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Dynasty Decisions 2012: Fantasy’s Most Valuable Player

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that our next Presidential election will be held on Tuesday, November 6th.  In the spirit of this upcoming event, DLF presents Dynasty Decisions 2012.  In this five-part series, several of our writers will analyze pertinent fantasy questions and “campaign” for their various answers.

In part one of this series, we want to know “Who will be the fantasy MVP at the end of the season?”  Read on to see which players have been “nominated!”  If you’re swayed by a particular argument, vote in the corresponding poll on the home page.  If you’d like to nominate your own choice, tell us who and why in the comments section.

Let’s see what our writers have to say!

Calvin Johnson, WR DET

Folks, I’d like to bring you back to the 2008 Presidential Election, when we were inundated with advertisements stressing the concept of “Hope.”  When things are at a low, you want to trust in some kind of hope that they’re going to turn around.  This brings me to the case of Calvin Johnson.  We’ve seen what he can do when we place our hope in him, and it goes to the tune of 96 receptions, 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns in a single season.

So it should come as no surprise that this brief, statistical “recession,” Johnson is currently experiencing still commands a presence in the top ten for total receiving yards (despite a bye week), and a number two overall ranking in receiving yards per game.  All this despite the fact that his “running mate” Matthew Stafford is experiencing a statistical letdown of his own!  Will the touchdowns catch up?  I see remaining games against the Jaguars, Vikings, Packers (twice), Colts, Cardinals and Falcons, and I say that hope remains!

When I consider a championship-caliber fantasy team, an elite wide receiver is both a game-changing necessity and potential fantasy MVP.  While it’s convenient to get caught up in Victor Cruz’ late-game heroics, I want to see it continue with a healthy Hakeem Nicks back in the lineup.  Likewise, I want to see Reggie Wayne continue his torrid pace at age 33, and the AJ Green/Andy Dalton combo persist as both the schedule and weather toughen.  With all the question marks in arguably the most important fantasy position, my choice for fantasy MVP is easy.  Trust in Calvin Johnson, and trust in hope.

-Eric Hardter

Aaron Rodgers, QB GB

My choice for fantasy MVP for the remainder of the season is the same player that I selected for my MVP before the season began – Aaron Rodgers. The Green Bay offense appears to just now be hitting its stride, which means Rodgers will be racking up points at a rate similar to that which he did last season. Some people were worried when Rodgers went the first three weeks of the season with only three touchdown passes and only one game of over 300 passing yards. Since that three-week “slump,” however, Rodgers has piled up 16 touchdown passes and over 1,200 yards passing. Not to mention, four of the Green Bay’s seven games thus far have been against pass defenses that rank in the top ten in the NFL. While the Packers don’t exactly have a cake walk for their schedule the rest of the way, it most certainly gets at least a little easier.

Another reason Rodgers is the clear choice for fantasy MVP is the fact he gives owners a viable chance to win week-in and week-out. Take week six for example when Rodgers went off for six touchdown passes and over 300 yards passing against one of the premier defenses in the NFL. Numbers like that win you the week assuming the rest of your lineup is rounded out by players that at least take the field occasionally and have at least a half-hearted interest in getting the ball.

One more reason that Rodgers is your fantasy MVP is his durability. Rodgers is about as far from an injury risk as a fantasy owner can get, which means he is one fantasy star that you can rely on every week, especially this year, since the Packers don’t seem near as likely to be locking up the division early which would give them a chance to rest Rodgers during your fantasy playoffs.

At the end of the day, the scoring ability, durability and schedule that Rodgers has the rest of the season make him the only logical choice for fantasy MVP of 2012.

-Corey Mauer

Matt Ryan, QB ATL

Averaging 24.5 fantasy points per game, Ryan is in elite company of producers at the quarterback position through week seven. Tied with Peyton Manning, only Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and RGIII have higher per-game point averages. Outside of Rodgers, my other candidate for this slot that Corey makes a great case fo (Aaron Rodgers), Ryan is the player in this group that I would want on my roster the rest of this season.

With weapons like Roddy White (top 5 PPG among WRs), Julio Jones (top 15), Tony Gonzalez (by far the most PPG among TEs), Michael Turner (over 4 yards per carry and a few receptions tossed in), and Jacquizz Rodgers (not a workhorse, but a nice complementary piece), Ryan has proven he can move the chains with ease (thanks also to the less conservative playcalling of OC Dirk Koetter).

Ryan will also want to ride a wave of momentum into the playoffs to silence critics that contend he’s not a big-game quarterback. As a result, unlike elite quarterbacks of years past, I don’t expect Ryan to put on the brakes before week 17. With regular season matchups against Tampa Bay and New Orleans in weeks 12 and 13 (generally the end of the fantasy regular season) leading into a playoff schedule including the Panthers, Giants, and Lions, Ryan should lead many teams to championships while earning Fantasy MVP honors.

Jaron Foster

Chicago Bears D/ST

To me, there are two potential candidates for this award that stand head and shoulders above everyone else.  Those candidates are running back Arian Foster of the Houston Texans and the Chicago Bears Defense.  The reason these two stand out is that they are both the top performer at their respective positions, outscoring the next highest player by a staggering 10-15% differential, depending on the league scoring rules.  Trying to choose between the two has kept me up late at night with an internal struggle that has truly reached ‘Finkle and Einhorn, Einhorn and Finkle’ proportions.   Since I started writing this paragraph, I’ve literally changed my mind six times.  I know, I have problems. The reasons I’m going with Da’ Bears here are:

A.) Ditka! Enough said.

B.) Chicago is going to be in an intense battle within their division against the Vikings and Packers until the very end whereas Houston will likely have their division title wrapped up before you even start your Christmas shopping.  The possibility that the Texans choose to keep Foster fresh for the NFL playoffs by giving Ben Tate the share of carries he was promised in the preseason is real enough for me to use as a factor here.

C.) I looked at the first place team in every league I’m in (six of them total) and here were the results: the Bears defense was owned three times, Foster was owned once, the Bears and Foster were owned once, and neither Foster or the Bears were owned once. I scored that three and a half to one and a half in favor of Chicago.

Jeff Beran

Tom Brady, QB NE

Some have considered Tom Brady’s season as sub-par to this point.  After comparing his stats from this year to that of last year this is somewhat true; after seven games he did have an extra 19 fantasy points last year.  The scary part is that even in what may be considered a “pedestrian” start to the season for Brady, he still ranks fourth in overall fantasy points and is currently only five yards shy of leading the league in total passing yards.

Since the beginning of this season, two of Brady’s favorite targets have consistently been out of the lineup.  He lost one leg of his tight end duo when Aaron Hernandez went down in week two with an ankle injury.  Hernandez is one of Brady’s favorite red zone targets and was missing from the lineup for a month.  He is once again out in week eight and will likely return in week ten following a bye.  Also “limiting” Brady’s early season statistics was Coach Bill Belichick’s decision to minimize Wes Welker’s role in the offense, who has been Brady’s favorite target for the better part of a decade.  Belichick inexplicably thought he could simulate Welker’s production with Julian Edelman.  In week three, following an Edelman injury, Welker regained his full workload and has since posted 579 yards the last five weeks.

The development of a run game has certainly added an element to the offense in New England.  Some people are arguing the Patriots are transitioning into a running team as Brady gets older, and as a result they think Brady’s passing statistics have suffered.  If you look at the numbers you will see this just isn’t true.  Through seven games last season, Brady had 272 attempts compared to 285 attempts this year.  Despite the perception the Patriots are leaning more heavily on the running game, Brady has actually been throwing more.

What I would agree with, however, is that the running game is more effective.  There is no doubt that an able running attack led by Stevan Ridley has certainly added a new component to this offense that it has lacked in the past.  Rather than stifling Tom Brady’s production, it is actually starting to open things up.  No longer can a defense just play the pass, because now Ridley has emerged as a threat on the ground that defenses must honor.

We have grown to expect only the best from this seasoned signal caller, and in the second half of the 2012 campaign that is exactly what we are going to get.  The Patriots have been off to a slow start with some tough losses and are currently just keeping their head above water with a 4-3 record.  How does this make Tom Brady and Bill Belichick feel?  Upset.  You better believe that they’re ready to respond aggressively and decisively against the opponents they have coming up.  If you recall, Belichick has no problem running up the score on their opponents in order to send a message, and for fantasy owners of this perennially driven quarterback, that should mean some big games. If you look at their schedule for the remainder of the year, there are plenty of juicy matchups to be desired.  Following a bye in week nine, this offense will come out fully healthy and ready to take on some opponents that just aren’t equipped to handle this kind of fire power.

-Chris Rohrer

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Justin M
9 years ago

Possibly the worst list of 5 candidates imaginable.

VoiceofUnreason
Reply to  Justin M
9 years ago

I quit reading after seeing Calvin Johnson and how the guy is still waiting for Cruz to prove something.

stolenmeat
Reply to  VoiceofUnreason
9 years ago

YEP. Didn’t make it past Megatron.

Admin
Reply to  stolenmeat
9 years ago

Keep in mind this was meant to be a piece about who WILL FINISH as the MVP, not who is right now. The point about Megatron is that owners shouldn’t lose hope in his abilities.

You’d be shocked at the number of questions we get about benching him or trading him for peanuts.

Reply to  Justin M
9 years ago

Go ahead smart guy… who are your five? Just dumping on someone else’s offerings is a chicken s*** move.

Justin M
Reply to  Nomad
9 years ago

Do you realize how dumb that sounds? All you did was dump on MY offering, hahaha. And since when are there rules for commenting on posts? I can’t just state my disagreement? You need to settle down lol.

For one thing, the fact that there are 3 QBs on this list and none of them is named Drew Brees is pretty ridiculous. Secondly, there should never, ever be a DST nominated for fantasy MVP. Ever. I mean, there are more DSTs on this list than RBs (0).

Brees. Green. Harvin. Rice. Foster.

I narrowly prefer Harvin to Cruz because he has been more consistent from week to week.

Daryl
Reply to  Justin M
9 years ago

Chicago’s continued dominating performance is providing some exceptional positional differential value at the DST position for whoever is lucky enough to own them. In some of the leagues I am in they are generating about 5-7 ponts per week over and above the next closest at that position (depending on DST scoring system). If that were a QB, RB or WR doing that, we’d all be falling all over ourselves to get him. And given the fact that they were likely picked up off the wire at some point at the start of the season – that’s some amazing value right there. I think citing them as a possible MVP candidate is actually a pretty insightful and gusty call.

Admin
Reply to  Daryl
9 years ago

Yep, you totally got the point there. The point differential from #1 to #2 is huge. It may not seem like a lot to get 15 instead of 5 one week, yet it seems like a ton to get 30 instead of 20.

It’s all the same in the score book – points are points and the Bears are scoring 7-10 more than the others.

Justin M
Reply to  Daryl
9 years ago

Would you trade Ray Rice or Drew Brees straight up for the Bears DST?

Admin
Reply to  Daryl
9 years ago

No, I would not. But part of my consideration in determining the MVP of my team would have to include the cost at which I acquired them. That’s part of the value. I’d definitely consider giving my team MVP to my CHI DST over Drew Brees, if only because I would have grabbed them off the waiver wire and did not expect that kind of ROI from them. Brees, Rodgers, Rice… I expect them to be an MVP, and I probably paid for them in trade value or draft position to get them. Doesn’t mean I’d trade one of them for the CHI DST though. I suppose this whole conversation hinges upon how you determine & define “value” which can be a somewhat subjective process.

Allen Sarvinas
9 years ago

Love the stat from the Pod stating how many teams in 1st place have the Bears as their D. I wouldn’t rule out Rice for RoS, but Foster, for the past 3 years has been the most consistant dominate force in fantasy football which includes ppr where he beats out AP handsomely. Another guy is McCoy. That kid has the feet, vision and speed to score on every touch like Charles, but I see a beter inside the tackles runner. If Reid somehow gets him 25 touches a game, he deserves 30, he could really be a playoff changer.

Eric MacKenzie
9 years ago

I think the comment about who winning teams have isn’t really relevant because that’s more about value based on draft position than straight up most valuable. I’d say Peyton or RGIII win that trophy. However, for straight up most valuable, I’d have to go Peterson or Foster.

Reply to  Eric MacKenzie
9 years ago

Value based on draft position is one way to look at it. “Wins Above Replacement” is the way I look at it and to me that’s pretty much the most relevant argument for an MVP in my opinion.

Jacob
9 years ago

I have a quick question about a trade. I was offered Vick, Foster and a first round pick in next years rookie draft (could be top 5). Not interested in Vick. My other quartebacks are Big Ben and I’m stashing Pryor in hopes he overtakes Palmer in the next few years. I’m thin at RB with Peterson, MJD and stashing David Wilson/Chris Ivory. My wideouts are Wallace, M. Williams, Colston, A. Johnson and Josh Gordon. I’m sitting in 2nd place in a 12-team IDP league with 30 man rosters. I’m scraping for a 2nd RB to start week to week until MJD resumes play. Would I be crazy to even think about counter offering RG3 and MJD for Foster and Denarious Moore or Demaryius Thomas, including that first round pick? The combo of Peterson and Foster sounds pretty sweet…

Rob Vance
9 years ago

My top 5 for this year would be AP, Alfred Morris, Cruz, Gonzo and RG3

Jonthan78
9 years ago

Nice Job Guys!!!!! I like the list, even though we all could replace some of these guys, you make your cases for all 5 nominees.

9 years ago

I can’t disagree more on Calvin Johnson. I traded two first round picks and Eric Decker for Megatron this year, and got back a player with a bad knee and 1 TD. Heck, Decker has more points in my PPR dynasty league than Johnson. Maybe this is a fluke, but that doesn’t help me feel better about trading a fortune to get a WR that can’t crack the top 15. No way Johnson finishes as the MVP. At the current rate, he will finish with 2 touchdowns. That’s just putrid. If anything Johnson has been a huge bust, relative to his draft spot/trade value.

brian
9 years ago

This series is embarrassing and is making me forget why I started to read DLF.

Admin
Reply to  brian
9 years ago

Brian, I left you a comment on your latest post in this series, but in case you don’t see it, I’d love to hear more on what you don’t like about it.

Thanks, Eric

Daryl
Reply to  brian
9 years ago

Really? Do you really expect to agree and enjoy every single article produced by a site?

To sit there and dish on a site when you feel that a few articles simply do not meet your expectation is rediculous. Have you ever read any other publications? Do you always agree or love every single thing they produce? If I ditched every newspaper, television show, magazine, podcast or webiste every time they produced something that did not meet my expectations of what they should be producing, I’d be living in a sad, lonely dark little box.

And have you seen the crap produced by some of the other dynasty sites out there?? Really. DLF may whiff on a few articles here and there, but all in all, when it comes to dynasty content, they can’t be touched.

So please, instead of just dishing out criticism, why not participate by posting who *your* dynasty MVP’s would be.

brian
Reply to  Daryl
9 years ago

Good job, good effort, Daryl.

Did I say anything about agreeing with anything? Did I say anything about enjoying it? Do I care what other fantasy sites produce? No. Most fantasy sites are horrible, which is why I SPEAK OUT when I see articles being put up on this site that any fantasy player with a wordpress account could publish. I expect more.

I appreciate the level of your apprehension, but I don’t think the idea of speaking out when you judge something to be less than adequate is a less than desirable trait.

If I care about a website and they start producing articles that I find to be below acceptable quality, I’m going to speak out about it. If they don’t want to hear it, they can moderate the comments. IF they are willing to listen, one of two things will happen; they will either make an effort to raise their standards or they will continue to publish this type of work and I will discontinue visiting the site. I know that if I feel this way after reading DLF for years, there must be others out there who feel like I do. I’m trying to do something about what I consider to be a problem. You are not.

What have you brought to the discussion? Have you offered any valid or productive criticisms or critiques? Did I personally attack you? Is there any reason why I need to submit a top 5 mvp candidates? Are my criticisms not valid if I am unable to produce said list? Hilarity. “My hair is a bird, your argument is invalid!”

I’m not the one running a dynasty web site. DLF is. If I were, I sure as hell wouldn’t put a DST on a MVP list. That’s a horrible cop out at best or an INTENTIONAL ploy to be clever at worst. It seems to me that someone heard a fascinating statistic about the CHI DST and just had to stick it in an article. Great. Put it in a DST article, not a fantasy MVP article.

I’ve made comments on the other articles in this series. Feel to read them in their entirety and reply as you see fit. I look forward to it.

Daryl
Reply to  brian
9 years ago

I do not think it is inappropriate to call out some articles you find disappointing. I just think the manner in which you did it was unnecessary. Glad to see you care.

Yes, I did contribute my perspective on the Chicago DST item above. I would not care if it was a TE, DST or heck even a kicker, if soemone was generating 5,7,10 more points per week at a position than the next closest player at that position, how can you NOT consider them in an MVP disossion? Just because they are a DST? So what, that position is somehow beneath you and simply not worth discussing?

Dont get me wrong, I much prefer IDP, so I’m not in many leagues that utiize DST’s, but hey, a position is a position, and if everyone else is looking for those same commodities, than I think we would all want the best we can get.

Especially if the are generating that kind of value.

brian
Reply to  Daryl
9 years ago

Thanks for the reply. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on the DST as MVP point.

As far as the comment below, I’d like to commend the witty individual who decided to impersonate me. There aren’t enough L’s or O’s on my keyboard to properly show how hard I laughed.

Daryl
Reply to  Daryl
9 years ago

Now That’s funny!

brian
Reply to  Daryl
9 years ago

in other news, I’m a tool

brian
Reply to  brian
9 years ago

no reply? had to go the impersonation route?

Good for you. thanks for playing.

Daryl
Reply to  brian
9 years ago

heh

aren’t we all?

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