Slipping studs: Which 2012 heroes could drop in '13
After only playing in parts of 20 of 32 games in 2010 and 2011, Andre Johnson bounced back and had one of the best seasons of his career in 2012, catching 112 passes for a career high 1,598 yards and 4 touchdowns. Posting such great numbers means there is room to regress slightly, yet still post very good numbers. There has been a lot of talk that Johnson at age 32 is not as fast as he used to be and that age is catching up to him. The Texans have been looking to lessen his load for years and might finally have found someone to take some of the pressure off him, when they drafted Deandre Hopkins in the 1st round of this year's draft. The Texans are very high on Hopkins and how he can help the team. Look for Houston to try and work Hopkins into the game, helping to give AJ more 1 on 1 match ups. This will almost certainly mean less targets, which will lead to less receptions and yards for Johnson. Again, with such a great 2012 season, Johnson only needs to take a small step back to drop from top 10 to somewhere in the 10-20 range.
Kyle Rudolph will never be mistaken for a big play, as he has averaged a lowly 9.4 yards per reception over his first 2 years in the NFL. Rudolph improved from his rookie season in 2011, to almost double his 1st season's numbers, catching 56 receptions for 493 yards and a whopping 9 touchdowns. The 9 touchdowns were tied for 2nd most amongst TEs and tied for 11th amongst all receivers (including wide receivers). The 9 TDs were also what kept him ranked in the top of fantasy TEs. The Vikings didn't feel so comfortable with their receiving corps (especially after trading Percy Harvin), so they signed Greg Jennings and drafted Cordarrelle Patterson in the 1st round to go along with Jerome Simpson (who will be available all season after missing 4 games due to suspension last season) and Jarius Wright, a small but speedy receiver, similar to Percy Harvin. The Vikings will look to spread the ball using all these receivers as well as relying on the amazing Adrian Peterson. Not that Rudolph's 9 touchdowns were a fluke, but if he catches 3-4 less this season that would make the difference between a top 10 TE and a TE that falls somewhere in the 10-20 range.Injury Status: Doubtful - Knee