Best and worst of NFL fantasy

If you drafted Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton chances are you did very well in your NFL fantasy...

If you drafted Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton chances are you did very well in your NFL fantasy league. (REUTERS)

DAN BILICKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 4:26 PM ET

TORONTO - It’s that time of the year when most fantasy leagues have concluded and champions have been crowned. I’m sure there are many gripes about Tony Romo only throwing two passes before leaving a meaningless game, or Kahlil Bell fumbling at the goal line and his lineman picking up the TD, but them’s the breaks. I’m sure that if you looked at the luck over the season, that bit of karma probably put you even.

So, without further ado, let’s hand out some awards for the best and worst of the NFL in fantasy this year.

 

QUARTERBACKS

STUDS: Aaron Rodgers, GB; Cam Newton, CAR; Drew Brees, NO.

All three had record-setting seasons in one way or another.

DUDS: Michael Vick, PHI; Matt Schaub, HOU; Jay Cutler, CHI.

After being touted as a possible first-overall pick, Vick wound up as the 12th best fantasy QB.

BEST SLEEPERS: Cam Newton, CAR; Tim Tebow, DEN; Ryan Fitzpatrick, BUF.

Tebow proved you don’t have to be good at throwing to be a good fantasy QB.

SLEPT IN: Alex Smith, SF; Kevin Kolb, ARI; Kyle Orton, DEN-KC.

Smith may be starting on a 12-3 team, but he shouldn’t be starting for your fantasy side.

 

RUNNING BACKS

STUDS: LeSean McCoy, PHI; Ray Rice, BAL; Arian Foster, HOU.

These three first-rounders all delivered the goods. Expect them to be in the top three next year.

DUDS: Chris Johnson, TEN; Peyton Hillis, CLE; Jamaal Charles, KC.

CJ still needs 14 yards to break the 1,000-yard barrier. And he played in every game.

BEST SLEEPERS: Fred Jackson, BUF; DeMarco Murray, DAL; Marshawn Lynch, SEA.

Jackson was on fire until breaking his leg while Murray was on his way to some rookie records.

SLEPT IN: Felix Jones, DAL; Ryan Torain, WAS; Montario Hardesty, CLE.

Torain fell out of favour so badly that he was released this week.

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

STUDS: Calvin Johnson, DET; Wes Welker, NE; Victor Cruz, NYG.

The first two guys are proven studs, but Cruz was an undrafted rookie just a year ago.

DUDS: Andre Johnson, HOU; Chad Ochocinco, NE; Lee Evans, BAL.

At least Johnson was injured, the other two just flat out stunk.

BEST SLEEPERS: Victor Cruz, NYG; Laurent Robinson, DAL; Torrey Smith, BAL

Robinson filled in admirably when Austin and Bryant were out, then kept on scoring.

SLEPT IN: Emmanuel Sanders, PIT; Mike Sims-Walker, STL-JAC; Steve Smith, PHI

Sims-Walker was so bad that he was cut by two teams.

TIGHT ENDS

STUDS: Rob Gronkowski, NE; Jimmy Graham, NO.

These two were heads and tails above the TE pack.

DUDS: Dallas Clark, IND; Kellen Winslow, TB.

I think we’re near the end of the line with Clark.

BEST SLEEPERS: Scott Chandler, BUF; Fred Davis, WAS.

Davis was Washington’s best receiver until his suspension.

SLEPT IN: Lance Kendricks, STL; Kyle Rudulph, MIN.

The rookie class of TEs really disappointed.

And overall...

MVPS: Newton, Rodgers, Gronkowski, Foster and McCoy.

Biggest story of the year: Tim Tebow (How could it be anyone else)?

Best pickups: Cam Newton, DeMarco Murray, Victor Cruz.

Best handcuffs: Ben Tate, DeMarco Murray, Willis McGahee.

Breakouts: Victor Cruz, Antonio Brown, Marshawn Lynch (a top-five back this year!), Doug Baldwin.

Hit or miss: Eric Decker, Chris Johnson (mostly miss).

Biggest debates for next year: Is Adrian Peterson a first-rounder? Is Cam Newton the No. 1 QB? How high do you take Gronkowski? Where does Peyton Manning rank?

FOR THOSE STILL PLAYING

For all of those out there with their league titles on the line this week in championship games or total point leagues: Don’t fear, we haven’t forgotten about you.

— I wouldn’t be too worried about Tom Brady or Tony Romo’s injury problems this week. Brady says his shoulder is fine and Romo would have played through the pain last week if the game meant something.

— I wouldn’t play any Packers this week. It looks like the starters will be rested early with nothing on the line. I couldn’t see them risking Aaron Rodgers for more than a series or two.

— When the Giants and Cowboys met in Week 14, basically everyone involved in the offence had a good fantasy day. With the playoffs on the line for both teams, expect maximum effort again.

— With the Niners likely to crush the lowly Rams and secure the No. 2, don’t expect the Saints to play their starters for the entire game this week. The last time that Sean Payton got ballsy like that, he lost several key players for the post-season.

— Tons of AFC teams still have mathematical chances of making the playoffs. Figure out who is playing for what and start them accordingly. Nobody wants to be the guy who had a crappy game and sent his team off golfing for the winter.

— But I’d watch out with your Titans. They’re facing the Texans and Wade Phillips is returning from surgery. Houston’s defence really let the team down when their coordinator was out and I could see them trying their hardest to stop Chris Johnson from getting to 1,000 yards on the season (he needs 14).

LOOKING AHEAD

2011’s first rounders

(In no particular order)

Arian Foster

Maurice Jones-Drew

Ray Rice

LeSean McCoy

Frank Gore

Aaron Rodgers

Cam Newton

Calvin Johnson

Wes Welker

Matt Forte*

Fred Jackson*

Adrian Peterson*

*-If health issues cleared up by training camp.

STAT CORNER

Despite being ranked only 67th in the NFL in targets, Jordy Nelson ranks third with 12 touchdowns. He’s also one of only four players with double-digits in TDs.

STAT CORNER II

At 7:02 EST on Dec. 24, San Francisco allowed its first rushing TD of the season.

Twitter @danbilicki


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