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The Fantasy Football Awards: 1st Half [& 2nd Quarter]

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.

QUARTERBACKS

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)]

RUNNING BACKS

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)]

WIDE RECEIVERS

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)]

TIGHT ENDS

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)]

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Trouble brewing for Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals have problems. And get this – this time, the problems are actually related to football and not complaints about whose turn it was to watch law-breaker Chris Henry. Running back Rudi Johnson is sounding off about the coaching staff suddenly abandoning the run – even when it has been successful:

“We changed what was working,” said Johnson, who holds the club rushing record. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. You know what I mean. Take a look at it. A lot of games we lose is for that reason.”

Here is just another case of an athlete that should shut is mouth and let the coaching staff worry about scheming and play calling. However, this is also another case of an athlete who seems to be right.

Cleveland tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. sounded off about the direction of Maurice Carthon’s bland offense about a month ago. And after one week, the Browns scored 20 points with Carthon nowhere near the stadium in the Browns 20-13 win over the Jets. Michael Vick shot off on an HBO program that the coaching staff in Atlanta should allow him to throw more. Since the comments, Vick has thrown seven touchdown passes and the Falcons are a solid 5-2 after wins over Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. The final example is Edgerrin James in Arizona, who complained that the Cardinals needed to run more. Now look at Arizona – the Cards are an offensive juggernaut…okay, skip that last one.

Bottom line is that Johnson should keep his frustrations in-house. However, Marvin Lewis did completely abandon a working rushing game in the Bengals loss to the Falcons last Sunday. Johnson was finding running lanes left and right on his way to 32 yards and a touchdown on Cincy’s opening offensive drive (a drive that ended in a Johnson TD by the way). After that first possession, however, Johnson was rarely used (especially in the second half) and Atlanta was able to pressure Carson Palmer enough to escape town with a win.

Not that I promote the assailants running the asylum, but maybe some of these hard-headed coaches need to start listening more to what the players are seeing on the field.

Fantasy Football: Q & A, Week 9

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Fire away.

Friends mourn Red Auerbach at memorial

Legendary Celtics coach/GM Red Auerbach died of a heart attack on Sunday. He was 89.

Today, friends and family gathered to mourn his loss, and Boston Globe writer Bob Ryan related a few of the stories he heard during the memorial. He also shared his thoughts on the man and his legacy.

Fantasy Football: Waiver Wire Watch, Week 9

QUARTERBACKS

Here is a list of players that may be available on your league’s waiver wire, in order of relative value:

Jon Kitna, Rex Grossman, Tony Romo, Alex Smith, David Carr, Trent Green, Chad Pennington, Phillip Rivers, Steve McNair, Matt Leinart, Aaron Brooks, Charlie Frye, Damon Huard, Brad Johnson, Seneca Wallace, Mark Brunell, J.P. Losman, Bruce Gradkowski, Vince Young, Joey Harrington

Tony Romo looked solid against a decent Panthers defense on Sunday night and should be a pretty good play going forward against the right defenses. He’ll struggle at times, but he has a load of weapons, so he should succeed against moderate to poor defenses…Seneca Wallace exceeded expectations and appears to be a good option for Matt Hasselbeck owners…Steve McNair returned and torched the Saints for three TD (two passing, one rushing). It’s hard to utilize McNair as anything more than a fill-in because he could get knocked out of a game at any time…Trent Green has been practicing and may return to the starting lineup this week, though Damon Huard has done a fine job of holding down the fort…Aaron Brooks is also getting closer to returning, and the Raider passing game could use a shot in the arm. There’s no guarantee that Brooks is the answer, however.

RUNNING BACKS

Wali Lundy, Leon Washington, Mike Bell, Travis Henry, Maurice Jones-Drew, Justin Fargas, Cedric Benson, DeAngelo Williams, Maurice Morris, Jerious Norwood, Michael Turner, Brandon Jacobs, Najeh Davenport

Wali Lundy has his second straight strong outing, turning 23 touches into 149 yards. He has proven he is the best back on the roster and should continue to get most of the touches. It’s important to keep in mind that Ron Dayne was seeing most of the short-yardage work…Mike Bell took advantage of Tatum Bell’s turf toe and rumbled for 136 yards on 15 carries. The other Bell was never able to get anything going. If Tatum continues to struggle with an injured toe, look for Mike to carry the load…DeAngelo Williams is getting close to returning and if DeShaun Foster can’t stay healthy, Williams will see an increase in value. If an impatient owner cut Williams after his injury, now would be a good time to pick him up…LaMont Jordan is struggling with a bad back, and wasn’t able to carry the full load on Sunday. Backs are notoriously dicey injuries, so if Jordan isn’t able to get it going, Justin Fargas will be the man, though the Raiders rushing offense has been pretty pathetic thus far.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Chris Henry, Doug Gabriel, Mike Furrey, Jerry Porter, Mark Clayton, Wes Welker, Eric Parker, Marty Booker, Bryant Johnson, Marcus Robinson

The Bengals activated Chris Henry this week and he made an immediate impact, catching five passes for 81 yards and a score. He is especially valuable as insurance for Chad Johnson or T.J. Houshmandzadeh owners…Doug Gabriel has grown into the #1 WR role for the Patriots. Over the last two weeks, he has caught eight passes for 128 yards and a score, becoming a decent spot starter for fantasy owners…Bryant Johnson was a big disappointment this weekend, catching only one pass for nine yards against a Green Bay defense that has been horrible against the pass. Things are very bad in Arizona and I don’t expect any of the players will be dependable fantasy starters in the near future.

TIGHT ENDS

Desmond Clark, Owen Daniels, Alex Smith, David Martin, Eric Johnson, Jerramy Stevens, Courtney Anderson

Desmond Clark and Owen Daniels both had huge games on Sunday and shouldn’t be on the waiver wire much longer…David Martin turned in a nice game for the Packers, picking up where Greg Jennings left off. As long as Jennings is out, look for Martin to get lots of looks from Brett Favre, who is willing to throw to anyone if they’re open (or even if they’re not).

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