Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp scores a touchdown as Detroit Lions cornerback Daryl Worley defends during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

2021 FANTASY FOOTBALL SEASON AWARDS

Nathan Hursh

The fantasy football season has sadly come to a close. If you are reading this, I hope that you found yourself winning a league. If not, I hope that you at least earned your money back. That didn’t happen either? Well, I hope you had fun. This season had many twists and turns with injuries, COVID, unexpected heroes, and for many of us, heartbreak. As cliché as it sounds though, we play fantasy football for the journey. The highs of winning mixed with the lows of losing provide us with the juice that makes us partake in this stupid and frustrating game. Yet we love it!

My final fantasy football article of the season will be simple. Let’s give out some awards.

Fantasy MVP: WR Cooper Kupp
Although Jonathon Taylor deserves a mention, Kupp is the clear fantasy MVP. In PPR leagues, he led all players, quarterbacks included, with 412.9 points. His consistency was key as he never scored in the single digits once. Better yet, he scored less than 20 points just three times on the year. Kupp was drafted in the fifth or so round in most fantasy leagues this season. If you were lucky enough to get him there, the value was insane. Simply put, Kupp won many fantasy leagues in 2021.

Honorable mentions: Jonathon Taylor, DeVante Adams, Austin Ekeler

Best Sleeper: WR Deebo Samuel
By the season’s end, Deebo finished third among wide receivers in fantasy points with 310 points. According to fantasypros.com, his ADP was 88. To me, the definition of a sleeper is someone drafted in the seventh round or later. Samuel fit the bill and like Kupp, helped to win many fantasy leagues.

Honorable mentions: Jamar Chase, Leonard Fournette, Cordarrelle Patterson, Hunter Renfrow

Best Value Quarterback: Jalen Hurts, Joe Burrow
This award is not for the best overall quarterback. Anyone could have taken Patrick Mahomes or Josh Allen in the earlier rounds and if you did so, more power to you. That said, this award is for the quarterbacks that was drafted in the sleeper rounds. To me, both Burrow and Hurts deserve some shine. To finish the season, Burrow collected 314.22 with Hurts finishing just behind him at 312.16. The two ranked sixth and eighth respectively among all quarterbacks. ADP-wise, both were ninth or tenth-round guys. Burrow owners specifically were happy as he carried many fantasy squads through the playoffs.

Honorable Mentions: Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr

Biggest Bust: RB Christian McCaffrey
Injuries suck. But they must be accounted for. Before the season started, McCaffrey was the clear-cut number one overall pick. There was no debating it. Unfortunately for him, the Panthers, and most importantly his fantasy owners, injuries reared their ugly heads. On the season, McCaffrey played in just seven games. His 127.5 fantasy points ranked 37th among running backs. I wouldn’t take him anywhere near the first round in 2022.

Honorable Mentions: Saquon Barkley, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, AJ Brown

Best Waiver Pickup: Cordarrelle Patterson
I would wager that Patterson was not drafted in more than 90 percent of fantasy leagues. According to FantasyPros, his ADP was something like 230. There are not 230 picks in most drafts. Having said that, Patterson was the seventh-best running back in fantasy football this season and ahead of guys like Aaron Jones, Alvin Kamara, and Nick Chubb. Patterson’s 2021 makes for one of the great fantasy underdog stories in a long time.

Honorable mentions: Hunter Renfrow, Elijah Mitchell, Christian Cook

Before we wrap things up, I present to you the All-Fantasy teams.

All-Fantasy First Team:

QB: Josh Allen
RB: Jonathon Taylor
RB: Austin Ekeler
WR: Cooper Kupp
WR: DeVante Adams
TE: Mark Andrews
Flex: Deebo Samuel
Defense: Cowboys
Kicker: Nick Folk
All-Fantasy Second Team:
QB: Justin Herbert
RB: Najee Harris
RB: Joe Mixon
WR: Justin Jefferson
WR: Jamar Chase
TE: Travis Kelce
Flex: Tyreke Hill
Defense: Patriots
Kicker: Justin Tucker

All-Sleeper Team:

QB: Joe Burrow
RB: Leonard Fournette
RB: Cordarrelle Patterson
WR: Deebo Samuel
WR: Jamar Chase
TE: Dalton Schultz
Flex: Hunter Renfrow
Defense: Cowboys
Kicker: Nick Folk

All-Rookie Team:

QB: Mac Jones
RB: Najee Harris
RB: Javonte Williams
WR: Jamar Chase
WR: Jaylen Waddle
TE: Kyle Pitts
Flex: Amon-Ra St. Brown
Defense: N/A
Kicker: Evan McPherson

All Waiver Wire Team
(These include players only with ADPs after 150):

QB: Derek Carr
RB: Cordarrelle Patterson
RB: Elijah Mitchell
WR: Hunter Renfrow
WR: Christian Kirk
Flex: Kendrick Bourne
Defense: Cowboys
Kicker: Nick Folk

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