Warrior Weekly: Fantasy football midseason reflection

The fantasy football season has officially reached its midway point, and this year has been filled with many surprises, for better or for worse. This week, WSPN’s Aiden Chitkara be analyzing fantasy football's biggest booms and busts as we approach the second half of the 2019 NFL season.

The fantasy football season has officially reached its midway point, and this year has been filled with many surprises, for better or for worse. This week, WSPN’s Aiden Chitkara be analyzing fantasy football's biggest booms and busts as we approach the second half of the 2019 NFL season.

Aiden Chitkara

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Quarterback Boom: Lamar Jackson (Baltimore Ravens)

If I told you that one man could produce numbers that would make him both QB1 and RB1 eligible, would you believe me? You probably wouldn’t. Well, up until this year that is. Lamar Jackson has posted Madden-like numbers through the first eight weeks of the 2019 NFL season. Jackson ranks third amongst quarterbacks in scoring, which includes 1,650 yards through the air and another 576 on the ground. ESPN’s Tom Jackson would agree with me. TJ believes that Lamar is “the most athletic QB in the NFL.” ESPN’s Ryan Clark will go so far as to claim “Lamar Jackson is the better dual-threat quarterback of all-time, even better than Michael Vick.” That is some high praise from one of the top analysts in the business, and it was certainly earned. Jackson has looked simply magical, but the only question remains: are these numbers sustainable? 

Quarterback Bust: Baker Mayfield (Cleveland Browns)

I mean, we probably should’ve seen something like this coming. After all, it is still the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland will continue to do what it has always done: disappoint. Over the past two years, the Browns have made brilliant strides. The franchise had gone from an 0-16 season back in 2017 to Super Bowl sleepers heading into the 2019 season.  Unfortunately, Cleveland’s prayers were not answered and they simply remained, well, the Browns. There are a lot of people to blame for the 2-5 start, but nobody is a bigger target than Baker Mayfield. Mayfield has looked awful, ranking No. 26 in fantasy points among quarterbacks. He has double the amount of interceptions (12) as he has touchdowns (6). With such high hopes coming into the season, things couldn’t be off to a worse start for Cleveland. Baker Mayfield just doesn’t seem like the guy the Browns envisioned when they took him first overall in the 2018 NFL draft. 

Running back Boom: Dalvin Cook (Minnesota Vikings)

Coming into the season, Dalvin Cook had only played 15 games over his first two NFL seasons. Health concerns left many fantasy owners, myself included, questioning Cook’s reliability. Cook quickly proved any critics wrong with an incredible start to the 2019 season. Cook has averaged 24.1 fantasy PPG, which ranks him second only behind Christian McCaffery. Cook has scored 24.3 or more fantasy points in all but two games this season. Even with rookie Alex Mattison running hot out of the gates, Cook has proven himself to be the feature back and focal point of the Vikings offense. Mike Zimmer has transitioned his team to be a run first offense, and Dalvin Cook has made him look really, really good by doing so. 

Running Back Bust: Le’veon Bell (New York Jets)

Fresh off his 2018 holdout, Bell signed with the New York Jets in the offseason. The signing of the star running back built up much excitement for Jets fans, but their expectations for the superstar have not been met by a long shot. Through his first seven games, Bell only has two touchdowns and 349 rushing yards. Averaging only 3.2 YPC, Bell has not lived up to his four-year, $52.5 million contract. Bell has been a major disappointment this season. 

Wide Receiver Boom: Chris Godwin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Imagine if Tampa Bay had a capable quarterback under center. The Bucs would no doubt be playoff contenders and maybe even a Super Bowl dark horse. Unfortunately, this is not the case because Jameis Winston is the Bucs only option. Despite his inconsistent quarterback, Godwin has broken out this year. During the preseason, first-year head coach Bruce Arians claimed that “Godwin will be a 100 catch guy,” and Arians has a good chance of keeping his promise. The third year receiver has 47 catches for a whopping 705 yards through his first seven games, which ranks him as the third best receiver in fantasy. Godwin has been a stud, and the sky is the limit for the former Penn State receiver. 

Wide Receiver Bust: Odell Beckham Jr. (Cleveland Browns)

There might not be a bigger bust this year than OBJ. Odell had huge expectations coming into the year – some experts even made the case that he could finish as the number one receiver at the end of the season. Instead, Beckham Jr. has done quite the opposite, only catching only 34 passes and amounting to one touchdown throughout the first seven games. As mentioned earlier, Baker Mayfield has been a total disappointment as well, so there is a lot of blame to go around. Hopefully, OBJ can turn it around during the final frame of 2019.

Note: All numbers and rankings are based on ESPN’s PPR Scoring.

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