By Kirk Hollis
Well, as promised this week, we’re going to give out some mid-season awards as fantasy football and the NFL are nine weeks down and nine weeks to go at this point. At least one of these awards is meant to be a bit humorous, but for the most part, we’re just looking to match player with title and go from there. So, without further ado, here are my mid-season awards for the 2023 season thus far…
Fantasy Football’s Biggest Surprise Performance: RB Raheem Mostert, Miami
If you have Mostert on your roster and have had him all season, chances are you got him at a bargain price on draft day. Mostert has already scored 13 touchdowns this season, which puts him on a pace for 25 for the year if form holds. Throw in his 750+ yards gained from scrimmage and you’ve got something no one could have expected or predicted. Mostert’s production could go down once De’Von Achane returns from injury, but 20+ touchdowns for the season remains a realistic possibility just the same.
Runner-Up: QB C.J. Stroud, Houston
Fantasy Football’s Most Disappointing Performance: WR Davante Adams, Las Vegas
This isn’t a knock on Adams, per se, as he remains one of the most talented wide receivers in football. And, he is more than capable of enjoying a second half of the season resurgence. But, at this time, Adams earns the award for a year that has included only 3 touchdowns and no games above 57 yards receiving since Week Four. Certainly, there were other players to be considered here, but Adams to me is the most prominent example of a non-injured disappointing set of outcomes.
Runner-Up: RB Najee Harris, Pittsburgh
Fantasy Football’s Most Taylor Swift-Dependent Player: TE Travis Kelce, Kansas City
Pretty simple math here. When Taylor Swift is at a game in which Travis Kelce is playing, he excels. In those four games with Swift in attendance, Kelce has caught 34 passes for 432 yards and a pair of touchdowns. And, when she’s not there? In those four games, he’s caught 23 passes for a mere 165 yards. In reality, you’re going to start Travis Kelce every week no matter what, but his impact will (apparently) be much more substantial when the pop sensation is close by.
Runner-Up: No one. Kelce is on his own with respect to this categorization
Fantasy Football’s Best Rookie Performance: WR Puka Nacua, LA Rams
If De’Von Achane hadn’t gone on IR several weeks ago, he probably is at the top of this mountain, but because he did , we’re going to give the slight edge to Nacua even though he has slowed a bit of late. Even with that decrease in production to consider, Nacua is still on pace for 120+ receptions, nearly 1,600 yards, and 4 TDs this season. Yes, those touchdown numbers aren’t all that impressive, but the rest of it most certainly is. Hard to believe he slipped through the cracks so much at the NFL Draft and as a result, slipped through the cracks in fantasy drafts, too.
Runner-Up: RB De’Von Achane, Miami
Fantasy Football’s Best Comeback Players: RB Breece Hall, NY Jets; WR Adam Thielen, Car.
Yes, being a fantasy manager with Breece Hall on your team can still be frustrating given how poorly the Jets offense functions in general, but considering he’s on pace for nearly 1,400 yards, you can’t help but admire Hall after such a devastating injury. As for Thielen, he was left for dead in Minnesota and has responded as a Panther with a pace that would equal out to 124 catches, 1,220 yards receiving, and 8 TDs by season’s end. I realize the Vikings were heavy at the position, but Thielen has proven he has plenty left in the tanks to be sure.
And, now let’s look at the three finalists for Fantasy Football’s MVP through nine weeks:
- WR A.J. Brown, Philadelphia
When you record 125+ yards of receiving for six consecutive weeks, this is where you’re going to end up. Brown got off to a bit of a slow start, called for increased touches, and then responded with one of the best stretches of play by a WR in recent memory. Look for the surge to continue during this season’s second half.
- RB Christian McCaffrey, San Francisco
McCaffrey could have easily been first choice as it’s a toss-up really between him and that player to be named shortly. No other RB comes close to doing what he’s done thus far and as long as he stays healthy, I project he’ll be the fantasy football MVP by season’s end. He’s certainly lived up to every expectation anyone could have had for him so far.
Fantasy Football MVP at Mid-Season: WR Tyreek Hill, Miami
On pace for nearly 140 catches, over 2,000 receiving yards, and 15 touchdowns, Hill has been playing like a man under the influence of Taylor Swift so far this season. For as long as Tua Tagovailoa can stay healthy, Hill is going to be the most dangerous player you’ll face as a fantasy manager for the remainder of the season. There’s little disputing that.
Hope you enjoyed this look at what has taken place so far. Next week, we’ll dive back into the here and now and see where things stand at that time. See you then!