RotoExperts is proud to announce that it has partnered with the 75-year-old prestigious Maxwell Football Club, the oldest football organization in America to present the RotoExperts NFL Fantasy Football Player of the Year Award. The award will be presented to the NFL player having the largest impact on the game of Fantasy Football during the 2011 NFL season. This is the inaugural season of the annual award.
You can vote on this new award and many other prestigious awards given by the Maxwell Football Club by obtaining a RotoExperts Maxwell Club Membership. As a RotoExperts’ Maxwell Football Club Member, you will also receive an invitation to the Maxwell Football Club Awards Gala, Celebrity Golf Classic and more. Just go to www.rotoexperts.com/maxwell for more information about becoming a voting member.
Each week Dr. Roto will examine the five players he feels are front-runners for this award. You may agree with some choices and disagree with others. It is about impact and not stats alone.
So without further ado, here is the list heading into Week 17:
#5: Calvin Johnson
What makes Johnson remarkable are not only his stats (Johnson had 96 catches for 1,681 yards and 16 TDs on the season), but that he is often double covered on every play and is still able to produce those numbers. His height, strength, and athletic ability make him a freakish talent who is just entering his prime. If Matthew Stafford can stay healthy and if the Lions can find a running attack in the coming year, Johnson may be able to put up even better numbers in the future.
#4: Tom Brady
Much like the historic baseball home run race when Sammy Sosa finished second to Mark McGuire, when people look back on the 2011 season they will probably forget that two quarterbacks broke Dan Marino’s passing record. This season Brady threw for 5,235 yards to go along with 39 TDs. He led his team to the bye in the AFC and was instrumental in leading multiple comebacks to make up for New England’s porous defense. Another benefit to Fantasy owners was Brady’s 109 yards rushing to go with his three rushing TDs. In short, this was a historic season for an obvious first-ballot, future Hall of Fame player.
#3: Rob Gronkowski
Last week on the SiriusXm morning show, we debated whether Rob Gronkowski should be a first-round pick in Fantasy leagues next season. The answer is clearly YES. Gronk had 90 receptions to go with 1,327 yards and a startling 17 TDs (which tied for the league lead with LeSean McCoy). Gronk’s size and strength make him virtually uncoverable in the red zone, and in the past two years, he has scored a whopping 32 TDs. In TD only leagues, there may not be a better pick.
#2: Aaron Rodgers
This pick may have “Cheese Heads” from all over the United States angry with me, but I have to do what is just. Aaron Rodgers clearly had a magical season. However, he was not the NFL Fantasy Player of the Year. I will not argue Rodgers’ greatness, because as most of you know, he was leading my balloting virtually all season. Two big strikes hurt him, though, in my final tabulations: 1) In Week 15, (the Fantasy semi-finals for most players) Rodgers put up his worst game of the season with 235 yards passing and only one passing TD in the loss against the Chiefs, and 2) In Week 17, Rodgers was benched for precautionary reasons. Many of you will argue that I cannot blame Rodgers for being benched, but for the 15 percent of Fantasy owners that played in Week 17, Rodgers was a non-factor. For the year, Rodgers had one of the greatest seasons in recent memory. He broke Peyton Manning’s passer rating (122.5) and had 4,643 yards passing to go along with 45 TDs. He even had 257 yards rushing and two rushing TDs. However, Rodgers’ most amazing stat is the six INTs he threw for the entire season. He also led Green Bay to a first-round bye in the NFC Playoffs. In short, Rodgers season was virtually historic.
#1: Drew Brees
Drew Brees’ season was even more historic than Aaron Rodgers in 2011. This season, Brees shattered Dan Marino’s passing record by throwing for 5,476 yards. That is an average of 342 yards per game! Moreover, Brees threw for 46 TD and had one rushing TD. The difference between Rodgers and Brees is virtually negligible. However, I came back to one statistic that I felt gave Brees the edge in the final balloting. In the final four games of the season (when Fantasy titles are won or lost), there was no better QB for Fantasy owners than Drew Brees. In his last four games, he threw for 1,445 yards and 16 TDs. These numbers most likely helped Drew Brees owners win Fantasy championships all over the country. Basically, Aaron Rodgers was the best regular season QB, but Drew Brees won the Super Bowl (in Fantasy metaphors). And with that, he is Dr. Roto’s winner of the NFL Fantasy Player of the Year.
Honorable Mention (Guys that could be listed but aren’t):
Jimmy Graham: He had 99 receptions for 1,310 yards and is still learning the position.
Matthew Stafford: Finally showed the Fantasy world what he could do when healthy.
Arian Foster: Solid as a rock and worthy of your first or second pick in next year’s Fantasy draft.
Cam Newton: He had a great season, but he can’t afford to have games like the one against the Saints in Week 17. Once he gains consistency, he is a lock for the top five.
Maurice Jones-Drew: I am running with MJD next year.
LeSean McCoy: Has been a stud this year, and interestingly enough, had fewer attempts than the six top running backs. If they fed him the ball more often, he could get close to 2,000 yards.
Marshawn Lynch: The Beast was a beauty this season. He really matured and raised his game in a contract year.
Ray Rice: You have to respect how hard he plays. Arguably, the top pick in the draft in PPR leagues.
Wes Welker: He will never be a TD threat, but he is PPR gold.
Victor Cruz: I feel like salsa dancing just watching him. He might be the most exciting offensive position player that the Giants have had in 30 years.
Jordy Nelson: He had 15 TD in his 68 receptions. That means that every 4.5 he caught the ball, he scored.
Agree? Disagree? I want to hear what you have to say! Each week I will list a few responses from emails or tweets that I receive throughout the week expressing YOUR opinion.
Mark Bloom (Dr. Roto) is a former personal trainer with the International Sports Conditioning Association (ISCA). A subject of a UPN newscast for guiding numerous Fantasy Sports participants to league titles, Dr. Roto has answered thousands of Fantasy questions over the past two decades. You may email Dr. Roto directly @ http://%22 or follow him on Twitter @DrRoto
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