Some fantasy leagues incorporate individual return yardage into their scoring systems for individual players, so let us give some attention to such leagues by taking a look at the top 20 offensive triple threats heading into the 2012 season.
#1 Darren Sproles , RB, NO: Hands down the number one option. You want him as simply a running back threat on your team and the fact that the Saints utilize him in the return game is a bonus. Over 1300 offensive yards from scrimmage with 9 touch downs and another 1300 return yards make him fantasy gold, even more valuable in PPR leagues.
#2 Devin Hester , WR, CHI: 2 punt and 1 kickoff returns for touch downs last season. He is the best return man in the history of the NFL with potential to take it to the house every time he fields a return. Averaged over 16 yards per punt return and almost 22 yards on kick returns in 2011, but saw a dip in his reception numbers. If he can ever become a consistent receiving option for the Bears then he would be unstoppable.
#3 Randall Cobb, WR, GB: The sky is the limit for this speedster. Cobb managed to take both a punt and a kickoff return back for a score in his rookie campaign, and added one score as a wide receiver. Will be even more dangerous as he becomes more involved in the Green Bay passing attack and his fantasy value will increase dramatically.
#4 Josh Cribbs, WR, CLE: Coming off a career high in receptions with 41 for 528 yards. Tallied over 1300 return yards and added a punt return for a touchdown last season. Every year there is talk of using Cribbs more in the offense and last year's totals indicate the Browns are finally doing just that.
#5 Reggie Bush, RB, MIA: Had his best season to date in 2011, finishing as a top 15 fantasy running back. If Daniel Thomas can provide some more touches for the Dolphins, it will free Reggie up to be more involved as a punt returner. Still shifty enough to get it done as a return man and coupled with newfound success as a running back equals big fantasy production.
#6 Percy Harvin , WR, MIN: Would be higher on the list but Minnesota has indicated that they will be scaling back Harvin's return duties in 2012. Will score plenty of fantasy points from the hybrid running back/wide receiver position he plays for the Vikings. If the replacement return man should struggle, look for Minnesota to return Harvin to that role and his value to sky rocket up.
#7 Dexter McCluster, RB/WR, KC: Really came on late in the season as a threat for the Chiefs in the base offense. Looked good in space and seemed to run harder as the year progressed. McCluster amassed over 800 total yards and 2 touchdowns; look for his reception totals to continue to climb in 2012. While he failed to take a return to the house last season, he did manage to average over 10 yards a punt return.
#8 Emmanuel Sanders, WR, PIT: Sanders has stated that the Steelers intend to utilize him as their primary return man next season. If that turns out to be true (and with the release of Hines Ward), Sanders will be the #3 wide receiver in the steel city. Antonio Brown was fabulous returning punts and tracking down Big Ben long balls in 2011; look for Sanders to enjoy the same success.
#9 Eddie Royal , WR, DEN: Ideally, Royal signs with Washington and reunites with Mike Shanahan, with whom he had his most productive season playing for in 2008. Has been nicked up the last couple seasons but has the potential to be a productive slot receiver and averaged a whopping 16 yards per punt return last season with 1 touchdown.
#10 Ted Ginn Jr, WR, SF: A late season injury and uncertainty of where he suits up in 2012 have Ginn ranked lower than he would normally be. Averaged over 27 yards a kick return and 12 yards per punt return in 2011. Should he sign with a team that uses him more as a wide receiver and is healthy he is a top 5 guy on this list. Monitor his health and free agency destination before deciding when to draft him.
#11 Jacoby Ford , WR, OAK: Only played 8 games last season and must stay healthy to return to the form he flashed as a rookie. Possesses blazing speed and capability to take any return back for a score (he posted 3 in 2010). He could thrive in the new west coast offense that Oakland will implement in 2012.
#12 C.J. Spiller , RB, BUF: CJ may not retain his punt return duties if the Bills decide to split carries between Fred Jackson and Spiller next season. Spiller stepped up once Jackson went down, putting up double digit fantasy points 4 of the final 5 games for Buffalo. Should he retain his return duties and receive the added workload at running back then he shoots up this list.
#13 Joe McKnight, RB, NYJ: McKnight averaged over 30 yards a kick return for the Jets in 2011 with 1 touchdown and looks to be more involved as a running back with the departure of Ladanian Tomlinson. McKnight could really explode in 2012 if the Jets promote him to the #2 running back position and he continues to shine on kick returns.
#14 DeSean Jackson, WR, PHI: The Eagles placed the franchise tag on Jackson and it remains to be seen if he remains in Philadelphia or gets traded. Regardless of where he plays next season, Jackson is the consummate deep threat at wide receiver and can bust a punt return for a touchdown at any given time. If his head is in the game and he comes to play, he could be a steal at this ranking.
#15 Denarius Moore, WR, OAK: Very productive rookie season, led the Raiders in touchdown receptions with 5. Was the primary punt returner in 2011 and his speed makes him dangerous every time he touches the ball. Will only get better as a receiver moving forward and should break one or two punts for touchdowns in 2012.
#16 Jacoby Jones, WR, HOU: Jones is on shaky ground in Houston after a horrible post season performance with a crucial muffed punt. Has 4 career returns for touchdowns as a Texan, but has struggled to become the #2 wide receiver that was expected of him. If Houston uses a high draft pick on a wide receiver or signs a big name free agent receiver, Jones could lose his roster spot.
#17 Leon Washington, RB, SEA: Seattle does not utilize Washington in their offense as much as the Jets did, so his running back numbers are down. Had 3 kickoff returns for touchdowns two seasons ago for the Seahawks, and has 7 in his career. Still a very dangerous return man who could help a fantasy team and the Seahawks if he gets more touches out of the backfield.
#18 Eric Decker, WR, DEN: Decker excelled in his limited number of returns last season, averaging an impressive 22.2 yards per punt return. With Tim Tebow at quarterback, his receiving totals will be inconsistent from week to week at best. Look for Denver to find a way to utilize Decker more by turning him loose in the return game.
#19 Jeremy Kerley, WR, NYJ: Plaxico will not be back with the Jets in 2012 and Kerley stands to benefit from that departure by getting more looks in the New York passing game. Had 34 total touches and 1 touchdown in his rookie season, which are decent year one results. Is the primary punt return man, averaging 11 yards a return and should see his reception totals jump considerably if he can become the #2 receiver in New York.
#20 Da'Rel Scott , RB, NYG: Scott is a sleeper at this slot. Averaged 24.4 yards per kick return as a rookie with a long of 38 yards. Brandon Jacobs may not return and Scott could see his workload at running back increase substantially in 2012. Ahmad Bradshaw has an injury history that could also help Scott to see the field more and he has the tools to excel if called on more.
As always there is the chance that some rookies will impact this list once they are settled on a NFL roster after April's draft. As things stand right now, these are the early favorites to help fantasy teams excel in leagues where points for return yards and touchdowns are awarded to individual players.