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Mid-Season Fantasy Thoughts

Matt Schaub is finally living up to expectations and most importantly, staying healthy.
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Since most fantasy leagues have reached the halfway point of their 13-game "regular season," it's time to review player performances.

Quarterbacks

Peyton Manning (RapidDraft ADP 42.1) leads all QBs as many expected with 164 fantasy points, but Tony Romo's 144 points (ADP 65.3) putting him ahead of Tom Brady (ADP 23) and Drew Brees (32.8) has to be a surprise.

Matt Schaub is finally living up to expectations and most importantly, staying healthy. He's actually scored more points than Romo, but he's yet to have his "bye week."

And of course, if I didn't mention Brett Favre at least once in an article on quarterbacks, I'd be drummed out of the media corps. Favre's waffling caused him to be drafted well below his value and he's performed solidly in leading the Minnesota Vikings to a 7-1 record while scoring 123 fantasy points - seventh-best at the position. Favre was ranked 226.8 in early August and even after signing never cracked the top-100.

Jay Cutler (88 fantasy points - 15th among QBs) and Kurt Warner (84 points - 17th) are struggling to keep their statistics in the top-20 at the position. While Cutler has the excuse of going to a new team, one that emphasizes the run, Warner has no such rationale.

Running Backs

Maurice Jones-Drew (173 points), Chris Johnson (170 points) and Adrian Peterson (155 points) were all top-10 selections and are living up to those lofty rankings.

Meanwhile, Ray Rice has been one of the big surprises this year, breaking out of a three-back "committee" to score 136 points, fourth-best at the position. Early on he was getting his yards "between the 20s" with Willis McGahee getting the touchdowns, but over the last three weeks he's gotten both yards and TDs. With an ADP of 103.4, he was the 44th running back selected on Draft Day and is looking like a contender for 2009 TSN Fantasy Bargain of the Year.

As a top-four overall pick, Matt Forte has fallen flat on his face, collecting just 82 points. The only other top-20 pick to rival this "under-achievement" is Brian Westbrook, who had an early second-round pick and is 40th on the running back list. Westbrook, however, was coming into the season following a couple of surgeries and with the addition of rookie LeSean McCoy was expected by most to have a reduced value.

Wide Receivers

DeSean Jackson (ADP 63.9) didn't wait for his third year to jump his performance to a top tier as many receiver theories suggest. In year two, he and Donovan McNabb have hooked up for four long touchdowns and Jackson's 139 points are No.1 at the position just ahead of Reggie Wayne. Jackson has six touchdowns overall, including a long run and a punt return.

Miles Austin of Dallas (ADP 152.5) wasn't "fantasy-worthy" through the first four games of the season, yet in just three weeks has jumped to fourth on the wide receiver scoring list. He's posted 58, 40 and 16 over his last three games and 130 points for the season. Too bad most fantasy owners didn't have him in the lineup for his 10-catch, 250- yard, two TD game against Kansas City, but he'll be started every week for the rest of the season.

Green Bay's Greg Jennings hasn't lived up to his ADP of 21.8 primarily because the Packers' offensive line can't keep defenders out of Aaron Rodgers' face long enough for him to throw the deep ball - Jennings' specialty. The result is just 30 catches in eight games and 79 fantasy points. Steve Smith also has just 30 catches (64 points) because the Panthers don't have a QB to get him the ball.

Anquan Boldin (ADP 28.4) and Calvin Johnson (ADP 16) have both been disappointments because they haven't been healthy for most of the season. That's just bad luck for fantasy owners, not bad drafting skill.

Tight End

Dallas Clark (ADP 77.8) has been Peyton Manning's "security blanket" for many years and undervalued for almost as long. Not this year as he leads all tight ends with 96 points.

Too bad Owen Daniels (ADP 100) suffered a season-ending injury because he was just coming into his own and was tied with Clark in points.

Vernon Davis has matured on many levels and become the 49ers' No.1 passing threat. His seven TD catches lead the position and his 90 points are a great bargain for those who drafted him in the 17th round (ADP 196.8).

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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