The 2017 season has officially come to a close and it was a rollercoaster to the very end. From injuries to star players, to the Bills making the playoffs, things got crazy. In the fantasy world there was no shortage of surprises. One running back put many fantasy teams on his back, three players single-handedly broke the hearts of their fantasy owners, one running back rose from the ashes of a broken backfield,and a certain kicker outscored many top-2 round draft picks.
Fantasy MVP – Todd Gurley
Obviously, Todd Gurley was the highest scoring running back in fantasy football. Not only was he the best, he went far-and-above every other running back. Le’Veon Bell was the second highest-scoring running back, and he still finished 62.70 points behind Gurley in standard scoring. To top it all off, Gurley scored 42 and 39.60 points in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively. Odds are, if you had Todd Gurley you won your championship.
Biggest Busts – Mike Evans, Jay Ajayi, and Dez Bryant
I know this is an individual award, but there were three busts worthy of it. Who would I be to take away an award from a hard-working athlete? For this award, I’ll be largely basing my selections on average draft position (ADP). It is simply the mathematical number for where a fantasy player was taken, on average, in fantasy drafts. For example, an ADP of 1.08 means that a player was taken with the eighth pick of the first round, or eighth overall. The higher the draft pick, the higher their predicted value.
Mike Evans was the 1.08 pick in the average draft last summer. The only receivers taken before him were Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and Odell Beckham. His high draft stock indicates that he was drafted to be an owner’s WR1, or their highest scoring wide receiver. However, Mike Evans finished as the WR #20 in standard scoring, meaning 19 receivers scored higher than him on the season. He never scored more than 15.5 points in a single game and went on a six-game touchdown drought.
Jay Ajayi was drafted, on average, with the 11th pick in the first round (1.11). Once again, he was drafted to be the highest scoring running back for fantasy owners. Ajayi finished as the RB #33. To be fair, Ajayi had a two-week hiccup dealing with being traded to Philadelphia. However, he still scored double digit points in only two games with Miami, and three games with Philadelphia. With Miami, Ajayi had more than 23 carries in four different games, but still couldn’t produce.
Dez Bryant was taken in the average draft with the seventh pick in the second round (2.07). Even though he usually wasn’t taken in the first round, Bryant was still drafted to be a crucial part of an owner’s team. Bryant finished as the WR #25. Dez Bryant‘s fantasy production seemed to be reliant on scoring touchdowns. Bryant scored more than 10 points only five times, all games in which he scored a touchdown. Dez Bryant averaged just 54.2 yards per game, and scored only six touchdowns on the season.
Best Waiver Wire Pickup – Alvin Kamara
This is the ultimate “you don’t win your championship at the draft” award. To keep the ADP tradition, Alvin Kamara was drafted at the 13.12 spot. That means he was taken right before the second to last round in most drafts. Being taken that late usually means owners had no faith in the player and were just grabbing him in case he blew up. Every fantasy player or analyst was absolutely correct in thinking this. The Saints had a great running back in Mark Ingram, and then they went out and got former 2,000-yard rusher Adrian Peterson in the offseason. In the beginning of the season, there was simply no room for Kamara to succeed.
In standard scoring, Alvin Kamara finished as the RB #4, being outscored only by Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, and Kareem Hunt. In ESPN leagues, Kamara was owned by 48.3% of championship teams. The fact that most fantasy owners were able to get him for nothing is bonkers.
Most Valuable Leg – Greg Zeurlein
This just in: kickers are people, too. Greg Zeurlein, in standard scoring, finished as the top kicker and scored more points than Devonta Freeman, Julio Jones, Tyreek Hill, A.J. Green, Brandin Cooks and Michael Thomas. Zeurlein was also owned on 36.9% of ESPN championship teams.