For years, the debate over who the most productive fantasy players were in a given era was fixated on the top-rated running backs. With a gradual change in play calling philosophies, that trend has shifted dramatically since 2010. Such a dramatic shift – that now getting a top tier wide receiver is a higher draft priority than stocking up on ball carriers. However, since 2010 a few NFL fantasy superstars have been consistently the best point producers.
Workhorse Running Backs
Age and the pounding of the NFL has caught up with AP, but Adrian Peterson has to be one of the highest drafted fantasy running backs since 2010. A handful of nagging injuries and a couple legal squabbles with the NFL head office, limited his production in recent seasons. However, since 2010 he has been the most consistently steady fantasy point producers to own.
The same could be said about Jamaal Charles. Until the last two seasons, Charles has been the primary weapon for the Kansas City Chiefs, and a week-to-week stalwart on many fantasy teams. Peterson took high fantasy point honors in 2012, followed by Charles in 2013. During other years, players like the Muscle Hamster (Doug Martin) in Tampa Bay, Arian Foster, Chris Johnson, Matt Forte and LeSean McCoy have all been covered to fill the RB spot on a fantasy roster. A running back has been the most valuable player in fantasy in the past 15 seasons.
Shady McCoy approaches the consistency level that both Peterson and Charles has established, but running backs have faded from their glory days as must-have pieces to a fantasy league championship. Although he doesn’t have as extensive a portfolio to judge, the newest fantasy RB stud would have to be the Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell, who is currently sits on top of early fantasy mock drafts as the number one pick.
Winning With Signal Callers
Many team owners feel that the quarterback spot can be filled competently, by waiting until the mid-rounds to pull one off the draft board. Since 2010, if you want constant and steady fantasy production, a handful of signal callers stand out. Number one off the boards is Aaron Rodgers. Cheeseheads assert they have the best quarterback of all time and a bunch of fantasy crowns have been awarded with Rodgers filling the quarterback slot. Another first time Hall of Famer, Tom Brady has equaled Rodgers in fantasy consistency.
Although he’s now pumping pizzas for Papa John’s, Peyton Manning had to be given high consideration on fantasy draft day until he retired a Super Bowl Champion. Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and oddly enough Russell Wilson, have all held their own when the final fantasy stats are calculated, but a big percentage of league championships were stolen if one of the top three quarterbacks were blended with a solid supporting cast.
The NFL Goes Airborne
Over the last half decade, the importance of owning a high-profile pass catcher has increased. This list has fluctuated from one year to the next, but when looking at productivity, Antonio Brown has become maybe the most coveted player on fantasy draft day. Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones have shown the capability of putting up astronomical numbers on any given weekend, so a mention of the best WRs since 2010 could not skip those two.
Even with three more seasons left before we flip the calendar into the next decade of the 21st century, one player who put a stamp on fantasy production from the wide receiver spot was the Megatron. Before he decided to hang up his spikes, Calvin Johnson boosted the weekly point totals of many a fantasy football team.
When you debate the best fantasy players over a seven-year period, you have to use consistency as the benchmark. Running backs come and go on almost a yearly basis, but those mentioned here have shown resilience.
With about every offensive coordinator told to get the pigskin airborne more often, quarterbacks and wide receivers have gradually floated to the top of point production. Again, consistency – and what have you done for me lately – establishes the criteria necessary to judge the best fantasy football players since 2010.