Fantasy: Looking Ahead – Preliminary 2012 Player Rankings

| 4 years ago

Fantasy: Looking Ahead – Preliminary 2012 Player Rankings

It’s way too early to be doing this, but I’m going to anyways. Down below is a rough draft/preliminary look at what my 2012 Player Rankings might look like. Obviously, a ton will change because of the playoffs, off-season transactions, and the NFL Draft. Still,if you have a chance to make a trade heading into the off-season or grab a guy with some 2012 breakout potential, these rankings can’t hurt. I leaned towards PPR and note that these are 2012 redraft rankings (not dynasty!). They are also very rough and subject to plenty of change over the next few months.

Quarterback Tight End
Rk Player 2011 Team Contract Rk Player 2011 Team Contract
1 Aaron Rodgers Green Bay 2014 1 Rob Gronkowski New England 2013
2 Drew Brees New Orleans UFA 2 Jimmy Graham New Orleans 2013
3 Tom Brady New England 2014 3 Antonio Gates San Diego 2015
4 Matthew Stafford Detroit 2014 4 Jason Witten Dallas 2017
5 Cam Newton Carolina 2014 5 Aaron Hernandez New England 2013
6 Michael Vick Philadelphia 2015 6 Jermichael Finley Green Bay UFA
7 Peyton Manning Indianapolis 2015 7 Fred Davis Washington UFA
8 Tony Romo Dallas 2013 8 Vernon Davis San Francisco 2015
9 Philip Rivers San Diego 2015 9 Tony Gonzalez Atlanta UFA
10 Eli Manning New York Giants 2015 10 Dallas Clark Indianapolis 2013
11 Ben Roethlisberger Pittsburgh 2015 11 Jared Cook Tennessee 2012
12 Tim Tebow Denver 2014 12 Jermaine Gresham Cincinnati 2014
13 Matt Ryan Atlanta 2013 13 Dustin Keller New York Jets 2012
14 Mark Sanchez New York Jets 2013 14 Brandon Pettigrew Detroit 2014
15 Jake Locker Tennessee 2014 15 Kellen Winslow Tampa Bay 2014
16 Andy Dalton Cincinnati 2014 16 Greg Olsen Carolina 2015
17 Ryan Fitzpatrick Buffalo 2017 17 Kyle Rudolph Minnesota 2014
18 Matt Schaub Houston 2012 18 Owen Daniels Houston 2014
19 Carson Palmer Oakland 2014 19 Lance Kendricks St Louis 2014
20 Jay Cutler Chicago 2013 20 Ed Dickson Baltimore 2012
21 Joe Flacco Baltimore 2012 21 Brent Celek Philadelphia 2016
22 Matt Moore Miami 2012 22 Tony Moeaki Kansas City 2013
23 Josh Freeman Tampa Bay 2013 23 Marcedes Lewis Jacksonville 2015
24 Sam Bradford St Louis 2015 24 Jordan Cameron Cleveland 2014
25 Alex D. Smith San Francisco UFA 25 Heath Miller Pittsburgh 2014
26 Christian Ponder Minnesota 2014 26 Martellus Bennett Dallas UFA
27 Matt Cassel Kansas City 2014 27 Dennis Pitta Baltimore 2012
28 Kevin Kolb Arizona 2016 28 Todd Heap Arizona 2012
29 Blaine Gabbert Jacksonville 2014 29 Scott Chandler Buffalo UFA
30 Tarvaris Jackson Seattle 2012 30 Anthony Fasano Miami 2012
31 Rex Grossman Washington UFA 31 Chris Cooley Washington 2013
32 Colt McCoy Cleveland 2013 32 Julius Thomas Denver 2014
33 Matt Flynn Green Bay UFA 33 Jeremy Shockey Carolina UFA
34 Josh Johnson Tampa Bay UFA 34 Evan Moore Cleveland 2013
35 Matt Hasselbeck Tennessee 2013 35 Jake Ballard New York Giants ERFA
36 Kyle Orton Kansas City UFA 36 Jacob Tamme Indianapolis UFA
37 Jason Campbell Oakland UFA 37 Zach J. Miller Seattle 2015
38 Chad Henne Miami UFA 38 Kevin Boss Oakland 2014
39 John Skelton Arizona 2013 39 Joel Dreessen Houston UFA
40 Joe Webb Minnesota 2013 40 Rob Housler Arizona 2014
41 Delanie Walker San Francisco 2013
42 Tony Scheffler Detroit 2013
43 Ben Watson Cleveland 2012
44 Visanthe Shiancoe Minnesota UFA
45 John Carlson Seattle UFA
46 Gary Barnidge Carolina 2012
47 Michael Hoomanawanui St Louis 2013
48 Virgil Green Denver 2014
49 Zach Miller Jacksonville 2012
50 Michael Palmer Atlanta ERFA
Wide Receiver Running Back
Rk Player 2011 Team Contract Rk Player 2011 Team Contract
1 Calvin Johnson Detroit 2012 1 Arian Foster Houston RFA
2 A.J. Green Cincinnati 2014 2 Ray Rice Baltimore UFA
3 Wes Welker New England UFA 3 LeSean McCoy Philadelphia 2012
4 Greg Jennings Green Bay 2012 4 Matt Forte Chicago UFA
5 Andre Johnson Houston 2016 5 Jamaal Charles Kansas City 2015
6 Steve L. Smith Carolina 2012 6 Ryan Mathews San Diego 2014
7 Julio Jones Atlanta 2014 7 Marshawn Lynch Seattle UFA
8 Larry Fitzgerald Arizona 2018 8 Darren McFadden Oakland 2013
9 Hakeem Nicks New York Giants 2013 9 Maurice Jones-Drew Jacksonville 2013
10 Roddy White Atlanta 2014 10 Chris D. Johnson Tennessee 2016
11 Kenny Britt Tennessee 2013 11 Michael Bush Oakland UFA
12 Dwayne Bowe Kansas City UFA 12 Ahmad Bradshaw New York Giants 2014
13 Mike Wallace Pittsburgh RFA 13 Demarco Murray Dallas 2014
14 Brandon Marshall Miami 2014 14 Fred Jackson Buffalo 2012
15 Dez Bryant Dallas 2014 15 Rashard Mendenhall Pittsburgh 2012
16 Miles Austin Dallas 2016 16 Steven Jackson St Louis 2013
17 Vincent Jackson San Diego UFA 17 Reggie Bush Miami 2012
18 Jordy Nelson Green Bay 2014 18 Roy Helu Washington 2014
19 Steve Johnson Buffalo UFA 19 Darren Sproles New Orleans 2014
20 Pierre Garcon Indianapolis UFA 20 Frank Gore San Francisco 2014
21 Jeremy Maclin Philadelphia 2013 21 Adrian L. Peterson Minnesota 2017
22 Marques Colston New Orleans UFA 22 Beanie Wells Arizona 2013
23 Victor Cruz New York Giants 2012 23 Jahvid Best Detroit 2014
24 Percy Harvin Minnesota 2013 24 Shonn Greene New York Jets 2012
25 Antonio Brown Pittsburgh 2012 25 Michael Turner Atlanta 2013
26 Santonio Holmes New York Jets 2015 26 Montario Hardesty Cleveland 2013
27 Brandon Lloyd St Louis UFA 27 Peyton Hillis Cleveland UFA
28 Austin Collie Indianapolis 2012 28 Jonathan Stewart Carolina 2012
29 DeSean Jackson Philadelphia UFA 29 Stevan Ridley New England 2014
30 Demaryius Thomas Denver 2014 30 Mark Ingram New Orleans 2014
31 Vincent Brown San Diego 2014 31 DeAngelo Williams Carolina 2015
32 Reggie Wayne Indianapolis UFA 32 Donald Brown Indianapolis 2013
33 Denarius Moore Oakland 2014 33 James Starks Green Bay 2013
34 Leonard Hankerson Washington 2014 34 C.J. Spiller Buffalo 2014
35 Jacoby Ford Oakland 2013 35 Mikel Leshoure Detroit 2014
36 Mike A. Williams Tampa Bay 2013 36 Toby Gerhart Minnesota 2013
37 Anquan Boldin Baltimore 2013 37 LeGarrette Blount Tampa Bay ERFA
38 Greg Little Cleveland 2014 38 Willis McGahee Denver 2014
39 Santana Moss Washington 2013 39 Mike Tolbert San Diego UFA
40 Torrey Smith Baltimore 2014 40 Felix Jones Dallas 2012
41 Laurent Robinson Dallas 0 41 Ryan Williams Arizona 2014
42 Sidney Rice Seattle 2015 42 Pierre Thomas New Orleans 2014
43 Lance Moore New Orleans 2015 43 Jacquizz Rodgers Atlanta 2014
44 Mario Manningham New York Giants UFA 44 Kendall Hunter San Francisco 2014
45 Jonathan Baldwin Kansas City 2014 45 Dexter McCluster Kansas City 2013
46 Randall Cobb Green Bay 2014 46 Ben Tate Houston 2013
47 Eric Decker Denver 2013 47 Daniel Thomas Miami 2014
48 Plaxico Burress New York Jets UFA 48 Cedric Benson Cincinnati UFA
49 Malcom Floyd San Diego 2012 49 Brandon Jacobs New York Giants 2012
50 Damian Williams Tennessee 2013 50 Joseph Addai Indianapolis 2013
51 Robert Meachem New Orleans UFA 51 Shane Vereen New England 2014
52 Michael Crabtree San Francisco 2014 52 Delone Carter Indianapolis 2014
53 Golden Tate Seattle 2013 53 Isaac Redman Pittsburgh ERFA
54 Earl Bennett Chicago 2015 54 Danny Woodhead New England 2012
55 Titus Young Detroit 2014 55 Evan Royster Washington 2014
56 James Jones Green Bay 2013 56 Javon Ringer Tennessee 2012
57 Jerome Simpson Cincinnati UFA 57 BenJarvus Green-Ellis New England UFA
58 Johnny Knox Chicago 2012 58 Ryan Grant Green Bay UFA
59 Greg Salas St Louis 2014 59 Joe McKnight New York Jets 2013
60 Jordan Shipley Cincinnati 2013 60 Rashad Jennings Jacksonville 2012
61 Brandon LaFell Carolina 2013 61 Tim Hightower Washington UFA
62 Darrius Heyward-Bey Oakland 2013 62 Kevin Smith Detroit UFA
63 Danny Amendola St Louis UFA 63 Alex Green Green Bay 2014
64 Mike Thomas Jacksonville 2015 64 Jason Snelling Atlanta UFA
65 Emmanuel Sanders Pittsburgh 2012 65 Knowshon Moreno Denver 2013
66 Jeremy Kerley New York Jets 2014 66 Bilal Powell New York Jets 2014
67 Doug Baldwin Seattle UDFA 67 Taiwan Jones Oakland 2014
68 Andre Roberts Arizona 2013 68 Dion Lewis Philadelphia 2014
69 Steve Breaston Kansas City 2015 69 Marion Barber III Chicago 2012
70 Arrelious Benn Tampa Bay 2013 70 LaDainian Tomlinson New York Jets UFA
71 Chad Ochocinco New England 2013 71 Ricky Williams Baltimore 2012
72 Roscoe Parrish Buffalo UFA 72 Chris Ivory New Orleans 2012
73 Nate Burleson Detroit 2014 73 Bernard Scott Cincinnati 2012
74 Nate Washington Tennessee 2014 74 Justin Forsett Seattle UFA
75 Devery Henderson New Orleans 2012 75 John Kuhn Green Bay 2013

Mike Clay is the Director of Pro Football Focus Fantasy. His accolades include the 2013 Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) award for most-accurate preseason player rankings and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) award for the best online article in 2013. Under Mike’s leadership, PFF Fantasy has been nominated for eight industry awards over the past three years, including a 2014 win over the likes of and for Best Single-Sport Specialization Fantasy Site. Mike broke the first unrestricted free agent signing of 2013 (Martellus Bennett to the Bears). A stat-head, Mike has created several advanced football statistics, including average depth of target (aDOT) and opportunity-adjusted touchdowns (OTD). His award-winning offensive player projections power several top fantasy league sites, including Yahoo, RT Sports and Reality Sports Online. One of the most well-known fantasy analysts, Mike has a Twitter following of more than 43,500. Mike also contributes to ESPN Insider and ESPN the Magazine, and is a regular guest on ESPN Radio and the network’s Fantasy Focus football podcast. He has also contributed to NBC’s, Athlon Sports and at Mike was featured as a Virtual Analyst in EA Sports' Madden 25 and Madden 2015 video games. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and is on the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Board of Directors and Hall of Fame voting committee. He makes regular appearances on NFL-related podcasts and shows, including those on Sirius XM and FNTSY Sports Channel. Mike’s work has been referenced on several outlets across the web, including CSN New England, ESPN, Houston Chronicle, and Originally from Pottsville, PA, Mike now resides in Fleetwood, PA with his wife, daughter, and two dogs. You can follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeClayNFL

  • whatadai

    Please explain to me how AJ Green is 2nd, and how Julio Jones and Kenny Britt are ranked higher than Wallace or Brandon Marshall? The uncertainty of their team and QB, respectively? AJ Green I can understand being ranked higher than them, but not at 2. Julio Jones and Kenny Britt have shown they can have 1 or 2 big games a season then disappear for most and throw in a couple decent games. Jones has also shown the propensity to choke during clutch moments causing him to lose points or not gain a TD for a fantasy team, a trait that also keeps a guy from being a stud. I understand that it’s possible that with a full off-season these rankings could be true and that potential should also be valued, but it seems as if potential is being overvalued in these rankings. What about the dreaded sophomore slump? With two sophomores in Dalton and Green there’s twice the chance of that occurring. Look at Mike Williams for example, but I do agree that his rookie season was more of a fluke, but with more tape and a full off-season teams may have more against Dalton and Green too.

    You also forgot Kaepernick and Hoyer might be a name to keep track of too. For a late guy, I would take potential in Kaepernick or Hoyer over low ceiling guys like Henne, Skelton, and Webb.

    • Mike Clay

      Wallace is an intriguing one, but Brown is emerging and actually has led that team in targets quite a bit. Sanders will also come into 2012 healthy. PIT will run when they can – unlike a lot of other teams – which costs him some value. Marshall is finally scoring TDs, but he’s far from a slam dunk and more like a back-end WR1 than an elite guy. AJ is a guy I have as a Top 5 option NOW almost weekly and I really feel like he becomes a Fantasy elite next year. Julio has more raw talent than Roddy and will quickly become the better FF WR. Britt was a top FF WR before his injury and he will be back there next year. Think Hakeem Nicks production…especially with Locker taking over, who I also like. Jones is/was a rookie…he’ll improve. Regarding Tampa Bay, they had arguably the easiest schedule in NFL history in 2010. I was very down on him in my preliminary 2011 rankings and I feel that I was on the right track. Regarding the Cincy offense, I’ve been high on their 2012 prospects since before this season. I felt like they were one year away. Dalton-(Michael Bush…wait for it)-AJ Green-Gresham-Shipley-and a WR2 TBA has serious potential. I’m high on them.

      Not forgetting anyone. Trust me. Kaepernick isn’t starting next year. Unless he embarrasses himself big time, Alex Smith will get another year or 2 in San Fran. Hoyer just missed the cut, but he’s very situation dependent. Not a bad point on the low upside guys, but they have a better shot at starting 2012 as a starter than CK/BH. Remember, this is redraft, not dynasty. Heading into 2011, you’ve would’ve grabbed a guy like Orton as your QB2 over Kaepernick. Similar principle here.

      Thanks for the feedback. I’ll have ton of analysis over the next month or so.

    • doc362

      How is Mike Williams a fluke for having a bad sophomore campaign? His rookie year was only one year, but so was this one. Tampa Bay was deficient in nearly every aspect of the game on both sides of the ball. Look at Steve Smith (CAR)’s re-emergence. A full off season WITH training camp and a decent draft for Tampa Bay could easily push him inside the top 20 for 2012.

      It’s amazing how many wide receivers that are ranked in the top 20 don’t actually end up in the top 20. This is even more true of the top 10.

      • Mike Clay

        I would say both seasons are a bit fluky. Year 1 his TD rate was insane, but against arguably the easiest schedule in NFL history. Year 2 saw him fall victim to a pathetic offense with a predictable pass-first strategy and no run game. Things should even out in 2012, but I don’t expect a huge season. I’m not as high on Freeman as some, especially considering that he’s not about to unleash his skills as an elite down-field passer. Williams could see an upgrade as the off-season goes on, but WR3 is relatively safe as of now.

  • CaptainHuggyFace

    Mike: Big fan of you and the site. Great “numbers behind the numbers” which I find are essential to winning in fantasy football.

    Will you guys be doing player rankings for the playoffs? I’m in a fantasy playoffs league and would like to hear what you guys have to say.


    • Mike Clay

      Yes, I’ll have full projections/rankings for each round. Thanks for the kind words.