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The Rotos 2016: Fantasy Football Bust of the Year

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.

Previous awards:

Fantasy Football Bust of the Year

Every year, fantasy football busts are inevitable.  A bust is when a player fails to live up to their draft day cost by, quite simply, sucking.  The Bust of the Year, however, is elevated even further.  These are the guys who you sawed off arms and legs for, and who returned nothing but a plodding carry or an overthrown ball.  Winning a title with these shit bum anchors pulling your team down was near impossible, especially considering the opportunity cost, and so we vengefully award the Tiniest Pud trophy to one of the following:

2016 Nominees 

Cam Newton, Quarterback, Carolina Panthers:  Let’s preface this by reminding you that if you draft a QB before Round 6, we hate you.  Still, countless owners took the late second, early third plunge on Cam — he’s an elite running back in addition to a solid QB after all! Only he wasn’t. Newton was softer than a pillow case full of baby poo in 2016,  refusing to use his most valuable fantasy asset: his legs.  His rushing output dropped from 636 yards and 10 TDs to just 359 yards and 5 TDs.  Additionally, Newton regressed mightily as a passer, connecting on far fewer deep balls and ultimately dropping from 35 TDs to a pathetic 19, despite the return of his “monster WR1” in Kelvin Benjamin.  The much-maligned Blake Bortles, consistently useless Joe Flacco, and, most shocking of all, Sam “Pop-Gun” Bradford all slung more TDs.  At a position where streaming points are always available, burning a third rounder on Cam was an opportunity cost that ruined countless seasons.

DeAndre Hopkins, Wide Receiver, Houston Texans:  After a dominant 2015 in which Hopkins was welcomed into the fantasy elite, his pitiful 2016 was a steel-toed kick to the balls.  Despite common belief that Brock Osweiler would help his game reach new heights, Hopkins regressed mightily in all categories: 78 catches, 954 yards, and 4 TDs, down from 111 catches – 1,521 yards – 11 TDs the year prior despite “escaping” the Carousel of Crap Quarterbacks. Infuriatingly, Hopkins continued making his circus reel toe tapping, finger tip reeling grabs, but only about three for 50 yards a game.  He was simply sucked into the gaping black Oswelierian hole, and dragged fantasy hopes and dreams with him.  After being selected as the 5th overall player and WR4, his 37th positional rank was undoubtedly season-ruining.

Allen Robinson, Wide Receiver, Jacksonville Jaguars:  Following his massive sophomore breakout (80 catches, 1,400 yards, 14 TDs), Robinson was widely drafted as a top-five WR and within the top-15 picks of drafts.  Surely, these woeful investors were expecting more than a paltry 68 catches, 883 yards, and 6 TDs (maybe half of expectations).  Particularly frustrating, the volume for consistency was there: 8th most targets in the league.  But any owner who saw pass after pass sail over his head, or repeated misfires on jump balls, knows Robinson hauled in less than half of these attempts. Ultimately, this floundering effort yielded the 31st most fantasy points on the year — the ballyhooed Pierre Garcon and his #172 overall price tag would’ve netted more points. Unless you drafted quality depth and hopped off the Robinson train early enough, Robinson was a mistake that was near-impossible to bounce back from.

Todd Gurley, Running Back, St. Louis Rams:  After tearing up the field and looking like the next big thing at running back in his rookie year, Gurley was consistently drafted as the #1 RB in  fantasy drafts (ADP= RB1, 4th Overall). He generously rewarded investors with a meager 885 rushing yards and 6 TDs (down from 1,106 and 10 TDs in three less games in 2015); this was even more painful if you ignored our advice and passed on David Johnson’s 2118 total yards and 20 TDs.  Week after week owners waited for that “Gurley explosion,” but it never came and owners suffered through consistent inefficiency and shittiness: Gurley carried the ball the 6th most times in the league, but only generated the 16th most rushing yards thanks to an abysmal 3.2 yards a clip—good for 39th in the league. Even against a historically bad San Francisco run defense (165 yards allowed a game), when you thought you could finally trust him, this fat bust floundered,  averaging 20 carries for 57 yards and no TDs.  Huge heaves, lots of puke, no fantasy points.

Note: Vikings RB Adrian Peterson and Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski were considered given their lofty price and early season exits, but both were disqualified due to injuries.  Indeed, this was a major risk associated with both when drafting, but at least these two didn’t continue rotting in starting lineups and losing owners weeks like the above four.

And the Tiny Pud award goes to…

https://s3.amazonaws.com/wp-ag/wp-content/uploads/sites/72/2016/02/GettyImages-501810458.jpg

Amidst a deep pool of shit, no one failed to meet expectations quite like Todd Gurley. 

Acceptance Speech

(Shakes head in disbelief as he approaches the stage. Grabs Tiny Pud Award and pumps it into the air.  His initial words come out choked, as if getting stuffed behind the line yet again, before finally Gurley spits out…)

“Wow, after such a beast rookie year and finally a fully healthy offseason, I could never have imagined I’d be standing here today. There’s so many people to thank, where to begin?

I gotta give it up first to Case Keenum and Jared Goff — man, you guys are just so damn pathetic at moving the ball. I mean, why would a defense do anything but put everybody in the box with one of you two tossing the rock? I can’t even remember the last time we actually sustained a drive past three downs, never mind got into the red zone.  If you were even half competent, I could’ve easily scored double digit TDs and never even been nominated for this honor; I really can’t tell you how much your inability to throw a ball means to me.

And that line — man, you guys couldn’t open up a Craigslist hooker with a million dollars! With no space to run, you all really helped me average that horrendous 3.2 yards per carry. Can’t forget my offensive coordinator — “middle school offense” I believe is what I called it.  You made sure every game remained the same — boring and awful.

Man, there’s so many I’m forgetting. But this was really a group effort to take such a promising rookie year and follow it up with a just puke-worthy campaign. Couldn’t of done it without you all.”

Way-too-early-2017 winner:  Following an unpredictable rookie campaign, Jordan Howard experiences a sophomore slump of his own.

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