With the 2011 season fading away into memory fans are beginning to gear for the 2012 NFL season and, for many of them, their fantasy seasons as well. Perhaps the greatest thing about fantasy football is that no matter who your favorite team is you are destined to cross over enemy lines to pick up a top player at any position. Heck, even I took Drew Brees over Matt Schaub last season (a cardinal sin I am sure) and he did well for me.
However, there is one player on the Houston Texans roster who is always at the top of my, and many football fans’, list…Arian Foster.
Last season Foster averaged more fantasy points than any other running back. The idea of him being a “one-and-done” running back is a thing of the past as he has proven that he has what it takes to last for the long-haul. According to NFL.com here is the list of the top 10 players that fantasy players should target:
1. Arian Foster, RB, Texans: Foster averaged more fantasy points per game than any running back last season, so there’s no longer a question about whether his 2010 season was a fluke. The closest thing the current NFL has to Marshall Faulk, Foster is the top fantasy player on my board.
2. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles: McCoy has become one of the elite runners in fantasy land, and his 20-touchdown campaign in 2011 proved it. One of the few featured backs left in the league, the Pittsburgh product will no doubt continue to rack up the yards, touchdowns and fantasy points.
3. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens: The leading point scorer among running backs last season, Rice recorded career bests in rushing yards, scrimmage yards and total touchdowns as the top option in the Ravens offense. At 25 and in the prime of his NFL tenure, he’ll be a top-five pick in all drafts.
4. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: Unless you have a top-three pick, say good-bye to your strategy of drafting running backs in the first round. Rodgers has finished in the top two in fantasy points at his position in each of the last four years, and that trend is likely to continue in 2012.
5. Drew Brees, QB, Saints: Brees has finished in the top two in fantasy points among quarterbacks in three of the last four years — the one season he missed it was when he was on the Madden cover. In a league that is so plentiful for quarterbacks, Brees is now a lock first-rounder.
6. Tom Brady, QB, Patriots: Once considered a good (but not great) fantasy quarterback, Brady is now cemented into the elite players at his position. One of three signal-callers to throw for 5,000-plus yards last season, he has averaged 40 total touchdowns in his last three full seasons.
7. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jaguars: Despite having no help on offense, Jones-Drew still rolled up a career-best 1,606 rushing yards and scored 11 total touchdowns last season. Whether he can duplicate that level of yardage remains to be seen, but Jones-Drew remains a solid No. 1 fantasy back.
8. Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions: In his first full season with Matthew Stafford under center, Megatron transformed into an even bigger statistical monster than he was in the past. In fact, he recorded career bests in receptions, yards, touchdowns and yards per catch. That’s an impressive feat.
9. Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions: Stafford stayed out of the trainer’s room and thrived for the Lions and fantasy owners alike, throwing for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns in 2011. As long as he remains free of those worrisome injuries, there’s no reason Stafford won’t continue to roar in 2012.
10. Cam Newton, QB, Panthers: Newton is coming off the best rookie season ever for a fantasy quarterback, so the bar has been set high for his sophomore campaign. While I doubt he’ll be able to record 13 rushing touchdowns again, Newton’s versatile skill set and potential are unquestionable.