With the 2012 fantasy football season over, it’s time to turn your attention to next year.
Here’s one version of what the first round may look like in 2013, based on a 12-team, standard scoring league.
• Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota: Scary to think about his potential with a full offseason to get healthier. Peterson, who is 102 yards away from a 2,000-yard season, seemingly has no weakness as a runner. If the Vikings can add another weapon in the receiving game and quarterback Christian Ponder improves in his third year, it may also lessen the number of stacked boxes he sees.
• Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore: Was somewhat inconsistent this season, including a killer three-point week in the fantasy semifinals in Week 15, but put up more than 1,500 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns. He’s a good bet to at least match those numbers next season.
• Arian Foster, RB, Houston: A touchdown machine, plain and simple. In leagues where touchdowns are more important, such as the one here at The News, Foster’s value is higher. He left last week’s game with what’s being called an irregular heartbeat, so his health should be monitored in the offseason.
• Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit: The opposite of Foster, the only knock on Johnson is the touchdowns. He’s scored just five times this season, but the NFL’s new single-season receiving yardage leader is pretty much impossible to guard. There’s no reason to think the touchdowns can’t improve next season.
• Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle: Beast Mode has eight games this season with at least 100 yards and a touchdown. Fantasy backs don’t get much more consistent. There is the possibility of NFL discipline in the offseason because of a DUI case.
• Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington: Ranks fifth in fantasy scoring among quarterbacks after leading the league much of the season. This might be high, but given how likable Griffin is as a player and person, it’s easy to imagine an owner in your league pulling the trigger early. It’s not like it’d be a bad pick, either. Griffin’s got the running ability of Mike Vick but is a better passer.
• Tom Brady, QB, New England: His worst fantasy game this season in standard-scoring ESPN leagues is 14 points. His fewest passing yards in a game are 223 and he hasn’t had a game where he’s failed to throw for a touchdown. You can count on Brady every week to perform. His 310 fantasy points this season are the most in the NFL.
• Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay: Consistency needs to improve, but Martin’s 251-yard, four-touchdown, 51-point fantasy game in Week Nine showed he can be one of the elite fantasy players.
• A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati: Tailed off some near the end of the season, but still ultra talented and in the conversation as the second-best receiver in the game behind Megatron.
• Trent Richardson, RB, Cleveland: Fought through injuries most of the season and still put up 11 touchdowns for a bad Browns team. Should be even better in his second year following an offseason to get healthy.
• Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans: This pick is a toss-up between Brees and Aaron Rodgers, but if Sean Payton returns to coach the Saints, I’m favoring Brees.
He’s second in fantasy scoring to Brady this season, has been incredibly durable (just two missed games in the last nine seasons) and you know he’ll throw it a ton.
• C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo: Assuming Chan Gailey is gone and the incoming coach is smart enough to give the ball to Spiller 20 times a game, his potential is through the roof.
Fantasy playoff options
If you can’t wait until September for more fantasy football, both nfl.com and espn.com have playoff challenges, in which you construct a usual fantasy team.
The catch, though, is that you want to select players from teams you believe will advance in the playoffs, so that they can continue to pile up the points.
Both websites offer prizes, including a trip to Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014 on nfl.com.
Analyzing the Bills
If your league plays meaningful games in Week 17, stop that.
It’s silly. But if that’s the case, the Bills with the best fantasy value Sunday include Spiller and receiver Stevie Johnson, who should be plenty motivated to get to 1,000 receiving yards on the season.
The Jets have very little fantasy appeal. Running back Shonn Greene is a good No. 2 option at his position, but that’s about it.
Note: This is the final fantasy column of the 2012 season.