Mid-season Fantasy Football evaluation
Published: Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
Fantasy football - the highly addictive drug of the sports' world. I mean that in the best way possible, though. Fantasy football is a lot of fun: it adds a level of interactivity (with other owners and the players themselves) to a slate of NFL games. Who cares about a Chargers-Texans game in November? You would, if you had Arian Foster or Philip Rivers in your lineup.
Since each team is at their halfway point of the season, it's time to give out some fantasy football awards for the best and worst of the season so far. Each point total and ranking is based on ESPN standard scoring - six points for a TD, one point for 10 yards rushing/receiving, four points passing TD, one point for 25 passing yards, and so on.
Best long-awaited outburst - Darren McFadden (RB OAK)
He was the fourth pick in the 2008 NFL Draft, so naturally expectations were high for McFadden. After being a big disappointment in his first two seasons (five total touchdowns, plus struggles with injuries), he has blossomed this year - so far he has 757 rushing yards with 242 receiving yards and six total touchdowns. In terms of fantasy scoring, he's the third-best running back (127 points) and that's even with two games missed due to a hamstring injury. He's had double-digit performances in six of those games, plus a 43-point game a few weeks ago.
Best out-of-nowhere season - Kyle Orton (QB DEN)
Remember that guy who played for the Bears a few years ago? The guy who kept the QB spot warm for Rex Grossman in 2005, split starts in 2007 with Brian Griese and was shipped out to Denver when Jay Cutler became available? That guy? In terms of fantasy football and statistics, Kyle Orton has been a superstar this year. Denver throws the ball a lot (Orton is fifth in the league in passing attempts) and Orton's fantasy owners reap the benefits: he's seventh in the league in scoring and gets around 20 points each week. Not bad.
Worst injury - Ryan Grant (RB GB)
Grant was a third-round (or higher) fantasy draft pick in most leagues and, after only eight carries in the first game of the year, he tore a ligament in his ankle. He was placed on injured reserved, ending his season. Ouch. Even though fantasy football is competitive, I'm sure owners had to feel a little sorry for the guy who had Grant on his team.
Best return from the dead - Terrell Owens (WR CIN)
Say what you will about TO, but he's been great as of late. When he signed with Cincy late in the summer, many thought the 36-year-old Owens was washed-up. Now, he leads the league in targets (passes thrown his way) and is third in receiving yards. Owens has caught seven touchdowns this year and has scored over 17 fantasy points in his last five games.
Biggest boom-or-bust players - Matt Forte (RB CHI) and Miles Austin (WR DAL)
Forte had two big weeks (30-point games in Weeks One and Five) and other than scoring short-yardage TDs in Weeks Two and Six, he has not been great - four single digit games. As for Austin, part of the problem is the coach, owner and team turmoil in a 1-7 Cowboys' season and part of it is Jon Kitna taking over for an injured Tony Romo at QB. Still, this season Austin has four games with 11-plus points and four games with less than three points.
Best (or worst) moment - Chris Johnson's TD run in Week Six
With less than two minutes left in a 23-3 Titans blowout on a Monday night, Tennessee faced fourth-down and five from the Jaguars' 35-yard line. Instead of punting or kicking a field goal, the Titans decided to run the ball with Johnson.who promptly found a hole and ran in for a score untouched. No big deal, right? Of course it was - the run put Johnson at 111 yards and gave him a score (a 10-point fantasy swing). Since it was the last game of the week, there's no telling how many fantasy contests he swung with that meaningless touchdown.
Biggest unsung heroes - Kyle Orton (QB DEN), Peyton Hillis (RB CLE), Arian Foster (RB TEX), Brandon Lloyd (WR DEN), Hakeem Nicks (WR NYG), Steve Johnson (WR BUF), Marcedes Lewis (RB JAX), Titans defense/special teams, Dan Carpenter (K MIA)
Realistically, this could be your starting lineup every week. All of these guys have come from out of nowhere or were "sleepers" heading into the season and all are top seven at their respective position fantasy scoring rankings. That includes the Titans (number three defense), Lewis (number two tight end), Nicks (number two WR), Lloyd (number three WR) and Foster (number one RB). Not surprisingly, it is these guys who make up the winning fantasy teams - owners who scout and get something of value out of late-round picks or waiver wire additions tend to do well. Obviously.
Biggest bust - DeAngelo Williams (RB CAR)
With all due respect to Randy Moss, Ryan Mathews, Jerome Harrison, Matt Schaub, Shonn Greene, Beanie Wells and Felix Jones, Williams has been the biggest bust of the year. In many leagues he was a first or second-round pick, but this year he has only 42 points (good enough for 35th overall at running back). Williams has scored only one touchdown this year and does not have a 100-yard rushing game. Plus, the Panthers are 1-7 and Williams has been hurt the last two games. Other than that, he's been great.
MVP - Arian Foster (RB HOU)
Foster started the year with a 231-yard, three touchdown game (good for 41 points) against the Colts in Week One. Some thought he would fade away.nope. Since then, he only had one single-digit game (two points versus the Giants) and he has had four more games with 20 or more points. He also leads the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.
But wait, Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson have similar statistics. Why aren't they the MVP? Easy. They were the consensus top two draft picks in most drafts this year, so those performances were expected. On the other hand, I could guarantee Foster was not a first-round pick in any preseason draft and he might not have been a second or third-round pick either. Anyone could have drafted him. Yet one guy in each league had the hunch or insight to take Foster.and I bet all his fellow fantasy owners hate him for it.