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2016 FANTASY FOOTBALL AWARDS

A look back at the season's bests and worsts and a look toward 2017.

Another fantasy football season is in the books. Here’s the American-Statesman’s 2016 fantasy awards and early look toward 2017:

The MVP: David Johnson, RB, Cardinals

Nobody was more consistent. The second-year running back led the league in touchdowns and yards from scrimmage. He averaged 132.3 yards from scrimmage while rushing for 1,239 yards and 16 touchdowns. What made him the MVP were his contributions through the air, catching 80 passes for 879 yards and four touchdowns. He had more receiving yards than Jordan Matthews, Brandon Marshall and Mohamed Sanu. Having him on your team was basically like having an RB1 and a WR2 in one player.

Matt Ryan probably deserves to be league MVP, but Aaron Rodgers was the best fantasy quarterback this season, accounting for 44 touchdowns. (Gregory Shamus\/Getty Images)

Matt Ryan probably deserves to be league MVP, but Aaron Rodgers was the best fantasy quarterback this season, accounting for 44 touchdowns. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

2016 All-Fantasy Team

Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers, Packers (4,428 yards passing, 44 total TDs)
Running back: David Johnson, Cardinals (2,118 total yards, 20 total TDs)
Running back: Le’Veon Bell, Steelers (1,884 total yards, 9 total TDs)
Flex: Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (1,994 total yards, 16 total touchdowns)
Wide receiver: Antonio Brown, Steelers (1,284 yards, 12 TDs)
Wide receiver: Julio Jones, Falcons (1,409 yards, 6 TDs)
Wide receiver: Jordy Nelson, Packers (1,257 yards, 14 TDs)
Tight end: Travis Kelce, Chiefs (1,125 yards, 4 TDs)
Defense/Special teams: Chiefs (18 interceptions, 15 fumble recoveries, 8 TDs)
Kicker: Matt Bryant, Falcons (56 XPs, 34 FGs, 59 long)

Ezekiel Elliott was expected to do well, but he wasn't expected to win the rushing title as a rookie. (Ron Jenkins\/Associated Press)

Ezekiel Elliott was expected to do well, but he wasn't expected to win the rushing title as a rookie. (Ron Jenkins/Associated Press)

Best rookie: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys

The second-most consistent fantasy player was Elliott. He was the perfect example of talent meeting opportunity and circumstance. Running behind one of the best lines helped him lead the league in rushing with 1,631 yards while scoring 16 total touchdowns.

Jordan Howard rushed for 1,313 yards and scored six touchdowns in his rookie season. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Best waiver pickup: Jordan Howard, RB, Bears

It was supposed to be Jeremy Langford’s time to shine for the Bears, but when Howard got his opportunity he made the most of it. He was second in the league in rushing yards and scored six touchdowns.

Best bang for your buck: DeMarco Murray

He was able to get back to the production he had two years ago with the Cowboys once he escaped Chip Kelly’s bad running scheme in Philadelphia. Some think the Titans’ offensive line is even better than the Cowboys. They may be right; Murray was third in the league in rushing and scored nine touchdowns. With an average draft position of 47th, he finished the season as a top-6 running back.

DeMarco Murray proved to be the best value this fantasy season. (Sean M. Haffey\/Getty Images)

DeMarco Murray proved to be the best value this fantasy season. (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Breakout player: Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers

When Danny Woodhead tore his ACL in mid-September, Gordon became an every-down back and benefitted greatly. He was three yards short of his first 1,000-yard season and scored 12 times after not getting into the end zone his rookie year. Expect him to go in the first round of fantasy drafts.

Melvin Gordon nearly rushed for 1,000 yards in a great sophomore season. (Kevin C. Cox\/Getty Images)

Melvin Gordon nearly rushed for 1,000 yards in a great sophomore season. (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Best comeback: Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers

We nearly listed Murray here, but it wouldn’t be right given what Nelson was able to accomplish after missing all of the 2015 season. He led the league in touchdown catches (14) and gained 1,191 yards. He finished the season strong and delivered quite a few championships to fantasy owners.

Jordy Nelson is the comeback player of the year in which he led the league in touchdown receptions after missing all of the 2015 season. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Never say die award: Frank Gore, RB, Colts and Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals

Gore rushed for over 1,000 yards for the ninth time in his 12-year career and found the end zone eight times. Fitzgerald led the league with 107 receptions in his 13th year. He scored six touchdowns and had more than 1,000 yards receiving for the eighth time in his career.

Frank Gore is as reliable a running back as you'll ever see over the course of a season. He rushed for over 1,000 yards for the ninth time in his 12-year career. (Michael Hickey\/Getty Images)

Frank Gore is as reliable a running back as you'll ever see over the course of a season. He rushed for over 1,000 yards for the ninth time in his 12-year career. (Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

These next items aren’t the kinds of awards one strives for, but they can’t be ignored if we’re thoroughly reviewing the season.

Worst regression: Blake Bortles, QB, Jaguars

He wasn’t necessarily a disaster, but most of his numbers came from garbage time. Those points still count, but they weren’t what owners were hoping for to start the season. He had 11 games in which he threw for fewer than 300 yards. He had 24 touchdowns, but also 22 turnovers.

Biggest disappointment: Todd Gurley, RB, Rams

We had Johnson ranked ahead of Gurley in our Top 100 to start the season, but we didn’t anticipate Gurley being as bad as he was. He had a high volume of touches, which means he consistently put up non-disastrous numbers. But the fact that he was the top running back taken in most leagues makes his numbers a disaster.

If you drafted Todd Gurley, it's very likely you didn't make the playoffs after wasting such a high pick on his mediocre season. (Harry How/Getty Images)

An early look at 2017

It’s never too early to take a look at next season’s rankings, especially with the end of the season still fresh on your mind. Le’Veon Bell tops this list. You can probably call the first through third picks 1A, 1B and 1C. It’s really that close, but we gave Bell the nod since he should play a full season this time around.

Keep in mind if you play in a league that awards six points per touchdown for quarterbacks, they should be ranked higher than what you see here.

1-Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers

2-David Johnson, RB, Cardinals

3-Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys

4-Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers

5-Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants

6-Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers

7-Julio Jones, WR, Falcons

8-Jordan Howard, RB, Bears

9-LeSean McCoy, RB, Bills

10-DeMarco Murray, RB, Titans

11-A.J. Green, WR, Bengals

12-Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers

13-Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers

14-T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts

15-Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons

16-Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers

17-Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys

18-Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings

19-Jay Ajayi, RB, Dolphins

20-Lamar Miller, RB, Texans

21-Mark Ingram, RB, Saints

22-Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers

23-Rob Gronkowski, TE, Patriots

24-Tom Brady, QB, Patriots

25-Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers

26-Spencer Ware, RB, Chiefs

27-Michael Thomas, WR, Saints

28-Todd Gurley, RB, Rams

29-Brandin Cooks, WR, Saints

30-Davante Adams, WR, Packers

31-DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans

32-C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos

33-Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills

34-Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks

35-LeGarrette Blount, RB, Patriots

36-Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders

37-Thomas Rawls, RB, Seahawks

38-Michael Crabtree, WR, Raiders

39-Andrew Luck, QB, Colts

40-Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders

41-Drew Brees, QB, Saints

42-Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs

43-Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars

44-Robert Kelley, RB, Redskins

45-Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots

46-Alshon Jeffery, WR, Bears

47-Dion Lewis, RB, Patriots

48-Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers

49-Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons

50-Tevin Coleman, RB, Falcons

51-Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers

52-Jordan Reed, TE, Redskins

53-Demaryius Thomas, WR, Broncos

54-Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers

55-Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs

56-Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins

57-Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals

58-Frank Gore, RB, Colts

59-Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals

60-Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers

61-Derrick Henry, RB, Titans

62-Bilal Powell, RB, Jets

63-Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals

64-Derek Carr, QB, Raiders

65-Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs

66-Martavis Bryant, WR, Steelers

67-C.J. Prosise, RB, Seahawks

68-Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers

69-Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys

70-Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Panthers

71-Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos

72-Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins

73-Jimmy Graham, TE, Seahawks

74-Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts

75-Golden Tate, WR, Lions

76-Cam Newton, QB, Panthers

77-Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns

78-Kenneth Dixon , RB, Ravens

79-Terrelle Pryor Sr., WR, Browns

80-Jamison Crowder, WR, Redskins

81-Kyle Rudolph, TE, Vikings

82-Matt Forte, RB, Jets

83-Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks

84-Ty Montgomery, WR, Packers

85-Eli Manning, QB, Giants

86-Ameer Abdullah, RB, Lions

87-DeSean Jackson, WR, Redskins

88-Brandon Marshall, WR, Jets

89-Tyrell Williams, WR, Chargers

90-Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals

91-Paul Perkins, RB, Giants

92-Rishard Matthews, WR, Titans

93-Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants

94-Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Patriots

95-Theo Riddick, RB, Lions

96-Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Buccaneers

97-Martellus Bennett, TE, Patriots

98-Marcus Mariota, QB, Titans

99-Randall Cobb, WR, Packers

100-Eric Decker, WR, Jets

101-Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions