Here’s a look from Sports Data Hub at the top fantasy performers at each position as of the beginning of December. [Update: Link no longer available]
We all wish we could go back to the draft and change something, whether we want to draft Miles Austin or not draft Matt Forte, but looking at the cold, raw numbers after almost an entire fantasy football season shows us many of our mistakes (and in bar graph form, which makes it slightly less depressing).
Where did we get surprised?
The big surprise at quarterback this year for me was Brett Favre, who not only joined the ranks late but also became a fantasy stud down the stretch. He may be fading now, but he still established himself among the top at the position for another year. As much as I loathe him, I’ll give him credit for that.
Jay Cutler, on the other hand, bottomed out more than expected. Clearly, the receiver situation in Chicago isn’t to his liking, and he’s not comfortable in that offense just yet.
Time will tell whether the team takes a new direction by getting a new offensive coordinator or makes a move to acquire a top talent at wide receiver like Anquan Boldin. The only problem with the latter solution is all the picks they gave away to get Cutler in the last offseason.
Cutler’s performance against the Vikings on Monday Night Football could be a good sign that they’re getting on track for 2010.
Chris Johnson was an iffy top running back prospect to start the year. Some took the chance and were greatly rewarded. Others warned that LenDale White would still steal all his scoring opportunities. It’s clear he’s become a fantasy force, one who will continue to be highly drafted. He’s probably the No. 1 overall pick in your draft next season.
But the big surprise was Ray Rice (even though I predicted he’d be good, I didn’t know he’d be this good). He jumped from a murky Baltimore running back situation to become one of the top backs in fantasy, and he’ll probably stay among the elite with Willis McGahee on his way out.
Ricky Williams and Thomas Jones certainly have more staying power than any of us realized. They’re still getting it done, even at their advanced age. Williams owes his scoring chances early in the year to Ronnie Brown, who made the Wildcat a legitimate threat at the goal line throughout his reign of terror until he was injured.
It’ll be interesting to see what Miami and New York do in the offseason. Ronnie Brown is likely to assume the starting duties again once he is healthy, but New York could part ways with Jones if they so choose, opting instead to ride Leon Washington and rookie pounder Shonn Greene.
In recent weeks, they’ve given Greene more than his usual number of carries to see what they have behind Jones for next season.
DeSean Jackson came up in the world in a big way as McNabb’s favorite target this season. Is it finally safe to start a Philadelphia receiver? It seems that way for 2010.
The hot names to add to the list of the elite are Miles Austin and Sidney Rice. Both were touted for their physical attributes and explosive talents, but neither had lived up to expectations, falling victim to injury or being buried on the depth chart the past two seasons.
Rice broke out this season as the Vikings’ biggest threat in the passing game, and he’ll only get better, regardless of who comes in to quarterback Minnesota once Favre finally leaves — but will that EVER happen?
Austin should continue to be one of Tony Romo’s favorite, most trusted targets, and that’s extremely valuable with a quarterback as determined to make a play as Romo is every down.
Vernon Davis, we hardly knew ye. He did it. He finally did it. All it took was a new coach and a new offense geared around his ability to separate from mismatches. Well done, sir.
Brent Celek also proved that the Eagles had really been missing L.J. Smith’s contributions in recent years when injury and ineffectiveness kept Smith from playing the part. Celek’s role at tight end in the Philadelphia offense only adds to the stockpile of weapons at Andy Reid’s disposal.
Ha, just kidding. Nothing’s drastically shifted here, but there was a lot of musical chairs being played around the league as certain kickers lost their leg and teams were forced to make a change.
This year has been a surprising one once again, at least for me. A lot of players that we’d looked forward to seeing finally made a show of themselves. It’s safe to say I wish all my leagues were keeper leagues. The young talent we’ve seen this year should be a factor in fantasy football for years to come.
So now, armed with the knowledge of what’s altered the fantasy landscape this season, what can we say? Better luck next year?