We are through eight weeks of the NFL, and with most people playing a 16-week fantasy schedule, that means we have reached the halfway point in fantasy football. Over the next couple of days, I will look at the surprises of this fantasy season.
The Preseason Top 10 (by ESPN Draft Position)
- LaDainian Tomlinson
- Adrian Peterson (Min)
- Brian Westbrook
- Joseph Addai
- Stephen Jackson
- Frank Gore
- Clinton Portis
- Marion Barber
- Marshawn Lynch
- Larry Johnson
The Top 10 Right Now
- Clinton Portis (134)
- Marion Barber (121)
- Frank Gore (119)
- Reggie Bush (104)
- Matt Forte (103)
- LaDainian Tomlinson (99)
- Michael Turner (99)
- Adrian Peterson (96)
- Brian Westbrook (95)
- Chris Johnson (95)
Six of the 10 in the preseason top 10 are in the actual top 10
Injuries have ravaged many top RBs: Westbrook, Addai, and Jackson all missed games due to injury, and even though he is fourth right now, Reggie Bush is out. Many others have also been less than full strength, most notably is L.T., with turf toe.
Larry Johnson has dealt with other legal and team issues that have kept him from playing.
Michael Turner, who has made a surprise appearance in the top 10, and has to be one of the biggest surprises, has been unable to run on any good defenses.
Some of the top rookie RBs from this year have been spectacular, not only Matt Forte and Chris Johnson, but also Steve Slaton, Jonathan Stewart, and TD vulture Tim Hightower
LenDale White is leading all RBs with 10 TDs, giving the Titans two RBs in the Top 15
Clinton Portis has been the most consistent performer, with only one game under 10 points (the first week of the season, where he scored eight). Matt Forte also has only one game under 10 points.
Marshawn Lynch has struggled to rack up yardage but has produced solid TD numbers, keeping him from being a bust
Laurence Maroney has probably been the biggest bust, not only due to injury, but also due to poor play. Ryan Grant gets the runner-up spot, although his performance has been hurt by injuries.
Year to End Top 10
- Brian Westbrook: He is averaging over 23 points per game when he plays the entire game, and I am saying that he will be healthy for the rest of the year. He has scored eight times in four full games. I know he is always a big health concern, but assuming he got his injuries for the year out of the way, he is poised for a monster second half.
- Adrian Peterson: He has been inconsistent at times, but check out his schedule for Weeks 13-16: Chicago (whom he just torched for 121 and two scores), Detroit, Arizona, and Atlanta. Whether you want to call him AP or AD, he will be a force come crunch time.
- Clinton Portis: Some tough matchups are looming, but he has run on anyone and everyone. The fact that Jason Campbell and Santana Moss are playing so well will just continue to open even more for Portis. In the fantasy playoffs, he gets the Bengals and an Eagles team that he scored 21 on earlier this year.
- Frank Gore: He was held to six against the Giants but has scored double digits against everyone else. He has some tough matchups left, but with his pass-catching ability, he should flourish. Also, without turnover machine J.T. O'Sullivan at QB, you have to figure he will get more carries.
- Steven Jackson: I wasn't really sure where to put him, because he has health concerns and hasn't looked great this year. He gets the three porous defenses of the NFC West in Weeks 14-16. If he remains out longer than expected, obviously he won't stay this high, but I like his potential, especially in the fantasy playoffs.
- LaDainian Tomlinson: He actually hasn't been that bad overall (he's still in the Top 10), but he has been a huge disappointment this year. In the Saints game, he put on a show, and I can only imagine that he will be even healthier after his Week Nine bye. He draws TB in Week 16, and unfortunately will miss Denver (unless you play for all 17 weeks), but he has a four-game stretch against Indianapolis, Atlanta, Oakland, and Kansas City (one of two remaining games against the Chiefs).
- Ronnie Brown: He had the best game of the year against the Patriots by rushing for four TDs and throwing for another. He is coming off of a couple of disappointing games, but check still has games against Denver, Seattle, Oakland, St. Louis, San Francisco, and Kansas City. He might have the best schedule of any RB for the rest of the year, so I expect top-10 numbers.
- Marion Barber: He has had a great season so far and will likely get better once Tony Romo returns from injury and the offense starts moving again, but he has a brutal schedule from Weeks 14-16 (Pittsburgh, New York Giants and Baltimore), which could hurt come the fantasy playoffs.
- Marshawn Lynch: "Beast Mode" has been struggling to get yards, partly because of the emergence of Fred Jackson. He will still get most of the TDs, and I expect his yards to get a little better as the year goes on. He doesn't have a great schedule, but he does get Denver in Week 16 when most championship games are being played.
- Maurice Jones-Drew: He has been a big disappointment so far, and the Jags O-line has serious issues. I am taking a bit of a gamble by putting him here, but I believe he will continue to get more work than Fred Taylor, and with matchups vs. Cincinnati, Detroit, Houston, Green Bay, and Indianapolis remaining, I expect solid yardage and a ton of TDs from MJD.
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