Midseason Fantasy Football Awards


Stephen Lew

Seattle Seahawks rookie running back Kenneth Walker III celebrating his first carer touchdown run against the New Orleans Saints.

Chris Carr, Contributing Writer

Around Hingham High School this year, I noticed a trending topic amongst the student body: fantasy football. A phenomenon in which users become the manager of their own virtual football team, performing tasks similar to that of an NFL general manager. Senior Class President Cal Larson states, “I am in multiple fantasy leagues this year and I love competing every week. I believe it makes the NFL games more interesting and exciting to watch”. 

To me, fantasy football is a very unique and socialized way to enhance the experience of football fans as they can compete against their friends every week. Each member of the league has their own customizable team that they control throughout the year. The person starts off by drafting a team with a few players at each offensive position, a kicker, and a defense. Out of the pool of players on your team, users choose which players to start and sit in order to optimize their lineup for that specific week. Before the start of every week of the NFL season, league members have the ability to make substitutions, trades, and add free agents so that they are best suited for their upcoming matchups as a new opponent from within their league is presented each week. 

The passion for fantasy football runs deep throughout the high school, ranging from the senior class president to HHS Freshman Will Carr. Will shares that he loves “playing in a league with my friends. It creates more competition and the winner gets bragging rights every week.”

Fantasy football follows the games of the NFL each week, as players’ individual stats in real games reflect their point totals in fantasy football. The winner of each fantasy football league is crowned at the end of the fantasy football playoffs which is also the end of the NFL regular season. In the past, week 8 served as the official halfway point of the NFL season. However, with the recent addition of a 17th game to the schedule, there is no true midseason mark. However, this additional game also means more fantasy football games for the rest of us. So while we are not officially halfway through the season, I believe that it is the right time to address the superlative players in each category of the NFL season through the lens of fantasy football. 

Most Valuable Player: Travis Kelce – TE, Kansas City Chiefs

Travis Kelce has been a proven talent in the fantasy football world for years, and this season is no different. When wide receiver Tyreek Hill was dealt from the Chiefs to the Dolphins last offseason, more vacated targets opened up for Kelce. It also doesn’t hurt that Kelce is the recipient of throws from the best quarterback in the league, Patrick Mahomes. He has been Mahomes’s favorite target by far this year as the team’s front office neglected to sign a star receiver to replace Tyreek Hill, paving the way for Kelce to lead one of the top offenses in the league. He averages over 20 points per game this year and has yet to have a single-digit fantasy performance on the season. Miles ahead of every other tight end in the league, Travis Kelce is simply the best positional advantage that you can have in fantasy football. 

Boom Player of the Year: Saquon Barkley – RB, New York Giants

Perhaps deemed as the biggest boom-or-bust player this year, Saquon Barkley currently ranks as the number four overall running back in fantasy football this year. Barkley is the lead candidate for the comeback player of the year award after suffering a torn ACL last season. Surprisingly, Barkley is not the only one on his team who has come alive this year as the Giants currently hold a strong 6-2 record. However, Barkley is the main reason as to why his team has been so successful. He has not lost a step after recovering from his ACL surgery and looks identical to his former self, re-establishing his place near the top of the league’s best running backs. Barkley has put together outstanding fantasy performances this season and averages nearly 20 points per game despite running behind an extremely poor offensive line. In other words, it’s safe to say that Barkley has definitely boomed rather than busted this year. 

Bust Player of the Year: Cam Akers – RB, Los Angeles Rams

Cam Akers first broke out on the scene as a terrific running back for the Rams in 2020. He quickly gained a tremendous amount of respect from the Rams organization as he was given the keys to the backfield in the second half of his rookie year. However, to start his second year, he suffered a torn Achilles in his first game of the season. In his quest for a resurgence, Akers was fully healthy and first in line to lead the Rams backfield this season. Unlike Saquon Barkley, this injury seemed to slow Akers down at the beginning of the year and he quickly fell out of favor in the Los Angeles offense. Since then, Akers’ relationship with the Rams has been a mess. Between Akers’ transient order in the depth chart, trade request, holdout from games, and a struggling Rams squad, it is a complete mystery as to why and how he is still a meaningful member of the team. However, in a state of desperation, the Rams are determined to turn their season around and want Akers to be a part of it with a clear hole at the running back position. Nevertheless, after being regarded as a comeback player of the year candidate and a high draft pick, Akers has been a non-factor for fantasy managers. While there is still hope for him the rest of the way, Akers has not lived up to the high expectations that many had in mind.

Rookie of the Year: Kenneth Walker III – RB, Seattle Seahawks

Bursting on the scene as one of the most successful college running backs in recent memory, Kenneth Walker found a home in Seattle with the Seahawks as a second-round pick. However, his first few weeks of the NFL season were riddled with injuries, scaring many fantasy managers away from him. He quickly silenced the doubters when his running mate Rashaad Penny went down with a season-ending ankle injury in week 5, clearing a path for Walker to gain full control of the backfield. Since then, Walker has not looked back, displaying his potential to blossom into a future star for years to come. His excellent combination of size, vision, and agility proves that he is the type of talent that you can build an NFL offense around. With six touchdowns in his last four games, Walker has put up monster fantasy performances as of late and looks to continue his prosperity in an ascending Seahawks offense.