This year saw the top ten picks flame out at a statistically historic rate. So while the old belief that you can’t lose your league in the first round certainly held true, not missing on a top 20 pick this year seemed both more and less important than normal. More important because if you hooked one of the big fish in the draft you had the luxury of building depth behind them, less important because you probably weren’t alone in the injury/fell off the face of the earth bandwagon. I myself lost Doug Martin in 2 leagues that I ended up winning and one in which I was the runner up. That being said, these guys were the players you should send a little fruit basket as thanks for fantasy earnings.
QB: Peyton Manning, 406pts
“Duh,” You say? He only broke two of the most epic single season passing records of all time? Okay, fair enough. Did you know that he threw 5.5 touchdowns to every one interception? You did? Were you aware that he was 58 points better than the 2nd place QB Drew Brees, a stud in his own right, and an insane 124 points ahead of 3rd place Cam Newton? Yeah, well did you know his favorite color is Periwinkle Blue? Yeah, I thought not. Anyway, Manning was the top scoring player in fantasy this season and the probably MVP of the League. This was about as easy as a pass from him to a Line-Backer covered Wes Welker in the Red Zone.
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RB: LeSean McCoy, 262pts
Shady was sensational this year, winning the rushing title by more than 200 yards, being the engine that kept the up tempo Philadelphia Eagle offense moving. McCoy was about as steady a hand as there was this year in a running back field depleted by injuries and committees. Also worth noting is that he was seventh in running back receiving yards following in his predecessor Brian Westbrook’s versatile footsteps. If not for the next man on our list and a certain purple and gold wearing cyborg, McCoy would be next season’s de facto number one.
RB: Jamaal Charles, 295pts
If the league didn’t have an obsession with passing the football and Peyton Manning didn’t turn in one of the most prolific passing seasons in NFL history, this would be the real life NFL MVP. On a team with the much maligned Alex Smith at quarter back, and limited other weapons on offense, Jamaal Charles finally broke free of the Romeo Crennel imposed shackles and put the team on his back. 1900 + yards and 19 total touchdowns meant that Charles had one of the most impressive seasons in recent memory, all while opposing defenses game planned to let his QB attempt to beat them through the air instead of allowing Charles to gouge them on the ground. Charles was in charge, all season long.
WR: Josh Gordon, 221pts
What would you say if I told you the NFL’s leading receiver missed the first two games of the season? Would you believe me if I said that he caught passes from 3 different quarterbacks? Would you think I’m crazy if I told you he played for the Cleveland Browns? ESPN 30 for 30: Thank You, Based Josh. I’m not going to tell you about how I’m a Cleveland Browns fan, or how Josh Gordon catapulted a team of mine that started 1-5 into the playoffs by posting the biggest back to back weeks in NFL history. I will tell you that this is a player who by all accounts is still getting by on mostly raw talent and managed to outscore the Megatrons of the world in a shortened season.
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WR: Demaryius Thomas, 220pts
The leading receiver for the league’s most dominant offense making this list should come as no surprise. What is surprising is that he managed to do so in an offense that featured Decker, Welker, Julius Thomas and Moreno. Normally, players in explosive QB driven offenses that feature multiple targets have rollercoaster potential, with the targets moving around as defenses adjust to last week’s tape. Not the case here as Thomas may not have been the top scoring Bronco each week, but he rarely turned in a Dud performance when the offense as a whole was clicking. To sum it up, there were a lot of mouths to feed in Denver but as we all know, “the big dog’s gotta eat,” and Thomas was the alpha dog in the Bronco kennel.
TE: Jimmy Graham, 211pts
For any of you who have been reading the weekly column, please stifle your accusations that I have a man crush on Jimmy Graham long enough to realize the facts. 1. I’ve made no bones about said crush 2. He was 55 points better than Vernon Davis, the next best tight end 3. He fell just shy of breaking Rob Gronkowski’s touchdown record for tight ends 4. Any opposing Defensive Coordinator not game planning primarily to take him away from Drew Brees will soon end up in the unemployment line 5. HE WASN’T FULLY HEALTHY FOR MOST OF THE SEASON. Jimmy Graham is in a class by himself and has earned himself a real life payday fitting for the best tight end in the game.
D/ST: Kansas City, 179pts
Sorry, fans of the Seattle Legion of Boom. Though that defense is the league’s best, this unit only scored 16 fewer points despite facing more explosive offenses. I know that the schedule may have seemed easier, but factor in the fact this unit faced Peyton Manning twice and still managed to stay in the top 3.
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K: Stephen Gostkowski, 176pts
Arguably the most consistent Patriot all season, Gostkowski averaged ten points and never hurt your team with costly misses, which is just about all you can ask from for a fantasy kicker.
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