Despicable Dez? Not any more. (Getty)
In honor of the recent release of Despicable Me 2, I asked my anti-villian league of Yahoo! experts to show some Gru-vy kind of love for those players that they deemed "evil" last summer but now consider to be all "good." I’ll start things off with my High Five of players that I’ve had a change of heart about in the past year.
1. Dez Bryant - I took a show-me stance with Dez last year, as in show me some consistency, show me that you can hang onto the ball in crucial situations, show me that you can be a true go-to guy. Asked and answered. I’m all aboard the Bryant bandwagon this time around.
2. Alfred Morris - I was skeptical last summer, but Morris proved to be that rare Shanahan back that has staying power.
3. James Jones - I buried him in my rankings last year, but there’s no more denying that he has a place at the Packers offensive table.
4. Alex Smith - He was better than I expected before he got hurt last season, and he’s got a shot to be one of the better backup fantasy QBs in Andy Reid’s system.
5. Peyton Mannning - My ranking for Manning last summer was more bearish than most. Lesson learned.
The Pianowman, Scott Pianowski, sings us his redemption song:
1. C.J. Spiller - I was the last Fred Jackson sympathizer in the summer of 2012; finally, all dentists are recommending C.J. Spiller. Use a Top 5 pick on Spiller in PPR formats.
2. Philip Rivers - he gets a fresh start at the right time - new coach, and hopefully a new offensive line. Vincent Brown helps.
3. Ahmad Bradshaw - He might be the toughest player in the league, pound-per-pound. I like this Colts offense, too.
4. Peyton Manning - I didn't take a leap of faith on Peyton Manning's comeback, which turned out to be a grave error. Well played, 18. The Broncos are loaded with targets, too.
5. Alex Smith - The Niners constantly hid Smith in their offense but Andy Reid doesn't operate that way. Smith becomes a sneaky QB2 in hybrid formats.
No more hatin' on Peyton (Getty)
Dalton Del Don weighs in:
1. Marshawn Lynch - I called him a bust, but he continues to prove me wrong. Lynch got 5.0 YPC last year and is in a terrific situation in Seattle.
2. Steven Jackson - I remain skeptical, but the move to Atlanta could be huge.
3. Peyton Manning - I was highly skeptical coming off those surgeries, but he's an obvious top-four fantasy QB now.
4. Cristopher Ivory - From buried on depth chart in New Orleans to lead dog with the Jets.
5. Dwayne Bowe - Alex Smith and Andy Reid provide a massive upgrade in his environment.
Brad Evans brings his Noise:
1. Steven Jackson – Opportunity says everything. Always admired toughness and skill set, but situation in St. Louis was dire. Now in the A-T-L, he’s in a prime spot to post his best fantasy season since 2006.
2. Frank Gore – Seemingly predicted demise for years, but keeps on truckin’.
3. Tony Romo – Consistency king really doesn’t deserve ridicule … in fantasy.
4. DeSean Jackson – Will shed one-trick pony image in Chip’s complex offense.
5. Dennis Pitta – Thought he was flash in pan, but clearly not case. Top-5 TE in ’13.
Change will do S-Jax good (Getty)
Andy Behrens offers his bears-turned-bulls:
1. Reggie Wayne - OK, so "evil" might be a bit of a stretch, but I certainly didn't think that Wayne, at age 34, would top 1,300 yards and 100 catches - not with a rookie quarterback.
2. Steven Jackson - This particular change of scenery gives Jackson a ridiculous fantasy boost. Remember, last year's broken down version of Michael Turner still managed to rush for 10 scores for Atlanta.
3. Alfred Morris - I really thought I was finished forever with Shanahan backs. In fact, last summer I was fairly confident that Washington's quarterback was going to lead the team in rushing.
4. Rashard Mendenhall - He's coming off a lost season, derailed by ACL recovery and various smaller tweaks. But he's in a great spot with the Cards, handed an opportunity to return to fantasy relevance.
5. Rookie Quarterbacks - Perhaps it was a fluke year, one in which three all-timers debuted together. Still, Wilson, Luck and RG3 re-set my expectations for what's possible with rookie signal callers.
Finally, no Despicable Me-themed article is complete without some sort of nod to the real stars of the show, the minions. The little yellow Weeble Wobbles with arms and legs got us thinking, which NFL players would make the best minions.
My vote: Danny Woodhead - With his boyish looks and stature (5-foot-8), tufted hair, jacks-of-all-trades support service skills and a name that suggests that he’s something less than a rocket scientist, he’d fit in perfectly among Gru’s diminutive cast of characters.
Scott Pianowski: Tim Tebow - If you are in the market for a mediocre quarterback, tight end or special teamer, Tebow is your man. Are we sure he didn't work at the Springfield Power Plant?
Dalton Del Don: Danny Amendola - Frankly, I'm not entirely sure what a minion even is, but Amendola seems like someone who fits the bill.
Brad Evans: Mike Tolbert – Rumor has it, the roly-poly was powered by a fart-gun. This beer keg with legs could see a slight uptick in touches this season.
Andy Behrens: Nate Kaeding - Just LOOK AT THIS ADORABLE LI'L FELLA. Slap some goggles on Nate and *poof*, instant minion.
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- Peyton Manning
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- Dez Bryant
- Andy Reid