With many fantasy-league playoffs starting this week, it is time to recognize 2007's most valuable players.
Although fantasy draft magazines touted Peyton Manning, LaDainian Tomlinson and Steven Jackson, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was described as a solid fantasy starter but nothing more.
Moreover, a new teammate of Brady's, Randy Moss, had clearly lost a step and would never mesh with the Patriots' philosophy, they said.
On the contrary, 2007 will be remembered as the year Brady and Moss blew the doors off NFL records, setting fantasy scoreboards on fire. Brady has 41 touchdown passes and just five interceptions. With the Jets and Dolphins on the horizon, his postseason could be equally memorable.
Likewise, Moss has carried fantasy teams with his explosive, multi-touchdown efforts. He is putting up early-Moss numbers, including 1,100-plus yards and a league best of 17 touchdown receptions.
Fantasy quarterback play has been out of this world this season. Cowboys youngster Tony Romo has MVP numbers, with 33 touchdown passes in 12 games. In addition, Romo has done so without speedy receiver Terry Glenn.
Like Moss, Packers warrior Brett Favre was a draft-day afterthought, rated behind a dozen quarterbacks. Favre has avoided interceptions and managed 285 yards a game. He's still got it.
The biggest surprise, however, is unquestionably the Browns' Derek Anderson. His stats mirror Manning's this year. His playoff matchups are dreamy. It is safe to say Anderson is for real.
Unlike 2006, this season is not about the running backs. Only a few stand out, most notably Vikings rookie Adrian Peterson.
Even his biggest supporters would not have guessed that Peterson would outperform Chargers great LaDainian Tomlinson. Peterson is humiliating defenders, as well as fantasy owners who passed on him for a safer bet such as the Bengals' Rudi Johnson.
The only other consistent fantasy running back is Philly's own Brian Westbrook. His versatility, much like Tomlinson's, sets him apart. Westbrook projects to reach career highs in yardage and touchdowns.
Among receivers, 2007 has been a two-man show between Moss and Cowboys enigma Terrell Owens, who has 1,249 yards and 14 touchdowns. As a result, Browns up-and-comer Braylon Edwards can hardly get noticed in the fantasy world.
Five to start
Here are five players with favorable matchups in Week 14:
Torry Holt, WR, Rams
Assuming Marc Bulger plays, Holt will be a handful for the Bengals, who start a rookie corner. Hello, end zone!
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Bengals -
He is in a mini-slump, but that is about to change. The Rams' wounded secondary is no match for T.J.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings
Peterson owners can safely exhale. He's back! The 49ers will make better spectators than defenders.
Tony Romo, QB, Cowboys
- The Lions' defense has surrendered an average of two touchdown passes a week. Romo should have two by halftime.
Roddy White, WR, Falcons
- White is having his breakout year despite a bad quarterback situation. Hot the last two weeks, White should shine againt the Saints.