Notes from Fantasy Football Land: 20 NFL Trends Worth a Mention Thus Far

Ravi KrishnanContributor IOctober 11, 2011

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 10:  Ndamukong Suh #90 of the Detroit Lions tries to get around the block of Lance Louis #60 of the Chicago Bears to get to Jay Cutler #6 at Ford Field on October 10, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 24-13.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

As is the case with every NFL season, several unexpected and unpredictable trends have sprung out of nowhere this season. This article is a snappy look at twenty such trends --- surprising highs, ignominious lows, brave predictions and nuggets of wisdom for fantasy geeks ( such as, yours truly!).

So, without further do, here are some quick-pitch trends pertaining both to NFL in general and to fantasy football in particular:

  1. QB no one saw coming: Cam Newton... averaging 32 points a game, a few decimals behind Aaron Rogers as the top-ranked fantasy QB.
  2. QB who was underrated to start with but is now vastly overrated (as a fantasy option): Ryan Fitzpatrick... total of 25 fantasy points the last two weeks, after averaging 25 for the first three.
  3. Crappy reality QB who somehow hits pay dirt fantasy-wise: Eli Manning....has played a major part in his teams' mediocre start to the season; however, in fantasy terms, Lil Manning is up there as a Top-Five fantasy QB.
  4. QB still being underrated despite being in Top 10: Matt Hasselbeck...ok, so what does Hasselbeck need to do to convince the fantasy tribes out there? Owned in almost 85% of CBS Sports' leagues, but started in a mere 19%!
  5. QB with easiest schedule next 3 games: Ben Roethlisberger (JAC, ARI, NE). Big Ben annihilated the mighty Titans on one leg; owners can rejoice at the prospect of his next three games.
  6. Top-10 RB no one saw coming: Darren Sproles....Mr. Do-it-All is ranked #10 in fantasy points scored, and is surprisingly being used frequently in 1st- and 2nd- down running plays by the New Orleans Saints.
  7. RB sure to go from barely-Top-20 to Top-5 by end of season: Arian Foster...order restored in Houston. After dalliances with Ben Tate and Derrick Ward, the Texans are delighted to have Super-Arian back at full tilt. 
  8. RB sure to go the other way: Beanie hamstring tweak away from Larod Stephens-Howling!)
  9. RB sure to join Injured-Reserve by mid-season: Matt Forte...along with his QB, thanks to the O-line.
  10. WR who has rocketed from 78th after Week Two to Top-7 now: Pierre Garcon...Curtis Painter has at least one vociferous supporter --- Pierre "Frenchman" Garcon. He is averaging 30 points a contest in Painter's two starts.
  11. WR most likely to flame out as quickly: Pierre Garcon...he has always been blow-hot and blow-cold, and this season appears to be following the same wave.
  12. WR who deserves to blame his QB for his wretched showing thus far: Mario Manningham...projected Top-10 pick among WRs has been anything but an ownable option. For what its worth, he is getting no love from Eli, who is a lot happier throwing to Victor Cruz. Hope is eternal, though, for Mario as well as for his fantasy owners.
  13. WR who absolutely should not be blaming his QB for his wretched showing thus far: Santonio Holmes....the Jets veteran seems to have lost a step or two, and is not getting the separation he used to while with the Steelers. Mark Sanchez has been below-par at QB, but Holmes' mediocre fantasy showing is as much about his own deficiencies as well.
  14. TE who wouldn't be in any of our wish lists but currently sits 3rd: Tony Gonzalez...who says dinosaurs are extinct? Tony the T-Rex has been absolutely dynamite, and arguably the first-quarter fantasy MVP for the otherwise-disappointing Falcons.
  15. Early season TE darling who is finally back to who we through he was: Scott Chandler....after scoring four TDs in the first three games, he has a grand total of three catches  in the last two weeks. His fortunes have nosedived along with that of his QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick.
  16. Top of the Kicker leaderboard, who we thought was literally dead (at least, fantasy-wise): Jason Hanson...Kickers' performance is almost always a direct by-product of the efficiency of their team's offense in moving between-the-twenties, and their inefficiency in punching it from inside the Red Zone. The Lions are a definite testament to that, and Hanson is a clear benefactor.
  17. Worst disparity in projections versus actual ranking: Antonio Gates....the TD-monster was ranked #44 among all players in Yahoo Sports' pre-season fantasy rankings (needless to say, he was rated the #1 TE). Where is he in actual rankings at this stage? #2217.
  18. AARP's Favorite Fantasy team: Matt Hasselbeck (QB), Steve Smith (WR), Santana Moss (WR), Reggie Wayne (WR/Flex), Cedric Benson (RB), Willis McGahee (RB), Tony Gonzalez (TE), John Kasay (K), Baltimore Ravens (D)
  19. All-undrafted Fantasy Team: Alex Smith (QB), Victor Cruz (WR), AJ Green (WR), Pierre Garcon (WR/Flex), Darren Sproles (RB), Daniel Thomas (RB), Scott Chandler (TE), Jason Hanson (K), Detroit Lions (D).
  20. Fantasy MVP, according to me: Calvin Johnson...first receiver in history to record nine TDs in the first five games of the season. Enough said!!