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Couch Tomatoes – Week 17

The long fantasy football season has come to an end. The only ones still playing are diehards who want to suck every pint of blood out of this injury-filled 2015 season. Playing a championship game in Week 17 is like rolling the dice one too many times. When we have make it to within a touch of the top of the mountain, getting kicked back down by a player not playing because they are being saved for the NFL playoffs absolutely sucks. Those who have been riding the coattails of say a quarterback like Kirk Cousins may have to use someone like a Sam Bradford in the big game. The solution is to change your league bylaws for 2017.

Last Sunday Bonnie and I were both in championship games. For much of the day we both had nice leads and then as the later games were being played those leads dissipated. Finally, we both knew we had made a great attempt, but it was just not in the cards.

Toby could sense the tension and when it was all over he packed his little duffle bag and headed for the door. Without as much as a single word he was out the door and he was gone. He catches a freight train every year about this time to take him to a warmer climate. With his bookmaking operation and controlling the rabbit numbers racket, he can afford to live third class. He also has a string of cute young bunnies he rents out for Easter and other (harrumph!) occasions, if you know what I mean.

On the table he left four envelopes marked quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end. These were his coveted fantasy player of the year notes. Over the next few weeks I will share our thoughts with you and we can sit back and admire those players who have been considered for the Toby Awards and present some golden carrots. Hey laugh if you will, but some guys give out six-legged turkeys. Where the heck did they catch them, Chernobyl?

When you look at quarterback results for 2015 you kick yourself every time you think about drafting Aaron Rodgers or Andrew Luck in the first or second round of the last draft. Of course, you could have used those picks on someone like Eddie Lacy or Dez Bryant, but that is a whole other subject we will deal with later.

Rodgers was the No. 10 ranked quarterback in fantasy points per game and Andrew Luck … Let us just say you were royally botched up if Luck was your quarterback this year. As far as luck went for him, it was all bad.

This was a year that saw the emergence of young quarterbacks like Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota and Tyrod Taylor. People were lined up to write Winston off as a wasted draft pick because of some collegiate off-the-field matters with some crab legs and a coed. Mariota and Taylor looked good, when they could stay on the field.

We did not hear a peep about Robert Griffin III and there were no cries to let him play in Washington. Kirk Cousins has had an incredible year and the Washington defense has been solid. Now if the team can find a running game it could be a real playoff contender in 2016.

Some of the older quarterbacks like Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer have had good years individually. Palmer has made Arizona a top Super Bowl contender while Pittsburgh is still trying to get the golden ticket. As for Rivers, he will likely be pioneering with the new Los Angeles Chargers next season.

And then we come to the contenders for this year’s NFL quarterback Toby Award. Bonnie, hand me the envelope please and hold that golden carrot up high so all our viewers can admire it. Interestingly enough, all of these guys are first time Toby nominees

Cam Newton averaged 27.4 fantasy points per game and accounted for 278 yards rushing and receiving per game and 41 passing and receiving touchdowns. He led Carolina to a 14-1 record as of this writing. Newton improved in the second half of the season, averaging 30.6 fantasy points per game after Week 8.

Quarterback awards could not be passed out with Tom Brady not being included. Rumor has it the ballot box may have seen an influx of inflated Brady voting. This year he averaged 26.5 fantasy points per game and threw for 309.1 yards per game. His 36-to-7 touchdown-to-interception ratio leads our group of nominees.

Drew Brees, also winner of the Toby for bravery above and beyond the call of duty, was diagnosed earlier this year with a strained rotator cuff. He shrugged it off and played. Then with a couple of meaningless games in Weeks 15 and 16, Brees chose to play with a ruptured plantar fascia in his foot. He had more than 30 fantasy points in each game. For the season, he averaged 24.9 fantasy points per game and passed for a league leading 324.8 yards/game. Along with a strong 31-to-11 touchdown-to-interception ratio he did just about everything one could ask of a football player.

Russell Wilson averaged 24.5 fantasy points per game for the year, but was six fantasy points higher per game after Week 8. He passed and ran for 291 yards/game and threw 31 touchdown passes. Surprisingly, he only has one rushing touchdown this year. He is becoming a passing quarterback with astounding results thus far.

Who would have expected to see Blake Bortles in this lofty company? With a combined 300 yards/game passing and rushing, he has 37 passing and rushing touchdowns. The only knock on his record is the high numbers of interceptions — 16.

And the winner … Drum roll and the orchestra starts some suspenseful piece.

The winner is Drew Brees. He played with courage and results. When he had the strained rotator cuff several weeks ago, many thought his career might be finished. He missed one game. He played on a New Orleans team that had lost Jimmy Graham and had absolutely no defense. He persevered and put up great numbers.

Cam Newton came close in the voting, but sentimentality obviously figured into the results. Tom Brady’s voting showed some anti-New England bias. Wilson received consideration, but the voters want to see him be consistent for an entire season. As far as Blake Bortles goes, he might be a hot choice for 2016.

Do you agree with the voting results? If not state your case and we can discuss it via email.

Was your season a success? Tell me how you won your championships, or woeful tales of losing.

Be sure to remember that the answers to our fantasy football questions can usually be found within the numbers of the game. And if all else fails ask me or Toby. You can reach us at mnease23@yahoo.com. All fantasy football questions are welcome.

About Mike Nease

Mike Nease is a member of the FSWA and has been playing the game since 1985, while also writing about it since 2001. Over the years he has sampled about all the playing scenarios that fantasy football offers, including re-drafter, keeper, dynasty, auction, IDP and salary cap leagues. He and his wife Bonnie reside in West Chicago, IL You can contact Mike at mnease23@yahoo.com anytime and during the football season follow him @mikeinsights.