The landscape of Fantasy Football has shifted in recent years as running back committees and spread-like passing offenses have altered draft strategies regardless of your format. Formats have also changed as Yardage Leagues are now considered standard while Points Per Reception, Individual Defensive Players, and increased roster sizes (2 QBs, 4-5 WRs, etc.) continue to gain momentum.
To kickoff NFLDraft101's Fantasy Football coverage here are my Top 12 Players for 2010. The list uses PPR as its guide and is ranked as if it were a serpentine draft order from No. 1 through No. 12.
The first four slots are not surprising but as the list shows the era of drafting running backs in Rounds One and Two while still an option is not necessarily the best option (especially in PPR and deeper leagues).
1. RB Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans: Johnson had 2,509 total yards last season including 2,006 on the ground. The 408 total touches (including 50 receptions) is concerning but he is just 24. Johnson has tremendous big play ability but also showed remarkable consistency (11 straight 100+ yard games.). Expect a small decline as the Titans manage his workload for a playoff run in 2010.
2. RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings: He has had 1,800+ total yards for consecutive seasons and also, led the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 18 in 2010. Expect his receptions and yardage to increase and his touchdowns decrease as power back Toby Gerhart replaces shifty Chester Taylor.
3. RB Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens: Rice was one of fantasy football best values in 2009 and he will look to build on that success in 2010. A runner/receiver who puts up Brian Westbrook-like stat lines, Rice put up 2,041 total yards (including 1,339 on the ground) while only having more than 20 carries twice. On the flip-side he caught three or more passes in 14 games. On the negative side, he plays in a timeshare which limits his touches, especially at the goal line. Rice is most valuable in PPR leagues (in non-PPR leagues flipflop Rice and Jones-Drew).
4. RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville: Jones-Drew proved he was capable of carrying a full-time load with 312 carries in 2009 while gaining 1,765 total yards. He is tremendous around the goal line with 30 combined TDs the past two years. His value increases in PPR league as he has caught 40 or more passes every year of his career.
5. WR Andre Johnson, Houston Texans: With 100+ catches and 1,500+ yards each of the past two seasons, Johnson entrenched himself as the top fantasy receiver. His 14 100-yard games the past two years make him the league leader in that category (only one other player, Roddy White, has more than 10 during that time). He also had only one game with less than 63 yards in 2009. The only negative on Johnson is his lack of ideal touchdown numbers (eight, eight, and nine the past three years).
6. RB Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers: Gore is a good runner and underrated receiver who is poised for a big year behind a revamped offensive line and playing for a coach who prefers a strong ground attack. He is more good than great, and has missed two games each of the past two seasons.
7. RB Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams: A top-three talent trapped on a mediocre offense. Jackson is a tremendous combination of power and speed who managed to gain 1,416 rushing yards (1,738 total yards) in 2009 despite playing against defenses geared to shut him down. The Rams offensive struggles have resulted in just 19 touchdowns the past three years. Jackson's physical style also makes him an injury risk as he has missed 10 games since 2007.
8. WR Randy Moss, New England Patriots: At 33 years old, Moss is beginning to show his age, but he is still a premier deep threat and red zone target. His sick 2007 numbers (98-1,493-23 TDs) will remain a distant memory but playing in the Pats' pass-happy offense, mark him down for 80+ catches, 1,200 yards and 10+ touchdowns.
9. WR Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts: Six consecutive 1,000 yard seasons, along with 100 catches and 10 TDs two of the past three years, and playing with Peyton Manning make Wayne one of the safest picks on the board. He lacks the upside of Miles Austin, Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Marshall, or Calvin Johnson, but mark him down for 90 catches, 1,200 yards and 8+ TDs.
10. QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers: In just two years as a starter, Rodgers has established himself as one of the top fantasy quarterbacks in the league with consecutive 4,000 yard seasons. He is entering the prime of his career at just 26 years old giving him the most upside of any of the top quarterbacks. His ability to gain yards on the ground (316 yards and five TDs in 2009) inches him ahead of Mr. Consistent Peyton Manning and the gunslinger Drew Brees in the QB rankings.
11. QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: Brees has established himself as one of the fantasy elite after throwing for 4,388+ yards four consecutive years while increasing his touchdown passes from 26 to 34 during that span (34 TDs in back to back years). Most significantly he is the only quarterback to average 276+ yards per game each of the past three years.
12. WR Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions: The biggest hunch pick on the list. Megatron is coming off a disappointing 984 yard season yet earns a spot ahead of Manning, Fitzgerald, Miles Austin and a host of running backs? Simple, Johnson is a physical freak on the verge of a breakout year as he enters his prime at 24 years old. Matthew Stafford should take a big step in year two and the surrounding cast is improved (including WR Nate Burleson, RB Jahvid Best, and TE Tony Sheffler) the stage has been set. Don't forget Megatron had 1,331 yards and 12 TDs in 2008 with Jon Kitna throwing him the ball.
Chris Maier is Senior Editor for nfldraft101.com. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow me on twitter: nfldraft101 Check our fantasy football page this summer leading up to your league's draft as we provide a comprehensive fantasy football preview including positional rankings, sleepers, and rookies to target.