Fantasy Football Mid-Season Awards: Draft Busts and Steals
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Welcome to the halfway point of the NFL season, folks. It’s been a fun, and sometimes painful, season for fantasy owners. We’ve all had our games in which we came within a point or two of winning, and right now we’re making the most of the fantasy waiver wire to make a late comeback or take over the first spot in the league standings.
What’s often forgotten by this time of year, however, is where some of the players you drafted were actually selected. Some of you have Adrian Peterson and are 100 percent satisfied with your selection, but some of you selected Maurice Jones-Drew and are scratching your heads as to why you’re sitting in third place (or worse) when you should be in first.
Note: ADP is an acronym for Average Draft Position, and rankings are based on an ESPN Standard Scoring System.
Ryan Fitzpatrick- ADP Undrafted- Currently Fitzpatrick is the 14th highest scoring quarterback in fantasy football. But keep in mind that he missed the first two games of the season, as Trent Edwards was the starter for the Buffalo Bills. Fitzpatrick has over 1,000 passing yards and 12 touchdowns compared to just five interceptions and is showing that the Bills can keep up offensively.
Kyle Orton- ADP 139- Orton is currently the third highest scoring quarterback. Denver’s record doesn’t show for it, but offensively, Denver has been one of the best teams for fantasy owners to invest in. Orton has thrown for over 2,200 yards with just four interceptions on the season. He has thrown for 11 touchdowns and is having a fantastic fantasy year.
Matt Ryan- ADP 99- Matt Ryan is really benefiting from having Roddy White as his No. 1 receiver. Despite having a slumping Tony Gonzalez, and just getting Michael Jenkins back in Week 7, Ryan has thrown for 1,714 yards and 12 touchdowns, and he’s keeping the ball secure with just five interceptions.
Eli Manning- ADP 86- Many will be surprised to see Manning on this list considering he’s thrown 11 interceptions on the season. However, 14 touchdowns and 1,785 yards in the air still make him a solid QB1 in all formats. He’s got a lot of help offensively and should continue to throw touchdowns. We can forgive the interceptions.
Joe Flacco- ADP 60- Flacco currently ranks as the eighth scoring quarterback. For someone who was drafted around the sixth round, he’s making a case to be a solid QB1. He’s thrown 10 touchdowns to six interceptions, but has amassed 1,651 yards in the air.
Tom Brady- ADP 18- For a quarterback drafted in the second round, we’d expect a lot more out of Brady. Despite his solid 11 touchdowns to four interceptions, he is slacking in yardage with just 1,362 yards in the air. With all his weapons on offense, Brady should improve in the second half.
Who you could have selected: Philip Rivers
Brett Favre- ADP 57- Favre has been a disaster this year, and his 11 interceptions are a big reason for it. The interceptions wouldn’t be terrible, but he’s thrown for just seven touchdowns and hasn’t even eclipsed the 1,200 yard passing mark yet. Favre should be sat unless he has a resurgence out of the blue. Losing Randy Moss won’t help his cause.
Who you could have selected: Joe Flacco
Jay Cutler- ADP 86- Speaking of disaster, how about Jay Cutler? While he wasn’t a terribly high draft pick, he’s thrown just seven touchdowns on the season. Many folks bought their QB late thinking they would get a steal with Mike Martz coming to town, but it’s been the opposite. Cutler has thrown seven interceptions and just 1,483 yards in the air.
Who you could have selected: Matt Ryan
Kevin Kolb- ADP 97- Kolb is actually improving. But after suffering a concussion in Week 1 courtesy of Clay Matthews, he sat in favor of Michael Vick. Kolb would be sitting still, most likely, had Vick not injured his ribs against Washington, but you drafted him to start. He’s got potential still, but should be started with caution.
Who you could have selected: Carson Palmer
Derek Anderson- ADP 139- The only reason Anderson is a bust is because people actually wasted a draft pick on him. Anderson has always been a turnover machine and an unreliable quarterback. He eventually lost his job to a rookie from BYU named Max Hall. It looks like Anderson will get his job back, despite throwing a late interception in Week 8 that allowed Tampa Bay to win the game, but he’s not worth a start in any week.
Who you could have selected: Josh Freeman
Peyton Hillis-ADP Undrafted- Browns fans finally have a reason to rejoice. Peyton Hillis is the eighth highest scoring running back in fantasy football, and has scored a touchdown on the ground in five of his seven games. Hillis is just about all the Browns have offensively, so he sees many receptions out of the backfield as well and generally gets close to the 100 yard mark. This guy has been an absolute free agent steal.
Darren McFadden- ADP 107- We have to love a guy who is third in scoring for all running backs, and was drafted in the 11th round. McFadden has scored six touchdowns (four rush, two receiving), and rushed for 557 yards on just 101 carries. There’s no reason to sit him in any league.
LaDainian Tomlinson- ADP 99- After a dismal 2009 campaign, many people were down on LT. With Shonn Greene in town, LT looked to play second fiddle to the second year back. The tides turned after Tomlinson kept producing despite limited carries. He’s now the ninth scoring RB with 490 yards on 92 carries and five touchdowns.
Arian Foster- ADP 49- Foster has not disappointed fantasy owners at all. He’s the leading scorer for all running backs with six touchdowns on the ground and 633 yards. He can get it done in the air as well with 19 receptions for 180 yards. The best part is that he’s done that through just six games, as he has a matchup on Monday Night with the Colts, whom he put up big number against in Week 1. He’s a fantasy staple that should be in your lineup every week.
LeSean McCoy- ADP 38- McCoy wasn’t the sexy pick in August drafts, but those who picked him up in the fourth round have been rewarded on the ground and in the air. He’s rushed for 477 yards and five touchdowns, while also grabbing 38 passes for 293 yards. He’s a guy who should always be in the lineup going forward.
Maurice Jones-Drew- ADP 4- For being the fourth overall pick, Jones-Drew has been a major disappointment. You don’t expect your first draft pick to get single digit points in four of his first eight weeks. He’s getting the yardage, but he’s struggling to find the end zone, and it’s been hurting many fantasy owners.
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Who you could have selected: Frank Gore
Michael Turner- ADP 9- Michael Turner is another first round pick who hasn’t lived up to expectations. His inconsistency is making fantasy owners want to pull out their hair as he will rush for 140 yards in one week, and just 50 the next. He has just three touchdowns on the season.
Who you could have selected: Rashard Mendenhall
DeAngelo Williams- ADP 13- Perhaps the biggest disappointment for fantasy running backs has been Williams, who has scored just one touchdown this season. It took him four weeks to get that touchdown. With just 361 yards and only 11 catches, he has made almost no impact in fantasy. His sprained foot kept him out of Week 8 and he may miss more time.
Who you could have selected: Cedric Benson
Shonn Greene- ADP 22- As you read above, Shonn Greene was expected to be the workhorse in New Meadowlands Stadium. Unfortunately for those fantasy owners that drafted him in the third round, he’s been in the end zone just one time in 2010, and has only rushed for 323 yards. Unless LT slows down, we can't rely on Greene.
Who you could have selected: Jamaal Charles
Ryan Mathews- ADP 25- Another big disappointment has been rookie Ryan Mathews. He has yet to eclipse 100 yards this season, and has just one touchdown to his name. He was also expected to be a big part of the passing game and has recorded just 10 receptions. His 294 yards rushing is one of the lowest numbers for a running back who was a starter at the beginning of the season.
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Who you could have selected: LeSean McCoy
Brandon Lloyd- ADP Undrafted- Perhaps one of the most exciting pickups for fantasy owners is Brandon Lloyd, the biggest benefactor of Kyle Orton’s success this season. Lloyd has caught just 35 passes, but he has 709 yards. If he could get into the end zone more, he’d be the best fantasy receiver right now, but he’ll have to settle for third.
Austin Collie- ADP 129- Collie was a guy many people drafted as a bye week substitute. He then started catching touchdown after touchdown, and has been a big reason for Peyton Manning’s success. Collie has six touchdowns on the year and 503 yards receiving. When he’s healthy again, he should be started in all formats.
Santana Moss- ADP 80- Moss is an arguable call here. He hasn’t been lights out this season, but for a guy you drafted in the eighth/ninth round, he’s been great. He has 42 receptions for 548 yards. He’s been an excellent downfield threat for Donovan McNabb, and while the Redskins could be much better, Moss isn’t slowing down. Moss makes a nice WR2 at best, but should be put in your Flex.
Hakeem Nicks- ADP 76- I’ll give you one guess as to who the second leading fantasy scorer is. Ok. You got me. It’s Mr. Nicks. While he doesn’t have nearly 750 yards like leader Roddy White does, he still has eight touchdowns to his name and is one of Eli Manning’s favorite red zone targets.
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Jeremy Maclin- ADP 75- Maclin is one of my favorite receivers and he’s a guy that I personally drafted in nearly every league. Even with DeSean Jackson, who has been great, Maclin is still getting targets and is the sixth highest scoring wide receiver. His 458 yards makes him a great WR2, and his six touchdowns only reinforce the idea. Even when DeSean Jackson is back, Maclin should be a play every week.
Randy Moss- ADP 12- When you draft a wide receiver in the second round, you’re taking the gamble that he will be lights out. Randy Moss does have five touchdown catches on the season, and there’s no questioning his talent. But with just 21 receptions for 305 yards, he makes fantasy owners cringe at the fact that they could have started Kenny Britt or Steve Johnson and won their matchups that week.
Who you could have selected: Reggie Wayne
Larry Fitzgerald- ADP 15- My thoughts go out to Fitzgerald’s 2010 season. It’s not his fault that his numbers have been bad. When you have Derek Anderson and Max Hall throwing the football, you probably won’t see many receptions. Fitzgerald has caught just 29 passes for 331 yards. His two touchdowns are even more disappointing.
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Who you could have selected: Roddy White
Steve Smith- ADP 33- Can anybody tell me what the following numbers mean: 6, 3, 2, 1? Those are Smith’s fantasy numbers for his last four starts. Carolina’s quarterback situation has been comparable to Arizona’s—having a mediocre veteran start and then switching it up with a rookie—and Smith has paid the price. Smith has just 224 yards in the air and just 17 receptions on the season. He hasn’t scored a touchdown since Week 2.
Who you could have selected: Anquan Boldin
Wes Welker- ADP 50- In PPR leagues, Welker still isn’t terrible, but he hasn’t had the season everybody expected he would. Welker has just 295 yards in the air and three touchdowns. You can blame Aaron Hernandez, Brandon Tate and Danny Woodhead for his lack of production, as well as Tom Brady, who hasn’t been that good this season.
Who you could have selected: Percy Harvin
Marques Colston- ADP 33- Colston has been a big disappointment for fantasy owners. Drew Brees has found numerous other targets, and he hasn’t been on his A game all season. Colston has 452 yards and 40 receptions, but just one touchdown to show for it. Colston hasn’t been the big part of the offense that fantasy owners expected from a fourth round pick.
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Who you could have selected: Jeremy Maclin
Marcedes Lewis- ADP Undrafted- Lewis is the fifth rated scoring tight end in fantasy football. He’s been a big factor in the red zone, amassing five touchdowns already. If he had more plays downfield, he’d be an even more significant scorer; however, he doesn’t have the most reliable quarterback in David Garrard.
Brandon Pettigrew- ADP Undrafted- For a tight end that generally wasn’t drafted, Pettigrew has delivered. Pettigrew has caught 33 passes for 336 yards and has produced regardless of whether Shaun Hill or Matthew Stafford plays. His one touchdown is a bit disappointing, but he’s bound to get in the end zone more often sooner rather than later.
Aaron Hernandez- ADP Undrafted- Hernandez has been an unexpected surprise. He’s a nice threat for Tom Brady and can make plays after the catch. He’s not a red zone tight end, but for yardage and receptions, he’s a great addition to fantasy football teams hurting because of the Jermichael Finley and Dallas Clark injuries.
Dustin Keller- ADP 139- Keller is the fourth ranked tight end in fantasy football. He’s been making plays down the field, but most importantly, he’s been scoring touchdowns. He has five touchdowns on the season and is becoming one of Mark Sanchez’s favorite receivers. His stock is a bit down with the arrival of Santonio Holmes, but he should still see red zone targets.
Zach Miller- ADP 117- Miller was another guy I drafted in nearly every league. I expected him to have a big year, and so far, he hasn’t disappointed. Miller has caught 33 passes for 453 yards and four touchdowns for Oakland. He remains a great fantasy option as Oakland doesn’t have very reliable receivers.
Brent Celek- ADP 63- Celek was a guy many people thought would be guaranteed receptions with a young quarterback starting. The opposite has happened. Celek only has 21 catches on the season, and just 229 yards to show for those catches. He’s only been in the end zone twice and has been very unreliable.
Who you could have selected: Jason Witten
Kellen Winslow- ADP 85- Like Welker, Winslow has been a solid option in PPR leagues. But overall, it comes down to scoring touchdowns. He just is not getting any red zone looks from Josh Freeman. He’s caught 29 passes and has 301 yards, but the lack of touchdowns has him as one of the least favorable tight ends in 2010.
Who you could have selected: Chris Cooley
Visanthe Shiancoe- ADP 93- Shiancoe was expected to have a solid season with Brett Favre, a big fan of tight ends. Unfortunately, Favre’s struggles and the Vikings' lack of red zone opportunities have made Shiancoe an unreliable starter. Shiancoe hasn’t recorded a touchdown since the opener against the Saints, and just has 16 receptions and 227 yards.
Who you could have selected: Zach Miller
Owen Daniels- ADP 114- Daniels would have been drafted higher had it not been for his injury. Many people were scared of the statement the Texans made about easing Daniels back in. He’s still played the majority of the offensive possessions for the Texans, but he’s only caught 15 balls the entire season. His 192 yards is not what you expect out of any drafted tight end, and he has yet to find the end zone. On the flip side, Daniels should be a good option for the second half of the season as he’s finally 100 percent.
Who you could have selected: Jermaine Gresham
Jeremy Shockey- ADP 125- Shockey has been serviceable for fantasy owners. But they could do better. He has just two touchdowns for the Saints and 277 yards. His 27 receptions aren’t bad, but with the Saints using both David Thomas and Jimmy Graham more offensively, look for Shockey to continue to disappoint.
Who you could have selected: Dustin Keller
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