GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 11: Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers looks for a receiver against the Oakland Raiders at Lambeau Field on December 11, 2011 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Raiders 46-16. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Aaron Rodgers
Another fantasy football season is in the books.
If you still haven't had enough, there's always the NFL playoffs version of fantasy football (more on that later), but all leagues finished up last weekend, if not the weekend before.
It's time for our annual look back at who hit and who didn't, who came through as expected and who let owners down and some looks ahead to next season.
Most Valuable Player: Much like the actual real-life NFL MVP race, this is a tough one. There's the three obvious choices, in the holy triumvirate of NFL quarterbacks: Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. Of those three, Brady is the odd man out with a hearty pat on the back and the honorable mention award, which leaves Brees and Rodgers. Brees narrowly edged Rodgers in total points scored this season, throwing for nearly 1,000 more yards and one more touchdown (46) but he also more than doubled Rodgers' ridiculously low interception total, throwing 14 picks. But remember, Rodgers sat out Week 17 to let his backup shred the Lions pass defense for six touchdowns and more than 400 yards. Imagine what Rodgers could have done. Because of the one less game played, the nod has to go to Rodgers, by the most narrow of margins.
Least Valuable Player: LeGarrette Blount was one of the more highly touted young running backs in the league entering the season, and with good reason. He eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in just 13 games without even starting all of those in 2010. This year, he was a huge disappointment and might have played his way out of a starting gig in Tampa Bay. Blount totaled just 781 yards and five touchdowns while playing in 14 games for a terrible team that would often abandon the run altogether. Honorable mention here goes to Miles Austin, who battled hamstring injuries all season but took a back seat in Dallas to both Laurent Robinson and Dez Bryant.
Draft Day Risk: The player that most pleased his owners based off what they likely invested in him on draft day has to be Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. It wasn't for a lack of talent that Stafford wasn't picked highly, but instead a tendency to dislocate his shoulders. This year, Stafford finally stayed healthy for an entire season and it paid off as he eclipsed 5,000 yards, finished third in touchdown passes (41) and threw just 16 interceptions. In a tough call, honorable mention here goes to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who might have been picked late in drafts just because he plays with Tom Brady. But Gronkowski ended up being oh so much more. He set a new NFL record for tight ends with 17 touchdown receptions and finished with 1,327 yards to make him the ninth-highest scoring player in all of fantasy football.
Waiver Wire Winner: This one is a no-brainer. First-year wide receiver Victor Cruz instantly became the New York Giants' top receiver and set a new team record with 1,536 yards while scoring nine touchdowns, many of the explosive, big-play variety, including a 99-yarder in Week 16 against the Jets. Honorable mention here goes to an injury case, but one that was highly effective before his season ended prematurely. Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray set the world on fire by rushing for more than 250 yards in his first game with significant action. He went on to rush for 897 yards in just six full starts before breaking his ankle in the Cowboys' first loss to the Giants. He'll be a top-15 running back next season as he showed he has what it takes to be a featured back in the NFL.