Fantasy football: Arian Foster will be a top pick in 2013
By Jason Smith
Updated: Dec. 27, 2012 at 12:27 p.m.
For the final edition of Higher/Lower/Over/Under this season, I'm going to look back at what we've seen, and what's ahead for 2013. Note for Week 17: if you are in an end-of-the-world apocalypse fantasy league and you have the Mayans, you can officially waive them. Oh, and see if you can catch the hidden Salt-N-Pepa theme below. Happy Holidays!
1: How many apologies I want to make for advice I gave this season: Push. Look, giving fantasy advice and being wrong part of the time goes with the territory. It doesn't mean that the advice was wrong when I gave it, but sometimes it doesn't work out for you. It happens. But man, do I feel awful to the guy whose lineup I helped set Sunday on NFL Fantasy Live. It came down to a flex spot for Jamaal Charles, Darren McFadden and Knowshon Moreno. I eliminated Charles right away because I couldn't trust Kansas City to get him the football - which has been the theme this season. I liked McFadden's matchup just a bit more than Moreno, so I recommended D-Mac. Final tally? Charles - 27.00 points. Moreno - 12.70 points. McFadden - 4.80 points. Suffice it to say I've recommended McFadden for the last time and I sincerely hope that viewer didn't listen to me. Charles, who was up and down this season mainly due to not having enough carries won't have that happen again. He'll be two years removed from a torn ACL as well. I'm taking him in the 2nd round in 2013.
1 ½: Number of guys I went all in on who came through for me: Push. In August, I projected Matt Ryan to be the Matthew Stafford Quarterback Breakout of 2012. Done. I said Chris Johnson would be the number one running back in fantasy points. He's 13th right now, but he still single-handedly won you five or six weeks this season. I'll take half-credit. My wide receiver I took a stand on? Dwayne Bowe. Wow, did that not happen. In a contract year, coming off a season in which he still totaled over 1,100 yards from guys like Tyler Palko, and with improved weapons on offense, I thought Bowe would be a monster. Now, Bowe enters 2013 as a sleeper at best depending where he plays, Johnson is a late second rounder/early third, and Ryan will be off the board by the end of Round 2.
5: Number of quarterbacks who will be drafted in the first round of fantasy drafts in 2013. Push. I know drafts will swing back more towards running backs in 2013, but there's still five quarterbacks I'd make sure I got in the first round. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, and Robert Griffin III. While it will be a deeper class of 'playable' quarterbacks next season - remember, guys like Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are added to the draft mix now - I still want a superstar to be my lead player. I would take any of those over LeSean McCoy, Alfred Morris, Jamaal Charles, Trent Richardson or Frank Gore. The only guy I may waffle on is McCoy, depending on what happens in Philadelphia both player and coach-wise in the off-season. If I think he can become the focal point of the Eagles offense? I'll move him ahead of the quarterbacks.
6: Number of running backs who will be drafted in the first round of fantasy drafts in 2013. Push. Arian Foster and Adrian Peterson will likely go 1-2 next season in everyone's draft. The next two off my board will be a surprise: C.J. Spiller and Doug Martin, then Ray Rice and Marshawn Lynch. All of these players are the right age, with the right workload, and on offenses who feature them first. Rice drops a little bit for me because of his usage, but he's still a first-rounder - just a bit later than he's been. In a 10-team league the odd-man out in the last two paragraphs would probably be Lynch, just because of the fact that Russell Wilson will have more responsibility next season than this year, so maybe Lynch will lose a few goal-line carries to him.
All of my them: How many of my fantasy leagues I want to be auction leagues: Push. This August, we did a mock draft for NFL Fantasy Live so we could show you how an auction draft might look. And after doing it, I want all my leagues to be auctions. The best part about it is that you can pick out players you believe in to take a big step and then see if you're right. You don't have to worry about not getting players you wanted because they were drafted before you got a chance to get them. Or be stuck with a big-name player you really don't want, because you felt you had to draft him. Instead, you can sit back and bid on the players you want to own. Some of the players I drafted were: Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Chris Johnson, Reggie Bush, Eric Decker and Percy Harvin. I also had Torrey Smith, Pierre Garcon and Mark Ingram, who came through with varying production at different points in the season. Boy, I would have loved to have gone to battle with those guys for 16 weeks.
Jason Smith hosts NFL Fantasy Live on the NFL Network and writes fantasy and other pith for NFL.com. Talk to him on Twitter @howaboutafresca, and listen to him on the NFL Fantasy Live podcast with Michael Fabiano and Elliot Harrison every week on NFL.com. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.