Championship week fantasy football MVPs, LVPs, early 2014 top 50
Another fantasy football season has come and gone, and that can only mean one thing: It's time to start thinking about 2014. Before we get to that, however, let's hand out some championship game hardware.
Fantasy Bowl MVPs
• Peyton Manning: Manning dominated all season long, so why would fantasy championship week be any different? He capped a season for the ages, throwing for 400 yards and four touchdowns in Denver's 37-13 win over Houston. He is now the recordholder for most touchdown passes in a single season, with his 51 breaking a record set by Tom Brady in 2007. He's up to 5,211 yards on the year, just 265 behind Drew Brees' record, though Manning may not get a chance at that one now that the Broncos have clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Given the season Manning had, it's safe to say that he was one of the most widely owned players among people in fantasy championship games. After getting them to the championship, Manning most likely helped them win it, as well.
• Andy Dalton: There was no doubt that anyone who owned Manning was starting him this and every week. Not all players earn that distinction, but some can take advantage of great matchups, be it Week 1 or Week 16. Dalton did just that on Sunday, and if you were able to anticipate him exploiting the terrible Minnesota defense, you have a great chance to pop the champagne this week.
Dalton threw for 366 yards, 9.6 yards per attempt and four touchdowns in a 42-14 win over the Vikings. Coming into the game, Minnesota had allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season. That made Dalton a great play for opportunistic owners who weren't tied to a bigger name. He also helped make a fantasy star out of A.J. Green, who had seven catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns. It's hard to lose when you get 30-plus points out of one player, like Dalton gave his owners this week. That makes him fantasy championship MVP 1a behind Manning.
• DeMarco Murray: In their crushing loss to the Packers last week, the Cowboys abandoned Murray and the run game, despite the fact that the run was largely responsible for staking them to a 26-3 lead at halftime. They rectified that against Washington this week, feeding Murray 22 times. He turned that into 96 yards and a touchdown, and caught three passes for 15 yards and another score, giving his owners 23.1 points in standard-scoring leagues.
Murray has stayed mostly healthy this year, and it has resulted in the best season of his three-year career. He's up to 1,073 rushing yards, 311 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns on the year. He was generally drafted as an RB2, coming off the board in the third or fourth round of most drafts. Four months later, he's one of our three championship game MVPs.
Fantasy Bowl LVPs
• Drew Brees: Brees has been a different quarterback away from New Orleans all year. In his seven games at home, he has a completion percentage of 73.2 percent, 2,454 yards, 23 touchdowns and three interceptions. Heading into Sunday's game at Carolina, his completion percentage was just 63.3 percent, and he had 2,046 yards, 11 touchdowns and seven picks. It was nearly impossible for his owners to bench him because, after all, he's Drew Brees. At this point, they may wish they had.
Brees threw for 281 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, scoring just 12.14 points in standard-scoring leagues. In his first 14 games this year, he averaged 21.8 points per game. When one of your best players puts up just barely more than 50 percent of his season average, it is awfully hard to win. Like Peyton Manning, Brees did a great job getting his owners to the championship game this year. Unlike Manning, he fell way short in Week 16.
• Adrian Peterson: Peterson's owners undoubtedly were thrilled by the news that he would play on Sunday after missing last week's game because of a foot injury. He had a tough matchup with the Bengals, but we're talking about Adrian Peterson. He rolls out of bed an RB1.
Peterson's owners might now wish that they stayed in bed rather than waking up to find out that Peterson would start for the Vikings. He picked up just 45 yards on 11 carries and caught one pass for two yards, posting 4.7 points in standard-scoring leagues. Not only was he not an RB1 in Week 16, he wasn't an RB3. Of course, it wasn't exactly his fault. The Bengals jumped out to a 28-7 lead by halftime, forcing the Vikings to go away from the run to try to get back into the game. As expected, Peterson has a huge fantasy weapon throughout the regular season. If you own him, though, you likely did not hoist a championship trophy this season.
And now for our way-too-early 2014 Top 50:
1. Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
2. Matt Forte, RB, Chicago Bears
3. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
4. LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
5. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions
6. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle Seahawks
7. Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos
8. DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys
9. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
10. Brandon Marshall, WR, Chicago Bears
11. Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins
12. Jimmy Graham, TE, New Orleans Saints
13. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
14. Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns
15. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
16. Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers
17. Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos
18. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
19. Reggie Bush, RB, Detroit Lions
20. Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
21. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
22. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
23. Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans
24. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Chicago Bears
25. Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
26. Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams
27. Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
28. Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
29. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
30. Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
31. Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore Ravens
32. Pierre Garcon, WR, Washington Redskins
33. Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers
34. Shane Vereen, RB, New England Patriots
35. Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers
36. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver Broncos
37. Nick Foles, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
38. Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers
39. Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona Cardinals
40. C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills
41. Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
42. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
43. Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans
44. Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots
45. Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco 49ers
46. Percy Harvin, WR, Seattle Seahawks
47. DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
48. Frank Gore, RB San Francisco 49ers
49. Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants
50. Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos