With the conclusion of last night’s Monday Night Football match-up between Cincinnati and Denver, the 2015 fantasy football season is officially in the books (aside from DFS sites, of course). So we’ve wasted no time in putting together our annual AOB Fantasy Football Awards:
Most Valuable Player: Cam Newton, Panthers QB
Say what you want about Tom Brady’s gaudy passing numbers, in what would be a career year for a majority of quarterback out there. But Newton had the best season of his career in terms of passing numbers, and added 500 yards and 8 touchdowns on the ground. Newton is my pick, and I’m sticking with it.
Best QB: Cam Newton, Panthers
Again, Newton definitely has the advantage over Brady because of the rushing yards/TDs factor. It’s simple, really. You can’t argue the facts: Newton put up 11 more fantasy points through 16 weeks than Brady (according to ESPN.com’s standard FFL leagues), so when it comes to fantasy quarterbacks in 2015, Newton is the clear choice.
Best RB: Adrian Peterson, Vikings
Doug Martin and Devonta Freeman are both right there, as Martin is second in the league in rushing and Freeman got a substantial number of points in the passing game in addition to his nearly 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. But Peterson has been a consistent producer in the fantasy-realm, putting up a league-leading 1,418 yards and 10 touchdowns. Peterson has proven he’s still king when it comes to NFL running backs.
Best WR: Antonio Brown, Steelers
In PPR leagues, Brown was a godsend for the second year in a row. Four games of double-digit receptions? Check. Eight 100-yard games? Check. A nearly 300-yard game (284, to be exact)? Check. I give Brown the nod over Julio Jones (a very close second), because he’s done just as much as Jones with way less targets (192 to 176).
Best TE: Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
Washington’s Jordan Reed has had a fantastic stretch over the last few weeks, Gary Barnidge had an impressive stretch earlier in the season, and Greg Olsen has proved to be a consistent top-tier TE talent throughout the duration of the season. But there’s nothing more dangerous than a healthy Gronk. His 175 fantasy points this year is 29 more than the second-place Reed. That’s more than one game’s worth of production.
Best D/ST: Denver Broncos
Arizona’s 35-point performance on Sunday against Aaron Rodgers and the playoff-bound Green Bay Packers was nearly enough to steal away Denver’s place as best defensive/ST unit this season. But Denver barely held on. Denver’s D scored double-digit fantasy points seven times this year, and 20+ points three times (that’s almost unheard of). It has a lot to do with their 26 turnovers, 49 sacks, and six return touchdowns.
Best K: Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots
Gostkowski was a huge tool for Bill Belichick’s Patriots, and he’s the only placekicker out there that has averaged double-digit fantasy points this season (11.0). He’s scored 17 more fantasy points than Carolina’s Graham Gano, who sits in second. Gronkowski and Gostkowski continue to reign supreme in the fantasy football realm.
Top Rookie: Todd Gurley, Rams RB
There’s no question, the Fantasy RPOY award winner is Gurley. The Georgia product missed the first two games of the season, but made up for it by running for 100+ yards in four of his first five games as a pro. He finished the fantasy season fifth in fantasy points among RBs, and has 1,108 yards and 10 touchdowns in his 12 starts as a rookie runner. What a performance.
Biggest Surprise/Breakout Performance: Kirk Cousins, Redskins QB
For “Biggest Surprise” we’ve decided to leave this category as a good surprise, instead of giving it to a player that was surprisingly bad or under-performing. This leaves a number of different players that could easily be given this award (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Doug Martin, DeAngelo Williams, David Johnson, Allen Robinson, Brandon Marshall, Gary Barnidge, etc.), but we landed on Kirk Cousins simply because he went from a guy who had just nine career starts to a 4,000-yard passer (almost) with 31 total touchdowns. Not a bad transformation, I suppose.
Biggest Disappointment/Bust: DeMarco Murray, Eagles RB
This award could have also been given to Indy’s Andrew Luck, but we decided to not hold Luck’s injury against him. Murray never struggled with any injury, he just simply under-performed behind a much worse offensive line. Going from the leading rusher in 2014 to not even the No. 1 option on a team the following year is, obviously, a huge disappointment. Murray wins this in a landslide.
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