With the 2018 regular season coming to a close, let's take a look at the best players of this past season.Most Valuable Player of the Year Award
Kevin Souza (RB), South Central Louisiana State Mud Dogs â€“ In 2016, the Mud Dogs signed Souza to a 6 year, $11,915,357 contract after a solid rookie year, and what a bargain it was. Since then, Souza has been steadily improving, raising his rushing yards, yards per carry, and number of touchdowns each year heâ€™s been in the league. Expectations for him this year were high, but it is definitely safe to say he far exceeded them. Souza totaled 2489 rushing yards and 27 rushing touchdowns, shattering previous season records (both set by Souza in 2017 â€“ 1743 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns). He added 12 receptions for 102 receiving yards and 1 receiving touchdown for good measure. Thanks to his efforts, the Mud Dogs put together another perfect season as they led the league in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns per game. Souza has clearly established himself as the premier player in the league, and the Mud Dogs are once again heavy favorites to win the Super Bowl.Coach of the Year Award
Jeffrey Chandler, Memphis â€“ Having achieved a 20-28 record as head coach of Memphis and coming off a 5-11 season, Chandler was lucky Memphisâ€™ new management let him keep his job. Fortunately for everyone involved, he was able to justify the general managerâ€™s faith in him. Provided with a solid draft class and another opportunity, Chandler engineered a quick turnaround, leading Memphis to an 11-5 record and playoff berth as a wild card. Under his leadership, Memphis held opponents to a mere 63.75 rushing yards per game (3rd in league) while ranking seventh in passing yards per game. Of course, Chandler was greatly helped by new general manager Vicksr2009, who made a series of savvy signings and trades to provide the team with more talent. Regardless, talent without good coaching cannot succeed in this league, and Chandler proved he has what it takes to lead a team to the playoffs when given the right pieces to the puzzle.Offensive Player of the Year Award
James Mitchell (QB), Houston â€“ Fresh off a 6799 passing yards, 58 passing touchdowns season, Mitchell continued to showcase his penchant for offensive fireworks. In 2017, his statistics were marred by a 42.3% completion percentage and a whopping 32 interceptions; in 2018, that is no longer the case. Traded from Phoenixâ€™s high-flying aerial attack to Houstonâ€™s quick-hitting West Coast offense, Mitchell has displayed an ability to combine ball protection with still gaudy stats. Mitchell compiled 4370 passing yards (3rd in league), a league-leading 41 passing touchdowns, 9.46 yards per attempt (1st in league), and a 111.66 passer rating (1st in league), all on a 63.9% completion percentage (3rd in league) while only throwing 14 picks. With a quarterback ranked in the top three in almost every relevant quarterback statistic, itâ€™s no wonder that Houston is once again a division champion and capable contender.Defensive Player of the Year Award
Daniel Sussman (DE), Phoenix â€“ 47 sacks. Thatâ€™s 7 more than the player with the second most sacks. Sussman also contributed 29 tackles and 2 pass knockdowns while only missing 4 tackles. He would have had the best season ever for a defensive end if not for Philip Fuhrmanâ€™s incredible 2017 (49 sacks, 1 interception, 2 knockdowns for Houston). Despite this, Sussman can hang his hat on leading Phoenixâ€™s defense to a mind-blowing 8 sacks per game while helping to limit opposing running backs to a paltry 2.79 yards per carry. Sussmanâ€™s sheer dominance helped Phoenix secure a playoff spot, and his continued efforts will be needed to help Phoenix past the second round of the playoffs for the first time in team history.Offensive Rookie of the Year Award
Earnest Richardson (WR), Phoenix â€“ Drafted with the 31st pick in the 2018 draft, Richardson went on to outperform every receiver drafted ahead of him. Richardson was ninth in the league with 1245 receiving yards and tied for fifth with 11 receiving touchdowns. With his help, fellow rookie Michael Fajardo (QB, 28th pick) was also able to have an impressive debut season, racking up 3441 passing yards and 26 passing touchdowns, good for an 86.85 passer rating. With such an impressive young offensive nucleus that can only improve with time, the future looks bright in Phoenix.Defensive Rookie of the Year Award
Dennis Shea (DE), Houston â€“ After being drafted by Houston with the 15th pick, Shea entered one of the most favorable situations for a young defensive end to be in. He would be starting across from 2017 sacks leader Philip Fuhrman and next to defensive stalwart Arthur Stevens in Houstonâ€™s solid 3-4 defensive scheme. To everyoneâ€™s surprise, Shea took Fuhrmanâ€™s title as Houstonâ€™s most feared pass rusher, taking down opposing quarterbacks 40 times (2nd in the league) while Fuhrman only had 9 sacks. Shea also had 2 knockdowns and 39 tackles, but there is still room for improvement; he missed 15 tackles, a number that must go down for him to establish himself as one of the best at his position. Despite this, Shea looks to have a long and productive future ahead of him, and the management at Houston looks forward to watching him grow and develop.
Thank you for reading, and best of luck to everyone entering the playoffs.
Last edited at 12/29/2015 7:58 pm