In my last fantasy football article I talked about the players who were keeping their owners up late at night, bemoaning that early-round selection and the lack of production that has accompanied it to this point. However, this time I’ll talk about the players who likely weren’t even selected during the draft, but have become valuable commodities in the fantasy universe.
I’ll call this one my season-to-date All Fantasy Surprise Team and once again we will use the standard format of one quarterback, two running backs, three receivers, one tight end, one kicker and a defense.
QB: Chad Pennington, New York Jets
Most people had written Pennington off following his shoulder surgeries, but the Marshall product opened the season with back-to-back 300-yard efforts that sent fantasy owners everywhere scrambling to the waiver wire. He may not be at the point where you can just plug him into your lineup every week, but he would make an outstanding backup and spot starter depending on match-ups.
RUNNER-UP: Rex Grossman, Chicago Bears
RBs: Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers AND Laurence Maroney, New England Patriots
The 49ers essentially handed Gore the starting job when they traded Kevan Barlow to the Jets, but given the lack of success the Niners had on the ground last season it has been mildly shocking what Gore has accomplished thus far. Through three games he has racked up nearly 400 yards of offense and three touchdowns while establishing himself as a weekly starter. However, fumbling problems around the goal line and a rib injury has Gore owners a little nervous about the future.
A season ago it was Larry Johnson who stepped in for an injured Priest Holmes and carried a lot of fantasy teams to championship glory and this season it could be Maroney. The first-rounder has split time with Corey Dillon thus far, but even in that role he has amassed 230 yards and a touchdown. Now Dillon is struggling with his health and the Patriots are struggling to throw the ball in general, which are just two more reasons to be excited about Maroney’s prospects for the remainder of the season.
RUNNER-UP: Ladell Betts, Washington Redskins
WRs: Amani Toomer, New York Giants AND Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints AND Jerricho Cotchery, New York Jets
Toomer was an afterthought in most fantasy drafts with Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey getting the spotlight at the WR/TE positions, but Toomer has been a Manning favorite so far. His best game came in Week 2 when he had 12 catches, 137 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he’s done a solid job overall and is definitely a nice depth player to have.
When the Saints traded Donte’ Stallworth, all of the focus was on his value to the Eagles, but lost in the shuffle was the emergence of the man who made it possible, Colston. The 6-foot-4 receiver has been a steady fantasy performer in his first three games and as a bonus, he somehow qualifies at tight end in Yahoo! Leagues. Right now Colston looks like he could be on his way to challenging for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and should have a spot on anyone’s fantasy roster at this point.
Lining up opposite of Laveranues Coles, Cotchery caught touchdown passes in both Weeks 1 and 2 and posted an impressive six-reception, 121-yard effort in Week 2. His numbers tailed off in Week 3, but the Jets were playing a tough Buffalo defense. As long as Pennington holds up there should be plenty of solid outings in Cotchery’s future. In recent times, the craze at playing at online sports websites is increasing. A brief knowledge should be obtained over their verification at 먹튀검증.
RUNNER-UP: Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers
TE: L.J. Smith, Philadelphia Eagles
Lost in the shuffle of Philadelphia’s terrible 2005 season was a breakout performance by Smith, who fell very late and sometimes even out of fantasy drafts. However, the talented pass-catcher has paid dividends to anyone savvy enough to have nabbed him on draft day, as his 16 receptions and 186 yards rank near the top amongst NFL tight ends.
RUNNER-UP: Desmond Clark, Chicago Bears
PK: Robbie Gould, Chicago Bears
Gould did a nice job in 2005, but he didn’t have enough opportunities to rank as an elite fantasy kicker. That has not be the case this season as Gould has already attempted (and made) 10 field goals this season and his 37 points lead all kickers. Gould may not keep up this pace through the colder months, but he has already established himself as a legitimate starting fantasy kicker on a weekly basis.
RUNNER-UP: Ryan Longwell, Minnesota Vikings
DEF: New Orleans Saints
The Saints have been the feel good story of the first three weeks of the season and a solid defense has been one of the primary reasons why. New Orleans has pressured the passer to the tune of 12 sacks, while forcing 11 turnovers (six interceptions, five fumble recoveries) and allowing just 44 points – most of which came in Week 2 against the Packers. The long-term fortunes of the Saints are unclear, but they’ve been a pleasant surprise for any fantasy owner who got stuck with the Panthers on draft day.
RUNNER-UP: St. Louis Rams