Fantasy Fallout: Regular Season Recap

By Matt Rogers
PSDC Fantasy Football Expert

nfl_fantasy_fallout

We have successfully navigated the regular season for fantasy football. Sure some odd ball leagues may still play regular season matchups this week, but they don’t really count. Any league playing this week is doing one of two things. They are adding an extra week to the regular season and only having a two-week, four-team playoff or they are running the playoffs through Week 17. Either case is pretty stupid. So we’ll ignore those situations and move on as if the regular season has ended and the playoffs are starting.

It pains me to report that my teams crawled to the finish line instead of finishing strong. Week 12 was acceptable. Working through the final week of byes, my teams went 3-3 and all was well. Then Thanksgiving hit and the tryptophan whipped my ass. For the first time all year, my six-pack fell flat and only had one team manage a win in the final week of action. Despite my teams going 1-5 in Week 13, I was pretty much already set for the playoffs. Plus, my lone win of Week 13 earned the top seed in my money league along with a first round bye. So there really isn’t much to complain about.

This is how my teams wrapped up the season:

Money League: 10-3, First place in the regular season and a first round bye.
Dynasty League: 9-4, Second place overall and a first round bye.
16-Team Keeper: 9-4, Third place and face the six seed in the opening round of an 8-team playoff.
Biggy League: 7-6, Sixth place and face the three seed in the opening round of a 6-team playoff.
Lounge League: 6-7, Seventh place and face the second seed in the opening round of an 8-team playoff.
UCIL Keeper: 6-7, 11th place and missed the playoffs.

Yes, all in all, it has been a fine season for my fantasy football teams. There is no way I’ll play in six leagues next year. It was a lot to track and manage. I only have three teams to focus on this week. Hopefully they will still be active next week when the semi-finals start in the Money and Dynasty leagues.

For now, I’m going to take a little time to reflect on the regular season and look at who helped us all make these playoff runs and who left us wondering where we went wrong.

MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS

Best QB:

Peyton Manning was hands down the best fantasy QB in the regular season, leading the world with 325.13 total points scored and a 27.09 point per game average. Since the fantasy playoffs take place during the NFL regular season, teams shouldn’t be worried about a playoff letdown from Manning.

Drew Brees finished the regular season ranked second in total points and points per game. I have no idea what the hell happened to him Sunday night against Seattle. I don’t own Brees in any of my leagues, but anyone who does should just be thankful he didn’t run into the Seahawks during the fantasy playoffs.

Matthew Stafford was just behind Brees ranking third in total points and points per game. Stafford is young, healthy and gifted. It doesn’t hurt that he has the best WR in the game as well. The improvement in the Lions running game with Bush and Bell continues to keep the field wide open for Stafford.

Despite my continued bagging on the read-option QBs this year, Cam Newton and Russell Westbrook finish the regular season ranked fourth and fifth, respectively in overall quarterback performance.

Here is a look at how the Top 10 finished up the regular season:

Quarterback

% Owned

Total Points

Rank

PPG

Rank

Combined Rank

Peyton Manning – DEN

100%

325.13

1

27.09

1

1

Drew Brees – NO

100%

258.45

2

21.54

2

2

Matthew Stafford – DET

99%

242.26

3

20.19

3

3

Cam Newton – CAR

99%

223.20

4

18.60

5

4

Russell Wilson – SEA

97%

218.20

5

18.18

6

5

Philip Rivers – SD

91%

214.49

6

17.87

8

6

Tony Romo – DAL

97%

211.17

7

17.60

9

7

Nick Foles – PHI

83%

179.44

12

19.97

4

8

Andrew Luck – IND

95%

193.09

8

16.09

11

9

Ben Roethlisberger – PIT

75%

184.98

9

15.58

12

10

Best WR:

Calvin Johnson remains the best WR in the game. He has outscored all receivers by about 25 points on the year and his per game average is a point and a half higher than the next guy. All of this while nursing sore legs and even missing a game earlier in the year. There should be no doubting Megatron.

Demaryius Thomas ranks second in total points at WR and third in per game average. The crazy thing to me is he is one of three Broncos receivers ranked in the Top 13. Manning continues to spread the ball around but there will be weeks when teams take out Thomas and pick Decker or Welker as their poison.

Josh Gordon is behind only Megatron in per game average and ranks third in total points. He would easily be ahead of Thomas if he hadn’t been suspended for a month. Unlike the two guys ahead of him, Gordon has been highly productive while Cleveland has rotated through multiple mediocre QBs.

Brandon Marshall and Antonio Browns have damn near identical numbers at fourth and fifth on this list. Also, I have to give a shout out to my boy Andre Johnson who has found new life and cracked the Top 10 on the arm of an undrafted rookie QB.

Here is a look at the Top 10 WRs:

Wide Receivers

% Owned

Total Points

Rank

PPG

Rank

Combined Rank

Calvin Johnson – DET

100%

174.60

1

15.87

1

1

Demaryius Thomas – DEN

100%

149.48

2

12.46

3

2

Josh Gordon – CLE

95%

144.40

3

14.44

2

3

Brandon Marshall – CHI

100%

141.50

4

11.79

5

4

Antonio Brown – PIT

99%

141.39

5

11.78

6

5

A.J. Green – CHI

100%

136.53

6

11.38

7

6

Alshon Jeffery – CHI

95%

135.10

7

11.26

8

7

Dez Bryant -DAL

100%

130.80

8

10.90

11

8

DeSean Jackson – PHI

99%

128.52

9

10.71

12

9

Andre Johnson – HOU

100%

128.37

10

10.70

13

10


Best RB:

Jamaal Charles leads all RBs in total points and per game average. While most of the attention for Kansas City’s success has been placed on Andy Reid and Alex Smith, Charles has quietly been the star of the show. He is second in all-purpose yards, tied for the league lead in TDs and fourth in RB receptions.

Knowshon Moreno was supposed to be the forgotten man in Denver with Manning leading the passing game and rookie Montee Ball expected to be the primary back. Moreno responded by taking over the lead role and is currently second in total points and points per game. He has started to slow a little lately and Ball is finally getting some work, but Moreno dominated the fantasy regular season.

Adrian Peterson continues to be excellent. I’m not sure he could do any more than he already does. The Vikings continue to play marginal QBs in bunches and it’s scary to think how much higher Peterson could rise if he had a passing game good enough to occupy one more defender. Still, he is third in total points and points per game for the regular season and could rise higher in the fantasy playoffs.

The only surprises in the Top 10, at least to me, are Reggie Bush, DeMarco Murray and Fred Jackson.

Not that I think any of those guys lack talent, I just expected Murray to miss more games than he has to injury. I also expected Bush to be more fragile and didn’t expect Spiller to fall off so much that Fred would have to carry the load.

Anyway, here is the Top 10 for the RB class:

Running Backs

% Owned

Total Points

Rank

PPG

Rank

Combined Rank

Jamaal Charles – KC

100%

176.28

1

14.69

1

1

Knowshon Moreno – DEN

97%

161.23

2

13.44

2

2

Adrian Peterson – MIN

100%

160.28

3

13.36

3

3

Matt Forte – CHI

100%

157.90

4

13.16

4

4

Marshawn Lynch – SEA

100%

156.02

5

13.00

5

5

LeSean McCoy – PHI

100%

146.28

6

12.19

7

6

Reggie Bush – DET

99%

122.05

7

11.10

9

7

DeMarco Murray – DAL

97%

117.08

10

11.71

8

8

Fred Jackson – BUF

88%

119.98

8

10.00

11

9

Chris Johnson – TEN

98%

118.72

9

9.89

13

10

Best TE:

Jimmy Graham entered the season as the only “must own” tight end. He has pretty much lived up to that status. He has outscored all other TEs by over 40 fantasy points and leads all TEs in receptions, yards and TDs even though he missed a game to injury earlier this year. He’s the best. What else can I say?

Julius Thomas has had a breakout season in the Denver passing game and owners who jumped on the bandwagon early were well rewarded. He’s been banged up recently and didn’t play last week. Fantasy owners have to hope he can return for the playoffs and continue to produce as he has all year.

Vernon Davis ranks second in total points and third in per game average. But who can focus on any of that after seeing the video of him being tackled last week? If you don’t know what I’m talking about google it. Have your ice packs ready. It was brutal. I have to move on now because I’m having flashbacks.

Rob Gronkowski may be the man to have the rest of the way. He’s back and averaging just a point less than Graham. He will probably come on to finish second overall. Also, I apologize for all the jokes I made about people picking up Charles Clay. He has remained solid and ranks in the Top 10.

Here is the big picture at TE:

Tight End

% Owned

Total Points

Rank

PPG

Rank

Combined Rank

Jimmy Graham – NO

100%

155.87

1

12.99

1

1

Julius Thomas – DEN

97%

110.58

3

11.06

3

2

Vernon Davis – SF

99%

115.50

2

10.50

4

3

Jordan Cameron – CLE

93%

98.68

4

8.22

7

4

Jason Witten – DAL

99%

91.97

5

7.66

8

5

Rob Gronkowski – NE

99%

71.58

13

11.93

2

6

Tony Gonzalez – ATL

98%

91.03

6

7.59

9

7

Charles Clay – MIA

66%

84.48

7

7.04

13

8

Greg Olsen – CAR

94%

83.23

8

6.94

14

9

Antonio Gates – SD

95%

80.40

9

6.70

15

10

Best DB:

Barry Church is a surprising number one DB considering just how awful the Cowboys defense has been all year. That said Church leads all DBs in total points and per game average by a healthy margin. He continues to play all over the field helping in both the run and pass games. Too bad he has no help.

Eric Weddle and DeAngelo Hall have both been good for a long time and this year is no exception. They are the only DBs other than Church with more than a 100 fantasy points but should be joined next week by Earl Thomas, TJ Ward and Antrel Rolle.

Here is a quick look at the Top 10 DBs of the regular season.

Defensive Backs

% Owned

Total Points

Rank

PPG

Rank

Combined Rank

Barry Church – DAL – S

67%

115.90

1

9.66

1

1

Eric Weddle – SD – S

49%

102.73

2

8.56

3

2

DeAngelo Hall – WAS – CB

43%

100.43

3

8.37

4

3

Earl Thomas – SEA – S

54%

98.80

4

8.23

5

4

T.J. Ward – CLE – S

42%

95.90

5

7.99

8

5

Antrel Rolle – NYG – S

30%

94.40

6

7.87

9

6

Major Wright – CHI – S

37%

88.03

9

8.00

7

7

Mark Barron – TB – S

27%

89.10

7

7.42

12

8

Charles Woodson – OAK – S

24%

88.77

8

7.40

13

9

Alterraun Verner – TEN – CB

25%

86.50

10

7.21

14

10

Best LB:

Karlos Dansby, Paul Posluszny and Vontaze Burfect have been in a constant battle most of the year for the top scoring LB spot.

Dansby ranks first overall right now with the most total points and second highest per game average.

Posluszny slipped to second overall when he missed a game due a couple weeks ago dropping him to third in total points. He still leads all DBs in per game average.

Burfict remains in the mix as well with the second most total points and third best per game average.

Sean Lee is slated to return to action this week and may be able to climb back into the Top 5. His absence during the long Thanksgiving festivities allowed rookie Kiko Alonso and Lavonte David to pass him in overall points even though Lee still averages more points per game.

The Top 10 LBs shake out as follows:

Linebackers

% Owned

Total Points

Rank

PPG

Rank

Combined Rank

Karlos Dansby – ARI

89%

137.33

1

11.24

2

1

Paul Posluszny – JAX

86%

130.80

3

11.89

1

2

Vontaze Burfict – CIN

74%

135.33

2

11.19

3

3

Kiko Alonso – BUF

76%

126.70

4

10.56

5

4

Lavonte David – TB

73%

124.00

5

10.33

6

5

Sean Lee – DAL

40%

111.63

9

11.16

4

6

DeAndre Levy – DET

61%

120.03

6

9.96

8

7

NaVorro Bowman – SF

87%

119.50

7

9.96

9

8

DeMeco Ryans – PHI

46%

113.03

8

9.50

10

9

Danny Trevathan – DEN

37%

110.47

10

9.04

13

10

Best DL:

JJ Watt was an easy pre-season pick as the best DL in the game coming off one of the best statistical seasons ever by a DL. I took some heat in proclaiming Watt the best early on. The boo birds then showed up after his opened the season with a mediocre three-point performance. They went away when he responded with 11, 9.5 and seven point games the next three weeks. After a tough couple weeks against the NFC West in which JJ scored only three points before being completely shut out, the boo birds were back proclaiming JJ was a farce, teams were game planning to take him out and I was wrong to talk about how great he was. Since then, JJ has averaged double digits, leads all DLs by 13 points and is averaging over a point a game more than the second best scoring DL in the league. I think the boo birds must have died because none of them have had anything to say since Week 5. Screw the haters! JJ is the man!

Robert Quinn has done what no other DL has been able to all year. He has stepped up to claim as spot as the legit No. 2 DL in the league. He is about 13 total points behind JJ but 10 ahead of the rest of the pack. It has taken 13 weeks, but at least we can now say who the second best DL in the league is.

Here is the rest of the pack at DL:

Defensive Linemen

% Owned

Total Points

Rank

PPG

Rank

Combined Rank

J.J. Watt – HOU

83%

98.00

1

8.17

1

1

Robert Quinn – STL

46%

85.53

2

7.13

2

2

Chandler Jones – NE

41%

75.00

3

6.25

4

3

Muhammad Wilkerson – NYJ

33%

72.20

4

6.02

5

4

Rob Ninkovich – NE

23%

70.10

5

5.84

6

5

Carlos Dunlap – CIN

26%

70.00

6

5.83

7

6

Julius Peppers – CHI

14%

62.87

11

6.99

3

7

Calais Campbell – ARI

25%

67.57

7

5.76

8

8

Lamarr Houston – OAK

22%

63.50

9

5.29

11

9

Marcell Dareus – BUF

14%

64.00

8

5.29

12

10


MISSING IN ACTION
 

Out of respect for those of you who suffered through a miserable season that wasn’t the result of star players getting hurt, I’m not going to rub salt in the wound. I don’t want to be the one responsible for you throwing a tablet across the room or teaching your little ones a new word. So I’m going to try and keep this short and simple. Here are five guys at each position who failed to lead their teams to victory.

Bust QB 

Quick synapsis: Tom Terrific finally got old, I have no excuse for Matt Ryan, I tried to warn you about RGIII and Kaepernick and it’s just fun to bag on Eli and the Giants.

Quarterback

% Owned

Total Points

Rank

PPG

Rank

Combined Rank

Tom Brady – NE

99%

177.01

13

14.75

16

14

Colin Kaepernick – SF

95%

169.87

16

14.16

21

18

Robert Griffin III – WAS

93%

171.64

15

14.30

18

17

Matt Ryan – ATL

91%

176.58

14

14.71

17

15

Eli Manning – NYG

66%

127.41

21

10.62

34

28

Bust WR

Quick Synopsis: Indy is young and still suffering growing pains. Hilton isn’t ready to be the top option just yet. Cruz is down along with Eli. Boldin suffers from being the primary target of a read-option QB. Smith is suffering from Flacco’s ego being overinflated and the Ravens mistake in dumping so much money on that QB. Colston has been horrible this year, yet I still own him in a couple of leagues along with way too many other owners. He isn’t even in the Top 50 in total points or points per game.

Wide Receivers

% Owned

Total Points

Rank

PPG

Rank

Combined Rank

T.Y. Hilton – IND

95%

104.43

17

8.70

21

17

Victor Cruz – NYG

100%

103.57

18

8.63

22

18

Anquan Boldin – SF

92%

102.05

19

8.50

23

19

Torrey Smith – BAL

98%

101.97

20

8.50

24

20

Marques Colston – NO

92%

64.48

5.86

50 +

Bust RB

Quick Synopsis: Ray Rice has broken my heart this year. I’m sad to say it was his farewell tour with my Keeper franchise. I didn’t expect this type of regression from Spiller and I don’t think it was all due to injury. I think I warned everyone not to trust Ridley or anyone in New England not named Tom Brady. If it weren’t for the Texans, Atlanta would be the biggest disappointment in the league this year from top to bottom including Seven Jackson. I don’t know who is more disappointed with T-Rich, fantasy owners or the Colts’ brass that decided to give up a No. 1 real pick for him.

Running Backs

% Owned

Total Points

Rank

PPG

Rank

Combined Rank

Ray Rice – BAL

98%

77.08

27

7.01

32

28

C.J. Spiller – BUF

94%

66.42

34

6.04

40

37

Stevan Ridley – NE

93%

78.65

26

7.87

26

23

Steven Jackson – ATL

87%

61.38

40

7.67

29

35

Trent Richardson – IND

85%

54.52

43

4.54

55

48

Bust TE

Quick Synopsis: I’m not going to beat up on the TE position. There were no guarantees outside of Jimmy Graham, but I think a lot of owners went with these guys throughout the year expecting them to achieve the status of dependable weekly starters.

Tight End

% Owned

Total Points

Rank

PPG

Rank

Combined Rank

Jared Cook – STL

58%

70.13

14

5.84

22

16

Brandon Myers – NYG

29%

53.97

19

4.91

25

20

Heath Miller – PIT

47%

46.70

26

4.67

28

26

Brandon Pettigrew – DET

34%

46.17

27

3.85

38

31

Jermaine Gresham – CIN

31%

42.95

32

3.90

37

34

OK, this is where it gets fun. I hope some of you who played with IDPs this year read this. I hope you missed the playoffs and are looking at this and own the guys I’m about to talk about. Maybe it will help you next year to know where you went wrong.

The guys I’m about to reference rank within the Top 50 in terms of ownership in yahoo leagues. Three of them ranked in the Top 3 in DB scoring last year. All five of them have been completely useless this year.

Bust DB

Patrick Peterson: The only DB more widely owned than Peterson is Barry Church. It makes sense to own Church since he is the leading DB scorer in the league. As for Peterson, he ranks outside the Top 50 in total points scored and points per game. There is no reason he should be owned in IDP leagues.

Devin McCourty: He was the second highest scoring DB last year. He is the fifth most owned DB in Yahoo leauges right now. He ranks 41st in total points and 47th in points per game. That makes him a marginal flex DB play. I own him in a keeper, but he is riding the pine. Why do you own him?

Leodis McKelvin: This guy has not been in the Top 50 for the past three years. I have no reasonable explanation as to why he is the ninth most owned DB in yahoo right now. It makes no sense.

Richard Sherman: He was the fourth highest scoring DB in the game last year. The sign to cut ties with him should have been when Revis told him to shut up and play. Ouch! This year he still has Top 20 ownership with production that is outside the Top 50. Seattle is great. Sherman is just a minor cog in the machine.

Janoris Jenkins: People seem to have gotten the message on Jenkins. He was the No. 3 overall DB scorer last year, but it was fluky with TD returns off turn overs. This year he ranks outside the Top 50 in scoring but maintains Top 50 ownership. It’s probably time to let him go. I cut ties with him several weeks ago.

Bust LB

D’Qwell Jackson used to be in the conversation as the best IDP in football. I’m not sure if age is catching up with him or if he no longer plays in the right scheme. What I do know is his level of production has steadily declined and he is no longer an every week starter. He currently ranks 27th amongst LBs.

London Fletcher has defied the aging process for a long time, but it appears his fifth overall scoring in 2012 was his swan song. He currently ranks outside of the Top 50 for LBs and is barely averaging over 6.0 points a game. The ride may finally be over for this old veteran. I was a fun ride though.

Now, it’s time to beat up on the young guys.

Bobby Wagner finished 12th in LB scoring last year and was thought to be ready to push for a Top 10 spot. Instead he has trended in the other direction and finished the fantasy regular season ranked 26th amongst LBs. This may just be a case of the Seahawks system being stronger than the individual, but it is still far less than was expected of this guy entering the season.

Wesley Woodyard emerged for Denver last year and climbed into the 18th spot amongst LBs. He was a fall back plan in many auctions and drafts this year based on that performance. Like Wagner he wilted instead of blooming and only managed to finish 48th amongst LBs in the regular season.

David Harris was supposed to emerge as the Jets best defender this year. He finished last year right on the cusp of LB2 status at 25th in overall scoring. While the Jets were exceeding many expectations this year, Harris was barely showing up and came in 37th amongst LBs in scoring.

Bust DL

As with the Tight End position, there is such uncertainty when it comes to DLs it just seems wrong to trash any of them. Oh, what the hell, I’m gonna do it anyway.

Mario Williams is the fifth most owned DL in the league this year despite his scoring production only ranking 24th. I’m pretty sure most of that came in one or two games. So he was a big disappointment.

Jared Allen had identical ownership numbers as Mario. He also had identical production. So he screwed over just as many coaches.

Cameron Wake let down a ton of owners as well. Although he was the 11th most owned DL in the game, he finished the season ranked 30th in DL scoring.

Greg Hardy barely outscored Mario and Allen and was not as highly owned. Still coming off an eighth place finish in scoring last year, this had to be a major let down for a ton of owners.

OK, I’ll stop now. It is pretty much all downhill from here.

THE PLAYOFF PICTURE 

Friends, the time for hiding, dodging and diving is officially over. Now you win or go home. Or play for a consolation prize which is really just a slap in the face.

There are no more bye weeks. Your best players are available. Just don’t get lazy.

Some teams have to put their best foot forward the next couple weeks to earn a playoff spot. Some teams will get to rest some players they would normally play. Some teams are done and will be looking at youngsters to see what they have for next year. You have a lot of work to do to manage your line up and pull off another win or two to earn an appearance in the championship game.

You will face some tough situations due to less than favorable matchups. I’m one of the many Tony Romo owners questioning whether or not to play him this week because he will be outside on the road against Chicago on what should turn out to be a very cold Monday night. There should be a heavy dose of DeMarco Murray this week and Tony may just manage the game. Those aren’t good odds for those of us trying to advance in the fantasy playoffs.

Similarly, everyone with a member of the Colts’ offense has to at least be thinking about other options. The Colts have been average at best lately and they are going into Cincy to face a tough defense.

Is Aaron Rodgers coming back? Jay Cutler? Terrelle Pryor?

Will Denver ease back on Moreno or anyone else to keep guys fresh for the playoffs?

All of these things become more important each week we advance into the playoffs.

In other words, the Regular season is over and means absolutely jack squat at this point.

At this point, nothing matters but winning in Week 14.

I’ll be back next week to let you know how I did.

Go forth and prosper.

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