Hey fantasy football owners, did you know that fantasy football is right around the corner?
It’s mid-July, so all of you better start preparing for your league’s drafts, which are only a month away.
With that being said, let’s take a look at how I feel a draft should go this NFL season. This mock draft is based on a 12-team league with your typical scoring. Rosters consist of one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, one flex, one kicker and one defense.
1. Aaron Rodgers, QB
I realize that running backs have proven to be the most valuable position when it comes to fantasy football, but there’s no secret that the NFL is turning into an extremely pass-heavy league.
By taking that into consideration, there are few teams that throw the ball as often, and as effectively, as the Green Bay Packers.
Aaron Rodgers put up monster numbers in 2011, as he tossed a whopping 45 touchdowns while accumulating 4,643 yards.
I wouldn’t expect Rogers to be as dominant as he was this past season, but I think it’s safe to expect 40-plus touchdowns and 4,500-plus passing yards out of him.
2. Arian Foster, RB
With Adrian Peterson recovering from a torn ACL and MCL, there’s no running back more dominant than Arian Foster.
Foster has proven to be one of the NFL’s top rushers over the past few seasons, as he racked up 1,616 yards and 16 rushing touchdowns in 2010 and 1,224 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2011. But the production doesn’t stop there.
Foster has also proven to be a dual-threat running back, as he’s caught 50-plus passes in each of the last two seasons while scoring two receiving touchdowns in each.
I figure Foster to be the top fantasy running back in 2012.
3. LeSean McCoy, RB
With Arian Foster off the boards, that leaves the third overall pick going to running back LeSeanMcCoy.
Like Foster, McCoy is a dual-threat running back. However, he is a bit superior to Foster as a receiver and isn’t too far behind as a rusher.
McCoy scored 20 total touchdowns in 2011 for the Philadelphia Eagles while accumulating 1,624 yards from scrimmage.
4. Tom Brady, QB
With the top two running backs off the board as well as the top quarterback, the best available player right now is New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Like a fine wine, Brady only gets better with age.
Brady threw for 39 touchdowns and a whopping 5,235 passing yards in 2011—which is the second most in NFL history.
New England reloaded with talent on the offensive side the ball this offseason by adding wide receivers Brandon Lloyd, Jabar Gaffney and Donte’ Stallworth.
It wouldn’t be too much to expect 40-plus touchdowns and close to 5,000 passing yards out of TB12.
5. Ray Rice, RB
In my eyes, I believe that Ray Rice has been a bit overshadowed over the past few seasons and is very underrated.
Rice continues to put up dominating numbers, as he’s run for 1,200-plus yards in each of the last three seasons while continuing to emerge as one of the NFL’s top receiving running backs.
With Rice entering the prime of his career, having him on your fantasy team would be a wise decision.
6. Calvin Johnson, WR
It would be unfair to expect the same production out of Calvin Johnson that he produced a year ago, but I’m going to be expecting it as a fantasy owner.
Johnson recorded 96 receptions for 1,681 yards and an impressive 16 touchdowns in 2011.
All in all, there is no wide receiver in the NFL as dominant as Johnson is right now.
7. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB
Assuming that Maurice Jones-Drew doesn’t hold out, he’s the best available player here.
Pocket Hercules continues to put up dominating stats, as he ran for 1,606 yards in 2011 while punching in eight touchdowns and reeling in 43 passes for 374 yards and three touchdowns.
With the Jaguars always lacking talent on the offensive side of the ball, there’s no doubt that Jones-Drew will be their No. 1 source for production—and he should be your team’s top player.
8. Matt Forte, RB
Much like Maurice Jones-Drew, as long as Matt Forte doesn’t hold out then he’s going to be quite the fantasy option.
Forte had an incredible 2011 season going until he sprained his MCL. He ran for 997 yards and three touchdowns while catching 52 passes for 490 yards and one touchdown in just 12 games.
If Forte can resume that level of play and play a full 16-game season, then he’s going to be an incredible fantasy running back.
9. Chris Johnson, RB
Chris Johnson had a rather down year in 2011 with the Tennessee Titans, as he ran for only 1,047 yards and four touchdowns.
I would assume that CJ2K will revert back to his old ways in 2012, as he certainly has the talent to do so—and his track record proves that he can be an elite running back.
If Johnson can produce like he’s capable of, then he would be an absolute steal at ninth overall.
10. Ryan Mathews, RB
Many of you probably have Ryan Mathews higher up on your draft board than I do, but I just don’t really have too much confidence in him. But at this point of the draft, you have to take him at 10th overall.
Mathews has yet to prove that he can play a full NFL season without injuries. However, he did show signs of being an elite running back in 2011, running for 1,091 yards and six touchdowns in 14 games.
If Mathews can stay healthy, then he could be a top-tier fantasy running back.
11. Cam Newton, QB
As a fantasy quarterback, I love Cam Newton—there’s no one more exciting than him.
Newton proved that he can play at the NFL level in 2011. He set the NFL record for a rookie quarterback, passing for 4,051 yards while throwing 21 touchdowns—but the production doesn’t end there.
Newton almost acted as an option running back to many fantasy owners in 2011, as he ran for 706 yards and punched in an incredible 14 touchdowns.
With Newton having a full offseason to continue his development as an NFL quarterback, I can only assume that he’s going to have one remarkable season in 2012.
12. Drew Brees, QB
You might think that Drew Brees is incredibly low—but I have him here for a rightful reason.
What’s that reason? Bountygate.
Bountygate has turned the New Orleans Saints to shreds, and I find it hard to believe that the Saints will be able to overcome all of that adversity in 2012—which includes not having their head coach, Sean Payton, for the entire season.
With Payton not calling the offensive plays, there is a fair reason to believe that Brees’ production might slip a bit in 2012.