Fantasy Football 2011: 10 Unheralded Stars of This Season

Matt LeirdahlContributor IIIOctober 24, 2011

Fantasy Football 2011: 10 Unheralded Stars of This Season

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    There have been plenty of surprises in the NFL this season. Many of those surprises were rookies. 

    With so much news in the NFL, there were many players that were able to fly under the radar for fantasy football owners this season. 

    There have also been players who just haven't got the attention that they deserve.

    Here are 10 unheralded fantasy football players of the 2011 season. 

Cam Newton

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    So far in the 2011 season, no one is more surprising than Cam Newton.

    In his first game as a rookie, he threw for 422 yards and two touchdowns.

    That's a pretty good game for a seasoned veteran.

    Week in and week out, Newton has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league. 

    He has thrown seven touchdowns and run for six more. That is a good chunk of points. 

    There is no reason that his streak won't continue, so expect him to remain dominant. 

    If only the Panthers were good, he wouldn't be so underrated. 

LeSean McCoy

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    The single most underrated fantasy football player in the league may just be LeSean McCoy.

    It is probably because he gets overshadowed by his quarterback, Michael Vick. Not to mention, the Eagles are the most under-performing team in the league.

    McCoy has eight touchdowns, and he has 569 yards on the ground. 

    Due to Vick's tendency to throw interceptions lately, McCoy may be getting more carries in the future. In the meantime, he still is a great target for Vick to throw the ball to.

Darren McFadden

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    There is no doubt that Darren McFadden is one of the best running backs in the league. 

    No one expected him to be as good as he has been this season, especially in fantasy football.

    With five touchdowns and 761 total yards, he has been nothing short of spectacular. 

    McFadden may be so underrated because he plays for the Raiders, but there is no doubt that he is the focal point of that offense. 

Jimmy Graham

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    Jimmy Graham wasn't really on anyone's radar coming into 2011. He is still not.

    He is the No. 1 tight end in the league. 

    Graham has 620 yards and three touchdowns and is one of the most consistent players in the league.

    Week in and week out, big things can be expected from him, and he will deliver. 

Matthew Stafford

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    Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions were supposed to be good, but not as good as they have been. 

    Stafford has been one of the most reliable quarterbacks in the league. When throwing to superstar Calvin Johnson, its not exactly difficult.

    This season, he has thrown for 15 touchdowns. That is pretty impressive. He has also thrown for more than 1,700 yards.

    He may not be flashy, but he gets the job done. Undoubtedly, he is a top-five fantasy football quarterback. 

Pierre Garcon

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    After learning that Peyton Manning would be out for the season, staying away from the Colts was a pretty good idea.

    Maybe its time to rethink that. 

    In recent weeks, Curtis Painter has found his new favorite target—Pierre Garcon. 

    He has four touchdowns and 472 yards this season.

    As the year wears on, those numbers will only increase. Hopefully the buzz surrounding Pierre Garcon will, too. 

Rob Gronkowski

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    Whenever someone talks about the New England Patriots, they talk about Wes Welker and Tom Brady, not Rob Gronkowski.

    This season, he has been one of the most dominant players in fantasy football.

    He has five touchdowns and 401 yards. That's pretty good for any tight end. 

    Maybe next year he will get some more hype and be talked about more—but for now, he will remain unheralded. 

Mike Wallace

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    There have been few wide receivers as consistent as Mike Wallace. 

    He has four touchdowns for more than 600 yards and is the top target of Ben Roethlisberger

    He is a top-five fantasy receiver, but it doesn't seem like it.

    Maybe as the Steelers start to make their run at the playoffs, he will get more credit. 

Steve Smith (Carolina)

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    Its not hard to forget about Steve Smith. After all, he plays for the Carolina Panthers. 

    He has one of the best quarterbacks in the league throwing to him, and no one really predicted him to do well this season. 

    This season, he has accumulated three touchdowns and 675 yards.

    That is pretty good for a player who was briefly considering retirement during the offseason. 

    As the Panthers continue to improve, so too will Smith's reputation as a fantasy football player. 

Hakeem Nicks

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    With the exception of his Week 3 performance against the Philadelphia Eagles, Hakeem Nicks has been a great fantasy football player to have. 

    He has 508 yards and three touchdowns this season.

    Nicks is a very dynamic player, and his ability to catch the ball downfield makes him a must-have for any fantasy football owner. 

    However, he always seems to fly under the radar due to Eli Manning's tendency to spread the ball around.