Midseason Fantasy Football Report Card
If you scour the web, you’ll usually find a bunch of articles or blog posts providing the midseason report card for a given team, breaking down those teams at a position-by-position basis. But it’s much harder to find any content that does the same for fantasy football purposes.
So, halfway through the 2018 NFL season, we thought we’d take a look back at how each of the major fantasy football skill positions have fared to date, as a way to juxtapose our preseason expectations with the current reality, and to better understand where to focus for the remainder of this season.
Accordingly, here are our midseason fantasy football grades per each position, with grades being assigned on the basis of overall production at the position, and the extent of the depth of good players we’ve seen at that position.
In what shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, given that we’re on pace to see the highest-scoring season in NFL history, and that we have a particular quarterback who’s on pace to throw for the second-most touchdowns in a single season in league history, we’re seeing both incredible production from the elite players, but consistent production from a whole litany of quarterbacks.
It’s been well-documented that Patrick Mahomes of Kansas City is taking the league by storm, with 26 touchdown passes in eight games. But consider the fact that 16 different quarterbacks are on pace to throw for 4,000 yards this year, and 12 different quarterbacks are on pace to throw for 30 or more touchdowns (with another three quarterbacks on pace to combine for more than 30 combined passing and rushing touchdowns).
Running Back: B-
Outside of a small handful of guys we knew would be marquee players this year, what we’re seeing from the running back position only reinforces the belief that NFL teams are either devaluing the position as a whole, or looking more towards running backs who can catch the football, versus carry it.
In point per reception (PPR) and half-PPR leagues, Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara have been among the four best at their positions in the game. There was a ton of hype around Saquon Barkley, and he’s justified it, ranking in the top five at the position in most leagues as well.
But how about James Conner putting up a level of production we thought we’d see from Le’Veon Bell? Or how about James White, TJ Yeldon, and Phillip Lindsay currently ranking among the top 15 players at their position? Meanwhile, guys like David Johnson, Leonard Fournette, and Dalvin Cook have been immensely disappointing.
Wide Receiver: B+
As we might’ve suspected, there two or three elite players at the wide receiver position, followed by a bunch of highly-productive players. It’s just that the former two or three players aren’t necessarily who we expected.
Anyone who has Adam Thielen and/or Tyreek Hill can attest to how unstoppable those guys have been, as they’re near the very top of the rankings in PPR & half-PPR leagues. DeAndre Hopkins rounds out the top three in most leagues. But obviously, it’s surprising to see that guys like Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and AJ Green are outside of the top five guys.
However, the depth at the position makes up for some of the quality at the top, with under-the-radar players like Tyler Boyd, Tyler Lockett, and John Brown ranking among the top 20 players at the position.
Tight End: D
There’s no two-ways about it: the tight end position is not only the most disappointing spot on fantasy football rosters right now, but maybe one of the thinnest as well. Only three players are on pace to have eight or more receiving touchdowns.
In fact, there have been only four players whom you could say have separated themselves from the rest of the mosh pit at the position: Zach Ertz, Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Eric Ebron. The latter two guys weren’t even among the top seven or eight at their position heading into this year.
After that, the next 15 tight ends in PPR/half-PPR leagues are separated by approximately 32 or so points; while that might sound a lot, that’s less than four points a game. If you’re someone that drafted Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham high up in your draft, it’s gotta be frustrating to know that they averages less than three points more per game than someone like Jesse James or Benjamin Watson, who were available on the vast majority of waiver wires in each league.