Fantasy Football 2010: Checking In At The Halfway Point

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As we enter Week 8 of the 2010 NFL Season, we'll pass the halfway point for many teams. What it also means is we're over halfway through the 2010 NFL Fantasy Football Season. Three round playoffs usually start Week 14, while two round playoffs (one of my leagues has only 4 playoff teams) and some three round playoffs do kick off in Week 15. Depending on how your team is doing you're looking at that as a good or bad thing.

Before Week 8 kicks off, I think it's a good time to take a look at things halfway through, particularly as it relates to our Niners Nation league over at CBS Sports. If you're not in a given league, you probably don't want to hear too much about the league itself, so I'll keep that brief and save it for after the jump. Feel free to discuss any wild stories from your own fantasy adventures to date.

In the meantime, let's take a look at some of the biggest fantasy over- and under-performers of the 2010 season. That also means we'll have to take a look at some of the guys that have constituted waiver wire gold (see Hillis, Peyton). This won't be in any particular order, but rather is random thoughts and musings.

First, here's a list of the top performer at each position, at least according to the scoring at our CBS league. I'm going primarily with a mix of average and total points scored to cover players who have already had a bye week, and also factor in injury issues. After the top performer I include a "Waiver Gold" section for guys likely picked up off waivers in many leagues who are excelling.

QB
Peyton Manning
: This is not surprising. Philip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers each have more points than Manning, but that's only because he already had his bye week. Manning is averaging 21.2 points per game, with Rivers and Rodgers tied at 2.5 points back. Aside from a 7-point stinker in Week 5, Manning has been rock solid once again.

Waiver Gold: Josh Freeman - I thought about including Michael Vick but he was drafted in our league and was probably drafted in most leagues. Freeman hasn't been a super star, but he's quietly put together some consistently decent performances. He's averaging 14 points per game and is really coming into his own in Tampa Bay.

We continue with the other positions after the jump...

RB

Arian Foster/Darren McFadden: I include both of these guys for a couple reasons. Darren McFadden has had a breakout year (even before his monster effort last week) and might finally be turning into the running back the Raiders expected when they drafted him. However, he also missed two weeks because of injuries, which can destroy a fantasy season.

On the other hand, Arian Foster has absolutely blown up thanks to pre-season injuries in the Texans backfield. Even with a bye under his belt he actually has the most total points among running backs and is averaging 1.1 points per game more than "Purple Jesus" Adrian Peterson.

Waiver Gold: Peyton Hillis - He was actually drafted in our league thanks to the less than stellar showing in the preseason by James Harrison, and I'd imagine he was drafted in other leagues as well. But I'd imagine he was available in many leagues heading into Week 1. If you pounced on him, he might be keying a strong season for you. I picked him up in two different money leagues, which basically means if he goes down I'm in a wee bit of trouble.

WR

Roddy White: Like Darren McFadden he had a monster Week 7 performance, putting up 37.5 points against the Bengals (apparently they felt they should roll their coverage over to the other side of the field). However, he's been consistently putting up double digit performances and is an anchor receiver.

Waiver Gold: Terrell Owens - I'd imagine most if not all leagues saw TO drafted so this category is more about the impressive return to prominence than it is about being waiver gold. Basically, smart drafting by you if you selected Owens. TO is fourth in points per game with 15.7 (White is averaging 18.4) and has seen a vast majority of his points come over his last three contests (with 18.5, 19.5, and 35.0 with a bye mixed in). We'll see if he can keep it up all season, but he's definitely helping people.

TE

Antonio Gates: Not too surprising to see this man at the top of the board by a clear margin. Gates is averaging 4.4 points per game more than the #2 tight end, Dustin Keller, and that's factoring in a 2-point performance from Gates in Week 6.

On a 49ers-related note, Vernon Davis is fifth among tight ends, ranking behind Gates, Keller, Dallas Clark and Zach Miller. The big difference between this year and his monster 2009 is the relative lack of touchdowns. However, Davis is coming on strong and should be in the top five all season long.

Waiver Gold: Brandon Pettigrew/Mercedes Lewis - This is a hard one to figure out because tight ends get a lot less attention if you don't have one of the big names. Pettigrew and Mercedes Lewis are both candidates for this award so we'll split it between them.

Kicker

Nick Folk: Kickers are one of the least glamorous positions as they get passed around in fantasy football like a lady of the evening. Folk is up top, although the Bay Area's own Seabass, Sebastian Janikowski is hanging close thanks to some long field goals.

Waiver Gold: Folk actually wasn't drafted in our league so I suppose he would win it, but given how many kickers come off the waiver wire, it's really a dime a dozen.

Defense/Special Teams

Tennessee Titans DST: Their resurgence has been keyed in large part by a big-time defense, and that has translated to fantasy points. The Steelers are a close second thanks to a defense that dominated during Ben Roethlisberger's suspension.

League Overview

As far as the Niners Nation league itself, it will SHOCK you to know that the top team in the league (Team 8 - yes a crazy original name) landed Peyton Hillis way back when. Of course having Arian Foster, Aaron Rodgers and Percy Harvin certainly hasn't hurt them.

One thing I like about CBS Sports leagues (and something other sites have also added) is the use of power rankings. Playoff spots aren't determined by the power rankings, but these rankings can help give a better idea of who the truly good teams are. In our league, ranks three categories and the total of those three categories is the team's power ranking. The categories used are actual record, total points scored, and breakdown record. Breakdown record is what the team's record would be if they faced every single team every single week. Thus, in a league where most teams score 100 points a week, if a team scores 65 and sneaks by with a win over another poor performer, the breakdown record would reflect that context.

In our league, the power rankings actually match the actual standings fairly closely. There are teams that are a spot up or down from where they are in the actual standings, but for the most part the "right teams" are in the right spots.

Your fearless leader finds his team sitting at 3-4, tied for last in the division. Only one team is running away with things with a 6-1 record (Team 8 mentioned above), and assuming their team stays healthy they have a good shot at winning the title.

Of course, one of the more maddening aspects of fantasy football can be that the best team doesn't always win in a given week. Furthermore, the playoffs are as big a crapshoot as anything else. Even the best players have a bad week even as you tell yourself it'll never happen to the big guys on your team. All it takes is a tweak of an ankle and your week could be ruined. For your running backs, if their team falls behind big you could find yourself with a useless back not getting touches (unless you had Knowshon Moreno last week against the Raiders!). The point is that fantasy football is crazy, which is one reason it's so addictive.

CBSSports.com is an SB Nation partner and paying sponsor of the SB Nation football communities.This post is one of a series of sponsor endorsed posts relating to the CBSSports.com Fantasy Football Commissioner League.

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