Aug 9, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (85) during warm-ups before the game against the New Orleans Saints at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

Fantasy Football Top 5 And Top Sleeper of 2012

Aug 23, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson (93) attempts to block a pass by the Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

It is almost that time! The NFL regular season is right around the corner and so is the Fantasy Football season. I have been waiting for this day since I tied in my championship game eight months ago. The thing that I love about fantasy football; it’s not about whether a player wins or loses, but about their ability to put up insane numbers.

That got me thinking…who are going to be the top five fantasy performers this season. I thought long and hard on who I think the most valuable guys are going to be this season and generously put them in a list for you below. I also threw a sleeper in there because let’s be honest everyone loves a good sleeper.

1. Aaron Rodgers

Rodgers, the reigning MVP, gets the nod over Cam Newton. Rodgers had the most efficient season since the creation of the passer rating in 1971. However, what puts Rodgers in the number 1 spot is the way the Packers season ended last year; a disappointing loss to the New York Giants on a subpar performance from Rodgers. Rodgers put up phenomenal numbers following a super bowl victory. Most players say it is hard to find motivation to work hard in the offseason once you have won the super bowl. If Rodgers put up incredible numbers in the season following a Super Bowl victory, imagine what he will put up in a year after he played poorly and faced an early exit.

2. Cam Newton

Cam Newton is a fantasy owners dream at the quarterback position. What I love about Cam is his ability to score in the redzone with his legs. He finished with the second most rushing touchdowns in the NFL! THE NFL! Although, it is unlikely that he will rush for that many TD’s again you can still bank on a solid amount from Cam this season. Also, let’s not forget that this guy was a rookie last year. I expect to see an improvement in his decision making, leading to a few more TD passes and less interceptions.

August 24, 2011; Tampa, FL, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) high fives wide receiver Brandon Lloyd (85) after he scored a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the New England Patriots 30-28. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

3. Rob Gronkowski

Now, now, settle down and let me explain why Gronk is getting the three spot. I took the average fantasy points of the top 20 players from each position, and then looked to see who had the greatest positive difference from their fantasy totals and the average. I call it the Fantasy Point Advantage or FPA. This was what the top five looked like
Player FPA
Aaron Rodgers 134.8
Drew Brees 129.8
Rob Gronkowski 125.1
Tom Brady 101.8
Cam Newton 101.8
That’s right, when comparing Gronk to the 20 best tightends based on last season he ranks third in FPA behind Rodgers and Brees. Now it is unlikely that Gronk will repeat his astronomical number of TD’s but this position has the steepest drop off in scoring after him and Jimmy Graham. He holds more value than you might think.

4. Drew Brees

It may be surprising to see Drew fall all the way to 4 after his record setting season last year, but there are two major factors that will attribute to a decline in numbers for Brees.
1. No Sean Payton
2. The loss of OG Carol Nicks and WR Robert Meachem
Payton is one of the best offensive minds in the NFL. He is also one of the best head coaches in the NFL. His presence will be sorely missed by Drew Brees even if Brees won’t admit it. Carl Nicks was a pro bowl guard for the Saints and crucial in pass protection. It is difficult in this league to replace a guy of his caliber. Also Meachem a deep threat receiver was lost this offseason as well. The Saints drafted Nick Toon to replace Meachem, but Toon is more of a possession receiver and the Saints have plenty of those.

5. Arian Foster

This is another guy I am really high on this season. He struggled with hamstring issues early in the season, but once he was healthy he was a force. He is a dual threat running back, putting up impressive receiving numbers last year. What really impressed me about Foster was his ability to produce even when Schaub and Johnson were sidelined with injuries. Give Foster a full season and a healthy Schaub and Johnson and expect to see monstrous fantasy numbers from #28

The Sleeper- Brandon Lloyd

It was just two years ago when Lloyd was the number one fantasy receiver. Last year, Lloyd was involved in a more conservative offense. He was then traded to the Rams where he had to play the last six games with AJ feely and Kellen Clemens. Now he is in New England with Tom Brady and Josh Mcdaniels. Oh ya, I forgot to mention that when Lloyd led the league in receiving his OC was Josh Mcdaniels! Also, The OC when Tom Brady set the single season record for TD passes and Randy Moss set the single season record for TD receptions was Josh Mcdaniels! I am not saying that Lloyd will be breaking any records, but it would definitely be smart to keep an eye on him this season.

Tags: Aaron Rodgers Brandon Lloyd Cam Newton Fantasy Football Draft

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