Mid Season Fantasy Football Awards 2017
Believe it or not, we are halfway through Fantasy Football season. This milestone provides the perfect opportunity to take stock of the 2017 fantasy season so far and hand out our Mid Season Awards. These players have earned their spot on this list, for better or worse. Use this information as you will, but keep in mind that the fantasy football season itself is far from over and as Jason Moore likes to say, “Anything that has happened, can happen in reverse.”
Rookie of the Year
Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
*Pre-injury this was the easiest decision on this list so I’m going to give it to him posthumously.
Deshaun Watson took over as the full-time starter in Week 2 and didn’t look back. The rookie gunslinger averaged 35 fantasy points per game with 20 total TDs over a 6-week span. His season-long pace of 48 passing touchdowns would’ve absolutely smashed the current record held by Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson of 26. Watson is a dream come true for both the Texans and fantasy owners. Too good to be true as it turns out. The rookie is now sadly expected to miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.
Honorable Mentions: Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette
Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders
Poopiest Cooper, am I right? Amari Cooper was a highly touted 3rd year WR coming into this season. He was commonly drafted in the second round as a WR1. However, Cooper’s fantasy production has been the cause of many headaches for his owners. Despite the promise of big-play potential Cooper has only exceeded 65 receiving yards in a game once and finished with less than 50 on 6 different occasions. Adding salt to the wound is that as soon as his owners had taken enough abuse from Cooper crapping their team on a weekly basis and benched him, he went nuclear for 210 yards and 2 TDs in Week 7.
Honorable Mentions: Isaiah Crowell, Terrelle Pryor, Jay Ajayi
Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Week 1: 148 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD, 98 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs
On opening night of the NFL season against the defending world champion New England Patriots, rookie Kareem Hunt took to the gridiron… and fumbled his first career carry. Owners were distraught, surely this was the end for Hunt as he was squarely in Andy Reid‘s doghouse. Boy howdy were we wrong. Hunt returned with a vengeance to the tune of 246 total yards and 3 touchdowns. The fumble seeming like a distant memory, a star was born on a national stage.
Honorable Mentions: Tom Brady, Week 3; Amari Cooper, Week 7; New Orleans Saints D/ST, Week 6
David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
David Johnson’s wrist injury that has likely claimed his 2017 campaign was a lock for Biggest Injury for several reasons. The first and most prevalent is that he was the near consensus 1.01 in all league formats. Any injury to a player of that magnitude is devastating. But the impact of this injury doesn’t stop there. Johnson’s injury sent out shockwaves in the fantasy landscape. The Cardinals subsequently became the most pass-happy team in the league, leading to Carson Palmer‘s broken arm. Additionally, in Johnson’s absence, the Cardinals traded for Adrian Peterson, giving him new life in a new city, and adding clarity to the backfield for the Saints. For all of these reasons, David Johnson’s wrist was a clear choice for Biggest Injury of the Year.
Honorable Mentions: Dalvin Cook, Odell Beckham Jr., Aaron Rodgers
Breakout Player of the Year
Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz’s career started with a flurry in 2016 leading to the phrase “Wentzsylvania”. In 2017, Wentz is earning the praise. His 217 fantasy points are second in the league, regardless of position, to only Deshaun Watson. Wentz’s play has landed him 5 weekly top 5 finishes at the QB position with another finish in the top 10. Bucking the sophomore slump narrative, Wentz’s success has spurred on breakout campaigns for both Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor. The latter was written off in many fantasy circles as a bust, with the former being criticized for being inconsistent, but Wentz has made both into fantasy stud muffins. He’s your 2017 Breakout Player of the Year.
Honorable Mentions: Tyreek Hill, Zach Ertz, Adam Thielen
Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Tyreek Hill has had a very tumultuous season so far. The WR #3 in PPR leagues, Hill would seem like a treasure to his owners. However, owning him hasn’t been all tulips and daisies. In fact, the best way to describe Hill is probably “volatile”. Here are his weekly finishes at the WR position: 2nd, 47th, 15th, 63rd, 33rd, 65th, 3rd, 60th. This up and down weekly trend is tough on owners who start him every week for fear of missing out on a top 10 performance but are just as often punished with a performance fit for the waiver wire. This extreme variance between the highs and lows and the near rhythmic alternation between the two earns Hill his spot on this list.
Honorable Mentions: Travis Kelce, Hunter Henry, Jordan Howard
Chris Thompson, RB, Washington Redskins
Also known as the Danny Woodhead Man of the Year Award, the heart ring is the award given to the player who plays much bigger than his size. Constantly marginalized and undervalued, this player far outperforms expectations and provides week and season winning upside. Chris Thompson is the perfect embodiment of this Award. A small, injury prone, change of pace back. But all Thompson has done is lead his team in both receiving and rushing yards en route to a current ranking as the RB6 in PPR formats.
Honorable Mentions: James White, Tarik Cohen, Jerick McKinnon
Most Valuable Player
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
The first WR off the board in all leagues, AB was the popular choice among those who shied away from the big 3 RBs in the first round. Calling him a value as a first-round pick might seem like a stretch but Antonio Brown has been worth the draft pick every step of the way, just ask owners of David Johnson, Odell Beckham Jr, Ezekiel Elliott and Julio Jones. The WR1 by a country mile, Brown has 12 more fantasy points than 2nd place (DeAndre Hopkins) and 35 more than the next tier of pass catchers. He’s a true stud and a difference maker at a position that generally doesn’t have a runaway league winner at the top all by himself.
Honorable Mentions: Le’Veon Bell, Alex Smith, Zach Ertz