Matt Schaub will exceed fantasy football expectations in 2012

Click the above tabs to see picks from our various analysts

1. Big year for AFC South QBs. The AFC South's quartet of Jake Locker, Andrew Luck, Matt Schaub and -- yes -- Blaine Gabbert will outscore the four starting quarterbacks in any of the three other AFC divisions. Schaub is now the pace car for his callow counterparts, all of whom should exceed conventional expectations. All three youngsters will rush for more TDs than league average among QBs, and all three have some interesting options at WR/TE. Locker, especially, is a guy who's gonna be on the board well after everyone in your draft has picked their starting QB. Stash Locker late and the reap the benefits all year long ... hear me now, believe me later: he's the QB sleeper of 2012.

2. Falcons WR duo will dominate.Julio Jones and Roddy White will put up the best combined point total among all NFL WR tandems. I'm not a big Matt Ryan fan, but -- especially as Michael Turner fades -- this offense will be slingin' it more and more. Look for both starting WRs to go over 1,000 yards and at least seven TDs each.

3. Romo will rule NFC East.Tony Romo will outscore the other QBs in the NFC East as the Cowboys roll to the Super Bowl. Jason Witten and Miles Austin (at least when healthy and/or when the lights aren't too bright) are more dependable, but Dez Bryant is the key to this prediction. If he explodes in his third year (he will), Romo will rank in the top five or six fantasy QBs in 2012.

4. Rise of multiple tight end sets. Teams like the Ravens, Chiefs, Colts, Bengals and Redskins will copy the Patriots' approach of attacking the middle of the field with multiple tight ends -- which will make the position the deepest in fantasy history. In other words, if you don't get Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham (I expect both to go in the second round), you'll still have lots of high-scoring options on the board.

5. Top Jimmy.Jimmy Graham will lead the NFL in TD receptions with 15. Marques Colston, Lance Moore and (to a much-lesser degree) Devery Henderson will have their big weeks, but Graham is now the unquestioned favorite target of Drew Brees ... and he'll out-do even Rob Gronkowski in 2012. Taking him in the second round is not a reach.

Bonus: Half Nelson.Jordy Nelson will not be a top 10 WR in 2012. Don't get me wrong: He'll have a good season (as will everyone else catching passes from Aaron Rodgers), but his stats were slightly inflated last year because No. 1 target Greg Jennings missed essentially the last month with injury. Also look for sophomore burner Randall Cobb to be more prominent in Mike McCarthy's offense this year, while JerMichael Finley -- now two years removed from a knee injury -- will have his best pro season.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.
Gamepass_vert_web_r

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.