YARDAGE IS nice, but touchdowns make the masses happy. That's the lesson from the Daily News readers who have chosen Aaron Rodgers as the 2011 Fantasy Football MVP.
Ballots hit the streets on Dec. 16 as Drew Brees was still chasing Dan Marino's single-season yardage record, which he eclipsed on Monday. Brees has led in yardage all season, but Rodgers is tops with 45 TD passes.
Maurice Jones-Drew is 128 yards ahead in the rushing race, but LeSean McCoy's 17 rushing touchdowns earned him the nod as fantasy's top running back.
The TD argument, however, doesn't hold up in the wide-receiver category, where Wes Welker's 116 catches and 1,518 yards were enough to get him top WR honors over Calvin Johnson, who has scored six more TDs.
There were a number of good sleepers this year, but Daily News readers tabbed Green Bay wide receiver Jordy Nelson as the best. Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch, who has scored a touchdown in 11 consecutive games, was second. Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz was third.
It wasn't much of a dream season on Pattison Avenue, and the choice of Michael Vick as the most disappointing quarterback is evidence of that. Vick was a consensus top-five fantasy pick, but missed three games with injury and posted a lackluster 15 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions in the games he has played.
Vick's teammate, DeSean Jackson, was tabbed as the most disappointing fantasy wide receiver.
Here is how Daily News readers voted in a number of fantasy categories and the voting percents. The ballot was first published on the Friday before Week 15 and also appeared last week.
1. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers 65.6
2. Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots 17.2
2. LeSean McCoy, RB, Eagles 17.2
1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers 75.9
2. Drew Brees, Saints 24.1
3. Tom Brady, Patriots -
Running backs Pct.
1. LeSean McCoy, Eagles 75.9
2. Ray Rice, Ravens 13.8
3. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars 10.3
1. Wes Welker, Patriots 44.8
2. Calvin Johnson, Lions 37.9
3. Greg Jennings, Packers 17.3
1. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots 75.0
2. Tony Gonzalez, Falcons 14.3
3. Jimmy Graham, Saints 10.7
1. David Akers, 49ers 72.4
2. Mason Crosby, Packers 20.7
3. Dan Bailey, Cowboys 6.9
1. Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers 37.9
2. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seahawks 34.5
3. Victor Cruz, WR, Giants 27.6
1. Cam Newton, QB, Panthers 75.9
2. Julio Jones, WR, Falcons 13.8
3. A.J. Green, WR, Bengals 10.3
THE MOST DISAPPOINTING
1. Michael Vick, Eagles 48.2
2. Josh Freeman, Buccaneers 37.0
3. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bills 14.8
1. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers 55.6
2. Knowshon Moreno, Broncos 29.6
3. Ryan Grant, Packers 14.8
1. DeSean Jackson, Eagles 55.6
2. Reggie Wayne, Colts 37.0
3. Mike Williams, Buccaneers 7.4
1. Dallas Clark, Colts 40.7
1. Kellen Winslow, Buccaneers 40.7
3. Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars 18.6
1. Rob Bironas, Titans 44.4
2. Matt Bryant, Falcons 37.1
3. Shaun Suisham, Steelers 18.5
1. Any Indianapolis Colt 77.8
2. Rashard Mendenhall, RB, Steelers 14.8
3. Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bills 7.4
1. Matt Forte, RB, Bears 44.4
2. Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs 29.7
3. Andre Johnson, WR, Texans 25.9
The three readers who were randomly selected for a Daily News T-shirt for their participation are Greg Frank, of Cherry Hill; Anthony Miller, of Philadelphia; and Mitchell Spritzler (hometown not known). Thanks to all who submitted votes. Couldn't have done it without you.
SCORING CHANGE ALERT
Tim Tebow's awful outing on Sunday got a little better when a scoring change erased one of his four interceptions. Tebow's third pick is now considered a lost fumble. Defensively, credit Buffalo's Chris Kelsay with a sack and teammate Spencer Johnson with a 17-yard fumble recovery touchdown.
Since the change wasn't announced by the Bills until Wednesday, the Daily News fantasy football staff strongly recommends commissioners consider overturning results if the change decided a fantasy game.
* Quarterbacks: Tony Romo (bruised hand) looks OK to start . . . One of Carson Palmer's better games this season came at San Diego in November. Palmer had 299 yards passing with two touchdowns and a pick. The Chargers were ranked sixth against the pass until giving up 373 yards and three TDs to Matthew Stafford and the Lions last week. I'd be curious if anyone wins a fantasy championship with Palmer as starting quarterback . . . Can't imagine Aaron Rodgers playing more than a quarter or so on Sunday against the Lions. Second-string QB Matt Flynn would be a more appealing play . . . Don't be afraid to play Drew Brees, though. You just know the Saints want him to keep the passing yardage record away from Tom Brady.
* Running backs: Daniel Thomas would be in line for more work if Reggie Bush (hip) is unable to play, but leave him on the bench. Since Week 3, Thomas hasn't scored a touchdown and is averaging 3.1 yards per carry in 112 attempts. Oink . . . Keep an eye on the Patriots' Stevan Ridley. The rookie from LSU has gotten 24 carries over the last 2 weeks and could emerge as a 2012 sleeper with a strong finish to this season . . . Dynasty leaguers should either drop or try to trade Adrian Peterson, depending on the league rules. The signs point to his devastating knee injury dragging into next year, making him a headache worth avoiding. If you can steal a midround draft pick for A.P., do it.
* Wide receivers: In the three games he's played with the Dolphins against Darrelle Revis and the Jets, Brandon Marshall has had two 100-yard outings and a 16-yard clunker . . . Dwayne Bowe has been targeted at least nine times in 10 of the last 12 games. Kyle Orton looked at him 11 times last week, and Bowe, even with Denver's Champ Bailey on the other side, deserves a play as a WR2 this week.
To play or not to play: Fourteen teams are playing this weekend in games that can help their playoff position and 18 teams have either been eliminated or cannot improve their postseason seed. Here's a look:
Playing for something: Bengals, Broncos, Cowboys, Falcons, Giants, Jets, Lions, Patriots, Raiders, Ravens, Saints, Steelers, Titans, 49ers.
Playing for pride: Bears, Bills, Browns, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Chargers, Chiefs, Colts, Dolphins, Eagles, Jaguars, Packers, Panthers, Rams, Redskins, Seahawks, Texans, Vikings.
Cowboy Up: A look at Dallas' top receivers in the three games since Miles Austin returned from his nagging hamstring injury:
Miles Austin: 23 targets, 13 receptions, 156 yards, 3 TDs.
Dez Bryant: 14 targets, 11 receptions, 152 yards, 2 TDs
*Laurent Robinson: 10 targets, 8 receptions, 171 yards, 2 TDs
Jason Witten: 17 targets, 11 receptions, 113 yards, 0 TDs
*Note: Robinson has only four catches for 34 yards over the last two games.
From yesterday's chat:
Q: Eli Manning or Tony Romo?
A: I'd go with Romo this week as long as he continues progressing with his hand injury and because the Cowboys are healthier at wide receiver/tight end . . . and because the Cowboys aren't playing the Eagles.
Q: I have Rodgers and Orton. Obviously, is Rodgers' limited time better than a full game from Orton? I lead by about 20 points and this could be a $2,500 decision.
A: That's tough. I keep seeing Rodgers at 45 TD passes and wondering whether the Packers would be nuts enough to try to get him to 50. I doubt it, but I keep thinking it. Still, I'd go with Orton. Denver was lit up by Buffalo last week and you know the Chiefs would love to stick it to their rival with their former quarterback. I also think Dwayne Bowe and Orton have some chemistry and will take advantage of some of the injuries Denver has in its secondary.
Q: Flex option. Beanie Wells, Ahmad Bradshaw or James Stewart?
A: It'd be either Bradshaw or Stewart and I'd go with Bradshaw. Think the Giants need to run the ball this week.
For a full transcript of yesterday's chat, visit philly.com/dnfantasychat.