NFL fantasy football: The 2012 Guru Awards
By Michael Fabiano
Updated: Dec. 31, 2012 at 01:35 p.m.
The 2012 fantasy football season was without question one of the strangest and most unpredictable ever. It saw the continued rise of the quarterback position, a newfound faith in running backs and an enormous impact from several rookies. Furthermore, one of the top overall scorers wasn't even drafted in most leagues! Now that this wild campaign is done, it's time to hand out the hardware for the top statistical accomplishments. So without further ado, here are the annual Guru Awards.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings: Is there any question? Peterson, coming off a major knee reconstruction less than a year ago, rushed for a career-high 2,097 yards (second all-time behind Eric Dickerson) and scored 13 total touchdowns. He also recorded 15-plus fantasy points nine times and helped lead the Vikings and fantasy owners alike into the postseason. The man is a medical miracle - or a cyborg, one or the other! (Runner-up: Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins)
Breakout player of the year
Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins: An injured knee did slow him down late in the season, but Griffin III still finished as one of the five best players in fantasy football based on points. A member of my 2012 fantasy man crush list, RG3 posted 3,200 passing yards, 826 rushing yards and found the end zone a combined 27 times. The 2012 version of Cam Newton, this rookie was a steal based on ADP and will be a first rounder in 2013. (Runner-up: Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys)
Sleeper of the year
Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots: Ridley emerged as the featured back in New England and ran with the role, posting 1,263 yards on the ground and a solid 12 touchdowns. He did have a few down weeks and lost carries to teammates Shane Vereen and Danny Woodhead at times, but Ridley still finished among the top 12 players at his position based on points. That's not too bad for someone who had a middle- to late-round ADP on NFL.com. (Runner-up: Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos)
Super sleeper of the year
Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks: This was a close call between Wilson and Cecil Shorts III, but I had to side with the quarterback. Over the last four weeks of the regular season, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers were the lone players to score more fantasy points than Wilson. He also finished in the top 10 among all players based on total points, and his late-season surge helped a lot of owners take home a league title. (Runner-up: Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars)
Rookie of the year
Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins: This was a tough call, as a ton of rookies made a huge impact in fantasy football - that list that includes Wilson, Doug Martin, Andrew Luck, Alfred Morris and Trent Richardson (to name a few). Still, for a first-year quarterback to come out and lead all players in fantasy points for a good portion of the year is a huge accomplishment. That's the reason RG3 gets the nod in this category. (Runner-up: Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Bust of the year
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals: I wanted to give
this to Ryan Mathews, who has burned me for the last time! However, Fitzgerald was worse based on his high draft position in 2012. Selected as a No. 1 wideout in most leagues, the veteran had his worst pro season ever and failed to finish in the top 40 in points at his position. The bad quarterback situation in Arizona was mostly to blame, but Fitzgerald was a colossal fantasy bust. (Runner-up: Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers) Draft value of the year
C.J. Spiller, RB, Buffalo Bills: Drafted in the middle- to late-rounds in most fantasy football leagues, Spiller returned first-round value despite sharing carries with Fred Jackson for part of the season. In all, the Clemson product posted over 1,700 scrimmage yards and eight total touchdowns. Regardless of what happens with Jackson in the foreseeable future, Spiller will definitely have first-round value in 2013 drafts. (Runner-up: Stevan Ridley, RB, New England Patriots)
Waiver pickup of the year
Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins: Griffin III was the best fantasy rookie, but his teammate Morris was the top waiver-wire pickup. In a season that saw very few free agents make a major fantasy impact, the Florida Atlantic product rushed for 1,613 yards, scored 13 touchdowns and finished among the top five players in points at his position. Based on his totals and what should remain a featured role, Morris' stock is soaring. (Runner-up: Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers)
Comeback player of the year
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings: Manning's return from multiple neck surgeries would have won this award in most seasons, but not when Peterson showed off his super-human knee. Most runners coming off ACL operations take a full season to return to their previous form. It didn't even take A.D. a full calendar year! The man made of adamantium (he must be, right?) will surely be one of the top two picks in 2013 fantasy drafts. (Runner-up: Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos)
Performance of the year
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Week 9: Martin had one of the best fantasy performances since 2000 with 252 rushing yards, 21 receiving yards and four touchdowns in a blowout win over the Oakland Raiders. His 51.20 fantasy points were more than Chris Johnson, Ray Rice and Trent Richardson posted that week ... combined! The Muscle Hamster has earned the right to have his name called in the first-round of seasonal fantasy drafts in 2013. (Runner-up: Seahawks defense - Week 14)
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Have a burning question on anything fantasy related? Tweet it to @Michael_Fabiano or send a question via Facebook!