This NFL season was everything we could have wanted and more. There was enough drama to go around, amazing coordinated touchdown celebrations and more big men scoring touchdowns then I can handle.
And at the end, it’s nice to have a break from fantasy. From checking stats every week, setting multiple lineups, keeping up with this column and working full-time in a new city has been stressful, but fun.
I probably won’t be back in print until next August as the NFL is gearing up to start. I feel the need to thank a few people.
I would like to thank News-Journal Sports Editor Jack Stallard for allowing me the chance to write this column every week and for not making fun of me for all of the predictions I got wrong along the way. Also, I would like to thank Don Edson for writing to me about his lineup and for supporting the column. Your well wishes meant a lot.
All of that aside, back in October I set aside some midseason fantasy MVP picks and have now narrowed it down to just three players, Christian McCaffery, Michael Thomas and Lamar Jackson. Though, my final pick goes to a player I think will likely not win NFL MVP, Christian McCaffery. I know your next immediate question is, why not Jackson? Jackson is the consensus pick, or at least my very scientific Twitter poll seems to support this assumption.
To me, what put McCaffrey over the top was his more than 2,300 yards from scrimmage, while finishing second in the league in receptions behind only Thomas. He improved his already great stats from a year ago and solidified his place as a first-overall pick for next year.
That said, it should not be understated the impact Thomas and Jackson had. Thomas was dominant all season, and in the last three weeks of the season (if your league ends after week 16), Thomas had at least 11 receptions and 130 yards in each of those weeks, helping many a player come playoffs.
Jackson also showed what happens when you cater an offense to the weapons you have. Jackson had an efficient season, throwing for just one interception in the last 10 weeks of the season while amassing 1,200 rushing yards to supplement his 36 passing touchdowns.
WIth that out of the way, here are some situations that I am following for next year:
■ Has Fitzmagic fizzled out?: I understand that after every season, people say this about Ryan Fitzpatrick. If he does not return to the Dolphins or just is not playing as well, then that to me spells soon for Miami. Their running game is non-existent (fun fact: Fitzpatrick was the team’s leading rusher with a grand total of 243 yards) so, relience on a good quarterback will be key to giving touches to key receivers Preston Williams, Davante Parker and Mike Gesicki.
■ What happens to Jameis Winston?: Mr. 30-for-30 himself had a weird season. Winston was the first player in NFL history to throw for at least 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in a season.If that wasn’t the worst part, Winston also threw a pick six that ended the Bucs season in overtime of week 17 to reach 30 interceptions. Also, Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians said this week that the Bucs can win without Winston.
■ What happens to Cam Newton?: Newton missed most of the season due to injury and looked awful while playing injured. Newton is an electric player with a good supporting cast around him, but he will be without Ron Rivera for the first time in his career and there is no telling how the new system implemented by the new Panthers coach will mesh with Newton’s game. That said, Newton will be a reliable player in 2020.