It is hard to believe that the NFL season has already reached the halfway point. Standard fantasy regular seasons only have four games left, and there is no better time than the present to take a step back and examine the season that has unfolded before us. So, without further ado, here are the fantasy football mid-year MVPs, biggest surprises and biggest disappointments at each position.
MVP: Carson Wentz
Going into the season, there were many who predicted a sizeable improvement from Wentz. With the Eagles added weapons and a year under his belt, it seemed fair to expect for Wentz to become a quality streaming option, at the least. However, Wentz has far surpassed any and all expectations. Wentz is currently the top fantasy quarterback, averaging just over 20 points per game. He has thrown for a league best 23 touchdowns, compared to only five interceptions. The young Philadelphia quarterback has proven that he is no longer matchup dependent and will be a must-start quarterback the rest of the way.
Honorable mention: Russell Wilson
Biggest Surprise: Josh McCown
Currently the 10th ranked quarterback, McCown has shocked many as he was not on many radars preseason. He was even considered a hail-mary of a bye week streamer. But now, McCown has played his way to fantasy relevance as he has been a consistent force leading the Jets better-than-expected passing attack. He has scored at least 13 points in seven out of nine games, and even more impressive, he has 14 total touchdowns in his last five appearances. While he is still a risky play against top defenses, McCown is a viable quarterback the rest of the way.
Honorable Mention: Jared Goff
Biggest Disappointment: Marcus Mariota
In 2016 Mariota went through a stretch of fantasy dominance, finding the end zone consistently with both his arm and feet. Following his 2016 rise the Titans added weapons in the offseason, and it seemed Mariota was destined for a big fantasy year. However, so far in 2017, Mariota has failed to surpass 15 fantasy points in all but two of his games, and has not reached 20 points or more all season. He has only totaled nine touchdowns compared to five interceptions. Mariota still has the potential to go off any game, but at this point, the Titans are a team that wants to win the game by running the ball, so things may not get too much better for Mariota.
Honorable Mention: Matt Ryan
Ryan should arguably be the biggest disappointment, so he warrants a few words. The equation is simple for Ryan… drastically more interceptions and fewer touchdowns. If he can find his footing under new offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, things could improve.
MVP: Toddy Gurley
If a fantasy draft were to be held today, Gurley would either be the first or second overall pick. He is currently the number one fantasy running back and has shown no signs of slowing down. Gurley has 10 total touchdowns, has scored at least 20 points in all but two of his games and has eclipsed the 30 mark twice. After a down sophomore campaign, the magic of a new head coach and the signing of a pro bowl left tackle have returned Gurley to the company of the fantasy elite.
Biggest Surprise: Chris Thompson
Thompson is the ONLY player in the NFL to lead his team in both rushing and receiving. Let that sink in. Thompson has become the staple of the Redskins offense and is the go-to man when a play needs to be made. More often than not, he ends up making it. He has scored at least 14 points in six out of eight games and has five total touchdowns. While Thompson’s hot start was impossible to keep up, he has weathered the storm and proven that he will be a solid fantasy back the rest of the year.
Honorable Mention: Alvin Kamara
Biggest Disappointment: Marshawn Lynch
Despite coming off his best week of the season, Beast Mode has fallen well short of his comeback hype. After being drafted in the late third or early fourth round of most fantasy drafts, Lynch has let down his owners by scoring less than five points in five of his eight games played. With virtually no action on the receiving end, Lynch has become a touchdown dependent running back. However, if the Raiders offense finds its magic of last year down the stretch, Lynch’s touchdown total could increase, so do not call his season a total failure just yet.
Honorable Mention: Isaiah Crowell
MVP: Deandre Hopkins
Coming off a rough 2016 season due to the struggles of his quarterback, Hopkins has rebounded in a monstrous way. He is averaging just over 20 points per game and has scored at least 14 points in all but ONE of his eight appearances. Hopkins has scored in five straight games and if his week nine performance is any indication, should continue his success despite Tom Savage taking over at quarterback. While his production without Deshaun Watson should be expected to dip, do not be surprised if Hopkins continues his dominant season.
Honorable Mention: Antonio Brown
Biggest Surprise: Adam Thielen
Thielen has not had a single game in which he has caught less than five passes. That type of consistency is unmatched and is what has made Thielen the 16th ranked receiver. He was considered a bench receiver going into the season, and his meteoric rise to a high-end WR2 option is what landed him biggest surprise. Despite instability at quarterback, Thielen is the force in the Vikings passing game that is always there. He has only caught one touchdown all season, but with a floor of five catches for about 40 yards, he is as solid as it gets for fantasy receivers.
Honorable Mention: Robby Anderson
Biggest Disappointment: Amari Cooper
Cooper is currently ranked as the 23rd receiver in PPR scoring, which is not horrid. But Cooper was a common late second round selection who many believed would have a breakout year and catapult himself into the upper-echelon of NFL receivers. But, nine games in, Cooper has only surpassed 10 points on two occasions — one of them being a 44-point explosion in week eight. This inconsistency has plagued Cooper. Along with his NFL leading 10 drops, Cooper has yet to translate his elite talent into elite production. Cooper is a high risk, high reward play the rest of the year.
MVP: Travis Kelce
Kelce is making an argument for himself as the NFL’s top tight end as he has had a great first half to the 2017 season. In five of Kelce’s nine games, he has had SEVEN catches or more. As a tight end, those are numbers that are difficult to argue with. Add in five touchdowns and four games with 90 receiving yards or more, and you have the top ranked fantasy tight end. The best component to Kelce is that his role as the Chiefs top receiving target is cemented, making him one of the more consistent tight ends since pre-injury Gronk.
Honorable Mention: Zach Ertz
Biggest Surprise: Evan Engram
The rookie out of Ole Miss had expectations to step in and aid what seemed to be a solid Giants passing attack. However, with multiple significant injuries, Engram has taken advantage of his increased opportunities by being a fantasy stud. In his past three games, he has 15 catches for 212 yards and three touchdowns, or 54 fantasy points. With the current state of the Giants offense and Eli’s growing trust of Engram, there is no reason to believe that he will not sustain TE1 productivity.
Honorable Mention: Jack Doyle
Biggest Disappointment: Hunter Henry
After a strong finish to his rookie year, many thought Henry was primed to take on a bigger role in the Chargers passing attack. While he does have four games of double digit scoring, he laid two goose eggs earlier in the season (while uninjured). While Henry is a threat to score any week, his role has been inconsistent as Antonio Gates still takes reps away from him. Until Gates retires, Henry will be stuck in the top-tier TE2 conversation, much lower than many believed he would be.
Honorable Mention: Martellus Bennett