We started bringing you in-season content for the first time in 2010 and found the response to be overwhelmingly positive.
One of my favorite regular columns this year was our “weekly aftermath,” where we reviewed the previous week and looked ahead to the next.
This column uses the same format to look back on an exciting season and look forward to the next, all with a dynasty flavor, of course.
2010 Fantasy MVP
In my mind, there are really only three candidates:
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriot
Word of his demise was greatly exaggerated. Brady was incredibly consistent, scoring in double figures in all 16 games played this year. His 3,900 yards aren’t incredible, but his 36 touchdowns against just four interceptions certainly are.
Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Nobody expected too much from Vick, barring an early season to Kevin Kolb. Crafty owners who had him stashed were rewarded greatly when Kolb went down early. Vick showed accuracy not many thought he could ever have by completing nearly 63% of his passes en route to 3,018 passing yards, 21 touchdowns and just six interceptions. When you add 676 rushing yards and another 9 touchdowns on the ground, you had one of the most dynamic fantasy weapons we’ve ever seen.
The injury concerns are always going to be there for Vick, and I wouldn’t argue with you if you wanted to sell high in a dynasty league, especially since he’s 30. However, this year finally showed us what we all thought we’d see when Vick came out of Virginia Tech nearly a decade ago.
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
Back in July, we were given the opportunity to talk about the Texans on Sports Radio KILT.
We said back then that whoever won the Texans' job was going to be a fantasy force this year. We liked Foster way back then, but certainly thought it was Ben Tate’s job to lose. When he got hurt, Foster went crazy. We won’t even begin to take credit for predicting Foster’s emergence, but we also didn’t fully drink the Kool-Aid on Tate, either.
Foster’s season of 1,616 rushing yards, 604 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns was incredible and led many an owner to a fantasy championship. He’s become an incredibly valuable dynasty league commodity and is a stark reminder of just how dangerous the rookie draft can be.
…and the winner is
In the end, those three players are the best candidates for MVP. However, the 2010 fantasy season will likely be remembered most for an unprecedented ride on the Vick experience.
2010 Fantasy LVP
Just as Foster, Brady and Vick brought titles for owners, some other players were destroying the hope for owners across the globe.
It’s really not fair to make someone an LVP based on season ending injuries, so we have to take out players like Tate, DeAngelo Williams, Frank Gore and Ryan Grant. That still leaves me with several good candidates.
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers
Yes, he had a nagging injury that hindered him, but owners expected more than 675 yards and 7 touchdowns. In addition, Mike Tolbert emerged as at least a short yardage option for the future, stunting the value of a player many thought could be a top-10 pick in future dynasty leagues.
Randy Moss, WR, New England Patriots/Minnesota Vikings/Tennessee Titans
Moss was still considered to be a fringe No. 1 WR going into the season, but this was an epic disaster. After pushing his way out of New England, then Minnesota, Moss finished the season on the Titans' bench. In the end, 28 receptions, 393 yards and five touchdowns equaled his worst fantasy season since his days in Oakland.
Moss still wants to play, but his value is at an all-time low.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Ending up with 1,137 yards and six touchdowns with the quarterbacks in Arizona is actually quite incredible. Unfortunately, that’s no consolation to owners who were relying on him to get 1,400 yards and double-digit touchdowns.
Brandon Marshall, WR, Miami Dolphins
Touted as the savior for the Dolphins, Marshall was a mess in 2010. He ended the season with a modest 1,014 yards and just three touchdowns. Making things worse for owners, more than 300 of those yards came in the last three weeks of the year when the fantasy season was nearly over.
Marshall was plagued by poor QB play as well, but his poor attitude starting shining through at the end of the season. He’s a high risk, high reward player going into next season.
Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets
After ripping through the playoffs last year, most (including me) thought Greene was going to be a serious breakout performer. His 766 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns didn’t deliver. I mean, really, how many fantasy owners thought Tim Tebow would have TRIPLE the rushing touchdowns of Greene?
Greene still has a lot of potential and LaDainian Tomlinson won’t be around much longer. I just wonder if Greene is ever going to show the ability to be “the guy” in New York.
Chris Wells, RB, Arizona Cardinals
He’s such a tease. You could have easily gone into the season with Greene and Wells thinking you have a dynamic, young 1-2 punch at running back. Turns out you had your sister punching instead of Mike Tyson.
Wells’ season of 397 rushing yards and two touchdowns was awful. Yes, he had the same problem at quarterback as Fitzgerald, but that was just horribly disappointing.
CJ Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills
Spiller was supposed to be a transcendent, electric new weapon for the Bills. Instead, he was a bit player who struggled to get on the field. His 440 combined yards were a far cry from what some owners expected.
There’s no doubt that Spiller has a ton of talent. It’s a fair question to ask if his upside is that of the high end of Reggie Bush at this point, though.
Brett Favre, QB, MIN
Oh boy, what a mess. After throwing for 4,202 yards and 33 touchdowns against just seven interceptions in 2009, Favre was talked into coming back to Minnesota.
I so wish he would have stayed home.
His 2010 season was one to forget after he posted 2,509 passing yards, with just 11 touchdowns and an obscene 15 interceptions. To make matters worse, he even had his consecutive games started streak snapped due to injury. Ugh.
…and the loser is
There were many more who could have been on this list, but I’ll give the trophy to Moss. If you were to tell me that Brady was going to throw for 36 touchdowns, I would have thought Moss would have had an MVP season. Instead, he’s my pick for LVP this year.
You probably won a championship if your lineup looked like this…
QB Michael Vick = 3,018 passing yards, 676 rushing yards, 30 total touchdowns
RB Arian Foster = 1,614 rushing yards, 604 receiving yards, 18 total touchdowns
RB Adrian Peterson = 1,298 rushing yards, 341 receiving yards, 13 touchdowns
RB Jamaal Charles = 1,467 rushing yards, 468 receiving yards, 8 touchdowns
WR Brandon Lloyd = 77 catches, 1,448 yards, 11 touchdowns
WR Dwayne Bowe = 72 catches, 1,162 yards, 15 touchdowns
WR Roddy White = 115 catches, 1,389 yards, 10 touchdowns
TE Jason Witten = 94 catches, 1,002 yards, 9 touchdowns
You probably jumped off a bridge if your lineup looked like this…
QB Brett Favre = 2,509 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, 15 interceptions
RB Ryan Mathews = 675 rushing yards, 7 touchdowns
RB Shonn Greene = 766 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns
RB Chris Wells = 397 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns
WR Randy Moss = 28 catches, 393 receiving yards, 5 touchdowns
WR TJ Houshmandzadeh = 30 catches, 398 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns
WR Chad Ochocinco = 67 catches, 831 receiving yards, 4 touchdowns
TE Visanthe Shiancoe = 47 catches, 530 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
Dynasty Gut Checks going into 2011
I’d be worried if…
I own Carson Palmer and/or Chad Ochocinco. While Ochocinco may get a change of scenery, his elite ability is eroding quickly with age. Palmer is just never going to be the same and his dynasty owners have to wonder what would have happened had he just opted for surgery a few years ago.
I own Bush in my dynasty league. He’s likely going to take a pay cut to stay in New Orleans, but color me skeptical that he can get back to even his already disappointing prime.
I have Mike Sims-Walker as a valuable player. He’ll be a free agent here shortly and his inconsistency is maddening. Even a change of scenery is unlikely to vault him above a No. 3 WR.
Roy Williams is on my roster. There’s no way he’s back in Dallas next season and no way he gets a job as a No. 1 WR ever again.
I’m building my dynasty team around Michael Turner. He had another fine season, but he turns 29 here in a few weeks. If you can find a taker for him this offseason, I’d consider it very seriously.
I’m targeting Brandon Lloyd as my future dynasty league No. 1 receiver. The list of 29 year-old wide receivers who blossom in their eighth season is short. The list of those who repeat it at 30 is shorter, especially when a new defensive minded head coach is brought in.
I have Hines Ward as a valuable contributor. He was passed on the passing hierarchy not only by Mike Wallace, but by Emmanuel Sanders late in the year as well.
I have Matthew Stafford as my future dynasty league quarterback. Stafford has proven to have talent, but major durability issues.
Reggie Wayne is at the core of my team. I’m not trading him away just yet, but his 143 yards and one touchdown combined the final four games has me a little worried for next season. He’ll turn 33 next season.
I’m hoping for a resurgence from Clinton Portis. Sorry, not happening.
I’m putting all my eggs in the Frank Gore basket. He was due for an injury and it happened last year. Is this an anomaly, or the start of a breakdown?
I have Anquan Boldin as one of my starters. Sporadic play by the Ravens' passing game resulted in a modest 837 yards and seven touchdowns this season.
I own Heath Miller. The emergence of Wallace wasn’t great for Miller. He turned into an unreliable player who posted just 512 yards and two touchdowns this season.
I have Antonio Gates in my league. He had an unbelievable start to the season, but how long is he going to be able to hold up?
I’m hoping for Pierre Thomas to become an elite back. His injury was coupled with a strong season from Chris Ivory. The Saints started questioning his toughness and that’s a very bad sign.
I have Marshall as my No. 1 receiver. There’s no questioning his talent, but the Miami quarterback situation doesn’t look good in the short term.
Greene is one of my centerpieces. It’s not good when you’re bumped out of a job by a 30-year-old running back coming off an awful season. I have major concerns for his future.
I own Fitzgerald. See Marshall, Brandon.
I’m hoping for Donald Brown to emerge in Indy. It’s just getting too late for him to carve out that role of featured back as many hoped he would.
I have hopes for Vince Young. The Titans owner has given up on him. You shouldn’t be far behind.
I hope for a repeat from Peyton Hillis. Look, he had a great season and should have another good one in 2011. Jamal Lewis did the same a few years ago in Cleveland, though. I just don’t have an incredible amount of faith in the Browns. Considering the regime change, the fact he didn’t score in his last five games and the return of Montario Hardesty, I have a hard time believing we didn’t see the ceiling from Hillis, not the floor.
I’m building around Spiller. Is he just going to be Reggie Bush East?
Waiver Wire Rewind
We had some great hits and some misses last year. Here are some of our highlights and lowlights of 2010.
Fifteen Pickups We Nailed
1. Mike Williams, WR, Seattle Seahawks (suggested add on July 3rd)
We really put ourselves out on a limb when we suggested Williams would be a super sleeper for 2011. We knew that we’d get a ton of comments saying we were crazy and being the first (and only) site to make this suggestion in the summer was risky. You could say it paid off.
2. Peyton Hillis, RB, Cleveland Browns (suggested add on September 6th)
Sure, every site out there suggested we add Hillis. However, how many did it BEFORE the season started when he was owned in 2.6% of leagues? We helped many owners win championships with this little nugget.
3. Mike Thomas, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars (suggested add on September 6th)
Thomas was another preseason gem we suggested. By the end of the year, he turned into a PPR machine and surpassed Sims-Walker on the depth chart.
4. Brandon Jackson, RB, Green Bay Packers (suggested add on September 6th)
Boy, this one was weird. We told owners to pick up Jackson before the season started and the rest is history! While he didn’t win too many people titles, the Grant injury made him a significant addition to teams. Read the post and it might give you some chills.
5. Deion Branch, WR, New England Patriots (suggested add on September 6th)
We thought Branch had a good chance of success in Seattle. Little did we know he’d turn into a great weapon for Brady once again in New England. He was owned in only 0.7% of leagues back then. That number went to nearly 100% by the end of the season.
6. Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (suggested add on September 6th)
While Freeman was on most dynasty rosters already, we wanted to reinforce how important he was to add. Unbelievably, he was only owned in 3.6% of leagues when we posted this. DLF junkies knew we loved him from a spotlight article we posted on June 20th. Freeman turned into a big-time fantasy player and possible No. 1 quarterback by season’s end.
7. Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles (suggested add on September 14th)
He was only owned in 3.6% of leagues when we suggested him, but that number grew big-time all week. We all know what happened.
8. Mark Clayton, WR, St. Louis Rams (suggested add on September 6th)
We were afraid of jumping the gun on this one, but posted it before he played a game for the Rams anyway. Boy, we sure are glad we did. While Clayton suffered a season ending injury, he did post 300 yards and two scores in his first four games, leading a few teams to some early wins.
9. Chris Ivory, RB, New Orleans Saints (suggested add on August 29th)
We first mentioned him on August 11th, but suggested to add him on August 29th. This was another preseason gem who rewarded DLF junkies. By the time most of the fantasy world caught onto him, it was too late. He has emerged as a player with a very bright future.
10. Brandon Lloyd, WR, Denver Broncos (suggested add on September 14th)
We didn’t mess around with Lloyd, either. While many sites figured his first game production was a fluke (he was owned in 0.2% of leagues at the time), we didn’t argue. Turned out OK, right?
11. Davone Bess, WR, Miami Dolphins (suggested add on September 14th)
Bess had a nice first outing and most thought it was just the start of another inconsistent season. Turns out, Bess was more reliable this season than Brandon Marshall.
12. Tony Moeaki, TE, Kansas City Chiefs, and Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars (suggested add on September 14th)
We suggested two tight ends after week one. One of them turned into a promising rookie. The other turned into one of the premier options in fantasy.
13. LeGarrette Blount, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (suggested add on September 28th)
We jumped on Blount after he recorded 26 yards in garbage time in week two. Savvy owners were rewarded with the best rookie rusher in fantasy this year.
14. Ryan Torain, RB, Washington Redskins (suggested add on September 28th)
We noticed Torain was second on the official Redskin depth chart. A few weeks later, he was churning out yards as the starter. A huge add for dynasty leaguers!
15. Steve Johnson, WR, Buffalo Bills (suggested add on October 5th)
Johnson exploded for 905 yards, and eight touchdowns AFTER we advised coaches to pick him up.
So, why are we putting dates on these? If you look back, you’ll see we were way ahead of the curve on most, if not all, of these players and many more. DLF veterans benefited from some great advice most of the time.
Ten Pickups We Missed On
1. Max Hall, QB, Arizona Cardinals
2. DeShawn Wynn, RB, New Orleans Saints
3. Earl Bennett, WR, Chicago Bears
4. Travis Beckhum, TE, New York Giants
5. Tiquan Underwood, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
6. Caleb Hanie, QB, Chicago Bears
7. Ben Patrick, TE, Arizona Cardinals
8. James Davis, RB, Cleveland Browns
9. Stephen McGee, QB, Dallas Cowboys
10. Roydell Williams, WR, Washington Redskins
Here at DLF, we have no problem pointing out those misses as well. Other sites usually don’t focus on their misses, and to us that just makes them unaccountable.
When you go back on the advice and suggestions we gave on the site this year, we’re really proud of what we accomplished for coaches out there…all for free! As a three-man operation, we’re happy to put our work out there against the best.
Other sites are out there tooting their own horns that they suggested adding Foster before the season started. We did too…BEFORE LAST SEASON. He was one of our favorite post-draft free agent additions, so he’s not on our list. That, in itself, shows an element of credibility we feel is unmatched in the industry.
No wonder coaches want to keep us a secret!