Fantasy Football: The Best of the AFC
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, instead of that joke we saw on Sunday. In this article I’ll start with the AFC.
OFFENSE (no O-Line)
QB Tom Brady, NE
There was really no competition here. Brady was the clear-cut best option from the AFC. The only QB even close to being on his level in the conference is Ben Roethlisberger. However, injuries really hindered his season. Still going strong at 38 years old, Brady threw for 4,770 yards and accounted for 39 touchdowns.
RB1 Latavius Murray, OAK
Murray was a bit overlooked this season. He finished second in the AFC in rushing behind Chris Ivory, although, Ivory really disappeared down the stretch and was non-existent at multiple times throughout the season. The NFC was much stronger at the running back position.
RB2 DeAngelo Williams, PIT
Despite the fact that he was the backup to Le’Veon Bell for a chunk of the season, he was excellent when he had his opportunities. He completely turned back the clock this year and played great. He just edged out Ivory and Lamar Miller. Both Williams and Miller lead all AFC backs in the top 20 in rushing with 4.5 yards per carry.
WR1 Antonio Brown, PIT
This is a complete no brainer. AB is the best wideout in the league, and he managed to top himself once again, despite falling flat while Big Ben was sidelined. He grabbed 136 receptions for 1,834 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also returned a punt for a TD.
WR2 DeAndre Hopkins, HOU
Hopkins has proven himself to be quarterback proof. He has thrived with a slew of nightmarishly incompetent slack-jawed mouth breathers at quarterback. Despite suffering through the dynamic duo of Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett this season, Hopkins posted an incredible stat line of 111-1,521-11.
Slot Jarvis Landry, MIA
Landry is the best young slot receiver in the game. I’d take him over Randall Cobb, Brandin Cooks and any other name you can throw out there right now, not to mention he contributes as a returner. He caught 110 passes for 1,157 yards, added another 113 on the ground and totaled six touchdowns. He is a star in the making.
TE Rob Gronkowski, NE
He’s Gronk; there isn’t much more to say. He is the greatest mismatch in the history of the NFL.
DE JJ Watt, HOU
Watt has once again thrown himself in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation. He’s not a lock like last season, nevertheless, he once again led the league in sacks with 17.5 despite being double and triple teamed all season. As usual he added 76 receptions, three forced fumble and a recovery.
DE Khalil Mack, OAK
Mack was actually named to the All Pro team at two positions, both DE and OLB. Well, I will not partake in that foolishness, nonetheless, he was great this season. Right behind Watt in sacks with 15 was Mack. If you want to see dominance, watch the film of Mack verse Brock Osweiler. I think he sacked him approximately 55 times with 400 hurries.
DT Geno Atkins, CIN
Atkins bounced back in a major way this season. He looks fully recovered from his torn ACL. He was a major reason the Bengals defense was so good. Not only does he shut down the run, but he also sacked the QB 11 times. This was the guy we saw in 2012 and early 2013.
DT Ndamukong Suh, MIA
Suh gets a little bit of bad rap because of his monster contract and slow start. People like to fit their narrative, so they do. With that said, after the Dolphins made a coaching change following a Week 4 loss, Suh was fantastic after that. He completely did his job and made plays. The issue was there were no linebackers on the team to make the tackles that Suh opened up for them. Still, he made 61 tackles and six sacks.
OLB Jamie Collins, NE
Collins missed a quarter of the season due to an illness and was still the best OLB in the league. This kid is an absolute monster and wreaks game plans. In 12 games, he still made 89 tackles, 5.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, one recovery and an interception.
OLB Von Miller, DEN
Miller really disappeared a lot at times this season and is a bit one dimensional for my liking. Still, after watching what he did to the Patriots in the AFC Championship game, he had to be added to this team. He made 35 tackles, 11 sacks and four forced fumbles.
ILB Telvin Smith, JAX
Smith took that next step this year as a big time LB. At only 24 years old, he made 128 tackles, sacked the QB 2.5 times, forced two fumbles, had a pick and scored a TD. This kid is going to be a star in this league and the defensive center piece to a quickly blossoming young team.
ILB Derrick Johnson. KC
Johnson is old and coming off a blown out knee and was pretty much written off this season. Bad job by everybody. All he did this year is come out and pile up 116 tackles, 4.0 sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions.
CB1 Aqib Talib, DEN
Talib shutdown pretty much everyone but Antonio Brown this season and early on it seemed like he was scoring more TDs than the Broncos’ wideouts. Of course I’m exaggerating, but he did have three interceptions and two TDs in the first six weeks. Then teams stopped throwing at him.
CB2 Chris Harris, DEN
With Talib on the other side, you would think you should go pick on the CB2 in Denver. No such luck with Chris Harris over there. He’s just about as good as Talib if not better. It’s incredible how good their corners are.
Nickel Malcom Butler, NE
The Patriots let Darrelle Revis walk and Butler was just as good and may even be better at this point. That’s such an obnoxious Patriots thing to do. Butler is going to be a top corner for a long time.
SS Reshad Jones, MIA
How was Jones not on the All Pro team? How was he not elected to the Pro Bowl initially? I’m not saying he should have been first or second team All Pro. Jones should have been first team All Pro. Watch him play! He was the best safety in the league this season, bar none. He led all defensive backs with 135 tackles and was the only non-linebacker in the top five in tackling. 106 of his 135 tackles were solo. Furthermore, he also picked off five passes, recovered a fumble and scored two touchdowns. Jones may be the most underrated DB in the league. If he hits the market this offseason, he is better than Eric Weddle and every bit as good as Eric Berry.
FS Reggie Nelson, CIN
Nelson just always seemed to be in the right place this season. He really came on strong in the second half of the season. He made 77 tackles, but more importantly had eight picks and two fumble recoveries.
PR Pacman Jones, CIN
Pacman could have easily been a starting corner on this team, so I snuck him in as a punt returner. Make no mistake though, he is a very deserving return man as well. He was a top corner this year, and averaged over 11 yards per punt return. He also averaged 23.5 yards per kick return. On top of all that he only fielded one fair catch this season. It’s hard not to be impressed with how valuable he’s become.
KR Taiwan Jones, OAK
This was pretty simple. Jones led the AFC with 829 kick return yards and a very impressive 26.7 yards per return. It’s well deserved.
K Stephen Gostkowski, NE
Despite missing an extra point that probably cost the Patriots a trip to the Super Bowl, Gostkowski is one of the most reliable kickers in the game. I’d take him over anyone.
P Matt Darr, MIA
This is a guy that gets no recognition. Aside from the players on this team, he may be the best player on the Dolphins. With a net yards 3,654 yards, a long of 70 and excellent accuracy to pin teams deep, Darr is the best punter in the AFC and top two in the league.