NFL Midseason Fantasy MVPs and LVPs
The NFL season is now at least eight games deep for every team in the league, and talks about who will make and miss the playoffs and who will or won't win certain awards are heating up, as the picture begins to form just a little bit more.
Everything that goes on in the real world directly correlates to fantasy football, an industry as thriving as ever.
This season has brought about some major surprises and disappointments.
This article will highlight the best and worst of the fantasy football universe this season.
NOTE: Any reference to fantasy points is based off of ESPN.com standard scoring and any reference to average draft position can be found here: http://www.fftoolbox.com/football/adp.cfm
MVP: Aaron Rodgers
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So far this season, Aaron Rodgers has led the Green Bay Packers to an 8-0 record, scored at least 21 fantasy points in every game he has played and had a quarterback rating of at least 117.0 in every game, while scoring 212 total points—25 more than anyone else in the NFL.
Not bad for a guy whose average draft slot was ninth in fantasy drafts.
If Rodgers were to repeat his first half stats in the second half of the season, he would finish the season with 48 touchdowns, six interceptions and 5,238 passing yards, which would be a single season record.
Right now, it is his race to lose for the MVP of the league.
LVP: Chris Johnson
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Two years ago, Chris Johnson set a single season record for the most yards from scrimmage, with 2,509. Of those yards, 2,006 came on the ground, as he became just the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.
So far this season, through eight games, Johnson has only 366 rushing yards and 572 yards from scrimmage, accumulating a mere 57 points, putting him 31st in the league among running backs.
For a guy whose average draft position was fifth, that's horrible.
For a guy who was averaging 98 yards per game on the ground before this season, to average less than 50 yards a game less is terrible.
MVP: Matthew Stafford
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Going into this season, many people expected the Lions to be a respectable team, more or less depending on the success and health of their oft-injured starting quarterback Stafford.
With an average draft position of 80.22, fantasy owners seemed to agree with the general public.
Now halfway through the season, Stafford had 19 passing touchdowns and 2,179 yards passing, his Lions have a 6-2 record, and Stafford is sixth in points scored.
With elite weapons like Jahvid Best, Brandon Pettigrew and especially Calvin Johnson, look for Stafford to continue these great numbers the second half of the season.
LVP: Desean Jackson
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In 2009 and 2010, Desean Jackson was one of the top deep threats in all of football, recording 15 receiving touchdowns and over 2,00 receiving yards, going over 100 receiving yards in nine games, as well as over 200 once.
Jackson's previous success led to an average draft position of 31.47 this season, 11th among all wide receivers.
In eight games this season, Jackson has a mere 29 catches for 503 yards, an average of three catches for 62 yards per game, not what anyone is looking for from a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver in fantasy leagues.
MVP: Steve Smith
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Considered one of the top wide receivers in the NFL not too long ago, Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers had been slipping in production over the last few years, dropping all the way to just 46 receptions for 554 yards last season, his lowest totals in each category in a full season in his career.
Based off those numbers, Smith's average draft position this season was 97.27, 33rd among wide receivers.
Now, midway through the season, Smith has already equaled his 46 reception total from last year, while gaining 918 yards and four touchdowns, as he has put up 111 fantasy points, fourth among wide receivers and tied for 25th overall.
Should his second half of the season mirror his first half, it would be his best season since his career-best 2005 campaign, when he caught 103 passes for 1,563 yards and 12 touchdowns.
LVP: Rashard Mendenhall
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Rashard Mendenhall had enjoyed increasing success in each of his first three seasons in the NFL.
Last year, the former Illinois great had career highs with 1,273 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns.
His previous efforts earned him an average draft position of 13.40, eighth highest for a running back.
This season, Mendenhall has rushed for 493 yards and just four touchdowns in eight games. His 59 yards per game is 17 yards per game less than what he averaged last season.
He's currently on pace to finish the season with under 1,000 yards, the first time he will have done so since becoming the full-time starter in 2009.
MVP: Cam Newton
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If fantasy leagues were to hand out MVP awards, Cam Newton might just be this year's mid-season unanimous choice.
The No. 1 overall pick in this past April's NFL Draft, many people believed that Newton would perform similarly to former Heisman winners and No. 1 overall dual threat quarterbacks, such as Troy Smith and JaMarcus Russell, both of whom had little to no success during their time in the NFL.
Newton's average draft position was 162.25, 24th among quarterbacks and 190th overall.
Through eight games, Newton is third in the league with 184 fantasy points, thanks in part to 2,393 passing yards and 319 rushing yards, good for sixth and second in each category, respectively. His seven rushing touchdowns are five more than any other quarterback, too.
Newton is currently the front-runner for offensive rookie of the year and has given Panthers a glimmer of hope for the immediate future.
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