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FANTASY FOOTBALL: Raise your cup to Cooper Kupp, our 2021 MVP

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We all thought we got off relatively easier this year on the COVID-19 front in the fantasy – until the playoffs hit. With the surge caused by the Omicron variant, we’ve seen tons of gamers getting into protocol and potentially cost managers for critical games. But, to those who adapt and conquer, the booty returns. It was just another year, proving that you have to work to win everything.

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And with that, the winners of the annual Beanie Awards.

QUARTERS

NAILS : For the second year in a row, Bills QB Josh Allen was the overall best player in fantasy football, racking up 393.7 points thanks in part to his best floor season to date. Even a decrease in passing yards and a career high in INT couldn’t hold him back… Justin Herbert improved on an already impressive rookie season, finishing QB2 while posting roughly the same averages as in 2020… The old man still has it. Tom Brady led the league in passing yards (4,990) and touchdowns (40) and thrived in fantasy while barely running the ball, a true rarity.

NIPPES : The first overall pick in the draft didn’t live up to his high bill. Trevor Lawrence ended his tumultuous first season in Jacksonville as QB23 and threw just two touchdown passes starting in Week 9… Justin Fields was billed as a fantastic stud-in-wait, but we’re still waiting. The Bears have kept the leash on their new QB even after he named him a starter, scoring in double digits in just five games this season.

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BACK TO THE RACE

NAILS : Jonathan Taylor was head and shoulders above the field when it comes to RBs this season. The second Colts led the position by 59.7 points, was the lone player to cross the 2,000-yard barrier and led second-place rusher Joe Mixon by 529 yards rushing. After racking up 21.3 points per game, he should be the first pick in your draft next season… Speaking of Mixon, the fifth-year Bengal has had his best season yet, finishing with career highs in yards on ground (1,205), in receiving yards (314) and TDs (16)… New Chargers CO Joe Lombardi envisioned Austin Ekeler playing a similar role to Alvin Kamara in his offense and he got it of his star RB. Ekeler was third among RBs in receptions with 65, racked up 1,459 total yards and scored 18 touchdowns. His only downside was that he missed the fantastic semifinals because of COVID-19.

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NIPPES

After a ton of preseason hype for a heavy-offense rookie, Trey Sermon was meant to be destined for stardom. Instead, after Raheem Mostert fell in Week 1, it was another 49ers rookie Elijah Mitchell who led the way and Sermon ended up getting scratched a few times … Mike Davis was supposed to take over. lead after signing for Atlanta, but instead found himself behind mate Cordarelle Patterson in the Falcons pecking order… Even when he wasn’t injured, Saquon Barkley wasn’t a solid game. For the price of an ADP first-round pick, the Giants RB only returned three games with over 11 points – his replacement, Devontae Booker, won four.

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WIDE RECEIVERS

NAILS : Cooper Kupp wasn’t just the WR1 this season, he was the fifth-best fantasy player overall, behind four QBs and ahead of his hub, Matthew Stafford. The Rams stud was the fourth triple crown (led in the league in receptions, yards and touchdowns) to win all-time and the first since 2005 … Even though Davante Adams hadn’t missed a game due to COVID, he wouldn’t have challenged Kupp for WR1, but the Packers star has recorded career highs in receptions and distance averaging 18.3 points per game… Deebo Samuel has made a very good case this year to get the RB / WR eligibility after being deployed quite generously in the backfield. Samuel was third on the team in rushing attempts and was the first WR to lead his team in rushing touchdowns (7). Not bad considering he’s also amassed 1,310 yards on 73 receptions.

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NIPPES

Throughout his career, Allen Robinson II had been “quarterback-proof”, thriving despite playing with truly gruesome pivots. This year was supposed to be his breakthrough, with the Bears drafting Fields. Instead, Robinson had the worst season of seven in which he played more than one game… We figured Chase Claypool would have some regression in touchdowns after scoring 11 in his rookie season, but not as much. The Steelers WR have only scored once and went from WR19 in 2020 to WR42 … Right behind him at WR43 was Courtland Sutton, who led the Broncos in targets and receiving yards, but was appalling on the last stretch, with an average of just 4.3 points from week 7.

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TIGHT ENDS

NAILS : Mark Andrews ended Travis Kelce’s reign in that position this year, leading the Ravens in all key receiving categories. He will be considered the first TE drafted next season … Kelce wasn’t that bad himself, hitting the 1,000-yard mark for the sixth straight season.

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NIPPES : The hero of last year’s hanger wire at TE, Robert Tonyan faded hard and quickly. After finishing as TE3 last year, the Packer scored two points or less in five of the eight games he played before moving to IR… After serving as a solid red zone threat and receiving option Decent in Tennessee, the Patriots have mainly used Jonnu Smith as a blocker, much to the chagrin of managers.

THE MVP

Kupp passed the field at WR and could have been yours in the draft for a fourth-round pick. He was ranked 44th overall on average and was the 17th WR off the board – behind teammate Robert Woods.

Kupp has talled over 90 yards in 15 of his 16 games and made it in 12 straight games – both NFL records. He’s had 13 weeks in which he’s been in the WR top 10, six more than Adams or Samuel. Kupp is also the first player with 125 receptions, 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns in a season and could break both the records for most catches and receiving yards in a season this week. It is a foolproof first round in 2022.

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THE LVP

Robinson’s poor production is hard to beat. The WR Bears are ranked WR90 and have averaged just 5.7 points per game. He’s never had more than 68 yards in a game and has passed 35 yards in just three of his 11 outings. Considering he had an ADP of 32 and WR11, this is a bust that would have been difficult to recover from.

STAT ATTACK

Dallas had the best fantastic DEF this year with 23 points with a total of 180. That’s a huge improvement over 2020 when the Cowboys were DEF21 and only scored 80 points… How good Derrick Henry was- he awesome before he gets hurt? The star of the Titans has averaged 23 points in his eight games and still finished as RB14 despite missing half of the season … In his final at home, Ben Roethlisberger launched 123 yards in 46 attempts. That’s the lowest 46+ yardage in NFL history… Joe Burrow threw for 971 yards in his last two games of the season, which is just three short of the record. Dak Prescott of 2020… Ja’Marr Chase broke college teammate Justin Jefferson’s record for most receiving yards for a rookie in one season, set in 2020. He also has the second-best receiving total by a Bengal of all time, behind Chad (Ochocinco) Johnson by just 12 yards and surpassing anything AJ Green has done to Cincy… His 266 yards last week were the highest ever achieved by a rookie or Bengal and his 155 second-half yards in Week 17 were more than any other player in an entire game.

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