With the majority of people being in full retrospection mode concerning their fantasy football year, it's pretty safe to say that some 'studs' wouldn't have been drafted as high as they were in 2012. Names like Larry Fitzgerald, Matt Stafford and Philip Rivers have all been associated with fantasy glory in the past and all stunk it up in major areas in 2012.
That being said, those three names, plus others, have all the potential to turn it around for owners who are brave enough to take fliers on them in next year's drafts. Below are five players that could make you champions next year if you are looking for that value pick.
Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers
2012 Stats: 64 receptions, 836 yards, 8 TDs
For a player hitting free agency this off season, Mike Wallace did little in 2012 to show that he is worth the big bucks he so desperately craves. Granted he did go a fourth of the season without a quality quarterback, but that doesn't explain his bad route running and awful hands in a year where good showings may mean more dollars.
Wallace's 2013 fantasy projection obviously depends on where he lands, but one thing is for certain, with his speed he is always a threat to score. With a little attention to the finer details and landing with the right team, Wallace could rebound in a major way in 2013.
Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
2012 Stats: 3,606 passing yards, 26 touchdowns, 15 interceptions
Once a feared passer who made fantasy owners giddy with delight, Rivers has found himself steadily dipping towards the wrong end of the fantasy spectrum over the past two seasons. Luckily the Chargers decided to go in another route head coaching wise and brought in a guy who has a track record of good quarterback play.
With the many weapons that the Chargers possess, Rivers is a sure fire bet to make huge improvements in 2013. He is definitely worth a grab for the fantasy owner who focus on other positions first before grabbing a QB. In a game where value means everything, Rivers has that in spades.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals
2012 Stats: 71 receptions, 798 yards, 4 touchdowns
Larry Fitzgerald is a top five talent at the wideout position despite the horrendous numbers he posted in 2012. The only issue is that he had a bunch of bottom-feeders tossing him the ball all year. While it has not been made known what the plans are for this offseason concerning the Cardinals quarterback situation, you can expect that to be the primary area they address once they land a new head coach.
With even a semblance of a steady quarterback, expect Fitzgerald's numbers to double next year. Considering he will more than likely drop a few rounds in the next fantasy draft, Fitzgerald is primed to be a good steal for any owner who takes a flier on him.
Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions
2012 Stats: 4,967 yards, 20 touchdowns, 17 interceptions
While normally you wouldn't point to a guy who nearly tossed for 5,000 yards and call him a disappointment, for Matt Stafford, that was the case. Going from 41 touchdowns in 2011 to just 20 in 2012, Stafford failed to be the fantasy stud that many thought him to be. Both he and the Lions as a whole disappointed in 2012 in a year that never really saw them click, like expected.
With a good offseason to work out those kinks, expect Stafford to find that touchdown form of two years ago and make some fantasy owners very, very happy.
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants
2012 Stats: 53 receptions, 692 yards, 3 touchdowns
Many fantasy owners drafted Hakeem Nicks with the hopes that they were getting a top 10 receiver who would put up consistent points every week. What they got was a hobbled, unreliable version of Nicks that spent practically the whole season on the 'questionable to play' list.
For those owners, myself being one of them, I extend my condolences and some advice to keep him on your radar for next season. With an offseason to heal and a bad year worth of memories to motivate him, Nicks is primed for a great comeback year in 2013. Because of injuries and poor performance this year, expect Nicks to slip a couple of rounds, making him prime value for the smart fantasy drafter.
James LeBeau is a contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
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