Fantasy Football Player Rankings

Fantasy Players Rankings updated July 30th. 

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[tabs] [tab title=”Quarterbacks”]

Drew Brees

New Orleans Saints

Season Team GM Cmp Att Yards TD INT RYrds RTD
2010 New Orleans 16 448 658 4620 33 22 0 0
2011 New Orleans 16 468 657 5476 46 14 86 1
2012 New Orleans 16 422 670 5177 43 19 5 1
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 451 659 5010 41 17 30 1

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton was reinstated in late January after serving a 9 1/2 month suspension as punishment for the bounty scandal. Payton’s return will be welcomed by all, especially Drew Brees.

Coming off of consecutive 5000+ yard seasons, Brees and the Saints offense are in uncharted territory for elite fantasy production. Brees has also led the NFL in touchdown passes four of the past five NFL seasons. The return of head coach Sean Payton to the sidelines certainly won’t hurt that consistency either. With Green Bay adding a couple of talented young running backs via this year’s draft, we’re giving Brees the nod as our top signal-caller.

Aaron Rodgers

Green Bay Packers

Season Team GM Cmp Att Yards TD INT RYrds RTD
2010 Green Bay 15 312 475 3922 28 11 356 4
2011 Green Bay 15 343 502 4643 45 6 257 3
2012 Green Bay 16 371 552 4295 39 8 259 2
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 355 516 4450 37 9 251 2

The Green Bay Packers added two rookie RB’s through this year’s NFL draft. Both Eddie Lacy (Alabama) and Johnathan Franklin (UCLA) add much needed depth and versatility to a running back crew that has been extremely average at best. The Packers are very much a pass first team, yet it’s obvious that the running game, or lack thereof, is a focal point for improvement throughout training camp. Fantasy owners may be concerned about the possibility of a more balanced attack from the Green Bay Packers. Yet, if anything, having an improved running game will keep defenses guessing and allow Rogers more breathing room to throw the ball.

Aaron Rodgers is one of safest quarterbacks of the draft class, he should be targeted in the second round of fantasy drafts.

Matt Ryan

Atlanta Falcons

Season Team GM Cmp Att Yards TD INT RYrds RTD
2010 Atlanta 16 357 571 3705 28 9 122 0
2011 Atlanta 16 347 566 4177 29 12 84 2
2012 Atlanta 16 422 615 4719 32 14 141 1
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 440 629 4809 35 14 109 1

Matt Ryan is going to win a lot of fantasy championships this season. He’s one of the best values out there, especially at the deep QB position. Ryan has managed to improve his fantasy points-per-game numbers in EVERY season he has played, and he gained strides last year with accuracy and screen passes. Already blessed with one of the most talented groups of skill-position players in the league, Atlanta has now upgraded their RB spot by bringing in Steven Jackson, who has an excellent set of hands and will allow Ryan another deadly option as a receiver out of the backfield. Matt Ryan’s ADP has him being selected in the fifth or sixth round, as the seventh quarterback off the board. We love him as a Tier-1 fantasy passer and as a tremendous value pick.

Peyton Manning

Denver Broncos

Season Team GM Cmp Att Yards TD INT RYrds RTD
2009 Indianapolis 16 393 571 4500 33 16 0 0
2010 Indianapolis 16 450 679 4700 33 17 18 0
2012 Denver 16 400 583 4659 37 11 6 0
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 431 619 4850 37 12 5 0

Believe it or not, Peyton is coming off one of the best seasons of his career. With Wes Welker in the mix now, it’s hard to imagine any defense hindering him in 2013. Rookie running back Montee Ball should be a viable pass protector and pass catcher out of the backfield. Another year of around 4,500 yards and 35 touchdowns for the old veteran should be expected.

Cam Newton

Carolina Panthers

Season Team GM Cmp Att Yards TD INT RYrds RTD
2011 Carolina 16 310 517 4051 21 17 706 14
2012 Carolina 16 280 485 3869 19 12 741 8
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 299 501 3900 20 15 602 8

Newton made some strides last season, improving his timing and touch as a passer and reducing his interceptions. He also managed to stay dangerous with his legs, again rushing for 700+ yards, but did see a reduction in rushing touchdowns. Newton was less consistent throughout the season, starting cold then ending hot, but has been fairly consistent with his season totals over his first two years in the league. Going by those, Cam Newton looks like a safe bet to throw for 20 touchdowns and run for 700 yards and 6-10 additional scores. Adding those up, Newton is still an elite-level fantasy QB and an excellent target for owners who miss out on the top-tier of fantasy signal-callers.

Tom Brady

New England Patriots

Season Team GM Cmp Att Yards TD INT RYrds RTD
2010 New England 16 324 492 3900 36 4 30 1
2011 New England 16 401 611 5235 39 12 109 3
2012 New England 16 401 637 4827 34 8 32 4
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 385 590 4450 34 10 45 2

With the Patriots losing four of their top five receivers and 77% of last season’s targets, Brady’s stock is slipping- and smart fantasy owners will be there to capitalize. With the exception of the 2008 season which he missed, Brady has been a top 10 fantasy signal-caller in every season since 2002. Brady, Belichick, and Josh McDaniels are brilliant offensive minds who will find a system to fit their current roster. Brady should still put up elite fantasy numbers and his consistency still has him as a top-tiered fantasy QB. Don’t hesitate to pull the trigger should people in your draft allow Brady to slide into the fifth round.

Matthew Stafford

Detroit Lions

Season Team GM Cmp Att Yards TD INT RYrds RTD
2010 Detroit 3 57 96 535 6 1 11 1
2011 Detroit 16 421 663 5038 41 16 78 0
2012 Detroit 16 435 727 4967 20 17 126 4
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 429 702 4850 29 18 151 1

Stafford was tremendous in 2011 but dropped off last year due to untimely injuries throughout Detroit’s receiving corps. His fantasy value is probably best defined as right in the middle- he’s unlikely to throw for 5000 yards, as he did two years ago, but he’s also unlikely to be hampered by so many injuries and bad luck. Reggie Bush will give Detroit a boost as a dual-threat runner out of the backfield. Meanwhile, Stafford has led the NFL in passing attempts in each of the past two seasons, so the Lions will remain a pass-first squad. Look for Stafford to be an excellent bounce back candidate who should put up elite fantasy QB numbers at a steeply discounted price.

Tony Romo

Dallas Cowboys

Season Team GM Cmp Att Yards TD INT RYrds RTD
2010 Dallas 6 148 213 1605 11 7 38 0
2011 Dallas 16 346 522 4184 31 10 46 1
2012 Dallas 16 425 648 4903 28 19 49 1
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 419 639 4450 28 16 52 1

The Cowboys signature move the last few years has been to simply implode down the stretch, although statistically Romo became an excellent fantasy quarterback in the late stages of 2012. Romo had only two games in which he passed for two touchdowns in the first 10 games of last season. Yet, he  had multiple touchdown games in the final six, including a four touchdown performance against the New Orleans Saints week 16. The team has arguably made no significant upgrades to their offense, and some are even concerned the Cowboys may take a further step back, yet in fantasy football Romo’s an excellent value pick in the later rounds. Tony Romo is a classic example of a player who is a better fantasy option than an NFL one. Fantasy owners who choose to hold off until the middle rounds of their draft would be wise to target Romo as an excellent value pick in the middle rounds. He’s a safe bet for well over 4000 passing yards and 28 touchdown tosses.

Click Here to see all Gridiron Experts Fantasy Player Rankings 

[/tab] [tab title=”Running Backs”]

Adrian Peterson

Minnesota Vikings

Season Team GM Att Yards TD Tar Rec RYrds RTD
2010 Minnesota 15 283 1298 12 50 36 341 1
2011 Minnesota 12 208 970 12 23 18 139 1
2012 Minnesota 16 348 2097 12 51 40 217 1
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 334 1765 14 65 40 280 1

AP ran for over 2,000 yards and 12 touchdowns after knee surgery and with Christian Ponder as his quarterback. The Vikings lost Percy Harvin to the Seahawks in the offseason, which may mean even more opportunities for Peterson. Defenses will surely stack the box against him, but since when has that been a hindrance? Adrian Peterson is a man among boys and, if healthy, can carry a fantasy team to championship glory.

Doug Martin

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Season Team GM Att Yards TD Tar Rec RYrds RTD
2012 Tampa Bay 16 319 1454 11 70 49 472 1
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 328 1535 11 81 52 395 2

It didn’t take long for fantasy owners to develop a less than healthy man crush on the Muscle Hamster after drafting him last year. The man had over 1,900 yards from scrimmage and 12 total touchdowns. It’s not difficult to see why Martin could be a top 3 fantasy running back in 2013, especially in PPR scoring leagues. Keep in mind that he’ll have guards Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph back from injury. A sophomore slump is hard to envision at this point for Doug Martin.

Jamaal Charles

Kansas City Chiefs

Season Team GM Att Yards TD Tar Rec RYrds RTD
2010 Kansas City 16 230 1467 5 64 45 468 3
2011 Kansas City 2 12 83 0 6 5 9 1
2012 Kansas City 16 285 1509 5 48 35 236 1
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 279 1480 7 72 55 430 3

Andy Reid has traditionally leaned on one running back in his offense. Combine that with Charles already being a great all around running back, and you have a recipe for fantasy football success. Expect him to finish a top five running back in all scoring formats. Solid first round pick.

LeSean McCoy

Philadelphia Eagles

Season Team GM Att Yards TD Tar Rec RYrds RTD
2010 Philadelphia 15 207 1080 7 90 78 592 2
2011 Philadelphia 15 273 1309 17 69 48 315 3
2012 Philadelphia 12 200 840 2 67 54 373 3
2013 Fantasy Projection 15 231 1185 8 91 62 570 3

Chip Kelly is changing the Eagles franchise in many ways, from nutrition, to film study, to the tempo on the field. The Eagles are expected to be a fast paced run-first offense, that will gas their opponents with a hurry-up tempo. McCoy’s speed and elusiveness could absolutely flourish in this system. McCoy’s value may increase when people get a taste of the fast paced Eagle offense in the Preseason. Byrce Brown has some people concerned about carries, but 15 second snap counts will just mean more plays all around. It’s safe to say McCoy will still see a heavy dose of touches this year.

Ray Rice

Baltimore Ravens

Season Team GM Att Yards TD Tar Rec RYrds RTD
2010 Baltimore 16 307 1220 5 82 63 556 1
2011 Baltimore 16 291 1364 12 104 76 704 3
2012 Baltimore 16 257 1143 9 83 61 478 1
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 270 1210 7 90 64 532 3

Towards the end of last season and into the playoffs, we saw Bernard Pierce start to get more carries. Still, Rice was heavily involved in the offense, totaling 341 carries (including playoffs and Super Bowl). Pierce will most likely continue to take some touches away, but Ray Rice is still a focal point of this offense. He is also one of the few top running backs that can stay consistently healthy. Still a great top five pick.

Arian Foster

Houston Texans

Season Team GM Att Yards TD Tar Rec RYrds RTD
2010 Houston 16 327 1616 16 84 66 604 2
2011 Houston 13 278 1224 10 72 53 617 2
2012 Houston 16 351 1424 15 58 40 217 2
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 301 1244 11 61 43 370 2

If 1,641 total yards and 17 touchdowns is a disappointing season, I want all of my fantasy running backs to have a disappointing season. Sure there are durability concerns for the Texan workhorse, but he’s almost automatic from inside the five, and reportedly determined for a bounce back?! year. I still expect to see him bow in the end zone quite often this season.

Trent Richardson

Cleveland Browns

Season Team GM Att Yards TD Tar Rec RYrds RTD
2012 Cleveland 15 267 950 11 70 51 367 1
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 290 1279 8 79 52 387 1

The upside Richardson has in new offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s revamped offense is hard to ignore, especially in PPR scoring leagues (he had 51 catches in 2012). The Browns themselves have said they’re going to surprise some people. Cleveland’s vertical passing attack should give Richardson plenty of running room all season long. If Richardson can stay healthy for a full season, watch out.

C.J. Spiller

Buffalo Bills

Season Team GM Att Yards TD Tar Rec RYrds RTD
2010 Buffalo 14 74 283 0 32 24 157 1
2011 Buffalo 16 107 561 4 53 39 269 2
2012 Buffalo 16 207 1244 6 57 43 459 2
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 201 1277 7 66 47 415 2

C.J. Spiller cannot shake the shadow of Fred Jackson. With such an impressive YPC average and display of elusiveness, you would think that Spiller would earn his place on the Bills as the full time starter. Unfortunately, it has been reported that the Bills plan to use both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson in “multiple” sets in 2013. This complicates things slightly, although it should be pointed out that Spiller actually performed better with Jackson taking the odd carry from time to time. When Jackson got hurt last season, Spiller’s numbers dropped in a full time role. If Jackson’s role helps move the chains, than you shouldn’t sweat the small stuff. Spiller looks to be a beast in all leagues, especially PPR.

Steven Jackson

Atlanta Falcons

Season Team GM Att Yards TD Tar Rec RYrds RTD
2010 St. Louis 16 330 1241 6 61 46 383 0
2011 St. Louis 15 260 1145 5 58 42 333 1
2012 St. Louis 16 257 1042 4 53 38 321 0
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 270 1246 7 66 47 415 1

The clear bellcow for the Falcons. Will see plenty of redzone work, as well as more receptions than in the past. Jacquizz Rodgers will see some work, but shouldn’t cut into Jackson’s time as much as one might think. A great second or third round pick.

Matt Forte

Chicago Bears

Season Team GM Att Yards TD Tar Rec RYrds RTD
2010 Chicago 16 237 1069 6 70 51 547 3
2011 Chicago 12 203 997 3 76 52 490 1
2012 Chicago 15 248 1094 5 60 44 340 1
2013 Fantasy Projection 14 251 1070 5 71 55 418 3

Forte has been a pretty consistent fantasy back during his five year career with the Bears. Each season he’s finished with around 1,400 total yards. That’s 1,000 rushing and 400 receiving. There is talk that he could be even more involved in the Chicago passing game this season. This makes Forte a potential RB1 in PPR formats. Still, he does seem to have his ups and downs during the season. With Michael Bush around to possibly vulture his goal line TDs, Forte is a bit of a risk as a RB1. Overall, he’s a very solid RB2 with PPR upside.

Click Here to see all Gridiron Experts Fantasy Player Rankings 

[/tab] [tab title=”Wide Receivers “]

Calvin Johnson

Detroit Lions

Season Team GM Tar Rec Yards TD Avg
2010 Detroit 16 137 77 1120 12 14.5
2011 Detroit 16 158 96 1681 16 17.5
2012 Detroit 16 204 122 1964 5 16.1
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 197 105 1586 10 15.1

He started slow. He was cursed by Madden. He got tackled at the 1 yard line six times. His quarterback had an underwhelming year. With everything working against him, Calvin still shattered the single-season receiving record, came just shy of 2,000 yards, and led all fantasy WRs in points. If healthy, expect another huge year from Megatron.

Brandon Marshall

Chicago Bears

Season Team GM Tar Rec Yards TD Avg
2010 Miami 14 145 86 1014 3 11.8
2011 Miami 16 140 81 1214 6 15
2012 Chicago 16 192 118 1508 11 12.8
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 182 100 1418 10 14.8

After a few forgettable years in Miami, Marshall reunited with Jay Cutler and turned back into a beast. He’s in a great position to have another strong season with the Bears in 2013. Marshall was targeted 194 times last season, second only to Calvin Johnson. When you give a great receiver that many chances to make a play, you’re going to see big results. And that’s exactly what fantasy owners saw from him – 118 catches, 1,508 yards, and 11 TDs. As Alshon Jeffery solidifies himself as a strong WR2 option, Marshall should start to see more favorable match-ups from opposing secondaries. He was the most consistent receiver in 2012, never totaling less than 8 fantasy points after Week 3. He’s a lock to be a WR1 this year.

A.J. Green

Cincinnati Bengals

Season Team GM Tar Rec Yards TD Avg
2011 Cincinnati 15 115 65 1057 7 16.3
2012 Cincinnati 16 164 97 1350 11 13.9
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 169 100 1418 10 14.5

No wide receiver started faster out of the gates last year than A.J. Green. He was a first half fantasy monster. As Dalton’s stats dipped in the second half though, so too did Green’s. Unfortunately for Green, the convoy moves as fast as its slowest ship. As Dalton and the Bengals young weapons continue to mature, it should take some attention off of Green, and give him a chance to really blossom. Third year receivers have a history of breaking out. With Green’s stellar first and second year numbers, it’s hard to imagine how good the guy could be if he makes the historical third year “leap”. Definitely worthy of a Top 5 WR pick, but a lot of his success will rest on Dalton’s shoulders.

Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys

Season Team GM Tar Rec Yards TD Avg
2010 Dallas 12 72 45 561 6 12.5
2011 Dallas 15 103 63 928 9 14.7
2012 Dallas 16 138 92 1382 12 15
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 142 90 1310 12 14.5

Down the stretch last season, the only thing as certain as death and taxes were Dez Bryant touchdown catches. Dallas’ “X-factor” finally arrived in 2012, firing on all cylinders with Tony Romo. If he can keep his act together, he’ll give the receivers ahead of him a run for their money.

Andre Johnson

Houston Texans

Season Team GM Tar Rec Yards TD Avg
2010 Houston 13 138 86 1216 8 14.1
2011 Houston 7 51 33 492 2 14.9
2012 Houston 16 162 112 1598 4 14.3
2013 Fantasy Projection 15 159 104 1505 6 14.4

Andre Johnson is one of the more interesting fantasy players in the world. He doesn’t always stay healthy. But when he does, he has at least 1,500 yards receiving. With DeAndre drawing some attention on the other side of the field, and because defenses always need to respect the Texans rushing attack, a healthy Johnson would be in for another big year.

Demaryius Thomas

Denver Broncos

Season Team GM Tar Rec Yards TD Avg
2010 Denver 10 39 22 283 2 12.9
2011 Denver 11 69 32 551 4 17.2
2012 Denver 16 141 94 1434 10 15.3
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 130 89 1351 11 15.1

There may be a lot of cooks in the kitchen in Denver, but Peyton’s no stranger to getting his #1 big numbers. Let’s not forget Thomas was still raw last year and finished in the top 5 in receiving anyways. Expect Thomas to be in for another big year, even with Welker.

Julio Jones

Atlanta Falcons

Season Team GM Tar Rec Yards TD Avg
2011 Atlanta 13 95 54 959 8 17.8
2012 Atlanta 16 128 79 1198 10 15.2
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 120 85 1225 12 14.4

Barring injury, Jones should be a top 10 fantasy wide receiver for years to come. The return of Tony Gonzalez will only help him and the Falcons’ offense. It would be surprising if we didn’t see another 1,000+ yard, double-digit touchdown season from Jones again in 2013, as he continues to make his mark as one of the best receivers in the NFL and in fantasy football.

Roddy White

Atlanta Falcons

Season Team GM Tar Rec Yards TD Avg
2010 Atlanta 16 179 115 1389 10 12.1
2011 Atlanta 16 180 100 1296 8 13
2012 Atlanta 16 143 92 1351 7 14.7
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 139 96 1321 8 13.7

White has been somewhat overlooked since Julio Jones arrived in Atlanta, but smart fantasy owners know that Roddy continues to be a top ten fantasy option that brings a tremendous return on their investment. White has never missed a game in his career, and there are no signs that he’s due to start slowing down anytime soon. Grab this steady performer as your WR1 or WR2 and feel confident that he’ll produce his usual 90 grabs, 1100+ yards, and 8 touchdowns.

Larry Fitzgerald

Arizona Cardinals

Season Team GM Tar Rec Yards TD Avg
2010 Arizona 16 173 90 1137 6 12.6
2011 Arizona 16 154 80 1411 8 17.6
2012 Arizona 16 156 71 798 4 11.2
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 176 87 1204 9 13.8

Fitzgerald shockingly ended 2012 as a free agent in most fantasy leagues, but through no fault of his own. The once top fantasy option had an assortment of inept quarterbacks that couldn’t seem to put a ball within 10 yards of the sure-handed Fitzgerald. Paired with Carson Palmer this year, Fitzgerald should reemerge as one of the league’s premier wide receivers. Keep in mind he has three of the toughest defensive match ups in his division though.

Victor Cruz

New York Giants

Season Team GM Tar Rec Yards TD Avg
2011 NY Giants 16 131 82 1536 9 18.7
2012 NY Giants 16 143 86 1092 10 12.7
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 146 85 1197 9 14.0

Cruz proved his breakout season wasn’t a fluke with a respectable 1,100 yards and 10 TDs in 2012. With that said, he showed some regression. A lot of that was due to the injury to Hakeem Nicks and the loss of Mario Manningham. The Giants struggled all season to find a replacement for Manningham. And with Nicks playing hurt all year, it was easy to lock him down in single coverage and put all of the attention on Cruz. Victor proved he can still put up WR2 numbers with defenses keying on him, but he won’t be a WR1 unless Nicks can stay on the field.

Contract Details: Giants agreed to terms with WR Victor Cruz on a six-year, $45.879 million contract. Cruz is now the NFL’s 17th-highest-paid wide receiver in annual average ($7.65 million). The G-Men have Cruz under control through his age-31 season.

Click Here to see all Gridiron Experts Fantasy Player Rankings 

[/tab] [tab title=”Tight Ends”]

Jimmy Graham

New Orleans Saints

Season Team GM Tar Rec Yards TD Avg
2010 New Orleans 15 44 31 356 5 11.5
2011 New Orleans 16 149 99 1310 11 13.2
2012 New Orleans 15 135 85 982 9 11.6
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 140 93 1185 10 16.9

Despite missing a game and being limited in several others with an injury, and missing his head coach, Graham still finished 2012 as the top scoring fantasy tight end with 85 receptions for just under 1000 yards and 9 scores. With Rob Gronkowski suffering from a myriad of injuries, Graham is the clear-cut number one tight end and should be a safe bet for 90 catches, 1200+ yards, and double digit touchdowns.

Rob Gronkowski

New England Patriots

Season Team GM Tar Rec Yards TD Avg
2010 New England 16 59 42 546 10 13
2011 New England 16 124 90 1327 17 14.7
2012 New England 11 80 55 790 11 14.4
2013 Fantasy Projection 15 101 71 1006 11 15.8

The Gronk does nothing but produce when he’s on the field. The only problem is that you don’t always knows when he’s going to be able to suit up. This has been a trying offseason for Gronkowski, as he’s mixed in several surgeries with bizarre off-the-field incidents to make his status for the 2013 opener questionable. As long as Gronkowski can stay out of trouble and suit up, his speed and size will continue to present major matchup problems for opposing linebackers and DB’s. With concerns about his health causing his ADP to slide, Gronk is starting to reek of value in the third or fourth round of fantasy drafts.

Tony Gonzalez

Atlanta Falcons

Season Team GM Tar Rec Yards TD Avg
2010 Atlanta 16 109 70 656 6 9.4
2011 Atlanta 16 116 80 875 7 10.9
2012 Atlanta 16 124 93 930 8 10
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 101 93 1185 10 12.7

Going back to the 2000 season, Gonzalez has NEVER failed to finish as a top six fantasy tight end option. He’s been one of the most consistent and injury-free players in fantasy football too. Gonzo’s return for one final season was terrific news for NFL and fantasy fans as he brings top three tight end numbers back into your draft. Just last season, Gonzalez led the NFL with eight red-zone touchdowns, so there’s plenty left if the tank. Look for Gonzalez’s last season to be just as steady and productive as his last 14 have been- and that means a premier fantasy tight end.

Jason Witten

Dallas Cowboys

Season Team GM Tar Rec Yards TD Avg
2010 Dallas 16 128 94 1002 9 10.7
2011 Dallas 16 117 79 942 5 11.9
2012 Dallas 16 148 110 1039 3 9.4
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 126 90 1011 6 14.1

It seems that Jason Witten never receives his fair share of love from the fantasy realm. Despite having a lacerated spleen in 2012, he still didn’t miss a game. In fact, he recorded a career high in receptions (110) and his 1,039 yards were the second most in a season of his career. The one drawback to Witten’s game, something Gronk excels at, is scoring touchdowns, finding the end-zone just three times last year. Still, the fact that Witten hasn’t missed a game since 2003 and consistently puts up good numbers makes him a top five tight end.

Vernon Davis

San Francisco 49ers

Season Team GM Tar Rec Yards TD Avg
2010 San Francisco 16 93 56 914 7 16.3
2011 San Francisco 16 95 67 792 6 11.8
2012 San Francisco 16 61 41 548 5 13.4
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 101 68 880 7 12.3

Vernon was non-existent in the Niners offense when Colin Kaepernick took over down the stretch of the regular season. The two found a connection in the playoffs though, as Davis eclipsed the 100-yard mark in both the NFC Championship and the Super Bowl. With Crabtree down for the count, fantasy owners are speculating Davis will emerge as Kaepernick’s top target. Kaepernick would be foolish not to take advantage of Davis’ size, speed, and athleticism. He typically rises to the occasion when the Niners need him most on the biggest of stages. Expect Davis to be one of the top TE options in 2013.

Dennis Pitta

Baltimore Ravens

Season Team GM Tar Rec Yards TD Avg
2010 Baltimore 11 5 1 1 0 1
2011 Baltimore 16 56 40 405 3 10.1
2012 Baltimore 16 94 61 669 7 11
2013 Fantasy Projection 16 105 71 780 7 11

It’s now clear that Pitta is the Ravens TE1 after he was targeted 60 more times than Ed Dickson in 2012. With a questionable receiving corps, it’s likely that Flacco will look to Pitta often. With Anquan Boldin now in San Francisco, Pitta is the favorite to lead the Ravens in touchdown catches. Pitta should be a top-five fantasy tight end this year and is an excellent target in the middle rounds for the majority of fantasy owner who miss out on Graham and Gronk.

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[/tab] [tab title=”Kickers”]
  1. Blair Walsh: Walsh was 10 for 10 on field goals of 50 yards or more, and led the NFL with kicks made (35).
  2. Stephen Gostkowski: The Patriots sure-footed veteran led the NFL in extra points with 66. The Patriots never ease off the gas, making Gostkowski fantasy football gravy.
  3. Matt Bryant: He’s a dome kicker on arguably the most high-powered NFC offense.
  4. Greg Zuerlein: The Rams are loaded with offensive talent this season; more trips inside the red-zone mean more points for Greg “The Leg” Zuerlein.
  5. Matt Prater: The Denver offense was just warming up in 2012. He’ll kick a lot of extra points, but the Broncos will put Prater in range to score often.
  6. Phil Dawson: The Browns aren’t exactly an offensive juggernaut. They will sputter in the red-zone, setting up a reliable Phil Dawson to put points on the board.
  7. Sebastian Janikowski: The Raiders kicker struggled with a few of his 50 plus yard kicks, but was perfect with everything else.
  8. Justin Tucker: Tucker is a reliable kicker who is clutch when needed. He is a safe and productive fantasy option.
  9. Garrett Hartley: The Saint’s Hartley was second in the NFL in 2012 in extra points, plus he plays in a dome and is on a very high-scoring offense.
  10. Dan Bailey: Bailey is another dome kicker who puts points on the scoreboard while listening to Romo rants from the crowd.
[/tab] [tab title=”Defenses”]
Seattle Seahawks Defense:
Defenses wins championships, and the Seattle Seahawks are hoping to build on their amazing 2012 season. The Seahawks were top-ranked in many defensive categories, but the one that was the most impressive was keeping opponents to 15.3 points per game (1st in the NFL). The one area Seattle could improve on is team sacks. The Seahawks had only 36 sacks in 2012, ranking 18th in the league. Overall though, they have a lot of young talent and potential to repeat as one of the best fantasy defenses this season.

San Francisco 49ers Defense: The 49ers have a chip on their shoulder after not only losing a heartbreaker to the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII, but finding themselves playing second fiddle to the Seahawks after winning the division. Gridiron Experts is confident the 49ers will have another bone crushing defensive year, yet it’s the loss of safety Dashon Goldson that has us ranking them second on our fantasy board.

Denver Broncos Defense: The Denver Broncos were a totally different type of fantasy defense in 2012, and tied with the St. Louis Rams for the most sacks last season. The Broncos will rack up fantasy points by getting to the quarterback. Losing Elvis Dumervil is a concern, but overall the team should have enough depth to remain an elite fantasy defense.

Houston Texans Defense: J.J. Watt alone is enough of a reason why you should make the Houston Texans your fantasy defense for 2013. Yet the added experience the team has acquired after two strong playoff seasons, the welcome back addition of LB Brian Cushing, and the free-agent signing of Ed Reed should also make for easy convincing factors.

Cincinnati Bengals Defense: There was a time when the Cincinnati Bengals were known as the “Bungals”, a team that reached on draft busts and was extremely undisciplined on and off the field. Fortunately, old habits died as this new Bengals defense is among the elite. Fantasy owners may let this sleeping cat slip past you, if that happens you should definitely pounce on a 2013 fantasy gem.

Chicago Bears Defense: The Bears lost a defensive leader who was not only a dominating force out on the field but a voice in the locker room over the last decade. Brian Urlacher cannot be replaced, yet with a new coaching staff, a Pro Bowl secondary, and a somewhat underrated defensive line, the Chicago Bears should remain a top 10 fantasy defense.

New England Patriots Defense: This defense has gone through a few growing pains over the last few seasons. Younger players have seen more and more action, which is not typically the Bill Belichick way. Nevertheless, the Patriots have 10 returning defensive players and arguably a young defensive unit on the rise. The Patriots have always been a very opportunistic group, creating turnovers and keeping opponents off the scoreboard.They are a safe fantasy football defense for 2013.

St. Louis Rams Defense: Tied for first place in the NFL with 52 sacks, the St. Louis Rams are excited about building on their 2012 season. The Rams newly installed offensive unit struggled in 2012, which sometimes put their defense in stressful situations. The Rams ranked 2nd in the league in tackles and tied for 4th in the NFL for defensive touchdowns. It might be hard to even fathom the Rams this high on a fantasy defense rankings list, yet they are an elite fantasy unit entering 2013.

Pittsburgh Steelers Defense: The days of the Steel Curtain are long gone, but the Steelers always put a strong defensive lineup on the field. They don’t really have any standout players, other than Troy Polamalu, but the defense is always well-coached and normally holds opponents to low totals. Pittsburgh does not play a very intimidating division and will have some nice match-ups. All that being said, they are not elite these days, and likely a D/ST you only want to play based on the match-up.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Defense: The Buccaneers have been very active in acquiring personnel to take their team to the next level. The team’s 2012 stats are nothing to brag about, yet their defensive overhaul has many fantasy gurus ranking the Bucs as a fantasy sleeper defense this season. While not completely sold, Gridiron Experts is sneaking them onto our top 10 fantasy defense list with a close eye.

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