Top 25 Dynasty Players Heading Into 2013

It’s never too early to start preparing for the 2013 Fantasy Football Season.

Below I have ranked the Top 25 Overall Fantasy Football Players heading into the 2013 fantasy football season. Things will certainly change quickly this coming off-season, but again, if you ask us, draft preparation begins the moment Week 16 ends!

These rankings are based on a standard PPR scoring format.

Top 25 Overall Dynasty Players

1. Adrian Peterson | RB, MIN

What else can you say other than “freak” when describing Adrian Peterson. Running backs just don’t rebound to elite form when they tear their ACLs after the age of 23… they just don’t, unless of course the player’s name is either Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles. Ok, ACL injury aside… Even though runners usually fall off the face of the earth at the age of 30-31, Peterson is worth the 1.01 even if he absolutely only had two more elite seasons left. They guys is a freak, though, we’ve already established this, so it wouldn’t shock me if he played elite football past the dreaded age for running backs (30)… again, though, even if we assume that he does not last more than two years, simply two, that is a long time. Too many times fantasy owners get caught up on getting the youngest team known to man, and those teams often fight for second place every single season. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to incorporate youth into your decision-making, but two years of AP is enough to build a fresh dynasty and enough to build a nice little championship trophy collection.

2. Robert Griffin III | QB, WAS

I figure that Robert Griffin III is going to be one of the players you see me calling out all off-season long. Each year I push a few players out in front before anyone is really ready to accept that player as a position leader (like having AJ Green as DraftCalc’s No. 1 fantasy football receiver through all of last off-season); RG3 is one of those players for me entering 2013. If he stays healthy, which is really the only risk I see with the elite passer, I wouldn’t be shocked one single bit if he led all fantasy scorers across all positions in 2013. I also wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t even close.

3. Ray Rice | RB, BAL

Ray Rice is a tough player to rank heading into 2013 and beyond. He has the talent and skill to be the No. 1 overall fantasy scorer year in and year out, however, his offense sometimes holds him back, as Rice can have those 30 and 40-yard rushing performances every once in a while. When it comes to Rice, there is very little risk or downside aside from the occasional inconsistency. He is a safe bet for 1,000-1,100 rushing yards, 500-600 receiving yards and about 10 total scores. That’s top 2-5 overall production right there, and he is only 25 (turning 26)!

4. A.J. Green | WR, CIN

I had A.J. Green ranked as DraftCalc’s No. 1 overall receiver throughout the entire 2012 off-season and preseason, and he was my No. 2 overall upside player in redraft formats and No. 1 overall in dynasty formats. It wasn’t a popular stance to have Green ahead of so many receivers, especially Calvin Johnson, but Green flat-out delivered flashes of being as good as any receiver in the league. He is arguably the league’s most exciting and up-and-coming receiving talent. Only Calvin Johnson and Julio Jones will likely give Green a run for his money at the wide receiver position in 2013.

5. Calvin Johnson | WR, DET

As I said above, it’s very arguable to have Calvin Johnson ranked as the league’s No. 1 fantasy receiver heading into 2013. He is a beast and has a grip of years left. And, despite Matthew Stafford’s somewhat disappointing 2012 season, one of the most attractive aspects of drafting Calvin is that his situation is solid; he has a very good passer under center, he plays in an offense that airs it out, and none of that is likely to change for years. That’s a recipe for consistency right there! You might be asking, what is the difference between Calvin and Green, though? And, why do I have Green below Calvin? I believe the answer to both questions will be touchdowns.

6. Arian Foster | RB, HOU

Arian Foster is absolutely one of my top 3-4 ranked rushers heading into 2013 and beyond. In fact, I could make an argument he is the No. 1 overall rusher in fantasy football, regardless of the format. So why is he ranked as the 3rd rusher off the board, and No. 6 overall player? Of course, it’s the irregular heartbeat that he scared us all with in Week 16 of the 2012 fantasy football season. All indications are that everything is back to normal, and his ability to play Week 17 is proof of that. So what is to fear? Well, the unknown. Nothing like this is ever truly revealed to the media and fantasy worlds the way it should be, so call our small bump-down from the No. 2 overall spot to the No. 6 a knee-jerk reaction, one we admit could rectify itself in the coming weeks and months… then again, the unknown reality of the situation may keep him hovering around that safer range… Stay tuned on that! Foster is capable of scoring 15-20TDs during any given campaign, he will only be 27 years old when the 2013 season begins, and his offense is not only productive, it’s built around him. Foster truly does still make a strong case to go No. 1 overall, and as crazy as it sounds, I’ve seen him go as low as the 8 range in early and fresh 2013 dynasty start-up drafts (and that was before the irregular heartbeat scare).

7. Jamaal Charles | RB, KC

Lots of upside, but Jamaal Charles comes with a grip of inconsistency, and plays in an offense that can sometimes take him completely out of a game. Despite this, I think Charles is one of the most explosive players in the NFL, probably second only to Adrian Peterson. That won’t likely change for a handful of years. Landing him later will certainly gives him all kinds of room to over-perform, but even if his ADP climbs this high by the July-August range of next year, Charles is worth the investment.

8. Aaron Rodgers | QB, GB

Aaron Rodgers didn’t really have the 2012 fantasy season most were hoping for. If you drafted Rodgers, you likely drafted him as the No. 1 overall passer, and in the 4-6 overall range… depending on your scoring format, he finished the 2012 fantasy season in that 3-5 range. All in all, it will be tough for fantasy owners to draft Rodgers any higher than this entering all 2013 fantasy football drafts. This is good news, because he has a chance to outshine his ADP if he gets taken in the lower-half of the first-round (or top of the second if you get lucky). If you’re already in a dynasty league, attempt to acquire Rodgers now while so many still feel he is no longer a lock to be a top 1-5 overall finisher.

9. Doug Martin | RB, TB

This ranking is probably a little low for most of the users on our fantasy football forums. In fact, I’ve seen Doug Martin go as high as No. 1 overall, like in this user-organized forum mock draft. While I don’t think he is deserving of the 1.01 (over players like Arian Foster and Adrian Peterson), top 5-8RB numbers aren’t out of the question for Martin in 2013 and beyond.

10. C.J. Spiller | RB, BUF

In mid-season mocks, and very early 2013 start-up drafts, I’ve seen C.J. Spiller go as high as the 5-8 range, yeah, I’m talking overall! Well, I think he is capable of being a top 3RB, so clearly I feel he can earn that top 5-6 overall value, but he shouldn’t be going that high until and if his ADP gets that high. Pay as low a price as you can. The value in landing Spiller in 2013 is getting him as at least a late first-round pick, or as your second-drafted player. If you take him as high as 5-6 overall, he HAS TO play elite football for you to earn your value back… He can, but the upside is minimized… I venture to say that his ADP won’t be near 5-6 come August, but time will tell. Again, he could earn top 5-6 fantasy points, or higher, but I don’t think you will have to pay that kind of price tag come actual draft day in August and September 2013.

11. Cam Newton | QB, CAR

While he did start out slow in 2012, and disappeared for a big chunk of the fantasy season, Cam Newton is clearly still the same stud he was during his rookie campaign. Since Week 10 of the 2012 fantasy football season, he dropped some serious fantasy points, with absolute monster games mixed in that timeframe. Newt might end up being one of the bigger steals in all 2013 fantasy football drafts, as many will still be a little cautious when it comes to making him their first-drafted player, and given Newt is capable of being a top 5 overall fantasy scorer, anything from this ranking down screams potential bargain.

12. Trent Richardson | RB, CLE

Like Doug Martin, this ranking might seem a touch too low to many of our forum users. In the same user-organized mock draft that I mentioned above, Trent Richardson went at 1.04. I think 1.04 isn’t crazy thinking, however, I think T-Rich reaches that kind of production once/if that Cleveland passing attack matures a bit more, and while I love Josh Gordon’s future in the NFL, I am not a big believer in Brandon Weeden. Drafting Richardson in the 1.07-1.13 range seems about right to me, because I think he can safely earn that kind of value even in a struggling Cleveland offense, and it allows him room to truly over-perform.

13. Julio Jones | WR, ATL

While most won’t reach too high for him in 2013, as there are just too many big name players to draft ahead of him, Julio Jones is most likely going to command this kind of respect come August 2013. The great news is that he could finish as a top 1-3 fantasy wide receiver, he has that much upside and skill.

14. LeSean McCoy | RB, PHI

Concussion issues, coupled with the emergence of Bryce Brown, will almost certainly turn LeSean McCoy into a nice value grab in most all 2013 fantasy football drafts. Could he bust? Is there risk? Absolutely, but anywhere near 2nd-round value, I say take the chance and hope you still have a top 5 overall player. He still has that upside despite some new-found risk. If you draft McCoy in 2013, though, be certain to snag Brown as well! Be certain to!

15. Drew Brees | QB, NO

Again, I say this a lot, 2-3 years is a long time, even in dynasty. Drew Brees still has at least 2 years left as a stud and potential top 1-3 fantasy QB. Don’t overlook Brees because another quarterback is in his early 20s. Some dynasty leagues crumble before 2-3 years is up, and some young QBs could still decline at the same time Brees ends up declining, even with the age difference. Don’t plan too far in advance or you will always be playing for second place.

16. Dez Bryant | WR, DAL

Dez Bryant, who I might add was on my Top 10 Upside Board for 2012, could be drafted higher than this come August 2013. I’m one of his biggest supporters, but you always want to target players that can extremely outperform their draft values, and Dez had that upside in a major way last year. This is a good spot for him here, in the 15-18 overall range… if his ADP climbs any higher than this, you may want to take a safer option instead of Dez in 2013, as the top 15 is loaded this upcoming season… then you can just look for the next Dez in the 4th- and 5th-rounds, and believe me, we called Dez last year, we have this year’s version of Dez emerging – wait for this year’s Top 10 Upside Board updates.

17. Matt Forte | RB, CHI

Tons of upside as a 18-24 overall pick, and that’s likely where Matt Forte will fall in 2013 fantasy football drafts. There is a ton of risk here, as he just can’t seem to stay healthy, but as a second-drafted player, and almost a third-round pick, the risk is minimized quite a bit.

18. Brandon Marshall | WR, CHI

You always worry about his off-the-field behavior, but we warned fantasy worlds about Brandon Marshall’s 2012 explosion. All he needed was a productive passing offense. He has one, along with a good supporting defense. Marshall should continue his stellar play in 2013 and beyond.

19. DeMarco Murray | RB, DAL

There is a lot of risk in drafting DeMarco Murray entering 2013, but if you can get him in that 18-24 range, you are minimizing the risk significantly. If relatively healthy, Murray could really crank out top 5-8RB numbers. If completely healthy, it’s scary to think where this kid could finish. Why are we slotting him near the end of the second-round then? Well, because it’s also somewhat scary imagining him finishing as a top 5RB. Confusing? You bet, that’s why he is slotted right here!

20. Darren McFadden | RB, OAK

Same thing that was just said about DeMarco Murray applies here; McFadden has all kinds of risks, but at this value, he is worth a grab, no question. Are there safer options at this point? Yes, but no other player around this range has the upside McFadden has. If you can land McFadden later, absolutely try, though!

21. Andrew Luck | QB, IND

It’s very arguable to slot Andrew Luck higher than this, but it just boils down to strategy and how one likes to build their dynasty rosters. Luck will likely get to that Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers level, but it may take another year of playing to get there. This is a good spot if you ask me.

22. Marshawn Lynch | RB, SEA

I admit, my initial thinking was to keep Marshawn Lynch outside of the top 25, but Lynch will only be 27 entering next season – He still has 2-3 elite years left in an exciting and improving offense. Lynch had a phenomenal 2012 campaign, rushing for 1490 yards and scoring 12 total TDs. Expect more of the same in 2013 as Russell Wilson, our No. 1 Bold Prediction of all 2012, leads this team in the right direction.

23. Alfred Morris | RB, WAS

This was a tough spot to slot Alfred Morris, as one has to worry about any running back lasting long in a Mike Shanahan system. That said, Shanny hasn’t had a player like Morris for quite some time. Morris looks like the real deal, and we could be looking at a top 8-12 fantasy rusher for years and years to come — That makes this ranking a relatively-safe one.

24. Jimmy Graham | TE, NO

Jimmy Graham has had big droughts throughout the entire 2012 fantasy football season, but he played through a wrist injury. After a successful off-season surgery, I imagine Graham will be back to form in 2013. He could fall a lot further than this, but we shall see how the ADP data looks come August 2013. If Graham somehow starts falling into the 3rd-round in 2013 fantasy football drafts, he could turn out to be one of the bigger steals this next upcoming fantasy football season.

25. Rob Gronkowski | TE, NE

Everything I just said about Jimmy Graham applies here as well, as Rob Gronkowski, like Graham, has battled injuries in a major way this season. Before getting hurt in Week 11, Gronko averaged a TD per game on his 10 played games. Amazing.

Just Missed The Cut

It was tough not including players like Russell Wilson (who we called our No. 1 Bold Prediction for 2012), Marshawn Lynch, Chris Johnson, Stevan Ridley, Hakeem Nicks, Larry Fitzgerald, Demaryius Thomas, David Wilson, Matt Ryan,, Victor Cruz. I think Larry Fitzgerald jumps right into the top 12-15 overall if the Cardinals properly address their quarterback situation this off-season.

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  1. Troy says:

    David Wilson just missed the cut? Not that I think he should be in the top 25, but why even considered is my question?

    • Smitty says:

      Lots of people are predicting a big career out of Wilson. Again, I didn’t include him, but his name is getting tossed around in the 25-40 range in dynasty start-ups.

  2. Rick says:

    No Randall Cobb?!?! I’d definitely put him over CJ and Nicks

    • Smitty says:

      I think Cobb around 30 or so wouldn’t be crazy. I think keeping him outside of the top 25-30 isn’t crazy either, though. He is arguable, but in both directions.

  3. KRANZ says:

    Are you nuts?? Lynch should be top 5 and easily over Murray, DMC or even Forte any day of the week. Seattle’s offense the second half of this season is just the tip of the iceberg. Wait until Wilson really starts connecting with VJax and Tate in the offseason.

    Also, Percy Harvin should go over the gimpy Hakeem Nicks too. Not to Manning’s troubles are just beginning. I saw an under thrown ball all season long.

    • KRANZ says:

      Sorry, meant Rice, not VJax.

    • Smitty says:

      Yes, I am nuts, a little. At least that’s what people have said to me fo years.

      As for Lynch, look, I like the guy, and I don’t blame anyone for having him in their top 10 overall. I have him in the top 10-15 for redraft formats, but dynasty wise, I worry. Why? Call it a gut instinct. I have him right around 26-27 I think. That’s still high, and right there with Alfred Morris, Gronko and Graham, I mean, he is still in good company. Could you argue Beast Mode over McFadden and Murray. Absolutely! Will I argue that? No. That doesn’t make either site right or wrong, only a 2013 season can determine that.

    • Smitty says:

      Lynch isn’t top 5, but he is now in the top 25, I agree with you.

      • KRANZ says:

        Ok, we’ll meet halfway (kind of) at 22. At least he’s on your list now. This guy’s a fantasy beast plain and simple. And for two years now, so I have no worries at all about a third, esp . with Wilson manning the ship. But if you’re talking keepers in the 2-3 year time frame and not just for next year, that opens up all kinds of options, i.e. Daryl Richardson, Justin Blackmon, etc.

        • Smitty says:

          Good players to throw out, but too many unknowns with those guys at this point. But great players to monitor, no doubt. Plus, our dynasty angle is always more now/& future vs. mostly future… plus, don’t count out Isaiah Pead. He could get cut, he is no lock to be on the roster next year, but don’t count him out is all.

          My biggest struggle is keeping Russell Wilson out of the top 25 :) I wouldn’t be shocked if he sneaks in there by June, or earlier. I think he can get there, I just don’t want to toss him in quite yet, there are quite a number of good players on that list that deserve to simmer there for a bit :)

          How high Russell has climbed, though, given he is in this conversation. Anyone here at DraftCalc from the start this last off-season knew about him and probably own him :)

  4. ump says:

    I think you are too high on Forte. I would place him behind Chris Johnson, MJD (although depends on situation), and probably even Morris. I think you are too low on Lynch (should be just after Charles, but that is a different discussion). The Bears almost certainly are going to have a new offensive coordinator (yet again) if not a new offensive-minded head coach. The offensive line is a mess and would need more than one year to fix it all. Plus, the Bears have Brandon Marshall. Prior to Marshall, there was a lot of screens and dumpoffs going to Forte (in the Martz offense). Now, Cutler seems to prefer throwing it to Marshall even if he is double or triple covered. Forte doesn’t seem have the explosion of Chris Johnson or Jamaal Charles to break off a long one for a touchdown either. Michael Bush is going to be healthy again and spell Forte, but more importantly take away nearly all of his goalline looks. I’m not even going to get into his injuries the last couple years that should be taken into consideration. While there may be talent in Forte, I just don’t think he is worth a 2nd or even a 3rd round pick. He doesn’t have the ceiling that many other RBs offer.

  5. Reisssox says:

    Percy Harvin needs some love here….

  6. Smitty says:

    Actually, I moved Lynch into the top 22. Everyone makes good arguments, and honestly, it’s well deserved.

  7. RBF says:

    Nice list Smitty – my list would be similar with a flip flop (due to brittle nature) of Murray/DMac for Lynch/Morris. Would also be inclined to slip Gronk into the “just missed” in order to put Cobb at 25. Really like the Marshall spot – as long as he and Cutler can remain BFF’s the sky is the limit.

    • Smitty says:

      Good argument, RBF. Very arguable. Cobb is close, but I just don’t feel great about him as my N0. 2 overall player, or the first player out of the 3rd…. I just don’t feel it. I love him in the 4th, or very, very late 3rd, but I just think he shouldn’t be forced into elite WR1 status until he gets there… it could cost you years and be a big setback if you drafted him in the 2nd expecting true WR1 numbers and he didn’t land. He should be the guy you snag later, and if he turns out to be that good, you win your league. Drafting him inside the top 25 doesn’t leave room to excel much past his draft position IMO. But that’s me, things could change, or i could be wrong.

    • JRMRRT says:

      I love Cobb but I couldnt remove a 23 year old TE that scored 17 TDs 2 years ago and 10 TDs in 11 games this year for him.

  8. Who's U'r Doggie says:

    Harvin needs to be on your top 25 list Smitty. He really belongs there ………………….

  9. Woodzy says:

    I’ve got to pick 2 keepers from D. Martin, C.J. Spiller, and A.J. Green. League starts 1QB, 2WR, 2RB, 1TE, and 1 flex. After the keepers, there is a snake draft for one round and then auction. I’m keeping Martin for sure, but don’t know which of the other two I should keep. A premium is put on RBs for keepers, so the pool is pretty weak and very few WR are kept. Who would you keep as of now, and who would you keep if Chan Gailey is fired or Fred Jackson disappears.

    • Who's U'r Doggie says:

      I absolutely love Spiller and his future BUT, I couldn’t give up AJG for him. By keeping AJG, you have your WR1 locked up before the draft even starts and top talent in a keeper league is your ultimate goal. Now, should you keep Martin over Spiller? I’ll leave that decision too you. :)

  10. FF says:

    It is a nice list, Smitty. As a lot of people have mentioned I think Percy Harvin deserves to be on the list. Another player that deserves to a consinderation is Demaryius Thomas – especially if Manning has a couple of more years in him. I would take D.Thomas for Alfred Morris or Lynch straight up without hesitation.

    • Smitty says:

      It’s arguable, FF. No doubt, but I think it’s arguable in either direction, on both players. You make a great case, but I still don’t have Harvin or Thomas in my personal top 25 dynasty players. They are close, but not inside.

  11. Smitty says:

    Who thinks Russell Wilson needs to crack this list?

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