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Article:NFL Fantasy Awards 2009

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The end of week 16 of the NFL regular season marks the end of a majority of fantasy leagues.  Whether you won your league or came in dead-last, it's always nice to hand out awards to the players who won you games...or, in those rare cases, lost you games.

So, here it goes, my 2009 fantasy awards go to....


Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans RB

To many's surprise, Johnson is the league's leading rusher instead of most league's number one pick in Adrian Peterson.  This award was basically a no-brainer considering running backs are the most valuable position in fantasy football.  Say what you want about the quarterbacks like Matt Schaub, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees but when you're less than 200 yards from breaking 2,000 on the season you're gonna be given the Most Valuable Player award.  The 12 rushing touchdowns and 483 receiving yards are a bonus.

Most Underrated

Wes Welker, New England Patriots WR

Not many talked about Welker since his Patriot teammate Randy Moss, six-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro, got all the touchdowns inside the red zone.  Welker was a workhorse and, especially in league's that award a point for every reception, racked up a lot of points.  He was one of only two receivers in the league to grab 100+ catches through 16 weeks of play and, given one more solid game this week, could break 1,400 yards.  The only downside is the four touchdowns but I already gave an explanation for that.

TD Machine

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings RB

Peterson didn't exactly rack up the amount of yards as expected this season, but he sure did get it done in the red zone.  His 17 rushing touchdowns led the league.  He just barely knocked off Maurice Jones-Drew, who ran for 15 and added one through the air.  He didn't get fantasy MVP this time around, but hey, at least he won something at this year's awards.  Not everyone can say that.


Biggest Surprise

Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens RB

In just his second year in the league Rice, the 5 foot 8 monster, broke free for 1,269 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground.  But, that's not all.  He also led the team in receptions (74) while racking up the second-most yards (683) and a touchdown.  Not sure if this is a good thing or not, never a good sign  to see your running back beating your receivers in receptions.  But hey, good job Ray at beating out Ricky Williams (1,090 yards, 11 TDs) and Brett Favre (3,886 passing yards, 29 TDs) for this award.

Biggest Disappointment

Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears QB

Many saw this coming.  Others, well, simply did not.  I wasn't expecting a Drew Brees-like performance from him after switching conferences, but I sure didn't expect this many INT's either.  In his first year in Chicago, Cutler completed just 60.5 percent of his passes and threw for a league-leading 26 interceptions.  Yes, you read that correctly, 26, compared to his 23 touchdown tosses.  Being sacked 33 times sure didn't help the cause, though.  Lets just face it, 2009 is a season that Jay Cutler sure would love to forget.  *Shakes head and walks away*

Best IDP

Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers LB

I know what you're saying: "he only had four sacks," or "he only intercepted three passes."  Yes, that's all true.  In fact, he isn't even currently in the top fifty for either of those two categories.  But, he is the league's leading tackler with 109 solo tackles.  His four sacks and three interceptions (one for a touchdown) gives him the title of best overall IDP of 2009.  IDP, by the way, for those that are unsure, stands for Individual Defensive Player.  Some leagues, like one of the four that I was in this season, use IDP and defenisve/special teams units.  Willis, like several previous seasons, is without a doubt my 2009 IDP of the year.  Congrats to him, the tackling machine from San Fran.

Best Kicker

Nate Kaeding, San Diego Chargers K

Yes, I even give the kickers some spotlight in my awards show.  Kaeding was the best kicker this season no doubt.  Kaeding tied with the fifth most field goal attempts, hitting 91% of them without any being blocked.  Have yet to mention his long of 55 and three of four made from 50+.  Thanks to a potent San Diego offense, Kaeding attempted 49 extra points and drilled 48 of them.

Best Return Man

Josh Cribbs, Cleveland Browns KR/PR/WR

Cribbs made history in the return game for the Cleveland Browns this season, setting the team record for most returns for touchdowns in a career.  Later on in the season he set, and extended, the record for most kickoff returns for touchdowns with two against the Kansas City Chiefs in December.  Cribbs finished the fantasy season with 1,500+ kick return yards and three touchdowns plus a punt return for a touchdown.  His speed  isn't the most dazzling, but his combination of speed, power and acceleration is extremely dangerous.  He is sure to have Devin Hester or Dante Hall-like ratings on next year's Madden game.  Best return man in the league right now.

Well, that just about wraps up this year's awards.  If you happened to win your league championship this year, congratulations.  If not, there's always next year, sport.

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