Fantasy Football

Pre-Draft 2012 fantasy football rankings

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Ryan Fowler

Ryan Fowler has spent the past 10 years covering and talking sports on TV and radio, in newspapers and on the web. He joined as lead Fantasy Sports Editor and also acts as Digital Content Manager at Follow him on Twitter. Listen to his FOX Sports Team Report Podcasts on SoundCloud and iTunes


Few words in sports can match the euphoric reaction created when Roger Goodell stands at the podium and alerts the inebri … err … energized crowd at Radio City Music Hall with a locked and loaded five-word sentence.

“There has been a trade.”

Following the announcement, similar physical and audible reactions have also been observed on Maury when a gentleman learns he is not the father.

The euphoria shared among NFL brethren in that moment is the same feeling I get when an email hits my inbox with “Subject: Fantasy Football Trade” staring me in the face.

As luck should have it, a week before the 2012 NFL Draft, a fantasy football owner sent over a proposed trade to be analyzed:

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Did you miss the latest fantasy column by your favorite contributor? Not to worry. Just search our fantasy archives.

I got myself into a keeper fantasy football league and these guys are obviously more into it than I. What do you think of this?

I give up:

Ryan Mathews
My first-round pick in the draft (5th pick overall)

I get:

Rashad Mendenhall
Isaac Redman
Matt Flynn
Santonio Holmes

Before diving in head first and analyzing this fantasy football matrix, I asked the owner who his starting quarterback was, more out of curiosity than necessity.

His response:

Matt Ryan
Mark Sanchez
Tavaris Jackson


The schedule is out, but what about your favorite squad? Team-by-team breakdown

My response:

I hold tight with what you have.


1) Mike Tolbert signed with Carolina – Ryan Mathews gets bulk of carries this season (health has hurt him last 2 seasons)

2) Mendenhall injured last week of 2011, no timetable yet on return

3) Redman running behind old offensive line that nearly gets Big Ben killed (I like Redman as low RB 2 / high RB 3)

4) Matt Flynn, umm not yet – Ryan is starting for you anyways

5) Santonio Holmes is a head case and with Tebow possibly running Wildcat 20 times a game and in goal line situations, you lose red zone opportunities

a. Keller led Jets in receptions/targets last season

His response:

Thanks – good info. I am staying put

I forwarded the email exchange to one of my close friends and admitted it felt good to break down that trade offer.  It was exactly the type of exercise needed as the fantasy department begins to organize and produce its annual fantasy football magazine.

On the heels of the NFL Draft, I also thought it would be a great time to release my initial Top 200 Fantasy Football rankings for 2012. No question this list will fluctuate throughout the summer months as we learn more about the rookie class and the health status of those fantasy studs currently rehabilitating an injury.

Note: Defense/Special Teams and Kickers have been left off this list


2012 Fantasy Football Rankings 1-10

Rank Name Pos
1 Aaron Rodgers QB1
2 Arian Foster RB1
3 LeSean McCoy RB2
4 Tom Brady QB2
5 Adrian Peterson RB3
6 Maurice Jones-Drew RB4
7 Cam Newton QB3
8 Ray Rice RB5
9 Drew Brees QB4
10 Calvin Johnson WR1


How will Thursday Night Football affect fantasy football owners? Ryan Fowler


Let the great debate begin! Who should go first: a running back or a quarterback? Four quarterbacks are ranked within my Top 10 as I believe we witnessed a changing of the fantasy guard last season. If you want to win your league, you need a top tier quarterback. If you wait, you really need to nail some middle-to-late round fliers.


2012 Fantasy Football Rankings 11-20

Rank Name Pos
11 Marshawn Lynch RB6
12 Fred Jackson RB7
13 Michael Turner RB8
14 Darren McFadden RB9
15 Matthew Stafford QB5
16 Rob Gronkowski TE1
17 Andre Johnson WR2
18 Michael Vick QB6
19 Jimmy Graham TE2
20 Chris Johnson RB10


Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham proved they belong in the second round conversation in 2012. The two tight ends combined for 199 receptions and 28 touchdowns last season. Can we trust Chris Johnson to bounce back or is he done?


2012 Fantasy Football Rankings 21-30

Rank Name Pos
21 Steven Jackson RB11
22 Wes Welker WR3
23 Roddy White WR4
24 Greg Jennings WR5
25 Tony Romo QB7
26 Frank Gore RB12
27 Peyton Manning QB8
28 Matt Forte RB13
29 Jamaal Charles RB14
30 Steve Smith (CAR) WR6


NFL Draft is here, and we have you covered.


Joel Beall and I discussed Peyton Manning’s fantasy value last month. I still have him ranked as the eighth-best fantasy quarterback just behind Tony Romo. Matt Forte (Bears signed Michael Bush) and Jamaal Charles (knee, Chiefs signed Peyton Hillis) rank right behind Manning. That duo’s fantasy future is a bit cloudy at the moment.


2012 Fantasy Football Rankings 31-40

Rank Name Pos
31 Brandon Lloyd WR7
32 Larry Fitzgerald WR8
33 Brandon Marshall WR9
34 Eli Manning QB9
35 Philip Rivers QB10
36 Matt Ryan QB11
37 Matt Schaub QB12
38 Ryan Mathews RB15
39 Darren Sproles RB16
40 Marques Colston WR10


As soon as Brandon Lloyd signed with the Patriots, he shot up my fantasy draft board. It will be interesting to see how long it takes Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall to mesh on the field again. Matt Schaub’s health will dictate where he ultimately winds up in my rankings.


2012 Fantasy Football Rankings 41-50

Rank Name Pos
41 Hakeem Nicks WR11
42 Dez Bryant WR12
43 Willis McGahee RB17
44 Jordy Nelson WR13
45 Victor Cruz WR14
46 Mike Wallace WR15
47 Julio Jones WR16
48 A.J. Green WR17
49 Jason Witten TE3
50 Jermichael Finley TE4


Before I get emails, expect Mike Wallace to receive a boost later this summer. I believe Julio Jones outperforms A.J. Green in fantasy circles this season.


2012 Fantasy Football Rankings 51-100

Rank Name Pos
51 Steve Johnson WR18
52 Ahmad Bradshaw RB18
53 DeAngelo Williams RB19
54 Jeremy Maclin WR19
55 Demaryius Thomas WR20
56 Reggie Bush RB20
57 Desean Jackson WR21
58 Sidney Rice WR22
59 Percy Harvin WR23
60 Miles Austin WR24
61 Tony Gonzalez TE5
62 Brandon Pettigrew TE6
63 LeGarrette Blount RB21
64 Beanie Wells RB22
65 Shonn Greene RB23
66 BenJarvus Green-Ellis RB24
67 Jahvid Best RB25
68 Jay Cutler QB13
69 Ryan Fitzpatrick QB14
70 Ben Roethlisberger QB15
71 Antonio Brown WR25
72 Santonio Holmes WR26
73 Dwayne Bowe WR27
74 Vincent Jackson WR28
75 Fred Davis TE7
76 Vernon Davis TE8
77 Antonio Gates TE9
78 Aaron Hernandez TE10
79 Michael Bush RB26
80 CJ Spiller RB27
81 Dustin Keller TE10
82 Joe Flacco QB16
83 Anquan Boldin WR29
84 Cedric Benson RB28
85 Santana Moss WR30
86 Reggie Wayne WR31
87 Alex Smith QB17
88 Mark Sanchez QB18
89 Jonathan Stewart RB29
90 Rashard Mendenhall RB30
91 Sam Bradford QB19
92 Andy Dalton QB20
93 Robert Griffin III QB21
94 Kenny Britt WR32
95 Kellen Winslow TE11
96 Brent Celek TE12
97 Joel Dreessen TE13
98 Donald Brown RB31
99 Roy Helu RB32
100 Owen Daniels TE14

Fantasy archives

Did you miss the latest fantasy column by your favorite contributor? Not to worry. Just search our fantasy archives.


Two guys I want you to focus on: Fred Davis and Kenny Britt.

Davis missed the last four games of the season due to suspension, but before that was a fantasy tight end on the rise. With RGIII headed to Washington it will be interesting to see if Mike Shanahan utilizes the tight end as often in 2012.

Hey Kenny Britt! We want to like you. Suspensions and injuries have sidelined him the last two seasons (15 games total). Still, I think Matt Hasselbeck and/or Jake Locker could make this guy a top 10 fantasy wide receiver this season.


2012 Fantasy Football Rankings 100-151

Rank Name Pos
101 Brandon Jacobs RB33
102 Nate Washington WR33
103 Pierre Garcon WR34
104 Mike Williams WR35
105 Mario Manningham WR36
106 Eric Decker WR37
107 Torrey Smith WR38
108 Laurent Robinson WR39
109 Carson Palmer QB22
110 Josh Freeman QB23
111 Andrew Luck QB24
112 Jermaine Gresham TE15
113 Malcom Floyd WR40
114 Lance Moore WR41
115 Michael Crabtree WR42
116 Darrius Heyward-Bey WR43
117 Ed Dickson TE16
118 Robert Meachem WR44
119 Isaac Redman RB34
120 Pierre Thomas RB35
121 Toby Gehardt RB36
122 Felix Jones RB37
123 Mark Ingram RB38
124 Montario Hardesty RB39
125 Daniel Thomas RB40
126 Trent Richardson RB41
127 Mike Tolbert RB42
128 Randy Moss WR45
129 Vincent Brown WR46
130 Jacoby Ford WR47
131 Steve Breaston WR48
132 Jon Baldwin WR49
133 Jake Ballard TE17
134 Jared Cook TE18
135 Greg Olsen TE19
136 David Garrard QB25
137 Kevin Kolb QB26
138 Matt Hasselbeck QB27
139 Jacob Tamme TE20
140 Ryan Grant RB43
141 Danny Woodhead RB44
142 Mohamed Massaquoi WR50
143 Denarius Moore WR51
144 Greg Little WR52
145 Justin Blackmon WR53
146 Titus Young WR54
147 Plaxico Burress WR55
148 Christian Ponder QB28
149 James Starks RB45
150 Matt Cassel QB29


The schedule is out, but what about your favorite squad? Team-by-team breakdown


Three rookies fall in this group: Andrew Luck, Trent Richardson and Justin Blackmon. I’m getting antsy with Luck because of the lack of talent around him in Indianapolis. It could be a rough rookie season. If Richardson is drafted by the Browns remember he faces the Steelers and Ravens four times in 2012. Justin Blackmon should be this year’s A.J. Green/Julio Jones. That is unless Cleveland takes him because I’m not sure how Colt McCoy makes him better off the jump.


2012 Fantasy Football Rankings 151-200

Rank Name Pos
151 Matt Flynn QB30
152 Rex Grossman QB31
153 Nate Burleson WR56
154 Heath Miller TE21
155 Randall Cobb WR57
156 Vincent Brown WR58
157 James Jones WR59
158 Kevin Walter WR60
159 Peyton Hillis RB46
160 Knowshon Moreno RB47
161 Tim Hightower RB48
162 Ben Tate RB49
163 Ryan Williams RB50
164 Austin Collie WR61
165 Davone Bess WR62
166 Tony Moeaki TE22
167 Tim Tebow QB32
168 Stevan Ridley RB51
169 Johnny Knox WR63
170 LaDanian Tomlison RB52
171 Kendall Hunter RB53
172 Delone Carter RB54
173 Brian Hartline WR64
174 Arrelious Benn WR65
175 Damian Williams WR66
176 Jabar Gaffney WR67
177 Lance Kendricks TE23
178 Anthony Fasano TE24
179 Scott Chandler TE25
180 Deion Branch WR68
181 Danny Ware RB55
182 Mikel LeShoure RB56
183 Dexter McCluster WR69
184 Marcedes Lewis TE26
185 Emmanuel Sanders WR70
186 Golden Tate WR71
187 Colt McCoy QB33
188 Devery Henderson WR72
189 Rashad Jennings RB57
190 Jordan Shipley WR73
191 Ryan Torain RB58
192 Blaine Gabbert QB34
193 Javon Ringer RB59
194 Joseph Addai RB60
195 Shane Vereen RB61
196 David Nelson WR74
197 Domenik Hixon WR75
198 Harry Douglas WR76
199 Dennis Pitta TE27
200 Early Doucet WR77


San Diego’s Vincent Brown is a name that intrigues me now that Vincent Jackson is in Tampa Bay. He and/or Robert Meachem will line up opposite Malcom Floyd (when healthy) with Eddie Royal in the slot. Philip Rivers targeted Brown often when on the field last season. He's not a bad late pick.

Be sure to check back post-Draft for updates and fantasy analysis.

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