It’s Monday, but Jamaal Charles just scampered for another long touchdown run.
The 2013 fantasy season is just about in the books, and we saw a handful of dominant seasons. Of course, one particular record-breaking one comes to mind, but a few others deserve the spotlight as well. It’s been a fantasy season for the ages, but which star deserves to take home the MVP award?
This will not be an easy decision, but I’ll try to make the case.
Fantasy’s number one running back, Charles has been nothing short of spectacular. While many were afraid of he arrival of pass-happy head coach Andy Reid, it actually benefited Charles’ fantasy value. Charles has dominated in PPR leagues, and not only does he have more receptions than his teammate, Dwayne Bowe, his 70 catches ranks 28th among any player in football. That’s insane. The dude is averaging a ridiculous 4.6 catches per game, and Alex Smith’s checkdown philosophy has really paid dividends. Of course, Charles has dominated on the ground, too.
He leads the league in total touchdowns (not counting quarterbacks, obviously) with an impressive 19. He is second in rushing yards on the season with 1,287 and third in rushing yards per game (85.8). Charles has been so consistent this season, that he’s finished as at least a top-10 fantasy running back in 11 of 16 weeks. That’s easily more than any other running back. Also, there have only been two instances where Charles failed to post double-digit fantasy points, meaning he’s had a high floor and ceiling each and every week. And in an era where the passing game rules the NFL, Charles has managed to finish the fantasy season as the number three overall player. In fact, he’s the only non-quarterback inside the top-14. And, of course, who could forget his near record-breaking Week 15?
Charles had one rushing score on just 20 yards, but combined it with eight receptions for 195 yards and four more scores. He became player in NFL history to post over 200 scrimmage yards and five touchdowns, and his 51 fantasy points in ESPN leagues ranks tied for 6th-best ever. For those owners who owned him in CBS Sports leagues, nearly one-fourth of teams with Charles played for the title on Sunday, while Peyton Manning owners played in 16 percent of championships.
Anytime a player breaks the all-time passing touchdowns record, they are a pretty safe choice for fantasy MVP. On Sunday, Manning continued perhaps the greatest single season ever by breaking Tom Brady’s touchdown record (50). He became the first player in NFL history to eclipse 5,000 passing yards and 50 touchdowns in a season, and with one week remaining, Manning has the opportunity to break Drew Brees’ passing yards record as well. Manning is putting together perhaps the greatest individual performance of all time. With a whopping 5,211 yards, 51 touchdowns and 380 ESPN fantasy points, Manning is five points shy of breaking Aaron Rodgers’ fantasy record.
Is there any record this guy won’t break in 2013?
You can obviously just hand Manning the fantasy MVP award based on his historic numbers. However, the quarterback position basically always sits among the top in fantasy scoring each and every season. In 2012, 11 of the top 13 scorers were signal callers. I wouldn’t have a problem with crowning Manning the MVP at all, but considering he is a lock for the real life MVP, I may lean elsewhere.
Any doubts about Josh Gordon’s legitimacy were silenced this season. The immensely talented sophomore wideout missed the first two games of the year due to suspension, but still is leading the league in receiving yards (1,564), which is 72 yards ahead of second place, Calvin Johnson. Not only did he miss two games, but he posted elite numbers with a constant shuffling at the quarterback position. He finished the season with one fantasy point ahead of Johnson, making him the number one wideout in all of fantasy football. The scary part about his stellar season?
He was drafted with the 122nd overall pick in ESPN leagues.
That value alone makes him an MVP candidate, in my eyes. There probably isn’t another fantasy asset who has outperformed their ADP like Gordon has this season. Gordon also made some history in 2013, becoming the first player to ever post back-to-back 200-yard receiving days (237,261). Not many people would pick him as the fantasy MVP, but at the very least, I felt he deserved some recognition for his massive breakout season.
Other notables: LeSean McCoy, Knowshon Moreno.
Any one of these guys are worthy of the title, but if I had to choose one, it’d be Charles, who has been fantasy’s best player. Quarterback has been crazy deep this season, and with not only the running back position scarce to begin with, there were also injuries and busts at the position. Charles, meanwhile, stood out above the rest.
He’s my MVP.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.