It is never too early to start thinking about next year’s fantasy football draft. Although team’s rosters will change with the NFL draft, even if a drafter player earns a starting spot the likelihood of that player making a huge fantasy impact is not high, or at least won’t be an expected performance (like Arian Foster).
#10. Brandon Lloyd, WR, Denver Broncos
Brandon Lloyd was a breakout player in 2010 and was the highest scoring wide receiver overall, scoring even more points than Roddy White. Although his numbers might be a one time thing, Lloyd has to be considered a threat to score big numbers once again. Lloyd gained 1,448 yards receiving while gaining just 860 yards in the previous four seasons combined. You have a right to be somewhat skeptical in selecting Lloyd as a top ten pick, but don’t let him slip down too far, he should score big in 2011.
#9. Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Ray Rice didn’t finish in the top ten in fantasy points, but his potential for high numbers in 2011 is great. Rice has gained over 1200 yards the last two seasons, but only scored 6 total touchdowns last year including through the air. Rice should find the endzone more next season, draft in the top ten or soon after if he is still on the board.
#8. Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons
White had his best season yet with a career high 115 receptions, 1,389 yards receiving, and ten receiving touchdowns. Matt Ryan has established himself among the league’s best quarterbacks and will continue to target White many times each game. White Will put up matching numbers in 2011 and is worth taking as your top wide receiver.
#7. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers surprisingly is in the top ten for 2011 fantasy football beating out many top performers and even quarterback Tom Brady. Rodgers had a great season in 2010 with 3922 yards and 28 touchdowns. Rodgers has averaged over 4,000 yards and 28 touchdowns a year over the last three years making him a fantasy top 10 player.
#6. Peyton Hillis, RB, Cleveland Browns
Hillis was the second biggest surprise of the 2010 NFL season right behind Arian Foster. Hillis came out of nowhere to gain 1,177 yards on the ground with 11 touchdowns and 477 yards receiving. The Browns are slowly improving but will be under new coaching next season. Hillis may fall past the top ten, but is worth a late first round pick due to his hard running style and nose for the endzone.
#5. Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Manning was able to accumulate the most points in Yahoo! Fantasy Football Leagues and is the top quarterback going into 2011. Manning has been able to consistently perform at an extremely high level and rarely falls to injury.
#4. Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Charles had a breakout year for the Chiefs. He gained the second most yards in the NFL with 1467 and gained an additional 468 in receiving. The knock on Charles is that he did not get many trips into the endzone despite gaining a lot of yards. Charles scored just 5 rushing touchdowns and 3 receiving touchdowns. Look for Charles to match his rushing numbers and increase his touchdowns this season.
#3. Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans
Chris Johnson didn’t gain 2,500 yards, but he did gain 1364 with 11 touchdowns. The Titans will be changing their strategy with a new quarterback behind center and should find a way to get the ball in the hands of Johnson more whether through rushing or through short screens and through the passing game. Johnson should increase his numbers in 2011.
#2. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Peterson remains one of the top running backs in the NFL and the second best fantasy player for the 2011 season. Peterson gained 1298 yards on the ground and 12 touchdowns and an additional 341 yards receiving. Hopefully the Vikings can get a quarterback to open up their passing game so defenses don’t focus in on Peterson.
#1. Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
Arian Foster has gone from an undrafted free agent to the top prospect for fantasy football. Foster led all running backs in yards with over 1600 and touchdowns with 16. Even with defensive coordinators planning for Foster, the Texans have a potent air attack that will help Foster get space when running the ball. Foster also had over 66 catches for 604 yards and two more touchdowns. Take Foster as your first pick if he is still on the board.