We’re officially eight weeks into the season, and the NFL season has been just as unpredictable as ever. Great players have been bad, bad players have been great, and everything in between. I’m going to try to make sense of some of these happenings and have a little fun while breaking down the league and handing out my awards.
Most Valuable Player: Peyton Manning, Broncos QB
Even taking away Week 1, Peyton has been the top scorer for fantasy and the clear MVP. AP hasn’t been a disappointment, but he hasn’t been as dominant as last season. Peyton has been a week to week monster and reamins on pace to break records. Not bad for a 37 year old, and not bad for a late second round pick.
Least Valuable Player: C.J. Spiller, Bills RB
Tom Brady came close, but Spiller is an easy choice for this award. Picking him immediately put your team in a hole, and his one good game he was probably on your bench (Week 5). I loved Spiller coming into the year and have been greatly disappointed. His 4.0 YPC shows a lack of effectiveness even on a per carry basis and Fred Jackson is still getting a ton of carries. It was a clear mistake to have Spiller as a first round value and makes him the clear least valuable player.
Most Improved Player: Josh Gordon, Browns WR
Gordon had a promising season in 2012, but he averaged just 7.5 fantasy points per game. His suspension worried many owners going into their drafts, but that has proven to be foolish. This season he’s averaging 12.7 fantasy points per game and has shown true superstar potential. The Browns are building their offense around him and he should have a long career ahead of him.
Least Improved Player: David Wilson, Giants RB
The stars aligned beautifully for Wilson – Bradshaw gone, Andre Brown injured, and a relatively easy schedule. 2.6 fantasy points per week over his five *somewhat* healthy weeks simply won’t cut it, and Wilson is one of the bigger busts in recent memory. A draft that involved Spiller, Brady, and Wilson would leave you feeling stacked after the draft, but by now you’re probably in terrible shape.
Rookie of the Year: Eddie Lacy, Packers RB
Gio Bernard has made this a very tight race, but has a couple sub-five point performances, while Lacy has been a more consistent performer. Lacy isn’t the most talented or flasshy runner, but he has nearly 100 carries in his last four games to go with 400 yards and 2 TDs. That kind of play will make you a rookie of the year almost every time.
The “Perenially Underrated” Award: Frank Gore, Niners RB
This is one that makes you want to look in the mirror and re-evaluate yourself. Gore won the same award from me last year!!! But once again, he has proven that he has plenty left in the tank despite starting slow this season. Kaepernick is a great QB to play next to and the Niners offensive schemes have been fantastic. He was a steal in the third round and has been the #6 RB so far this season – I’d expect him to be a back-end RB1 or a great RB2 the rest of the way, and won’t be doubting him like many did before the year.
The “Team Killer”Award: Tom Brady, Patriots QB
I’ve been victim to this myself, so I know just what is going through a lot of Brady’s owner’s heads. “This week Amendola’s coming back!” or “This week Gronk’s coming back” or “This is a great matchup,” are all valid reasons to expect improved play from Brady. And none of them have worked. Brady is the guy you plug into your lineup every week that still underperforms. This week, I ranked the likes of Terrelle Pryor and Jake Locker over him and am ready to admit that he’s just a terrible fantasy option at this point.
The “Star Pickup” Award: Zac Stacy, Rams RB
He has yet to rush for a touchdown this season, but Stacy is the waiver wire pickup who I think will end up having the biggest impact for fantasy owners. He looked great running for 134 yards on Seattle last week and seems to have gained Jeff Fisher’s trust. He’s dealing with a small ankle injury but should be OK the rest of the way and is a top 20 option week in, week out.
The “Fluke” Award: Eddie Royal, Chargers WR
Every year there seems to be a receiver that has a big game or two and generates a lot of hype. With five TDs in the first two weeks, Eddie Royal looked like he could be a fantasy stud with injuries in San Diego. However, it’s better to be careful with these guys. He’s averaging just 3.8 fantasy points per week since, and should serve as a good reminder when you see breakout games next season.
The “Where the %$@& Did That Come From” Award: Chiefs D/ST
Defenses aren’t usually the key to fantasy football matchups, but the team in your league that ended up with the Chiefs D has probably ended up with a win or two more than they would have before. Ranked just 25th by ESPN before the season (and 14th by us, *pats self on back*), they have broken out to double the points of 24 other teams through eight weeks. The Seahawks have proven a capable #2, but that was expected. This unexpected play from Kansas City may slow down with a tougher schedule coming up, but has been pretty damn fun to watch.
Matt Cott is a co-founder of RotoAnalysis. Follow him on Twitter @KidCotti21!