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Top Fantasy Stories of 2011 – a Fan’s Take
In many aspects, the 2011 National Football League season was filled with suspense and intrigue. Each week, it was fantasy rosters that paid the price as a big star went down for weeks at a time. The wide receiver position has become one of the top positions for fantasy GMs on draft day and the influx of rookies made for a fun year. How about the Indianapolis Colts going 2-14 after losing Peyton Manning to a neck injury. These were just three of the top stories from 2011 that wreaked havoc on fantasy GMs plans.
Rookie WR Explosion
Coming into the season, A.J. Green and Julio Jones, both top-10 picks in the 2011 NFL Draft got most of the attention heading into playoff drafts. Both players had great years, as did Torrey Smith from the Baltimore Ravens. Green had more than 1,000 receiving yards, while Jones came up a little short at 959 and Smith had 841 yards.
The one rookie (I consider him one since he didn't play in 2010) that had an even greater fantasy season was Victor Cruz. Cruz made 82 catches for 1,536 yards with nine touchdowns. The undrafted rookie from UMass surpassed the production of all other rookie wide outs and may have the best rookie season of any player in years (if he qualified in the eyes of the NFL).
Injuries Wreaked Havoc on Rosters
The injury bug began early this season with the torn ACL suffered by Jamaal Charles in week two. The injury list grew more than I ever remember in my fantasy football history. Stars like Adrian Peterson, Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, Ahmad Bradshaw, Julio Jones and Peyton Hillis all missed time this season due to injury, making more work for fantasy GMs each week.
Peyton Problems in Indy
The loss of Manning just before the season began set them up for a run at the Andrew Luck pick, otherwise known as the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. His injury not only cost the Indianapolis Colts a chance at the playoffs, but it may have done the same to those who drafted prior to his neck surgery. The perennial first selection is a hard man to replace, but lucky for fantasy GMs, names like Andy Dalton and Cam Newton were available on the waiver wire in many leagues early on.
For a closer look at All-Injury teams for all major fantasy positions and biggest stars and busts from each NFL team, click here.
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Hobson Lopes has been playing fantasy football for more than 10 years and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.
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