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Monday Morning NFL Recap - Midseason Report & Awards

Welcome to the midseason edition of our weekly recap!  Through 8 or 9 games, the NFL has brought commercials, jubilation, commercials, exciting rookies, commercials, penalty flags, commercials, commercials, and the depths of despair and defeat to audiences all over the country, but today it's time to celebrate the individual players who have turned in significant first-half performances.  We're going to go position by position and take a look at the players who have been the MVPs of your fantasy team - the eighth-round picks playing like superstars - and we're going to take a look at the guys who've killed your desire to even login and fix your lineups.

Well, except for tight end.  That position is a goddamn wasteland.  Martellus Bennett is the number 3 overall at the position, and he's got 5 games logged where he had less than 5 points.  I hate tight ends so much.

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It's Monday Morning... What Just Happened


Midseason MVP: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons sit at 6-3 and have sole position of first place in the NFC West, and the resurgent play of Matt Ryan is a big reason why.  Ryan has 5 games where he's thrown for at least 3 touchdowns, 5 games of at least 300 yards passing, with a 500-yard, 4-touchdown offering against the Panthers sitting nicely as the crown jewel of Ryan's season.  Ryan leads the NFL in yards per pass attempt, averaging 9.45 yards every time he throws.  With receiver Julio Jones fully healthy (and not fully human), Ryan is in a prime position to succeed down the stretch, and has an incredibly enticing playoff schedule, with games against divisional opponents during the last two weeks of the season - and his division has seemingly forgotten what cornerbacks are.

Honorable Mention: Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders

Carr has taken a huge step for the division-leading Raiders and sits at 3rd overall among QBs despite his rough outing against Denver this weekend.  Las Vegas is gonna love him.


Midseason Disappointment: Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Although slightly unfair to Wilson, who has been fighting injury seemingly all season, Wilson was drafted in the hopes of building on his stellar play from the second half of 2015.  However, he has failed to live up to that reality.  Wilson hasn't thrown a touchdown since Week 4, and the Seahawks offense has sputtered.  He's only broken 20 points in a game once this season.  He had a Halloween costume that was somehow both super lame AND super creepy.  It's not been Wilson's year...but Wilson had a rough start last year, too.  It's too early to give up on the Seahawks, but if you've been relying on Wilson, it might be too late to save your season.

Honorable Mention: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

These two guys were frequently drafted 1-2 at the position this year.  You do not draft the first and second quarterbacks off the board to have them be 16th and 26th at the position, behind Jameis "I threw 4 picks in a game" Winston and Case "booed at home" Keenum, respectively.



Midseason MVP: Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers

Gordon has had an incredible turnaround this year on a competitive Chargers squad.  The much-maligned rookie has been phenomenal for the first 9 games of his sophomore season, putting up 9 touchdowns only a year after he couldn't find the end zone at all.  He's gotten better as the season has gone on, too: he's put up 77 points over the last three games, with two 30-point showings, and he's done it against stingy fantasy defenses.  The Broncos are the Broncos, while the Titans were the second-best defense against running backs in fantasy.  Of course, the operative word in that sentence is were, because Gordon shredded them for 196 yards and a touchdown. (Cut to Nebraska fans, suddenly staring the thousand-yard stare of men who have witnessed horrors almost beyond human comprehension.)

Honorable Mention: Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

Honestly, the only reason Gordon gets the MVP nod over Elliott is that everyone expected this kind of production out of Elliott and drafted him in the first round accordingly.  Gordon, not so much.


Midseason Disappointment: Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

Remember when Gurley was spearheading the crop of exciting young running backs entering the league?  Someone should check to see if he and Melvin Gordon swapped bodies sometime during the offseason.  Of course, Gordon has the benefit of playing with Philip Rivers, who not only has a functioning human arm, but who has an arm that functions well enough to keep San Diego competitive despite approximately 60% of its roster being hurt.  Gurley, on the other hand, plays with Case Keenum, who may or may not have been reanimated by a mad scientist looking to take revenge on not only the quarterback who bullied him in high school, but the entire concept of quarterbacking in general.  As a result, Gurley has to meet about 15 tacklers every time he touches the ball.  Lord God, please just let Jeff "the living embodiment of 7-9" Fisher start Jared Goff so Gurley doesn't actually die on the field.

Honorary Mention: Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints

I don't care what you did against the 49ers, Mark, it's not gonna erase the stink of the -1.5 you put up against Seattle.



Midseason MVP: Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Evans was already one of the most productive WRs in football before his 11-reception, 150-yard, 2-TD performance against the Falcons.  Those 2 TDs put him at eight on the year, and he has emerged as QB Jameis Winston's most reliable option.  In a division that seems to regard pass defense as a suggestion and not a requirement, as well as a juicy matchup against Chicago coming up in Week 10, Evans should be poised to put up a strong second half.

Honorable Mention: Terrelle Pryor, Sr., Cleveland Browns

After switching positions to WR, the former Ohio State QB has found himself to be possibly the only bright spot on the Browns' roster, and the owners who were fortunate enough to grab him off the waiver wire (because the only people who drafted Terrelle Pryor as their Cleveland WR were people in the greater Columbus area) have been rewarded with a high-upside WR2.


Midseason Disappointment: DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans

Last year, DeAndre Hopkins was unquestionably one of the best young receivers in football.  Last year, he had the two headed monster of Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett throwing to him.  Last year, he still looked like he was poised to break into the Antonio Brown/Julio Jones "we're not quite sure if you were born or if you were molded from clay by the hand of the football gods" tier of wide receiver.  This year, he has just-got-paid-$72-million Brock Osweiler throwing to him.  This year, Hopkins has been a fantasy afterthought.  This year, Hopkins is being outscored by Tyrell Williams, who is San Diego's latest "oh shit literally everyone is hurt" receiver.   Now, I'm not going to say that Brock Osweiler is 500 pounds of failure stuffed into a 235-pound human suit...but I will imply it.  Brock Osweiler just had to be better than Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett, and he is demonstrably worse.  Houston, that sound you hear is Denver laughing at you 72 million times over.

Honorable Mention: Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars

God the AFC South is a dumpster fire.  No division is better at squandering talent.  The Colts are wasting literally all of Andrew Luck's prime, the Texans are wasting Hopkins AND JJ Watt, the Jaguars are wasting Allen Robinson and exciting new rookie Jalen Ramsey...I guess congratulations are in order for Tennessee.  Although Tennessee has avoided wasting any young, exciting talents mostly due to not having any instead of playing good football, so I'd hold off on that particular ribbon ceremony for a while.


I'd like to say that there's plenty of exciting football commercials coming up over the second half of the season, but I pretty much wrote the "disappointment" sections by looking at my own roster, so I really just don't have the energy to get excited about unsportsmanlike conduct anymore.  When do the playoffs start?