It’s been 11 days since the curtain officially closed on the 2011 fantasy football season. By now, league winners should be back from Disney World, and the rest of you should be transitioning from bargaining to acceptance.
Whether you’re chasing redemption or a repeat, your 2012 preparation starts here!
1. Arian Foster – In a pass-heavy league where multiple-back attacks have become the norm, dual-threat superstar Arian Foster might be the closest thing we’ll ever see to LaDanian Tomlinson’s prime. Running behind and elite-level offensive line in a system that fits him like a glove, he’s put any injury concerns to rest over his last 13 games, tallying 14 touchdowns and an average of 152.5 combination yards.
2. Ray Rice – We’ve always been able to count on Ray Rice for all-purpose yardage, but in 2011 he finally began finishing drives, posting a career-high 15 scores. He hasn’t missed a game in the last three seasons, averaging 284 carries and a jaw-dropping 72 receptions over that span. With a shallow pool of surefire running backs, Rice and Foster belong ahead of any of the growing pool of top-tier signal callers.
3. Aaron Rodgers – Aaron Rodgers’ efficiency (45 touchdowns against just six interceptions) is off the charts, and as an added bonus, he’s averaged 281 yards and four touchdowns on the ground over the last four seasons. He’s the safest pick in fantasy football.
4. Drew Brees – You can literally flip a coin between Rodgers and the NFL’s new passing king, Drew Brees. Over his last seven games, Brees has been the league’s best signal caller, totaling 27 touchdowns, three interceptions and an average of 374 yards. The potential loss of Marques Colston shouldn’t deter drafters—Colston needs Brees, not vice versa.
5. Calvin Johnson – Calvin Johnson scored 18 times in 17 games (including playoffs), and cracked 200 yards in three of his last four contests. After averaging over 100 yards and a score per game, regularly destroying double-teams and displaying uncanny chemistry with Matthew Stafford, he’s the unquestioned top receiver heading into 2012.
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