Cubs

2012 Fantasy Football Rankings - 831

2012 Fantasy Football Rankings - 831

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com Contributor

These rankings are based on a combined yardagescoring system (4 points for a passing touchdown, 6 points for a rushingreceiving touchdown, one point for every 25 passing yards, one point for every 10 rushingreceiving yards) and will be updated weekly until the season begins. In-season, we will offer weekly rankings based on the matchups at hand.

Quarterback

1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
2. Tom Brady, Patriots NOTE: The toy chest is stocked, again.
3. Drew Brees, Saints
4. Cam Newton, Panthers
5. Matthew Stafford, Lions
6. Matt Ryan, Falcons
7. Eli Manning, Giants NOTE: Absolutely, he's elite now.
8. Michael Vick, Eagles NOTE: Pay for around 12 games.
9. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers
10. Peyton Manning, Broncos NOTE: Don't expect miracles right away.
11. Tony Romo, Cowboys NOTE: Offensive line is a major problem.
12. Philip Rivers, Chargers
13. Andrew Luck, Colts NOTE: Ready to play from Day 1.
14. Robert Griffin III, Redskins
15. Jay Cutler, Bears
16. Russell Wilson, Seahawks NOTE: Buzzy player won game with terrific camp.
17. Joe Flacco, Ravens NOTE: He'll be needed to do more this year.
18. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills
19. Matt Schaub, Texans
20. Jake Locker, Titans
21. Josh Freeman, Buccaneers NOTE: Came to camp in dynamite shape.
22. Alex Smith, Niners
23. Christian Ponder, Vikings
24. Carson Palmer, Raiders NOTE: Hasn't picked up new offense quickly.
25. Andy Dalton, Bengals
26. Matt Cassel, Chiefs
27. Sam Bradford, Rams
28. Brandon Weeden, Browns
29. Mark Sanchez, Jets NOTE: They're doing all they can to sabotage him.
30. John Skelton, Cardinals
31. Tim Tebow, Jets NOTE: Have to figure he starts a few games.
32. Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins
33. Blaine Gabbert, Jaguars
34. Kevin Kolb, Cardinals
35. Matt Flynn, Seahawks
36. Nick Foles, Eagles NOTE: Could be another Andy Reid miracle.

Running Back

1. Arian Foster, Texans
2. Ray Rice, Ravens
3. LeSean McCoy, Eagles
4. Chris Johnson, Titans NOTE: All of a sudden, he's a floor pick.
5. Darren McFadden, Raiders NOTE: Monster upside if he can stay healthy.
6. Matt Forte, Bears NOTE: Limited TD upside but a yardage dream.
7. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
8. Steven Jackson, Rams
9. Fred Jackson, Bills NOTE: He's the clear No. 1 back here.
10. DeMarco Murray, Cowboys
11. Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
12. Trent Richardson, Browns NOTE: If he's healthy, everything will work out.
13. Doug Martin, Buccaneers
14. Michael Turner, Falcons
15. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
16. Adrian Peterson, Vikings NOTE: Biggest question mark of 2012; no one knows.
17. Ryan Mathews, Chargers
18. Darren Sproles, Saints
19. Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants
20. Frank Gore, Niners NOTE: Slowing down and team knows it.
21. Willis McGahee, Broncos
22. Peyton Hillis, Chiefs
23. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals NOTE: No wiggle here, but reliable.
24. Reggie Bush, Dolphins
25. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
26. Donald Brown, Colts
27. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers
28. Shonn Greene, Jets
29. Cedric Benson, Packers
30. Ben Tate, Texans NOTE: Ridiculous upside if Foster gets hurt.
31. Rashad Jennings, Jaguars
32. Stevan Ridley, Patriots
33. David Wilson, Giants
34. Isaac Redman, Steelers NOTE: Dinged up and facing competition.
35. Ryan Williams, Cardinals
36. Beanie Wells, Cardinals
37. Mark Ingram, Saints
38. Alfred Morris, Redskins NOTE: Nifty camp, but can you trust Shanahan?
39. Pierre Thomas, Saints
40. Toby Gerhart, Vikings NOTE: Better than you think, and AP is dinged.
41. C.J. Spiller, Bills
42. Kendall Hunter, Niners NOTE: Team raved about him all summer.
43. Roy Helu, Redskins
44. Michael Bush, Bears NOTE: Good chance at 7-8 touchdowns.
45. Jacquizz Rodgers, Falcons
46. Jonathan Dwyer, Steelers NOTE: Made a splash at Pittsburgh's camp.
47. Mikel Leshoure, Lions
48. Kevin Smith, Lions
49. Evan Royster, Redskins
50. Shane Vereen, Patriots
51. Felix Jones, Cowboys NOTE: No longer seen as a special talent.
52. Ronnie Brown, Chargers NOTE: Not much left, but Mathews is hurt.
53. Bernard Scott, Bengals
54. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers
55. Daniel Thomas, Dolphins
56. Ronnie Hillman, Broncos
57. Robert Turbin, Seahawks
58. Vick Ballard, Colts NOTE: Power back made a quick impact.
59. LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers
60. Isaiah Pead, Rams
61. Brandon Jacobs, Niners
62. LaMichael James, Niners
63. Mike Goodson, Raiders NOTE: The DMC handcuff isn't clear yet.
64. Alex Green, Packers
65. Montario Hardesty, Browns
66. Bilal Powell, Jets
67. Bernard Pierce, Ravens
68. Taiwan Jones, Raiders
69. James Starks, Packers
70. Chris Rainey, Steelers

Wide Receiver

1. Calvin Johnson, Lions NOTE: In a tier of his own.
2. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals NOTE: He's done it with spotty QBs before.
3. A.J. Green, Bengals
4. Roddy White, Falcons
5. Julio Jones, Falcons NOTE: Breakout expected, but he's trendy.
6. Jordy Nelson, Packers NOTE: Bet on 10-plus touchdowns again.
7. Greg Jennings, Packers
8. Victor Cruz, Giants
9. Hakeem Nicks, Giants
10. Wes Welker, Patriots
11. Brandon Marshall, Bears
12. Andre Johnson, Texans NOTE: Elite talent but major injury risk.
13. Steve Smith, Panthers
14. Percy Harvin, Vikings
15. Antonio Brown, Steelers NOTE: Last year's TD count a stone fluke.
16. Eric Decker, Broncos
17. Brandon Lloyd, Patriots
18. Mike Wallace, Steelers
19. Marques Colston, Saints NOTE: Never flashy, but very steady.
20. Steve Johnson, Bills
21. Jeremy Maclin, Eagles
22. Miles Austin, Cowboys
23. Torrey Smith, Ravens NOTE: Expect a major Year 2 spike.
24. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
25. Dez Bryant, Cowboys
26. Vincent Jackson, Buccaneers
27. Demaryius Thomas, Broncos NOTE: Still struggles as a route runner.
28. Reggie Wayne, Colts NOTE: The addition of Luck will revitalize him.
29. Pierre Garcon, Redskins
30. DeSean Jackson, Eagles NOTE: Can't be trusted over the middle.
31. Lance Moore, Saints
32. Justin Blackmon, Jaguars NOTE: Gabbert has improved, so Blackmon is a go Year 1.
33. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders
34. Titus Young, Lions NOTE: Should be their No. 2 wideout.
35. Kenny Britt, Titans
36. Robert Meachem, Chargers NOTE: Ordinary skill set, don't reach for him.
37. Denarius Moore, Raiders
38. Greg Little, Browns NOTE: Looks like only downfield show in town.
39. Anquan Boldin, Ravens
40. Santonio Holmes, Jets
41. Michael Crabtree, Niners NOTE: This is as good as he'll get, most likely.
42. Malcom Floyd, Chargers
43. Sidney Rice, Seahawks
44. Nate Washington, Titans
45. Mike Williams, Buccaneers
46. Kendall Wright, Titans NOTE: Can play all over the formation.
47. Brandon LaFell, Panthers NOTE: Secondary stats call for a breakout.
48. Austin Collie, Colts
49. Jon Baldwin, Chiefs
50. Alshon Jeffery, Bears
51. Randy Moss, Niners NOTE: Not much left in the tank.
52. Santana Moss, Redskins
53. Davone Bess, Dolphins NOTE: PPR-useful, but that's it.
54. Laurent Robinson, Jaguars
55. Danny Amendola, Rams
56. Randall Cobb, Packers
57. Doug Baldwin, Seahawks
58. James Jones, Packers
59. Stephen Hill, Jets NOTE: He'll need to play right away.
60. Mario Manningham, Niners
61. Steve Smith, Rams
62. Emmanuel Sanders, Steelers NOTE: They'll go three-wide often.
63. David Nelson, Bills
64. Reuben Randle, Giants
65. Jerome Simpson, Vikings NOTE: Suspended to start the year.
66. Devery Henderson, Saints
67. Leonard Hankerson, Redskins
68. Brian Quick, Rams
69. Rod Streater, Raiders NOTE: Strong camp, PPR sleeper.
70. Michael Floyd, Cardinals NOTE: Hasn't looked good in camp.
71. Braylon Edwards, Seahawks
72. Nate Burleson, Lions
73. Vincent Brown, Chargers NOTE: Busted ankle, out half the year.

Tight End

1. Jimmy Graham, Saints NOTE: Still learning the game, which is frightening.
2. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
3. Jermichael Finley, Packers
4. Vernon Davis, Niners NOTE: Finally picked up offense late in 2011.
5. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots
6. Antonio Gates, Chargers
7. Fred Davis, Redskins
8. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons
9. Jermaine Gresham, Bengals NOTE: By default, their second-best target.
10. Greg Olsen, Panthers
11. Brandon Pettigrew, Lions NOTE: Not an elite talent in the red area.
12. Jason Witten, Cowboys
13. Brent Celek, Eagles
14. Kyle Rudolph, Vikings NOTE: Could be Top 6 at position; sleeper to circle.
15. Jared Cook, Titans
16. Owen Daniels, Texans
17. Dustin Keller, Jets
18. Jacob Tamme, Broncos NOTE: So underrated, he's overrated.
19. Martellus Bennett, Giants
20. Coby Fleener, Colts NOTE: Don't expect miracles right away.
21. Kellen Winslow, Seahawks
22. Lance Kendricks, Rams
23. Heath Miller, Steelers NOTE: What you see is what you get.
23. Joel Dreessen, Broncos NOTE: Might catch 5-6 cheap touchdowns.
24. Tony Moeaki, Chiefs
24. Kellen Davis, Bears
25. Dallas Clark, Buccaneers
26. Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars
27. Ed Dickson, Ravens
29. Dwayne Allen, Colts
30. Dennis Pitta, Ravens
31. Anthony Fasano, Dolphins

Kicker

1. David Akers, Niners NOTE: Unreal season, but don't chase outliers.
2. Mason Crosby, Packers
3. Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots
4. Matt Bryant, Falcons
5. Jason Hanson, Lions
6. Alex Henery, Eagles
7. Shayne Graham, Texans NOTE: Gets job with Bullock on IR.
8. Matt Prater, Broncos
9. Robbie Gould, Bears
10. Sebastian Janikowski, Raiders NOTE: Unreal leg, but a wild card.
11. Dan Bailey, Cowboys
12. Rob Bironas, Titans
13. Justin Tucker, Ravens NOTE: Steps into cushy spot for scoring.
14. Nate Kaeding, Chargers NOTE: Is he a health risk going forward?
15. Garrett Hartley, Saints
16. Lawrence Tynes, Giants NOTE: Good offense, but hard to trust.
17. Mike Nugent, Bengals
18. Billy Cundiff, Redskins
19. Steven Hauschka, Seahawks
20. Shaun Suisham, Steelers NOTE: Solid offense, but terrible place to kick.
21. Rian Lindell, Bills
22. Ryan Succop, Chiefs
23. Dan Carpenter, Dolphins
24. Nick Folk, Jets
25. Justin Medlock, Panthers NOTE: Steps in for veteran Mare.
26. Adam Vinatieri, Colts NOTE: No longer has a deep leg.
27. Jay Feely, Cardinals
28. Greg Zuerlein, Rams NOTE: A mad bomber, but how many chances will he get?
29. Connor Barth, Buccaneers
30. Phil Dawson, Browns
31. Josh Scobee, Jaguars

Defense

1. San Francisco 49ers
2. Green Bay Packers
3. New York Giants NOTE: When in doubt, follow the pass rushers.
4. Philadelphia Eagles
5. Chicago Bears
6. Seattle Seahawks NOTE: Especially nasty at home.
7. Buffalo Bills
8. Detroit Lions
9. Dallas Cowboys NOTE: Follow the sacks.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers
11. New England Patriots
12. New York Jets
13. Houston Texans
14. Baltimore Ravens NOTE: A sure bet to be overdrafted - avoid.
15. Denver Broncos
16. Kansas City Chiefs NOTE: A tough out at Arrowhead.
17. Atlanta Falcons
18. Cincinnati Bengals
19. Arizona Cardinals NOTE: A few playmakers offer runback juice.
20. San Diego Chargers
21. Minnesota Vikings NOTE: Even with Jared Allen, not much here.
22. Tennessee Titans
23. Washington Redskins
24. Carolina Panthers
25. Cleveland Browns NOTE: A better group than many realize.
26. New Orleans Saints
27. Oakland Raiders
28. Miami Dolphins
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
30. St. Louis Rams NOTE: Offense will sell them down the river.
31. Indianapolis Colts
32. Jacksonville Jaguars

Would trading Kyle Schwarber begin to solve pitching issues that run much deeper than Chris Bosio?

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USA TODAY

Would trading Kyle Schwarber begin to solve pitching issues that run much deeper than Chris Bosio?

The Cubs now apparently believe they are a stronger organization without Chris Bosio, firing a pitching coach known for his strong convictions, brutal honesty and bottom-line results in a move that doesn’t seem like an actual solution.

Hiring Jim Hickey – who has a good reputation from his years with the Tampa Bay Rays, a close friendship with Joe Maddon and what looks like a slam-dunk interview lined up for Monday – might make the manager feel more comfortable and less isolated.

But the new-voice/different-direction spin doesn’t fundamentally address the pitching issues facing a team that needs to replace 40 percent of the rotation and find an established closer and has zero expectations those answers will come from within the farm system.

This is an operation that won a seven-game World Series last year without a homegrown player throwing a single pitch.     

If the Cubs can say thanks for the memories and dump “Boz,” what about “Schwarbs?”

Advancing to the National League Championship Series in three straight seasons doesn’t happen without Bosio or Kyle Schwarber. But the fastest way for the Cubs to dramatically improve their pitching staff isn’t finding someone else who thinks it’s important to throw strikes. It could mean breaking up The Core and severing another emotional attachment.   

Theo Epstein saw Schwarber play for Indiana University and used the Fenway Park frame of reference, envisioning him as a combination of David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia with his left-handed power and energizer personality.

Epstein wasn’t the only Cubs official to develop a man-crush on Schwarber, but he’s the only one with ultimate control over baseball operations. Epstein’s style isn’t pounding the table as much as the ability to frame questions in the draft room, gather as many opinions as possible before the trade deadline and at the winter meetings, trying to form a consensus.

“I will say that it’s really an organization-wide evaluation of this player, but I’m not skirting responsibility,” Epstein said. “I’ll happily endorse him as the type of player that we want to win with here at the Cubs, and have won with. I don’t know, the fact that he hit 30 bombs in a bad year is a good start.

“But power is not everything. I think he fell into this year becoming more of a slugger and less of a hitter than he really is. It’s important for him to get his identity back as a dangerous hitter. Honestly, I think we feel he has the potential to be an all-around hitter on the level of an Anthony Rizzo. When he reaches his prime, that’s what he could be.”

Where will that be? As a designated hitter in the American League? That’s obvious speculation, but Schwarber has improved as an outfield defender – his strong throw at Dodger Stadium led to another NLCS Maddon Moment where the manager compared the Buster Posey Rule to the Chicago soda tax.      

A 43-45 record at the All-Star break also exposed some of the weaknesses in the clubhouse and downsides to Maddon’s methods. The Cubs flipped a switch in the second half, got hot in September and had the guts to beat the Washington Nationals in the playoffs. But that doesn’t completely wipe away the concerns about a group that at times seemed too casual and unfocused and didn’t play with enough edge. For better or worse, Schwarber approaches the game like a blitzing linebacker.

“He’s got a certain toughness and certain leadership qualities that are hard to find,” Epstein said, “and that we don’t necessarily have in surplus, in abundance, running around in this clubhouse, in this organization.

“A certain energy and grit and ability to bring people together – that’s important and we rely on it. But the biggest thing is his bat. We think he’s the type of offensive player that you build around, along with a couple other guys like him.”

Maddon would never admit it, but was the Schwarber leadoff experiment a mistake?

“I’ll judge that one based on the results and say yeah,” Epstein said. “I think we can talk about the process that went into it. Or in an alternate universe: Does it pan out? But those are just words. It didn’t work.

“Everything that went into Kyle’s really surprising and difficult first half of the season, we should look to correct, because that shouldn’t happen. He’s a way better hitter than that. What he did after coming back from Iowa proves it.”

In the same way that Maddon should own what happens with the next pitching coach, Epstein will ultimately have to decide Schwarber’s future.

Schwarber didn’t complain or pout when he got sent down to Triple-A Iowa this summer, finishing with 30 homers, a .782 OPS, a .211 batting average and a 30.9 strikeout percentage.    

Trading Schwarber would mean selling lower and take another team having the same gut instincts the Cubs did in the 2014 draft – and offering the talented, controllable starting pitcher that sometimes seems like a unicorn.

Is Schwarber still the legend from last year’s World Series? An all-or-nothing platoon guy? An intriguing trade chip? A franchise player? Eventually, the Cubs are going to find out.

“We have to look to do everything we can,” Epstein said, “and more importantly he has to look to do everything he can to get him to a point where he’s consistently the quality hitter and tough out and dangerous bat in the middle of the lineup that we know he can be.

“He wasn’t for the first half of this year – and he knows it and he feels awful about it. He worked his tail off to get back to having a pretty darn good second half and getting some big hits for us down the stretch.”

And then the offseason was only hours old by the time the Cubs showed they will be keeping an open mind about everything this winter, not afraid to make big changes.

Jake Arrieta shaved his beard again and he keeps looking younger

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USA TODAY

Jake Arrieta shaved his beard again and he keeps looking younger

It's become a tradition that Jake Arrieta shaves his beard after the season ends.

The 31-year-old did it again days after the Cubs were eliminated from the 2017 postseason, and it's still a sight we'll never be used to seeing.

Check it out:

Weird, right?

Here's how he looked following the Cubs' World Series win in 2016:

And again in 2015:

It's crazy how much younger he looks.