I was going to do another open thread for this week's Fantasy Fodder, but with the fantasy football playoffs in many leagues wrapping up Tuesday night or next weekend, it's time for us to recognize the fantasy heroes who came out of nowhere to carry us to championships -- or screwed us over because we weren't clever enough to scoop them up before an opponent did (hey, that's not the sleepers' fault; that's on us).
The fantasy sleeper of the year was Houston's Arian Foster. Many experts thought rookie Ben Tate would be the Texans' lead back, but Foster ran with the job when Tate suffered a season-ending injury in training camp. Foster finished Week 16 as the season's highest-scoring back. Not too shabby for a mid-round pick.
Anyway, without further ado, here is my entire all-sleeper squad for the 2010 fantasy season:
QB: Michael Vick. The Eagles quarterback, a waiver-wire pickup when Kevin Kolb got injured in Week 1, was so deadly, the term "I got Vicked" became part of fantasy vernacular. Honorable mention: Matt Cassel.
RB: Arian Foster and Peyton Hillis. I've already talked about Foster, but how about Hillis? The former fullback nearly scored as many fantasy points as the other Peyton (you know, the one in Indy). Does he having staying power? We'll see next season (assuming there is one). There's no shame in being a one-hit fantasy wonder as far as I'm concerned. Honorable mention: Darren McFadden and LeGarrette Blount.
WR: Brandon Lloyd, Stevie Johnson and Hakeem Nicks. I didn't even know Lloyd was still alive entering the season, so he counts as an ultimate sleeper after putting up 1,200-plus receiving yards and double-digit touchdowns. Johnson blamed God for that drop against the Steelers, but he should be thanking the football gods for a breakout campaign. And Nicks was a top-three fantasy receiver in his second NFL season until an ankle injury sidelined him for two games. Honorable mention: Dwayne Bowe, TB Mike Williams and T.O.
TE: Marcedes Lewis. For years we have heard reports out of Jacksonville about Lewis' potential, but the tall tight end didn't start scratching it until this season. Nine TDs? Nice. Honorable mention: Rob Gronkowski.
D/ST: The Cardinals are 28th in scoring defense, but they have scored a remarkable 12 return touchdowns in 2010, which is one shy of the NFL record. Talk about boom or bust. Honorable mention: the Chiefs.
K: Kickers? We don't care about no stinkin' kickers!
OK, it's your time to shine. Who did I snub, and who were your fantasy saviors in this year's playoffs?
Also, let's get the conversation started for next week: Who should make my all-bust squad?
And, of course, if you have fantasy questions for Week 17 championship games, comment below, send me a Tweet at @mattvensel or shoot me an email at email@example.com. Good luck.