Actors have the Golden Globes and Oscars. Musicians have the Grammys. Fantasy football players are stuck with Biro’s Heroes & Zeros.
Hey, nobody said life is fair.
Once again, before we close the books on another exhilarating/frustrating/victorious/humiliating (circle one) fantasy season, we must take a quick stroll back through 2017 to examine the players we rooted for and against and — with as much objectivity as we can muster — give credit where credit is due.
Without further ado, I am pleased to present the 12th Annual Biro’s Heroes & Zeros Awards:
Most Valuable Player: Todd Gurley, RB, Rams. Gurley was the model of consistency with more than 100 combined yards in every game but three. He led the league in rushing (through Week 16) and scored more TDs both rushing and receiving than any other RB. Even better, virtually no one had to use a first-round pick to get him.
“Peerless Price Memorial” Bust of the Year: Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers. He started off strong but was completely worthless after Aaron Rodgers went down in Week 6. Davante Adams flourished as Brett Hundley’s go-to receiver.
Rookie of the Year: Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints. Kareem Hunt seems like the obvious choice, but from Week 6 to 13, the Chiefs rookie was little better than average. By contrast, once Adrian Peterson was traded to Arizona, Kamara was money. A game-changing force both running and receiving, Kamara amassed the second-most total TDs among RBs despite being a backup.
Comeback Player of the Year: Gurley. When you go from Rookie of the Year to Bust of the Year and then back to MVP form, you pretty much embody the Comeback criteria.
Mr. Reliable: Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins. When healthy, nobody is more reliable than Antonio Brown. But this year, Landry was the model of consistency with Jay Cutler, of all people, flinging him the ball. Landry never caught fewer than five passes in a game, and he contributed week-in and week-out.
Surprise of the Year: Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs. Like his team, he began the year en fuego and then petered out thereafter, with a few exceptions. But he finished the season as a Top 3 fantasy QB.
Steal of the Draft: Carson Wentz, QB, Eagles. Available as late as the 13th round, Wentz delivered elite results all the way through his final game in Week 14.
Best Waiver-Wire Acquisition: Kamara. It’s not often you can pick up an elite RB, and Rookie of the Year candidate, multiple weeks into the season.
Mr. Big Play: Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs. Among his eight TDs were scoring jaunts of 40, 56, 64 (twice), 75 and 79 yards, and an 82-yard punt return.
Most Devastating Injury Loss: David Johnson, RB, Cardinals. When the consensus No. 1 pick goes down in the opener, it can ruin your season.
“Thomas Jones Memorial” Most Underrated: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals. Hasn’t his “final chapter” been written for years now?
Most Overrated: Terrelle Pryor, WR, Redskins. After a better-than-expected 2016 season in Cleveland, hopes were unreasonably inflated when Pryor was traded to Washington. It certainly didn’t materialize.
Made Chicken Salad from Chicken Scratch: LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills. Buffalo’s offense was as mediocre as it gets, yet Shady was able to soar within it.
Biggest Postseason Disappointment: Brandin Cooks, WR, Patriots. If you survived his Week 14 letdown, Cooks’ 19-yard implosion in Week 16 might have cost you a title.
Team Bust of the Year (aka They Are Who We Thought They Were): Browns. There isn’t a player on this team that you regret not drafting.
Most Likely to Succeed in 2018: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers. The rookie already proved that he’s ready for the NFL spotlight. Lining up opposite Antonio Brown with a full year of experience under his belt, Smith-Schuster could flirt with elite status next season.
Follow me on Twitter @ladd_biro.