1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
Rodgers already has 5 seasons of 3,900+ yards and 28+ TDs to his name. And he is still only 29 years old. Even if Greg Jennings leaves via free agency, the Packers are loaded at WR with Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones.
2. Cam Newton, Panthers
Newton seemed to get over his sophomore slump in the second half of the season. He was the No. 1 Fantasy quarterback for the last 10 weeks. Unlike other quarterbacks like Robert Griffin and Michael Vick, the 6-foot-5, 248-pound Newton has proven to be durable. He has played in 31 of a possible 32 games so far.
3. Drew Brees, Santos
Brees just posted his seventh consecutive 4,300-plus-yard season. He topped 5,000 in 2 of the last 3. Brees is 34 years old but the type of guy who could still play another 4-5 seasons. HC Sean Payton’s new contract is excellent news.
4. Matt Stafford, Lions
He threw for 4,967 yards and 20 TDs in a “low” year. Stafford’s 10th-place fantasy is his floor for the next decade. The guy doesn’t turn 25 until February.
5. Andrew Luck, Colts
He set an NFL rookie record with 4,374 passing yards. And he did it with a mediocre line and a mediocre body of passes. Luck is as good as advertised.
1. Adrian Peterson, Vikings
He is coming off the most impressive season by a RB in NFL history. And AP could be even better next year as he continues to put that ACL injury behind him. Peterson turns 28 in March. But after this last season, he wouldn’t be surprised if he dominated well into his 30s.
2. LeSean McCoy, Eagles
McCoy struggled with injuries and an inconsistent supporting cast in 2012. The Eagles are headed in a new direction after firing Andy Reid, but Shady will remain the centerpiece of the offense. He doesn’t turn 25 until July.
3. Ray Rice, Ravens
4 consecutive seasons of more than 1,600 yards. And Rice will still be just 26 years old for the 2013 campaign.
4. CJ Spiller, Bills
He set career highs across the board in 2012, with 6.0 rushing yards and 10.7 receiving yards. With Chan Gailey gone and Fred Jackson clearly on the decline, Spiller’s workload should only grow from here. The guy is only 25 years old.
5. Doug Martin, Bucs
Here’s a young, well-rounded RB who plays in a first-run offense. Martin finished third at his position in fantasy points in his first NFL season. Get used to seeing it up there.
1. Calvin Johnson, Lions
The new NFL record holder for receiving yards in a single season is still only 27 years old. He now he is entering the best moment of him. Johnson should be the first pick in the emerging dynasty leagues.
2. AJ Green, Bengals
He gets a slight edge over Julio because he has been more durable and reliable from game to game. Green has averaged 1,191 yards and 9 TDs in his first 2 NFL seasons. And the best is yet to come.
3. Julio Jones, Falcons
We still think Jones has more upside than fellow 2011 draftee AJ Green. He is more explosive and in a better situation (QB, OC).
4. Dez Bryant, Cowboys
The light bulb finally went on in the second half of 2012. And the results were spectacular. Bryant was the No. 1 WR in fantasy football for the past 8 weeks. He will be a regular in the top 5 for the next 5-6 seasons.
5. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
He’s just as talented as the 3 guys directly in front of him on this list. The only problem for Thomas is figuring out who will throw the rock at him when Manning hangs up the studs. But it may not matter: He was a stud in 2011, even with Tim Tebow at the center.
1. Jimmy Graham, Saints
Graham’s 2012 included a league-high 14 knockdowns and a nagging wrist injury. He still managed to finish as the best fantasy TE. With Drew Brees throwing the rock at him — and HC Sean Payton back to run the offense — Graham’s upside remains limitless.
2. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
Gronk missed 5 games in 2012, but still posted his third straight 10-plus TD campaign. The 23-year-old now owns an incredible 38 career scores from 43 contests. A matchup nightmare, Gronk will remain a fantasy staple for years to come.
3. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots
Age, supreme talent and a supercharged offense are big pluses. Injuries have proven to be the only drawback: he has yet to play a full season. However, at just 23 years old, we’re sure we haven’t seen the best of Hernandez yet.
4. Kyle Rudolph, Vikings
Rudolph led all TEs in red zone goals (14), tied for second in TDs (9) in 2012. He has built a good relationship with Christian Ponder and should continue to develop his game in his 20s and 20s.
5. Vernon Davis, 49ers
VD shares sank with Colin Kaepernick under center. But a full offseason with the kid should do wonders for him. He remains one of the rarest athletes in the league.