Can you believe it? It seems like just yesterday Brett Favre was giving us another one of his emotional retirement speeches, and now we’re half way through the season. To mark the occasion, instead of giving you another dose of my ever-so-helpful advice, I’ve decided to hand out awards to the players I thought had exceptionally remarkable first halves. The players won’t actually get anything, but I’m not doing this for them so I really don’t care.
The only reason Sea Bass’s kicks don’t hit the moon during night games is because the ball burns up in the atmosphere before it can get there. Janikowski has been the most prolific kicker in football thus far, and has had double-digit fantasy days in six out of eight games so far.
Best Defense/Special Teams: Tennessee Titans.
They are the Titans, the mighty, mighty Titans. There are defenses out there that have had better individual fantasy days, but few units have been as consistent as this one. The Titans defense has had only two single-digit fantasy outings, and with veteran players like linebacker Will Witherspoon and cornerback Cortland Finnegan leading the defense, that trend is going to continue.
Best Tight End: Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers.
There isn’t anything you can say about this guy that hasn’t been said. Gates has been hauling in touchdowns for the Chargers since 2003, and in a year when the 3-5 Chargers can’t get anything going, he has not slowed down. He has nine touchdowns and only one game without one, and has gotten his fantasy owners 15+ points in five of eight games. He currently has no equal at the position.
Best Wide Receiver: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions.
It’s between him and Falcons wide receiver Roddy White, but in the end it came down to the fact that Johnson has maintained All-Pro numbers with Shaun Hill running the offense. Now that Matthew Stafford is back from injury, Johnson is going to be unstoppable. Fantasy owners got a taste of what is to come with Sunday’s 101-yard, three-touchdown performance. That’s only the beginning. All hail Megatron.
Best Running Back: Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings.
In a world in which Chris Johnson was drafted first, Adrian Peterson is king. After a rather lackluster opening game, Peterson returned to form with a vengeance in week two and since then has continued to prove why he is the best at what he does, which is making defenders look like they just got promoted from Pop Warner. With three 130+ yard rushing days and four 20+ fantasy point days, Peterson has certainly outplayed the inconsistent Johnson, and has been the only bright spot on a dismal Vikings offense.
Best Quarterback: Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts.
Numbers don’t lie. Manning has tossed 15 touchdowns to just two interceptions, and has thrown for fewer than 300 yards in just three games. No other quarterback has played nearly as well and it’s as simple as that.
Biggest Surprise: Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buffalo Bills.
Since taking over the offense in week three, Fitzy has averaged 19.6 points per game, which is better than quarterbacks such as Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, and Joe Flacco over the same period of time. Now I don’t know what kind of deal Fitzy had to make with the devil to be able to do what he’s doing, but it was definitely worth it. The 0-7 Bills still have no hope of a playoff spot, but Fitzy has given the fantasy world a Bills player worth starting. That’s surprising enough on its own.
Biggest Letdown (a.k.a. the Jamarcus Russell Award): Brett Favre, QB, Minnesota Vikings.
No one was surprised when Favre announced that he was coming back after almost leading the Vikings to a Superbowl just last season, and fantasy owners had good reason to believe that he would be able to, if not duplicate exactly, at least come close to his numbers from last season. However, it would appear that age has finally caught up with Favre, who has managed just one double-digit fantasy day while leading the Vikings to a 2-5 record thus far. You should have stayed retired, Brett.
Daily Nexus NFL columnist Joshua Greenberg receives the award for best unsolicited fantasy football advice given by any UCSB student named Joshua Greenberg.