2015 Fantasy Football: The Best of the NFC
With the always disappointing Pro Bowl this past weekend, I want to make the actual best teams, the way they should be. Since no one wants to watch Jerry Rice try to coach Teddy Bridgewater to victory in a Pro Bowl game, these are the teams we’d really like to see face off. In this article I’ll finish up with the NFC.
OFFENSE (no O-Line)
QB Cam Newton, CAR
Cam is the league MVP and was an absolute monster this year accounting for 4,473 yards and 45 touchdowns. What makes it even more impressive is that he’s done it with one of the worst WR corps in the NFL. If he can win the Super Bowl next Sunday, Newton will become the first player in history to win a Heisman, an NCAA championship, an NFL MVP and a Super Bowl.
RB1 Devonta Freeman, ATL
Freeman was a monster this season. What separates him at the RB1 is his versatility. Adrian Peterson is great, but he’s pretty one dimensional. That dimension just happens to be great. Freeman on the other hand was a fantasy owners dream this season. Not only did he rush for 1,061 yards, he also caught 73 passes for 578 yards. He also punched in 14 TDs.
RB2 Adrian Peterson, MIN
Just another year for AP. He once again led the league in rushing and kept on trucking along like the all-time great that he is.
WR1 Julio Jones, ATL
What can you say about Jones? He is one of those rare players that was well worth giving up the farm to trade up for. He grabbed a ridiculous 136 receptions for 1,871 yards and eight TDs. He has separated himself as the best wideout in the NFC.
WR2 Larry Fitzgerald, ARZ
Fitz narrowly edged out Odell Beckham Jr. for this spot. You really can’t go wrong with either guy, however, it’s the little things that Fitzgerald does at this point on his career that separates him. Fitz is a veteran leader, a better route runner and an excellent blocker. He also doesn’t do things like get 15-yard penalties and cost his team a potential shot at the playoffs. Still, this was a very close one, but I’m rolling with the vet.
Slot Brandin Cooks, NO
You would have thought that Randall Cobb was a lock for this spot heading into the season, but he did not live up to his billing. Cooks really didn’t either, nevertheless, he was still better. He still grabbed 84 passes for 1,138 yards and nine TDs. Cooks would not have made the AFC team.
TE Greg Olsen, CAR
Olsen almost single handedly lifted the Carolina Panthers pass-catching group this season. He and Cam have developed such a great rapport. As of now, Olsen is second only to Gronk for the title of best tight end in the league. This is his second straight 1,000-yard season and first ever 1,100-yard season.
DE Fletcher Cox, PHI
Cox has developed into one of the two best defensive ends in the NFC along with Robert Quinn. The AFC is more dominant off the edge at both DE and OLB. Still Cox is a monster and can wreck a game with the best of them. He set carrier highs with 71 tackles, 9.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. He also recovered two fumbles. He’s a beast.
DE Michael Bennett, SEA
There is a significant drop off in talent after Cox, Bennett is very good, but isn’t top five in the league. Still with 52 tackles, 10 sacks and two forced fumbles, he’s the best the NFC had to offer.
DT Aaron Donald, STL
Donald may be the best tackle in the game already. At just 24 years old, his film is incredibly impressive. What makes him scary is the fact that he’s much more of a real life star than stats guy and he still had 69 tackles and 11 sacks.
DT Kawann Short, CAR
Short goes over overlooked for some reason. He is a major reason why the Panthers defense is so dominant. He quietly amassed 55 tackles, 11 sacks and three forced fumbles this season. Short also managed to recover two fumbles as well.
OLB Thomas Davis, CAR
No surprise here that another Panther makes the team. Still, the NFC is loaded at inside linebacker. Their top five LBs are probably all inside. With that said, Davis is the top guy on the outside. He’s been great for a very long time. This was his fourth straight 100-tackle season and he’s a big play guy as well. Davis also piled up 5.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, a recovery and four interceptions.
OLB KJ Wright, SEA
Wright is the second best LB on his team and a bit of a surprise for this list, yet, here he is. The numbers were there. He made 114 tackles, forced four fumbles, recovered two and chipped in with one sack.
ILB Luke Kuechly, CAR
The ILBs in the NFC are so deep. I’ve always preferred Lavonte David to Kuechly, but Kuechly was better this season. He made 118 tackles, one sack, two forced fumbles, a recovery and a pick six. He has also been awesome in the playoffs. He’s actually scored more TDs than any Broncos wide receiver.
ILB Lavonte David, TB
This came down to NaVorro Bowman and David. Still, I give David the very slight edge. It’s really a shame we couldn’t put five ILBs on this team. David made 147 tackles, made three sacks, forced and recovered two fumbles, picked off three passes and scored a touchdown.
CB1 Josh Norman, CAR
Norman became a star this season. He was very good last season, and now he is a Breakout Player of the Year candidate. He shutdown top wideouts week in and week out. In the first four weeks he had 19 tackles, four interceptions, a forced fumble and two TDs. Then teams really stopped attacking him.
CB2 Patrick Peterson, ARZ
Peterson bounced back in a major way this season after a very disappointing 2014 campaign. The numbers won’t impress you, nevertheless, that’s not always a bad thing when you’re dealing with corners. He was outstanding this season.
Nickle Richard Sherman, SEA
Sherman may not have been the best corner in the league this year, but he’s still great. He’s more than deserving of a spot on this team. He made 50 tackles and had two interceptions.
SS Kurt Coleman, CAR
Coleman was tremendous this season. He really came out of nowhere and played like a superstar. Coleman made 90 tackles, a sack, seven interceptions and a TD. This is another guy that is a big part of the reason that the Panthers are in the Super Bowl.
FS Malcolm Jenkins, PHI
Before the Honey Badger fans start sending me hate mail, I did take into consideration he has a torn ACL. He and Jenkins were close and I put Jenkins in instead. Yes, I know Mathieu is just as deserving of this spot. Jenkins was great in his own right. He racked up 109 tackles, three forced fumbles, a recovery, two interceptions and a TD. Jenkins didn’t get as much recognition as he deserved this season.
PR Tyler Lockett, SEA
This came down to Lockett and Sproles. It was very close. Lockett got the edge because he brought much more to the table in other areas as well. Lockett is going to be a star at wideout and was great down the stretch. He returned 40 punts for 379 yards and a TD as well as 33 kicks for 852 yards and a TD. Lockett also caught 51 passes for 664 yards and six touchdowns.
KR Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN
Patterson brings virtually nothing to the table outside of special teams, but he is a tremendous kick returner. He returned 32 kicks for 1,019 yards and two TDs. That’s a ridiculous 31.8 yards per return. That’s an incredible weapon to have and may save his roster spot.
K Josh Brown, NYG
He’s a kicker and is pretty good. There were a few candidates, but I went with him. No one really stood out.
P Johnny Hekker, STL
Hekker was excellent this season. He led all punters in pretty much every statistical category. This is a no-brainer.