Congratulations on getting through another fantasy football season. Regular life can now resume. It's been a pleasure setting up previews each week and then taking a look back on all of our terrible, no good choices and scrambling for that next waiver wire pickup who was going to save our season. We'll take a look back on week 16, the year overall, and how our longshot picks stacked up.
- Your 2015 MVP at the QB position this year is shared between Tom Brady and Cam Newton. This would also be the ultimate QB tandem this year as they were both widely under-drafted and I can imagine a scenario of someone grabbing both. Brady started off the year burning the league down but Cam came roaring back down the stretch. Neither one of these guys won it for you in week 16 so hopefully you didn't run into...
- Kirk Cousins! You like that? Cousins was the obvious pick for the final Shotgun Longshot this year and he delivered in spades. 365 yards and 4 TDs led the way in the championship week and it was enough for Cousins to win the FFB Playoffs MVP trophy. Cousins certainly made himself a lot of money with those two games when he signs his offseason contract (not counting the bizarre kneel down before half) so don't send him a portion of your winnings.
- Blake Bortles finishes the year as the 4th overall QB and in a tie with Drew Brees. That was a draft day bargain to be sure but the secret is out now. Bortles will be a Top 5 preseason QB pick going into 2016 and will be a candidate to contend for the title with his young receiving corps maturing along with his mastery of the offense. The Jaguars could even be an interesting team in 2016 if they can improve that defense.
- If we add up the scores from all 15 of our Shotgun Longshots (under 50% owned QBs) from each week 2-16, we built the QB#5 behind Russell Wilson and just in front of Carson Palmer. That's a staggering result. The QB position has certainly gained a number of throwers that can put up respectable points week to week and in a 10 or 12 team league, you can try and play the wire while investing early choices in other positions. This was by far the best result.
- We'll give the title to Devonta Freeman who looked as far from a star to begin the year as anyone. Freeman appeared to have lost his starting role to Tevin Coleman when the year began but eclipsed 1500 yards from scrimmage and 13 TDs. He also paid the bills in the playoffs by getting into the end zone each week, however...
- DeAngelo Williams and Tim Hightower headlined the week. Both players topped the century mark on the ground, scored 2 TDs, and chipped in through the air. A reminder that both players were free at some point in the year and both stories are surprising in their own way. In a year filled with so many injuries at this position, these two provided enormous value in the playoffs and win the FFB Playoffs MVP for this position. If you're keeping track, that's Cousins, Williams, and Hightower so far.
- A shout out to fellow University of Northern Iowa Alumnus David Johnson, who has absolutely taken the world by storm. Johnson's performance for Arizona has almost certainly won him the starting gig in 2016 and he'll be in the conversation for the #1 overall pick in drafts next year. My only concern would be what I'll call the Shonn Green effect - a running back lighting up defenses late in the year followed up by a pedestrian campaign. Johnson's game appears different to me and he could very well be a superstar in the making, but I'd probably steer my choice to someone with a more extensive record.
- If we add up the scores from all 15 of our Toss Sweep Sleepers (under 50% owned RBs) from each week 2-16, we built the RB#8 behind Chris Ivory and ahead of Latavius Murray. While you might think that's pretty good, it's not quite as great when you consider all of the injuries at RB this year. Still, even if we add in the injured stars back into this mix, we're building a back that's impressive enough to be a competitive starter in your league.
- We're going to split the award for WR this year as well because I can't possibly choose between Antonio Brown and Julio Jones. The great thing about both of these players is that they returned your investment as both were likely first rounders. I wouldn't argue with taking either one of these guys first overall next draft season but my money is on Brown and cross your fingers that Big Ben stays healthy.
- We could give the playoff MVP to Julio as well, but I'm going with our old friend Doug Baldwin who has managed 11 scores over his last 5 games including 3 over the playoffs. Baldwin was a favorite of this column early in the year when no one was playing him and is almost certainly my best call of the year at the WR position (I'll take credit for it here because as you'll see below, it wasn't great at the WR position).
- Brandin Cooks is going to be an interesting guy to rank next season. All eyes will be on New Orleans as the future of Sean Payton and Drew Brees are decided. If there are significant changes in the Big Easy, I'd need to seriously consider how to carry forward the year that Cooks has had. Assuming a decent week 17, Cooks will have over 80 catches, 1200+ yards, and 10 scores to his year. That's a late 2nd / early 3rd round pick if you think he can repeat.
- If we add up the scores from all 15 of our Fly Route Fliers (under 50% owned WRs) from each week 2-16, we built the WR#29 between Golden Tate and James Jones. This isn't quite as good as the other two results and to be completely fair, we're buoyed up by a couple of big games. Picking WRs from this pool was much tougher than expected and really demonstrates just how important receivers are in building your squad.
- The TE crown for the year goes to Rob Gronkowski. Who else did you think it'd be? Gronk is a big positional advantage for your fake team and he was able to return value to your squad despite the high investment. Drafting a TE early is a scary proposition - particularly one with Gronk's injury history - but I don't think there's another player more fun to own outside of Antonio Brown. Gronk would've been a top 10 WR.
- The playoff MVP for TE goes to Jordan Reed who, amazingly, caught 16 balls for 211 yards and 4 scores over the two week playoff. Reed is a guy who I've been frustrated with in the past as he's oft injured and hasn't had consistent targets for much of his young career. He will be over-drafted next year as there will be no bargains on Reed in 2016.
- My favorite story for the year is Gary Barnidge who came out of nowhere to be a top 5 TE this season. It goes to show you that you can build a team from the wire if you're diligent and aggressive and, well, lucky. Expect Barnidge to be a popular choice next year.
- Jeremy Langford & Matt Forte - Langford carried the ball 19 times for 83 yards to Forte's 11 carries for 54 yards and 23 more through the air. Forte got nicked up in this one and the Bears coaching staff opted to ride Langford for much of the second half. There has been a real changing of the guard since Forte's knee injury and I'm now in the camp that believes Forte will be gone next year. Wherever #22 plays his football next year, I will be a fan. As for Langford, the path to the fulltime gig is his and I even think this Bears coaching staff has found a role for Ka'Deem Carey as a #2. Langford projects as a 3rd round pick if Forte doesn't return.
- Jay Cutler - 156 yards, 1 TD, 21 yards rushing. Assuming you're not a crazy person, you haven't been relying on Cutler for much or any of the year outside of a bye week fill-in issue. Under Adam Gase, the FFB results have been more Alex Smith-like than expected. The peaks that were seen in 2013 under Trestman were gone but so were the bottomless pits of 2014. Jay will be undrafted or a late round choice in most leagues next season.
- Alshon Jeffery - Did not play. Alshon started off the year with an issue and simply never got right all year. It seems obvious that Alshon will be the top priority for Bears brass this offseason. Assuming he's back in Navy and Orange, I'd be willing to rank Alshon as high as the #5 WR for next season and certainly a WR1. He'll be a 2nd rounder in your drafts.
Thanks again to everyone for a great year. Feel free to brag, humble-brag, or detail your bad beats below.