XFL 2015: Mid-Season Awards
By: Connor Lenahan
America’s favorite fantasy football league, the XFL, has reached its mid-season point this week. The 7th game for each team is normally an interesting time to check in on early season trends, look who is in good shape and/or bad shape heading forward, and start thinking who is going to be in the playoffs. Some teams – Laura LaBrecque’s Baltimore Bears and Cary Lenahan’s Washington Senators, both 5-1 – are looking like strong bets to be playing in the final eight come week 14, while others – the 0-6 Denver Blaze – look like they’ll need a miracle comeback to join that field.
But let’s not forget that crazy things are not only possible, but almost kind of probable in the XFL. Lest we forget that this time last year Odell Beckham Jr. had only played two games. Over the rest of the season he shot from an investment pick by the New York Titans to the fourth best WR in fantasy, and with all due respect to Antonio Brown, the baddest man alive. Further, teams that looked like locks for big records as recently as last year fell down hard. The Houston Extreme went from 5-1 to 7-6, and even that was close.
Like many things, we don’t know what will happen next. But I do know what has happened so far. And I do like making fake awards. So with that in mind, let’s give out some XFL awards at midseason.
1st Team All-XFL
The first team All-XFL was selected not simply by using total points, for more than half the league is yet to take their bye weeks while others have. Each selection represents the players averaging the most per game at their position.
QB: Tom Brady – 504 PPG – Baltimore Bears
RB1: Devonta Freeman – 299.2 PPG – Baltimore Bears
RB2: Adrian Peterson – 222 PPG – Green Bay Blizzard
Flex: Brandon Marshall – 229 PPG – Baltimore Bears
WR1: Travis Benjamin – 263.3 PPG – Seattle Rage
WR2: DeAndre Hopkins – 255.8 PPG – Baltimore Bears
TE: Rob Gronkowski – 185 PPG – Baltimore Bears
K: Stephen Gostkowski – 101 PPG – Denver Blaze
…I want to throw this out there: I did not realize what the results of this experiment would be before I started typing. Even more astonishing is that Matt Forte, the other starting RB for the Bears only barely missed making this list over Adrian Peterson. I have been, likely rightly, accused of some homerism towards Laura’s team, but come on this is insane. Facing her is like trying to take down Omar Little.
2nd Team All-XFL
QB: Andy Dalton – 475 PPG – Las Vegas High Rollers
RB1: Matt Forte – 216.7 PPG – Baltimore Bears
RB2: Chris Ivory – 209 PPG – Washington Senators
Flex: Larry Fitzgerald – 208 PPG – Seattle Rage
WR1: Julio Jones – 223.3 PPG – Las Vegas High Rollers
WR2: Julian Edelman – 208 PPG – Kansas City Killers
TE: Greg Olsen – 157 PPG – Washington Senators
K: Brandon McManus – 94.2 PPG – Seattle Rage
Even the second team is still far from a full representation of the league. Weirder yet, teams that have records under .500 have multiple players pop up here. Seattle’s WR duo of Travis Benjamin and Larry Fitzgerald are destroying people while playing on an otherworldly unlucky 2-4 team. Julian Edelman is helping carry the Kansas City Killers in Dez Bryant’s absence. But plenty of teams at 4-2 aren’t on this list, once again proving how weird of a season this is.
XFL MVP – Tom Brady
I mean, he is averaging 500 PPG after all. But this race has a lot of competition going forward. The rest of the QB field is pretty feisty – Andy Dalton, Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer, and Aaron Rodgers are all having good seasons on their own. The MVP traditionally goes to the highest scoring player, and while that’s technically Dalton at the moment due to the Patriots’ week 4 bye, the gap is not impossible for any of these gunslingers to make up. Anything is possible here.
Rookie of the Year – Amari Cooper
Seemingly every year there are a bunch of rookie candidates for fantasy sleepers. More are even just generally projected to do fairly well for their teams. Well, 2015 hasn’t been fairly great for rookies lime last year’s crazily deep class. Melvin Gordon is largely underperforming, Marcus Mariota has fallen off, Jameis Winston is a garbage fire, and Todd Gurley (who to be honest will likely surge to the lead in this category by season’s end) has only really played two games. But Amari Cooper, despite being on a decent-but-not-great Oakland team, has been extremely fun to watch. Bad luck has kept the Chicago Hitmen at 2-4, but given their young wideout base with Cooper and Beckham Jr., one has to be betting on them going forward.
Sneaky Great Pick Of The Year – Chris Ivory
Are we officially at the point where we can have this conversation? After watching Chris Ivory demolish yet another team this weekend I am totally sold on this kid. Ivory, the 6th round pick of the Washington Senators, was selected after the likes of TJ Yeldon, CJ Spiller, and Tevin Coleman. But we all collectively had no idea that this guy would suddenly blossom like he has. He’s likely the largest reason for Washington’s success thus far.
And a weird yet amazing fact I found last night. Cary Lenahan has coached the Senators for 4 years. Going into week 7 each of those seasons here are his records:
I think it’s official, Cary is an early season wizard. Oh, and last year he came () that close to bringing that 1-5 team to 7-6. Did I mention he’s turing just 17 after Super Bowl 9 this winter? Kid is a prodigy.
Late Round Pick of the Year – Tyler Eifert
It is crazy to think that Eifert was picked last in the 13th round. The Bengals TE has been somewhat of a revelation this season. After he suffered a gruesome elbow injury early last season Eifert was largely forgotten. Literally. No, I literally forgot he existed. When Andrew snagged him late in the draft I had to have him tell me where to find him. And now he’s the #4 TE in the league and throwing good to great games up frequently. That’s how you pick late in the draft, ladies and gentlemen.
Coach of the Year – Matt Bruzzano – Green Bay Blizzard
Let me start by pointing out that this award should really be going to the coach with the best record, or the one that has the Death Star team out of Baltimore, but the actual award can wait. This season has seen Matt Bruzzano at his peak craziness. Bru has made a name for himself for trading as much as possible, and at 13 deals and counting, he only has one day left for trades before the deadline. His insanity will be capped ever so slightly.
Here’s a list of the players he has traded away this year: Jarvis Landry, Jameis Winston, Jordan Mathews, Ryan Mathews, Ameer Abdullah, TJ Yeldon, Amari Cooper, Melvin Gordon, Marshawn Lynch, Antonio Brown, Michael Crabtree, Ty Montgomery, Nick Folk, Keenan Allen, James Jones, Justin Forsett, Steve Smith, CJ Spiller, Breshad Perriman, Mike Evans, Ryan Tannehill, Dorial Green-Beckham, Tyrod Taylor, Gary Barnidge, Alfred Morris, Jonathan Stewart, and Latavius Murray.
The singular player left on his team that he drafted? Jordan Cameron.
But special praise must be paid to the most recent trade. Las Vegas sent all-world talent AJ Green to Green Bay for the package of Jonathan Stewart and Latavius Murray. That’s a brilliant move for both sides as Bru needs the depth after, at least to my eyes, Sammy Watkins broke his leg, and Dan needed running backs badly. In one move both teams got better. That is how you make a trade.
Never change, you amazing psychopath.
Comeback Player of the Year – Carson Palmer
If it weren’t for a torn ACL last season Palmer would have been on pace to be one of the best QBs in fantasy. This year he’s not only healthier, but better. Palmer’s resurgence, which spurred other comebacks like Chris Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, has been one of this season’s biggest feel good stories. Now if only I stop being stubborn and actually start him over Matt Ryan once in a while.
From this point on we will be updating the standings to reflect who is in the playoffs, and at what seed, at this point in time. This will let us follow the scramble to make the Elite Eight clearer than ever before. Here’s the playoff picture after Week 6.
#1 Baltimore Bears (5-1)
#2 Washington Senators (5-1)
#3 Pittsburgh Spikes (4-2)
#4 Waverly Chargers (4-2)
#5 Green Bay Blizzard (4-2)
#6 Oklahoma City Lions (4-2)
#7 New York Titans (4-2)
#8 Las Vegas High Rollers (3-2-1)
#9 Chicago Hitmen (2-4)
#10 Seattle Rage (2-4)
#11 Kansas City Killers (2-4)
#12 New Orleans Tigers (1-4-1)
#13 Philadelphia Panthers (1-5)
#14 Denver Blaze (0-6)
Week 7 Matchups:
Waverly Chargers vs. New York Titans
Denver Blaze vs. Philadelphia Panthers
Baltimore Bears vs. New Orleans Tigers
Oklahoma City Lions vs. Seattle Rage
Chicago Hitmen vs. Las Vegas High Rollers
Pittsburgh Spikes vs. Kansas City Killers
Green Bay Blizzard vs. Washington Senators