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2017 Fantasy Football Awards

Jake Ciely January 3, 2018 12:01AM EDT
With the 2017 Fantasy Football season over, it’s time to look back and remember the good times… and the not so good ones. I’m putting a little spin on the typical Fantasy Football awards, going Grammy style this year.

2017 Fantasy Football Awards

Best Performer

Todd Gurley, LAR – This isn’t even close. Gurley is not only Fantasy Football MVP, he’s my pick for NFL MVP as well. Gurley had just one single-digit score all year. Gurley is also the all-time leader in Fantasy Points during any Week 13-16 stretch (or 14-16 or 15-16), proving how valuable he was to getting into and winning the Fantasy playoffs. By the way, only two receivers are in the Top 20, and big ups to Drew Bennett for that… and LaDainian Tomlinson for being the only one to show up twice.

Runner Up: Le’Veon Bell – Russell Wilson was a bit too quiet at the finish.

Best New Artist

Alvin Kamara, NO – Kareem Hunt was running away with the award to start the season – literally – then Andy Reid lost his dang mind.

Fortunately for Fantasy owners and the Chiefs, play calling was taken away and Hunt finished the season strong. Unfortunately, it was too late to catch up to Kamara, who was dominating while Hunt went through his prolonged slump. Kamara finished 14 points behind Hunt in Non-PPR and 16 ahead in PPR despite just 20 touches in the first three games.

Runner Up: Hunt, obviously. Evan Engram deserves credit, especially being a tight end.

Chart Gaining Artist

Nelson Agholor, PHI – Marvin Jones didn’t quite make it as a true breakout due to his 712 yards, 10 touchdowns and 137.7 points in 2013. Marquise Goodwin came close but had too many down weeks. Dion Lewis had a great per game production in 2015 already, so it came down to three receivers: Devin Funchess, Robby Anderson and Agholor. Funchess needed the Kelvin Benjamin trade to clear things out for him, so now we’re down to two, and it was extremely close. With Anderson, he nearly doubled his rookie production, but that’s just it… it was only his second year. Agholor was nearly left for dead with his roster spot in question, and he simply went out and scored over 40 points more than his first two seasons combined. Agholor finished as WR22, which seemed unfathomable a few months ago.

Runner Up: The others mentioned.

Best Solo Performance

Kareem Hunt, KC – No one made a more impressive debut that Hunt this year, and it’s one of the best of all time. Against the Patriots on the first day of the season – in New England no less – Hunt ran for 148 yards, adding 98 more receiving and scored three times. That was good for 42.6 Non-PPR and 47.6 PPR points and also good for making his owners lose their minds in excitement and roll to easy wins to start the year. If only Reid hadn’t ruined Hunt during those midseason weeks.

Runner Up: Todd Gurley @ SEA (152 rush, 28 recv, 4 TDs, 42.0/45.0 FPs) and Julio Jones vs. TB (15 rush, 12 recp, 253 recv, 2 TDs, 38.8/50.8 FPs). Deshaun Watson 35.8 and Russell Wilson 36.1 come close.

Best Group Performance

Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram and Michael Thomas, NO – Let’s start with Kamara and Ingram, who also get the award for Best Duo. Kamara finished RB4 and Ingram RB6 in Non-PPR (RB3 and RB6 in PPR). The last time two running backs from the same team were both startable on the same Fantasy roster was 2009 with Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams… and they finished “just” RB11 and RB14. They averaged 11.8 and 13.3 while Kamara and Ingram had 14.5 and 13.8 this year. Owning both wasn’t a worry; it was a near guarantee for a playoff run. Add in the WR7 in Michael Thomas, and you have a trio contending with the Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce group from the Greatest Show on Turf. Heck, even in a down year, you could toss in Drew Brees for the Fantasy party in the Big Easy.

Runner Up: Steelers – Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown (if you ignore Big Ben most road games) and Hunt, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Alex Smith come close.

Return to Glory Artist of the Year

DeAndre Hopkins, HOU – So Hopkins is immune to any quarterback… not named Brock Osweiler. It helps that Hopkins played with Deshaun Watson for seven games, but to be fair, Hopkins only had one single-digit score after Watson went down to injury and no fewer than 16 points in PPR during those games. Hopkins was barely a WR3 last year, finishing 35th, but returned to glory, finish first this year with 197.4 Non-PPR and 311.8 PPR points after just 119.4/197.4 last year.

Runner Up: Todd Gurley, Keenan Allen (176.2 points, WR3), Cam Newton (313.5 points, QB2)

Arcade Fire Artist of the Year (Terrelle Pryor Award)

Jordy Nelson, GB – As an aside, Arcade Fire’s 2017 album was seen as a huge disappointment. In any case, Terrelle Pryor is too easy and deserves to have the award named after him. He had the award locked up just a few weeks into the season after people wanted to draft him as a WR1. Know where Pryor finished? I’ll wait while you click through the pages. Okay, time is up. Pryor was 110th… at wide receiver. Pryor finished with just 30 points, less than half of teammate Ryan Grant (81.3). So, the award outside of Pryor goes to Jordy Nelson. He was a WR1 lock with Aaron Rodgers, and while a portion of his bust-ness is due to the loss of Rodgers, you could see Nelson lost a step this year, unable to separate even in Rodgers’ one game back.

Runner Up: Amari Cooper – my calling him a poor man’s Brandin Cooks this preseason doesn’t sound absurd now, does it? Jay Ajayi in the conversation too.

You Need to Get the T-Shirt before Everyone Else Does

Marquise Goodwin, SF – This is similar to Adam Thielen last year. He had three big performances down the stretch of 2016, which was merely a sign of things to come in 2017. Goodwin had the 11th most points for wide receivers (41st overall for Flex position players) from Weeks 12-17. Call it the Jimmy Garoppolo effect or whatever you want, but Goodwin helped people into the playoffs and possibly to titles (if you didn’t need him in Week 16, to be fair). With a healthy Pierre Garcon and Garoppolo back for the 49ers next year, Goodwin could have a Thielen-like breakout in 2018. We just have to hope that the 49ers don’t add another receiver… although, I would go gaga over Allen Robinson landing in San Fran.

Runner Up: Kenyan Drake if the Dolphins don’t add a running back. I would love to say Jamaal Williams, but that backfield is murky, as is the Packers use of Williams when Rodgers is at quarterback.

Walmart Bargain Bin Artist

Carson Wentz, PHI – Even with Wentz missing the final three games, no one provided more value off the waiver wire than Wentz did. After all, Wentz was the top quarterback before his injury and left you with a terrific four-touchdown game (28.2 points) before his season’s end. Wentz’s owners had to survive the playoffs without him, but all of them got there in large part to his season – not one single-digit score and at least 16 or more points with six 20-plus point scores over his final nine games.

Runner Up: Deshaun Watson, Marvin Jones, Robby Anderson, Devin Funchess, Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Marqise Lee, Dede Westbrook, Keelan Cole, Patriots RB carousel, Alex Collins, Chris Thompson, Aaron Jones, Jerick McKinnon, Kenyan Drake… and there were more. Lesson here is to be active with waivers, and oh, how about those Rams and Jaguars receivers?

Lifetime Achievement

Larry Fitzgerald, ARI – Yes, wide receiver scoring was down this year, but let’s not discount what Fitzgerald did… without Carson Palmer for nine-plus games. Fitzgerald had 109 receptions, 1,156 yards and six touchdowns as the only real offense for the Cardinals with David Johnson out for the year, Palmer hurt and the secondary receivers all wishing to just be mediocre. That’s three straight seasons of 108 or 109 receptions, at least 1,028 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Not only is finishing WR10 (149.6 points) at the age of 34 with the aforementioned team issues extremely impressive, Fitzgerald moved into third place all time for receptions (1,234), third in receiving yards (15,545) and eighth in receiving touchdowns (110). Fitzgerald is just 91 receptions behind Tony Gonzalez for second, 389 yards behind Terrell Owens for second and four touchdowns behind Antonio Gates for sixth. If we’ve seen the last of Fitzgerald, it’s quite the finale… even though he doesn’t know how to hopscotch (it’s hopscotch… not a ladder drill!).

Runner Up: Frank Gore, as just on volume alone and playing 16 games for the seventh straight season at the age of 34 is impressive enough. Gore is fifth all time in rushing yards, just 75 short of Curtis Martin for fourth and tied for 22nd with 77 rushing touchdowns.

Main Image Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

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