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The Not Top Ten List

RGIII

The fantasy football world is all about being able to predict what is going to happen in the next season. In fact, the success of any team is based on how well the owner can make those predictions and the moves that go along with them. In an effort to give you another viewpoint, I’m going to take a look at the top ten from each offensive position in 2012 and make a prediction about which players are most likely to miss the top ten this year as well as attempt to peg their most likely replacements.

For the top ten lists, I used standard PPR scoring with four points for a passing touchdown, six points for a receiving or rushing touchdown, one point for every 25 passing yards and one point for every ten rushing or receiving yards. I also took off two points for every turnover. I only looked at the stats for weeks one through 16 because most fantasy leagues don’t do anything in week 17.

The top Ten Quarterbacks of 2012

1)     Tom Brady

2)     Drew Brees

3)     Aaron Rodgers

4)     Cam Newton

5)     Robert Griffin III

6)     Matt Ryan

7)     Peyton Manning

8)     Tony Romo

9)     Andrew Luck

10)  Matthew Stafford

General Thoughts: Historically speaking, the quarterback position has the least amount of turnover in terms of the top producers. That makes it very difficult to predict anyone dropping out of this group because there just isn’t that much change from year to year. I think Brady will drop from the top half to the bottom half of the top ten, but I think he will manage to stay on the list. I could take the cheap way out and say that Matthew Stafford will drop a spot or two and be out. I’m not going to do that though for any of the positions.

Most Likely Out: Robert Griffin III is a great talent – that much is certain. He also wouldn’t have sniffed the top ten if it wasn’t for his rushing yards and touchdowns. The problem is I see the Redskins taking it slow with him at the start of the season and changing how they use him. I don’t think he’ll see another season rushing like he did in 2012. There is just too much at stake and he is too good of a passer to make him run all the time.

Possible Replacements: The easy money is on Russell Wilson, who was eleventh or Colin Kaepernick, who was in the top ten over the games he started. I’m not interested in the easy way out, though.  Instead, I’m going to back Eli Manning. He had only 21 touchdowns and 3,740 yards over the first 16 weeks, which is well below what we can expect from him in that offense, especially if the running game gets going to bring the play-action element to the game. The other player who I like to take a big jump up this year is Sam Bradford. He has a lot of new weapons, but I think he might end up just short of the top ten.

The top Ten Running Backs of 2012

1)     Adrian Peterson

2)     Arian Foster

3)     Doug Martin

4)     Ray Rice

5)     Marshawn Lynch

6)     Trent Richardson

7)     Jamaal Charles

8)     CJ Spiller

9)     Alfred Morris

10)  Frank Gore

General Thoughts: With the injuries that tend to hit the running back position every year, the top ten often comes down to which of the top 15-20 running backs can avoid spraining their ankle or tweaking their hamstring and missing a few games – that means about half of these names on the list won’t be there next year, but it is pretty tough to predict who it will be.

Most Likely Out: Most would say Frank Gore, but I already mentioned I’m not going to pick the tenth ranked player because that’s too easy. Instead, I’m going to ruffle a lot of feathers with this one and say Trent Richardson. Through week 16, Richardson wasn’t even in the top 15 for rushing yards with only 950 in total. His position in the top ten was based largely on his touchdown totals, which can fluctuate wildly from year-to-year.  He also struggled with injuries last season (and this off-season) and that seems to be the difference between top ten and top 20 running backs in a lot of cases.

Possible Replacements: There are lots of good options for choices here. Reggie Bush and Steven Jackson should both see better seasons on new teams. It is hard to imagine Chris Johnson having a year that starts as poorly as last season. Matt Forte should be a bigger part of the offense with his new coach. My personal choice if I had to only pick one would be LeSean McCoy who now finds himself in Chip Kelly’s scheme.

The top Ten Wide Receivers of 2012

1)     Calvin Johnson

2)     Brandon Marshall

3)     AJ Green

4)     Dez Bryant

5)     Randall Cobb

6)     Wes Welker

7)     Andre Johnson

8)     Reggie Wayne

9)     Demaryius Thomas

10)  Roddy White

General Thoughts: It is fairly interesting that four of the ten names on the list were 30+ years old when the 2012 season began even though most owners treat 30+ year old players like the plague. The top ten wide receivers tend to be fairly consistent from year-to-year. There are some minor fluctuations where a top ten players might drop into the teens before bouncing back up the following year. However, the majority of the names on the list stay on the list until they reach an age where they lose a step.

Most Likely Out: The obvious choice here is Wes Welker. He was Brady’s top target for years and years and now he’s going to be second or third on Peyton Manning’s list. He’s going to be out of the top ten, probably by a significant amount. I’m also going to go out on a limb and say that Andre Johnson and Reggie Wayne will be joining him. Wayne’s stat line was inflated by his week five stats and he is likely going to be a smaller part of the Colts’ game plan as the young players step up. Johnson’s injury history combined with his age really worries me. I think the next big injury could be his last.

Possible Replacements: Julio Jones is the no brainer choice. He’s a top talent and should take the next step in his third season, finally surpassing Roddy White in yards and receptions. I also want to throw a little love in the direction of Larry Fitzgerald. After five straight seasons of at least 80/1,050/6 he fell far below that line in 2012 – that won’t happen again. I’m expecting him to be a top ten receiver this year.

The top Ten Tight Ends of 2012

1)     Tony Gonzalez

2)     Jason Witten

3)     Jimmy Graham

4)     Heath Miller

5)     Rob Gronkowski

6)     Brandon Myers

7)     Greg Olsen

8)     Dennis Pitta

9)     Owen Daniels

10)  Jermaine Gresham

General Thoughts: As most of us know, the tight ends feature a small top end group, then a very, very large second tier. There really isn’t much that separates the fifth tight end from the fifteenth in terms of value, so the bottom half of this top ten list could be completely different and it wouldn’t surprise anyone. About the only thing that would surprise people is if Graham, Witten, Gonzalez and Gronkowski were healthy all year and missed the top ten.

Most Likely Out: I already mentioned the names from six on down could be completely different and I wouldn’t be surprised. There is also one name in the top half that doesn’t belong and that belongs to Heath Miller.  Coming off of a late season ACL injury, Miller isn’t up to form. Even if he was, I wouldn’t put money on him repeating the career best season he had in 2012.

Possible Replacements: There are lots of players who could take up the bottom half of this top ten, but I’m going to go with Jared Cook and Vernon Davis. Cook was signed to a big contract by his former coach and is going to be a big part of the Rams offense. This should be the year that he takes that step forward. Davis is back to being the guy in the 49ers passing game with the injury to Michael Crabtree and should see a major bounce back season. I have a minor concern he might line up as a receiver so much that some websites will list him as such, but that is a pretty slim chance and out of our realm of control.

Side Note: You’ll notice I didn’t mention a single rookie for any of the positions. Historically speaking, what we have seen over the last two years with rookies breaking into the top ten is it’s extremely rare. Of all the positions, running back is by far the easiest for a rookie to make the top ten. For that reason, if I had to pick some rookies to be in the top ten it would be either Montee Ball or Le’Veon Bell.

Now that you’ve heard my picks on who could be left out, who are your best guesses? Just remember it is a top ten, so if you’re saying four players are moving up, you need to pick four to drop out as well! Enjoy! 

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Jacob Feldman

Jacob Feldman

Senior Writer at Dynasty League Football
Jacob is a high school math teacher by day and a professional diaper changer by night. If he says anything too off the wall, just assume he is sleep deprived due to being a new father. He'll come to his senses in about 18 years... maybe.

Find Jacob on Twitter at @feldmanjacob
Jacob Feldman

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25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. SJ

    July 21, 2013 at 6:51 am

    Awesome list.. really like the idea of this.

    (minor edit: “Top Ten TE’s of 2012”. Says WR’s currently)

    • ericdickens

      July 21, 2013 at 7:42 am

      Thanks for the heads up, fixed now.

    • Jacob Feldman

      July 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm

      Thanks for catching that SJ. Glad you liked it!

  2. mike_blahnik

    July 21, 2013 at 7:11 am

    I’ll fire the first shot across the bow…

    TE Dropping Out:
    Miller, Myers, Daniels, Gresham
    TE Rising:
    Bennett, Housler, Pettigrew, D. Allen

    WR Dropping Out:
    Welker, White
    WR Rising:
    Ju. Jones, Amendola

    RB Dropping Out:
    Gore, Morris
    RB Rising:
    McCoy, Forte

    QB Dropping Out:
    Luck
    QB Rising:
    Kaepernick

    Tough exercise limiting it to Top 10…if I did this again in a week I may come up with a completely different set of names in every group.

    • BigD

      July 21, 2013 at 9:26 am

      like all your comparisons here, BUT……luck dropping out? hey kaepernick will rise, but no one will rise faster over the next 3 years then andrew luck period……he’s the ultimate dynasty star in my opinion

      • Oscar

        July 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm

        I think there should be more concern about Luck and how changing offenses will impact his statistical production. Tough to say he won’t be top 10 for the next decade, but he seems riskier in 2013-14 than people are admitting.

    • Jacob Feldman

      July 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      I think Gore and maybe even White are likely to drop to the 11-20 range this year as well, but I didn’t want to pick the 10th ranked player. Morris dropping out might get some people going a bit. Are you expecting him to not be the lead guy for the whole season?

    • Jake

      July 22, 2013 at 10:52 am

      Where’s Rudolph….My league doesn’t do PPR so if we’re going off that I can see the lower rating, but I don’t see any reason why he won’t be a top 10 TE next year; or least put in the topic of conversation.

  3. sixshooter

    July 21, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Great job Jacob! I agree with most all of your predictions.

    I would have had the same answer for QB on both sides only because of RGIII injury concerns and the potential slow start. Eli should have been in the top ten last year after his fast start but hit a streak of slow games. My next choice to crack the top ten would have been Dalton.

    At RB, my first and last thought was Richardson with McCoy replacing. I would also expect Forte to replace Gore with guys like Morris, Charles and Spiller moving up the top ten list.

    Welker, White, Wayne and Johnson are obvious choices to fall out of top ten WR with Julio Jones an obvious replacement. VJax, Cruz and Fitz would be my other replacements in the top ten! I am also not so sure that Cobb remains in the top ten WR’s. If that is the case, then maybe Colston.

    At TE, I would say Miller, Olsen, Gresham and Daniels drop out with Martellus Bennett, Kyle Rudolph, Jermichael Finley and Vernon Davis replacing them.

    • Jacob Feldman

      July 21, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      Thanks Sixshooter! Glad to hear I wasn’t way out on a limb with my choices! Thanks for the comment!

  4. DJB

    July 21, 2013 at 10:27 am

    So you mentioned that it is very rare for a rookie to make the top 10, albeit you did say that at the RB position it is the easiest to crack the top 10, but you have Trent Richardson dropping out even after he played all year injured, he had an inept OC and teams stacked 8 in the box against him? Now he has Norv who is well known for riding his bell-cow backs as well as an improved offence and likely growth from guys like Weeden, Cameron and Gordan?

    Unless Trent suffers a season ending injury, I don’t see how he at the very least isn’t in the top 10, or maybe even improves and moves into the top 5.

    • Jacob Feldman

      July 21, 2013 at 6:21 pm

      Norv prefers the bell cow approach when he has someone that can handle it. After all, Ryan Mathews never topped 225 carries.

      I’m lower than most on Richardson because after what I saw last season I see a good but not great RB. He isn’t the second coming of Peterson and might not even be the second coming of someone like Frank Gore. I think he might be someone that needs to split time to stay healthy which will limit his upside a bit.

      It has only been on year though, so who knows what will happen with him. I could be way off. Thanks for the comment.

  5. Brett

    July 21, 2013 at 10:37 am

    I know this is the wrong forum and i apologize, love this forum by the way, I don’t see Roddy dropping out though, he’s Mr consistent yr in yr out. But my question to you Fantasy minds, Which of Mendenhall and Mathews would you let go of if you had a RB needy team needing a RB….I don’t want to give away the one that gets back to form.

    And in a 16 team league,IDP, (12 keepers) Who between K.Hunter and R.Broyles do you keep for last keeper spot. Here’s my team, (1QB,2RB,2WR,2FX,1TE,)
    QB
    1.M.Stafford
    RB
    2.L.Miller
    3.D.Wilson
    4.C.Ivory
    5.R.Mendehall
    6.R.Mathews
    WR
    7.D.Bryant
    8.R.Cobb
    9.K.Britt
    10.D.Alexander
    TE
    11.K.Rudolph
    12.???????? K.Hunter or R.Broyles

    Thanks for any thoughts…I could be getting D.Thomas in exchange for Mendehall or Mathews from the RB needy team.

    • SeanO

      July 21, 2013 at 11:49 am

      I don’t love either one, but I would rather have Mendenhall reuniting w/ his old OC Arians. I would also rather have Broyles than Hunter especially in a PPR. Not sure how Hunter will bounce back from his injury, while Broyles has had good reviews recovering from his.

    • BigD

      July 21, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      are u talking demaryus thomas? i’d trade both mendy and mathews for him. do it man right now before the other guy comes to his senses. if he does actually “come to” then offer him any rb you have on your team straight up for thomas. and i mean any of them including miller or wilson. thomas is a top 5 wr and had over 200pnts in our league last year. he has a chance to be the best with manning throwing to him without a doubt.

  6. David

    July 21, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    RGIII will be in the top 10 this year – he didn’t even play in 2 games and he was less than 100% in 2 others. He was hurt on 2 scrambles where his slid head first – he needs to learn to slide feet first and low (see A Rodgers). He was never injured on any read option play. – I guarantee everyone reading this, Wash will still run the read option. Wash returns all starters on offense – so offensive continuity is there. Garcon missed 10 games last year, having him for 16 games will improve RGIII passing numbers for sure. Assume RGIII runs for 400-500 yds rather than 700+ like last year. He will more than make up for that with TD passes and passing yards because he will only improve. I’ll say he finishes 27-32 TD passes and more than 3500 yards passing.

    • Jacob Feldman

      July 21, 2013 at 6:24 pm

      QB was pretty tough. It is very rare for a top 10 QB to not be at least top 15 the following year unless they get injured. If I had to bet money I would say RGIII is in the top 10 next year and probably by a comfortable margin. However, I do think he is the most likely of the top 10 to get injured and by extension not be back in it if I had to pick one to miss (which I did). Thanks for reading!

    • phantasy5

      July 23, 2013 at 5:53 am

      David, I tend to agree with your comments, as an owner of RGIII. Granted it will be hard for him to reach these numbers if he misses significant time, but that’s a given. I keep reading reports on him being ready to go, but you have to take that with a grain of salt, obviously! Having said all that, if you try to alter his game because they’re afraid of him getting hurt, I think that hurts who he is! They will still have designed runs for him out if the pistol but maybe less like you said. The Shanahan’s are very creative and will always play to the players strengths, and for that reason he stays in top ten.

  7. Corey

    July 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    I’m surprised to see no one mention Percy Harvin anywhere in the article or comments so far. Last year through week 8, he was the most dominant fantasy WR in football. If he hadn’t been injured, he was on pace to be at the very least a top-3 fantasy WR. And now he’s in a better situation with Wilson instead of Ponder. He easily has top-3 potential, and number 1 potential in leagues where kickoff and punt returns are scored, and I can’t imagine him finishing outside of the top ten at his position.

    • Jacob Feldman

      July 21, 2013 at 6:31 pm

      I debated putting Harvin on the list as a possible replacement. Two things stopped me though. One is that I’m not sure he can stay healthy for 16 games. He’s 1 for 4 on that so far in his career. He’ll be a top 10 WR when he’s healthy, but I’m not sure how many games he will be healthy for. The second thing that stopped me is how he might be worked into the Seattle offense. Eric Olinger said it very well in his over/under article on Harvin. The Seattle offense didn’t produce much in the air. I also think his usage in the return game will be a lot less.

      Bottom line on Harvin for me is I expect him to be top 10 when on the field, but he’ll miss a few games and finish just outside of it.

      • Krcil

        July 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm

        Harvin did only miss 3 games prior to this last year. His “injury prone” tag is an annoying one. Injuries are as easy to predict as TDs…

        I do agree with your argument that they didn’t produce a lot through the air, but he was WR1 in the league on a team that had a 2k rusher.

        Maybe we are just on the downward swing of the Harvin hype. I think I need to wait a few weeks for the downward swing of Miller and Vereen

        • Jacob Feldman

          July 26, 2013 at 8:33 am

          Looks like my gut feeling to exclude Harvin was right on. Hard blow for his owners.

  8. kcDemonSlayer

    July 22, 2013 at 6:58 am

    I think Romo will drop out of the top 10. The last couple years it has taken a 40+ point game once or twice to land him in the bottom of the top 10. What would it take for Dez to reproduce the numbers that he had last year. He would have to quite simply be the best WR that ever existed for 17 weeks. I just don’t see that happening. Miles is done. Terrance Williams is the next AJ Jenkins, they drafted a 2nd TE and 2nd RB which they will try to get involved, which will take away from Witten/Dez/Murray.

  9. Britt

    July 22, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Great work as always Jacob. Few comments – Another vote for Harvin cracking the top 10. I’m a little concerned that D.Thomas won’t be top 10 with the addition of Welker. I think Gresham is a prime candidate to drop out of the top 10 with the arrival of Eifert in Cin.

  10. phantasy5

    July 23, 2013 at 6:26 am

    Jacob, nice job! I agree with most of your selections and find this to be very interesting yet challenging! Here are some of my ins & outs. I say Peyton is just outside top 10 @ 11 and Romo is 12. I’d bump Luck in top 5 and Brady down to bottom 5. I add Dalton and Braford solely based on the weapons added to their teams. McCoy will be in the top 10 and the only one I see not being there is Gore. You could make a case for SJax but I don’t see Bush or CJ1K there. At WR I think Wayne and White are out and Julio and Harvin are in. Yes I’m making a case for my guy, Harvin, if he stays on the field! I can easily see Fitz on here as well but really can’t take anyone else off. (tough call) Finally at TE I’d say Miller and Gresham are out and V. Davis and Finley are in. I believe both of them will bounce back this season. I would make a case for Bennett as well because of his situation now.

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