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FANTASY FOOTBALL

A season of surprises

Those who took the plunge with Texans running back Arian Foster surely made a splash this year — and fantasy owners will be diving in after him in next year’s drafts, too. Those who took the plunge with Texans running back Arian Foster surely made a splash this year — and fantasy owners will be diving in after him in next year’s drafts, too. (Michael Perez/ Associated Press)
By Ed Ryan
Globe Staff / December 10, 2010

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With fantasy football playoffs taking place over the next three weeks (in order to avoid relying on anything meaningful occurring during the season’s final week), the need for waiver or start/sit advice is extraneous. Instead, let’s hand out some awards while taking a brief look back and a brief look ahead.

Most valuable performer: Arian Foster, RB, Houston. Foster’s emergence wasn’t a total shock; by the time drafts took place, most were aware he would be the Texans’ featured back. But who could have predicted that after 13 weeks he would lead all backs in yards and touchdown runs and be second among backs in receiving yards? Foster was selected in my league in the third round and he’s a legitimate contender for the top overall pick next season.

Biggest bust: Ray Rice, RB, Baltimore. Randy Moss comes to mind, but a closer look reveals Rice was a huge letdown in a different way. If you have Moss, he’s virtually useless and you have to bench him. But with decent running backs difficult to come by, you have to play Rice, even though his production has been mediocre. He’s the 20th-ranked running back in my league despite being a consensus top-five pick.

Biggest surprise: Peyton Hillis, RB, Cleveland. Hillis was picked up off waivers before Week 1 in my league. Patriots fans watched Hillis roll through New England’s defense, and that type of performance has occurred consistently all season. Hillis should be a top five pick next season.

Biggest surprise, non-running back, part one: Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City. Bowe has been a productive fantasy receiver in the past, but who would have expected 15 touchdown receptions from a fifth-round pick?

Biggest surprise, non-running back, part two: Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia. Vick didn’t even play in three games, barely played in a fourth, and has put up the sixth-most fantasy points at his position. Undrafted this season, he’s a likely late-first or early second-round pick next fall.

Next year’s top pick: Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota: Peterson isn’t a slam-dunk as the top overall pick as he was a couple of years ago, but he’s a consistent star whom you don’t have to worry about. Foster, Hillis, or Chris Johnson of Tennessee are all worthy, but Peterson is a constant force and always a threat to score from anywhere.

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