NFL fantasy football: Five predictions for 2013

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1. Andrew Luck will finish as a top-five fantasy quarterback. With all the talk of Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, I almost feel like Luck has been lost in the mix. However, there's no denying the sort of statistical potential he showed as a rookie. With a full season of NFL experience now under his belt, this kid is going to be in a great position to lift off into the next level of the fantasy stratosphere. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him push the likes of Tom Brady and Peyton Manning from a fantasy standpoint in 2013. The best thing about Luck is that you'll be able to steal him somewhere in the sixth or seventh round in a lot of 2013 drafts.

2. Trent Richardson will finish as a top-five fantasy running back. I predicted in this space last season that Richardson would finish in the top 10 in fantasy points at his position. He went on to post over 1,300 scrimmage yards with a combined 12 touchdowns and 203.70 fantasy points. That was enough for him to finish ninth among runners. Now I think he'll take the next step on his way to fantasy stardom in 2013 under the guidance of new offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Runners in the past like LaMont Jordan, Ricky Williams and Frank Gore all had their best statistical seasons with Turner calling the shots, and I think Richardson is next to establish himself as a huge superstar runner.

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3. Le'Veon Bell will finish as the top-scoring rookie running back. Over the last 11 seasons, the first back selected in the NFL draft has finished with the most fantasy points at the position just four times. The first runner picked in 2013 was Giovani Bernard (No. 37 overall), who will be sharing the workload with BenJarvus Green-Ellis in Cincinnati. Bell, the secondback taken, has a chance to make a major impact this season. A great fit for the offense of OC Todd Haley, the Michigan State product is a talented runner who also has the skills to be an effective pass catcher out of the backfield. Bell could turn into a nice bargain if you land him as a flex starter.

4. Larry Fitzgerald will finish as a top-10 fantasy wide receiver. Fantasy owners need to forget about last season, when Fitzgerald failed to finish among the top 40 wide receivers based on fantasy points. The quarterback situation was a mess, and the offense was one of the league's most anemic. Heading into the 2013 campaign, veteran Carson Palmer will now lead a pass attack that will take more than it's share of downfield chances with new coach Bruce Arians at the helm. In fact, he is targeting Fitzgerald for over 100 catches and double-digit touchdowns this season. Those are lofty projections, but it's hard not to like the talented wideout to re-emerge into a fantasy superstar in 2013.

5. Danny Amendola will avoid injuries - and catch 100-plus passes. The similarities between Amendola and Wes Welker are so striking it's ridiculous. They both played their college football at Texas Tech, they're both slot receivers, and their numbers in their last seasons before joining the Patriots are almost identical. Welker had 67 catches for 687 yards, while Amendola had 63 catches for 666 yards. In his first year in New England, Welker's totals swelled to 112 catches and 1,175 yards. With Tom Brady under center and major question marks at the team's wide receiver spot overall, Amendola will be in a position to make a Welker-like leap in the stat sheets. He'll be a real PPR machine.

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!

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