It’s not just the first-round picks that make your fantasy team championship-caliber. It’s the late-round and even free-agent pickups that can bring your team to the promise land. With that being said, let’s take a look at this year’s top-5 Most Valuable fantasy Players.
Subsequent to jumping into the list, it is worth noting that the simplistic formula to figure out MVPs is expectation vs. output and what it costs to get the player.
5. Andrew Luck
Luck was drafted ,on average, between the 11th-13th round and had little-to any expectations as far as his fantasy value was concerned. A team that had been gutted by trades and free-agency, Luck inherited an aging Reggie Wayne and a virtually non-existent run-game. Yet he did not let that deter him from having a terrific rookie-season that is likely to lead him to Rookie of the Year, and has led his team to the playoffs.
Through 16 weeks Luck had thrown for over 4,100 yards (7th in NFL) with 21 TDs yet 18 INT, adding another 5 TD on the ground to his stat-line. Luck is the 9th ranked QB in fantasy and 10th overall (Ahead of Eli, Stafford, Flacco, and Dalton) thanks in part to having 7 games with 18+ points with 4 of those games netting he and his owners over 23 points.
4. Doug Martin
Martin was taken off of the board as early as the 4th round and as late as the 8th round in most drafts. Concerns lingering around him were the fear that Blount would steal some carries. Yet, Martin alleviated those concerns, racking up 44 carries in the first two weeks, on his way to back-to-back double-digit performances.
With 16 weeks now in the books, Martin is the number 3 fantasy running back, and has over 1,700 all-purpose yards (1,312 on the ground good enough for 6th in the NFL and 454 through the air) and 11 TDs (10 rushing tied for 5th in the NFL 1 receiving). He has had four 100-yard games, two games with multiple TDs, 15 games with multiple receptions, and only 3 single-digit performances all season.
3. Robert Griffin III
Known for his immense athletic ability, owners drafted RG III in the 8th-9th round in the majority of drafts. Owners who took him, hopes that he would somehow resemble Cam Newton and his rookie campaign. Those who took the chance on him had their gutsy choice payoff.
For the majority of the season, RG III was the #1 fantasy scorer. Yet, having to miss time due to injuries, Griffin is still the 5th QB in fantasy, and 5th scorer overall. Like Newton, Griffin has had his success through the air ( 3,100 passing yards 20 TD to 5 INT) and on the ground (752 rushing yards and 6 TDs). Griffin had produced eight 20+ point performances with three of those going for 30+ points. In fact Griffin’s only single-digit performance came when he was knocked out of the game early vs. the Falcons in week 5.
2. Alfred Morris
Undrafted in most drafts, Morris far exceeded his non-existent expectations. Morris, currently the #6 running back through 16 weeks, has been a model of consistency for fantasy owners who have him everywhere.
Only two games throughout the season has Morris failed to reach 76 rushing yards, which he has more than offset with his 6 100+ rushing yard-games during his rookie season. Morris has scored double-digit fantasy points in 12 games this season, with two of those games netting him over 20+ points.
Morris is averaging an impressive 4.7 ypc, on his way to gaining 1,413 rushing yards (4th in NFL) and 10 TDs (5th in NFL) through 16 weeks. The unknown player-turned fantasy stud has also carried the ball 20 or more times 9 times this season, becoming a real work-horse.
1. Adrian Peterson
Is there even an argument here? After recovering from major knee-surgery, it was unsure if AP would even be ready to go come week 1. Yet some owners still took a chance on him, as he was drafted on average as early as the 2nd round and as late as the 4rh on average. Those owners who took the risk were highly rewarded.
Peterson, who is the #1 running back by 35 points over #2 Foster, is also the only player who is not a QB to be in the top-10 (Peterson is #8). AP has posted an incredible seven games with 20+ points (including a 31-point performance in week 9 vs. Sea). In back-to-back-to-back weeks Peterson posted 28,28, and 27 points. He also has 9 games where he has rushed for over 100 yards, and two games with over 200 yards rushing.
All of this amazing success this season has Peterson leading the NFL in rushing yards (1,898 which is 408 yards ahead of Lynch and under 200 yards away from Dickerson’s single-season record) yards/game (126.5) and is second in the NFL with 11 rushing TDs, while he is also averaging an awe-inspiring 6.0 ypc.