Dominic Petrillo @Envisionff
Year End Awards
Alright. The 2018 fantasy season has come to an end. So, let us figure out who the MVP and LVP are at each position.
These are not specifically the players who have scored the most points at their position, but instead, we will also make it relative to their draft position. In other words, Todd Gurley will not be the MVP for running backs just because he had the most points. He was drafted at 1.01 for a reason after all.
Patrick Mahomes – This one is going to be short. He was undrafted in most leagues and finished with over 5,000 pass yards and 50 touchdowns as basically a rookie. Enough Said.
James Conner – Despite the way he finished the season by costing his owners their leagues, myself included, James Conner still deserves this based on his season in replacement of Le’Veon Bell to such an extent, the Steelers never even considered caving in contract talks.
In 13 games, Conner ran the ball 215 times for 973 yards and 12 touchdowns while adding an additional touchdown and 497 yards on 55 receptions through the air.
The Steelers will come back in 2019 even stronger and hungry to get back to the playoffs in what could be the final season with the core of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Mike Tomlin and Conner will be a big part of the success if, in fact, it does return to the team.
Davante Adams – In a down season for Aaron Rodgers in which he only tossed 25 touchdowns, 13 of those went to Adams on 111 receptions on which he amassed 1,387 receiving yards. This was on a team who was sorely missing a second receiver for major portions of the season with injuries to Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison and an extremely subpar first season from Jimmy Graham in which he had less than 700 yards.
With Jordy Nelson out of the way and Randall Cobb all but gone this offseason, let the hype train begin for Adams going into next season. A season which he could very well be the number one receiver drafted ahead of Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and Odell Beckham Jr. If Aaron Rodgers comes back to form, and he will, the numbers Davante Adams could product in 2019 could be massive.
Zach Ertz – For a dumpster fire of a position this may have been the hardest award to give. While many players disappointed there were three big standouts in Ertz, Travis Kelce and George Kittle. I went with Ertz for the fact he broke the single-season reception record for tight ends which merits some recognition.
116 receptions for 1,163 yards and eight touchdowns is an incredible season by any measure. The fact he does so with two different quarterbacks and defenses knowing he was the man you need to stop only makes his season all the more exceptional. With injuries to Alshon Jeffery and Carson Wentz and the defense having major struggles, Ertz led Philadelphia to the playoffs by building the connection with not only Wentz but especially with Nick Foles down the stretch.
He has taken the leap into the elite tight end category, replacing Rob Gronkowski in what has become a two-man tier with Kelce and he should be drafted as either the number one or number two tight end in 2019 and possibly many more seasons.
Tom Brady – You can blame his down season on the fact Julian Edelman was suspended for the first four games or the departure of Brandin Cooks to the Rams. You could do this, but you would be wrong. Tom Brady was bad this season. He was not even a top 12 quarterback in leagues and he has made weapons out of much worse in New England than what he worked within 2018.
Whether he is finally falling off the proverbial cliff or not is up for debate but one this is for sure. He should be avoided in early rounds of drafts in 2019. Many quarterbacks have surpassed him for fantasy relevance and he should be closer to a top 10 player at the position than a top three.
Leonard Fournette – Originally there was a different player who garnered this award but at the last minute, I decided to give it to Fournette for a few reasons.
First, he was bad. Even when he was on the field and not milking his injury for eight weeks, he was not good. He finished with less rushing yards than T.J. Yeldon and he still cannot be trusted to stay on the field. Whether it be the cold weather or a minor injury, Fournette is not a tough player and this is the same type of behavior seen from him at LSU which led me to not like him coming into the NFL or in his first two seasons.
The second thing, and to show how much of an issue he is. He might actually be basically kicked off the Jaguars. The Jaguars folks. Do you realize how much of an issue you need to be to get kicked off a team like Jacksonville? His guaranteed money has already been nullified by his fighting on the field and this is the exact type of player which makes it necessary to have personal conduct policies in place in contracts.
I am not going to call him a bust yet, but he is headed in this direction very quickly and this season was just the first step. Let’s hope he figures it out before 2019 and can get back on track. Not only for our fantasy teams but more importantly, for himself.
Jarvis Landry – After three season in which he had over 105 receptions including a league-leading 107 in 2017 having only 81 this season is a letdown. 976 yards is not to bad for a slot receiver as his 12 yards per reception average is a full 1.5 yards higher than his career average but his only four touchdowns are not what the Browns were looking for when they signed him to his massive contract.
Coming down the stretch of the season with Baker Mayfield at quarterback there were more players getting more and better looks than Landry. The likes of Ricardo Higgins, Antonio Callaway, and David Njoku, not to mention the run game with Nick Chubb will make it even more difficult for Landry to regain his 100-reception seasons of the past in the future with Cleveland.
Coming into the 2019 draft, he will still be taken as the number one receiver with the Browns and he should be, but he should not be taken in the fourth round like he was in 2018. He is more in the sixth to seventh round territory at this point and would make a great wide receiver three or flex.
Rob Gronkowski – As hard as it was to choose the best tight end, this one just as easy of a decision. The number one tight end taken off the draft board including in the first round in many cases, Gronkowski was a terror this season. Not a terror for opposing teams like normal but instead for his owners in what could be his final NFL season. While the feeling is Tom Brady will convince him to come back for another season in 2019, especially after the show Gronkowski put on in the preseason about Brady being his quarterback, what can be expected from him in a return? At this point, it does not seem like much. He was oft-injured again this season and going into next year in his age 30 season, he will be lucky to retain a top five spot at the tight end position. If he does come back and play, there will be fantasy players who draft him high yet again. Don’t be one of the players who makes this mistake and instead take a shot on someone like David Njoku or Hunter Henry with much higher upside at this point in time.