Can’t Spell MVP Without AP
It’s always a shame to see a saga come to an end, such as the final episode of M*A*S*H* or an Elizabeth Taylor marriage. Alas, that’s the point we’ve come to in the Fantasy Football Regular Season Awards.
The epitome of all awards has always been the most valuable player award. In any sport it is the pinnacle of excellence and achievement. Who had the best season, who meant most to his team, whose stats and contribution in a given sports year will resonate throughout the ages? Normally presenting an MVP award will start more debates than it will end.
This year is no exception. I’ve had many discussions about this year’s fantasy MVP. Some familiar names popped up such as Tom Brady ( 266.8 points in NFL.com leagues) and Drew Brees (257.56 points). Some new names surfaced as well such as Robert Griffin III (280.9 points) and a homecoming to the list in Peyton Manning (249.08 points).
In the end, it all came down to one man who stood apart from all his peers and competitors. One man who carried his fantasy owners while leaving all others in awe as he produced not only weekly highlight clips, but quarterly. It all came down to Adrian Peterson.
Every football fan remembers December 24, 2011 and seeing the clip over and over of Peterson tearing both is ACL and MCL in a win over the Washington Redskins. Yes, he tore BOTH of them. It would take nothing less than a miracle for Peterson to step foot on the field for week 1. There’s a reason however that Vikings fans in Minnesota call Adrian the “Purple Jesus”, because there he was running up and down the field against Jacksonville to the tune of 84 yards and 2 touchdowns. The 20.7 point performance came only 8 months after his horrible injury.
Peterson finished the year with 1,446 rushing yards/8 TDs/ 195 receiving yards. That comes out to 233.1 fantasy points. What makes his numbers even more astonishing was his performance down the stretch. Take for example week 9 at Seattle (193 total yrds/2TDs/ 33.30pts), week 10 against Detroit (176 total yrds/ 1 TD/ 29.60pts) and week 13 at Green Bay with fantasy playoff spots on the line (220 total yrds/ 1 TD/ 35pts). In his last six games of the fantasy season A.P. averaged an amazing 26.05 points. As I said in part one of this segment I normally hold it against running backs that they have a second backfield mate to fall back on in the event of a bad stretch, but Peterson just didn’t have a bad stretch.
With a draft average of 29.5, many owners took Peterson in the middle of the third round. Some were even hesitant to take him given the injury that seemed like it would slow any normal human being. Peterson is clearly an android from a science fiction movie given that he leads the NFL in yards after contact while running with a knee that seemed even the six-million dollar man couldn’t have had fixed.
Peterson will probably come up short in the NFL MVP voting due to the Vikings disappointing season, but he’s the victor in fantasy leagues. It just goes to show that much like reality, fantasy can be impossible to predict. Whether it be Andrew Luck-y enough to draft the steal, getting stuck with a LeSean McBust at running back, or anything in between, it’s why we play the games. It’s why we read the “experts” magazines and study the numbers and play the match ups. It’s why Giants fans cheer for rival Tony Romo to throw TD’s and why Packers fans keep rooting for Peterson to find pay-dirt.
I’m sure there are those that will disagree with my choices in these awards and that’s fine. That’s the beauty of sports and fantasy leagues. Long after the game has ended the talk and debates will rage on. They will go on for days, weeks, and even years. I look forward to having these discussions with my two boys as they grow and eventually telling them what every father loves telling his children about sports debates…that daddy was right all along.