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New blogger and NFL fantasy awards

First, let me start off by introducing myself. My name is Dean Jones Jr. and I'm a Web producer here at baltimoresun.com. Starting today, I'll be a frequent contributor to the fantasy blog.

I have to admit that my favorite fantasy sports are in the offseason right now. Baseball is my favorite sport, followed by football in close second.

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With the baseball offseason in full swing, I'll relay the fantasy impact of the latest signings and trades as they happen.

I'll team with Dave Golokhov to give you my best input on other fantasy sports, and I welcome reader feedback and comments. If you send me valuable advice, I'll be happy to pass it along on the blog.

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If you have something fantasy-related that you'd like me to cover, send an e-mail to djones@baltimoresun.com and I'd be happy to report whatever I can dig up and dish out.

Now, let's get to the "meat and potatoes" of this entry: The NFL fantasy awards for the 2007 season.

Due to the wide spectrum of fantasy leagues offered, as well as the varying importance of each position in respective leagues, I've decided to break the awards down by position.

Today, I'll offer you the top performer at each position. Don't forget to check back on the blog tomorrow afternoon in order to see my picks for MVFP (Most Valuable Fantasy Performer) and LVFP (you guessed it – Least Valuable Fantasy Performer), Surprise Performer of the Year and Rookie Impact Player of the Year.

So, here are the players who helped me win a fantasy football championship this season (and I even included those who cost me a championship in a second league):

Quarterback: Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Is there really another pick here? I mean, don't get me wrong, my combination of Tony Romo and Carson Palmer (a lot more of Romo than Palmer) worked really well, but Brady is the top performing fantasy quarterback. According to ESPN.com's scoring leaders, Brady piled up 378 fantasy points, which put him in first place by 85 points over LaDainian Tomlinson.

Honorable mention: Tony Romo, Peyton Manning, Derek Anderson

Running back: LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego Chargers

When I entered my fantasy draft room and saw that I had the first overall pick, I knew that I had a good shot at strong season because LT was going to be my man. Looking back, I may have considered Tom Brady, but I have no regrets about making Tomlinson the star of my championship-winning team. He consistently put up fantasy point totals in the double digits, including 44 fantasy points against the Raiders in Week 6 (24 carries, 198 yards, four touchdowns).

Honorable mention: Brian Westbrook, Adrian Peterson, Jamal Lewis

Wide receiver: Randy Moss, New England Patriots

When Brady is your quarterback, it's hard not to be considered a top fantasy wide receiver. Why did so many people select other receivers before Moss in their drafts? Yeah, it's probably because they doubted that even Bill Belichick could turn him around, but I'd like to thank the people in my league because I was able to pick up his 280 fantasy points in the fourth round. The wide receivers selected ahead of him included Marvin Harrison (28 points), Steve Smith (138), Torry Holt (156) and Marques Colston (176). I won't mention that I was the one who picked Harrison.

Honorable mention: Terrell Owens, Braylon Edwards, Reggie Wayne

Tight end: Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys

Tight end was by far the most balanced position on the fantasy roster this season. Witten caught 96 passes for 1,145 yards and seven touchdowns to edge out the Chargers' Antonio Gates (75 catches, 984 yards, nine TDs) for the top position. The Chiefs' Tony Gonzalez led all tight ends with 99 receptions and 1,172 yards, but only scored five touchdowns. Dallas Clark scored 11 touchdowns, but only had 58 catches in the high-powered Colts offense.

Honorable mention: Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, Dallas Clark

Defense/Special teams: San Diego Chargers

Despite only finishing 14th in total defense, the Chargers led all defense/special teams units with 198 points. Their league-leading 30 interceptions, which were eight more than second-place Indianapolis, had a lot to do with their ranking. They scored twice on interception returns, three times on fumble recoveries and one time each on kickoff and punt returns.

Honorable mention: Patriots, Seahawks, Vikings

Kicker: Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers

Since his team scored more touchdowns this season, Crosby edged out Tennessee's Rob Bironas by two fantasy points for the top spot. Despite only making 31 of 39 field-goal attempts (compared to 35 of 39 for Bironas), Crosby was 48-for-48 on extra points, while Bironas was only 28-for-28. Overall, Bironas seems to be a better kicker but, as many of you know, ability doesn't always equate to fantasy success.

Honorable mention: Rob Bironas, Stephen Gostkowski, Nick Folk

-- Dean Jones Jr.

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