For some, fantasy football is just a hobby that is undertaken during the NFL season. Yet, for others it is a constant obsession, consuming their lives and free-time year round.
This article is for those players: The ones who participate in fantasy football leagues that either allow owners to keep a set number of players or participate in dynasty leagues where owners draft a roster, play with that same roster for the life of the league and are allowed only to draft rookies, make trades and use waivers to add to or change their roster.
Playing in these kind of leagues takes constant surveillance of the NFL scene, whether it means monitoring what happens in free agency or who gets picked in the NFL Draft. It is all relevant and it all matters.
Therefore, this ranking takes all things into account not only age and production, but attempts to project where these players will stand in the fantasy hierarchy for years to come. This list ranks the 10 players that should be kept above all others in keeper or dynasty leagues that use point-per-receptions formats.
1. Adrian Peterson -
Peterson is not a big pass-catcher, but when you rush for as many yards and score as many touchdowns as he did in 2012, it doesn't matter much that he caught only 40 passes. He was still the best running back in point-per-reception formats by far, and at age 27 he still has plenty of tread left on the tires.
2. Aaron Rodgers -
Rodgers has finished first among quarterbacks in fantasy points scored four years running. He also finished second in fantasy points among quarterbacks in 2008, so stick with him because you are guaranteed an elite fantasy quarterback.
3. Cam Newton -
Newton was not quite as productive in 2012 as he was in 2011, averaging two less fantasy points per game due in large part to his rushing touchdowns being cut in half from 14 to seven. Yet, he saw a resurgence over the final six games of the season as he averaged 25 fantasy points per game down the stretch, showing that he still is an elite fantasy quarterback with almost unlimited potential.
4. Calvin Johnson -
Johnson was great in 2012, but in PPR formats he was actually even better in 2011, when he caught 16 touchdown passes. Last year he caught only five. Just imagine how dangerous he would be if he could combine the receptions and yardage of 2012, with the touchdowns of 2011. That is a happy thought for Johnson owners and a scary one for their opponents.
5. Doug Martin -
Martin burst on the scene in 2012 and averaged nearly 20 fantasy points per game in his rookie season after racking up 1,926 total yards from scrimmage to go along with 12 touchdowns. Trust me, this guy is here to stay as an elite PPR running back.
6. Robert Griffin III -
Much like Newton, RG3 set the fantasy world on fire as a rookie and finished with an average 21 fantasy points per game, good enough for fifth among quarterbacks in 2012. Rumor has it that he will be ready to start the season opener, but even with the injury concern hanging over his head, he is too good a player not to keep for the long-term.
7. Ray Rice -
Rice had a bit of a down year, especially running the football in 2012, racking up just over 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns. But he still caught 61 passes and finished fourth among running backs in PPR leagues. So even though he was not at his best, expect him to bounce back in a big way in 2013.
8. C.J. Spiller -
Spiller is the true wild card among PPR running backs in 2013 because even though he missed time due to injury and at times split carries with Fred Jackson, the former Clemson Tiger still finished fifth among running backs in PPR formats in 2012. He averaged more than 17 fantasy points per game and averaged an incredible six yards per carry. The sky is the limit for Spiller, the only thing that held him back last year was a coaching staff that failed to utilize him properly. Hopefully, new Bill head coach Doug Marrone learns from Chan Gailey's costly mistake.
9. Arian Foster -
Foster has been unable to duplicate the 414 fantasy points he produced in 2010 but still scored 301 and 304 fantasy points in 2011 and 2012, respectively. He has always been equally dangerous as a runner and pass catcher, but after averaging 60 receptions over the previous two seasons, he caught just 40 in 2012. He may never reach that 400-point season again, but he is a legitimate top-5 PPR running back, so it would be wise to keep him.
10. Andrew Luck -
Luck surprised many with his breakout fantasy season in 2012, as he shattered Newton's rookie record for pass yardage with 4,374, while also throwing 23 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He also added five rushing touchdowns. RG3 and Newton were the only QB's to score more . Obviously, there is more than meets the eye with Luck, who, after a year of seasoning, has a big future ahead of him.
All stats are courtesy of four-downs.com.