With the NFL season halfway in the books, it is time to five out the midseason fantasy football awards for wide receivers. Michael Thomas and Chris Godwin have been putting teams on their backs. D.J. Chark and D.K. Metcalf are providing supreme value to those who were lucky enough to grab them. But other high-priced players like Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. have made things tough on teams that drafted them.
Michael Thomas, D.J. Chark Highlight Midseason Fantasy Football Awards at Wide Receiver
MVP: Michael Thomas
Runner up: Mike Evans
In half-point PPR, Mike Evans is actually the WR1 over Michael Thomas. But when it comes down to it, Thomas has above and beyond been the best wide receiver in fantasy so far this season. He has been a target monster, already seeing a ridiculous 89 targets through eight games. He has converted them into 73 receptions for 875 yards and four touchdowns.
What gives Thomas the edge over Evans is his consistency. Thomas doesn’t have one game this season with less than 12.90 points. And his ceiling is high as anyone’s with a week five game where he turned in 11 catches, 182 yards, and two touchdowns. Evans has basically given a new meaning to boom or bust. He has three games with 30 or more points. But he also has two games with under five points, including one with a donut.
Evans is someone to watch in the second half of the year, but for now, Thomas has the best shot to finish with the most fantasy points, especially with Drew Brees back under center for the New Orleans Saints.
Breakout Star: Chris Godwin
Runner up: Cooper Kupp
Evans shook off a slow start to the year to put up some monster games, but for a while, people started to wonder if he was even the WR1 in Tampa Bay anymore. This is entirely due to the emergence of Chris Godwin. Many people were blowing the horn on Godwin’s breakout, but few pictured that he would be the WR3 in fantasy at this point in the year.
Godwin is on pace for over 1500 yards and 12 touchdowns, and with a nonexistent running game and bad defense for the Bucs, it won’t be a surprise if he reaches the mark. Godwin already has four 100-yard games this season, but he sometimes put up a few duds. He has three games with under 55 yards.
Cooper Kupp is tempting to put in this spot, but he was well on his way to a breakout year before an ACL injury cut his year short. Still, he has managed to take his game to another level, projecting as a top-five fantasy wideout through the first half of the year. He has seen double-digit targets in all but three games and had a four-week span with 100 yards.
With Brandin Cooks out for a while, those targets could increase even further.
Biggest Surprise: D.J. Chark
While many predicted the breakout of Godwin, there might not have been a soul in the world who thought that D.J. Chark would be a top-ten fantasy receiver this year. His teammate Dede Westbrook was actually tabbed to be a steal in fantasy drafts. Instead, Chark became a waiver wire king early in the year.
“Baby Chark” joined Gardner Minshew as surprise stars for the Jacksonville Jaguars after Nick Foles broke his collarbone in week one. He started the year with three straight games with 15 or more fantasy points. His peak so far was a 164-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Carolina Panthers.
However, his outlook for the rest of the season is a bit shaky. Head coach Doug Marrone already announced that high-priced free-agent signing Foles would return to the starting role following the team’s bye week 10. Part of the reason Chark did so well was his chemistry with Minshew, who he played with a ton in training camp.
It worth noting that the only game Chark saw less than five targets was also the only game this year Foles started. Keep an eye on his target share compared to Westbrook’s moving forward.
Biggest Bust: Odell Beckham Jr.
Runner Up: Antonio Brown
The wider receiver position overall has been disappointing this year. Guys like Julio Jones and Keenan Allen are outside the top ten. Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams have missed significant time with injury. But none have been quite as bad as Odell Beckham Jr, who was projected to be a top-five fantasy receiver.
He currently ranks as the WR26, with players like Curtis Samuel and John Brown having better years so far. Many roll their eyes and aren’t surprised because he now plays for the Cleveland Browns, the team’s inability to get one of the best playmakers of this generation involved in their offense is inexcusable.
And it isn’t like Beckham isn’t getting targets. He has three games with at least ten, and none with less than five. Unfortunately, he and Baker Mayfield just can’t get on the same page. OBJ only has two 100-yard games, but also has two games with under 30 yards receiving. At this point last year, Beckham had five games with at least 100 yards. He already started voicing his frustration last game:
"I can’t get the ball to save my life” – Odell Beckham@obj had Chris Harris beat for a touchdown but Baker didn't even look for him, he threw to double coverage instead on 4th down at the end of the game.pic.twitter.com/Jpj86cWgN4
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) November 4, 2019
Despite Beckham’s struggles, some might argue that Antonio Brown might be the biggest bust at the wide receiver position. After all, the former superstar was still going in the second round of most drafts. Instead, he ended up playing one measly game with the New England Patriots before self-sabotaging his season, and likely the rest of his career. Instead of catching touchdowns, he is just getting caught using burner accounts to defend himself on social media.
Best Rookie: D.K. Metcalf
Runner Up: Terry McLaurin
D.K. Metcalf was one of the more polarizing wide receivers in the NFL draft. He put up combine numbers that were off the charts. However, his college production wasn’t quite there. Still, Pete Carroll couldn’t say enough good things about the guy, leading a few savvy fantasy footballers to steal one of the better values late in drafts.
Most expected Metcalf to be just a deep threat in his first season. And he has been. But unlike most deep threats, he has been very consistent. He only has two games so far with less than 50 yards receiving, and less than five targets. His week nine game was also his best yet, breaking 100 yards receiving for the first time in his young career. Currently ranking as the WR16, Metcalf has outperformed names drafted much higher than him so far.
There are some questions on his second-half production now that the team acquired Josh Gordon after the New England Patriots released him. Still, Metcalf should stay in starting lineups until further notice.