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Our NFL end-of-year awards

Who’s MVP? Who was the biggest disappointment? Finally, it’s time for all of the awards!

USA TODAY Sports/Peter Rogers Illustrations

The season is over and times time to hand out a whole bunch of awards. Here are our picks for MVP, fantasy MVP, Rookie of the Year and more!

Real Football MVP

Russell Wilson, Seahawks

Clark Barnes: This is going to be a great year for a non-QB to win the award as there were not too many lights-out quarterback performances in 2017. It’s hard for me to nominate someone who’s team did not make the playoffs, but I think we saw Wilson continue along the path to becoming the best quarterback in the NFL.

One of these days Pete Carol and John Schneider may realize they should build the team around Wilson instead of expecting him to be the entire offense.

Drew Brees, Saints

Paddi Cooper: I’ve been banging the drum for Drew Brees for MVP since mid-season as he was the clear winner in my season long ROPE Index, my own measure of QB performance. Yes he threw for his fewest attempts and yards in his Saints career, but he lead the most balanced offense in his tenure and was head and shoulders above of the rest of the league in passing efficiency. Per my Wins Above Average metric, Brees contributed more wins to his team than any other quarterback with 4.63 (Tom Brady just 3.17). He’ll never win it, but in my heart, he’s the deserving champ.

Tom Brady, Patriots

Pete Rogers: Brady finished first in passing yards (4,577), third in passing touchdowns (32), third in passer rating (102.8) & total QBR (70.2), fourth in yards per attempt (7.9), and fifth in completion percentage (66.3). Oh, and he’s 40 freaking years old. Yea, MVP please and thank you.

Fantasy Football MVP

Todd Gurley, Rams

Clark: On top of only fewer than 10 points (in standard scoring, STANDARD SCORING) only once, Gurley absolutely dominated during the fantasy playoffs. Match his performance with his mid-second round ADP, and baby you got a stew goin’.


Paddi: I was a little torn between Gurley and Russell Wilson for the award as Wilson dominated the QB points scoring this season. However, it’s hard to deny Todd Gurley the crown as he went for over 2000 yards from scrimmage with 19 touchdowns and over 380 fantasy points (ppr), 40 points more than Le’Veon Bell. The thing that really swung it was the 81.6 points Gurley gave you over the fantasy playoffs in weeks 15 and 16. Talk about cometh the moment, cometh the man. And he embraced it too with his Christmas Day tweet.


Pete: Is there really anyone else in the running? (Get it... running...)

Rookie of the Year

Alvin Kamara, Saints

Paddi: Total no brainer. Kamara was drafted with a 13th round ADP as the RB59 due to the muddy waters of a backfield in New Orleans. Cue the early season flashes that helped the Adrian Peterson trade go through and off Kamara went. He led all Running backs with 826 receiving yards on 81 catches (second only to Lev Bell’s 85), and went for over 1500 yards and 13 touchdowns, plus a kickoff return touchdown as well. Kamara finished the season as the RB5 in total points and 8th in points per game. It’s a rookie season that will live long in the memory.


Clark: It took a little while for the Saints to figure out their backfield, but once they did, Kamara was the 1-A in the leagues most potent backfield. Football fans may be in for a real treat in coming years if we see Alvin build on his already spectacular first season.


Pete: I like going last.

Comeback Player of the Year

Rob Gronkowski, Patriots

Pete: Gronk not only came back to dominate the NFL, but he also had the wherewithal to make sure he didn’t pass 69 receptions on the season. That’s cause for the award right there.

Keenan Allen, Chargers

Clark: After suffering an ACL tear in 2016, Allen rebounded to catch 102 passes for 1,393 yards and 6 touchdowns. This was good enough to finish as the 3rd overall in fantasy. In real football terms, Allen showed he can still absolutely dominate a passing attack.


Paddi: Allen came back from an ACL tear and despite a quiet opening game, finished with over 100 receptions for nearly 1400 yards and 6 TDs. He had seven 100 yards receiving games and went on a tear in weeks 11 and 12 (331 yards and 3 TDs, 51 fantasy points) that would have boosted your team toward the fantasy playoffs and nearly helped get his team there in the real world.

Allen finished 3rd in receiving yards with 1393 and 11th in total fantasy points. After having been drafted as the WR13, Allen finished as the WR4 in both total points (176.2) and points per game (11.01). Not bad.

Biggest Fantasy Surprise


Paddi: See above. The guy is a flat out baller. 13th round ADP? Pfft.

Tyreek Hill, Chiefs

Clark: I simply did not buy in to the Tyreek Hill hype. Clearly, I was dead wrong.

Alex Smith and Chiefs ended up airing it out this year, and Hill delivered to the tune of the #4 overall fantasy wide receiver. Tyreek had an absolutely astounding year with 1,183 yards on only 75 receptions with 7 receiving TDs.

Cam Newton, Panthers

Pete: I wrote him off to start the season thinking that with the Panthers focusing on actually making Cam a quarterback instead of the halfback/quarterback that he is would limit Newton’s production. It did, until Ron Rivera realized he’d made a big mistake and let Cam be Cam. Finishing the third best fantasy player this year was not something I expected.

Biggest Fantasy Letdown

Jordy Nelson, Packers

Clark: Nelson cost you a late-first, early-second round fantasy pick this year, and he ended up as the #50 overall wide receiver. It’s hard to tell if injuries to Aaron Rodgers were the sole culprit for the sub-500 yard season. Or, have we seen the Jordy start down a path of sharp decline?

Mike Evans, Buccaneers

Paddi: Urgh this was ugly. Evans was a universal late first round pick this year, going off the board in drafts as the WR4. His season finished with him just breaking the 1000-yard receiving mark (1001), with just 5 touchdowns in 15 games. Evans finished as the WR 21 in total points and WR19 in points per game. Not terrible, but certainly not what you drafted him for.

Football Gods

Pete: Just think of all the players who we missed out on this season because of injuries and you try and tell me a player who was more disappointing this season than the Football Gods.

Super Bowl Predictions

Paddi: I’ve never been close with a Super Bowl prediction before (mainly because I refuse to pick the Patriots), so mine is purely what I want to happen from the two teams I’ve enjoyed watching the most this season:

The Kansas City Chiefs will defeat the New Orleans Saints 31-28 in a barn-storming Super Bowl LII

Clark: The Vikings are sort of the last man standing after recovering from the early loss of Dalvin Cook. I’m betting Case Keenum continues to pilot this potent Vikings offense, and the Vikings D remains dominant throughout the playoffs. Vikings 27 – Steelers 24.

Pete: Let’s give myself a win-win: Patriots vs. Vikings. If Patriots win, huzzah, that’s six Super Bowls for ol’ Tom Terrific and company. If the Vikings win, hey, the home team wins the Super Bowl for the first time ever and the Vikings get their first SB victory. Plus I went to college in Minnesota so I’d be ok with this.