Rodgers takes fantasy MVP award
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers delivered an "eagle" of a season to earn 2011 fantasy MVP honors from Daily Herald readers.
Aaron Rodgers or Michael Vick?
Vick or Rodgers?
It was a choice many of you faced four months ago at your fantasy football draft(s).
In my preseason column, I was on record saying I'd take the known quantity in Rodgers rather than risk starting the season with a "triple bogey" with Vick.
As it turned out, Rodgers delivered what has to be considered an "eagle" of a season as many owners who had him certainly soared to the top of the standings.
The Packers' QB goes into Week 17 with 4,643 passing yards, 48 total touchdowns, just 6 interceptions and eight 300-yard games.
Daily Herald readers anointed him the 2011 fantasy MVP with exactly 50 percent of the vote. Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski finished second, while Eagles RB LeSean McCoy came in third.
"Aaron Rodgers has done exactly what he was drafted in the first round to do: Put up huge numbers," said reader Tim Kontek of Elk Grove Village. "Rodgers' basement is 17 fantasy points; you can't get more reliable production than that. Even Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and any running back, McCoy included, have had some 10-point days. If you had to choose between Vick and Rodgers in August, kudos to you if you took the sure thing."
(Last year's winner: Tom Brady)
During one draft, a longtime buddy of mine was picking before me and snared Antonio Gates late in the third round. He then looked at me and smiled, knowing I almost always take Gates in that league around the third or fourth round.
As it turned out, I ended up getting the last laugh, although there was plenty of luck involved.
About an hour after taking Jermichael Finley in the fifth round, I figured the 13th or 14th round was a good time to take a chance on a backup TE. I remember thinking, "Aaron Hernandez? Or Rob Gronkowski? Hernandez? Or Gronkowski?"
Both finished the 2010 campaign hot and we had no idea which TE might explode in 2011.
After a mental coin flip, I plastered Gronkowski's name on the board, and he helped pave the way to a points title in that league. Heading into the final week, Gronk has 82 catches for 1,219 yards and 16 total TDs, and he captured the biggest surprise award with 34 percent of the vote.
Giants WR Victor Cruz was a close second with 26 percent.
Among all receivers, only Calvin Johnson scored more points than Gronk, and Johnson needed a 316-yard, 3-TD finish in Weeks 15 and 16 to pass the Pats' super tight end.
From now on, it's Gronkowski we should all be reaching for early in our drafts ... and maybe even in the first 20 picks.
He's that good.
(Last year's winner: Michael Vick)
This vote was close for a while, but most of the late respondents said Titans RB Chris Johnson was this season's biggest dud. He "captured" 55 percent of the vote, with Andre Johnson and Michael Vick finishing second and third, respectively.
Johnson, 17th among RBs in fantasy points, has just 4 touchdowns with 986 rushing yards and 369 receiving.
In standard leagues, here's the point totals Johnson owners got from him the first nine weeks: 4-6-7-11-12-bye-3-4-10.
And while one player can't totally kill a fantasy team, the owners who had Johnson in my two leagues went a combined 7-19.
(Last year's winner: Randy Moss)
In a tight race, Carolina's Steve Smith (47.3 percent) beat out Miami's Reggie Bush (36.8 percent) for the comeback player of the year.
After an abysmal 554-yard, 2-TD campaign in 2009, Smith was a guy most fantasy owners took a chance on in the middle-to-later rounds. After all, here was a receiver coming off a bad season with a rookie QB at the helm.
How much upside could there be?
Smith made his owners' eyes pop out of their sockets in Week 1 with a 178-yard, 2-TD game at Arizona.
And if you thought that was a fluke, he followed it up with a 156-yard day against the Packers.
He's been up and down since, but it's tough to argue with a 73-catch, 1,308-yard season that included 6 TDs.
Bush was a fantastic candidate too, especially if you take his numbers since Week 8 (117 yards from scrimmage with 6 TDs). Over that time, Bush ranks sixth in fantasy points among RBs behind Marshawn Lynch, LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice, Maurice Jones-Drew and Arian Foster.
(Last year's winner: Vick)
Rookie of the year
Really, it was almost pointless to have readers vote for this award, but I wanted to see if it would be unanimous ... and it nearly was. Panthers QB Cam Newton astounded and amazed from the get-go this season and he is our landslide rookie of the year with 94 percent of the vote.
Newton, who is FOURTH among all QBs in fantasy points, has thrown for 3,893 yards, thrown 20 TD passes and run for 14 more. He also has 674 rushing yards and ran for 50 yards or more eight times.
(Last year's winner: Tampa Bay's Mike Williams)
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