At this point of the fantasy season, most fantasy owners are pondering the what ifs, could have beens and what was I thinking’s. Since it’s good to only dwell on a lost season for so long (hey, losing can teach all of us something), let’s turn the focus to the endless possibilities that exist in 2013.
As in, 2013 fantasy football domination. Up first are the quarterbacks.
1. Tom Brady, Patriots – Even if Wes Welker doesn’t return, Brady has more than enough weapons to be the top ranked fantasy quarterback in 2013.
2. Drew Brees, Saints – Most likely gets his buddy and head coach Sean Payton back next year and it’s likely going to be a pass heavy offense in New Orleans given the state of the team’s running backs.
3. Aaron Rodgers, Packers – Not willing to hand him the number one ranking given that wide receiver Greg Jennings and tight end Jermichael Finley are unlikely to return to Green Bay. With Jennings injured and Finley inconsistent, Rodgers’ fantasy stock took a hit in 2012.
4. Cam Newton, Panthers – Didn’t show a pile of improvement as a passer in 2012 but piled up the fantasy points on the ground and that’s not likely to change next year. Bit of a risk at wide receiver with the aging Steve Smith leading the way for Carolina.
5. Robert Griffin III, Redskins – Injury risk is there but he was dynamite as a rookie in both the passing and rushing departments despite missing leading wide receiver Pierre Garcon for a large portion of the season. Might have hit 1,000 rushing yards had he not suffered a late season knee injury.
6. Andrew Luck, Colts – The hotshot rookie showed he is the real deal in 2012, leading the Colts to a surprising winning record and playoff spot. Luck set the rookie record for passing yards and a long string of 4,000-yard seasons seems certain.
7. Matt Ryan, Falcons – The Falcons will return in 2013 with what is likely the best wide receiver tandem in the league in Roddy White and Julio Jones but tight end Tony Gonzalez has vowed to retire, hurting Ryan’s fantasy prognosis for next season.
8. Peyton Manning, Broncos – Young wide receivers Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas are only going to get better and Manning’s production should benefit from having a year under his belt in Denver.
9. Matthew Stafford, Lions – Immaturity, inexperience and injury hurt the Lions at wide receiver in 2012 and Stafford suffered as his touchdown passes plummeted from the 41 he put up in 2011.
10. Eli Manning, Giants – He has to be in the top 12, right? Right? Look for a bounce back season for Eli in 2013 on the assumption that Hakeem Nicks can maintain better health than he did in 2012.
11. Tony Romo, Cowboys – Romo will likely set a career high in passing yards in 2012 as he benefitted from the emergence of wide receiver Dez Bryant and the continued strong play of tight end Jason Witten. However, his interception total caused his touchdown pass totals to drop as did the team’s poor rushing attack for much of the season. A renaissance season from Miles Austin would go a long way in helping Romo’s fantasy value.
12. Josh Freeman, Buccaneers – With the wide receiver position solidified with the signing of Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams’ comeback season, Freeman figures to set career highs in passing yards and touchdowns in 2013. Those players plus Doug Martin and a solid offensive line figure to give the Bucs plenty of years of solid offensive production.