We're nearing the end of the NFL and more importantly fantasy seasonm, which means it's time to doll out some fantasy awards. So consider this our NFL Fantasy LIVE end of the year awards banquet. It's kind of like a youth sporting league, where everyone gets a participation award. Except for a few of the "bust" nominees, who have seemed to have participated in about as much NFL action as we have this season. Anyway, this will have all the fun and excitement of a typical awards show, without any of the long speeches and overcooked chicken. Plus, there's no band to play anyone off the stage.
Be sure to watch NFL Fantasy LIVE's year-end awards special Friday, December 26 on NFL Network to see who takes home each award!
Fantasy Bust of the Year
Was there anyone that the fantasy world as a whole was higher on this season than Cordarrelle Patterson? Flash finished 2013 in a blaze and appeared to have an even brighter future with Norv Turner signing on as Minnesota's offensive coordinator. Our expectations seemed to be fulfilled when Patterson broke free for a 67-yard touchdown run in the season opener. Little did we know that would be Patterson's last significant contribution all season.
Last season, Zac Stacy became a star because of circumstance. Injuries and underperformance in the Rams backfield allowed Stacy to become the starter and a fantasy star. It appeared that circumstance had reared its ugly head again when Sam Bradford was lost for the season with a knee injury. However, Stacy couldn't duplicate last year's success and eventually found him pushed from his perch atop St. Louis' depth chart by the likes of Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham. Between Weeks 7 and 14, Stacy tallied 11 total carries for 44 yards.
After losing most of 2013 to injury, there were hopes that Doug Martin could regain the form that made him a fantasy star as a rookie in 2012. But almost from the beginning of the 2014 season, Martin was embroiled in a running back committee with Bobby Rainey. While Rainey wasn't anything great, he was better than Martin. Things got worse when Martin missed time with an injury only to find Charles Sims bucking for his job when he returned. 2012 seems like so long ago.
Spot Start of the Year
Plenty of fantasy managers were expecting big things from a Minnesota Vikings running back in 2014. Matt Asiata wasn't supposed to be that running back. However, the third-year rusher was no stranger to surprising people with big fantasy outings. He did exactly that in Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons with a 28-point day, thanks in large part to three rushing touchdowns. Through Week 15, that would constitute nearly one-quarter of Asiata's fantasy points. But if it helped you get an early-season win, does it really matter? Nope.
Joe Flacco isn't the type of quarterback that is going to earn "must start" status in fantasy circles. But you had to like his matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 6. Even still, no one liked it to the tune of five touchdowns -- in fewer than 16 game minutes. Flacco put on a passing clinic against the hapless Bucs secondary, leading the Ravens to a 35-0 lead in less time than it takes to watch an episode of "The Wire." That made it a little disappointing that he didn't throw another touchdown pass for the rest of the game, but c'mon ... after he gave you 32.24 point, you're just being greedy.
So many eyes had been on Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins starting the 2014 season. But midway through the season, our focus turned to another Clemson product -- Martavis Bryant. We were forced to sit up and pay really close attention when Bryant burned the New York Jets secondary for 143 yards and a touchdown on just four receptions. In a season that we thought Markus Wheaton would be the complement to Antonio Brown, it was Bryant that made us rethink everything ... at least for a few weeks.
Best Single Game Fantasy Performance
The fact that Ben Roethlisberger threw six touchdown passes in one game might have been enough to gain him entry to this category all by itself. But add to it that Big Ben came close to taking down Norm Van Brocklin's 63-year-old record for passing yards in a single game and the Steelers quarterback put together a fantasy peformance for the ages. Ben's 44.78-point day was so huge that when he followed up with another six passing touchdowns the next week, his 35.70 points seemed almost pedestrian.
Not to be outdone by his Pittsburgh teammate, Le'Veon Bell upped the ante in the latter part of the season. Bell accounted for 235 scrimmage yards (185 rushing), three touchdowns and 41.50 fantasy points in a blowout win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 14. That game capped a string of three straight contests with more than 200 scrimmage yards -- a feat that has only been accomplished one other time by Walter Payton in 1977.
There have been many, many times we've all been fooled by #Belitricks, but Week 11 might have been the trickiest trick of all. Little-used and even lesser-known Jonas Gray stepped into the Patriots backfield and had a night to remember. Gray ran over around and through the Colts defense for 201 yards, four touchdowns and 44.10 fantasy points. As for the rest of his season? Well, let's just say it hasn't been nearly as productive.
Waiver Wire Pickup of the Year
Fantasy Rookie of the Year
Best Fantasy Draft Bargains
That Helps No One Player of the Year
SAP Fantasy Player of the Year
To find out who wins the award for Fantasy Player of the Year, tune in to this year's NFL Honors to be aired on February 1, 2015!