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The Fantasy Football Academy Awards (Oscars)

by Michael Moore
Feb 20, 2019

The Academy Awards is the biggest night for that other American pastime, the movies. Much like football, the movies have carved out a prominent role in American society while generating just as much money, jobs and more. I love the Oscars and I love fantasy football more which got me thinking — what would happen if you combined the two? Both industries require teamwork, vision, and execution and have annual awards. But there’s not nearly as much individual recognition for certain roles in fantasy football as there are in the movie industry. Let’s take a look at what it would look like if you combined the two.

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Best Supporting Actor (Supporting Fantasy Player)

The nominees are:

Drew Brees (QB – NO)
It’s rare for one team to have two players taken in the first round of fantasy drafts but that’s what the Saints had with Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas and they delivered. Both Kamara and Thomas finished in the top-five of fantasy scoring at their respective positions and both can thank Drew Brees and his ability to spread the ball around.

Jared Goff (QB – LAR)
Plenty of fantasy analysts (myself included) doubted that Goff would ever be a good quarterback while being able to support fantasy players on his team. Enter Sean McVay and no one has those doubts anymore, especially after Goff and the Rams produced a top-three fantasy season from Todd Gurley and had two receivers (Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks) produce top-15 fantasy seasons.

The Oscar goes to:

Ben Roethlisberger (QB – PIT)
Things looked dicey when running back Le’Veon Bell started missing games, and eventually the season, but the Steelers offense — led by Roethlisberger — kept on chugging. Not only did Antonio Brown continue to put up big numbers, but he was joined by fellow receiver Juju Smith-Schuster with both finishing as top-seven fantasy receivers. And Bell’s replacement? James Conner finished as a top-six fantasy running back and one of the best values of the fantasy season.

Best Short Film (Single Game Performance)

The nominees are:

Christian McCaffrey (RB – CAR)
McCaffrey had multiple 100-yard rushing games and had multiple 100-yard receiving games but only one where he did both in the same game. McCaffrey rushed for 125 yards in Week 12 against Seattle while catching 11 balls for 112 yards and scoring twice.

Derrick Henry (RB – TEN)
Those that started Derrick Henry in their playoff games won’t soon forget his Week 14 performance. He had only 17 carries against the Jaguars but rattled off 238 yards and four scores in the best game of his life and second-best fantasy game of the season.

The Oscar goes to:

Amari Cooper (WR – DAL)
After totaling 180 yards and two scores in just his fourth game as a Cowboy, Cooper topped himself two weeks later by catching 10 balls for 217 yards and three scores to give him the best fantasy game of the season.

Best Adapted Screenplay (Adapted Play Calling)

The nominees are:

Brian Schottenheimer (OC – SEA)
Schottenheimer’s selection didn’t exactly inspire confidence when named offensive coordinator for the Seahawks before the season. His power run / Air Coryell throwback seemed out of date for today’s pass-happy NFL, but he redeemed himself with Seattle leading the league in rushing while finishing sixth in scoring. He also squeezed a top-20 fantasy finish from unknown running back Chris Carson while Russell Wilson still finished as a QB1 and Tyler Lockett finished as a top-15 fantasy receiver.

Randy Fichtner (OC – PIT)
To say the Pittsburgh offense under Fichtner was more pass-happy would be an understatement. They threw an average of three more times a game than the second-highest team while Ben Roethlisberger’s career-high 675 pass attempts were the fourth-most ever in a season. Pittsburgh was always more pass-heavy under previous coordinator Todd Haley, but Fichtner took it to warp speed.

The Oscar goes to:

Sean McVay (HC – LAR)
Pulling from the Shanahan-style playbook that worked so well in places like Houston and Washington, McVay used Todd Gurley as both a weapon and a decoy to perfection. Not only was Gurley a top-three fantasy back but the play action was used liberally to gain big yards through receivers Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods.

Best Original Screenplay (Original Play Calling)

The nominees are:

Josh McDaniels (OC – NE)
The Patriots don’t have the best or biggest receivers — Phillip Dorsett played serious snaps, after all — yet McDaniels creates a scheme that allows Tom Brady to pick apart defenses at will with those receivers while eventually employing the kill shot with Rob Gronkowski.

Sean Payton (HC – NO)
Perhaps Payton’s biggest strength as a coach is his ability to adapt. After a decade of his offenses finishing in the top-five in pass attempts which led to top-10 finishes in scoring every year, the emergence of running back Alvin Kamara allowed Payton to utilize him as a true wild card. For the first time ever, Sean Payton led an offense that finished in the top-five in rushing attempts yet still finished top-three in scoring. Opposing defenses don’t know whether to treat Kamara as a runner or a pass catcher which keeps them on their toes. And if they focus too heavily on Kamara, they have one of the best quarterbacks of all time to pass it around to the open man.

The Oscar goes to:

Andy Reid (HC – KC)
No one saw the offensive juggernaut that was the Kansas City Chiefs offense coming before the season. Reid was so dissatisfied with his own play calling last year, he gave it up to then offensive coordinator Matt Nagy. But Reid adapted using his newest toy, Pat Mahomes, and incorporated college-type schemes with more traditional NFL concepts like the West Coast offense. The result was a team that led the league in yards and scoring.

Best Director (Best Coach)

The nominees are:

Andy Reid (HC – KC)
It was a bold stroke to turn the offense over to a second-year quarterback who saw action in one game last year, but that’s what Reid did. As we know by now, it paid off with Mahomes setting records and the Chiefs offense leading the league in scoring. All that and barely a peep from their biggest free agent signing Sammy Watkins!

Sean McVay (HC – LAR)
Two years ago, if you would have predicted an offense led by Jared Goff and Robert Woods would finish as the second-highest scoring in the league, you would have been laughed out of the room. No one’s laughing now as McVay has made both Goff and Woods into fantasy-relevant players while making sure Todd Gurley continues to be a top-five fantasy player.

The Oscar goes to:

Bill Belichick (HC – NE)
Despite not having a player rank higher than 10th in fantasy scoring at their respective position, the Patriots offense still finished in the top-five in scoring and yards. No other coach can say they did that without some statistical star power behind it.

Best Actor (Fantasy Player)

The nominees are: 

Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG)
Barkley was a revelation in his first season in the NFL. Not only was he one of two running backs with 200-plus carries to also average more than five yards-per-carry (the other is below), but he was also third in targets among running backs with 121. Oh, and he also led the league in total yards from scrimmage with 2,028.

Christian McCaffrey (RB – CAR)
McCaffrey mirrored Barkley in nearly every statistic including being one of the only two running backs that averaged five yards-per-carry with 200-plus carries. He actually saw more targets (124) than Barkley and led all running backs with 107 receptions and ended the season with nearly 2,000 total yards.

The Oscar goes to:

Pat Mahomes (QB – KC)
If you were to equate Mahomes’ season with an acting role, it would be Marlon Brando in the Godfather. An all-time performance on one of the greatest fantasy teams of all-time. You know the stats — 5,000 yards, 50 touchdowns — all of which led to, literally, one of the 10-best fantasy seasons of all-time by any player at any position.

Best Picture (Fantasy Team)

The nominees are:

New Orleans Saints
One of only two teams with a top-10 fantasy running back and top-10 wide receiver, the Saints proved to be an equal opportunity fantasy team. And let’s not forget another QB1 season from Drew Brees who’s accomplished that feat every year since 2004!

Pittsburgh Steelers
Not only did the Steelers match the Saints with a top-10 quarterback, running back and wide receiver but they added another top-10 receiver for good measure. Ben Roethlisberger had his best fantasy season ever and finished as the second-highest scoring quarterback.

The Oscar goes to:

Kansas City Chiefs
It’s pretty simple. Top fantasy quarterback. Top fantasy wide receiver. Top fantasy tight end. And none of them have hit 30 yet which means the Chiefs have a few more chances to repeat as Best Picture.

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Michael Moore is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Michael, follow him @DLF_Moore.

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1Derrick Henry (TEN)RB
2Christian McCaffrey (CAR)RB
3Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)RB
4Nick Chubb (CLE)RB
5Leonard Fournette (JAC)RB
6Dalvin Cook (MIN)RB
7Aaron Jones (GB)RB
8Melvin Gordon (LAC)RB
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18Chris Carson (SEA)RB
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22D.J. Moore (CAR)WR
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24Julian Edelman (NE)WR
25Cooper Kupp (LAR)WR
26Joe Mixon (CIN)RB
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28Sony Michel (NE)RB
29Stefon Diggs (MIN)WR
30Devin Singletary (BUF)RB
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5Trevor Story (COL)SS
6Justin Verlander (HOU)SP
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16Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
17Aaron Judge (NYY)RF,DH
18Juan Soto (WSH)LF
19Anthony Rendon (FA)3B
20Bryce Harper (PHI)CF,RF
21Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
22Xander Bogaerts (BOS)SS
23Starling Marte (PIT)CF
24Walker Buehler (LAD)SP
25Manny Machado (SD)3B,SS
26Anthony Rizzo (CHC)1B
27Kris Bryant (CHC)3B,RF
28Whit Merrifield (KC)1B,2B
29George Springer (HOU)CF,RF
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18Ben Simmons (PHI)PG,SF
19Kyrie Irving (BKN)PG,SG
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21Rudy Gobert (UTH)C
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