With one weekend of the NFL playoffs in the books we’ve decided to shift our focus towards individual awards while we wait for the next set of games. Myself and Jarhead decided to tag team these to provide the best possible outcomes. We’ve also added a few categories of our own design to make things a little more interesting. My choice will be the first one listed, followed by Jarhead Let’s get to it!
To me this is an easy decision, its Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles. I know he missed three games due to tearing his ACL, but hear me out on this one. If he had missed his first three games and ended the season with the stats he has, he’d win for sure. In his second season he was nothing short of spectacular, he threw for nearly 3,300 yards and 33 touchdowns, a number that was league leading until Russell Wilson threw his 34th in the final game of the season. Wentz completed a ridiculous 54% of his passes on 3rd and 4th down which was tops in the league, he also didn’t throw a single interception in the red zone. He did all this while leading the Eagles to the number 1 seed in the NFC and a record of 13-3. All hail the ginger God.
Carson Wentz deserves this award. When healthy no other football player was playing near his level. The fact that the last two weeks the offense combined to score 13 points when they had averaged 29.9 while he was at the helm goes to show how much he means to his team. Brady will most likely win this award though. Brady finished with the league lead in passing yards (4,577) and ranked in the top five in completion percentage, yards per attempt, passing touchdowns, passer rating and Total QBR. He did this without his most frequent target from 2016 after Edelman tore his ACL, and with Chris Hogan limited to 1 receiving yard after Week 8.
Tom Brady is 40 years old and threw for 4,500 yards and 32 touchdowns. Avocado ice cream aside, dude can fucking ball.
Coach of the Year
My pick here is Sean McVay for the Los Angeles Rams, at 31 years old he’s the youngest coach in NFL history to lead his team to the playoffs, surpassing John Madden who accomplished that feat at age 33. The Rams went 11-5 this year after going 4-12 the season before, all while resting their starters during the final week of the regular season. McVay may be young but he’s an offensive mastermind who took over the worst offense in football during the 2016 season averaging 14 PPG and completely turned them around. Fast forward to 2017 and the Rams are the league’s leading offense averaging 29.87 PPG. That is an absolutely mind-boggling stat. Jared Goff went from bust talk to borderline elite quarterback in his sophomore season. If you needed anymore convincing, check out McVay’s hair that he somehow manages to keep perfect at all times.
McVay is the winner. The way he was able to transform Goff’s career, acquire WR’s like Watkins, Woods, Kupp and shore up the offensive line by getting LT Andrew Whitworth and veteran center John Sullivan. He literally would make his offense hurry up to the line so he could tell Jared Goff through his headset what to do before the 15 second shut off. He is phenomenal and has a long career ahead of him.
During any normal year Doug Pederson would have been a no brainer for this award, but McVay’s quick turn around is just a little too much for him to overcome. In Pederson’s second season he guided the Eagles to a 13-3 record and the number 1 seed in the NFC playoff picture. He created an optimal environment for Wentz to grow in and was rewarded with a legitimate MVP level season. Pederson also transformed as a play caller, leaning on the running game much more than ever before.
Doug Pederson is a very close second. He went from last in his division to first in the entire NFC. His offense and defense both finished top five.
Offensive Player of the Year:
Here’s another lay up, Todd Gurley of the LA Rams. After somewhat of a down season last year Gurley bounced back to the tune of 1,305 yards rushing and 13 TD’s to pair with 788 yards receiving and another 6 TD’s. He showcased why he was a top 10 pick in 2015 and became a legitimate threat to score anytime he touched the ball.
It’s simple, Gurley is the pick, he was the ultimate bell cow. He finished with 2,093 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns and was the biggest reason Sean McVay was able to build a top 5 offense.
Antonio Brown WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
He missed two games due to a calf injury and still put up a league leading 1,533 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns. Absolutely unreal production.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers He finished the year with 1,946 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns. He had 85 catches as a running back. What more can you say?
Defensive Player of the Year:
This is the most slam dunk choice of all awards, it’s Aaron Donald from the LA Rams. He is the most dominating player in all of football regardless of position. Donald collected 41 tackles this season to go along with 11 sacks and 5 forced fumbles. That isn’t even his most impressive stat line, his 91 quarterback pressures deserve that distinction. To put that into perspective the second most pressures by an interior lineman was 70 and the most by an edge rusher was 83 by Von Miller. This is coming from a 300 pound defensive tackle who only played 14 games this season. If the world was a fair place Donald would be in the running for League MVP.
Aaron Donald is the man who deserves this award for all of the reasons listed above. The only way he doesn’t win is if the two games he missed over his contract dispute are heavily counted against him.
Jalen Ramsey CB, Jacksonville Jaguars
In 2017 the Jaguar’s defense became truly special, no player on that defense is more special than Ramsey who is a literal shut down corner in all senses of the word. He’s the most physical corner in football and completely erases his man from the game.
Calais Campbell DE, Jacksonville Jaguars He had 14.5 sacks, three forced fumbles. His leadership and his play were one of the main reasons this defense became the scariest unit in the league.
Offensive Rookie of the Year:
I know the fun pick here is Alvin Kamara, but it has to be Kareem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs. He won the league rushing title in his first season by amassing 1,327 yards at 4.9 YPC and 8 TD’s and tacked on another 450 yards receiving. He helped power a potent offense in Kansas City and fuel a trip to the playoffs. His total was the most for the team since Jamaal Charles in 2012.
I guess I’m going with the fun pick. Alvin Kamara is my pick. I don’t know if anybody is scarier than him in the open field. Hunt was a bell cow all year but he really struggled during the middle of the season. To be fair it wasn’t his fault he wasn’t calling the plays. Hunt had 1,786 all-purpose yards and 11 touchdowns across 326 touches. Kamara, meanwhile, was nearly as productive in a time share with much less touches. He had only 201 touches on offense for the Saints, but they resulted in 1,554 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Alvin Kamara RB, New Orleans Saints
He racked up over 1,500 all-purpose yards and 13 TD’s along with a kickoff return for a touchdown. At the start of the season he didn’t even have a definitive role cut out due to a crowded backfield, an early trade that shipped Adrian Peterson to the Arizona Cardinals changed all of that.
Kareem Hunt RB, Kansas City Chiefs He lead the league in rushing (even if it’s only because Gurley sat week 17) which is no small feat for a rookie, just because the last two years a rookie has lead the league doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be shocked. It is really fucking hard to do.
Defensive Rookie of the Year:
Out of all the great players taken by the Saints during this year’s draft, Marshon Lattimore is the most special. In his first season he’s already become an elite cover corner and doing so against the likes of Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Devin Funchess twice a season. Lattimore received the highest PFF grade ever for a rookie through the first 7 games with a 94.1 and finished the season with a grade with a 90.7 which was good for a top 10 finish. Between Lattimore and Ramsey the state of the corner back position in the NFL is extremely bright.
Tre’Devious White is my pick. He had 70 tackles, four interceptions and defended 19 passes during the season. Marshon Lattimore is a better overall corner but the decision here is based off of availability Lattimore missed three games and basically missed a whole 4th quarter this year. He played 711 defensive snaps. White didn’t miss a game and played 98.6 percent of Buffalo’s defensive snaps. White Player 1,056. Oh and his PFF grade (92.0) for the season was higher than Lattimore’s.
Reuben Foster LB, San Francisco 49ers. Character concerns pushed him down draft boards but Foster has shown flashes of being elite. You want him on your side in a street fight.
Marshon Lattimore CB, New Orleans Saints He is my runner-up, he had 52 tackles 5 INTS and defended 18 passes. He went toe-to-toe with some of the best WR’s in the game this year and was a major part of the reason the Saints defense turned into a formidable one rather than the laughing-stock of the past few years.
Comeback Player of the Year:
After tearing his ACL in week one last season, LA Chargers WR Keenan Allen burst back on the scene in 2017. He responded in enormous fashion hauling in 102 passes which was good for 4th in the league while racking up 1,393 yards which was good for 3rd in the league. Allen has always had all of the pieces and it’s nice to see him finally put it all together. He’s also one of the best route runners in all of football along with having one of the most bad ass beards league wide.
Keenan Allen is the choice, after being plagued with bad luck via a kidney laceration and then a week one ACL tear, there weren’t many Keenan Allen truthers out there. I for one have been on this bandwagon for years. He finally put together a full season of his true potential. He is a special, special player.
Nelson Agholor WR, Philadelphia Eagles. Almost went with Gronk here, but just a year ago Agholor got benched do to his poor play and letting the pressure of not producing like a 1st round pick get to him. One year later and he set career highs in yards and catches while quadrupling his TD output from last season.
Case Keenum QB, Minnesota Vikings He went from being benched in LA to MVP considerations. He has been at the helm of this Vikings team for basically the whole year and has changed his whole career narrative. He is going to be paid nicely for this year regardless of how far they go in the playoffs.
Best Fantasy Football Value:
Alvin Kamara ended with the 4th highest point total in the league with 320.4 points, his average draft position was 155th overall. His output is insane for a player taken on average in the 13th round.
It’s Alvin Kamara, nobody knew when drafts were going on AP would be traded.
Just three years ago Marcus Mariota was a top NFL pick for the Tennessee Titans with an elite skill set. After a decent season in 2016 expectations for him were high as he seemed to be turning the corner, but then he didn’t. He regressed significantly in Mike Mularkey’s “exotic smash mouth” offense, throwing only 13 TD’s against 15 interceptions. Don’t let their playoff berth or win over KC fool you, the Titans still have some work to do before becoming a perennial good team.
Before the season started, there was talk of Amari Cooper finally putting everything together and getting in the same stratosphere as the likes of AB, Julio, Hopkins, and Odell. In each of his first two seasons he went for over 1,000 yards. Another year with the same QB and an offense that went 12-4 last year with plenty of weapons hopes were high. Instead he fell flat on his face, he had league lows in almost every category, finishing with 680 receiving yards and finished top 10 in drops. He was a non-factor in many of his games this year. 2017 was the year AC-DC died, hopefully with Gruden in town the whole offense will bounce back.
Second Stretch Superstar:
This award is for a player who didn’t start out strong but finished with a bang, whether is was them learning a new scheme or finally earning playing time and proving their worth. I can’t think of a player that describes better than Jimmy Garoppolo for the 9ers. After a trade with New England we were teased for weeks with him being brought along slowly, unsure if we’d even see him this season. After weeks of waiting we finally got to see Jimmy G in action, and he was even better than most expected. He led a 4th quarter comeback against the Titans, he showed poise and command in the huddle, and he showed that he’s a natural passer. San Francisco had only won a single game all season, they closed out the season winning all 5 with Garoppolo starting. Nobody boosted their stock to finish out the season like Jimmy G.
The obvious choice for this award is Jimmy G, he went 5-0 while starting, got the entire bay area buzzing about next year and earned himself a huge contract. Instead I went with Miami Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake, in his first 8 weeks he combined for 32 yards rushing and receiving and had zero touchdowns. Once Jay Ajayi was trade to the Philadelphia Eagles it paved a way to the starting role. Drake did not disappoint finishing the year with 883 yards combined and four touchdowns and having a firm grasp on the starting position going into next year, finally answering all the questions on whether he or not he could be a feature back.