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Fantasy Recap

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It was another great year of Fantasy Football! I took my General Management talents to the online world for the first time, and played with 9 other people from across America, and am very happy to say that I ended the year, a champion. I began playing Fantasy Football in my sophomore year of high school and can honestly say that it is the only reason why I watch NFL Football every single Sunday. I’ve always been a sports fan, but never really followed a team growing up, and only watched important games like the Super Bowl. However, the world of fantasy made Sunday the most exciting day of my week, during the NFL season, and I’m going to give you a recap of the most productive players and most exciting performances of the 2016-2017 Standard League Fantasy Football year.

 

First, let’s talk Quarterbacks. I’m sure if you’re a NFL fan, you can guess who would be at the top, but you may be a little surprised by who is and is not in the top 5 in terms of fantasy production.

 

Quarterbacks

 

At number 5, stands Washington Redskins’ Kirk Cousins. Captain Kirk ended the Fantasy year with 290 total fantasy points, averaging 18.1 a game. He threw for 4,917 yards (3rd overall), 25 touchdowns (13th overall), and 12 interceptions (16th overall). His highest score was a fantasy production of 29 points in weeks 12 and 16, against the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears.

 

Just beating him out at number 4, was Indianapolis Colts’ Andrew Luck. He beat Cousins by 7 fantasy points, scoring a total of 297, with an average of 18.6 per week. He threw for 4,240 yards (8th overall), 31 touchdowns (5th overall), and 13 interceptions (14th overall). He started off his season with a whopping 35 points against the Detroit Lions, being the highest score he would get all year, and one of the highest scoring weeks that a Quarterback would set.

 

At bronze, comes New Orleans Saints’ ‘Air’ Drew Brees. He netted 323 total fantasy points on the year, averaging 20.2 points a game. He would top the league in throwing yards with 5,208, 37 touchdowns (3rd overall), and 15 interceptions (7th overall).

His best performances came in weeks 6 and 12, when he scored 32 points on the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams.

 

Second to best, stood Matt Ryan or ‘Matty Ice’, of the Atlanta Falcons; and with a top tier receiver like Julio Jones to throw to, this does not come to a surprise. Ryan ended the season with 334 fantasy points and a 20.9 average. He threw for 4,944 yards (2nd overall), 38 touchdowns (2nd overall), and 7 interceptions (25th overall), and just like Luck, his best game was a 35 point performance against the Carolina Panthers in week 4.

 

And to lead all Quarterbacks for the year, came my own Quarterback on my championship team, the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers. He ended his great year with 365 fantasy points, making an average of 22.8 per game. He threw 4,428 yards (4th overall), a position best 40 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions alongside Ryan. He would even rush for 369 yards (3rd best at Quarterback), 10 more yards than what Cam Newton would finish with, and 4 rushing touchdowns as well. He had several 30 plus point performances, with his best being at 36 in week 16 against the Minnesota Vikings, the highest scoring week from a Quarterback.

 

A big name not mentioned in this top 5 and actually barely missed the top 10 list was New England Patriots’ Tom Brady. However, would he have not been suspended for the first 4 games of the season, it would have been very likely that he would have been in the top 5 if not top 3. In 13 games he played, he scored 251 fantasy points (12th overall), averaging 19.3 points a contest, and threw for 28 touchdowns (7th overall), and just 2 interceptions, the lowest number from a starting Quarterback.

 aaron rodgers

 

(Aaron Rodgers finished with 365 fantasy points, 4,428 throwing yards, 40 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions.)

 

 

Next up are the Running Backs, and in my opinion, the key to a championship Fantasy team. Running Backs had a big year this year, and if you lacked a top 10 back, you would be considered lucky if you made it passed the first round of the playoffs. They are considered the biggest fantasy threats in the game because of how many different ways they can get fantasy points. For instance, a back who gets 20+ carries, as well as 10 targets through the air a game, is an absolute money train.

 

Running Backs

 

Starting the top 5 ranked Running Backs, at number 5, is the Tennessee Titans’ DeMarco Murray. Although it was Murray’s first year with the Titans, he had no trouble getting adjusted to the offense. He scored 229 total points, averaging 14.3 a game. He ran for 1,287 yards (3rd overall), 9 touchdowns (8th overall), and had his best performance in week 10 against the Green Bay Packers, scoring 25 points.

 

Beating him out by just 2 points is the Pittsburg Steelers’ work horse (and my championship team’s RB1), LeVeon Bell. Bell could be considered the most used player in the entire NFL. From week 11 to week 16 (when they clinched their spot in the playoffs), he carried the ball over 150 times and was targeted through the air at least 6 times a game. Despite missing the first three games of the season, plus sitting out in week 17 to rest, he still managed to make this list. He scored 231 points, averaging 14.4 a game. He ran for 1,268 yards (5th overall), 7 touchdowns (10th) and had the biggest fantasy performance of the year in week 14 against the Buffalo Bills. Bell carried the ball 38 times for 236 yards, scored 3 touchdowns, and had 62 yards through the air, ending the week with a prolific score of 47 fantasy points. 

 

Third on the list, is Buffalo Bills’ LeSean McCoy. Despite some injury problems throughout the year, he still put up great numbers, scoring 238 points, averaging 14.9 a week. He ran for 1,267 yards (6th overall), just one yard under Bell, 13 touchdowns (4th overall), and scored 32 points in week 6 against San Francisco.

 

At silver, is one of the NFL’s top candidates for Rookie of the Year, Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott. Everybody expected him to start his NFL career strong, but nobody expected him to have the year he’s had, helping the Cowboys to hold the best record in the NFC East (13-3). He ended the fantasy year with 280 points, averaging 17.5 a game. He has the most rushing yards in the NFL, running for 1,631 yards, and ran the ball into the end zone 15 times (3rd overall). His best performance came in week 10 against LeVeon Bell, where he had one of the biggest scores of the year, 38 points. He certainly has my vote for Rookie of the Year.

 

To lead these players as the number 1 ranked back of the season, is Arizona Cardinals’ best all-around offensive threat, David Johnson. He scored 313 points, averaging 19.6 a week. Johnson really did it all for the Cardinals this season, and is a big reason they were able to end the year second in the NFC West. He ran for 1,239 yards (7th overall), scored the ball on the ground 16 times (2nd overall), and also netted a position best, 879 yards through the air. Johnson was targeted 120 times by his Quarterback, Carson Palmer, just 9 targets short of Atlanta’s Julio Jones, who has the second most receiving yards in the NFL.

 

 

 david johnson

(David Johnson netted 313 total fantasy points, and ran for 1,239 yards, 16 touchdowns, and gained 879 yards through the air)

 

 

Another key to a championship Fantasy team, is a solid Wide Receiver who is good for at least 9 points a week, and has the potential to break out for a big performance at any point. Because Running Backs can rush and catch the ball, they’re more likely to be consistent double digit machines. However, this year, the top 5 list held players who outdid themselves on a week to week basis. The good thing about Wide Receivers, is that they are more likely to make big plays. One catch for a 50+ yard touchdown changes the entire dynamic of a scoreboard, and a Receiver’s fantasy production.

 

Wide Receivers

 

Starting off at 5 is Indianapolis Colts’ T.Y. Hilton. He scored a total of 176 points, averaging 11 points a game. He is a prime example of a big-play receiver, as he finished the fantasy year with the most receiving yards in the NFL, 1,448 yards along with 6 touchdowns (7th overall). You never knew when Andrew Luck would catch him for a 60 yard gain, and there were several occasions, this year, where he did so. His best game came in week 5 against the Chicago Bears, where he scored 23 points.

 

Fourth on the list is the spectacular catch machine his self, Odell Beckham Jr. He is another receiver that, like Hilton, could always surprise an opponent late in the game with a 60+ yard touchdown grab. He scored 188 points, averaging 11.8 a contest, and netted 1,367 yards (3rd overall) through the air as well as 10 receiving touchdowns (3rd overall). His best week came in week 6 against the Baltimore Ravens where he caught the ball 8 times for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns. In fact, I was a victim of his great week, and it came off of two long ball touchdowns that changed the entire score (he did his job as a fantasy championship contending receiver).

 

At three, is another Pittsburg Steeler, ‘showtime’ Antonio Brown. This record setting receiver did not falter one bit as a top tier fantasy player. He scored 193 points, averaging 12.1 a week, had 1,284 receiving yards (5th overall), and scored the ball 12 times through the air (2nd overall). His best week was against the Indianapolis Colts in week 12, where he produced 27 fantasy points.

 

 

Now, this year, on the Fantasy profile board, this position did not hold a second ranked receiver. Rather instead, there was a tie for the number 1 receiver in the league. Both of these receivers earned 200 total fantasy points with and average of 12.5 a week. Tied as the best fantasy producing receivers in the 2016-17 fantasy season is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Mike Evans, and the Green Bay Packers’ Jordy Nelson. Evans had the 4th best receiving yards in the league at 1,321 and tied Antonio Brown at 2nd with 12 touchdowns. Whereas Nelson was 6th overall in receiving yards at 1,257, and led the league in touchdowns where Aaron Rodgers found him 14 times. Both of their best

weeks were 27 point days; Evans against Atlanta, in week 9, and Nelson against Minnesota, in week 16.

 

 jordy nelson

 

(Jordy Nelson found the end zone the most out of any receiver in the league, scoring the ball 14 times with 1,257 receiving yards)

 

 

 mike evans

 

 

(Mike Evans was just two touchdowns away from Nelson with 12, and was 4th in the league with 1,321 yards)

 

 

 

 

Next we’ll go into another receiver on the field, Tight Ends. These players are risky to choose, because some may be good for a lot of targets and yards like a Rob Gronkowski, but very few are. Or they may be strictly red zone tight ends, which makes Tight Ends boom or bust players in terms of fantasy production. In any case, I was lucky to have another top 5 ranked player at this position.

 

Tight Ends

 

At 5, is the Tennessee Titans’ Delanie Walker. Walker has become the Titans’ best and most trusted receiver on the roster. He tallied 117 fantasy points, averaging 7.3 a game. He also caught the ball for 800 yards (6th overall) and the found the end zone 7 times (2nd overall). His best performance was against Green Bay, in week 10, where he netted 18 points.

 

One point ahead of Walker, stands Seattle Seahawks’ Jimmy Graham. He scored 118 points (7.4 average), caught the ball for 923 yards (3rd overall) and found the end zone through the air just one time less than Walker, at 6 touchdowns (3rd overall). His best week was in week 9 against the Bills, where he produced a score of 22 points, tied for the best scoring week in the league, by a tight end.

 

My championship tight end was a 3rd ranked player, the Minnesota Vikings’ Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph really snuck up on fantasy players just like the Vikings snuck up on a lot of teams in the NFL this season. He netted 120 points (7.5 average), went for 840 yards through the air (4th overall), and tied Walker for 2nd place with 7 receiving touchdowns. His best week was championship week for fantasy players, where he scored 17 points against the Chicago Bears.

 

Second place won’t come to a surprise, and is one of the few tight ends in the league that is good for more than several targets a game, no matter where the team is on the field. Carolina Panthers’ dominate receiver, Greg Olsen. He scored 121 points, averaging 7.6 points a week, caught the ball for the second highest receiving yardage in the league, at tight end, at 1,073 yards. Cam Newton only managed to get him the ball in the end zone 3 times on the year (6th overall). He had two great performances of 18 points in weeks 2 against San Francisco and week 5 against Tampa Bay.

 

To take the gold, may surprise you. The famous ‘Gronk’ suffered injuries throughout the entire season, and wasn’t able to take the field more than 6 times this year, although in those 6 games, he definitely established his self. Rather than ‘Gronk’, the number 1 ranked fantasy receiver is Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce. He scored 133 fantasy points (8.3 average), and led all tight ends in receiving yards at 1,125. Although he only found the end zone 4 times on the year (5th overall), he still managed to destroy me in week 16 against Denver where he scored 22 points, and caught 2 of those 4 touchdowns.

 

 Travis kelce

 

(Travis Kelce led all tight ends with 1,125 receiving yards, and tied Jimmy Graham for a tight end best of 22 points in one game)

 

Next is another boom or bust position to draft: Defense/Special Teams. Unless a Defense is known for their outstanding defensive presence, which wasn’t really the case this past season, it’s probably best not to draft a D/ST. The better strategy is to pick up teams by different match ups, then maybe you’ll get lucky and find a team you can stick with for more than one week. In standard leagues, for those who do not know, all D/ST’s start the game with 10 automatic points, and if they can sustain those points, then it’s considered a good week. And if you’re real lucky (like I was this year), you can get a defense that scores a lot of touchdowns off turnovers.

 

Defense/Special Teams

 

At the fifth spot, is the New York Giants. They averaged 8.1 points a week, scoring a total of 130 points. They scored 4 touchdowns (4th overall), and forced 25 turnovers, 17 of those being interceptions (2nd overall), and the other 8 being fumble recoveries (8th overall). They had a great week against the no offensive threat, Cleveland Browns, in week 12, scoring 22 points. I picked them up in the waiver wire just for that week, due to that specific matchup.

 

At 4, is my go-to defense, the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs can really credit their defense for the spectacular season they’ve been having. They scored 140 points, averaging 8.8 a contest, and got the ball in the end zone 8 times (1st overall). The led the league in turnovers, intercepting the ball 18 times (1st), and forcing fumbles 15 times (1st). They had the best fantasy producing week of all defenses at 32, against the Jets in week 3. If it wasn’t for their devastating week 4, where the Steelers put 43 points them giving them a fantasy score of -4, they might’ve been in 1st place, at the very least 2nd.

 

However, bronze goes to the Arizona Cardinals. They scored 143 points, averaging 8.9 a week, scored the ball 3 times (5th overall), and were 4th and 2nd overall in interceptions and fumble recoveries, at 14 each. Their best week was in week 17 (championship week) against the poor offense of the LA Rams, where they scored 26 points.

The Denver Broncos is one of the very few teams that was known for their strong defensive presence, and was worth a very late draft pick. At second, they scored 146 points (9.1 average), scored the ball 4 times (4th overall), and is tied with the Cardinals with 14 interceptions. They are also tied for 3rd with 13 forced fumbles. Their best performance was against Andrew Luck and the Colts in week 2, where they scored 23 points.

 

Catching the entire league by surprise was the Minnesota Vikings, a team that decided to lock about every running back down this season. They led all D/ST’s with 157 points (9.8 average), and were one touchdown behind the Chiefs, at 7 touchdowns (2nd). They tied up with the Broncos in both interceptions and fumbles at 14 and 13. They gave Cam Newton a hard time in week 3, where they managed to score 25 fantasy points.

 

 

 vikings

 

(The Vikings D/ST got the ball in the end zone 7 times this season, and averaged 9.8 points a contest)

 

 

Last but certainly not least, we have what I think is the X-Factor of a great fantasy team, the Kicker. When you have a Kicker where you can “lock and forget”, because he is guaranteed to get you at least 10 fantasy points a week, then your team is in great shape. I landed the number 1 ranked Kicker in the league (hard to believe I won the championship right?). Not too much to say about Kickers, as they have one job to do, so I’ll give you strictly their stats.

 

Kickers

 

At 5, is Washington Redskins’ Dustin Hopkins. With 143 points, he averaged 8.9 a game. He made 34 of his 42 field goal tries, 7 of those being from between 40-49 yards out. He also made 36 of his 39 extra point tries, and scored an outstanding 19 points in week 3 against the Giants.

 

Tied at 5, is Detroit Lions’ Matt Prater. The Lions had been struggling at this position for a while now, so they were real happy to have Prater step up to the plate. He made 31 of his 36 field goals, making 10 of 14 field goal tries between 40-49 yards. He also stuck 31 of his 33 extra point tries and had a 18 point fantasy week against the Saints in week 13.

 

At 4, is Philadelphia Eagles’ Caleb Sturgis. Only one point higher than Hopkins and Prater, he averaged 9 points a contest. He made 35 of 41 field goals, 7 of those being from 40-49 yards. He only missed one extra point try, making 30 of his 31 total. He only managed to have a week of 14 points against the Lions in week 5, but his consistency made him a top 5 Kicker.

 

At 3, is the legend his self, Indianapolis Colts’ Adam Vinatieri. He was only one point above Sturgis at 9.1 as his average. He made 27 of his 31 field goal tries, and hit 10 of his 12 attempts from 40-49 yards out. He also nailed all of his extra point tries at 44. He led all Kickers with the best score coming in week 5 against the Bears, at 23 fantasy points.

 

To take second is the most accurate Kicker in the NFL, Baltimore Ravens’ Justin Tucker. He scored 174 fantasy points (10.9 average), and only missed one field goal all year at 38 of 39. However, he stuck all of his attempts from 40-49 yards out, at 14/14. He also made all of his 27 extra point tries, and had a great week of 19 points against the Bengals in week 12.

 

The number 1 ranked fantasy Kicker, and my boy, is Atlanta Falcons’ Matt Bryant. He only outscored Tucker by 2 points, with 176 points (11.0 average). He made 34 of his 37 field goal tries, and just like Tucker, hit all of his 9 attempts from 40-49 yards out. He led all Kickers with 57 extra point tries, and hit all but one. His best performance was against the Panthers in week 16, with 19 points.

 

 matt bryant

 

(Matt Bryant nailed 56/57 extra point tries, and stuck all 9 of his attempts from 40-49 yards out)

Well, it’s certainly a sad time when Fantasy Football ends, but it was a great year, and very fun to see all of the great performances these professionals put on for us. Aaron Rodgers, LeVeon Bell, Kyle Rudolph, Kansas City Chiefs, and Matt Bryant, I want to personally thank you all for making me a back to back Fantasy Football champion, till next season.

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