Fantasy Football 2013: Year In Review

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

 

Fantasy is truly my reality.

Sure, it’s just a game where you create a fake football team. But I invest hours into writing, research and film. It’s become a massive part of my life, and now that it is over, I’m a bit depressed. However, in the words of Shane Falco, it’s been an honor to share the field of battle with you.

So, now that the season is wrapped up, let’s hand out some hardware. My fantasy awards are, of course, my personal opinion.

Fantasy MVP: Jamaal Charles

If you read my recent article, you’d know I’d lean Charles here. The number one fantasy running back is averaging almost 20 fantasy points per contest, and is currently third overall in scoring. In fact, he’s the only non-quarterback inside the top-14 in fantasy points. He’s been so consistent this season, finishing as a top-10 fantasy back in 11 of 16 weeks. He’s also failed to post double-digit fantasy points in all but two games this season. Of course, his Week 15 performance may have sealed his case as MVP, as he notched a whopping 51 fantasy points, which tied for the sixth-best fantasy performance in the history of the game. According to CBS Sports leagues, one-fourth of all teams that played in the fantasy championship had Charles on their roster. Peyton Manning was the next highest at 16 percent. In a position that was pretty scarce heading into the season, Charles was dominant, and earns my vote for fantasy MVP.

Notables: Peyton Manning, LeSean McCoy, Josh Gordon

Waiver Wire Pickup: Zac Stacy

This is where it gets controversial. Sure, Keenan Allen and Julius Thomas were monumental for fantasy owners who were lucky enough to scoop them off of waivers, but Stacy has been my fantasy man crush of the season, so you guys can back off, okay? I’m kidding, but remember, this is my personal opinion.

I was all over Stacy during the offseason. I watched hours of tape, wrote tons of articles about him and loved what I saw. In a muddled backfield, I declared Stacy as the eventual starter, providing fantasy owners with an Alfred Morris-like season. It wasn’t as good as Alf’s, but fantasy owners sure aren’t complaining. Stacy has been an absolute workhorse for the Rams since taking over the starting job back in Week 5. During that span, Stacy leads the league in games with at least 26 carries (five), and only fellow rookie back Eddie Lacy has more total attempts. In fact, despite not starting until Week 5, Stacy is currently tied for 11th in total carries on the season with 235. That shows that the Rams have a ton of faith in their rookie back. He’s been a tremendous fantasy value, as he was the third-to-last pick in ESPN leagues. However, he finished the fantasy season as a top-20 fantasy running back, ahead of guys like Ray Rice and Maurice Jones-Drew. He’s also been very consistent, posting six top-10 finishes in just 13 weeks of play. The running back position has been fairly rough this season, but Stacy has been one of the bright spots.

Notables: Keenan Allen, Julius Thomas, Chiefs D/ST

Comeback Player: Ryan Mathews

He was a fantasy mockery for the entire offseason, but Mathews reminded everyone just how talented former 12th overall pick truly is. Mathews is currently fantasy’s number 12 overall running back, and has shown a tremendous amount of grit this year. A large part of his success has been due to the fact that San Diego trusts him as their every-down back. Head coach Mike McCoy stated in the beginning of the year that he envisions Mathews as such, and boy was he right? Mathews posted his second career 1,000-yard season, currently ranking 8th in the NFL in rushing yards (1,111). The workload has been there all season long, despite the presence of Danny Woodhead, as Mathews’ 261 carries rank sixth-most in the league. He’s posted at least 25 carries in his last three games, rushing for 100 yards or more in each of the,. In fact, he is tied with Charles and LeSean McCoy in 100-yard rushing games on the season. He’s battled through a couple minor injuries, but has suited up for every game this season. A healthy Ryan Mathews is a very talented running back, after all.

Notables: Philip Rivers, DeSean Jackson

Fantasy Rookie: Eddie Lacy

Remember during camp when pictures leaked of a larger than life Eddie Lacy?

Yeah, neither do I.

Lacy has been the best fantasy running back of this exciting rookie crop, and it’s not very close. The Packers bruiser eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards on Sunday, and finished the fantasy season as the number eight back, averaging almost 14 fantasy points per contest. It’s been impressive when you consider the Packers offense has been depleted all season long, especially the loss of quarterback Aaron Rodgers. You’d assume that opposing defenses would target Lacy as their only offensive weapon, but it still didn’t matter. Green Bay force-fed him the rock. Since Week 5, no running back has carried the ball more than the former Alabama back, who already had plenty of tread on his tires under Nick Saban. His 263 carries are the fifth-most in the league, an impressive number for a first-year player. He is third in the NFL in rushing touchdowns (10) and always bulldozes his way for extra yards. He probably could have scored more if Rodgers was under center for the entire season. Lacy will undoubtedly be a first round pick next season.

Notables: Keenan Allen, Zac Stacy, Giovani Bernard

Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.

You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.


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