NFL Fantasy Football Midseason Recap, Five Studs and Five Duds
An intriguing NFL season is already heading into its ninth week. By now, some of you are fighting for your fantasy football life while others of you are sitting pretty at the top of your league. That probably has a lot to do with whether you have any of these guys on your team.
1. DeMarco Murray (RB, Dallas Cowboys)
DeMarco Murray has looked like the fantasy MVP so far this season. He has been a workhorse who is on pace for well over 400 touches. He has been a dominant back while averaging 21.3 points per game. The Cowboys seem dedicated to give the ball to Murray over and over again but you have to wonder if this will eventually take a toll. He has eight straight games with over 100 yards rushing. If he can remain healthy, he will continue to be arguably the top RB play each week for fantasy purposes.
2. Peyton Manning (QB, Denver Broncos)
Peyton Manning is firmly in the discussion to repeat as MVP this season of the NFL. He has been lights out in fantasy this year. In seven games this season, Manning is averaging 24.7 points per game. If your fantasy team has any receiver on the Broncos roster, they are a virtual must-start each week with Peyton Manning dishing the ball out. If you have No. 18 as the QB for your fantasy team, you are probably contending for the top spot in your league this year.
3. Rob Gronkowski (TE, New England Patriots)
Gronk struggled with injuries in the 2013 season and fell out of the fantasy spotlight as tight ends Julius Thomas and Jimmy Graham had breakout seasons. He is averaging 12.2 points per game but that number will continue to rise as the Patriots are beginning to click on all cylinders once again. This Sunday against the Chicago Bears, Gronk caught three TD passes as he dominated the porous secondary. He is way to difficult of a matchup for teams to cover him. No. 87 is a must start, top three fantasy TE every week.
4. Matt Forte (RB, Chicago Bears)
Forte has been the only bright spot of this Chicago offense so far this year. He is averaging 17.7 points per game and is a top three RB play each week. Forte has six touchdowns this year. He is doing a lot of his damage in the passing game as he has 70 targets so far this season. Forte is on pace for 2,104 all purpose yards.
5. Sammy Watkins (WR, Buffalo Bills)
The rookie fourth overall draft pick out of Clemson has been dynamite for the Bills this season. Amidst a quarterback change, Watkins has provided stability at the wide receiver position. He has elevated himself to the No. 1 option for the Bills. Watkins is averaging 11.1 points per game but has found the endzone five times this season. His overall production will go up as his targets are beginning to increase. With a more consistent Kyle Orton dishing the rock, look for Sammy Watkins to emerge as a borderline WR1 in the coming weeks.
1. Jordan Cameron (TE, Cleveland Browns)
Jordan Cameron was expected to have a monstrous 2014 campaign. He was arguably a top five fantasy TE coming into the season. Cameron's numbers have been a repercussion of inconsistent quarterback play from Brian Hoyer, but really he is just not getting it done so far. He is averaging a measly 5.2 points per game and has only found pay dirt once this season. Now it looks like he will be dealing with the injury bug once again as he left Sunday's game against Oakland with a concussion. Yes he has great upside but there are more trustworthy options out there at the TE spot. Even once he gets healthy, Cameron is nothing more than a low end TE2.
2. Cam Newton (QB, Carolina Panthers)
Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers have been disappointing so far this season. The Panthers are 3-4-1 and lack the grit that the team had last year as they reached the playoffs. Yes Cam Newton is averaging 17.9 points per game but he has only thrown eight touchdown passes and ran for just one. He has also lost three fumbles and thrown 4 INTs this season. Cam has averaged over 20.4 points in each season of his career and should easily be producing at least that number every week as he is one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the league. If you have Cam Newton you're going to continue to start him as long as he is healthy because of his tremendous upside but don’t be surprised if he throws up a dud every game or so.
3. Chris Johnson (RB, New York Jets)
CJ2K was acquired by the Jets in the offseason and was supposed to bring a weapon to the Jets offense that was anemic in 2013. But in a crowded backfield and with the emergence of Chris Ivory as the feature back, Johnson is averaging just 5.8 points per game. He has found the endzone only once this season. Johnson is droppable in all 10-12 team leagues.
4. Vincent Jackson (WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
I have to start by saying that this may be a little unfair to V-Jax as his stats are a product of a shaky quarterback situation once again. He has continually been put in bad situations throughout his career. Because of this, he is just not a consistently productive WR in fantasy right now. A top 15 fantasy play at WR coming into the season, Jackson is averaging just 5.8 points per game. He has found the endzone only twice this season. Jackson has plenty of upside each week but is nothing more than a WR3 with upside going forward.
5. Adrian Peterson (RB, Minnesota Vikings)
Off the field issues finally found a way to affect your fantasy team. If you were like me, you had a top three pick in your fantasy draft and passed up on studs like Matt Forte and DeMarco Murray in favor of AP. Adrian Peterson played just one game before being indicted on child abuse charges. He will be a non-factor for the rest of the fantasy season and if you've buried him on your roster in hopes of a return, it may be time to finally let him go.
**Stats reflect points in standard scoring leagues