The 2012 fantasy football season has come to a close and we turn to our fantasy guru, James Morris, for a look back at some of the players who helped lead many fantasy football owners to championships in 2012.
2012 Fantasy Football Year In Review by James Morris
Well Dolphins fans, the 2012 NFL Fantasy Football season has officially come to a close. The draft came and gone; the season came and went; the playoffs started and finished; and now, you are either the league champion (more than a few of you are by your social media and email messages) or you learned the hard way that 2nd place is just the first loser.
In the final article for this season I will take a look back at some of the highlights from around the league in 2012. We’ll honor the guys who stood out and either solidified their name in the minds of fantasy football fans, or made a name for themselves and will never be allowed to slip to the final rounds of the fantasy draft. So, without further ado, let’s talk some fantasy football one last time this season!
Fantasy stars that came through in 2012
Cam Newton – QB Panthers: All we heard about this season was how Newton had regressed and wasn’t taking the steps forward we needed to see from him. His QB rating is up to an 86.2 (up from 84.5 last season), he finished with 182 fewer passing yards than last season, 35 more rushing yards, 2 fewer passing TDs, but 5 fewer INTs than he did last season. The only real measurable stat that he got worse in was in fumbles (10 this year, up from 5 last year) and rushing TDs (14 last year, 8 this year). In fantasy terms, he finishes the season as the #4 ranked QB in NFL.com scoring, which is EXACTLY where he finished last season! Cam I Am was the #3 ranked QB in my pre-season draft rankings, so hopefully you picked him and rode him all the way like I did.
Robert Griffin III – QB Redskins: If RGIII doesn’t win the ROY award, it will be a travesty! The Redskins finished the season 10-6 right now, they won their division, and RGIII has thrown just 5 INTs to Andrew Luck’s 18. Griffin’s 27 total TDs, 3,200 yards passing and 815 yards rushing were good enough to put him in the #5 spot for fantasy QBs this season, and that is ahead of stud QBs like Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford, Eli Manning and the aforementioned Luck. #RGIII4ROY
Adrian Peterson – RB Vikings: AP was someone that I avoided drafting because I wasn’t sure how his knee would respond after tearing it up in 2011.All he did to prove me wrong was run for 2,097 yards, haul in 40 passes for 217 yards and score 13 TDs this season. Oh, and to add insult to my ego, he also finished #1 in NFL.com PPR scoring this season with 314.30 fantasy points (FP), his highest total since 2009. If Peterson isn’t the comeback player of the year given, I don’t know who is. The talent he has surrounding him is horrible, and the man still finds ways to make people miss and rack up almost 2,100 yards!
Doug Martin – RB Buccaneers: Martin was someone not many people put in their top 10 for fantasy RBs heading into the draft, but he showed us that was a mistake more than once this season. Martin rumbled his way to 1,454 rushing yards, caught 49 passes for 472 receiving yards, and scored 12 total TDs this season on his way to the #2 spot in NFL.com PPR scoring. Martin is sure to be taken in first part of the 1st round next season; so if you want him, be ready to lay down your first overall pick for him.
Reggie Bush – RB Dolphins: Bush entered the pre-season with a rank of 43 by NFL.com, and he finished with a rank of #43 at season’s end. Bush did exactly what we thought he would do, despite the bumps in the road along the way. He finished with 986 yards rushing, 35 catches for 292 yards and 8 total TDs this season. Bush is a bit of a sleeper since he is a top 50 NFL player (in fantasy terms), yet he isn’t talked about as much by the big-box websites. He is a great value pick heading into next season if he stays in Miami.
A.J. Green – WR Bengals: Green was already a stud heading into the draft, but I don’t think people around the NFL considered him one by the way they talk about him. What amazes me more is how you can be a stud at the WR position, and have your QB just be above average. Anyway, Green racked up 97 catches for 1,350 yards and 11 TDs, good enough for a #3 ranking in NFL.com PPR scoring.
Tony Gonzalez – TE Falcons: At the age of 36, I don’t think anyone expected Gonzalez to finish atop of the fantasy football rankings for TE this season. Gonzalez was taken at the top of round 9 and returned back top-end 4th round value to his owners. I want to mention once again that I traded Larry Fitzgerald for Gonzalez in one of my pro leagues on NFL.com this season. Even the good owners sometimes make bad decisions, and I will be happy to be there and scoop up your mistakes on my way to a league title!
Chicago Bears defense: Even though the Bears are an old defense, they showed this season that experience and skill can and will overcome youth and athleticism. The Bears led the league with 24 INTs and 10 defensive TDs. They are #2 in the NFL with 20 recovered fumbles and #8 with 41 sacks (The Dolphins were #7 with 42 sacks). Chris Da’ Bears Fan got to finally have something to brag about when it comes to the Chicago Bears fantasy players.
Already good players that performed at a star level
Matt Ryan – QB Falcons: Ryan was far from an unknown before the season started, but quarterback is not a typical position for a true sleeper to succeed. However, if you remember, I said in the pre-season that “Matty Ice is a value pick at #10, and could be worth even more.” He was taken on average as the 10th QB off the board, and he finished as the #6 ranked QB in NFL.com scoring.
Russell Wilson – QB Seahawks: Wilson wasn’t someone that very many people drafted this season (roughly 8 percent), but he finished as the 11th ranked QB in NFL.com scoring. His 3,118 passing yards, 489 rushing yards, 30 total TDs and 10 INTs were a pleasant surprise off the waiver wire, and he gives Seahawks fans something to look forward to if the team upgrades his WRs and TEs this off-season.
Andy Dalton – QB Bengals: Dalton has to be the Rodney Dangerfield of fantasy football with regards to respect. The man finished 12th in QB rankings on NFL.com, but was started in just 18.4 percent of their leagues. His 27 passing TDs ranked him 8th in the NFL, and his 31 total TDs tied him for 5th this season at the QB position. Dalton is a fantasy starter, but is viewed as a back-up, which means he is an AMAZING value pick in the draft in the 13th round (his draft position this season on average).
C.J. Spiller – RB Bills: With Fred Jackson holding down the starting spot in Buffalo, Spiller was drafted in around 35 percent of fantasy leagues. After he exploded for 169 yards and a TD in week 1, he never looked back and finished ranked #7 in NFL.com PPR scoring thanks to his 1,244 rushing yards, 43 catches for 459 receiving yards and 8 TDs this season.
Alfred Morris – RB Redskins: Morris was drafted in just 4 percent of fantasy leagues and entered the pre-season in a back-up role for the Redskins. But, he quickly took control of the touches and finished with 1,413 yards on the ground and scored 10 TDs. He is virtually non-existent in the passing game (9 catches for 65 yards this season), so his value takes a hit in PPR leagues.
Brian Hartline – WR Dolphins: Hartline wasn’t exactly a known quantity outside of Miami when the season started, but he sure made a name for himself as the Dolphins leading WR. Hartline finished with 74 catches for 1,083 yards and a TD this season. With Ryan Tannehill looking promising at the QB position, the future is bright for Hartline in the years ahead.
Brandon Myers – TE Raiders: Myers really didn’t come into the fantasy spotlight until he exploded for 14 catches, 130 yards and a TD in week 13. But, before that he was a steady fantasy producer with 55 receptions, 591 yards and 3 TDs. But, after that week 13 game teams started keying in on him and he has just 10 catches for 85 yards in the following 3 games. Myers won’t enter next season as a TE1, but you can’t ignore him as a back-up after his stats this season.
San Diego Chargers defense: Did you know that the Chargers finished ranked #8 in NFL.com defense this season, despite being owned in just 16.1 percent of their leagues? Their 153 FP is just two points behind the 49ers, who are considered one of the NFL’s top defenses. They were a sleeper defense that too many people ignored because of their offensive struggles.
Cameron Wake – LB, DE Dolphins: We can’t forget about our IDP stud in Wake! He was able to rack up 38 solo tackles, 15 assisted tackles, 15 sacks and 3 forced fumbles this season. Wake will be starting at the 2013 Pro Bowl, and showed the NFL that he is a rising star!
There you have it Dolphins fans, the 2012 fantasy football season wrap-up. It was a great season and I always have fun talking fantasy (and regular) football with my NFL fans from around the country. Dolphins fans are amazing to talk to because of the rich and storied history of this franchise, and the pride they have is beyond reproach. It won’t be long before we are mentioning guys like Ryan Tannehill when talking about playoff caliber QBs around the NFL!
For off-season fantasy football news, be sure to follow James on Twitter here.
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