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Forget playoffs: Time to prep for your 2013 draft RICH SHEPOSH FANTASY SPORTS


February 20. 2013 12:52AM
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Hey, wasn't 2012 supposed to be the Year of the Quarterback?


The NFL was just coming off a 2011 season that saw three QBs throw for more than 5,000 yards, and a fourth who would have if he didn't sit in week 17. There were also three QBs with 40-plus TD passes and a fourth with 39.


These were the two-thousand teens, man. Quarterbacks were in vogue. They were hip. They were groovy. They were happenin'.


They were also sooo two years ago.


If 2012 proved anything it's that the running back has reemerged as the most valuable first-round commodity in fantasy football. Oh, a good QB is still a must-have, but with Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III joining the pool, you can wait and still draft an impact player.


This new/old world order is evident in the very first Top 10 draft list of 2013. It will change, of course, as teams hire new coaches and coordinators and sign free agents and draft picks, but it's a fun starting point for right now.



1: Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings: There are some who will note that players who have rushed for 2,000 plus yards have a significant drop off the following season. These people are called idiots. All you need to know is never doubt Adrian Peterson again. His 2,097 yards and 13 TDs in 2012 should be proof of that. Draft him No. 1.



2: Arian Foster, RB, Texans: You can't argue with 1,424 yards and 17 TDs, but some concern is starting to creep in. The Texans throttled down his workload toward the end of the year and he was not used in the passing game as much as he had been. Still, he is a workhorse back and a TD machine and that makes him valuable.



3: Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions: Megatron is simply the best WR in football, but that's not why I'd draft him at the No. 3 spot. In the last two seasons he's been an absolute monster late in the year. Since that's fantasy playoff time, he could mean a title for you. Yeah, he only caught five TD passes in 2012, but that looks like an aberration. He should reach double digits in 2013.



4: Ray Rice, RB, Ravens: It was a strange year for Rice, who still finished among the top fantasy RBs despite the Ravens forgetting about him at times. When Baltimore made a late-season change at offensive coordinator, Rice's numbers jumped. If they stick with the new plan – and they should – look for Rice to be better in 2013.



5: Drew Brees, QB, Saints: While the other QBs who put up gaudy numbers in 2011 took a step or two back, Brees was the only one to maintain that stratospheric level. He passed for 5,177 yards and threw for 43 TDs – the only one to reach those numbers in 2012. There are a lot of great QB options out there, but Brees is a difference-maker.



6: Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks: He lived up to his Beast Mode nickname, particularly down the stretch. As QB Russell Wilson improved, the Seahawks' offense did too, opening up more room for Lynch. With this offense a year more experienced in 2013, he could top his 1,590 yards and 12 TDs in 2012.



7: Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins: You may know that Morris had a good year, but did you know how good? Only Adrian Peterson had more yards than Morris' 1,610, and only Arian Foster rushed for more TDs than the rookie's 13. That's some great company to be in. Robert Griffin III isn't the only emerging star in D.C.



8: Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers: Martin is often compared to Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy. So, here's something to think about: If you add up Rice's and McCoy's rookie numbers -- 1,091 rushing yards, 745 receiving, 4 TDs – they mostly fall short of Martin's rookie stats – 1,454 rushing, 472 receiving and 12 TDs. If Martin improves like those players did in year two, watch out.



9: Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs: Charles' stock is most likely to rise by the time draft day comes around. New coach Andy Reid has a track record of creating dual-threat, fantasy stat monsters – Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy – and Charles fits that mold nicely. Who the Chiefs get to play QB will go a long way in determining how much Charles jumps in value.



10: Trent Richardson, RB, Browns: He lived up to the hype as the best rookie RB for the first half of the season, but he wore down after the calendar hit November. What he did do in those weeks was score TDs. The jump from 12 college games to a 16-game NFL grind takes it toll on many rookies, so expect better in 2013.




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