ONE fantasy season ends and another is still in full swing. Gone are the torturous Sunday’s sweating over NFL players’ production. Well, until next season. This week I’ll be handing out some end of season awards for the 2017 NFL season while still touching on the basics you need to know in the NBA fantasy world.
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*All fantasy stats and numbers are based on ESPN format fantasy leagues.
- JOHN Wall (Wizards, PG) has returned to the court for fantasy owners looking like a shell of himself. After emerging as a potential MVP-calibre player late last season, Wall is putting up his worst per game averages since 2012-13, back before he broke through as an All-Star.
- WHILE Wall is trending downwards, DeMar DeRozan’s (Raptors, SG) stock couldn’t be higher. From three games last week he averaged four made 3’s, a league-leading 37.3 points and topped his team for assists (6.3) too. Beast mode.
Image from denverpost.com
MUST ADD – Gerald Green, Houston Rockets, SF
NO one has been added in more leagues than Gerald Green last week. Somewhat surprisingly he was left on the scrap heap until the Rockets signed him last Thursday and in his last four games, he has averaged 21 points and an absurd 5.3 made 3’s (coming at a 60% clip). Expect him to cool off but, with Harden sidelined, still provide a massive scoring punch for the Rockets.
Other candidates: Marquese Chriss (Suns, PF, 31.2%) & Jamal Murray (Nuggets, PG/SG, 62.4%)
MUST DROP – Thaddeus Young, Indiana Pacers, SF/PF
THE days of relying on Young as a solid source of points and rebounds are gone. He is struggling mightily without Oladipo in uniform averaging 7.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in those four games. As Domantas Sabonis continues to grow, Young’s role will only keep diminishing.
Other candidates: Joe Ingles (Jazz, PF/SF, 32.8%) & Bojan Bogdanovic (Pacers, SG/SF, 25.1%)
INJURY NEWS – THERE is a ton of injury news so I’ll try and breeze through it as quickly as possible. Blake Griffin (Clippers, PF), Steph Curry (Warriors, PG) and Isaiah Thomas (Cavaliers, PG) all returned to action last week, with Tim Hardaway Jr (Knicks, SG/SF) and Victor Oladipo (Pacers, SG) close. James Harden (Rockets, SG) was the biggest injury news last week with a hamstring injury expected to potentially sideline him for up to six weeks. Zach LaVine (Bulls, PG/SG) is meeting with the front office over the weekend to determine when he’ll return for Chicago and Jabari Parker (Bucks, SF/PF) has been recalled from the G-League by Milwaukee. Finally, Kevin Durant (Warriors, SF) and Damian Lillard (Blazers, PG) are dealing with calf strains that won’t keep them out for a long time, but may cause them to miss another game or two next week.
AFTER a 2017 season to remember it’s time to hand out some hardware. After 16-17 weeks of headaches, joy and agony these eight honours have been deliberated over to find the worthy recipients. Some awards are coveted, some are not, so without further ado…
- Mr Breakout – Keelan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
Honourable mention: Alvin Kamara (Saints, RB) & Adam Thielen (Vikings, WR)
I can’t give this award to a rookie, so it became an easy choice for me. Unfortunately, Allen was on my never again list after blowing up in my face in years past. He paced the league for receiving yards in the final six weeks as the Chargers made a late playoff push and he finished as the 3rd best scoring wideout this season, despite being the 22nd receiver taken according to ADP (average draft position). Take a bow.
Image from clutchpoints.com
- Mr Fakeout – Mike Gillislee, New England Patriots, RB
Honourable mention: Kenny Golladay (Lions, WR) & Trevor Siemian (Broncos, QB)
HINDSIGHT is a powerful tool. After bursting onto the scene in his Patriots debut with three scores, Mike Gillislee was must have property. A season-high 69 rushing yards and another touchdown the next week saw many more jump on. We should have known the ‘committee’ attack at running back in New England would soon render him useless. He didn’t score another touchdown until Week 16 and only put up 50+ rushing yards once throughout the rest of the year.
- Mr Consistent – Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers, RB
Honourable mention: Deandre Hopkins (Texans, WR) & Matthew Stafford (Lions, QB)
THIS one was the toughest award to split. As a Deandre Hopkins owner, I feared the worst when Watson went down, but he continued to produce at an elite level and probably helped me win my league. There is only one Le’Veon Bell though. After a slow first two weeks, he was then a picture of consistency for the rest of the year chalking up lofty totals in both the rushing and receiving game.
- Mr Inconsistent – T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
Honourable mention: Amari Cooper (Raiders, WR) & Jimmy Graham (Seahawks, TE)
IT’S quite remarkable the yo-yo year that Hilton had. Part of the reason his performances were so ‘roller-coastery’ was because of Luck’s injury, however, there were still games that he went off in. Over a five-week period early in the year, he went for 49, 153, 30, 177 and 19 receiving yards. That’s enough to make a coach want to tear his hair out.
- Mr Heartbreak – Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans, QB
Honourable mention: David Johnson (Cardinals, RB) & Aaron Rodgers (Packers, QB)
THE award for the most devastating fantasy injury goes to none other than Deshaun Watson. Of course, if he hadn’t just thrown for 400+ yards and four touchdowns in an epic against Seattle in Week 8, then the ACL tear he suffered a few days later may have been less impactful on the fantasy community. It was as cruel a reminder as any that fantasy glory can be ripped away in a single moment.
- Mr Disappointment – Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, WR
Honourable mention: Matt Ryan (Falcons, QB) & Jay Ajayi (Eagles, RB)
NO one let owners down more than Mike Evans in 2017. The Buccaneers as a whole were disappointing and as a result, Evans took a big hit in his production. The 5th receiver taken based on ADP finished 17th in points from his position, topping 100 yards just once for the year. After tying as the best fantasy receiver in the league in 2016, this year won’t be reflected upon fondly by those who owned Evans.
Image from tbo.com
- Mr Rookie Of The Year – Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints, RB
Honourable mention: Kareem Hunt (Chiefs, RB) & Leonard Fournette (Jaguars, RB)
PERHAPS the easiest award to hand out was the ROY to Alvin Kamara. With over 1,500 yards from scrimmage, Kamara was the Saints MVP for the year and helped them capture the division crown. Fantasy owners who took a flyer on him late in their draft or snagged him early off the waiver wire may have him to thank for a crown of their own.
- Mr Win You Your League (MVP) – Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams, RB
Honourable mention: Russell Wilson (Seahawks, QB) & Le’Veon Bell (Steelers, RB)
APPROACHING the last four weeks of the season this was a real hot debate. Then Todd Gurley went OFF. In Week 16 he put forth the 4th highest score of the year with four touchdowns and over 150 rushing yards. A week late in the fantasy final for many he had the 2nd highest score of the season with 49.6 points and 270+ all-purpose yards. All hail Todd Gurley.