We made a lot of predictions about the 2014 football season, some as long ago as the Fourth of July. Jeff Samardzija began that day as a member of the Chicago Cubs. He’s now on the White Sox, following a three-month stop in Oakland. LeBron James still hadn't made his ballyhooed return to Cleveland. The 49ers were a few weeks shy of beginning training camp as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
In other words, it has been a long time since we first started looking into our crystal ball for the 2014 fantasy football season. We’ll forgive you if you have forgotten most, if not all, of what we predicted back in the summer. But we love transparency here at SI.com -- you could even say we’re fanatic about it. In that vein, let’s look back at the best and worst of our calls for the season in this 2014 fantasy football audit.
I’ll examine our prognostications on rankings, sleepers, busts, breakouts, and bold predictions, with the good and bad from both. Hopefully you listened to more of the former.
Hopefully, at the start of this first full week of 2015, you’re New Year’s resolutions haven’t already gone awry. It takes willpower to follow through on any resolution, no matter what it might be. The hardest bad behaviors to foreswear, however, might be those that continue to get fantasy football owners in trouble season after season. Let's start the discussion right now and hopefully avoid the pitfalls next year that so often plague the fantasy football community.
Below are my fantasy football New Year’s resolutions for 2015.
When fantasy owners start preparing for 2015, they’ll be reflecting mainly on season-long stats. But before the individual games that provide for these stats get swept up in the undertow, let’s take one more opportunity to appreciate the 10 best single-game fantasy performances of the 2014 season.
Writing the “Waiver Wire” column each week is always an interesting exercise. For 16 weeks of the fantasy football season, we’ve looked at and recommended players available in 30 percent of leagues or more. Essentially, we pick through your league’s trash in an attempt to find some treasure. There were plenty of fantasy gems on the waiver wire this season, and we’re proud to say we helped point many of those out. In most cases, the fantasy football waiver wire is a reactive task, replacing dead weight on your roster with unowned players coming off big weeks.
However, we tried to look ahead -- especially during the bye weeks -- to help you fill your roster with players we expected to have upcoming success. Our 2014 Fantasy Waiver Wire All-Star team is indicative of that – and since we’re in the holiday season, we thought we’d focus on the fantasy gifts of the year rather than the lumps of coal (looking at you, Johnny Football).
All of these players were recommended to our readers when they were owned in 30 percent or fewer fantasy leagues on CBSSports.com, ESPN.com and Yahoo! Sports.
Earlier, we handed out playoff MVPs. If you missed that column — and don't try to tell me that you weren't all over SI.com on Christmas Eve — you can find it here. But as we all know, it isn't all sugar plums in the fantasy football world. Just as there were players who met or exceeded expectations and carried their owners to championships, so, too, were there players who went bust and submarined countless fantasy seasons in the process. This column honors (dishonors?) this year's Least Valuable Players.
Unless you’re in one of those bizarre leagues that goes to Week 17, your fantasy season is over. All that’s left for us to do now is get in the holiday spirit and hand out gifts in the form of MVP trophies.
We’ll nominate five of the best players this season, with at least one at the four major positions, as the potential fantasy MVPs. By taking into account overall production, week-to-week consistency, standout performances and draft-day price, and then select our one true MVP for the 2014 season.
When my editors first asked me to write a year-end piece highlighting the 10 most important players to the story of the 2014 fantasy football season, I thought it would be pretty easy. But when I sat down at my desk, it soon became apparent that I was in for a more daunting task than expected.
Sure, DeMarco Murray, Odell Beckham and Le’Veon Bell were easy inclusions. After that, the story of the 2014 fantasy football season spirals out of control, as have so many of its predecessors. Does the guy who had six touchdowns in back-to-back games get a mention? What about the quarterback who threw for 300-plus yards with almost unprecedented regularity? One particular tight end became a force of nature about halfway through the season. Surely he must be a part, right?
At the same time, I could go a completely different route on focus on the absurd. Like the Week 1 waiver wire darling who was back on the wire in most leagues one month later. Or the unmitigated running back bust who resurfaced with his best game of the year in championship week. And could a kicker be crucial to telling the story of the 2014 fantasy football season? Really? A kicker?
So as you can see, it was a much greater intellectual challenge than I originally thought it would be. Luckily, I was able to whittle my list down to the 10 most important players from the past four months. You may have your own, but I think it’s safe to say that you can’t recount the tale of the 2014 fantasy football season without...