Packers emerge as hot properties of NFL fantasy drafts this fall
The irony of he conference title games was that both winners featured second-half offenses that were, well, offensive. Fantasy points may have slowed to a trickle at times but the final four still gave us the Jets' offense showing it can come from behind, Rashard Mendenhall proving why he's an elite fantasy back for 2011, Aaron Rodgers showing he's finally human and Jay Cutler apparently becoming the Tin Man. The Super Bowl is set and fantasy playoff owners of Steelers and Packers players are the last ones standing. As always, there was plenty of fantasy fodder to sift through in projecting ahead.
Using the one-point-per-10 rushing or receiving yards and one-point-per-20 passing yards scoring method with touchdown passes worth four points, here are the top performers in postseason fantasy football. An * indicates the player is no longer alive in the playoffs.
1 QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers, 78 points
As we all know, it's never too early to start planning league domination. Without factoring player movement or rookies, here is the ultra-early draft projection if the next season were to start immediately following the Super Bowl (which is about the only thing the owners haven't asked for). Beyond just my top 40 regardless of position, is also a breakdown for each position for an early projection.
1 QB Michael Vick, Eagles
Vick and Rodgers are easily first-round picks, with Vick the top choice overall. Brees is the final cut in the top tier, but could slip to the start of the third round. The next grouping starting with Rivers and ending with Brady is the second tier, while the next group with Romo runs until Matt Shaub. Josh Freeman is the position's biggest wildcard and could finish as a top-six fantasy QB in 2011.
1 Michael Vick, Eagles
Foster is a slam dunk, while Peterson gets the nod over Johnson due to a more talented receiving core and a slightly better line. Old reliables like MJD, Steven Jackson and Frank Gore dropped due to injuries and wear and tear, while the upside is tantalizing for the trio of Charles, McCoy and Mendenhall. Darren McFadden is the position's biggest wildcard in the top 10, with boom or bust capability.
1 Arian Foster, Texans
The top four spots are as sure a thing as one will find at the position, with Calvin Johnson taking the top spot. The sky is the limit for Megatron, whose production has not slipped in two of the last three years, even with a revolving door of QBs. There a couple high-ranking wild cards here, including a head case (Brandon Marshall) and a hopefully former holdout (Vincent Jackson), but Brandon Lloyd takes the cake. One-year wonder worries aside, if the Tim Tebow QB experiment suffers, he will be the first casualty.
1 Calvin Johnson, Lions
If you had a good starting tight end, chances were you waited for a piano to drop from the sky on them last year. Injuries were rampant and inconsistency a constant. Antonio Gates gets the nod, followed closely by Dallas Clark in a two-player elite tier where both produce like wide receivers. The second tier starts with Finley and ends with Miller, as any one of them could come close to matching Clark and Gates. While Lewis is a question mark after one great year, Davis is the wild card here due to all the physical ability in the world, but a team whose new coach, Jim Harbaugh, could probably beat out last year's starter, Alex Smith, for the QB job.
1 Antonio Gates, Chargers