It’s the first annual Razzball Fantasy Football awards!!! This is your last chance to reminisce and pretend that football season’s not over with and that, after the playoffs, you won’t be stuck watching the NBA.
When the fantasy season ends, or when all their teams are out of contention, most people just shut it down until late August. I think it’s worth it to reflect on the year a little bit; it helps you to recognize trends and patterns that develop and sharpens your decision-making the following season. So if nothing else, this is an opportunity to do that.
Razzball Football is a 365 day a year operation. In this, our first season, we have built and expanded upon our fan base more than we thought possible. You can count on fresh content every single day of the year so if you’ve got a football itch, you know where to go to get it scratched.
Some of our readers may not have checked out the Razzball Baseball site yet. This is actually where Razzball began. Grey does an incredible job with baseball and he’s year-round as well. So if you play Fantasy Baseball, be sure to check out our baseball site and stay tuned all season long. It’ll pay huge dividends in the way of you winning your league this year.
Greatest Player in the History of the Universe (for 2009)
Chris Johnson: his preseason ADP was 12th despite the huge numbers last year because people feared the newer, thinner version of LenDale White would steal touches. That turned out not to be the case. We have entered an age of the NFL where splitting touches between two or three running backs is the norm. In addition teams game plan to contain the biggest threat on the other team. Regardless of all of this Chris Johnson had a ridiculous season. Look at the numbers: 2,006 yards rushing, 50 catches for 503 yards.16 total touchdowns (14 rushing, 2 receiving). In .5 PPR Johnson put up 368 points for the season! The second best position player was Adrian Peterson with 304 points, a difference of over 4 fewer per game. On the surface I know people will say “It’s not that big a deal, one player always has a good season.” The distance from his competition, though, is shocking. It’s akin to having owned Albert Pujols in Fantasy baseball last year. In 2010 Johnson will clearly be the consensus #1 player in every format. This year the big debate was “AP or MJD?” Some people threw Turner in the mix, which I thought was stupid. In 2010 we shouldn’t have to listen to any of that mind-numbing conversation.
MVP’s by Position
The end of the season brought a lot of surprises to the NFL. After clinching bye weeks in the playoffs several teams elected to sit their starters or bench them mid-game. This was disastrous for fantasy owners because these teams (Colts and Saints in particular) were high powered offenses and contained some of the best quarterbacks in the league. It’s uncertain what the long term ramifications will be; the NFL wants teams to go full strength the entire regular season. If that doesn’t happen we might have to occasionally re-think owning certain players. Personally, I’m hoping that Peyton Manning and Drew Brees’ value take a slight hit so I can own them next season on the cheap.
The reason I bring up the fact that a lot of teams rested their starters is that it mixed up this section of the awards, particularly at quarterback. Peyton Manning had a great statistical season and Drew Brees broke the record for completion percentage. But none of that mattered because they killed your team in weeks 16 and 17. Statistically speaking, Rodgers and Rivers hung with Peyton and Brees anyway. But the fact that the young guns carried you in the playoffs while the veterans hung you out to dry tips the scales in their favor. I put the runners up in parenthesis.
Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers (Phillip Rivers)
Running Back: Chris Johnson (Maurice Jones-Drew)
Return League MVP
Josh Cribbs was a beast this season. Let’s just look at the numbers: 1,994 return yards, 4 return touchdowns. MONSTER season on that alone but then wait, there’s more: 20 receptions for 135 and a TD, 381 yards rushing with one TD, and he threw for 18 yards but no touchdown and there was an interception. So in other words if you were cagey enough to grab Josh Cribbs in the draft you ended up with 2,500 all purpose yards and 6 total touchdowns. In a year when there weren’t a lot of good return men that’s HUGE differential.
Patrick Willis is a man-child. His hobbies include stomping kittens and single-handedly conquering small countries. His numbers this year were ridiculous: 152 tackles (114 of them solo), 4 sacks, 8 passes defended, 3 interceptions, and one touchdown. Basically, Lawrence Taylor but with less sacks and without the rampant cocaine use.
Sleeper(s) of the Year
You know all those Chuck Norris one-liners that make him out to be a deity? Basically you can cross his name out of all those and replace it with Jamaal Charles. Here at Razzball we’re not afraid to pat ourselves on the back. We were touting Charles from the beginning of the season as a player with huge breakout potential. He didn’t get much playing time until mid-season but once he did Charles became a top producer on a weekly basis. Through 9 weeks in .5 PPR he’d only accumulated 36.9 points. Consider that he finished with 207.7 points while only starting from week 10 on. Once he took over he averaged 24 Fantasy points per game! There were some nice sleepers this year in fantasy but in my mind there’s only one top Sleeper of the year- Jamaal Charles
Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, Phillip Rivers
Running Back: Cedric Benson, Jamaal Charles, Jerome Harrison
Team Defense: San Francisco 49’ers, NY Jets
Hyped Players that were Busts
What’s the secret to successful fantasy football? The first thing that comes to mind is “picking the best sleepers.” That is certainly a huge part of it, and probably the most fun thing about fantasy football. More important than that, however, is avoiding the biggest busts.
Each season certain players are touted by the fantasy universe as breakout candidates. We all target these players in our drafts and feel uber-smart when we get them, even if we reached. They are like sticks of dynamite on our roster, waiting to explode and carry our team to greatness.
Some of these players end up exploding like dynamite and having a huge impact on our team, but in a negative fashion. If you had several of these players on your team you probably didn’t fare too well.
Running Back: Matt Forte, Steve Slaton, Pierre Thomas
Wide Receiver: Eddie Royal, Calvin Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, Antonio Bryant, Roy Williams
Tight End: Zach Miller
Veteran Players that Busted
Quarterback: Matt Hasselbeck, Carson Palmer
Running Back: Marshawn Lynch, Derrick Ward, Brian Westbrook
Wide Receiver: Terrell Owens, Greg Jennings, T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Tight End: Surprisingly, there weren’t any players that fit in this category. Jason Witten was extremely disappointing early in the season but he finished really strong.
Rookie of the Year
Doing the awards for this season has makes you realize how very sub-par this draft class was. There are some nice players out there, I loves me some Jeremy Maclin for shizzle; but think about who would have been up for these awards last season and the type of numbers they put up. There’s a lot more talent overall in this year’s NFL draft class (which we’ll be covering extensively) and that’s exciting for Fantasy next year. I didn’t end up with hardly any of the rookies from this year’s class on my teams because they were being drafted too high for my blood- the monster 2008 rookie campaigns that Steve Slaton, Chris Johnson, etc. had boosted the price too high. Anyway, back to the awards:
Quarterback: Do we really have to give an award out for this one? Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco both played well and led their teams to the playoffs last season, making it difficult to pick who was better. This year we get to choose between Stafford and Sanchez, both of whom had flashes of brilliance but no consistency. As an aside if I were to choose between these two for next season I’d probably go with Stafford; but for this season, the award has to go to Mark Sanchez. Congratulations, Mark; don’t go all “Matt Leinart” on us (a.k.a. Poor Man’s Joe Namath) in the offseason now.
Running Back: It’s really surprising that none of these players took the bull by the horns and ran away with this award. Here’s a stat that’s hard to believe: number of rookie running backs with 1,000 yards rushing this season- 0. Clearly this is a race between Moreno, McCoy, and Beanie Wells. Knowshon you’re not a bad guy, I think you will be undervalued next season and I will probably own you, but you just didn’t do enough this season. Beanie Wells closed out the year solidly but Tim Hightower stealing the goal line work really killed his production. Congratulations LeSean McCoy, but don’t get too big of an ego. You wouldn’t have even been in the conversation for this award last year.
Wide Receiver: This was clearly the best position for Fantasy this year in terms of rookies. It’s a difficult position to come in to the NFL and be productive at. Jeremy Maclin put up huge numbers but wasn’t really integrated in to the game plan until mid season. Michael Crabtree was very productive but the holdout stymied him having a breakout season. The player who wins this award didn’t close out the season that strong, due to injuries and other factors. Even so, Percy Harvin compiled 60 receptions for 790 yards and 6 touchdowns. He also had 1,156 return yards and two touchdowns.
Tight End: There were no real impact rookies at Tight End this season. Brandon Pettigrew was the best with 30 receptions for 346 and two touchdowns. He went on IR but if he’s healthy coming in to next season I will definitely be touting him as a sleeper at TE.
Surprise Season from a Veteran Player
Quarterback: Brett Favre
Running Back: Thomas Jones (Ryan Grant)
Wide Receiver: Chad Ochocinco
Tight End: Visanthe Shiancoe
David Akers, Nate Kaeding