By: RJ Williams and Jason Smith
We are just a couple of guys who eat, breathe and dream fantasy sports. Are we perfect? No. But know that we put everything we have into bringing you who we believe are the big plays, sleepers and duds each week. Like a mechanic, we are not only here to help you create and build a roster, but also help you repair that roster if it breaks down. We specialize in NFL, NBA and MLB fantasy leagues; however, if you have questions about any other fantasy league that is out there, we can use our knowledge and resources to get you what you need. We’re doing this because this is what we LOVE, it’s a passion!
Now, for a recap of this NFL season….
Regular season is over — it goes too quick. Don’t blink; you might miss it! In this article we are going to look back at the fantasy studs, the duds, and some sleepers that may have helped you win a championship. We are basing our picks for these categories on a players ADP (average draft position) and what their projections were at the beginning of the season. We like the good news first, so let’s start with the studs…
- Antonio Brown – Think about how storied of a franchise the Pittsburgh Steelers are, yet Brown is the only Steeler to EVER lead the NFL in receptions. Brown not only led the NFL in receptions (129), but also had the second most receptions in a single season in NFL HISTORY! (Marvin Harrison had 142 receptions in 2002.) Brown also finished the season with a league leading 1,698 receiving yards, which is good for 6th best in NFL History. Only major WR stat Brown didn’t finish first in was TDs, which he finished 2nd with 13 (Dez – 16). It is not like Brown was a sleeper, his ADP had him as WR #7, but we think it’s safe to say that Brown exceeded ALL expectations and helped win fantasy matchups this season single handedly. Fun, quick nugget about Brown… he totaled 380 fantasy points this season in PPR leagues. That’s good for 2nd best of all time, only Jerry Rice in 1995 had more points (406).
- Le’Veon Bell – Another Pittsburgh Steeler at the top of our list. Bell CARRIED fantasy teams on his back this season. It isn’t a stretch to say Bell had possibly one of the greatest seasons from a RB, EVER! Did he lead the NFL in rushing? No. DeMarco Murray did, more on him later. However, Bell finished 2nd in rushing with 1,361 yards on 290 carries (103 less carries than Murray!!). The most impressive thing about Bell this season, was his ability to catch the football. We knew he could be a weapon receiving out of the backfield, but 83 catches for a RB?!? In terms of fantasy, he is the true definition of a STUD! Bell’s ADP was #20, which had him at RB #10. Again, not like he was CRAZY undervalued at the time, but he gets our vote as fantasy MVP. Before we move on, the best stat about Le’Veon Bell? He is 22 years old…
- Andrew Luck – When you think of fantasy studs and MVP’s, first position up is usually a QB. This year we got to see a new QB top our list. Was Rodgers a stud? Of course. Peyton? Until the last few weeks, STUD! But Luck gets our attention here because after 2 seasons where we saw him land at QB #10 (2012) and QB #6 (2013), he made the jump to QB #1 in his 3rd year. Some will argue that Luck’s terrible performance in what was most fantasy leagues championship week should have him removed from this list. But, let’s be honest, if you made the championship, Luck was a HUGE reason why. Luck led the NFL in TDs with 43 (40 passing, 3 rushing). He also finished 3rd in the league in passing yards with 4,761. Luck has made the jump to elite status this season, and if you are in any sort of Dynasty League, we recommend you do just about ANYTHING to get him on your team. One downfall to Luck’s game is his turnovers, but we believe those will regress as he matures and gets more experience. Andrew Luck’s ADP had him at QB #5 this season, we should only see that rise as the years go on.
- Montee Ball – Almost forgot this guy plays in the National Football League. If there were ever a true definition of a DUD this season, it’s Montee Ball. Ball had an ADP of a late 1st/early 2nd round pick. Le’Veon Bell had a later ADP than Ball for god sakes. With his high ADP, Ball played in 3 ½ games this season and finished as the RB #87. Even those that argue that you cannot predict injuries, in the games that Ball DID play, he never surpassed 70 rushing yards and only had 1 TD. Sure we can understand the thinking at the beginning of the season. Moreno had a career year just a season before, teams are NEVER going to stack 8 in the box against a Peyton Manning led offense, plus he showed promise toward the end of the previous season. However, for a guy with that high of an ADP who ends up getting you a whopping 32 fantasy points on the season, he wins our award of fantasy DUD of the year!
- Jay Cutler – He got benched for Jimmy Clausen. Enough said.
- Matthew Stafford – Megatron is your WR for god sakes. One of us could play QB for the Lions and be able to throw the ball in Calvin’s direction at a better rate than Stafford. Yea, we know, Calvin missed a few weeks due to injury, but its not like Golden Tate is a slouch. The main reason Stafford is falling under this category is because his ADP had him at QB #4, well, he ended up as QB #15. Cutler, the guy mentioned above, finished with a better season than Stafford. Stafford’s biggest issue was playing on the road, he actually played well at home, but since 8 games are played on the road, you can’t hide from it. Stafford completed barely over 50% of his passes on the road and had a QB rating of 74.9. With the weapons Stafford has, there is no reason he should finish as the QB #15.
- Josh Gordon – Yes, we understand that Gordon missed 11 games this season due to suspension. However we saw this guy get drafted as early as the 9th round in some leagues. Not only was he drafted WAY too early, but he was stashed on fantasy benches for WEEKS with hopes that he would come back and be the same WR he was last season. Except when he did come back, he averaged 3.4 fantasy points per game. His first game back got fantasy owners excited, however it seemed as though the Browns were forcing him the ball, not to mention it was against the Falcons. Gordon failed to find the end zone as well. Some will argue that his QB play was well below average when he returned, but if you thought Hoyer or Manziel were going to be gunslingers then that is on you!
Fantasy Sleepers/Waiver Pick-Ups
- Odell Beckham Jr. – Warm. Fuzzy. Cloud Nine. Those are the things I feel when thinking of OBJ. He’s a stud. I’m sorry, that is an insult to him. He is a MEGA-STUD! I mean this guy missed the first 4 weeks of the season and still ended with 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 TDs. How is that possible? OBJ finished as WR #9, his ADP had him at WR #66. He made Richard Sherman look human, that speaks for itself. OBJ did his thing when it mattered the most, down the stretch and in the playoffs of the fantasy season. He had 9 touchdowns in the Giants final 6 games. He scored under 30 points ONE TIME in that 6 week span. I know personally, he helped me win some good money on DFS. He gets our award as the sleeper/pick up of the season, hands down.
- CJ Anderson – Considering Ball fell under our duds list, we had to mention Anderson as a huge waiver wire grab this season. If anyone could give OBJ a run for his money as “Pick Up of the Year” (they cant, nobody can), then it would be Anderson. Anderson only got his chance because of injuries to the 2 RB’s ahead of him on the depth chart (Ball and Hillman), but once he got his chance, he made the most of it. Considering Anderson only started 8 games this season, he finished as the RB #15. In those 8 games, Anderson scored 10 TDs (8 rushing/2 receiving) and had 1,057 total yards. Best thing about Anderson is that FanDuel and Draft Kings never valued him appropriately, so that allowed us to use him week after week and get HUGE value in return. There is no saying what Denver will do at RB next season, but Anderson made his case in a big way, and those who were proactive on the waiver wire found themselves a gem for the stretch run.
So hard to say goodbye….
It’s tough to see it go. Fantasy Football is above and beyond the best style you can choose from. For us, the season never ends. We are here to answer whatever questions you have year-round. We play in multiple Dynasty leagues ourselves (which is a whole other ballgame), so we constantly have Fantasy Football on our minds. From here you can expect multiple articles from us on the current Fantasy Basketball season, the upcoming Fantasy Baseball season, and of course all the necessary offseason moves that will affect Fantasy Football. We hope to hear from you, remember, follow us on Twitter @FanMechanics. We’re here for you in case your roster breaks down… and you know, you need a Mechanic.