With Week 9 of the NFL season in the books and Week 10 beginning Thursday night, every team has played at least eight of their 16 scheduled regular season contests. Now that we passed the unofficial halfway point, there is no better time to unveil our top four fantasy football MVP candidates of the year.
Of the thousands of leagues across the world, there are countless variations of rules and regulations. Some groups elect to reward receivers for points per receptions (PPR) and some don’t. The roster spots can range dramatically, and some commissioners enact rosters with individual defensive players while others go with team defenses. The list goes on and on.
With that being said, regardless of your league’s setup, there are a handful of players who clearly separated themselves from the pack throughout the first half of the season. For this list, we are not necessarily going with the top four overall point-earners, but instead decided to pick the very best at four different positions: quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end.
QB: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Statistics: 2,709 passing yards, 68.6 completion percentage, 22 passing touchdowns, two interceptions, three fumbles, 113.5 QB rating (eight games)
Tom Brady is the MVP of both the NFL mid-season and all quarterbacks in fantasy football. The controversially stellar 38-year-old ranks third in passing yards, fifth in completion percentage, first in touchdown passes, and first in quarterback rating. With just two interceptions all year, Brady has been the best, most consistent option at QB for fantasy owners.
Honorable mentions: Philip Rivers (San Diego Chargers) and Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers)
RB: Devonta Freeman, Atlanta Falcons
Statistics: 721 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns, 48 receptions, 420 receiving yards, two receiving touchdowns, one fumble (nine games)
Easily the most shocking member of this list is Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman. The second-year player out of Florida State entered 2015 as the backup to Tevin Coleman, but after the rookie got injured early in the season, Freeman snagged the starting nod with ridiculous outputs.
Six of his league-leading nine rushing touchdowns came in Weeks 3 and 4, and despite a slight drop in production over the last two games, Freeman has still far-and-away been the most dominating RB in the field. He comes in second for both rushing attempts and rushing yards and has shown amazing versatility with his 48 receptions, 420 receiving yards, and pair of receiving scores.
Honorable mentions: Todd Gurley (St. Louis Rams) and Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings)
WR: Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Statistics: 80 receptions, 1,029 receiving yards, six receiving touchdowns (nine games)
If not for some inconsistent play at quarterback in Houston and an injury to Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh, DeAndre Hopkins or Antonio Brown could have very well occupied this spot on the list. However, despite one or two down games earlier in the year (as he battled injuries), Julio Jones takes our top wide receiver slot. The 2011 sixth overall pick leads the NFL with 80 receptions, 120 targets, and 1,029 receiving yards, and is tied for third with his six scores. Jones is one of, if not the best, deep threat in football with 13 plays of 20-plus yards and is second with 114.3 receiving yards per contest.
Honorable mentions: DeAndre Hopkins (Houston Texans) and Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh Steelers)
TE: Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
Statistics: 44 receptions, 693 receiving yards, seven receiving touchdowns (eight games)
Undoubtedly the best tight end in the game coming into the season was New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski. By way of seven “Gronk” spikes and phenomenal numbers across the board, No. 87 has only further solidified that spot this fall. Gronkowski joins Brady on the 8-0 Patriots and among tight ends, he is tied for second in receptions, first in receiving yards (by a wide margin), and is second at the position with his seven touchdowns.
Honorable mentions: Tyler Eifert (Cincinnati Bengals) and Gary Barnidge (Cleveland Browns)
Follow Victor on Twitter @vbarbosa1127
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