On Friday's podcast, the Helpers dole out their annual 2015 Fantasy Football awards including best waiver addition at the QB, RB, WR, TE and DEF positions. Plus biggest busts, best playoff performers and more.
What we learned
RBs are more inconsistent and injury prone than ever. WRs on the other hand were astoundingly consistent when it came to predictability. Drafting RBs going forward is going become more of a throw a bunch at the wall and see which one sticks. Draft one stud in the early rounds, have their backup ready to go if the top guy gets hurt (DeAngelo Williams) and draft a lot of them in the later rounds. Also pay attention to their volume and coaching scheme and how they fit into that (Devonta Freeman). Be willing to sacrifice some consistency in the beginning.
Veteran QBs and young QBs can be equally valuable: We saw how Blake Bortles, Kirk Cousins performed at a top 10 level while Tom Brady, Carson Palmer and Ryan Fitzpatrick all put together QB1 seasons. I think there's also something to be said about getting a starting QB who's clearly 'the guy.' We saw that with Cousins when RG3 was benched in preseason, we saw it with Fitzpatrick when Geno Smith had the weird locker room punch incident, we saw it with Carson Palmer and how valuable he has been in the Cardinals offense. So I'm looking for a QB who has the trust in the coach and his teammates as much as anything. That will trickle down to the WRs as well.
QB Cam Newton — Average QB1 score was 27.2 this year. Newton finished with 45 total touchdowns combined rushing and receiving, 3,837 passing yards, 636 rushing yards. Most leagues rushing yards count 10 yards per point where passing yards only factor in for 25 yards per point. Newton is clearly the best, 3 games of 5 touchdowns.
RB C.J. Anderson — I based my LVP on Average Draft Position vs. actual production and excluded backs that got hurt and Anderson was the top guy in this category. Average draft position of No. 10 overall. Finished with 750 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns but more importantly, 183 receiving yards on 25 catches and zero receiving touchdowns. As a RB1, you need to be able to post quality receiving numbers and Anderson failed to do that. There were several variables such as the QB situation and offensive line injuries that contributed, but overall Anderson really fell off after he closed so strongly a year before.
RB DeAngelo Williams — A lot of people considered him a nice handcuff to Le'Veon Bell that would help hold you over until Bell returned from a two-game suspension, but Williams looked like a rejuvenated version of his old Panther self. Finished with 11 rushing scores on 907 rush yards and 367 receiving yards on 43 catches. Finished as a Top 5 RB in standard league rules and started off as just a handcuff.
RB David Johnson — Todd Gurley the obvious choice but Johnson wasn't too far behind him after closing out the season with double digit fantasy points in four out of his last five games including a monster performance against Philadelphia where he rushed for 3 touchdowns and 187 yards. Gurley had a lot of great games but he never had an individual fantasy performance on that level.
RB Eddie Lacy — This was obvious to me. Started off the year with bang rushing for 85 yards and a touchdown against Chicago, then tossed up a zero the following week. In Weeks 11 and 12, he rushed for over 100 yards in both games. In Week 13, he had 4 yards on 3 carries. In Week 14, over 100 yards and a score against Dallas. In Week 15, 11 carries for 23 yards. So if you had Lacy in the playoffs, his inconsistency likely hurt you or cost you a key victory.
RB Jonathan Stewart — 989 yards, 6 touchdowns, 99 receiving yards and 1 touchdown for 139 fantasy points. I was touting his value as a good RB2 behind an offense that would be much improved after seeing that offensive line improve last season, the defense get healthier and Cam Newton not getting in a car accident. There were some things that were coming together for Carolina and if you drafted Stewart, you got pretty good bang for your buck. He was extremely reliable, from Weeks 6-13 he averaged at least 20 carries up until he got hurt in Week 14 and he posted double digit points in 7 of his 13 starts. Good quality there.
RB Shane Vereen — Was pretty high on him, thought Rashad Jennings wasn't going to hold up and thought Bob McAdoo's offense was a perfect system to showcase Vereen's receiving ability but he never quite took off. Was still a decent PPR guy with 59 catches for 495 yards and 4 touchdowns but only had 61 rushing attempts and zero rushing scores which hurt his value. Not quite an RB2.
3 players you're watching in the playoffs
RB Curtis Artis Payne
RB David Johnson — Want to see if he can be consistent
QB Kirk Cousins — Could be a great QB2 next year if the offense stays in tact
3 bounce back candidates
WR Calvin Johnson
WR Randall Cobb, since J. Nelson will be back
RB DeMarco Murray
Initial top 5 QB: Cam Newton, Tom Brady. Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Carson Palmer
RBs: Le'Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman, Todd Gurley, Jamaal Charles, Thomas Rawls
WRs: Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Calvin Johnson, Odell Beckham Jr, Allen Robinson
TEs: Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed, Greg Olsen
No 1 overall pick: LeVeon Bell
Best playoff addition
Tim Hightower (Week 16): 27 rushes, 122 yards, 2 touchdowns, 3 catches for 47 yards. 28 fantasy points
Danny Woodhead (Week 15): 8 rushes for 10 yards, 1 touchdown, 6 catches for 50 yards, 3 touchdowns
Best waiver pickups
QB: Kirk Cousins - 264 fantasy points (Top 8 fantasy QB), Blake Bortles - 299 fantasy points (Top 4 QB)
RB: Thomas Rawls - 111 fantasy points, Jeremy Langford, 114 fantasy points
WR: Ted Ginn Jr. - 131 fantasy points (top 20 WR), Tavon Austin - 129 fantasy points (top 25 WR) Willie Snead - 106 fantasy points Stefon Diggs - 90 fantasy points, Travis Benjamin
TE: Gary Barnidge - 143 fantasy points (top 5 TE, produced on a bad Cleveland offense with both Josh McCown and Johhny Manziel, made people forget all about Jordan Cameron leaving). Benjamin Watson - 97 fantasy points (top 8 TE) Richard Rodgers - 83 fantasy points (top 10 TE)
RB: C.J. Anderson, Eddie Lacy, Shane Vereen
QB: Matt Ryan
WR: Jordan Matthews
QB: Carson Palmer, Cam Newton, Ryan Fitzpatrick
RB: Devonta Freeman, Doug Martin, DeAngelo Williams, David Johnson
TE: Jordan Reed
Top fantasy performance of the year
David Johnson (40 fantasy points): 187 yards on 29 carries and 3 touchdowns, 4 catches for 42 yards in Week 15. A playoff week.
Cam Newton (41 fantasy points) vs. NYG: 340 yards 5 touchdowns plus 8 carries for 100 yards. Incredible.