Give me a moment to collect myself before I begin … I am not good at goodbyes.
I would feel much better knowing that you’re crying with me ….
For most of you the fantasy football season is over, but for those of you whose league is still in play, may the force be with you and my condolences that Week 17 – which will see the Rams bench Jared Goff and Todd Gurley – matters for you.
Endings are a time for reflection, and here that means assessing what the Minnesota Vikings brought to the fantasy football field in 2017 with the end-of-season awards. If you disagree, be sure to rip me personally in the comments section. (Review the midseason awards here.)
Thank you so much for following along this season. Hopefully we’ll all meet back here next season.
MVP: WR Adam Thielen
With one game to play, Thielen finds himself among the NFL’s best wide receivers in a number of categories: receptions (tied for seventh with 85), receiving yards (fifth with 1,215), average yards per game (fifth with 81) and receptions of 20-plus yards (fith with 20).
Ranked as the 42nd best receiver by FantasyPros’ consensus in the preseason, Thielen enters Week 17 having secured a Pro Bowl roster spot and as fantasy football’s No. 9 scorer in PPR leagues and No. 11 in standard scoring leagues – according to FantasyPros.
The Minnesota State, Mankato product was projected as the No. 2 receiver on the Vikings behind Stefon Diggs, with the possibility that he’d be overtaken by 2016 first-round pick Laquon Treadwell – remember that chatter? Good times.
Regardless of who is under center for the Vikings in 2018, the Detroit Lakes native should find a major role in the offense again.
Runner-up: QB Case Keenum; he went from undrafted to a reliable top-12 fantasy quarterback in 2017.
LVP: Vikings DST
“HOW DARE YOU! MIKE ZIMMER’S DEFENSE CAN DO NO WRONG!”
Yes, I hear you Vikings fans.
In real life, that logic isn’t too far off.
In fantasy, it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Drafted as the fifth DST off the board, the Vikings enter Week 17 performing as the 12th best – according to FantasyPros.
The Vikings are one of 11 defenses with just one defensive touchdown – four are tied for the NFL lead with three.
Their 36 sacks are 16th best; their 14 interceptions are 12th most; their five recovered fumbles tie them for 26th.
Allowing a league-best 16.1 points per game and league-best 280.9 yards per game with a league-best 26 percent third-down conversion rate all do wonders for success in the NFC standings but much less in fantasy.
Runners-up: RBs Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon; this is based soley on the amount of your free-agent budget you had to spend to pick them up midseason and the headaches they became to own.
Most surprising player: QB Case Keenum
The team’s real-life MVP couldn’t snag the award from Adam Thielen in fantasy. But without his play, the offense couldn’t have lived up to its potential.
The 29-year-old out of Houston showcased all the skills that made him the NCAA’s all-time leader in passing yards (19,217) and few of the skills that led evaluators to let him go undrafted in 2012.
And that on-field success transferred nicely into the fantasy realm: Entering Week 17 according to FantasyPros, he was fantasy’s No. 14 scoring quarterback despite having not played in Week 1 and only about half of the Week 5 game in Chicago.
Quarterbacks he’s scored better than this season include: Matt Ryan, Marcus Mariota, Andy Dalton and Derek Carr.
Between Week 10, right after the Vikings’ bye, and Week 16, he ranks as fantasy’s No. 5 scoring quarterback; that places him behind only Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, Blake Bortles and Cam Newton.
Call me surprised.
Well done Case.
Runner-up: RB Dalvin Cook; he was expected to be a reliable fantasy asset. But before his torn ACL he was on pace to be one of fantasy football's best running backs.
Most meh player: TE Kyle Rudolph
If you stuck with Rudolph until the end of the season, I am sorry … and congratulations.
Since the Vikings’ bye in Week 9, Rudolph ranks as the No. 3 tight end in standard scoring and No. 5 in PPR. For the season he checks in at No. 6 in standard and No. 7 in PPR.
It just took him a while to get there: Through Week 9 he was the No. 12 tight end in standard and No. 11 in PPR.
Drafted as the No. 8 tight end, if you played Rudolph all season – if you were lucky enough to have meaningful games down the stretch – then he paid off.
But if your season went down the toilet early – in part because of his terribly slow start – then you find him extremely infuriating.
Somewhere in the middle his end-of-season production meets for a nice “meh” season.
Runner-up: WR Stefon Diggs; more below.
Most disappointing player: WR Stefon Diggs
Woody Allen famously said that 80 percent of life is showing up.
Well, it took Diggs a while. And missing two games hurt his bottom line.
But once he did show up, it wasn’t he who Case Keenum wanted to take to prom. It was Adam Thielen.
Don’t get me wrong, Diggs had a solid fantasy season: 58 receptions for 784 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games through Week 16.
But after what he did last season while healthy (84 grabs for 903 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games) and his start to this season (seven catches for 93 yards and two TDs), it was he, not Thielen, who was supposed to ascend to the throne.
At 24 years old – he turns 25 Nov. 29 – there’s still time and opportunity for him to be an even bigger fantasy contributor next season (regardless of who throws him the football).
Runners-up: RB Dalvin Cook and QB Sam Bradford; both received consideration because injuries derailed their seasons.
Want to talk more fantasy football? E-mail Mike at email@example.com or heckle him on Twitter @mike_e_nelson.