Outside of counting up and spending your winnings, the best thing about the end of the Fantasy Football season is looking back and judging. While the 2012 Fantasy Football Awards officially mean very little, it’s always nice to look back before you look forward. And in keeper leagues, it’s always nice to taunt fellow owners by pointing out your award-winning players in the offseason.
Over the next week, I’ll be announcing all of the 2012 Fantasy Football Award winners, including Fantasy Rookie of the Year, Fantasy Breakout Player of the Year, Fantasy Bust of the Year, Fantasy Waiver-Wire Wonderboy, and Fantasy Comeback Player of the Year.
2012 Fantasy Football Awards
2012 Fantasy Football MVP – LaDainian Tomlinson Trophy
This award means different things to different people. For me, it means the player that meant more to his Fantasy owners than any other player. It could be the top overall pick, and it could be a 10th-rounder. Either way, Fantasy teams that owned the Fantasy Player of the Year usually found themselves high in the standings by Week 13.
Our Fantasy Football MVP trophy is named after LaDainian Tomlinson, who was one of the most dominant Fantasy players in NFL history. In 2006, Tomlinson rushed for 1,815 yards, and 28 touchdowns, with 56 receptions for 508 yards and three touchdowns for a total of 429 Fantasy points. That’s considered the greatest Fantasy season by any player (Tom Brady scored more in 2007, but his Fantasy value at quarterback was less valuable than L.T. at running back.)
2012 Fantasy Football MVP Nominees
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
5,177 passing yards, 43 passing TDs, 19 INT, 1 rushing TD
After a tumultuous offseason that had many Fantasy owners, including myself, a little leery of drafting him too early because of uncertainty surrounding his team, Brees went out and outscored every Fantasy Football player in the NFL. Over the past two seasons, he has thrown for an NFL high 10,653 yards, with 89 touchdown passes.
Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts
4,659 passing yards, 37 passing TDs, 11 INT
After scoring zero Fantasy points in 2011, due to several surgeries on his neck, Manning became the biggest free agent in NFL history, just ahead of DE Reggie White in the early ‘90s. Manning quickly shook off the rust, and by midseason, he proved he was a top-five Fantasy quarterback once again. He finished with nine weeks in which he threw three touchdown passes, and he scored over 25 Fantasy points in seven weeks. The fact that he was selected so late in many drafts means a little more in this case.
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans
1,424 rushing yards, 15 rushing TDs, 40 rec., 217 rec. yards, 2 rec. TDs
The consensus No. 1 overall pick in most Fantasy leagues, Foster had a lot to live up to. Only five running backs selected No. 1 in the previous 10 years ended up as the top scoring running back — and Foster did not become the sixth in 11 years. But — he did improve on a great 2011 season, and he’ll be in the mix for the No. 1 overall pick for 2013.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
2,097 rushing yards, 12 rushing TDs, 40 rec., 217 rec. yds, 1 rec. TD
No player entered the season as big of a draft risk than MVPeterson. Fantasy Football owners were drafting him as high as the second round, just seven or so months removed from his torn ACL injury in the 2011 season. He not only had the best season of his career, he also rushed for 2,000 yards, and came up nine yards short of the NFL single-season rushing record.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions
122 receptions, 1,964 rec. yards, 5 rec. TDs
While it’s true, the top wide receiver drafted in 2012 Fantasy Football leagues only had five receiving touchdowns this season, it’s tough to argue against a guy that set the NFL record for receiving yards in a season. He finished with 11 100-yard receiving games, and four 150-yard games. His Fantasy owners that reached the playoffs were more than happy with the 31 catches for 464 receiving yards in Weeks 14-16.
And the winner is …
2012 Fantasy Football Player of the Year: Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota
Peterson started the season relatively slow, with two touchdowns and just one 100-yard game, in his first six weeks. But he finished the final 100 games with nine 100-yard games, seven 150-yard games, and 11 touchdowns. Not only did he help Fantasy Football owners get into the playoffs, but between Weeks 14-16, he rushed for 452 yards and three touchdowns.
This is one of the easiest 2012 Fantasy Football Awards selections. There’s very little doubt that this third-round pick coming off a knee injury is going to be a No. 1 pick in many leagues next season, and he’s well deserving of the 2012 Fantasy Football Player of the Year.
Stay tuned all week as we hand out all of the 2012 Fantasy Football Awards, including Fantasy Rookie of the Year, Fantasy Breakout Player of the Year, Fantasy Bust of the Year, Fantasy Waiver-Wire Wonderboy, and Fantasy Comeback Player of the Year.
David Gonos spent 5 years as a CBSSports.com Senior Fantasy Writer and three more years writing with SI.com. Over the past 17 years, his work has been published on NFL.com, MLB.com, FanDuel, FoxSports.com and USA Today. Since 2001, he has been tracking down the Top 50-plus Free Fantasy Football Draft Tools online. You can contact David Gonos here.