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The Rotos 2016: Fantasy Football Waiver Wire MVP

The Nobel Prize. Academy Awards. Pulitzers, ESPYs, and Golden Globes. While prestigious in their own rights, these honors pale in comparison to The Rotos.  In our first ever Rotos Award Show, the distinguished “Big Dick” prizes will be awarded to players with the most glorious performances in 2016, while the dreaded “Tiny Puds” will disgrace the season’s most dubious players. Grab the popcorn, place your bets, and settle in for a week of recapping the highs and lows from a wild fantasy season. 

The Waiver Wire M.V.P

Any grizzled fantasy guru knows the draft is only one ingredient to a winning fantasy season; successfully navigating the waiver wire is equally, if not more so, important. While countless moves will be made, every season at least one pickup becomes a true season-changer. The Waiver Wire MVP sifts through the worthy candidates to recognize this hidden hero for their unbeatable value and legendary performance.

2016 Nominees

*Note – Stats are collected up to Week 16.

Dak Prescott, Quarterback, Dallas Cowboys – Despite a scorching preseason and a dreamboat combination of dangerous weapons and an impenetrable line, Prescott remained availble in well-over 60% of Yahoo leagues as late as Week 2. He proceeded to finish 6th in FPs among QBs thanks to 3,630 passing yards, an impeccable 23:4 TD-INT ration, and his added leg bonus of 273 yards and 6 scores.  While week-to-week streaming is certainly viable at QB, Prescott developed into a consistent, dependable option, dipping below 18 points only three times while topping 20 in over half his games. Prescott should be the posterboy of waiting on quarterbacks for future drafters.

Jordan Howard, Running Back, Chicago Bears – After a wholly incompetent Jeremy Langford floundered through 2016’s first three weeks, Howard took the backfield reins and never looked back.  From Week 3 on, Howard was one of a select few dependable RBs, dipping below double-digit PPR points just twice; moreover, he mixed in week-swinging 25, 30, 29, and 21 point efforts throughout the season, ultimately finishing as a top-10 PPR back. 1,476 total yards and 7 TDs? Not bad for a guy who went largely undrafted.

Jay Ajayi, Running Back, Miami Dolphins – An abysmal preseason and Arian Foster’s presence kept Ajayi buried on the Waiver Wire. Foster soon suffered his mandatory leg pull, a four-man committee was wholly unsuccessful, and finally head Coach Adam Gase decided to unlock Ajayi’s cage door.  His response? Becoming the fourth back in NFL history to record back-to-back 200 yard games.   A volume back who gets better as he is fed, Ajayi continued feasting until the fantasy playoffs, where 7.3 and 5.1 FP efforts left a sour taste in many owners mouths. Those who survived these poor outings and continued riding Ajayi were soon rewarded, as the monster returned for his third 200+ yard effort and a 28 FP day. At such an injury-depleted, scattershot position, Ajayi proved to be a stable, even explosive, force from Week 6 on, ultimately racking up 1344 total yards and 8 TDs. Ajayi will warrant second round consideration if he enters 2017 as the unquestioned featured back.

Davante Adams, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers – Despite scoring three TDs and topping double digit PPR points in three of his first five games, Adams remained unowned in over 80% of Yahoo leagues until Week 7 — perhaps he left that bad of a taste in owners’ mouths after a megabust 2015. Those moved past his previous struggles and saw a healthier, more mature receiver who was quickly becoming Aaron Rodgers’ number two target were handsomely rewarded: a 13 catch, 132 yard, 2 TD explosion. Though he was a bit boom-or-bust, Adams boomed for more often, topping 14 PPR points in 6 of his last 9 games, including three efforts of 20+. He ultimately finished as the WR12 in PPR formats thanks to 69 catches, 966 yards, and 10 TDs, and should be treated as a high upside WR2 for 2017.

Tyreek Hill, Wide Receiver, Kansas City Chiefs – Hill was universally available and a mere fantasy afterthought before Jeremy Maclin went down.  Soon, the football world was treated to one of the games most explosive threats. From Week 7 on, Hill only fell below double-digit PPR points once, and seemed primed to bust a huge play open any time he touched the ball with unparalleled speed. Despite playing on roughly 50% of snaps, Hill was used creatively as a receiver and runner, and he made the most of every single touch, finishing with 800 yards and 9 TDs (almost all in the season’s second half). Hill’s epic stretch run undoubtedly carried countless WR-needy teams through the playoffs, and he’ll be one of 2017’s most tantalizing selections.

Cameron Brate, Tight End, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – After being outscored by only five other tight ends, Brate ultimately panned out huge as our “Next Gary Barnidge.” As predicted, Brate’s red zone presence was heavily felt, as Brate’s eight receiving TDs led all seam-stretchers.  At such an unpredictable position with only six reliable options, Brate’s waiver wire value was tough to match.  Don’t buy into any regression offseason talk — the Harvard product’s chemistry with Jameis Winston is too real, especially in the red zone.

And the award goes to…

http://media.newyorkupstate.com/buffalo-bills/photo/2016/09/27/jordan-howard-05b6fecd1bfc460f.jpg

Amidst a worthy crowd, Howard’s consistency amidst such a wildly unpredictable position earn him 2016’s Waiver Wire Big Dick trophy.

Acceptance Speech

“Aw man, as a rookie to come in here and earn a Big Dick Roto? Could’ve never imagined this day, man. Truly a blessing, gotta thank my mom for always believing in me. But even more importantly, my boy Jeremy Langford — man, if you didn’t suck I would’ve never gotten this opportunity. So much love for you blowing so hard bro, couldn’t have done it without you.

(Langford begrudgingly smiles and waves as camera pans to him, ultimately pointing at Howard as if to say ‘I gotchu next year’ but the camera’s had enough by then).

Oh, and how can I not thank John Fox. I mean, this guy LOVES hot hands. I mean, really, really loves them. But my hand was too damn scorching to ever let go, and I appreciate that Coach.  You rode me like the true horse I was and didn’t play any of your usual asshole moves.

(Fox awkwardly taps his fingers, as if regretting his choice to avoid a committee) 

Man, I can’t even think of who else — my lineman, Langford’s shit ass again, and the good lord above. Thanks Roto Street Journal for this tremendous honor, I’ll make sure to carry this Big Dick award with pride and do it justice next year.”

Way-too-early 2017 Winner:  RB Branden Oliver, San Diego Chargers

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