“What better way to prove my expertise on the subject of fantasy football, than by correctly picking the outcomes before the season starts?” The previous sentence was taken directly from my “Fantasy Football 2011 Predictions” post I wrote back in September. It was followed by this: “Of course I might look a bit foolish if these predictions don’t pan out, and I’ll likely lose all credibility as a fantasy football guru going forward.” Oh credibility, I hardly knew ye.
I made some bold predictions several months ago at the start of the Fantasy Football season. Today, I humbly accept the fact that those predictions, for the most part, were grossly inaccurate. If you read my article and then compared it to statistics compiled by the players mentioned over the course of the regular season, you would assume I know as much about Fantasy Football as Kim Kardashian knows about long-term relationships.
While I would argue not to judge this book by its apparently unknowledgable cover, I can certainly understand why you would. As you can probably imagine, my season went about as well as my predictions. After starting the year 0-5, I made a solid comeback, finishing 5-8 overall but missed the playoffs. With the regular season now officially over for most leagues, it’s time to face the proverbial music and own up to my bad calls. This year’s format is slightly different from last year’s inaugural FFies as I will include my preseason prediction along with who I’ve chosen as the real winner for each category. So without further ado…
MVP- Preseason Prediction: Jamaal Charles, Actual Winner: Aaron Rodgers – As I said in last year’s post, the MVP is a difficult award to give out. It takes into account factors beyond simply points scored; such as consistency, “stud” vs. “dud” games, and how much that player affected your fantasy football team each week. To me, this year’s winner was surprisingly easy. Aaron Rodgers finished the Fantasy Football regular season in either 1st or 2nd place among QBs in yardage and touchdowns, while throwing the fewest interceptions of those who started every game. In a year that saw only 17 QBs play every game for their team, and a total of 51 different players started at least 1 game, consistency is perhaps the most important stat that makes Rodgers this year’s MVP.
As far as my preseason prediction goes, I personally feel bad for Jamaal Charles. If my prediction of an MVP caliber season is what led to his season-ending injury in week 2, then I am deeply apologetic. I never meant for my article to serve as a curse. It’s hard to say what Charles may have done this year, had he not been hurt so early. I still contend that he has the talent to produce at an MVP level, but unfortunately injuries are a way of life in the NFL and so I’ll take the loss on this one.
LVP- Preseason Prediction: Calvin Johnson, Actual Winner: Chris Johnson – Another tricky award because it depends upon your definition of “Least Valuable Player”. My feelings on this dubious honor remain the same as last year, when I wrote that “this is a guy you had high hopes for, drafted early, and proceeded to destroy your chance at a championship.” This year, Chris Johnson takes the award hands down. After back to back seasons of at least 1,600 total yards and double-digit touchdowns, Johnson started the season with under 100 yards rushing in 9 of his first 10 games and just 1 total touchdown. By the time he righted the ship with a 130 yard effort in week 10, his owners had already given up on him and likely saw his points sitting on their bench. Considering his average draft position was #4 overall, I think this award is a slam dunk.
As for my preseason prediction; wow, could I have been more wrong? Calvin Johnson (or Megatron as he’s often called) started the season with 4 straight games with multiple touchdowns. He then followed that up with 4 straight games of over 100 yards receiving. So unless LVP really meant Ludicrously Valuable Player, I was dead wrong on this prediction. That’s 0 for 2 if you’re counting at home.
Biggest Draft Day Steal – Preseason Prediction: Peyton Manning, Actual Winner: Rob Gronkowski – The New England TE not only outscored every other TE in football by over 40 total points, he also outscored every WR in the game this year. With 13 TDs in the regular season and 7 games with at least 80 yards receiving, Gronkowski had a record-breaking year for a TE. Combine that with the fact that his average draft position was late in the 11th round of most 16 round drafts, and you have the very definition of a draft day steal.
This would be preseason prediction loss number three I suppose. I don’t necessarily feel bad about my bold pick here because it was predicated on the fact that at the time of most drafts, it appeared Manning would return from neck surgery early in the season. With that in mind, and the fact that he was dropping well into the 6th or 7th round of most drafts, I felt the value here was unmatched. Assuming he would miss only a few games and then come back as the Peyton Manning we all know, I gladly chose him as my draft day steal. Oh well, that’s 0 for 3!
Best Season by an Undrafted Player – Winner: Cam Newton – There was no prediction for this award so I’m able to breathe easy here and simply be in awe of what this rookie QB did this season. With a mountain of pressure and doubt put before him, Newton came out firing with back to back games of over 400 yards passing. He finished the fantasy football regular season with 26 total TDs, including an NFL record 13 rushing TDs; the most ever by a QB. Finishing second behind MVP Aaron Rodgers in total points by a quarterback, it seems fitting that Newton takes home this honor.
Most Frustrating Player to Own – Preseason Prediction: Desean Jackson, Actual Winner: Desean Jackson – Woohoo!! I got one right! If you owned Jackson this year, I doubt you’re going to argue this one with me. Jackson had a typical Jackson-like season; posting games with well over 100 yards receiving, followed right behind by games of 35 yards or fewer. The most frustrating part of owning Jackson however, is not his stats but his attitude. If you watch the Eagles play, you can almost always tell when a play is not designed to go his way, as he’ll give an effort that falls short of half-assed. In fact, his “I don’t give a f@%*” attitude was on display so often this year, it caused him to be benched for one game after missing a team meeting. By the end of the season, if you were brave enough to start Jackson week in and week out, you were probably also popping Tums like they were Skittles and nursing that ulcer you developed.
Unsung Hero – Preseason Prediction: Cedric Benson, Actual Winner: Wes Welker – You could have easily made a case for Welker as this year’s MVP, had it not been for the fact that Aaron Rodgers is alive. Welker has had an incredible season, especially considering that this year’s top fantasy TE, Rob Gronkowski, comes from the same team. The reason I chose Wes for this award though, is his level of consistency week in and week out, that likely held many fantasy teams together when star players got hurt or went through slumps. Welker racked up 7 games of 100 yards or more receiving as well as hauling in at least 5 receptions in every game but one. He provided his team owners with exactly what they needed, someone to count on every week.
As for my preseason prediction, I think this one gets into muddy waters a bit. My first few calls were undeniably bad, but this one isn’t as cut and dry. I actually owned Benson on my team this year (which may not really help his case since I finished 5-8), and he was a consistent fixture in my lineup. With three 100 yard rushing games, he didn’t exactly set the world on fire. However, he never produced a real stinker of a game either, enabling me to keep him in the lineup when bye weeks and injuries left me thin at the position. So while Benson doesn’t win the award (and therefore technically I’ll take another loss), he still had a productive year.
I ended my preseason predictions piece with who I thought would be the top point producers at each position by season’s end. Below are my predictions, with the actual leaders in bold:QB- Aaron Rodgers (Actual Leader: Aaron Rodgers) RB- Jamaal Charles (Actual Leader: LeSean McCoy) WR- Roddy White (Actual Leader: Wes Welker) TE- Jason Witten (Actual Leader: Rob Gronkowski) DEF- Steelers (Actual Leader: Packers) K- Neil Rackers (Actual Leader: David Akers)
All I can say is ouch!
Finally, for your reading pleasure I give you 5 of my favorite Fantasy Football team names for 2011:
- Mendenhall and Oates
- You Had Me At Helu
- It’s not a Rookie, It’s a Cam Newton
- Hines your kids, Hines your wife
- Addai’d in your Arms Tonight