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Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins: The fact that RGIII is coming off a major knee operation has a lot of fantasy owners worried. In fact, I've seen him fall to the sixth round and beyond in some drafts. But when you consider the sort of statistical potential he has out there on the gridiron, well, Griffin III could turn into an absolute steal if he falls to you in that round range. Keep in mind, he was one of the top five fantasy players before hurting his knee in 2012.
Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys: Romo has finished in the top eight in fantasy points among quarterbacks in three of the last four years - he almost threw for 5,000 yards last season - so he's proven his worth as a No. 1 option. Still, the immense depth of stars at the position this season could cause him to slide into the fifth or sixth round in standard drafts. In an offense that should continue to put points on the board, Romo is a player to target if you wait on a quarterback.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions: Despite the fact that he missed throwing for 5,000 yards in back to back seasons by just 33 yards, Stafford was still considered a disappointment in fantasy leagues last season. But in an offense that will throw the ball a ton, not to mention the presence of superstar Calvin Johnson and new running back Reggie Bush, Stafford is a good bounce-back candidate who could be an absolute steal based on his ADP.
Steven Jackson, RB, Atlanta Falcons: Jackson has long been a viable No. 2 fantasy runner, but averaging less than five rushing touchdowns in his last four seasons left something still to be desired. Now in Atlanta, however, the veteran will have a chance to post more touchdowns on the ground than he has since his breakout campaign of 2006. Keep in mind, Michael Turner never rushed for fewer than 10 touchdowns in his five years as the Falcons No. 1 running back, even at age 30.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: Jones-Drew is coming off a forgettable 2012 campaign that included an extended holdout and ended after six games due to an injured foot. Barring setbacks, he's expected to be back in plenty of time for the start of the 2013 season. At 27 and coming off a year that saw him post just 86 carries, Jones-Drew has a great chance to rebound. Also in a contract year, "Pocket Hercules" could post top-10 totals among running backs.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs: Two seasons removed from a 15-touchdown campaign, Bowe's fantasy stock has declined in a big way. There is reason for optimism, though, as the veteran out of L.S.U. will enter training camp with a new contract and a much better quarterback under center in Alex Smith. He'll also be the top option in the pass attack for new coach Andy Reid - and we all know how much he loves to throw the football. Bowe would be a steal as a No. 3 fantasy wideout.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Mike Wallace left as a free agent, which moves Brown up the totem poll among Steelers wide receivers. One season removed from posting 1,108 yards, he will be in a good position to find success as the top option in the passing game for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Considering his mediocre 40th ranking at his position in 2012, Brown could fall into the middle rounds this season - that would make him a potential bargain come season's end.
|Tony Romo has finished eighth or better in fantasy points at quarterback three times since 2009. (Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press)|
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Fitzgerald is coming off a disastrous 2012 campaign, as he posted just 798 yards with a career-worst four touchdowns while also finishing outside of the top 40 wideouts in fantasy points. The veteran should be motivated to return to the statistical heights he reached in previous seasons, though, and new coach Bruce Arians will no doubt make sure Fitzgerald is targeted a ton in 2013. The addition of Carson Palmer is terrific news as well.
Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants: Drafting Nicks can be a bit scary, as he's missed or been limited in more than his share of games due to injuries at the NFL level. There are some real positives, though, as the North Carolina product is still just 25 and will no doubt be motivated to produce big totals in a contract year. Nicks has No. 1 fantasy wideout potential, but he'll come at the cost of a No. 2 or 3 option because of his past injury issues. I think he's worth the risk.
Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers: Davis is coming off a disappointing season in the stat sheets from a fantasy perspective. He was a superstar during the Niners' run to the Super Bowl, though, and the addition of Anquan Boldin will give defenses one more threat to prepare for in the pass attack. Considering the overall decline of the position in 2012, Davis could end up being a steal if he falls in fantasy drafts. Overall, he's still going to be considered a No. 1 tight end.
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!