It seems like there are few things more popular than fantasy football during the regular season. So, it is only fitting that NFL.com awards one player as the 2017 Fantasy Player of the Year. In the past, three running backs and a wide receiver have taken home the award.
The award is determined by fan votes that are cast on NFL.com. The voting is broken down by position. A quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, kicker and defense are all in the mix. The fantasy player of the year will be announced at the NFL Honors on Feb. 4. You can check our website for instant updates and reactions to all the winners.
QB: Aaron Rodgers- Green Bay Packers
Rodgers is in serious consideration to win the Associated Press MVP award, but a Fantasy player of the year trophy would also look nice on his already full mantle. The Packers’ QB was the number one quarterback and top overall fantasy player in 2016. He averaged 23.75 points per game, tallying eight 20+ point performances over the final 10 contests of the season.
What makes Rodgers so impressive is his ability to throw and run. He may not be able to move as efficiently as Marcus Mariota or Cam Newton, but he still managed four rushing touchdowns and over 350 yards rushing. It is up to the fans, but Rodgers is the most viable option for the award.
RB: David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals
In a year that was so disappointing for Cardinals’ fans, David Johnson provided a glimmer of light. In his breakout season, he finished second in overall rushing to just Ezekiel Elliott but was ranked the top fantasy running back. He was a lock in fantasy lineups on a weekly basis, ranking as the fourth-best fantasy option for all positions and averaging 20.49 points per game.
While he is categorized as a running back, the Cardinals often converted the powerful runner to a wide receiver. He had over 850 receiving yards and hauled in four touchdown passes. Add that to his 16 rushing touchdowns, and Johnson was one of the most versatile players in all of 2016.
WR: Antonio Brown – Pittsburgh Steelers
It is no surprise to see the 2015 Fantasy Player of the Year back on the ballot sheet after a stupendous 2016 campaign. Brown was the third-best receiving option this season, averaging 13.42 points per game. He ranked top five in receiving yards, touchdowns, targets and first downs.
While he was not the top fantasy option at his position, Brown has the highest “Winning Value.” A stat that determines the percentage of fantasy owners on NFL.com who won their championship and had one of the eight candidates on their roster. Brown beat out the closest opponent by more than 11 percent. Had he not slumped in four of the final five weeks, he would have a much better shot at the trophy.
TE: Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs
This is the first time that Travis Kelce has ever seen his name on this particular ballot. The last two seasons, Rob Gronkowski has held down the position. Kelce finished the season as the top fantasy tight end, averaging 8.63 points per game. His most impressive accomplishment was his six 100+ yard games, tied for the most by a tight end since 1999.
Kelce has become Alex Smith’s favorite target over the last two seasons, leading all tight ends in receiving yards with the second-most receptions. Seeing this is a fan vote, that is still ongoing, Kelce’s comments towards the referee in the Divisional playoff round could bode poorly for him.
K: Justin Tucker- Baltimore Ravens
Justin Tucker is quite a popular guy, so he could win the award that is essentially a popularity contest. Every week, it seems like we learn more about Justin Tucker and the cool things he can do, like sing in a church choir. Another cool thing he can do is kick a football. Tucker was the second-best fantasy kicker in 2016 and averaged 10.06 points per game.
He was deadly accurate from 50+ yards, nailing 10 field goals from that distance, tying him with the NFL record. He was the perfect option for long kicks, making 14 from 40-yards plus. He had five straight double-digit performances, making him an attractive option at the position.
DEF: Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs were absolute playmakers on the defensive side of the ball this season. They forced takeaways at an extremely high level. They were the top-ranked fantasy defense, averaging 10.38 points per game. They had the most fumble recoveries in the league with 15 and tied for first in interceptions (18) and defensive touchdowns (5).
Eric Berry’s two-point conversion touchdown interception that sealed the game against Atlanta may go down as the top defensive/special teams play of the year. Because special teams are added to the defensive position, Tyreek Hill‘s breakout rookie season catapulted them into the top position.
You can follow Pro Player Insiders on Twitter at @playerinsiders. You can follow Matthew Lively on Twitter @livelyasu.
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