Yep, the season has concluded. I know, it’s terrible. Heck you may even think that the Super Bowl failed to live up to the hype.
Well, my friend, don’t fret, it’ll be here next year. That’s right, no lockout here. And hey, the NBA is going right now. If you don’t like the NBA, spring training is starting up real soon. If you don’t like baseball, well, I think you’ll be just fine after all.
It was a crazy season, folks. It was chock full of surprises like we figured it to be. However, I don’t think anyone expected the 49ers and Bengals to be where they are. I’m not sure anyone predicted Matthew Stafford to play quite this well either, but here we are.
Let’s get down to business and hand out the coveted Fantasy Guideline Awards that we’ve all been waiting for.
Brandon Berg – Drew Brees
I was very tempted to go with the highly praised Aaron Rodgers, but let’s face it. The dude threw just as many TD’s as Rodgers and almost 1000 more yards. People may argue that Rodgers’ team fared better in the regular season, but look at the pieces around him. Jermichael Finley, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, Donald Driver (yes, still) and Randall Cobb are all great targets. Brees has an oft-injured Colston, Jimmy Graham and Darren Sproles as his top three receivers. Everybody else got plenty yards as well, but when you’re tossing for over 5500, everybody’s going to get their share. Even after that, just simply look at Dan Marino’s passing record that Brees broke. There’s no denying that Rodgers had a great season, but Brees deserves a little more respect than what he’s gotten.
Caleb Parkinson – Tom Brady
How do you throw 5,235 yards on a completion percentage over 65% without being a total stud? – You don’t. Tom Terrific also landed 39 touchdown passes to only 12 picks with Ochocinco doing pretty close to nothing. Let’s be honest here, who else would have won the AFC championship with that defense?
Offensive Player of the Year
Brandon Berg – Aaron Rodgers
I believe the two main things that warranted Rodgers the MVP this year was his low interception count (6), which is phenomenal by the way, and his team’s 15-1 record. I don’t feel that in this particular year that it warranted an MVP, but this seems like a pretty solid consolation prize. It’s hard to leave him out of an awards article.
Caleb Parkinson – Arian Foster
In only 13 games played this guy rushed for 1,224 yards and 10 touchdowns and received 53 catches for 617 yards and 2 touchdowns. This guy cuts like a knife and is in my opinion the single most dangerous offensive weapon in the quarterback-driven NFL of today. He is a superior pass-catching threat out of the backfield, and I haven’t seen cutting ability like this since…never.
Defensive Player of the Year
Brandon Berg – Jared Allen
I would love to go for Justin Smith here, because he was a force to be reckoned with this year, but I can’t. Jared Allen went for 22 sacks on a hapless Minnesota Vikings team. After playing for the Chiefs to start his career and now the Vikings, I hope for his sake that he eventually ends up on a winner and wins something. I mean, come on, what’s not to love about this guy?
Caleb Parkinson – Jason Pierre-Paul
In just his second NFL season Jason Pierre- Paul accumulated 86 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 1 safety, 6 swatted passes, and 16.5 sacks. Not to mention the 2 balls he swatted in the Super Bowl, because that didn’t affect my vote at all. – wink.
NFC Offensive Rookie of the Year
Brandon Berg – Cam Newton
Cam Newton is Michael Vick 2.0. He can throw better, he’s bigger and stronger. He ran for over 700 this year and is hurting the guys trying to tackle him. We don’t have to worry about durability issues or any of that crap. Well, not yet anyways. Cam is going to have a long career in this league after throwing for 4000 as a rookie.
Caleb Parkinson – Cam Newton
Okay, so 21 passing touchdowns to 17 interceptions isn’t great, but just about everything else he did in 2011 was great, maybe even super? In his rookie season, the 22 year-old QB threw 4,051 yards along with a respectable 60.0 % completion rate. Oh by the way, he also broke the QB touchdown rushing record by taking it in the end zone 14 times on 706 yards rushing and even caught a 27-yard pass for good measure. Cam still has some developing to do as a passer, but I believe he will continue to improve right on schedule because he can make things that should be hard look relatively easy. Newton’s law – have a great work ethic and then have fun showing off in the end zone on Sundays. So go ahead and open up that shirt Mr. Newton, you had a super rookie season.
NFC Defensive Rookie of the Year
Brandon Berg – Aldon Smith
I simply can’t give it to anyone else after he shredded the league by posting 14 sacks in his rookie campaign. Navarro Bowman, Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks make for the scariest linebacking corps I have ever seen. As we saw the 49ers go 13-3 this year while reaching the conference championship game, I can’t help but wonder how they would’ve fared without Smith and his 14 sacks. I’ll spare you the math and let you know he was the difference between winning and losing a couple games.
Caleb Parkinson – Patrick Peterson
Okay, so this guy is probably not as deserving of this award in many people’s opinions as 49er’s linebacker Aldon Smith, and I am not here to argue that. But I am sure my friend Brandon will pick him so let me pick the guy who I believe was the most explosive rookie. I know Peterson only had 1 sack and 2 interceptions, but the four touchdowns he had were absolute game-changers and 64 tackles for a rookie corner is nothing to snooze at.
AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year
Brandon Berg – Andy Dalton
Many people may favor A.J. Green, and that’s understandable. However, Dalton came in and put up extraordinary numbers for a rookie with an average supporting cast. Green was a weapon and bailed him out, but he threw for almost 3400 yards with a poor running game and despite the Bengals losing their top two receivers from the previous season in Owens and Ochocinco ( It was nice to see them play so well this year. Ahahah.)
Caleb Parkinson – A.J. Green
In his rookie season with a rookie quarterback and a mediocre Cincinnati running-game, A.J. Green immediately became one of the most difficult receivers to man-up on in the entire AFC. In just 15 games played A.J. received 1,057 yards and 7 touchdowns. I expect more great things from this young man as he and rookie QB Andy Dalton continue to develop.
AFC Defensive Rookie of the Year
Brandon Berg – Von Miller
Not many other places I could go here. I suppose Jabaal Sheard of the Browns or Ryan Kerrigan of the Redskins would be decent choices, but nobody was as disruptive as Von Miller. The moment he stepped onto the NFL playing field, he was an immediate star and difference maker. cxxNot only was he a difference maker, but he did so while fighting through injuries.
Caleb Parkinson – Von Miller
This young man was a key element in the Denver defense that basically carried their team all the way to the divisional round of the playoffs. Miller had 11.5 sacks in just 14 games played, and was relatively healthy for only about 11 of them. Hopefully for the Broncos sake, he can start staying healthy because he is an absolute stud.
Most Surprising Team
Brandon Berg – Denver Broncos
This team had the makings of a 2-4 win team. Everything was falling apart at the seams as the season started, but then in stepped Tim Tebow and the defense glued itself together, they came on to win many games down the stretch. I know the 49ers were outstanding, but the Broncos were as well.
Caleb Parkinson – San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers were 13-3 this year and ran away with their division with a month left to the season. Their defense was nothing short of outstanding, giving up just one rushing touchdown and sporting a turnover ratio of +28. – That’s bananas! Anyone who claims to have predicted these things for the Niners this season is an absolute liar.
Most Disappointing Team
Brandon Berg – San Diego Chargers
I know I’m probably not taking the optimal choice, but Caleb for sure will in this one. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t make the Chargers’ 2012 campaign any better. The division was won by an 8-8 team this year, which is pathetic. Phillip Rivers blew a couple games for them and a supposedly stout defense took a major step backwards. The Chargers should’ve gone 12-4 and taking the division by a landslide, but instead spent their time watching the playoffs from the comfort of their couch.
Caleb Parkinson – Philadelphia Eagles
That’s a whole lot of money to pay three cornerbacks just so they could lose eight of their first twelve games.
Coach of the Year
Brandon Berg – Jim Harbaugh
There’s no way around it. He took over a poor team and turned them into a powerhouse this year by transforming a 6 win team into a 13 win team. It’s hard to overlook that.
Caleb Parkinson – Jim Harbaugh
For all the same reasons the 49ers were the most surprising team. PLUS, Alex Smith didn’t suck. In fact, he was actually pretty good. Reason – Harbaugh. Who you think recruited Andrew Luck to Stanford? This guy knows quarterbacks, and knows defenses. Those are two great things to be good at in this league.