Were you not entertained this season? Even if you did not make the playoffs or win your league Super Bowl this year, hopefully you had fun. After all, that is the point of fantasy football; to have fun (and maybe win a little money if you're in a money league). Unfortunately, I lost out in my lone Super Bowl appearance this year, as I was slayed by the Denver duo of Peyton Manning and Eric Decker. But it was fun none-the-less! Since there is only one week left in the regular season, that means most fantasy leagues (and certainly all standard leagues) will have finished and winners declared, since week 17 is the "fantasy wasteland" week that most leagues do not use. Every year it seems that the best teams that most of us have been utilizing for fantasy football rests their players to prepare for the playoffs. So instead of the usual projections, this week I'm going to take a look back on the fantasy season that was and see how our players fared in fantasy football in 2013. We'll also take a look at Frigga's accuracy in weekly calls and sit/start advice in the comments. But before we get to all that, let's take a look at the first inaugural Frigga's Fantasy Football Awards of Distinction for 2013.
Frigga's Fantasy Football Awards of Distinction
Highest Fantasy Points Per Game: Peyton Manning
This has been a record breaking year for Peyton Manning, and in fantasy football he's averaging 25.6 points per game. The next closest player is Drew Brees, and it's not close. Manning already has over 5,000 yards and has already set the single season passing record with 51 TDs with 1 more game to go. It's just obscene. He's also only 5 points away from breaking Aaron Rodgers single season fantasy record, set 2 years ago.
Best Single Game Score: Jamaal Charles vs Oakland Week 15
This was not only the greatest fantasy day in 2013, it was one of the best fantasy days in the history of the NFL. Jamaal Charles didn't do much on the ground, only getting 8 carries for 20 yards and a touchdown. But through the air the he caught all 8 of his targets for 195 yards and four touchdowns. This amounted to 51 standard fantasy points, 3rd most in NFL history since the merger.
Worst Single Game Score: Eli Manning vs Seattle Week 15
The same week that produced the best single game, also produced the worst. Eli Manning was truly awful against what is shaping up to be one of the best passing defenses in the history of the NFL. Manning completed only 18 of his 31 passes for 156 yards and 5 interceptions, en route to -4 fantasy points. You would have been better off not starting someone if you actually had Eli Manning on your starting roster. Geno Smith against Buffalo in week 11 is an honorable mention as he completed only 8 of 23 pass attempts for 103 yards and 3 interceptions. He also fumbled once en route to an equally bad -4 fantasy points.
Best Draft Day Value: Knowshon Moreno
Back in August nobody knew which Denver running back would emerge as the de facto starter. It was a toss-up between Ronnie Hillman, Knowshon Moreno and Monte Ball. But Moreno grabbed the reins of the starting job and never let go. His average draft position this year was 158th on average, or at the bottom of the 16th round in standard leagues. He was nothing more than a flier on draft day. But thanks to Peyton Manning and the high flying Denver defense, Moreno has been having an outstanding year in fantasy football, ranked as the 5th best running back this year having scored 208 total points. Alshon Jeffery as a 13th round pick is an honorable mention.
Worst Draft Day Value: Trent Richardson
There are a lot of possible choices here, but Richardson was the only top 10 pick who failed to reach 100 fantasy points who also didn't miss a single game all year. His average draft position was #8 overall, and his return on investment was absolutely dreadful. He scored more than 9 fantasy points only twice all year. Ray Rice and CJ Spiller are definitely honorable mentions, but Spiller has an injury excuse, and Rice at least managed several salvageable games in PPR leagues. There were also a metric ton of injuries to some other top draft picks in the league like Arian Foster, Doug Martin and David Wilson, but that doesn't make them poor draft choices. They were just unlucky. But Richardson takes the cake for being the single worst fantasy draft choice of 2013, so hopefully you avoided him in your fantasy leagues.
Minnesota Vikings in Fantasy
Our team's prospects in fantasy football can pretty much be summed up in one sentence. There was Adrian Peterson and not much else. But, let's take a look at our team by position anyway.
We've had three different starting quarterbacks this year, which makes it very difficult to compare across the league. But if you were to combine all of the performances from Ponder, Cassel and Freeman into one QB performance, they would have scored a combined 195 fantasy points for the Vikings, good enough to rank 18th best in the league, just behind Robert Griffen III, but ahead of Joe Flacco. Of the three options, Matt Cassel has the most average fantasy points per start at 14 (Ponder had 11.1). Cassel had both the best fantasy day of all the QB options (24 points) and the worst (1 point). None of the Vikings quarterbacks were reliable fantasy options, and in standard leagues were not really worth having on a roster. Maybe Matt Cassel could have served as a backup, bench option, but that's about it.
Adrian Peterson was the consensus #1 draft pick across all fantasy leagues, and for the most part he hasn't disappointed. While he's fallen short of his historic, MVP season last year, he still finished as the 6th best fantasy running back, despite missing 1 and a half games. And that is exactly what you want out of the #1 overall pick: a consistent top 10 option at whatever position he plays. It's true that most were hoping for a little bit better year, but Peterson still did very well this year in fantasy football. Toby Gerhart proved to be worth exactly nothing this year. As a handcuff he didn't record a single start, even though he did get most of the workload against Baltimore. But he likely wasn't started by anyone, and the one week that Peterson was definitely ruled out, Matt Asiata got the start instead (and did very well). If you got Peterson in your league, hopefully you were able to follow that up with some other excellent options.
The Vikings receivers were maddeningly inconsistent this year, as the passing game in general struggled for the 4th year in a row. With Matt Cassel at the helm recently, Greg Jennings has emerged as the highest scoring receiver in fantasy football for the Vikings, but that's not saying much. His 93 total points only ranks 39th in the league. Cordarrelle Patterson is close behind Jennings though, thanks to his 100+ rushing yards and pair of return touchdowns. Patterson has 87 total fantasy points on the year which was good enough to rank 46th, although as a receiver he is well behind Jennings in targets, receiving yards and receiving TDs. Jerome Simpson is not far behind Jennings in targets and yards, but with only one touchdown this year, he is well behind Jennings in total fantasy points. In short, Jennings and Patterson were worth having on your bench, but were barely flex-worthy plays most weeks. All other Vikings receivers were not worth having on a roster.
Kyle Rudolph was the 7th tight end off the board in fantasy drafts on average, but unfortunately due to injury he wasn't able to finish the year. But even before the injury, he was having a disappointing fantasy year. Rudolph was only averaging 5.6 fantasy points per game during the first 8 games of the year and had to deal with the bulk of the QB carousel. John Carlson got the start for Rudolph in week 9 and did an impressive job. While he wasn't able to out-produce Rudolph, there was almost no drop-off from Rudolph to Carlson as Carlson averaged 5.5 fantasy points per game in 6 starts. Unfortunately, Carlson also found his way to the IR list, and Chase Ford has gotten the start for the last 2 games. He hasn't done as well, but his opportunities have been limited. He managed 5 points in his first start (right on target with Rudolph and Carlson), but then took a back seat to Rhett Ellison last week and didn't record a single catch. Needless to say, the tight end position for Vikings has been a big disappointment in fantasy football this year.
Kicker and Defense/Special Teams
Blair Walsh was the 2nd kicker off the board in fantasy drafts this year after scoring as the best kicker in fantasy last year as a rookie. He had a rough start to the year, and played through an injured hamstring. But despite getting healthy, he just hasn't been as good as last year. He has only managed 124 fantasy points, good enough to rank as the 16th best kicker in fantasy. He simply hasn't been worth starting most weeks.
If Blair Walsh has been a disappointment this year, the Vikings D/ST unit has been even worse. They are on pace to allow the most points in franchise history, and have one of the worst secondaries in the history of the league. In fantasy football they only managed a truly pathetic 43 standard points in ESPN leagues, worst in the NFL. For context, the Chiefs and Seahawks were tied for most fantasy points at 177 a piece. There is almost no scoring format where it made sense to have the Vikings D/ST on any fantasy roster.
So, like I said at the outset, there was pretty much Adrian Peterson, and not much else this year in fantasy football. Maybe next year we'll have more viable Vikings options available to us for fantasy football.
I drew on Norse goddess Frigga's inspiration all year when making my overachiever and underachiever picks, and when offering sit/start advice in the comments section. I kept a running tally on my over and under achiever picks, and while I didn't make picks for every week of the season, for the 8 weeks that I made picks when the article series was on the front page, I was 9-7 for those weeks. Thanks to Frigga's inspiration I was 56.3% accurate.
My advice in the comments section was a little better. During the 8 weeks Frigga was on the front page, I offered 35 sit/start picks to curious readers. I got 23 of those picks right and was 65.7% accurate with those picks. I was 50% accurate or better at every position, except for running back (where I was 42.9% accurate). So if you used Frigga's advice from the comments section, hopefully it worked out for you!
Thanks for reading the Frigga's Fantasy Football articles this year, and you can bet I'll be back to discuss fantasy football next year too. If anyone has any special requests for the series for next year, let me know and I'll do my best to incorporate those requests into next year's articles. Remember, if you take my advice and it doesn't work out, don't blame me...blame Frigga!