2018 Midseason NFL Awards

Profile Picture: Adam Spradling

November 1st, 2018

Are we supposed to do this after or before Week 9? Does it matter because the 2018 Midseason NFL Awards sure don't. Sprinkled in through this read are some NFL futures prices which you might be interested in. Let's tout some big producers and sandbag some low hanging fruit, shall we?

Regular Season MVP - Patrick Mahomes (QB - Kansas City Chiefs)

No real doubt here in terms of 2018 Midseason NFL awards. Mahomes is on pace to obliterate a lot of records. Beyond that, he's turned the Chiefs in to a spread busting machine. Kansas City is 7-1 SU and 7-1 ATS and are so good offensively that nobody cares that they have one of the league's most leaky defenses. He's killing the sportsbook, fantasy leagues, the actual league and it doesn't look like there's any stopping him. Andy Reid found a diamond in the rough and has polished him in to the most unlikely MVP candidate since Kurt Warner.

To be fair to Todd Gurley, he absolutely deserves to be in the conversation for MVP. He deserved to win the full season award last year too. Last year he was denied by Tom Brady (because he's Tom Brady) despite putting up incredible numbers. Gurley is now on pace to put up historic marks for a skill player, but might be beaten by a guy who's also doing that from a more respected position.

Patrick Mahomes is +175 to win the MVP in NFL futures and is trailed by Todd Gurley (+275), Drew Brees (+400), Tom Brady (+1200) and Aaron Rodgers (+1200).

Defensive Player of the Year - Aaron Donald (DE - Los Angeles Chargers)

He's the best defensive player in the league, and reminds us of it every week. He leads the league with 10.0 sacks and is a nightmare to block, giving the Rams balance on both sides of the ball. J.J. Watt is also having a tremendous season, but Donald's outright production on the stat sheet, combined with the visible impact he's having on opposing quarterbacks, is jarring. Donald is a step above every other player on this side of the football.

Coach of the Year - Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams)

The reason McVay gets the hat tip in 2018 Midseason NFL Awards over Andy Reid is really straightforward. McVay's team has a better defense. It's not even close. The Rams allow the 6th fewest points in the league, and the Chiefs give up the second most yards. McVay won the AP Coach of the Year award last year, but Doug Pederson of the Eagles took hme the NFL Coach of the Year Award. This is a pretty open-and-shut-it-down case so far.

Offensive Rookie of the Year - Saquon Barkley (RB - NY Giants)

The only reason the New York Giants are a watchable football team is because Saquon Barkley has a chance to touch the football on every possession. The Penn State product has delivered as-advertised throughout an otherwise miserable campaign for the Giants that's seen them drop to a 1-7 SU. Barkley has somehow piled up 519 rushing yards despite playing behind an abysmal offensive line, but that's only half of the story. In terms of total yards from scrimmage, Barkley is second to Todd Gurley. His 1,016 total yards is just 135 behind Gurley and 76 yards ahead of wide-receiver Adam Thielen.

Barkley is already a -250 favorite in NFL futures, trailed by Baker Mayfield (+175), Sam Darnold (+550) and Kerryon Johnson (+1500).

Defensive Rookie of the Year - Derwin James (Los Angeles Chargers)

Let's look at all the players drafted ahead of the former FSU Seminole from the 2018 NFL Draft:

#4 Denzel Ward (CLE) - Playing extremely well, tied for the most turnovers with DJ Swearinger (five total), really making those that chirped Cleveland for drafting him this high eat a lot of crow

#5 Bradley Chubb (DEN) - Virtually non-existent for the first half of the season, but seems to be finding his groove. Plays alongside the best linebacker in the game and a top front-seven unit but has been pretty average, not living up to "best defensive player in the draft" title

#8 Roquon Smith (CHI) - Major contributor to a top-10 defensive unit, overshadowed by Khalil Mack, not as impactful as he was at Georgia but definitely a deserving top pick.

#11 Minkah Fitzpatrick (MIA) - The only notable thing he's done all season is trademark the name "Fitzmagic" which he basically got internet bullied in to giving to Ryan Fitzpatrick

#12 Vita Vea (TB) - Often hurt but anchoring a team that ranks 10th against the rush, most notably because the secondary can't stop anyone, plays on a team that could've used Derwin James

#13 Daron Payne (WAS) - Joined a very strong defense that didn't need any secondary help, but just traded for a safety

#14 Marcus Davenport (NO) - Just injured his toe and will miss a month, but has been a strong presence along a defensive line that allows the fewest rushing yards because the team can't stop anyone from passing on them and Drew Brees keeps blowing up the scoreboard

#16 Tremaine Edmunds (BUF) - 11th in tackles, 13th in combined tackles, which probably has a lot to do with playing for the woeful Bills

#17 Derwin James (LAC) - Bolstered a defense that lost their best defensive player (Joey Bosa) for the first half, balanced out the run defense (ranked 31st in 2017, 16th in 2018), doesn't stand out in any particular stat category, but fills up all of them including sacks

Every team listed above that took a defensive player could have used a safety like Derwin James, including the Cleveland Browns. That's why he shouldn't have dropped and why the Chargers were blessed to get him at 17th.

Most Improved Player - Mitchell Trubisky (QB - Chicago Bears)

While we don't offer an NFL futures play, it's worth tossing out a Most Improved Player nod in our 2018 Midseason NFL Awards for fun. Adam Thielen definitely deserves a credit here, but he was already really good and received an upgrade at quarterback. John Conner of the Pittsburgh Steelers is definitely on the short list, but we don't really have anything to measure him against seeing as how he's played zero meaningful football prior to this year. There are probably a lot of players you could nominate here, but Trusbisky truthfully stands out for me.

Let's forget that Trubisky was the second overall pick in 2017 behind consensus number-one Myles Garrett. Through the second half of last year, we genuinely questioned whether or not Trubisky was an NFL caliber talent. He threw for 2,193 yards, 7 touchdowns and lost 12 turnovers in 12 games. Through 7 games in 2018 he's thrown for 1,814 yards, 15 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. In the last four games alone, he's piled up a ridiculous 112.4 RAT and has become a player that can help a very solid Chicago Bears team stay in the hunt for the NFC North.

To go from "potential bust" to "potential franchise quarterback" in the span of a month is downright impressive, which is why Trubisky has earned the Most Improved Player honors in these utterly meaningless 2018 Midseason NFL Awards.

The Chicago Bears are +200 to win the NFC North behind the Minnesota Vikings leading at +120. Green Bay is +275 and Detroit is +800 to win the division as well.

Most Surprising Team - Washington Redskins

Two things here before you set this article on fire: for one, the Rams and the Chiefs are no-brainers. They were good last year, and even better this year. But Washington sneaks in to the discussion for a few reasons. The first is that they're not only leading their division, they're also 5-2 SU and ATS. We're a betting site that speaks to bettors about betting stuff so when a team is performing well on the line, it gets our attention. Let's also remember that the Redskins are doing this with no receivers I can name off the top of my head, while also ranking 8th in rushing yards while featuring a 72-year old Adrian Peterson. This is all very, very surprising. They were supposed to be borderline terrible this year.

You're probably going to go through their schedule to see if this record is built on the bones of bad teams, but you'd be wrong. Washington manhandled Carolina, and destroyed Green Bay. They were blown out in a track meet that they are not built to keep up in against New Orleans, and then sort of inexplicably lost to Indianapolis 9-21 in Week 2. They are technically favored at -2.0 against Atlanta, but the natural home line is -3.0 so if anything the oddsmakers are drifting them in Week 9. It's because nobody believes that Washington's success is sustainable.

It might be considering that Washington is a top-5 defensive side. They're 5th in points allowed, 2nd against the rush and 4th in total yards allowed. Washington also fleeced Green Bay by acquiring Ha Ha Clinton-Dix for a fourth rounder, so the rich got richer.

The Redskins are only +125 to win the NFC East, ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles (+160) and the DAllas Cowboys (+300). The New York Giants are also on the board at a whopping +12500.

Most Disappointing Team - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers run away with this auspicious hat tip in 2018 Midseason NFL Awards for the simple reason that they're beyond dysfunctional. General manager Jason Licht and head coach Dirk Koetter invested all of their chips in to Jameis Winston, and it's going to cost them their jobs. Forget the off-field stuff - Winston has been a categorically unreliable quarterback for four straight years. We can forgive what he did in his rookie season because he was learning the ropes. But four years later, he leads the league in interceptions despite missing 3.5 games! If you add to the fact that the franchise backed a guy with a history of questionable off-field behavior, the Bucs take the cake over the sad sack Jaguars, Super Bowl hungover Eagles and the comically weird Oakland Raiders.  If it wasn't for Ryan Fitzmagic, this team wouldn't have a hope in the world. No offense to the Harvard grad, but you've painted yourself in to a serious corner when your season rests on Fitzmagic.

And that's a wrap for the very important, totally useful, 2018 NFL Midseason Awards. Now let's get excited for the Thursday Night Football matchup featuring the Oakland Raiders and some guy named Nick Mullens quarterbacking the San Francisco 49ers.