Written by Christian Pundt

Images by Hubba Kimbrel

Editor’s Note: This article was written before the beginning of Week 7, so please be advised that some of the statistics may be slightly incorrect. We apologise if this causes any confusion.

We’ve reached the midpoint in the season and it’s time for an early look into who should be in the conversation for each major award. This list will mostly focus on players who would win the award if voting took place today, and those who at least would be in consideration. Additionally, some honorable mentions will include names who are uniquely well-positioned to gain further traction as the season continues on. This list is uninterested in players who are on the periphery of the awards discussion. Players who are not exceptional statistically or are not a key part of their team’s success are not on this list. If your team’s running back is sitting 7th in every major category and you’re sub.500, then he’s not an MVP contender. Simple as that. Honorable mentions mostly include players who have interesting opportunities to improve their case as the season goes along. Take no offense if a player you feel is worthy of being honorably mentioned is not included here. This game is ruled by opinions. This one is just mine.
The Contenders
Iverson Gamble CB Arizona Scorpions, Jack Brown LB Charleston Predators, Nate Hezlep CB Tula Desperados
It’s hard to not include a candidate with three pick-sixes but Gamble made it pretty difficult. His team is towards the bottom in every major category, including passing defense. As a cornerback, that really hurts his case. Ultimately, I think his candidacy falls off because he doesn’t have much room to improve. His most impressive statistics are largely the result of luck (how many pick-sixes can one really get as a result of skill or gameplan?), but any list that doesn’t include Gamble should be disregarded. Jack Brown is being included as he is currently the top tackler in the league. He also has a flawed resume as he is the on-field leader of what amounts to just an average defense and doesn’t really stand out in any other area. Meanwhile, Nate Hezlep has a sneaky good case as the CB1 on the only team allowing less than 200 yards passing per game.
The Honorable Mentions
Troy Loshaw S Baltimore Vultures, Ashley Rose Finch CB Vancouver Legion, William Davidson DL London Knights, Dan Tritz DL Mexico City Aztecs
Loshaw and Finch’s resumes essentially amount to ‘Gamble-lite’ individual stats, but they have contributed to greater team success. I like the possibility of their candidacy improving as the season goes along and them building on what has already been very good seasons for these players. I would be remiss if I didn’t include the top sack artists this season, but neither player have eye-popping numbers like previous DPOYs on the line, and these players really haven’t contributed to true excellence as a unit, seeing that their defenses rank somewhere between average and below-average.
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Cam Curtis QB Fort Worth Toros
Curtis is the clear front-runner for OROY, given that he has essentially been a top 5 quarterback this season. While he’s clearly not in the OPOY conversation, he has been exceptional as far as rookies and quarterbacks are concerned. The Toros don’t ask him to do much, but he is productive and efficient when his number is called. It is true that this has been a down year for passing offenses (and offenses as a whole really) and Curtis’s stats aren’t all that impressive when compared to previous season’s top quarterbacks, but when placed into the context of this season, it’s hard to deny that he has been the best offensive rookie. Ultimately, he gets the nod over his other rookie QB counterparts on the basis of efficiency. He has a much higher completion percentage, yards per attempt, and a much higher QBR. While others might have better counting stats, they have not done as much with what they have had.
The Honorable Mention
Kevin Seay RB DC Dragons
Seay has solid counting stats as the anaemic Dragons offense relies almost entirely on his legs. He struggles with efficiency but that’s likely due to DC not opening up better opportunities for him. If Jermaine Smith can find open lanes for him, he has a decent chance of breaking out down the stretch.