Now that we have arrived at the mid-point of the NFL season, it’s time to take a look at which wide receivers have helped our fantasy football teams and which wide receivers have done fantasy owners the biggest disservice thus far. First, I’ll highlight the top performers in fantasy football at the wide receiver position. Next, we’ll take a look at the breakout wide receivers like Tyler Boyd who have far exceeded their preseason expectations. Finally, I’ll highlight the wide receivers that have disappointed and hurt their fantasy football owners the most in the first half of the season.
Fantasy Football: Adam Thielen and Tyler Boyd Earn Mid-Season Wide Receiver Awards
Adam Thielen technically had his breakout season last year but this season he broke-out on a whole other level. He is by far the top performer at the wide receiver position at the season’s midpoint. He currently sits 36 fantasy points ahead of the next closest wide receiver according to ESPN PPR scoring. Thielen has caught a record 100+ yards in all eight games that he has played this season.
The Vikings went out and got Kirk Cousins this past offseason. That move has really paid dividends for Thielen. He is averaging a whopping 12 targets per game and averages 9.3 catches per game. So far the Cousins to Thielen connection has been a fantasy football players dream come true. I see no reason to think that things will cool off for Thielen in the second half of the season. Thielen keeps rolling!
Tyreek Hill like Adam Thielen had his breakout season last year, however, this season Hill has taken his play to an even higher level. The addition of Patrick Mahomes to the offense has made an already explosive and dangerous Hill even more dangerous and more productive. Hill is currently the third highest scoring wide receiver in ESPN PPR scoring leagues.
This season Tyreek Hill, with seven touchdowns, has already tied his touchdown total for last season. Hill currently has 705 receiving yards and is also on pace to surpass the 1183 receiving yards he had last season. Hill and Mahomes have seemed unstoppable at times in the first half of the season. I fully expect for Tyreek Hill to continue roasting defenses for the rest of the 2018 season.
I would say that Tyler Boyd would have to be the biggest surprise for me this season. Not that he came out of nowhere. He did have a couple of good games towards the end of last season. However, to this point in the season he not only has been extremely productive but he’s also been an extremely consistent performer. In five out of eight weeks, he’s scored at least 21 PPR fantasy or more. Boyd has been outstanding up to this point in the season.
Tyler Boyd appears to be the real deal. The only thing that is holding him back from being a top tier WR1 is the presence of A.J. Green. However, Boyd has proven that despite being labeled the number two wide receiver in Cincinnati, he can produce like a number one fantasy wide receiver. It will be interesting to watch how the second half unfolds for Boyd and the Bengals. They typically stall late in the season but with all of the talent on the offense this year I wouldn’t be surprised to see Boyd and company continue to play at a high level. Boyd has a bright future in the NFL.
John Brown went from a constant member of the inactive list last season to a member of the top scorers’ list this season. Often dealing with some sort of ailment while with the Cardinals last season Brown has turned a new leaf in Baltimore with the Ravens. With 3+ receptions in seven out of eight games this year Brown has been a surprisingly consistent fantasy contributor. He has scored over 13 PPR points in five out of eight games.
Suddenly John Brown is the number one option in a pass-heavy offense and has remained the picture of health. He’ll look to continue his stellar play in the second half of the season. He’s going to be heavily involved in the offense for as long as he can stay healthy. So far the problems from his past have remained in the past. If John Brown stays on the field like he did the first eight games of the season then he’s going to put up career record numbers and some more fantasy points in abundance.
Corey Davis came into the season as many fantasy analysts top breakout candidate. So far in his first eight games, he’s topped 13 PPR fantasy points just once. Outside of one big game in week 4 against Philadelphia, he has been average at best. Certainly, those fantasy owners that took a chance and drafted Davis in the 4th or 5th round this summer can’t be happy with the production that Davis has given them.
Unfortunately, for Davis’ fantasy owners, I don’t see things getting a whole lot better in the second half of the season. Davis has some fairly tough matchups in his next six games and if you’re counting on him for your fantasy playoffs, well, he gets the Jacksonville Jaguars in week 14. It’s unfortunate because his size and athleticism seem to be wasted by poor quarterback play this season. Unless this Tennessee Titans offense can fix what’s been ailing them, Davis will likely continue to underproduce for fantasy football owners in the second half of the season.
Doug Baldwin did tell all of us before the season that the knee injury he is dealing with would need to be managed all season. Unfortunately, for some fantasy owners, the name value was just too good to pass up in drafts this summer. Maybe some people did listen and didn’t draft Baldwin but got sucked in when they saw him on the waiver wire and heard he was going to play so they picked him up.
However you ended up with him on your team, you now probably wish that you didn’t have him. It’s obvious that his injury has caused him to lose a step. He’s just not getting the separation that he used to.
Sure, there’s a chance that his knee starts to feel better and Baldwin re-emerges in the second half but the emergence of Tyler Lockett and David Moore have made that even more unlikely. Currently, the one time top level receiver, Baldwin, finds himself in a three way split for targets on a team that wants to be run-heavy. His outlook for the rest of the season is better than what it was for the 1st half, however, until he shows that he can play at a high level and demand extra targets, he will likely continue to disappoint the fantasy owners that remain invested in him.
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