The Ninja’s Top Fantasy Football Performers of 2012
Starting Quarterback: Drew Brees
Drew Brees was the king at the quarterback position this year as he led the league in passing yards and touchdowns through the entire fantasy season. Brees ended with 4,335 passing yards and 36 touchdown passes which averaged into 289 yards and 2.4 touchdowns a game. This results in a weekly average of 22 fantasy points a game which led all quarterbacks and Breese’s 370 fantasy points was also tops among all quarterbacks in the 2012 season. Brees eclipsed the 300 yard mark eight different times this season including his 446 passing yard performance in week 4 vs the Packers and threw for multiple touchdowns in 11 out of 15 games this fantasy season. In 9 of those 11 games Breese threw for 3 TDs or more making him the Ninja’s Fantasy Football Pro Bowl Starter at the QB position.
Back-Up Quarterback: Tom Brady
Tom Brady turned in another Tom Brady like season throwing for more than 3,500 yards (4,276) and 25 touchdowns (30) marking the 9th season he has reached this milestone. Brady has done it this year in spite of key injuries to his two favorite targets Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski who missed a combined 12 games this year and were only on the field together once all year, which came on opening day. Brady also added four rushing touchdowns this year which is his career high and only threw six interceptions which is his second best mark in his career. Brady scored 364 fantasy points this year marking the fourth consecutive year going over 300 earning him the back up position in The Ninja’s 2012 Fantasy Football Pro Bowl Team.
Starting Running Back: Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson is having one of the best rushing season’s the NFL has ever seen as he is now 293 yards away from breaking Erick Dickerson’s all time rushing yards in a season record and only 188 yards away from becoming the seventh player in NFL history to reach 2,000 rushing yards in a season (O.J. Simpson, Eric Dickerson, Barry Sanders, Terrell Davis, Jamal Lewis, and Chris Johnson) were the others. Peterson ended the fantasy football season with 1,812 rushing yards, 11 rushing touchdowns, 38 receptions, and 211 receiving yards placing him at the top of the list in terms of fantasy points with 298. Peterson led all running backs with 100 yard games this year with 11 and ended the year on an 8 game streak which carried fantasy teams into and through the playoffs.
Back-Up Running Back: Arian Foster
Arian Foster was projected by Yahoo Sports and many other experts as the best fantasy football player of 2012 at the beginning of the year. Foster did not disappoint fantasy owners that took him with the number 1 overall pick back in August as he was the second best running back in the league this year in terms of fantasy points with 268. Foster ended the fantasy season with 1,313 rushing yards, 14 rushing touchdowns, 36 receptions, 180 receiving yards, and 2 receiving touchdowns. Foster averaged 19.1 fantasy points per game according to Yahoo Sports default settings and averaged 22.6 points per game in leagues that had accelerators when a running back reaches 100 yards rushing. This season marks the third straight year that Foster has rushed for over 1,200 yards and his combined 16 touchdowns are the most that he has ever scored in a fantasy season (15 weeks).
Staring Wide Receiver: Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall came into this season ranked as the 25th best fantasy football player by Yahoo Sports and was an early third round steal for fantasy owners that picked him. Marshall was the best wide receiver in the NFL this year in terms of fantasy points as he scored 305 points according to Yahoo Sports default settings and went well into the 320s in leagues that use accelerators. Marshall ended the fantasy season with 107 receptions, 1,398 receiving yards, and 10 receiving touchdowns in his first year back with quarterback Jay Cutler. Marshall has played 4 seasons with Jay Cutler (3 in Denver) and has averaged over 100 catches, 1,100 yards, and 6 touchdowns in all 4 seasons. If you stole Marshall this year in the third round congratulations, but he will be a top 15 pick in next year’s fantasy draft.
Back-Up Wide Receiver: Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson (Megatron) played like a superhero all year as he burned defenses week in and week out ending his fantasy season with 106 receptions, 1,667 receiving yards, and 5 receiving touchdowns. Johnson ended his fantasy season with seven consecutive 100 yard games and is only 182 yards away from breaking hall of famer Jerry Rice’s NFL record of most receiving yards in a season at 1,848. Johnson became the first player in NFL history to record back to back 1,600 yard seasons and is not showing any signs of slowing down in the near future. Johnson is a complete of a receiver that has produced year in and year out since entering the league in 2007 and possess all of the skills to become the best receiver the game has ever seen. What will he do next year?
Starting Tight End: Tony Gonzalez
Tony Gonzalez has not slowed down at all in his 15th NFL season and finds himself as the best tight end in the league in terms of fantasy points. Gonzalez ended his fantasy season with 87 catches, 880 receiving yards, and 8 receiving touchdowns; 221 fantasy points. Gonzalez has recorded more than 80 catches, 870 yards receiving, and 7 touchdowns in his last two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. He averaged 62.9 receiving yards per game this year which was his best since 2008 when he averaged 66.1 with the Kansas City Chiefs. Gonzalez’s 8 receiving touchdowns this year was just two shy of his career high 11 that he reached in the 1999 season as a third year player in the league. Gonzalez is a first ballot hall of famer that is still producing at a high level.
Back-Up Tight End: Jason Witten
Jason Witten reached his career high in catches this year with 97 which led all tight ends in the league. Witten ended his fantasy season with 195 points marking the third consecutive year that he has passed the 180 point milestone. Witten also led all tight ends around the league in receiving yards with 923 but only found the end zone twice all year making him the Ninja’s back-up Pro Bowl tight end. Witten is obviously Tony Romo’s favorite target and with injuries to Miles Austin and Dez Bryant throughout the season Witten saw even more balls thrown his way as he received a career high in targets (124). Witten is just six catches shy of setting the all time mark for most receptions in a season by a tight end (102) which was set by Tony Gonzalez in 2004.
Fantasy Football Ninja: @PenaJT2