Monday, October 31, 2011

Midseason Awards

Fantasy MVP: Aaron Rodgers
How can he not be? Drafted as either the first or second quarterback this year, Rodgers has been the epitome of consistency. He has scored no fewer then 25 points in a game and has three games of over 30. His lowest yardage output was 297 yards, during the only game in which he threw for under 300 yards. Chances are if you own Rodgers, you have won the majority of your games. He has been lights-out week in and week out, spreading the ball to a number of Packers' players. He is the MVP, no question.
Runners up: Cam Newton, Calvin Johnson, Fred Jackson

Biggest Disappointment: Chris Johnson
This is another obvious award. CJ2K has been one of the biggest busts in recent years for a top-5 pick. DeMarco Murray, the rookie running back for Dallas, has already out rushed Chris Johnson. The holdout has seriously hurt Johnson's production, making him a less than desirable fantasy option. We know the talent and potential is still there, but no one can argue with his results and his 2.9 yards per carry. He is a bust!
Runners up: Reggie Wayne, Peyton Hillis, Philip Rivers, Dallas Clark, Antonio Gates 
Biggest Surprise: Fred Jackson
Even Fred Jackson's wife was hesitant to take him. But Jackson of the Buffalo Bills is putting together a stunning season and has helped the Bills jump out to a 5-2 start. He is third among running backs in points and already has five 100 yard rushing games, two more than last season. That, along with six touchdowns and a career high in receiving yards has Jackson looking like the real deal. Drafted in the mid rounds, Jackson has proved to be one of the biggest value picks of the year, and is even in the debate for MVP. Fred Jackson is hands down the biggest surprise of the season.
Runners up: Cam Newton, Darren Sproles, Matt Forte, A.J. Green, Rob Gronkowski

Rookie of the (Mid) Year: Cam Newton
Remember before the season when I said Cam would have marginal fantasy implications? Whoops. Not only has Newton been by far the best rookie, he is currently the third best quarterback in fantasy, just behind Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. He is tied for the rookie QB record for rushing touchdowns with 7 and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, he can still be better. If he learns from his mistakes and commits fewer turnovers, watch out. We might just have another Michael Vick on our hands.
Runners up: A.J. Green, Mark Ingram

Comeback Player: Wes Welker
After a disappointing 2010 season with just 848 receiving yards, Welker has bounced back in a big way. Despite tearing his ACL late last season, Welker has recovered and looks better than ever. He is on pace for a whopping 136 catches and over 2,000 yards. While he probably won't come close to the yardage figure, he could definitely put up 120 catches by the end of the season. He has been Brady's favorite target and leads the league with 83 targets in just 7 games. Whether you own him in a standard league or a PPR league, he has been an absolute steal and a must-start option.
Runners up: Steve Smith, Matt Stafford, Plaxico Burress, Ryan Mathews 

JaMarcus Russell award: Donovan McNabb
While McNabb is nowhere near Russell's level of play, he has still been a major bust for his new team. He wasn't expected to be that good of fantasy option, but he certainly wasn't expected to be this bad either. Christian Ponder has already taken over after McNabb was a fabulous display of how not to be a quarterback. Even with Adrian Peterson taking pressure off McNabb and a weapon in Percy Harvin, McNabb play resembled that of Russell. Bummer.
Runners up: Blaine Gabbert, JaMarcus Russell, Rex Grossman's last game

Top Tight End: Jimmy Graham
Even in the crowd of talent in New Orleans, Graham has clearly separated himself from the rest of the pack. With Antonio Gates like talent, he has played like, well, Antonio Gates. He leads all tight ends in every category: catches, yards, touchdowns, and targets. With four 100 yard games, he has separated himself from the next best tight end, Rob Gronkowski by 27 points. This production spells out a four-lettered word. S.T.U.D.
Runners up: Rob Gronkowski, Jason Witten, Jermichael Finley

Most Under-Owned: Mark Sanchez
Besides one horrendous game against the tough Ravens' defense, Sanchez has been quite solid. He has scored at least 17 points in 6 of his 7 starts, with one -4 point outing against the Ravens. This adds up to him being the ninth best QB thus far and deserving of being owned in most leagues. On ESPN, he is owned in just 75% of leagues and that percentage should be higher. He is not a must-start by any means but is a viable option. For being in the top 10 at his position and being owned in just three quarters of leagues, Sanchez wins the most under-owned award.
Runners up: Tim Tebow, Victor Cruz, Delone Carter

Most Over-Owned: Ryan Torain
I told you all once. Here it is again. Ryan Torain is nothing but a headache. Even with Tim Hightower out for the year, Torain has proved that he is one of the most inconsistent backs in the league. And with Mike Shanahan doing his best Bill Belichick impression, Roy Helu will figure to take away some carries. Torain should not be trusted and should not be owned in 98.5% of leagues.
Runners up: Chad Ochocinco, Reggie Wayne, Mercedes Lewis

The Nate Amodio Award: Calvin Johnson
Johnson has done his best at doing the Nate Amodio. He has caught multiple touchdowns in multiple games. In just his sophomore season, Amodio caught 2 touchdowns in 40% of his games, helping his team, The Pineapple Chunkers, earn their first ever playoff berth. Calvin has even bettered Amodio with 2 TD's in 50% of his games while going scoreless in just one game. That's some "mega" production.
Runners up: Wes Welker, Pierre Garcon

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What to Know for Week 7

After weeks of busyness in school, I am finally back to blogging. I am very sorry to those who needed my super awesome knowledge of fantasy football. If the lack of insight the past couple weeks caused you to go winless, then I apologize. Hopefully you have managed to pull out a win or two, although it seems unlikely. Nonetheless, I am back and a lot has happened. So here is what you need to know for week 7, starting with my man Timmy Tebow.

Tim Tebow is now starting and will be a stud: He may not be that great of an actual quarterback, but for fantasy purposes he is a stud. Last year, in his three starts, he put up at least 24 fantasy points. And in just one half against San Diego this year, Tebow provided a spark and 16 fantasy points. It is not Tebow's passing that makes him a stud, but, much like Michael Vick, his running ability. Tebow compiled 38 rushing yards and 1 touchdown to go with his 1 passing touchdown against San Diego. He has that potential for every game. I would consider Tebow a top-10 option for most games from this year forward.

Brandon Lloyd will be an inconsistent option at best: At first glance, Lloyd's trade to St. Louis seems like a good thing. A young, blossoming quarterback in Sam Bradford should give Lloyd plenty of targets. But with the Rams' current struggles and multiple player injuries, Lloyd will find it tough to succeed. Reuniting with Josh McDaniels will help the transition for Lloyd, but it will still be a rocky path to finding success in St. Louis. Play Lloyd when the matchups are right and you may be able to squeeze some remaining value out of him.

Cam Newton and Matthew Stafford will both finish in the top 7 this year: Remember how the season started with 7 obvious elite quarterbacks? Well, the top 7 quarterbacks have changed thanks to Stafford's breakout season and Newton's explosion. Both are now must-start quarterbacks and can lead your team to the playoffs. Just make sure to have a solid backup, as Stafford is still injury prone and Newton is still just a young lad.

Fred Jackson and Matt Forte are two of the most under-appreciated backs: Both have put up fantastic fantasy numbers and are due for a real-life payday. Hopefully by now you have noticed that both are must-starts and two of the most consistent options. Forte has over half his team's yardage and Jackson could be in the MVP discussion. And both are proving to be great value picks from this year's draft.

Darren Sproles is startable in standard leagues: For those in PPR leagues, Sproles is one the most consistent top-10 running backs so far. But even in standard leagues, Sproles is producing well and should be started as a borderline number 2 back or a great flex option. Just don't let his solid production go to waste on your bench.

Arian Foster is far from who he was last year: Foster still has big output potential, but he is much less trustworthy this year. With numerous nagging injuries and Ben Tate receiving some carries, Foster's expectations should be tamed. Nonetheless, he is a solid number 1 back, even if he is not nearly as dominant as last year. Monitor his injury situations and hopefully he will stay healthy enough to prove his worth as a top 5 pick.

Fantasy football will bring anger sooner or later: In one of my leagues with close friends, I missed the draft and was autopicked for. Aaron Rodgers was taken, then Greg Jennings followed as the number 1 receiver! I did not have that in my pre-draft rankings but whatever. My team looked weak everywhere else but then Fred Jackson emerged to give me a powerful team. I now have over 50 points more than everyone else. And the result? I am 9th out of 10 with a 1-4-1 record. RAGE! It's fantasy football. Anything can happen.

Jordy Nelson is showing us the Super Bowl was no fluke: Currently, Nelson ranks 10th in ESPN standard scoring leagues and is proving to be one of Aaron Rodgers' favorite options. While lots of his success so far has depended on big plays, he is an advisable start for most weeks. He has clearly overtaken James Jones and Donald Driver as a favorite target and should continue to be solid down the road.

Jimmy Graham is hands-down the best tight end: Graham was a big sleeper for me this year mainly because of his Antonio Gates-like potential. Indeed, Graham has blossomed into a stud tight end. His soft hands and ridiculous athleticism have made him a favorite in the crowded receiving corps of New Orleans. Graham has been the most consistent and highest scoring tight end this year. Continue to start him with no hesitation.

Girls can play fantasy football, too. Who'd a thunk?: My sister joined two leagues this year and is 4-2 and 2-4.  Her 2-4 team is loaded with talent, thanks to my drafting help. Unfortunately, she has been stuck with unlucky losses. She drafted her 4-2 team without my guidance. She took Antonio Gates in the third round, took a kicker and defense too early, and has a better record. It's fantasy football. Anything can happen. And in another league, a female friend of mine took her boy Sam Bradford in round 2 and then proceeded to beat our tall, lanky ginger friend in an epic upset. His team was stacked; she took Bradford in round 2. It's fantasy football. Anything can happen.

Oh, and check out this clip about women and fantasy football, it may be worth your time.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

What We Learned from Week 4

Mike Shanahan is the new Bill Belichick: After a hot start for running back Tim Hightower, expectations were high for his matchup against the lowly Rams. Instead, Coach Shanahan pulled a Belichick and gave the bulk of the carries to Ryan Torain. What happened? Torain had 135 yards and a touchdown. Shanahan said that Hightower looked banged up in practice and proceeded to have Torain play the most. What we have learned is that Ryan Torain will now be the provider of countless headaches for fantasy owners.

Wes Welker is a monster: Tom Brady continues to hit Welker at a ridiculous rate this season. He targeted Welker 14 times this week resulting in 9 catches, 158 yards, and 1 touchdown. In PPR leagues, Welker is an absolute monster. In standard scoring? Well, he is still a monster.

Cam Newton should be owned in ALL leagues: Not only that, he should be started in many leagues. After his first two games, many thought Cam would cool down. On the contrary, he has lit up the scoreboard. And with two of his stellar games coming against the Bears and the Packers defense, Cam is the real thing. Rather than running the Panthers' offense through DeAngelo Williams or Jonathon Stewart, the team has given the reins to Cam Newton. He has thrown on average 41 times per game and there are no signs of that stopping. Unless you own Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, Cam is definitely a viable starting option.

Steve Smith really is back: Smith is second in the NFL in total yards and third in yards per catch. He is the clear favorite of Cam Newton and now has 150 yards in three of his four games. He is a must-start and is backing up owners who took a shot drafting him. Look out.

Julio Jones has already emerged: Jones was not expected to make an impact until later this season. Instead, he has become a key component of the Falcons offense. He was targeted 17 times this week, leading the NFL, and produced 11 catches for 127 yards. He will be a solid start for the remainder of the season and a great flex option. Don't buy the hype? Just check this out.

Eric Decker is not a one week wonder: Decker was a deep sleeper of mine and has already done more than expected. He has developed great chemistry with Kyle Orton and is 10th in the NFL with 36 targets. Decker should be monitored for the rest of the season as he could put up stats similar Santana Moss. With Denver constantly trailing, they will be forced to pass a lot, helping Decker's cause. But if Tim Tebow ever takes over, watch out for all Broncos receivers. They will all see a dip in production.

The game is changing and running back value is slipping: Quarterbacks and wider receivers are absolutely dominating the game as the league is clearly trending towards a pass heavy league. A successful running back game has turned into 80 yards and maybe a touchdown. You don't need a team with 3 solid running backs to win anymore, just running backs good enough to get by. It is the QB's and WR's that will dictate your overall success this season. And next season, I suspect we will see more quarterbacks than ever in the first round.

Chris Johnson isn't completely dead, just half dead: Finally, finally did he do something! After failing to eclipse 100 yards for the first three games combined, CJ2K finally broke the 100-yard mark in a game. And it was against the lowly Cleveland Browns. Johnson has thus far been a bust, but will turn the corner sooner or later. Don't give up on him yet, but keep a close eye on his production this season.

Aaron Rodgers should've been the first QB drafted in ALL leagues: For you who took Vick before Rodgers, and even number 1 overall, you made a mistake. While Vick can still win a league single-handedly, there is no reason Rodgers can't do the same. The only difference is that Vick is scarier to watch than Rodgers. A-Rodge had 6 touchdowns last game and has thrown for more than 297 yards in every start. Add to that his solid rushing potential, and you have the most consistent quarterback in the game. And while Vick deals with the risks of concussions and a broken hand all season, you have a much safer bet in Aaron Rodgers.

Tony Romo may blow real games, but he is still a top QB: Yes, Romo has choked away two games for his real-life Dallas Cowboys. But he is still putting up solid fantasy numbers and is worthy of a must-start. If he can cut down on his interceptions, he has potential to be a top-7 quarterback for the remainder of the season.

All players on the Colts are iffy at best: Yes, even Reggie Wayne has become a less than reliable option. When your quarterback completes 43 percent of passes, it is never a good sign for the wide receivers. While Wayne was expected to have a down year, no one saw this coming till the sad news of Peyton Manning's injury. Dallas Clark is hardly a viable option and Wayne is gradually losing value. I would be hesitant to start any Colts players right now.