Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best of the decade?

As we say goodbye to 2009, I'm seeing all kinds of all-decade lists popping up all over the place (Best movies? Best songs? Best TV themes?)

It got me thinking: Who were the best fantasy players of the 2000s? It'd be awfully hard to narrow it down to an all-decade team. For instance, Peyton Manning's probably the obvious choice at QB, but how do you deny Tom Brady's record-busting 2007 season? Or how do you narrow it down to 1 or 2 running backs - say, LaDainian Tomlinson and Priest Holmes - and leave out a Brian Westbrook or Adrian Peterson or Marshall Faulk?

Jay Clemons of actually figured out a better approach, ranking the top 10 fantasy seasons of the decade. Here's what they came up with in a nutshell:

1. Tom Brady, 2007
2. LaDainian Tomlinson, 2006
3. Peyton Manning, 2004
4. Randy Moss, 2007
5. Shaun Alexander, 2005
6. Daunte Culpepper, 2004
7. LaDainian Tomlinson, 2003
8. Marvin Harrison, 2002
9. Tony Gonzalez, 2004
10. Drew Brees, 2008

A few things jump out at me:

- How does Holmes not make the list? It's easy to forget that near the start of the decade he was every bit as dominating as Tomlinson in his prime and single-handedly won many leagues in the early 2000s. A tight end makes the list and Priest doesn't?

- Brady may have had the single most impressive fantasy season of the '00s, but as SI points out, the rest of his career belongs simply in the "good" category, from a fantasy standpoint.

- It's almost unfathomable that Culpepper, who can't even stay on the field for the Detroit Lions nowadays, was once the game's best fantasy QB. I owned him in 2004, his incredible 39-TD season, and loved every minute of it. I also drafted him the following year, the start of his long downward career spiral, and still haven't forgiven him.

Photo by The Associated Press

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