Oct 14, 2008
I was going through some old strategy columns and came across this interesting entry. My goal with this was to give some keeper advice by offering a review of 2008 fantasy awards. Thing is, I did in in October of 2005. There are some god-awful calls here, but some good ones. I was mainly trying to be ballsy with some of the calls that were, well, ballsy. I also guessed on some players switching teams, so don’t get alarmed by that. Check it out.
I know a lot of you would like to see more keeper league information, and I’m going to start giving it right now. In addition to updating our keeper league rankings for the next 2-3 years this coming Friday, I have stepped into a time machine to bring you my Fantasy Football awards for the 2008 season.
It was a wild year; you won’t believe it, but a team that doesn’t even exist right now won the Super Bowl. But here’s how the season went down from a fantasy perspective. If you’re smart, and like Biff from Back the to the Future Part II, you’ll take full advantage of this information now.
2008 Quarterback Awards
AFC Quarterback of the Year: Carson Palmer
For the 3rd year in a row, Palmer was fantasy football royalty at the QB position. Stud WRs Chad Johnson and Chris Henry combined for 24 TDs, and Palmer threw for 30+ scores for the fourth year in a row.
Runners Up: 11-year veteran Peyton Manning was a close second with 29 TD passes. Titan QB Billy Volek was on a pace for 35 TD passes on December 1st before missing the final five games with an injury.
NFC Quarterback of the Year: Eli Manning
Manning, the Giants’ Pro Bowl QB, completed an amazing 70% of his passes en route to the second QB of the year award in a row. Had RB Brandon Jacobs not scored 12 rushing TDs, Manning would have easily bettered his career-high 31 TD passes in 2008.
Runners Up: Lion QB Matt Schaub proved that he was a good fit for the new coaching staff in Detroit’s system, and he connected with WR Roy Williams for 12 scores on his way to the first 30-TD season of his career. Redskin QB Jason Campbell threw only 25 TD passes, but he ran in 6 score, mostly from short range, and made it to the Pro Bowl. TE Chris Cooley led the way for the ‘Skins with 9 TDs.
Fantasy Surprises of the Year:
QB Philip Rivers had the best fantasy season from a Bear since Erik Kramer’s 1995 campaign. Rivers had 27 TD passes and only 8 INTs. Brown QB Charlie Frye threw 25 TD passes in just his second full season as the starter.
Fantasy Busts of the year:
Bill QB JP Losman was benched for good by mid-season. Packer QB Aaron Rodgers’ huge preseason proved to be a mirage and he struggles all year.
2008 Running Back Awards
AFC Running Back of the Year: Ronnie Brown
Evoking images of his former teammate Ricky Williams, Brown totaled 2000 total yards for the second season in a row for the World Champion Dolphins.
Runners Up: New acquisition Chris Perry turned out to be a perfect fit for Norm Chow’s offense in Tennessee and caught 65 passes for 825 yards and 5 TDs to go along with his 1150 rushing yards. Bronco RB Tatum Bell missed the first three games of the season with a broken thumb, or else he would have likely led the AFC in rushing.
NFC Running Back of the Year: Tie: Julius and Kevin Jones
This pair continued their amazing 3-year run as the league’s most dynamic RBs. The duo combined for 3300 yards rushing and 29 total TDs in 2008.
Runners Up: 49er RB Frank Gore, who missed the entire 2007 season with a broken leg, led the defensive-oriented 49ers to their first division title in years and rushed for 1425 yards with 10 TDs. Eagle RB Ryan Moats could have finished the season as a top-10 fantasy back, but nagging injuries limited him down the stretch.
Fantasy Surprises of the year: Left for dead by the Vikings after a disappointing 2007 season, fifth year RB Ciatrick Fason responded with his best season to date, rushing for 1275 yards and 9 TDs for the Vikings, who failed to win the Super Bowl for the 43rd year in a row.
Fantasy Busts of the year: The Chiefs made a big mistake signing RB Larry Johnson to a new long-term contract. With their legendary coach and OL long gone, Johnson struggled badly before getting lost for the season with a severe diaper rash. After carrying the load for nine years in Indy, RB Edgerrin James finally broke down and has since retired to Miami to start up his own teeth capping business.
2008 Wide Receiver Awards
AFC Wide Receiver of the Year: Andre Johnson
After logging in quality seasons in 2006 and 2007, Johnson completely exploded in 2007 with 14 TD catches for the Texans. Johnson clicked well with veteran Tim Rattay, who replaced an injured David Carr for the final 9 games of the ’08 season.
Runners Up: Brown WR Braylon Edwards made the Pro Bowl for the second year in a row and led the league with 1585 yards. Titan WR Brandon Jones scored 6 TDs the final three games of the season to finish with a career-high 13.
NFC Wide Receiver of the Year: Larry Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald leads the NFL with 16 TD receptions, but fellow wideout Anquan Boldin has more catches and TDs, the 4th year in a row that has happened.
Runners Up: Ram WR Torry Holt continued his march to Canton with another fine season, while in Minnesota, WR Troy Williamson went from being a very good NFL receiver to one of the deadliest players at any position, with 1375 yards and 12 TDs.
Fantasy Surprises of the Year:
Eagle WR Reggie Brown followed his average first year as a starter with a fine season and was named to the Pro Bowl as a fill-in after WR Steve Smith was suspended from the Pro Bowl squad for beating up the entire New Orleans Saint offensive line during a post-game altercation after the regular season finale. Cowboy WR Patrick Crayton finished 3rd in the NFC in TD catches with 9.
Fantasy Busts of the Year: Lion WR Mike Williams’ attitude problems caused the team to terminate his contract mid-season. In Atlanta, talented WR Roddy White’s production continues to be curtailed by QB Michael Vick’s inability to read a defense.
2008 Tight End Awards
AFC Tight End of the Year: Antonio Gates
Gates continued to rewrite the record books and recorded the most catches, yards, and TDs by a TE in the 2008 season. Gates did this despite missing two games due to a severe case of swollen hands due to catching so many passes.
Runners Up: Brown TE Kellen Winslow logged in his most productive season to date and went over 1000 yards receiving. With the Titans producing fantasy studs at RB and WR, TE Ben Troupe managed to score only 8 TDs to go along with his 715 yards, the lowest totals since his breakout 2005 season. Patriot TE Ben Watson missed 5 games with an injury that is described only as “body,” yet he still managed to score 8 TDs.
NFC Tight End of the Year: Jeremy Shockey
Shockey made it though his third consecutive year without getting hurt. In a totally non-related story, Elmer, a pig from Nebraska, flew.
Runners Up: Seattle’s Jerramy Stevens and Philadelphia’s L.J. Smith finished as top-10 fantasy TEs for the fourth year in a row, streaks that started in 2005.
Fantasy Surprises of the Year: Although not much of a surprise, Tampa’s Alex Smith logged in his best season to date and became the team’s second best offensive threat while posting 600+ yards and 5 TDs.
Fantasy Busts of the Year: After scoring his 3rd TD of the game on opening day, Colt TE Dallas Clark severely pulled a calf muscle slam-dunking the ball over the goal post and was limited until Thanksgiving. Also, after several years of his playing a little too heavy, TE Alge Crumpler’s legs gave out from under him and he was one of the biggest disappointments at the TE position.