It is hard to believe the NFL season is already halfway over. Each team has played at least eight games, giving a good idea on what players ended up being fantasy gold, and which ones flopped. Those who drafted Christian McCaffrey and Austin Ekeler are undoubtedly happy. On the other hand, Damien Williams and David Montgomery have been largely disappointing to this point. Names like Aaron Jones and Josh Jacobs also made the list.
Fantasy Football Midseason Awards: Christian McCaffrey, Austin Ekeler Pacing All Running Backs
MVP: Christian McCaffrey
This one is a no-brainer. Christian McCaffrey has picked up where Todd Gurley left off most of the past two years carrying fantasy football teams on his back. McCaffrey was a consensus top-three pick in fantasy football drafts, the Carolina Panthers star will be the consensus first-overall next season.
Through eight games, Run CMC already has a ridiculous 1,244 yards from scrimmage. He also has 13 total touchdowns, putting him on pace for 26, which would be the third-most ever in a season. In fact, McCaffrey only has one game all season without a touchdown, all the way back in Week 2. With or without former MVP quarterback Cam Newton, McCaffrey can’t be stopped, and will likely finish as the RB1 OVR by a wide margin at the end of the year.
Breakout Star: Aaron Jones
Beat fantasy football writers have been screaming about Aaron Jones since he got into the league back in 2012. However, under former head coach Mike McCarthy the Packers were a pass-heavy team who also rotated their running backs pretty evenly between Jamaal Williams and Jones. And Williams is a pretty good back, but so far, Jones is showing he is even better.
Jones has had kind of a risky floor each week, turning in three sub-ten-point performances in half-point PPR. However, he also has two monster games: one with 38.1 points, and another with an unreal 45.7 points. If he was in anyone’s lineup that week, he probably won them their game. Through nine weeks, Jones ranks as the RB3 OVR. It’s tough to project his overall finish, but a top-five spot is not out of the question.
Biggest Surprise: Austin Ekeler
Jones is the RB3, but he somehow still isn’t the biggest surprise of the season. Los Angeles Chargers Austin Ekeler, who was a backup to Melvin Gordon, comes in right behind him at RB4. With Gordon holding out the first four games of the season, Ekeler came out strong week one. Putting the entire league on notice (and also making Gordon’s holdout look silly), Ekeler put up 36.4 points.
Even after Gordon came back, Ekeler has still been outperforming him due to his versatility in the pass game. In fact, Ekeler had a four-game span where he only totaled 31 rushing yards and no touchdowns. Yet, he still managed to put up about 50 fantasy points during that span.
Those who drafted Ekeler probably only thought he’d last until Gordon returned, however, Ekeler’s performance has earned him a permanent spot in that offense.
Biggest Bust: Damien Williams
Damien Williams probably helped win some players a championship last year. He got his first start in week 15 after injuries and suspensions thrust him into action. In weeks 15 and 16 combined, Williams 48.8 points ranked first among running backs.
2019 was a different story. Many faded the back’s poor ratio of time in the league to production. After all, 2019 was his sixth season and he didn’t even have 1,000 rushing yards total. He salvaged his week one performance with a touchdown, but he only managed 26 rushing yards.
With LeSean McCoy joining his old coach Andy Reid for the Kansas City Chiefs, things weren’t looking good for Williams. Injuries further complicated things, causing him to miss weeks three and four. Williams was probably dropped by many fantasy team owners, as he currently ranks as the RB38.
However, don’t fade the veteran runner just yet. He just had his best game over the season, totaling 125 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries.
Best Rookie: Josh Jacobs
Josh Jacobs was the first rookie taken in the 2019 NFL draft. Because of his real-life draft stats, he was also the first rookie running back taken in most fantasy drafts as well. Interestingly enough though, there was not a ton of hype around him compared to other rookies at the position, including David Montgomery and Miles Sanders.
However, Jacobs showed the fantasy community why he was taken so high in the draft during week one of the season. Week one he rushed for 85 yards and two touchdowns, also catching a pass for 28 yards. He’s had over 100 yards from scrimmage in five of eight games he’s played (falling just one yard shy of another in week 2).
With one of the easiest schedules for running backs for the remainder of the season, Jacobs will be many team owner’s MVP.
Watch in the Second Half: David Montgomery
Speaking of rookie running backs, someone to watch for the second half of the season is Chicago Bears rookie runner David Montgomery. Montgomery was a dark horse to be the steal of the draft at running back. Unfortunately, that hasn’t panned out – yet.
Montgomery seemed grossly underutilized by the disappointing Bears offense for most of the year. Through his first six games, he only had a yards-per-carry average higher than 3.4 in one game. His low point came Week 7 when he only managed 19 yards on four touches.
But then, it seemed like head coach Matt Nagy woke up, and Montgomery flipped a switch to activate. Week 8 against the Los Angeles Chargers, Montgomery had a season-high 27 carries, galloping to 135 yards and a touchdown. He also set a high in catches, with four. He continued his fantasy success in wee 9, rushing 14 times for 40 yards and two touchdowns, also catching three passes for 36 yards.
The buy low window for Montgomery is closing fast.
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