When the final seconds ticked off the clock in Philadelphia last night, the majority of fantasy football leagues ended. (And if your league didn’t end, and you take Week 17 seriously, remind me never to join your league…because that’s ludicrious.) Across the nation champions were crowned, runners-up were left to wallow in their disappointment, and those who didn’t even make the playoffs were left to wonder what might have been.
As you know, I have had the great pleasure and privilege of participating in the 2010 edition of P&G-sponsored Blogger Fantasy Football League*. Even though my team fell well short of expectations (thanks Brandon Marshall and Sidney Rice!), it was a wonderful experience that I hope to be fortunate enough to one day have again. To the fine and friendly folks at P&G and the NFL who made this great experience possible, thank you. This was the most enjoyable fantasy football experience I’ve ever had.
Note: make sure that you take advantage of the last week of the Text It To the House contest. It’s easy to enter, fun to track, and the prize is tickets to the Super Bowl. What are you waiting for?
The league began with a memorable trip to New York to conduct our draft in the NFL boardroom, and it culminated last night with a victory for @dinabanina and Fresh 2 Death, the team managed by National Football Post. Finishing second was our good buddy Phil from Team Gunaxin, who was hoping Michael Vick had one more 40+ point game in him heading into Tuesday night. Alas, Vick could only muster 20.82 points, which was not nearly enough to compensate for uncharacteristically off weeks from MegaTron, Marques Colston, and Deion Branch.
The other area that decided the 91.44-72.42 outcome was on defense. Team Gunaxin put faith in the awful Dallas Cowboys defense, which inexplicably has two Pro Bowl starters despite already setting a team record for points allowed in a season through 15 games, while Fresh 2 Death trusted the young but improving New England Patriots. The Cowboys were actually a somewhat defensible pick because they were facing Arizona and John Skelton, but they mustered just two fantasy points. The Patriots, on the other hand, racked up 23 points by holding Buffalo to three points and forcing 7 turnovers. That 21-point swing on defense was the difference.
My congratulations to Fresh 2 Death and Team Gunaxin for great seasons. Both were deserving of their spots in the playoffs and owe no one any apologies for making it to the title round. Team Gunaxin had the highest point total overall while Fresh 2 Death finished third in overall points and had the best record. On the other hand, DVOA vs GERD (managed by the great Aaron Schatz from the peerless Football Outsiders) and its second-best point total was robbed by going just 7-7 and not making the playoffs while DayQuil Fighter Of The NyQuil (managed by @Punte of With Leather) made the playoffs with the league’s second-lowest overall point total. That’s messed up…but that’s fantasy.
In every league I’ve ever been in, there always seems to be one team that gets the breaks – such as DayQuil having the lowest points against in the league – and one team that gets screwed with injuries, bad matchups, and/or bad timing. Such is the frustrating reality of this silly game we all spend so much time on, care so much about, and have so little control over.
With the 2010 fantasy football season now effectively over, save for a few stragglers who can ask their Week 17 start em, sit em questions here, let’s hand out some hardware and recognize the best of the best from the 2010 fantasy football season.
2010 Fantasy Football MVP: Michael Vick, QB, Eagles
Obviously Michael Vick’s uneven “real” performance last night against Minnesota probably gave the real NFL MVP award to Tom Brady, but Vick is the clear MVP in fantasy football. Phil and Team Gunaxin deserve a lot of credit for pouncing on Vick early and riding him all the way to the championship round.
Now, before you say that Vick choked in the championship, remember that he still scored around 20 points (depending on scoring system) for his owners last night, and this came on the heels of his explosion in Week 15. So he came through during the biggest weeks of the season. Additionally, a player’s worth in fantasy football is all about value. If Vick had been a first round pick this year, he would not be so clearly more valuable than other QBs like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. However, because Vick was a waiver wire pickup in almost every league, his value when judged against his cost of acquisition might be the highest in fantasy football history.
The runner-up to Vick in the fantasy football MVP race is Arian Foster, another player who was a waiver wire pickup or mid- to later-round draft pick in many leagues. During the preseason, as the season drew closer and leagues drafted, Foster’s draft position increased due to injuries in the Texans’ backfield. Still, it was a highly speculative pick as Foster had never been a full-time back before. He responded by scoring the second-most fantasy points after Vick, and actually was more valuable in comparison to others at his position than Vick was. Aaron Schatz deserves huge props for nabbing Foster in the 6th round of the BFL2010 draft when his value was still so unproven. That’s the kind of foresight you get when you read Football Outsiders.
Here are the two things that separate Vick from Foster in my eyes:
- Week 15 is the semifinal round of the playoffs in most leagues. Foster produced a dud against Tennessee with just 61 total yards and no touchdowns. Vick, on the other hand, accounted for 372 total yards and four touchdowns in the Eagles’ thrilling comeback over New York. I bet most Vick owners who were in the playoffs won their Week 15 matchups because of VIck.
- Vick also came through in primetime throughout the season. I don’t know about you, but when all else is equal I try to play guys who are in the Sunday night or Monday night games. That way, no matter how Sunday afternoon shakes out I still have a chance. For me, it adds a little more enjoyment to the fantasy football experience. Vick had some of his best performances in primetime this year, including his mind-blowing performance against Washington that brought many owners back from seemingly insurmountable leads. Those kinds of memorable moments make you the MVP.
2010 All Fantasy Team
- QB – Michael Vick, Eagles (Team Gunaxin)
- RB – Arian Foster, Texans (DVOA vs GERD)
- RB – Adrian Peterson, Vikings (Midwest Sports Fans)
- WR – Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs (Fuzzy Gullets)
- WR – Roddy White, Falcons (Press Coverage)
- Flex – Jamaal Charles, Chiefs (Fresh 2 Death)
- TE – Jason Witten, Cowboys (Team Gunaxin)
- K – David Akers, Eagles (Fuzzy Gullets)
- Defense – Pittsburgh Steelers (Press Coverage)
Vick and Foster are obvious choices.
I struggled putting Peterson at one of the RB spots because of the late season injury that made him worthless in weeks 14 and 15, but his rebound last night, plus his consistent excellence during the first 13 weeks of the season were too much to ignore, especially when the alternatives were inconsistent guys like Darren McFadden and LeSean McCoy.
At WR, Dwayne Bowe was an easy choice. Despite his late season struggles, he had a great Week 16 for owners who rode him during the regular season. Plus, his overall numbers are outstanding. Roddy White beats out guys like Brandon Lloyd and Calvin Johnson because of his consistency and because he was better that the other guys in Weeks 15 and 16.
At flex, Jamaal Charles was the choice because he produced well for most of the year and then exploded in Weeks 15 and 16, finally getting into the end zone with regularity. Fresh 2 Death won the championship because of Charles.
Witten is the easy choice at TE as the most consistently good option in a position that was defined by inconsistency and injury this year.
David Akers wins out over Sebastian Janikowski at kicker for the same reason: week to week consistency.
On defense, the Steelers are the choice because they registered double-digit days in four of the final six weeks of the season and ended up #1 in overall fantasy points by defenses.
You’ll notice one key theme through all my picks: consistency. There is nothing more valuable in fantasy football than consistency. Lineup decisions are hard, and players who you know you can count on week in and week out are hard to find. The guys on the All Fantasy Team above combined consistency with excellence more than any others.
If you disagree with my choices, please post yours below. I imagine we will be able to have some lively debates on this topic.
2010 Fantasy Football LVP: Randy Moss, Patriots/Vikings/Titans
Here is the most amazing single fact about BFL2010: Fresh 2 Death, the team that ultimately won the championship, picked Randy Moss in the first round (pick 10). Let that sink in. How often can you blow your first round pick in such a spectacular way and still compete for and win a championship?
I’m not sure I really need to expound on why Moss is the least valuable player in fantasy football this year. He wasn’t injured, yet he caught just 27 passes for 375 yard and five TDs. From Week 14-16 he did not catch one pass. Most owners had to spend a 1st or a 2nd round pick to get him, and received little in return. And most, I bet, were not able to overcome it like Fresh 2 Death was.
The runner-up has to be Ryan Mathews, who went in the 2nd round in most leagues. I preached all preseason that Mathews was being terribly overvalued because he was still an unproven rookie, and my fears about him proved true. Other names that could be included here: Shonn Greene; DeAngelo Williams; Beanie Wells.
2010 All Underrated Team
These guys where consistently good performers on a weekly basis who, even up until Week 16, I was getting asked start/sit questions about. Make sure that as you look forward to 2010 you keep these players in mind. All proved their worth with consistently good seasons this year.
- QB – Josh Freeman, Bucs
- RB – Matt Forte, Bears
- RB – BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Patriots
- WR – Mike Wallace, Steelers
- WR – Stevie Johnson, Bills
- Flex – Darren McFadden, Raiders
- TE – Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars
- K – Dan Carpenter, Dolphins
- Defense – Detroit Lions
Forte rebounded from his sophomore slump to be a great value in 2010. Green-Ellis came out of nowhere to be one of the most consistent touchdown producers in the league. I chose McFadden as the flex because what he lacks in consistency and health, he more than makes up for in sheer explosiveness. McFadden single-handedly won at least two matchups for his owners this year, finally becoming the player we thought he’d be coming out of college. He’s always a risk, but the reward is finally starting to make it worthwhile.
Did you know that both Wallace and Johnson were top 10 receivers this year? Wallace definitely made the jump from risky play to weekly start and should be drafted as a #1 WR next year. Stevie J made plenty of headlines for his untimely overtime drop, but that should not mask the fact that he had over 1,000 yards and scored 10 TDs.
Marcedes Lewis finally made the leap from mercurial talent to consistent producer, notching 9 touchdowns this season and providing stability at an unstable position.
Dan Carpenter can be hit or miss, but his good weeks are really good. I don’t see the Dolphins’ offense becoming appreciably better in 2011, which means plenty more long field goal attempts for Carpenter.
The Lions Defense is one of the up-and-coming units to keep an eye on. With Ndamukong Suh creating all kinds of havoc in the trenches, and the overall talented improving elsewhere, this defense could take a step into fantasy elite status next year.
The Hindsight is 20/20 Best & Worst Draft Pick for Each BFL2010 Owner
With the benefit of 16 weeks worth of hindsight, let’s go all the way back to that incredible morning in the NFL boardroom and highlight the best and worst pick for each BFL2010 owner.
I won’t be including players who were injured in the worst picks, because that’s just unfair. Rather, I’ll try to think back to what we knew on draft day and then assess how picks matched the generally expected values, with my own subjective biases obviously factored in.
Additionally, I encourage you to check out the websites of the other BFL2010 owners, all whom you should be reading and following on Twitter if you are not already.
- Owner – Dan Levy of PressCoverage.us and On the DL Podcast
- Draft Position: 3/22
- Best pick: Pittsburgh D, round 14
- Worst pick: Steve Smith CAR, round 4
DayQuil Fighter of the NyQuil
- Owner – Josh Zerkle of With Leather
- Draft Position: 5/20
- Best Pick: Santonio Holmes, round 10
- Worst Pick: CJ Spiller, round 4
- Owner – Matt Sebek of Joe Sports Fan
- Draft Position: 12/13
- Best Pick: Jason Witten, round 6
- Worst Pick: Jahvid Best, round 3
- Owner – Phil Van der Vossen of Gunaxin
- Draft Position: 9/16
- Best Pick: Darren McFadden, round 10
- Worst Pick: Donald Brown, round 8
- Owner – Kyle Bunch of The Daily Bunch
- Draft Position: 6/19
- Best Pick: Green Bay Packers D, round 13
- Worst Pick: Justin Forsett, round 5
Fresh 2 Death
- Owner – Diana Klochkova formerly of The National Football Post
- Draft Position: 10/15
- Best Pick: Terrell Owens, round 10
- Worst Pick: Randy Moss, round 1
- Owner – Dan Shanoff 0f DanShanoff.com
- Draft Position: 1/24
- Best Pick: Tom Brady, round 2
- Worst Pick: Michael Crabtree, round 5
DVOA vs GERD
- Owner – Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders
- Draft Position: 11/14
- Best Pick: Arian Foster, round 6 and Mike Williams, round 11
- Worst Pick: Donovan McNabb, round 7
For a Better Looking Tomorrow
- Owner – Steph Stradley of the Texans Chick blog for Houston Chronicle
- Draft Position: 8/17
- Best Pick: Hakeem Nicks, round 6
- Worst Pick: Ryan Mathews, round 2
Midwest Sports Fans
- Owner – Jerod Morris of Midwest Sports Fans
- Draft Position: 4/21
- Best Pick: Mike Wallace, round 6
- Worst Pick: Sidney Rice, round 4
- Owner – Will Brinson of CBS Sports
- Draft Position: 2/23
- Best Pick: Dwayne Bowe, round 5 and Matt Cassel, round 11
- Worst Pick: Beanie Wells, round 2 and Jerome Harrison, round 7
What Would Revis Do
- Owner – Brian Bassett of The Jets Blog
- Draft Position: 7/18
- Best Pick: Marques Colston, round 4…except that he later dropped him
- Worst Pick: Shonn Greene, round 2 and the Jets D, round 7
If you have any 2010 hardware that you’d like to hand out, the comment section is yours. I’ll be especially interested to hear if anyone can argue with Vick as the fantasy football MVP. To me it’s clear, but I’m sure there will be some dissenting opinions out there somewhere.
Finally, I just want to reiterate my appreciation to P&G for making the 2010 Blogger Fantasy Football League possible, and for giving me the chance to send so many of our loyal readers the useful gift packs filled with P&G goodies. I wish I’d fielded a better team so I could have had a better shot at the Super Bowl tickets, but it just wasn’t meant to be. What was meant to be was a terrific experience with a bunch of my fellow bloggers that I will always remember. Thank you P&G, and again congrats to Team Fresh 2 Death, a most worthy champion.
* – The P&G Blogger Fantasy League (BFL) is a group of 12 digital sports influencers competing on the NFL.com fantasy platform for the chance to win P&G product, a donation to a local charity, and a trip to Super Bowl XLV, all furnished by P&G. The NFL Entities have not offered or sponsored the sweepstakes in any way.