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Published: Jan. 2, 2018 at 04:35 p.m.
Updated: Jan. 2, 2018 at 05:09 p.m.

2017 Fantasy Guru Awards

The 2017 fantasy football season was one of the most difficult and challenging campaigns that fantasy fans have ever endured. Countless superstars went down to injuries, including David Johnson, Odell Beckham Jr., Aaron Rodgers and Deshaun Watson, while another (Ezekiel Elliott) became a question mark for several weeks during the course of the season before being lost for six games due to a suspension. On a positive note, we also several young running backs make their mark in fantasy leagues. Once again, the position will be seen as the lifeblood of fantasy football while the value of wide receivers continues to take a downward turn. So without further ado, here are my 11th annual Guru Awards.

12 Photos Total

  • What a difference a year makes. After finishing as one of the bigger disappointments in fantasy football last season, Gurley boat-raced the competition with 64 catches, 2,093 scrimmage yards, 19 touchdowns and over 380 PPR points. He was a stat-sheet stuffer when it counted too, as he posted a record 123.1 points (or 32 percent of his total points) during the fantasy postseason. Gurley will be a top-three pick in 2018. 12

    Alex Gallardo/Associated Press

    Fantasy Most Valuable Player: Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

    What a difference a year makes. After finishing as one of the bigger disappointments in fantasy football last season, Gurley boat-raced the competition with 64 catches, 2,093 scrimmage yards, 19 touchdowns and over 380 PPR points. He was a stat-sheet stuffer when it counted too, as he posted a record 123.1 points (or 32 percent of his total points) during the fantasy postseason. Gurley will be a top-three pick in 2018.

  • Wentz was a popular sleeper in the fantasy world, but no one expected him to become one of the elite quarterbacks in the league. While his season was cut short due to an injured knee, he still finished fifth among signal-callers in fantasy points. Based on his numbers in 13 games, he would have projected to finish less than a single point behind Russell Wilson for the highest-scoring player in fantasy football this season. 11

    Peter Read Miller/Associated Press

    Fantasy Breakout Player of the Year: Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles

    Wentz was a popular sleeper in the fantasy world, but no one expected him to become one of the elite quarterbacks in the league. While his season was cut short due to an injured knee, he still finished fifth among signal-callers in fantasy points. Based on his numbers in 13 games, he would have projected to finish less than a single point behind Russell Wilson for the highest-scoring player in fantasy football this season.

  • Hunt was on the sleeper radar the second he landed in Kansas City, and his stock soared when Spencer Ware was lost for the season this past summer. The versatile Toledo product exceeded all expectations, finishing fourth in PPR scoring among running backs despite hitting a bit of a lull in the middle of the season. Based on his skill set and the offense around him, Hunt projects as a surefire first-round pick in 2018 drafts. 10

    Ed Zurga/Associated Press

    Fantasy Sleeper of the Year: Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

    Hunt was on the sleeper radar the second he landed in Kansas City, and his stock soared when Spencer Ware was lost for the season this past summer. The versatile Toledo product exceeded all expectations, finishing fourth in PPR scoring among running backs despite hitting a bit of a lull in the middle of the season. Based on his skill set and the offense around him, Hunt projects as a surefire first-round pick in 2018 drafts.

  • If you've heard it once, you've heard it a million times ... rookie tight ends almost never make a major fantasy impact. The opposite was true of Engram, however, as in-season injuries to Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard turned him into a target machine for the patchwork Giants pass attack. Engram's 173.6 PPR points are the fourth-most for any rookie tight end since 1920, and he missed the final game. 9

    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Fantasy Supersleeper of the Year: Evan Engram, TE, New York Giants

    If you've heard it once, you've heard it a million times ... rookie tight ends almost never make a major fantasy impact. The opposite was true of Engram, however, as in-season injuries to Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard turned him into a target machine for the patchwork Giants pass attack. Engram's 173.6 PPR points are the fourth-most for any rookie tight end since 1920, and he missed the final game.

  • Hunt seemed to have this one locked up, but Kamara came on like a house of fire after the Saints traded Adrian Peterson to Arizona. Starting in Week 8, the talented rookie ranked in the top 10 in PPR points among running backs seven times in his final eight full games. That included a five-game stretch where he ranked first three times and was no worse than fourth. Kamara will be a first-round lock next fantasy season. 8

    Bill Feig/Associated Press

    Fantasy Rookie of the Year: Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

    Hunt seemed to have this one locked up, but Kamara came on like a house of fire after the Saints traded Adrian Peterson to Arizona. Starting in Week 8, the talented rookie ranked in the top 10 in PPR points among running backs seven times in his final eight full games. That included a five-game stretch where he ranked first three times and was no worse than fourth. Kamara will be a first-round lock next fantasy season.

  • The wide receiver position has taken a major hit in fantasy football in recent seasons, so it's no surprise to see one listed as the bust of 2017. Evans, who some predicted would be the best wideout in fantasy this season, stumbled to a mediocre 1,001 yards with five touchdowns while finishing 17th in PPR points at the position. His 203.1 PPR points were 101 fewer than he scored during his impressive 2016 campaign in Tampa. 7

    Phelan Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Fantasy Bust of the Year: Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    The wide receiver position has taken a major hit in fantasy football in recent seasons, so it's no surprise to see one listed as the bust of 2017. Evans, who some predicted would be the best wideout in fantasy this season, stumbled to a mediocre 1,001 yards with five touchdowns while finishing 17th in PPR points at the position. His 203.1 PPR points were 101 fewer than he scored during his impressive 2016 campaign in Tampa.

  • There were several players who were worthy of this award, but Wilson was the best of the bunch. In fact, he was the best player in fantasy football based on points with a career-best 347.9, as he served as the main offensive threat in Seattle. Wilson, who was drafted in the sixth- to seventh-round range based on average draft position, finished with almost 50 more fantasy points than the next best quarterback (Cam Newton). 6

    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    Fantasy Draft Value of the Year: Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

    There were several players who were worthy of this award, but Wilson was the best of the bunch. In fact, he was the best player in fantasy football based on points with a career-best 347.9, as he served as the main offensive threat in Seattle. Wilson, who was drafted in the sixth- to seventh-round range based on average draft position, finished with almost 50 more fantasy points than the next best quarterback (Cam Newton).

  • In a season where the waiver wire was more important than ever, Smith produced the best campaign of his NFL career. The veteran out of Utah, who wasn't picked in countless fantasy drafts, finished with career highs in passing yards, touchdown passes and fantasy points. He also finished fourth in points among quarterbacks in standard scoring leagues, and was a mere 0.70 points behind fantasy football superstar Tom Brady. 5

    Ed Zurga/Associated Press

    Fantasy Waiver Pickup of the Year: Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

    In a season where the waiver wire was more important than ever, Smith produced the best campaign of his NFL career. The veteran out of Utah, who wasn't picked in countless fantasy drafts, finished with career highs in passing yards, touchdown passes and fantasy points. He also finished fourth in points among quarterbacks in standard scoring leagues, and was a mere 0.70 points behind fantasy football superstar Tom Brady.

  • Last season, 25 wideouts including Tyrell Williams, Terrelle Pryor, Rishard Matthews and Mike Wallace, scored more PPR points than Hopkins. That sounds insane, right? Well, Nuk exploded back onto the scene with 309.8 PPR points despite the fact that the Texans had a virtual quarterback carousel for most of the season. With Deshaun Watson projected to be back at 100 percent, Hopkins will be a top-three wideout in 2018. 4

    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    Fantasy Comeback Player of the Year: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

    Last season, 25 wideouts including Tyrell Williams, Terrelle Pryor, Rishard Matthews and Mike Wallace, scored more PPR points than Hopkins. That sounds insane, right? Well, Nuk exploded back onto the scene with 309.8 PPR points despite the fact that the Texans had a virtual quarterback carousel for most of the season. With Deshaun Watson projected to be back at 100 percent, Hopkins will be a top-three wideout in 2018.

  • Jones might have been one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy football this season, but he also had the best performance. In Week 12, he went off for 12 catches, 253 yards, two touchdowns and 50.8 PPR points against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here's the kicker though ... he scored 67 percent of his touchdowns and 20 percent of his PPR points in this contest alone. Jones won't be worth a top-10 selection next season. 3

    Logan Bowles/NFL

    Fantasy Performance of the Year: Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

    Jones might have been one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy football this season, but he also had the best performance. In Week 12, he went off for 12 catches, 253 yards, two touchdowns and 50.8 PPR points against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here's the kicker though ... he scored 67 percent of his touchdowns and 20 percent of his PPR points in this contest alone. Jones won't be worth a top-10 selection next season.

  • There was a long list of players who fit this description, but I went with Goff because he was a reliable option when the matchup was favorable. In fact, most of his productive fantasy performances came when he was projected to perform well based on the level of his opponent. The fact that he scored just 5.48 fewer fantasy points than Drew Brees (even in what was a down season for him) shows how good Goff was this season. 2

    Perry Knotts/Associated Press

    Fantasy Start 'Em of the Year: Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams

    There was a long list of players who fit this description, but I went with Goff because he was a reliable option when the matchup was favorable. In fact, most of his productive fantasy performances came when he was projected to perform well based on the level of his opponent. The fact that he scored just 5.48 fewer fantasy points than Drew Brees (even in what was a down season for him) shows how good Goff was this season.

  • Ryan was my top bust candidate heading into this season, and he further proved that the "magical" season factor is no fluke. His regression was massive, as he scored 119.36 fewer points than he had during his MVP campaign. Ryan, who didn't score 20 or more points in a game all season, also failed to finish better than 14th in fantasy points at his position in three of his final four starts of the fantasy football season. 1

    Mike Zarrilli/Associated Press

    Fantasy Sit 'Em of the Year: Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons

    Ryan was my top bust candidate heading into this season, and he further proved that the "magical" season factor is no fluke. His regression was massive, as he scored 119.36 fewer points than he had during his MVP campaign. Ryan, who didn't score 20 or more points in a game all season, also failed to finish better than 14th in fantasy points at his position in three of his final four starts of the fantasy football season.

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