If the season ended today, who would we be looking at next year? Who would be the top draft pick? Who would we want to snag in the early rounds to make the others in our league jealous? We are about to hand out our fantasy football awards for the first half of the 2013 season. They are the same awards we give out each week, except we take into consideration the player’s entire body of work. Let’s begin…
Peyton Manning started out the 2013 NFL season with a bang. He broke the single game passing touchdown record. Since then, the Broncos’ star has not slowed down throwing for 2565 yards and 25 touchdowns. How impressive has Manning been? Philip Rivers and Matthew Stafford are tied for second place in passing touchdowns with 15 each. Peyton will continue to be the best option at quarterback for the remainder of the season.
Jamaal Charles has been a monster this season. He has put up at least 16 fantasy points every week. He currently has 561 rushing yards and 337 receiving yards. He has also scored eight times this season, which is more than his entire 2012 campaign. Quite possibly the most impressive part of all this is Charles has put up these huge stats while injured. He was hampered with a hamstring injury for four weeks and still came out and performed better than any other back. Now Charles is back at full strength and should put up scary numbers the rest of the season.
Wes Welker has been everything you could ever want from a fantasy wide receiver. He is the model of consistency. Welker scored at least one touchdown in each of the first six weeks of the season. Last week, he failed to score, but he still managed to get 90 yards. Aside from Welker’s touchdowns, his 44 receptions have equaled 474 yards. Wide Receiver is definitely the most difficult position to predict this year, so it is very nice to see one perform at a high level each week.
Prior to the week six match up against the New England Patriots, Jimmy Graham was probably the most valuable asset in fantasy football. He counts on a roster as a tight end, but put up stats like a top three wide receiver. He had four straight 100 yard games, which is something no receiver has match this season. It is a little nerve wrecking to think he will be listed as questionable going into week eight, but he more than likely will play and if he does he will perform at a very high level.
Matt Prater has been one of the top scoring kickers each week of the season. It is easy to count of him to put up points because the Bronco’s offense scores so often. When he is not kick point after attempts, he is kicking field goals. He has not missed yet this season in eleven attempts. Matt Prater might be the first kicker taken in all drafts in the 2014 season.
There is a reason the Chiefs are undefeated. The defense has been spectacular this season. They have only allowed 81 points. They have been getting to the quarterback very well, as shown by their 35 sacks, and have been able to force turnovers at will. They have scored four defensive touchdowns and have also been able to find the endzone on a special teams play as well. The Chiefs will continue to be the league’s top defensive unit. The easy schedule makes it very difficult to not start the Kansas City Chiefs each and every week.
Picking the best rookie of the first half of the season was very difficult. In the end, the award has to go to someone who not only as performed extremely well, but someone who plays at fantasy football’s most important position: running back. Giovani Bernard has exceeded his expectations with 262 rushing yards, 233 receiving yards, and four touchdowns. He did all this while splitting time with Benjarvis Green-Ellis. Bernard has proved to be a very dangerous weapon that is well worth a start position on any fantasy roster.
Knowshon Moreno came into the season as the third running back on the Broncos’ depth chart. Since then he has proved he is the absolute best option on the team. Moreno leads the league with eight rushing touchdowns. He has posted 413 rushing yards and been very active in the passing game, catching 23 balls for an additional 198 yards. Nobody would have imagined Knowshon Moreno would be considered a top five fantasy running back at this point in the season, but believe it because it is very true.
Anyone who drafted C.J. Spiller has got to be kicking themselves right now. He came into the season demanding a top five draft pick. Unfortunately, there has not been one week where he proved he was deserving of that hefty price tag. Spiller has 362 rushing yards and only one touchdown. Even worse, he is no longer the featured back on the team. Spiller has been pushed aside by Fred Jackson. We should have foreseen this. Jackson was injured last season and Spiller came in and did a wonderful job, however Jackson is back and has always been Buffalo’s main man ever since the departure of Marshawn Lynch. It is tough to say whether Spiller will be able to bounce back in the second half of the season because of the time share with Jackson and a bit of a sore hamstring.
It is hard to believe, but Philip Rivers has the third most fantasy points of all quarterback. In 2012, Rivers was a joke. He threw for an unimpressive 3607 yards and 26 touchdowns. Worst of all is he threw 15 interceptions and lost seven fumbles. These poor stats came from a player who was at one time considered to be a top five fantasy quarterback. This year Philip Rivers is back on his game. He has already thrown for 2132 yards and 15 touchdowns. Best of all, he has been able to limit his number of turnovers. He has only thrown five interceptions this season and has not fumbled yet.
So, with so many players performing at such a high level, who is the best of the best?
With all the great performance from player like Peyton Manning and Jimmy Graham, there is still one very important thing to remember. Running backs are the kings of fantasy football. Quarterback is such a deep position, making it very easy to find one who will perform well each week. The wide receiver position is loaded with players who are all performing at a pretty equal level and more tight ends are scoring and putting up huge numbers than ever before. One thing has remained true throughout all the years of fantasy football: you cannot win without a good running back. This has become even more important with the emergence of running back committee. It is now very hard to find a running back who is able to play every down and not have carries stolen away from him. Jamaal Charles has been extremely consistent at a position where consistency is very hard to find. If the season ended right now, Jamaal Charles would be the first player picked in every draft next year.