawson finished the season tied for 10th in fantasy points.

    This year, Dawson signed with the San Francisco 49ers, a team with a much better offense. In two preseason games so far, Dawson his 5-for-6 in field goals, with his longest being 55 yards.

    The 38-year-old veteran can still kick and is worth a spot on your roster this season.

    When to draft: 16th round

10. Kai Forbath (Washington Redskins)

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    2012 stats: 17/18 field goals, 33/34 PATs

    After being waived by Dallas and Tampa Bay, Kai Forbath found his home with the Redskins. Washington signed him in October to replace Billy Cundiff. He made his debut on October 14. He made five PATs and a huge 50-yard field goal against the Vikings.

    He also helped the Redskins defeat the Ravens in Week 14 when he recorded a 48- and 49-yard field goals and then the game-winning 34-yarder in overtime.

    Forbath’s 94 percent field-goal completion rate was tied for the most in the league. That number is skewed a little bit because he only played for half the season. What’s not skewed is Forbath was 12-for-12 in field goals from 40 yards or more. He was just one of many rookies for this Redskins team that stepped up and helped it win the NFC East.

    Forbath will be a kicker that not many owners will be looking at in drafts, but he's one that could win you some games.

    When to draft: 16th round


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    With these rankings you will be able to draft the perfect starting lineup for your fantasy football team, regardless of your draft position.

    There is no ranking better or more definitive than the rest, though. Is there someone ranked too low? Too high? Did I miss a player?

    Let me know in the comments and I wish everyone the best of luck in the upcoming season.