One of the biggest issues in the Fantasy Football world is finding consistent players you can count on every week. Sure Yahoo and ESPN give managers a fair analysis of projected points that are somewhat accurate for most players, but it is harder to find those players than how it would seem. Not only do these superstars disappoint managers and their NFL teams, but they cost important wins that could prove costly when making a run for the playoffs. The biggest example to prove my point is how after Doug Martin torched the Raiders for 51 fantasy points, Ray Rice; arguably one of the best running backs in the league, could only muster 12 points against them. This is what kills mangers during important weeks, and for that matter, it destroys analysts who try to accurately predict what would happen according to match ups.
But the biggest point to take out of week 11, and the end of bye week periods for that matter, is that the big guns are finally starting to show consistency, with a few surprises, but this year is shaping up to be a good one for the superstars. After an inconsistent start, the stars have decided to come out and play, and to no surprise, they are all freaks of nature meant to play this sport.
The Usual Suspects:
Adrian Peterson – Running Back – Minnesota Vikings
There is no question that Adrian “All Day” Peterson, is the biggest star of the 2012 season. The numbers he is posting are incredibly rare coming off a torn ACL last year. Most players don’t even get back to their old form, A.P. has found a way to arguably, get better. In his last 4 games, he has rushed for 629 yards, on 82 carries for 5 touchdowns. That is an incredible 7.7 yards per carry, yes, you read it right 7.7 YPC. The most incredible part is AP is getting the biggest part of his yards after contact, and mind you, he had a TORN ACL last season. You also can’t blame it on the team, the Vikings have one of the easiest offenses to center around, though they can get pretty crafty. Percy Harvin is having an incredible year, but it is easy to realize the ball will be ran 2 out of 3 downs at least.
Adrian Peterson’s comeback is so outstanding and unexpected that even the popular show “The League” on FX, which focuses on a group of friends that play fantasy football, made it very clear how crazy it is to actually draft Adrian Peterson before the season:
“I would be remiss in my duty as a doctor if i didn’t tell you that Adrian Peterson, anywhere before the 3rd round is nuts, no running back has ever come back from an ACL to have a good season the next year with the exception of Deuce McCallister and he was 22 years old!”
I’m sure more than a handful of analysts supported this idea, as much as I love Adrian Peterson, even I didn’t think it was possible. Adrian Peterson currently leads the league in rushing yards by about 120 with 1128 and his 7 touchdowns are the second most by a running back. Averaging 5.8 yards per carry on the year, and getting 29 receptions this year, has Adrian Peterson as the #1 Non-QB player in standard leagues. Foster, Mccoy, Rice, and Jones-drew were the most popular running backs coming out of the draft, but Adrian Peterson, will surely be the biggest name entering 2013. There is no bigger freak of nature. Even doctors are dumbfounded by him, they don’t understand how it is possible that Peterson’s body looks like it had never been hurt in his life.
Arian Foster – Running Back – Houston Texans
Foster was the #1 overall pick in most drafts, as he deserved to be, and he has not disappointed in the least. He has 10 rushing touchdowns and 2 receiving ones, and that should be no surprise, he has been a touchdown machine since he took over the Texans backfield years ago. Before this last game against the Jaguars, Foster had scored a touchdown in every single game he played in, and no less than 14 fantasy points. We haven’t seen Foster go for over 160+ yards or break incredible runs like other players, but that is not entirely his fault. The Texans defense has been incredible, leaving no need what so ever for them to count on Foster in a big way, or Schaub for that matter. His 3.9 yards per carry are very deceiving. He has rushed over 24 times in 8 games, he has been a complete workhorse, and has played even when there was no need for him to do so, just because the Texans backfield has been plagued with injuries.
He has failed to reach 75 rushing yards only once this season, and it should be known that even on that game where he only got 29 rushing yards, he scored 2 rushing touchdowns. Foster is a superstar and he is showing it, finding a way to provide for fantasy owners just like expected. Even Ray Rice has had a lot of trouble producing consistent numbers, but Foster has been silent but deadly all throughout the year. He is the 2nd best non-QB fantasy player in standard leagues, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up overtaking Adrian Peterson at the end of the season, though I still consider AP the MVP of this year, if the Vikings had a better record of course.
Calvin Johnson – Wide Receiver – Detroit Lions
I don’t know why, but some people actually started doubting this guy. After 1 touchdown through 9 weeks, and back to back weeks with less than 4 fantasy points, people started to panic, they started to shop Megatron on the trading block, and even believed that his injury might be more severe than we actually know. Megatron supporters blamed it on Matthew Stafford’s struggles, but Megatron should never be doubted, he is too big and strong to be doubted. He leads the league in receiving yards with 974 and has 60 catches on the year. His 2 touchdowns are quite disappointing, but we will just assume he is saving the best for last. He has 1 monstrous game early in the year with 10 catches for 164 yards and 1 touchdown, and it seemed like he was going to take off, but an injury slowed him down. It felt quite odd, Megatron just wan’t making an impact.
However, his last 2 games show more than enough promise. 12 catches for 207 yards and 1 touchdown against the Vikings defense, and 143 yards and a touchdown against the Packers have Megatron looking as good as ever. It is amazing to see than after having 54 yards, followed by 34 and 46 yards two games after that awful performance, he has still found a way to lead the league in yards. Last years season was unbelievable, and this one did not take off at the same pace, but it matters how you finish, there is no way Megatron slows down after this, specially with the Detroit Lions a little banged up and in need of a big run to secure a playoff spot before it is too late.
Jimmy Graham – Tight End – New Orleans
Jimmy or Gronk, Gronk or Jimmy, its a big tight end question that nobody wants to answer because there is simple no right or wrong answer. Graham scored a touchdown in the first 3 games of the season for the saints, and then disappeared from the end zone after an ankle injury started to bother him. He tried playing through it but couldn’t as he basically missed 2 games after a hot start. Well, the fantastic story that is Jimmy Graham has heated up once more.
He trails Gronkowski by 1 touchdown to lead tight end, but I’m sure that would change soon since Rob Gronkowski is expected to miss a month. Gronkowski trails Gonzalez in the yards department by less than 100 even after missing 2 games. Since coming back from injury he is as hot as ever with 26 catches for 310 yards and 5 touchdowns in only 4 games. Graham has become an even bigger part of the Saints offense as the Saints got a little more desperate for wins considering their terrible start. Now that the Saints have reached the .500 mark with a 5-5 record, there is no time to slow down. Graham has become Brees’s favorite target, even over Colston, and considering who Drew Brees is, Graham is going to be more than the superstar we are used to seeing.
Andre Johnson – Wide Receiver – Houston Texans
For about 2 years, maybe even 3, I tried to defend AJ80. I knew he was still the best in the game, he looks it, he acts like it, he plays like it, even if he plays in less than 6 games a year. For the longest amount of time I tried holding on to the idea that he was still the best wide receiver in the league, of course that was before Megatron’s take over. And then after seeing Calvin Johnson, I began to think, maybe there are other options out there better than Andre and I’m just holding on to him way too tight, well it doesn’t appear to be so. He has finally stayed healthy, and unfortunately for him, the Texans look as dominant on defense as anyone, which means there is less need for big plays and forcing throws.
He has been very inconsistent, even with a great start to the year, the Texans have all year long decided to let Arian run all day, use Andre Johnson to get long first downs and then keep running, or just wait until the defense helps them get better position to score. And then to make it worse, they used Andre Johnson to become the decoy for the resurgence of tight end Owen Daniels. With Owen Daniels a bit banged up, Andre Johnson was finally able to be the main and only man in an overtime thriller against the Jaguars. Johnson exploded for 14 catches and 273 yards and 1 touchdown. 33 fantasy points. The last 5 weeks he has gotten more than 8 catches in 4 of 5 games. Give Johnson the chance he deserves, he is heating up, and Schaub has actually remembered that Andre is on his team when he needs him. Of course at this points PPR leagues are better for Andre, but the Texans offense is so explosive that having Andre Johnson on your side is always a good option.
I select these guys not because of the year they are having, but because I believe they are the best players at their position. The fact that they are having the year they are makes it all the sweeter, It’s a no doubter for me when it comes to picking the top running backs and wide receivers now, even though others might be performing better. I want to select the other superstars I’ve loved to watch this year, players like Percy Harvin, Brandon Marshall, Victor Cruz, A.J. Green and Reggie Wayne. who have been a delight to watch. All of them more dominant than Andre Johnson who I just mentioned. Mostly because he’s been way to underrated and he finally exploded for 273 yards. And then I have an idea of the players to check going forward, like Trent Richardson, Jordy Nelson, Hakeem Nicks, Matt Forte and Dez Bryant.
Since week 11 is done, the bye weeks are over, and we have a pretty good idea of what we are going to get with most players. Like Foster most likely getting a minimum of 14 every week, I don’t see how anyone could expect any less. The fantasy playoffs, specially considering the trade deadline approaching fast in most leagues, are not as easy as people would think. It is quite easy to be a 9-2 team through week 11, yet lose in the first round to a team with a losing record, believe me, that happens more often that anyone would like.
The Fantastic Four:
To end the big review at the points where all bye weeks end, we have one of my favorite subjects to talk about. The Elite quarterback list. Last week, different analysts tried to rank the top 5 elite quarterbacks. Some included Eli Manning on the list even with his recent struggles, most included Ben Roethlisberger who had been playing at a high level, and he already has 2 superbowl rings in 3 chances, and with the Falcons playing at a high level, we also had many putting Matt Ryan in the list even without a playoff victory. Well, through all this we get one thing in common, there are only 4 elite quarterbacks. People should stop trying to bring the count to 5. As much as you try, nobody compares to them.
Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning are all the undisputed best. We have 3 of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, with a ton of records between them, and by the time Rodgers gets done playing he will be among them with records of his own. Not even considering the fact that all of them have won a superbowl, Brady being the only multiple winner. Elite Fantasy quarterbacks to be precise, are those players that no matter how bad the situation looks, how bad the match up is, are always able to at least get a good fantasy output. Basically, mediocre stats is something they are not familiar with. Matt Ryan for example just threw 5 interceptions against the Cardinals. Brady has 3, Rodgers has 5 and Manning has 6 interceptions all year. Eli Manning is the Superbowl champion, and he does have 2 over Brady, but he has 2 touchdowns to 6 interceptions his last 5 games, and less than 250 yards in 4 of his last 5 games. Eli also has 3 straight weeks without a touchdown, which is just not what an Elite Quarterback gets to do. Brees’s worst game had 213 yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, that is an incredible 14 fantasy points. Eli and Matt Ryan have had 2 fantasy points each on their last games.
So please, lets stop this debate now, and if someone ever mentions the words “elite” and “quarterback in the same sentence, you stop him, and tell him there are only 4 and he better not add any more. Send him to me if there is any problem. The evidence does not lie, and it is about time that we stop holding on to the idea of having 5 quarterbacks when clearly only 4 fit the profile. Lets get ready for the last 6 weeks of football to go full strengthThis is a post submitted by Gino Bernasconi. Gino is currently a Florida International University student going for an electrical engineer major with a journalism minor. He is a huge New Orleans fan and a Miami Dolphins season ticket Holder. He has written fantasy football tips and articles for over 8 years and is prepared to defend any and all arguments you have against his picks. Gino is always looking for new leagues, new challenges, and new victims to build his confidence. Twitter:@GinoBuddah