Fantasy Football Shock and Awe: Surprises Through Week Two

Nathan WaddellCorrespondent ISeptember 22, 2010

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 12: Jahvid Best #44 of the Detroit Lions runs against the Chicago Bears during the NFL season opening game at Soldier Field on September 12, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Lions 19-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The more things change, the more things stay the same. -- Someone Famous Said That

Every year on the Serengeti in Africa, 1.5 million wildebeests partake in an annual migration that is one of the ten natural wonders of the world.  The migration does not begin at a certain time, but varies from year to year.  The one constant being that it always happens.  Every year.

There are other constants in life, but in fantasy football there are few.  

One of the few constants of fantasy football is that on average, only five of the running backs who finished in the Top 10 the previous year will again finish in the Top 10.  Wide receivers fair a bit better, averaging six returning to the Top 10.  

So would it shock you to find out that only three Top 10 running backs from 2009 were currently in the 2010 Top 10?  It shouldn't. 

Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, and Frank Gore are the only three running backs currently repeating their Top 10 performance.  Which means there are seven newcomers that you should introduce yourself to.

Raise your hand if you thought that going in to Week 1 that Jahvid Best, Arian Foster, LeSean McCoy and Matt Forte would round out the top four running backs through Week 2.  

Now put your hand down.  You're lying.

What should stand out to you is that each of the top four running backs has had at least one huge game in the first two weeks.  Big games are nice, but consistency is what you should be searching for.

Jason Snelling, Darren McFadden, and Knowshon Moreno complete the seven newcomers to the Top 10.  Of those three running backs, Snelling sneaks in with a monster game in Week 2, but McFadden and Moreno have both been very consistent through the first two weeks.

Keep an eye on running back performance in Week 3 to determine which players will be consistent performers and which you believe will bow out gracefully.  Following Week 4, you should have a good handle on which players will finish the year as consistent high quality producers.

Let's take a quick look at the wide receivers. 

There will be higher turnover than normal within the wide receiver ranks this year because Vincent Jackson and Sidney Rice, both Top 10 wide receivers last year, won't be able to finish in the Top 10 this year due to limited playing time.

Only three Top 10 performing wide receivers from 2009 have managed to crack the Top 10 after Week 2:  Miles Austin, Reggie Wayne, and Andre Johnson.  

Hakeem Nicks, Austin Collie, Kevin Walter, Wes Welker, Chad Ochocinco, Steve Smith (CAR), and Mark Clayton round out the Top 10.  For sure, some surprising names.  

Walter did little Week 1, but exploded in Week 2 and is likely to be inconsistent the entire year.  Nicks has done little but catch four touchdowns in two weeks.  And Ochocinco had a great Week 1, but a sub par Week 2.

Collie, Welker, Smith and Clayton have been consistent producers through both weeks of play.  Of the four consistent performers, only Welker appears to be in a stable situation that could allow him to be consistent the rest of the year.  

If Pierre Garcon manages to extricate himself from Peyton Manning's doghouse, Collie's production could dip.  Steve Smith is now working with a rookie quarterback, and the Panthers should rely on the run even more than they have thus far.  Finally, Clayton is on a bad team with a rookie quarterback who has looked decent, but will likely have more bad days than good.

The moral of the story is simple:  You should visit the Serengeti at least once to view an absolutely amazing sight.  But more importantly, it's only Week 3.  Don't panic.  And don't pat yourself on the back. Yet.

If you own one, or a couple, of these high producers, take a look at your team and see if you need to upgrade anywhere.  If so, and you own a player who you believe will be inconsistent, or not continue to produce at a Top 10 level, package him up in a deal and send out some offers in search of under performing, yet talented, players.

Best of luck to you and your fantasy football teams this weekend.  May your domination continue, or your comeback begin.


For other fantasy football tidbits and insight, you can follow me on twitter @nathanwaddell