Fantasy Football Top Surprises - Quarter Mark

Dan BentonCorrespondent IOctober 13, 2008

One of the great features of fantasy football is discovering who the great surprises are, whether good or bad.  Maybe it is your high draft pick who tanks even though healthy; that's bad.  But maybe you paid a lot of attention and managed to pick up someone who has given you that little bit of an edge each week.  The question is, will that high draft pick continue to sink?  Or will that surprising star continue to shine?  Let's look at some of the most prominent names on both sides to see whether their trends will continue:

The Disappointments

LaDainian Tomlinson - RB (San Diego Chargers) - Look, nobody is going to advocate that you drop L.T.  But consider some of these factors:  L.T. is 29 years old, which is at the back end of his prime.  He has touched the ball an awful lot in his career.  He has sustained many big hits to his not-overly large frame, and those hits seemed to take a bit of a toll last year, when his YPC dipped to 4.7, and his yards from scrimmage dipped by almost 400 yards.  This year, all his numbers are down, in particular his YPC, which is down to 3.7.  Can L.T. turn it around?  He should get better, but don't expect the numbers we are used to.  L.T. is still banged up, and he really looks a couple steps slower.  With Philip Rivers emerging, the Chargers do not have to lean on L.T. as much as they used to, so his opportunities for a breakout game will probably be fewer.

Joseph Addai - RB (Indianapolis Colts) - Addai was generally a top five pick in most drafts, mostly due to his 15 overall TDs last season.  While he has not broken 1,100 rushing yards in a season yet, his TDs, and the mere fact that he plays for Indianapolis, caused his value to skyrocket during the offseason.  So far, that has worked out about as well as the recent stock market.  Though he has four TDs in four games, he is averaging only 53 rushing yards per game, and he has caught only a handful of passes.  At first, I was ready to advise that Addai should be ready to pick up the pace, since the Indianapolis offense was due to break out of its slump.  However, while the offense has looked better of late, Addai left today's game with a hamstring injury.  Monitor his hamstring situation closely; if it is okay, then he is due to break out.  If it isn't, it will be a long season for his owners.

Braylon Edwards - WR (Cleveland Browns) - In many leagues, Edwards may have been the top WR taken.  If not, he was certainly one of the top five receivers taken.  After a breakout season in which he grabbed 80 passes for 1,289 yards and a somewhat unbelievable 16 TDs, fantasy owners were expecting even bigger things from him.  Boy, has he deflated those expectations.  So far, Edwards has 11 catches for 95 yards and only 1 TD.  It is clear that Derek Anderson is not the same QB he was for the Browns' first twelve games last season, and both Edwards and Kellen Winslow, Jr. have paid a heavy price.  Edwards is still as talented as any receiver in football, but receivers cannot do much without someone to deliver the ball to them.  Look for Edwards to have the occasional great game, but until the Browns' QB situation is settled, Edwards is due for a greatly disappointing season.

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