Rules and Sleeper Picks for Fantasy Football 2012

It is a game of (Andrew) Luck and (Marshawn) Lynches. No, I am not talking about just football, but rather fantasy football where teams score points based on the real life performances of real NFL players. Fantasy football is a tremendous game which is currently sweeping its way into households across the nation. It’s too late to start playing if you do not already have a team, but if you already have a team then the fantasy guru, yours truly, will help lead your team to the promise land.
To start us off after these weeks of football, I have found for you the greatest free agents on the market.

Ryan’s 5 Commandments

Rule #1:
Always play your studs. Unless your star is injured he should always be in your lineup.

Rule #2:
Don’t play favorites. There are exceptions of course, like if your favorite player is a fantasy champ.

Rule #3:
Never, ever ask fellow league members for their opinion, or if you do, never listen to it.

Rule #4:
Depth, Depth, Depth. It’s important to have depth during the regular season so your season doesn’t fall apart.

Rule #5:
Don’t overreact to one bad week. It happens, even the best of players have a bad week.


Christian Ponder, Vikings
Christian Ponder ranks top five in the NFL in completion percentage and top 10 in yards per attempt and quarterback passer rating.
Ponder has consistently stayed inside the pocket, something he failed to do last year, and showed a large improvement of completion percentage and yards-per-attempt efficiency than he did in 2011.
Ponder will not have any vertical threats until Jerome Simpson is back from his suspension this week, but he showed good poise and hooked up with tight end Kyle Rudolph for some intermediate passes to keep the chains moving. Beyond an improved offensive line, the play making abilities of Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin, Ponder has plenty of arm talent and enough scrambling skills to give him high-end QB2 potential going forward. I suggest he be owned most twelve team formats.

Running backs:

Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers
Mendenhall has been a full participant in practice since the beginning of the season, practicing full contact for the first time since he tore his ACL in the beginning of January. After Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer have been less than stellar in the preceding weeks, it seems Mendenhall should have little trouble regaining his starting role in a prolific offense. Mendenhall has a week four bye and might still be on your waiver wire, if this is the case I suggest he should be picked up immediately.

Kendall Hunter, 49ers
Kendall Hunter made efficient work of his few carries so far. Hunter spelled Frank Gore on early downs but didn’t have a role in the passing game. Hunter has the burst and elusiveness to spare, but Frank Gore has looked like the Gore of old in recent games. As the season wears on Gore and his legs, Hunter should eat into Gore’s workload this season and could even outscore Gore by the end of the year. Hunter should be owned in all 12 team or greater leagues.

Wide Receivers:

Randall Cobb, Packers
Randall Cobb is having a breakout season so far, just as quarterback Aaron Rodgers predicted during the preseason. Cobb has caught the vast majority passes so far this season and doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. Cobb possesses similar skills to Percy Harvin, and the Packers seem intent on making him a bigger part of their offense. Cobb should be owned in every fantasy league as he possesses huge upside in the Packers high-octane offense.

Jerome Simpson, Vikings
Jerome ended up being a poor fit for the West Coast offense he played in. The Vikings have spent the whole training camp raving about his speed and athleticism. As the Vikings are in need for a downfield threat, Simpson projects well and is a good complement to Percy Harvin. He should also develop good chemistry with Christian Ponder. Suspended for the first three games, Simpson will be an every down WR when he returns in week 4 and is worth a flier in most leagues.

Tight Ends:

Martellus Bennett, Giants
Bennett has prototypical size and athleticism for a tight end, however has been a major underachiever since being drafted by the Cowboys in 2008. Bennett has been stellar so far and appears poised to have a breakout season on both the NFL and the fantasy level. Eli Manning throws to his tight ends more than people realize and has made fantasy relevant tight ends out of far less talented Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard. After a few weeks, it sure looks like the “Black Unicorn” will join that crew and surpass them as he is going to be getting more and more involved in the passing game each week.

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