Before the season begins, TradeDebate.com examined all 32 teams Fantasy potential, and ranked them according to their expected Fantasy output. These Fantasy power rankings are based on the rewards that the team as a whole will give the owners of whom they have drafted players. The first half of teams examines the bottom half of the league, and the players on those teams that will more often than not draft in middle to later rounds.
The second half surveys the landscape of the stronger teams and how they will impact your Fantasy Football team. Some teams have a ton of draftable players because of their output or depth, while you may be grasping at straws with others just to find a player to choose.
2012 Fantasy Power Rankings
32. New York Jets – Will they score often? No. Will they score consistently? No. Will you know week to week who will score when they do? No. Is any position player capable of having a top 10 year? Well, at least their defense should be pretty solid week-to-week, and this ranking coming from a Jet fan no less.
31 – Miami Dolphins – Reggie Bush will get the touches and be a low end RB2 until he gets hurt, and Daniel Thomas has post hype sleeper appeal, but everyone else on this squad is deeper league material. Davone Bess could also have some value in PPR leagues.
30. Cleveland Browns – Try and get good value on Trent Richardson’s injury, or take a flier on Greg Little late, but that’s about the only reward this team offers. The entire team has very low upside in general because of the expected quarterback play, and retains little keeper or dynasty interest past those two.
29 – Jacksonville Jaguars – They would be dead last if I believed MJD wasn’t going to play this season, but my Spidey sense says that MJD caves by week 2. Justin Blackmon will be sensational, but not this year for those in standard leagues. Blaine Gabbert is just terrible, as is the defense, so it’s slim pickings on this squad.
28 – Arizona Cardinals – You grab Larry Fitzgerald late in the second or early in the third and hope that he out jumps a bunch of corners and safeties. The quarterback play will most likely be horrific, but Fitzy will still get his touches and numbers, the rest of the team, not so much. If you are a Fitzy owner you want that QB to be Skelton as he averages an extra 3 targets when he is in there. Whoever earns lead back duties might produce RB2 numbers if things break the right way, by which I mean when Beanie gets hurt again.
27 – St. Louis Rams – Steven Jackson is an old, but solid, RB2 who will be extra motivated with Keeper/dynasty target Isaiah Pead lurking over his shoulder. Bradford should be better than he was last year, but not near QB1 territory, and their trio of wide receivers has deeper league appeal as one should break through and be semi-productive.
26 – Washington Redskins– Fred Davis is a certifiable break out candidate at the tight end position, and an excellent grab once the stars are off the board. RG3 has keeper/dynasty appeal, as does Leonard Hankerson. The running back situation will be a mystery all season so you are better off not touching any of them; Roy Helu has some keeper upside though. Pierre Garcon is a WR3 at a bargain price.
25 – Indianapolis Colts – I fully believe that Andrew Luck will be decent this year, escalating all his position players to beat their preseason ADPs. If Austin Collie can stay healthy he should put up WR2/3 numbers, and Reggie Wayne even at 34 can do the same. Donald Brown is a post hype sleeper who is finally getting a chance to start, let’s see what he can do with it.
24 – Seattle Seahawks– Picking a wide receiver from this bunch will be pretty tough week-to-week, but Doug Baldwin would be my flier based purely on his youth, athleticism, and injury free history. Marshawn Lynch should plod his way to RB2 status, but do you really feel comfortable taking him that early? Seattle D has a chance to rack up some FPs especially when at home.
23- Minnesota Vikings– Drafting Adrian Peterson will have to take some real cojones, but the payoff is certainly there. Percy Harvin will be a solid WR2, and find ways to score regardless of Christian Ponder’s maturation. Kyle Rudolph has a chance to be one of this year’s breakout tight ends while coming at an extremely friendly price tag.
22 – San Francisco 49ers– Not buying the Randy Moss hype, Crabtree is a perennial disappointment, and Frank Gore is a year older and still just an injury prone. Remember, this team wasn’t exactly scoring at will last year, but the defense should net lots of turnovers and Ted Ginn should be good for a touchdown or two on returns. This team will be good, but the offense is as conservative as it gets.
21 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Was tempted to put this team even higher as I believe that Josh Freeman will have a nice bounce-back season, but I’m not quite fully there yet. If he does though, Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson have RB1 and WR1 potential respectively. This team was a lot better than their record showed last year, and should be able to move the ball much more effectively, although the recent injury on the line won’t help.
20 – Buffalo Bills – Expect Fred Jackson to still receive feature back duties, but not at the level of production he was posting last season. C.J. Spiller is a decent keeper/deep league pick as he should eventually get a chance to start. If Steve Johnson can add consistency to his fantasy game he will return low end WR2 numbers. The defense is certainly viable with the addition of Mario Williams and relatively easy schedule.
19 – Tennessee Titans – They are already down their starting center, are undecided at QB, have a star and oft-troubled WR in Kenny Britt not fully healthy, and an enigma in Chris Johnson’s decline. This offense has plenty of potential to be successful and reap rewards for fantasy owners, but it comes with a ton of risk. Nate Washington is a solid WR4 going much later than he should.
18 – Oakland Raiders– Your drafting McFadden and your praying he stays healthy. If he does everyone on the Raiders gets better. Palmer should give solid QB2 numbers, and of the two wide receivers, give me Denarious Moore and his crazy upside.
17 – Cincinnati Bengals– The offense can move the ball, but that doesn’t make them any less conservative. A.J. Green is a bona fide WR1 and should top last year’s numbers. Andy Dalton should put up solid QB2 numbers for those in 2 QB or deeper leagues. BJGE will put up numbers similar to what Cedric Benson did when he was on Bengals, which should result in low end RB2 territory.
16 – Kansas City Chiefs – In an extremely run-heavy offense, both backs should be productive with Jamaal Charles leading the way, while sharing touches and goal line carries to Peyton Hillis. Charles may threaten RB1 territory if fully healthy, while Hillis has the potential to put up RB2 if the offense can move the ball. Dwayne Bowe will report, and finish somewhere between the top 10 and 20 when it’s all said and done. Matt Cassel, while nothing special, is an excellent game manager who will lean on an improved line and running game and effectively move the ball consistently.
15 – Denver Broncos – Make no mistake, the line is a mess and they play 15 of 16 games outdoors, but the addition of Peyton Manning moves any team to the middle of the pack. Demaryius Thomas will probably lead the team in touchdown receptions, while Eric Decker should have the most catches and yards. He’s a nice mid round grab, as is Willis McGahee who is a solid RB2 who is going later than he should.
14 – San Diego Chargers– Already down their star running back, but Antonio Gates is supposedly healthy as is Rivers. All 3 will produce at solid, but not elite levels. If you can get any of these 3 at a lowered price than their ADP you should reap the rewards easily, don’t reach though. Vincent Brown is a nice late round flier.
13 – Pittsburgh Steelers – Antonio Brown is the name to know on the Steelers this year. With all the uncertainty surrounding both Mike Wallace and Rashard Mendenhall, Brown will notch tons of targets and has WR2 upside. Ben Ro and the defense will be their normal productive selves. Mendenhall is a nice mid-late round gamble.
12 – Baltimore Ravens – Ray Rice will be an elite RB1, and Flacco will typically disappoint (in fantasy), but they will be fairly productive as a whole. Look for Torrey Smith to improve from this solid rookie year and outgain Anquan Boldin in yardage and touchdowns while putting up WR3 numbers. The defense as usual should be top 10.
12 – Chicago Bears – If Brandon Marshall can find the end zone more than he has in years past, he could blossom into a WR1 now that he is reunited with his old buddy Chicken Cutler. Matt Forte should return to his pre-injury form, and make fantasy impacts in the air and ground while ceding goal line carries to Michael Bush.
11- Pittsburgh Steelers – Antonio Brown is the name to know on the Steelers this year. With all the uncertainty surrounding both Mike Wallace and Rashard Mendenhall, Brown will notch tons of targets and has WR2 upside. Ben Ro and the defense will be their normal productive selves. Mendenhall is a nice mid-late round gamble.
10 – Houston Texans – Two running backs that are certain to produce for you during the fantasy football season. Arian Foster is a sure fire elite RB1, while Ben Tate is a flex play with an injury away from being an RB1 himself. This is the year Andre Johnson finally falls down to WR2 territory, and Owen Daniels has value late in deep leagues.
9 – Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton and Steve Smith will continue to be fantasy staples, while the two (now 3) headed monster at RB will all cancel each other. Brandon LaFell is a nice sleeper pick that could have a solid season as the #2, but the first two are really who you want.
8 – Dallas Cowboys – Would be higher if I didn’t have such concerns about their line. Witten and Austin are already hurt, Dez can’t seem to stay out of trouble, and Tony Romo has to have a “prove it” year. 5 players on this Offense will be drafted before the 10th round, but I don’t see most of them out playing their ADPs. I’d rank em: Dez, Murray, Romo, Austin, Witten in draft order.
7 – New York Giants – A team that is certain to score, and score often, on both the ground and through the air. As long as the position players player stay healthy the core will flirt with RB1 and WR1 ranks week to week. Eli is a top 10 quarterback that is mostly consistent each Sunday; the defense will generate locks of sacks as well.
6 – Atlanta Falcons – Julio Jones will go wild this year as the coaching staff finally opens up the playbook for Matt Ryan, who will be a low end No. 1 if he can handle the volume. Jones could easily post top 5 numbers and should out score every other position player on the Falcons, and certainly over Roddy White. This is the year Michael Turner breaks down so make sure you nab Jacquizz Rodgers in keeper and dynasty.
5 – Detroit Lions – If Calvin and Stafford stay healthy they will put up monster numbers, but that isn’t always the case with these two. Kevin Smith is the back to own….right now. Titus Young could have a breakout year as the man out of the slot and is someone to target late.
4- Philadelphia Eagles – I see a nice bounce back season from Vick, Maclin, and Jackson, and will be investing heavily in their stocks as they should all come reduced. McCoy is a consensus top 3 back, and even Brent Celek may get enough love to be relevant again. Points should not be a problem this year.
3 – New Orleans Saints – The defense is going to be terrible, which means lots of shoot outs on the fast turf. Seeing as how Drew Brees is essentially a offensive coach on the field anyway, they shouldn’t miss a beat. Colston will be boring, but reliable, Sproles and Ingram will both end up being RB2s, and Brees will pile on the yards as they fight to see who can score 35 first.
2 – New England Patriots – Tom Brady will be a little slice of heaven for fantasy owners as he now is absolutely loaded on offense with no malcontents to get in the way. All 4 of the prime position players will get theirs, and their backfield will of course be unpredictable week to week. If I had to choose one, it would be Steven Ridley
1 Green Bay Packers – Aaron Rodgers is a magician with the football, and thus everyone gets a taste of the honey. Save the round and draft Nelson instead of Jennings, look for Randall Cobb late, and take draft Finley if he falls any time past the fifth. Cedric Benson should have no problem finding running lanes and produce as their main ground attack. The defense should treat fantasy teams well as they notch up freebies from teams trying to keep up with the Pack Attack.
All of the below is based on team depth as it relates to draftable players
Backfields to avoid: Washington, New England, Jets, Carolina, Green Bay
Backfields to target: Houston, Kansas City, New Orleans,
Wide Receiver Corps to avoid: Seattle, San Francisco, St Louis, San Diego
Wide Receiver Corps to target: New England, Green Bay, Dallas, Philadelphia
We hope you enjoyed these Fantasy Power Rankings — check out TradeDebate.com. Enter in trade possibilities and see which team the community thinks gets the better deal — or if it’s straight up fair.