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NFL fantasy football: Five predictions for 2013

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1. Dez Bryant will have the most fantasy points of any wide receiver this season - by a lot. On the surface, this doesn't look that outlandish. After all, he scored the third most fantasy points at his position a year ago. But this was a guy you weren't starting on a regular basis last year until Week 10. His last eight weeks were as dominant as we've ever seen over that period of time for a wide receiver in fantasy. And oh yeah, while it's not a true 'contract' year for him, do you think the Cowboys are going to let him go into the final year of his deal after 2013 with free agency looming? Nope, he knows another big season means Jerry Jones will take care of him before that happens. Calvin Johnson is still great, but this year Bryant will approach or exceed 250 fantasy points, and have at least 20 more than his closest competitor.

2. Andrew Luck will be the best value pick you can make at quarterback. Will he have the most fantasy points of any quarterback? No. Will he be a top-five fantasy quarterback? Yes. And you'll be able to get him in the fourth-round. Think about it, how many quarterbacks are going to be drafted before him? Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, RG3, Matt Ryan and probably Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, the latter two being the new flavors of the month in the NFL. That's eight quarterbacks who will most likely go before Luck. You'll take him, and in 2013 you'll get 35 total touchdowns, over 4,800 yards passing with 10-12 interceptions (at least six less than a year ago). Yes, he's that good. And it ain't like Indianapolis is suddenly going to run the ball a ton.

3. LeSean McCoy will be a top-five fantasy running back. Whether or not Chip Kelly's offense takes the league by storm is besides the point. He knows who has to touch the football the most for his team to succeed, and it's McCoy. Finally, Eagles fans won't have to turn to each other after every game and say "Why did Andy Reid only give him the ball 12 times today?" I don't care who beats him in a 40-yard dash, McCoy will return to fantasy dominance this season. He'll give you 100 more fantasy points than he did a year ago.

4. Sam Bradford will be a weekly fantasy starter by October. Well, it took long enough for St. Louis to surround Bradford with some help on the outside. St. Louis is now going all-in to become a team who plays fast up and down the field. It's not just the drafting of Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, but the acquisition of Jared Cook, who has the athletic ability to be a game-breaker at tight end. The running game is in the hands of Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead, whose main weapons are their speed. This offense is going to look like Bradford's at Oklahoma. They'll be spraying the ball all over the field, knowing that they'll be able to find a mismatch against slower defenders somewhere. Experts have said that this is the make or break year for Bradford? He'll make it.

5. Pierre Garcon will be a top-10 fantasy wide receiver. Raise your hand if you drafted Garcon last year, saw his Week 1 production and then held onto him for the next 10 weeks hoping he'd come back from injury and do it all again. Okay, maybe it's just me raising my hand, but I did that. Garcon showed great chemistry both early on with RG3 and after he got his legs back under him starting in Week 12. As long as both players are healthy for Week 1, you can expect Garcon to put up eye-popping numbers in 2013.

Jason Smith writes fantasy and other pith for nfl.com. He hosts NFL Fantasy Live during the regular season on the NFL Network, and you can download the weekly NFL Fantasy Live podcast with him alongside Michael Fabiano and Elliot Harrison. Talk to him on twitter @howaboutafresca. He only asks you never bring up when the Jets play poorly.

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