1. Carson Palmer - Palmer broke out in 2005 to lead his Bengals to a home playoff game and also lead stats for all NFL fantasy quarterbacks. With 32 passing TDs, a season passing rating of 101.1, and at least 2 TDs in all but 4 games, Palmer was very consistent and led many fantasy owners to the championship.
2. Peyton Manning - Manning got off to a bit of a slow start with no TDs in weeks 2 and 3, but seemed to find some of his 2004 form to finish the season with a 104.1 final passing rating. His 28 TDs (and 4000+ yards) did not approach the 49 TDs from last season, but he still ranked 2nd of NFL quarterbacks this year. Manning basically sat out of games 15 and 16 or he may have again topped the list.
3. Tom Brady - Brady started the season by completing 1 TD or less in 5 of New England's first 7 games, but then increased his touchdown performance and became pretty consistent for fantasy owners. Yardage numbers stayed solid throughout and rarely fell below 250 for a game. Brady's 4110 yards led all quarterbacks.
4. Matt Hasselbeck - Hasselbeck was very consistent from a fantasy perspective. And other than a meaningless game 16 where he was pulled against Green Bay, he only had one other scoreless game (week 3 against Arizona). Hasselbeck may have benefitted from a soft schedule...but with the loss of primary receiver Darrell Jackson for most of season, Hasselbeck showed much poise and emerged as one of the NFL's top tier quarterbacks. Hasselbeck may be no Michael Vick, but his 124 rushing yards with a pair of rushing TDs were a nice bonus for his owners.
5. Eli Manning - Eli threw at least one TD in every game except against Dallas on 12/4. He was a fairly consistent scorer through most of the season, but yardage numbers were up and down with several interceptions spread throughout. Owners of Manning during the fantasy playoffs may have had a bit of a letdown, however. Manning finished the month of December with only 4 touchdowns in 5 games.
6. Drew Brees - Brees was consistent in his 2005 season and had only 3 games without a score (one was in game 16 upon being injured and sidelined). Although his game 16 shoulder injury may have some effect on his future, Brees' showing against a difficult schedule convinced coaches and fans that he is number one in San Diego (over P. Rivers). A 4 TD game on Nov 20th against the Bills was nice for his fantasy owners and helped move Brees toward the elite of NFL QBs.
7. Drew Bledsoe - Bledsoe joined Bill Parcells in Dallas and played 2005 like he was in the 1990's. He was very consistent with only one goose egg (game 10 against Detroit). Bledsoe had three 3-TD games (games 1, 5, and 13). For fantasy owners who gambled on him, Bledsoe put up decent touchdowns, nice yardage, and was a nice find.
8. Jake Delhomme - Delhomme led the Panthers to the NFC championship game, but his play was rather inconsistent during the season. He had 8 games with 1 TD or less and had 6 games where he threw for under 200 yards. Ultimately, Delhomme was a top 10 fantasy QB in 2005...but his fantasy stats varied from week to week for his owners.
9. Mark Brunell - Brunell completed passes for only 70 yards in game 1 without a touchdown, but he then threw for 12 TDs over the next 5 games and averaged nearly 300 yards per game. Mark Brunell was looking like a fantasy stud by the end of week 6 and eventually led the Redskins to the NFL playoffs, but his fantasy numbers fell back to Earth with few TDs and closer to 150 yards per game for his final 10 games.
1. Shaun Alexander - Alexander the Great! Alexander put up 27 TDs on the year and had only 2 games where he failed to score (also held to under 100 yds in those games). Fantasy owners who drafted him as number one were rewarded heavily with his 1958 total yards and 28 touchdowns. To put things in perspective, Alexander doubled the touchdown numbers of Edgerrin James (who finished 4th of all fantasy running backs).
2. Larry Johnson - Deja Vu! Larry Johnson filled in for Priest Holmes in the final 8 games of 2004 with huge success and was destined to repeat the same in 2005. Holmes and Johnson split carries early in '05 and held down Johnson's numbers to a minimum. LJ had only 4 TDs in first 7 games and only one over 100 yds...but then in the absence of Holmes (due to injury), Johnson busted out for 16 TDs in the next 9 with every game well over 100 yards (2 over 200 yds). Larry Johnson was the most dominant fantasy performer over the last half of 2005...and especially when it counted - the fantasy playoffs!
3. LaDainian Tomlinson - LT2 started off the season strong to eventually finish with 23 total touchdowns (3 of them passing) and 1834 total yards (not including passing yards). And, although Tomlinson most likely got your team to your fantasy playoffs, he fell off with nagging injuries toward the end of the season. He had only 1 td in the last 5 games and none over 100 yds...this after starting off the season with 9 of first 11 games with touchdowns.
4. Edgerrin James- Consistent, consistent, consistent. Edge had over 100 total yards in every game while the NFL season mattered for the Colts (through mid Dec). James finished with 1843 total yards and 14 TDs, but he did fall off at the very end of the season due to lack of playing time...sometimes owners find it's possible to have a player on too dominant of a team and they suffer in the playoffs (think 2004 Eagles when they benched McNabb, Westbrook, and TO at end of season...although TO was actually injured).
5. Tiki Barber- BIG Yards! Tiki put up 2390 total yards (many in 2nd half of season). For touchdown based leagues, Barber still had a nice number with 11 (9/2). But for leagues that give points for yardage, Tiki Barber was like a 2 for 1.
6. Mike Anderson - Anderson had 1 td in first 5 games with only one game over 100 yds, but then became a TD machine with a couple of big yardage games. Tatum Bell became a problem for Anderson owners since Denver and coach Mike Shanahan held their cards close and wouldn't reveal who would get the carries. Anderson lost some carries to Bell (esp. toward end of season), but still got short yardage touchdowns. For owners who stuck with Anderson and the unpredictability of the Bronco backfield, he yielded them 16 touchdowns and 1226 total yards...which ended up better than respectable.
7. Clinton Portis - Portis looked like a potential early bust with no TDs in Washington's first 5 games, but he then put up consistent big yardage and TDs for the rest of the season. Portis finished with a whopping 1732 total yards and 14 touchdowns (one of them a pass). Owners who traded for Portis or decided to stick with him were definitely rewarded with his perseverance down the stretch.
8. Rudi Johnson - Similar to Larry Johnson (but not quite the calibur), Rudi Johnson scored only 2 tds in his first 8 games with only 1 - 100 yard performance. Then Rudi seemed to turn it on for the last half of the season. He finished with 1548 yards and 12 touchdowns and was a strong and consistent performer for the final 8 games.
9. Corey Dillon - Dillon did not play in games 6, 9-11 due to injury and had no TDs through the stretch (games 6-11). But, Dillon was otherwise consistent and finished with 13 touchdowns and over 900 yards.
* - plus 3 Passing Touchdowns
** - plus 1 Passing Touchdown
1. Steve Smith - Steve Smith was definitely the top fantasy wide receiver of 2005. He had 12 receiving TDs, 1 rushing TD, and 3 returns for TDs. Smith kept his yards consistent for the season, but his touchdown production is another story. He had 9 TDs in his first 8 games...but only 3 TDs in last 8. Smith may have been enough to boost owners to their fantasy playoffs, but his lack of TD production in the last half of the season may not have been enough to send his owners to their fantasy superbowl.
2. Larry Fitzgerald -Fitz scored in 10 different games and had 7 - 100+ yard games...pretty consistent. He had a touchdown and/or 100+ yards in all but 4 games...again, pretty consistent. Larry Fitzgerald was the perfect wide receiving fantasy compliment. He wasn't impossible to acquire and he produced quality numbers all season long.
3. Santana Moss - Moss and Mark Brunell were often on the same page. But, like Brunell, Moss was somewhat inconsistent for his fantasy owners. On the plus side, he had 3 games of 150+ yards and 2 or more touchdowns...but he also had 10 games with under 100 yards and no touchdowns. When Moss was on, he was a huge hit and gave his owners a most likely win...but he also could be a miss.
4. Chad Johnson - CJ finished the season with 1432 yards on 97 grabs. He was able to spread his 9 tds across 8 games....which was consistent and nice for his fantasy owners.
5. Marvin Harrison - Marvin Harrison didn't quite put up the yardage of past years (1146 yards in 2005), but his 12 TDs were a nice touch. He was fairly steady and never went more than 2 consecutive games without a score.
6. Chris Chambers - 6 of Chambers' 11 touchdowns came in December. Chambers may not have led your fantasy team to the playoffs with his average performance from September through November, but if you did happen to make the fantasy playoffs,...Chambers' outstanding scoring performance during the month of December were a huge boost towards your superbowl.
7. Joey Galloway - Galloway was a seasoned and well oiled machine in Tampa Bay (some would argue the only one in the area other than Cadillac Williams). Galloway consistently spread his 10 TDs and 1287 yards across the season (with a couple of goose eggs in games 2 and 10). Galloway was a great value...he should have been cheap and was definitely effective.
8. Torry Holt - Even though he missed games 7 and 8, Holt was able to grab 102 receptions for 1331 yards. Holt stayed consistent for the season even though the quarterback situation in St. Louis seemed to be otherwise.
9. Anquan Boldin - Similar to Holt, Boldin was out of games 8 and 9 (and pretty much nonexistent in game 6). But Boldin spread his touchdowns across 7 different games of remaining 13 and had 8 - 100+ yard games. Boldin's 102 receptions and 1402 receiving yards were beyond admirable...imagine if he was healthy the full season!
10. Hines Ward - Ward rounds out the top ten with 11 TDs and nearly 1000 receiving yards. But Ward was either hit or miss across the season. He had 5 games with 40 or less yards without a TD....and had 5 games with either multiple scores or 100+ yards with a score.
1. Antonio Gates - Other than missing game 1 (suspended), Gates had 4 or more grabs in 12 of remaining 15 games and consistently spread his scoring across the season. Antonio Gates soundly claimed the throne as the 'Best Tight End in Football'. His 89 receptions for 1101 yards and 10 touchdowns were more than impressive and would fall within top ten wide receiving rankings.
2. Jeremy Shockey - Shockey's 7 touchdowns came in the first 11 games, but stayed consistent in the stretch since there was no game where he had more than 1 TD. Shockey did have 2 games with 10 catches and 4 - 100+ yard games sperad across the season. Shockey had nearly 900 yards on the season and is a scoring threat anytime the Giants are on the opponents' side of the 50 yard line.
3. Todd Heap - Heap had very similar numbers to Shockey, but without much of a passing game in Baltimore. 5 of Heap's 7 TDs came in the final 6 games....which was a huge benefit to fantasy playoff teams. Heap was otherwise consistent with his yardage and catches spread out across the season
4. Chris Cooley - Like Heap, Cooley scored 5 of his 7 TDs toward the end (in last 5 games and 3 in game 14). And...also like Heap, Cooley spread his yards and grabs consistently across the season.
5. Alge Crumpler - His 5 touchdowns and 877 yards were consistently spread from game to game with no real highs or lows in catches, yards, or touchdowns.
6. Heath Miller - All 6 of Miller's touchdowns came in his first 7 games. He seemed to slow down with 5 of remaining 9 games with 2 or less grabs and no TDs.
7. Mike Sellers - Sellers had only three games with over 4 yards (7, 21, and 26), but scored in games 3, 4, 6(2), 9, 14, and 16.
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Final 2005 NFL fantasy rankings
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