We’re halfway through the season so it seems like the right—nay the PERFECT—time to hand out some awards for the first half of the season. Here are our picks for MVP, fantasy MVP, Rookie of the Year and more!
Real Football MVP
Tom Brady, Patriots
Peter Rogers: Sorry if I sound like a homer but screw it, I am. Let’s start with his stats shall we? Brady leads the league in passing yards (2,541), passing attempts (309), completions (206), passes for 20+ yards (34) and is second in touchdowns. He’s 40 years old. No one has ever done this before. Plus, he’s the only reason the Patriots are 6-2 as their defense has just been awful this season, ranking 31st against the pass (per ROPED Index) and are tied for last against the run (per RORD Index). Basically, without Brady, this team would suck.
Alex Smith, Chiefs
Paddi Cooper: I'll stick my neck out and say Alex Smith. Despite a couple of recent wobbles, Smith continues to have a career year and is still throwing the ball downfield more regularly with great success. His form year to date is in line with last year's MVP Matt Ryan, and his 16/0 touchdown to interception ratio means he's the only passer without a pick in 2017.
Fantasy Football MVP
Deshaun Watson, Texans
Paddi: I'm jumping on the bandwagon early. Watson is just 7 games into his NFL career but leads all quarterbacks in fantasy points per game with a 23.55 average. In addition to his joint league-leading 19 passing touchdowns, Watson has 269 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns. His fantasy play might gloss over some of his limitations as a pure passer in his rookie year, but it sure is exciting to watch.
Pete: What he said.
Rookie of the Year
Paddi: See above, he's all the fun.
Pete: Deshaun is going to clearly win this but I decided to be more interesting and exciting! Hunt has been amazing this season and currently leads the league in rushing yards (763). He has added an explosive element to the Chiefs offense that’s allowed them to be so effective and dynamic.
Comeback Player of the Year
Todd Gurley, Rams
Pete: This is true for both fantasy football and real football. Last year, we were all ready to give up on Gurley and cast him off as a one-year wonder. In fact, he wronged me so hard in fantasy last year that I refused to draft him this year. Boy am I living to regret that. The entire Rams team could win this award as they have suddenly become a team not to be messed with but all of that stems from Gurley and his incredible year so far.
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
Paddi: This is a difficult category to analyse as the shoe-in favourite ahead of the season, JJ Watt, is back on IR and will be the favourite for the award again in 2018. Therefore I'll take Gronk who has comeback and been the usual Gronk in 2017, with over 500 receiving yards and five touchdowns through week 8. He might be held together with pins and bandages, but he remains the biggest offensive mismatch the league has ever seen.
Biggest Fantasy Surprise
Kareem Hunt, Chiefs
Paddi: Hunt had some good fantasy buzz in early drafts and was seen as a strong potential handcuff to Spencer Ware. After Ware went down in the pre-season, Hunt's fantasy stock rocketed and so did his play as soon as he hit the field. Hunt leads the league in rushing yards, yards from scrimmage and fantasy points by running backs. Not bad for a 3rd round rookie out of Toledo.
Alex Smith, Chiefs
Pete: For years Smith has been seen as an average quarterback who can make plays for you but won’t wow you when it comes to statistics. He was never considered a prime fantasy option and as always been kind of a punchline around the league (I know I’ve used him as a joke many times). Well, now he’s the second best quarterback in fantasy football and through eight games has yet to throw an interception. My goodness! Anyone who says that they predicted Smith’s rise this year is either a Chiefs fan or a liar.
Biggest Fantasy Letdown
Amari Cooper, Raiders
Pete: Yes he has one amazing game under his belt but besides for that, Cooper has been amazingly bad. Not average, BAD. I thought this would be the season that everything clicked for him and he’d breakout onto the scene as a top 5 fantasy receiver. Boy was I wrong. He’s scored a total of 54 points this season (ESPN standard) with 33 coming from one game. Take away his big week against the Chiefs and he’s averaging 3 points per game. Awful.
Matt Ryan, Falcons
Paddi: After his record setting 2016 season and playing on a team returning almost all their offensive starters, Ryan has laid a fantasy egg this year, ranking only 21st in points per game, behind guys like Josh McCown and Jacoby Brissett. Ryan is borderline unstartable in all but the deepest leagues and I have little confidence he'll turn it around under new play caller, Steve Sarkisian.
Super Bowl Prediction
Saints vs Chiefs
Paddi: I'm notoriously awful at this so rather than over-analyze it, I'll go with what I want to see.
Patriots vs Eagles
Pete: I can’t pick against my Patriots and I would LOVE to see the Eagles ride this success and Carson Wentz all the way through the playoffs to the Super Bowl. They’d of course lose in the Super Bowl but hey, at least you made it.