The Fantasy Football Awards: 1st Half [and 2nd Quarter]
We’re halfway through the fantasy season, which makes it a good time to hand out awards for the first half. I handed out awards for the first quarter, so I’m going to include awards for the second quarter in brackets. These awards are based on performance scoring, such as this one from Antsports.com. For those players that missed games due to injury, I included those games in their per game averages.
MVP: Donovan McNabb (26.6 ppg) [2Q: Mike Vick (27.4)]
Despite a poor outing in windy conditions this Sunday against the Jaguars, McNabb holds onto the top spot for now. Vick, Peyton Manning and Marc Bulger all outscored McNabb in the second quarter, so Donovan may have trouble holding on to this honor.
Honorable Mention: Peyton Manning (24.3), Mike Vick (22.5), Marc Bulger (20.9) [2Q: Peyton Manning (26.5), Marc Bulger (24.5), Donovan McNabb (23.7)]
Biggest Surprise: Jon Kitna (19.4) [2Q: Phillip Rivers (20.4)]
The most interesting thing about these two players is that neither guy was mentioned in the first quarter awards. Kitna played well in the first four games, but was outplayed by Rex Grossman, Charlie Frye and David Carr. It appears that Kitna is really benefiting from Mike Martz’ offensive system. On the other hand, Rivers really has turned it on in the second quarter, upping his average from 16.9 in Weeks 1-4 to 20.4 in Weeks 5-8. He looks like the real deal and should be a solid QB for years to come.
Honorable Mention: Rex Grossman (18.4), Phillip Rivers (16.9), Alex Smith (15.9) [2Q: Jon Kitna (20.4), Damon Huard (17.4), Alex Smith (16.9)]
Biggest Disappointment: Daunte Culpepper (7.4) [2Q: Culpepper (0.0)]
Culpepper was drafted on average as QB8 in the end of the sixth round, and has spent the last four games on the sidelines nursing his sore knee. There were lots of questions surrounding his health this summer, but the Dolphins made the fatal mistake of passing on Drew Brees in favor of Culpepper. Apparently, they felt more comfortable with his knee injury than Brees’ shoulder injury. Needless to say, the move backfired.
Dishonorable Mention: Aaron Brooks (0.8), Ben Roethlisberger (11.5), Jake Plummer (12.2) [2Q: Byron Leftwich (7.2), Chad Pennington (9.0), Matt Hasselbeck (12.7)]
MVP: LaDainian Tomlinson (28.7) [2Q: Tomlinson (33.6)]
LT caught fire in the second quarter, gaining a total of 583 yards from scrimmage and scoring eight TD in those four games. He is currently holding off Larry Johnson for the #1 RB slot and has a better schedule down the stretch, so if he can stay healthy, he should finish at the top of the RB rankings.
Honorable Mention: Larry Johnson (26.3), Brian Westbrook (21.3), Kevin Jones (20.1) [2Q: LJ (28.2), KJ (21.2), Brian Westbrook (20.8), Steven Jackson (20.1)]
Biggest Surprise: Frank Gore (18.3) [2Q: Maurice Jones-Drew (16.8)]
Although he hasn’t been able to keep up his 20 ppg pace, Gore has been a solid option for fantasy owners that gambled on him in the 3rd-6th rounds. Jones-Drew has exploded as the backup to Fred Taylor. Just imagine what he can do once Taylor finally retires.
Honorable Mention: Maurice Jones-Drew (13.2), Ahman Green (12.9) [2Q: Frank Gore (16.1), Leon Washington (12.4), Marion Barber (12.4), Wali Lundy (10.2)]
Biggest Disappointment: Shaun Alexander (4.2) [2Q: Alexander (0.0)]
I suppose it’s worse that LaMont Jordan keeps teasing owners with the possibility that he’ll play, but no owners are reeling more than those that took Alexander third overall and backed him up with the underperforming Maurice Morris. He’s not going to play next week, but head coach Mike Holmgren said that he should be ready to go in Week 10. He’s got a favorable schedule down the stretch, so he still may lead a few fantasy owners to the playoffs before it’s all said and done.
Dishonorable Mention: LaMont Jordan (7.2), Jamal Lewis (8.2), Carnell Williams (11.2) [2Q: LaMont Jordan (5.7), Jamal Lewis (8.1), Corey Dillon (6.4)]
MVP: Andre Johnson (21.0) [2Q: Reggie Wayne (26.8)]
AJ got off to a fast start and is showing no signs of slowing down. The only question mark is David Carr’s benching on Sunday against the Titans. But Johnson was pretty quiet in that game until Sage Rosenfels took over, so it appears he will succeed with either QB. Wayne’s monster day against the Broncos put him over the top in the second quarter, though we’d probably be talking about Marvin Harrison had Denver decided to put Champ Bailey on Wayne instead.
Honorable Mention: Torry Holt (20.2), Reggie Wayne (19.2), Darrell Jackson (18.7) [2Q: Steve Smith (21.6), Torry Holt (21.4), Andre Johnson (21.3), Hines Ward (21.3)]
Biggest Surprise: Marques Colston (18.1) [2Q: Colston (18.1)]
I guess the Saints could do without Donte Stallworth this year. Colston, a seventh-round draft pick out of Hofstra, continues to play at a blistering pace. Although Joe Horn has played better the last few weeks, he probably has Colston to thank. Defenses need to account for him, so that frees things up for Horn.
Honorable Mention: Bernard Berrian (14.1), Mike Furrey (14.0), Jerricho Cotchery (12.6) [2Q: Reggie Brown (17.4), Mike Furrey (13.3), Wes Welker (12.7)]
Biggest Disappointment: Randy Moss (11.6) [2Q: Larry Fitzgerald (2.4)]
Fitzgerald’s injury makes his numbers worse, but Moss’ performance hurts more because he demands to be started each and every week. Fantasy owners just never know when he’s going to go off on one of his three-TD days. For a third round pick, Chris Chambers has really underperformed, but the team is planning to move him to the slot. Is that the cure?
Dishonorable Mention: Larry Fitzgerald (8.7), Chris Chambers (11.9), Chad Johnson (13.5) [2Q: Chris Chambers (10.6), Braylon Edwards (4.1), Santana Moss (9.1)]
MVP: Kellen Winslow (13.9) [2Q: Alge Crumpler (21.5)]
Winslow continues to be the team’s best option on offense and has proven that he’s an every week starter. Crumpler and Antonio Gates have increased their production, so Winslow will have to be more productive to hold them off for the rest of the season.
Honorable Mention: Antonio Gates (13.5), Alge Crumpler (13.5), Todd Heap (12.6) [2Q: Antonio Gates (16.6), Owen Daniels (14.9), Randy McMichael (14.8)]
Biggest Surprise: Desmond Clark (11.9) [2Q: Owen Daniels (14.9)]
Clark is Rex Grossman’s favorite target in the red zone and provides a big target in the middle of the field. I doubt he’ll be able to keep up this kind of production once winter truly arrives in Chicago, but he’s still a good option just about every week. Daniels took the second quarter award behind a huge day against the Titans. Most of that production came with Rosenfels under center, so it remains to be seen if he’ll be able to keep it up with Carr at the helm.
Honorable Mention: Ben Watson (10.1), Owen Daniels (9.5) [2Q: Ben Watson (13.6), Desmond Clark (13.0)]
Biggest Disappointment: Jason Witten (8.0) [2Q: L.J. Smith (8.3)]
After the arrival of Terrell Owens, Witten has been an afterthought in the Dallas offense, but that has changed some with Tony Romo under center. Look for Witten’s numbers to improve as the season wears on.
Dishonorable Mention: Chris Cooley (8.2), Randy McMichael (9.4), Heath Miller (6.5) [2Q: Heath Miller (4.6)]