By: Jennifer Smith
In tandem with the @FF_Authority REWIND Podcast airing tonight talking up their #NFLHonors, I wanted to share my own #fantasyawards for the 2015 NFL Fantasy Season with the readers. This was a piece that I wrote after the end of Week 17, in reflection on the season before playoffs began. Fantasy players are already talking about next season and looking forward to the #NFLDraft2016, but let’s not forget these players who made 2015 a great season of fantasy football, with all its ups and downs. I kept it short and to the point. Who do you think deserved these awards? Make sure to tweet me with your agreement, suggestions, and the fantasy players that you couldn’t have achieved fantasy success without in 2015.
Fantasy MVP – Julio Jones
I was lucky enough to have him on one of my teams and he was my most consistent player, only dropping below double digit fantasy points 5 times this season and staying healthy the whole way. He struggled of late due to Matt Ryan’s poor play, but he is one of the main reasons that I won in that league, so I have to tip my hat to him. Nine games with 100+ yards and had 8 TDs on the year. He’s a fantasy stud and a great football player.
Breakout Player—Brandon Marshall
He talked a lot of crap after leaving Chicago and I will admit that I was skeptical of his impact with the Jets when the season was beginning. He has proven me wrong and the one-two punch of him and Decker has been Fitz-magic. See what I did there? Marshall did not miss a game all season, had 14 TDs, and only 3 games under double-digit fantasy points. He had ten games with 100+ yards and has been a target monster for Fitzpatrick and the Jets (16 targets in week 17. Sixteen!) I consider him a “breakout” because no one knew how he would perform with his new team, and I think they all know now. This is the best that I have ever seen him play and he was in consideration for my fantasy MVP. It is disappointing we didn’t get to see him play in the post-season, but he’ll make a strong WR1 in 2016.
Rookie of the Year—Todd Gurley
I know that he struggled to have huge production towards the end of the season and missed week 17, but I have been very impressed with Gurley’s skills and am happy to see that he was able to recover from a major knee injury that can really change a player’s game. No one knew what to expect when he returned, but he has shown that he can lead a backfield and dominate very good defenses. He has 1108 rushing yards, 10 TDs and even having missed some time, he ranked fifth overall for RB fantasy points (behind AP, Freeman, Martin, and D Williams…not a bad group to be a part of this season). Congrats, rookie. Can’t wait to see what you’ve got next year.
Best Waiver Add—Devonta Freeman
We all remember how it went right? Freeman was taking a backseat and we thought that he was the RB to drop in Atlanta (and many of us did just that). Then, Coleman injuries his ribs and BOOM, here comes Freeman. He ended the fantasy season as the #1 fantasy RB. Yes, he scored more fantasy points than even Adrian Peterson, and I think that says enough right there.
One Lesson Learned:
I learned to consider going WR, WR in the first two draft rounds, given the injuries and underperformances of the running backs (and quarterbacks) taken in the first and second draft rounds this year. That said, if Bell fell to me next season…I would probably still snag him. It at least, has me thinking of the benefits of this strategy, which I used in the league that I won this season (banked Brown and Julio Jones in first 2 rounds). Also, one of my tips would be to not care how many moves you have to make and be active. In the league that I won, I had 41 moves, the most in the league by far. Waivers and trades are all you have after your draft, so don’t be so cautious that you miss out on some great upside players. For example, I snagged Lewis, Cousins, David Johnson, Jordan Reed, Hurns, R. Randle, Aiken, and Denver DST all off the waivers at some point during the season. Main stays on my team? My first two picks, Brown and Julio Jones. I picked them over Forte, McCoy, Ingram, and Forsett. All of whom missed time this season.