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Citak: 2018 Fantasy Football Honors

Awards For The Best Of The Best This Season

Matt Citak
December 26, 2018 - 8:23 am
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Well folks, we have officially reached one of the most depressing moments of the year- the moment you realize that fantasy football is done for the next nine months.  

As a wise man once said, "All good things must come to an end." However, while the fantasy season may be ending, we still have a ton to look forward to.

The NFL playoffs. The Super Bowl. Preparing for the April's draft. 

And don't forget the NFL Honors, the league's annual awards presentation, where we learn who will be taking home the prestigious awards such as MVP, Coach of the Year, Rookie of the Year and so much more. 

On that note, I thought it would be fun to hand out some fantasy football awards. These are not based solely on performance, but rather on each player's statistics, as well as their fantasy expectations heading into the season. Players that missed significant time due to injury were not considered.

Now let's have some fun with it.

Without further ado, here are WFAN's 2018 Fantasy Football Honors.

Most Valuable Quarterback - Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

No surprise here. Mahomes was far and away the top performer in fantasy this season, and is a favorite to take home the league's Most Valuable Player award. The second-year quarterback threw for 4,816 yards and 48 touchdowns to go with 11 interceptions, while adding 271 yards and two additional scores on the ground. Mahomes seemed to make several incredible throws each and every week throughout the entire season, and barring something crazy, will be the top QB off the board in fantasy next season. 

Runner-Up: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Least Valuable Quarterback - Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Brady wasn't awful this year, but considering his high average draft position, the 2018 campaign cannot be considered anything short of a bust for the 41-year-old. Brady finished the fantasy season with 4,105 yards, 25 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, his lowest TD total and highest INT total since 2013. The five-time Super Bowl champion finished the season as fantasy's QB13, landing him outside QB1 territory. Assuming he's back for year no. 20, Brady will see his ADP fall to the QB1 border in 2019. 

Runner-Up: Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

Biggest Surprise Quarterback - Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Roethlisberger fails to receive the credit he deserves each season when it comes time for fantasy drafts. Drafted as a low-end QB1 this season, Big Ben threw for 4,842 yards and 33 touchdowns, setting a new career-high in the TD department in his 15th season in the NFL. Roethlisberger's performance was good enough for him to finish as the second-best quarterback in all of fantasy, putting to rest the notion that the six-time Pro Bowl quarterback cannot play well on the road. 

Runner-Up: Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears

Most Valuable Running Back - Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

McCaffrey was drafted as a low-end RB1 in most fantasy drafts, but after his stellar 2018 campaign, you better believe he'll be one of the first guys off the board next year. The second-year running back carried the ball 215 times for 1,080 yards, good for an average of 5.0 yards per carry, with seven rushing touchdowns, but it was his usage in the passing game that really elevated him. McCaffrey set an all-time NFL RB record with 106 receptions, totaling 845 yards and six receiving touchdowns. Todd Gurley finished just above him as the top RB, but due to him being the first overall pick in most fantasy drafts, McCaffrey gets the nod as the Most Valuable fantasy RB. 

Runner-Up: Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Least Valuable Running Back - Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers

While Gurley was the top pick in most drafts, Bell was right there behind him. Selected within the top 3 picks in just about every fantasy draft, Bell was this year's biggest bust as he never even reported for the season. While you can't fault a man for sticking to his principles, fantasy owners would have appreciated a heads up from the talented Steelers back. If you were not fortunate enough to grab James Conner before the season started, then Bell is likely your fantasy enemy no. 1. Depending on where he signs this offseason, Bell should revert right back to fantasy dominance in 2019. 

Runner-Up: LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills

Biggest Surprise Running Back - James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers

Speaking of Conner, Bell's replacement earns the honor of this year's biggest surprise RB performance after his amazing season. The second-year back made Steelers fans quickly forget about Bell with his strong running throughout the season. Conner has missed the last three games with an ankle sprain, putting somewhat of a damper on his fantasy season, but it doesn't take away from all that he accomplished. Conner averaged 4.5 yards per carry on 201 rush attempts, gaining 909 yards on the ground with 12 touchdowns, in addition to 52 receptions for 467 yards and an additional score. Conner will be drafted in the first round of fantasy drafts next year. 

Runner-Up: Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos

Most Valuable Wide Receiver - Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

This one was close as an argument could be made for Antonio Brown and Tyreek Hill, but Adams deserves the honor of top fantasy WR after his incredible season. Adams was drafted as a mid-to-low WR1 in most fantasy drafts, but managed to finish the season with the most points among all WRs. The fifth-year receiver out of Fresno State set career marks in every category this season, registering 111 receptions on a whopping 169 targets for 1,386 yards and 13 touchdowns. Adams is poised to be the first receiver off the board in 2019 fantasy drafts.

Runner-Up: Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs

Least Valuable Wide Receiver - Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals

It's absolutely amazing what Fitzgerald is still able to do on the football field at the age of 35, but in what could be his final NFL season, the NFL legend disappointed fantasy owners. After being drafted as a borderline WR1 before the year, Fitzgerald had his worst statistical season since 2014. The 15-year veteran caught only 65 passes for 698 yards and five touchdowns. It wasn't necessarily Fitz's fault, as he was attempting to catch passes from rookie QB Josh Rosen for most of the year, but still his low numbers left fantasy owners with a bad taste in their mouths. Fitz finished as WR30 on the season, despite not missing a game. If he returns next season, Fitzgerald will have much lower fantasy expectations. 

Runner-Up: Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

Biggest Surprise Wide Receiver - JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers

While everyone expected Antonio Brown to have another fantastic campaign (finished as WR2 overall), it was his younger teammate that was ultimately the most pleasant fantasy surprise among receivers. Quickly emerging one of the most popular players in all of football, Smith-Schuster became the youngest wide receiver to reach 100 receptions in a single season, beating Fitzgerald for the NFL record. Smith-Schuster wound up as WR8 after catching 106 passes for 1,389 yards and six touchdowns, and racked up eight 100+ yard games on the year. There is no doubt JuJu will be drafted as a WR1 in 2019.

Runner-Up: Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams

Most Valuable Tight End - Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles

This easily could have gone to Travis Kelce, but I'm going to give the award to Ertz after his record-breaking season. The talented Eagles tight end broke Jason Witten's NFL record for most receptions in a season by a TE during the team's Week 16 win over the Texans. Ertz finished the fantasy season with 113 receptions for 1,148 yards and eight touchdowns, which would have been good enough to land him at WR10. Ertz has been on the rise over the last few years, but this was his true coming out party. Ertz is looking like a TE stud for the next 5-10 years in Philadelphia, and should continue to dominate fantasy as long as he's healthy. 

Runner-Up: Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

Least Valuable Tight End - Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots

What a weird year for Gronk. After an offseason filled with reports that the big tight end was considering retirement, Gronkowski returned to Foxborough for his ninth season. However, it was not a season to remember for the goofy tight end, as Gronk finished with only 45 receptions for 658 yards and three touchdowns. The three scores matched his career-low set in 2016 after playing in a mere eight games that year. Who knows what the future holds for Gronkowski- the 29-year-old could once again consider retiring. But after his 2018 performance, can you honestly say you would be surprised if he actually does hang up the cleats this time?

Runner-Up: Jimmy Graham, Green Bay Packers

Biggest Surprise Tight End - Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts

Never in a million years would I have thought heading into the season that Ebron would finally finish as a top 5 tight end. Yet here we are at the end of December, and Ebron is TE4 on the year. The oft-injured tight end caught 62 passes for 690 yards throughout the season, but it was his 12 touchdowns that led all tight ends in 2018 and truly made him a fantasy star. Following the breakout campaign, it's hard to imagine the Colts let Ebron walk, as the veteran quickly became one of Andrew Luck's favorite targets all season, especially in the red zone. With the extreme lack of depth at the tight end position this year, Ebron likely won a lot of people their fantasy championships.

Runner-Up: George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

Matt Citak is a Web producer for WFAN Sports Radio. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewCitak.