Biggest Surprises of the Year
Here comes that time again. We posted a piece a week ago about looking back on our drafts and noticing the biggest busts of the year. Now we're gonna take a look back and find the biggest surprises of the year so far.
10. Riley Cooper- Before this season, Cooper was in the news for all the wrong reasons. Now, Cooper has shown that DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy aren't the only weapons in Philadelphia. Cooper is on pace for career highs in every statistical category. As of right now, Cooper is a very strong WR2 to finish the season.
9. Peyton Manning- Everybody saw Manning having a good season with all of the weapons at his disposal. Nobody saw THIS though. As of the writing of this article, Manning was on pace for 5,714 yards passing and 54 passing TDs, both of which would be NFL records! What we are witnessing this year we may never see again. It truly is historical, not only from an NFL perspective, but from a fantasy football perspective as well! Manning is averaging 32.4 points per game this season. To put it in perspective, last years top QB, Drew Brees, averaged right about 25 points per game.
8. DeSean Jackson- Jackson is playing in his 6th year in the NFL and has only 2 years of over 1,000 yards receiving and has never scored over 10 TDs. He is on pace to setting bests in both categories. It's fair to say that Chip Kelly's new offense is suiting Jackson very well. He is on pace to finishing as a top 5 WR.
7. Eddie Lacy- There seemed to be a lot of promise from Lacy coming out of college. Then the reports came during camp that Lacy had ballooned to over 250 lbs. Adding in the fact that the Green Bay Packer offense revolves around Aaron Rodgers and a pass-first philosophy, and it doesn't bode well for any RB in Green Bay. Rodgers wen't down with an injury and Lacy has been asked to pick up the pieces of the offense. Lacy has recorded at least 22 carries in all contests since week 5 except one and is on pace for 1,100 yards rushing. That's incredible when thinking back to the state of RBs that Green Bay has put together in recent memory.
6. Antonio Brown- When Mike Wallace skipped town to play for Miami a lot of people knew that Brown would get more looks in the passing game. He has done so much more than that. In PPR leagues, Brown has been solid gold this season. In standard leagues, Brown is averaging over 12 points a game and is on pace to destroy his season bests in ever stat category. It's fairly easy to see that Brown is filling in as Pittsburgh's #1 WR very well.
5. Terrance Williams- The rookie out of Baylor has looked very strong this year. At the beginning of the year, Williams was a minor blip on the radar. Due to injuries to Miles Austin, Williams has been thrown into a prominent role in a very pass happy Dallas Cowboy offense. With this opportunity, Williams has flourished. Since week 5, Williams has a TD grab in every week except one (week 9). Tony Romo has shown that he trusts Williams.
4. Keenan Allen- Rookie WRs usually don't do much in their first years. This year we have two that have shown a lot of promise in their first years (Williams and Allen). Allen was projected to be a first round draft pick until an injury in his last college season caused his draft stock to drop. Allen is on pace for nearly 1,000 receiving yards this season, something that hasn't been done very often in the NFL. The resurgence of Philip Rivers has helped also.
3. Knowshon Moreno- Moreno had a lot of promise coming out of Georgia 5 years ago, but due to multiple injury filled seasons, that promise has not come to pass. This year, while the yardage hasn't necessarily been there, the TDs have. There was a lot of question mars on whether or not star rookie Montee Ball would take over the starting RB duties right off that bat. Moreno has shown that he can lead this team in rushing and be a reliable receiver as well. Moreno is on pace for over 1,400 total yards this season and about 15 total TDs. Incredible stuff considering he was written of as a bust.
2. Philip Rivers- Rivers was wrote off as done and over with after his awful season last year. Add on that San Diego lost Danario Alexander (their top WR last year) to injury this off-season and it's just throwing fuel on the fire. With the emergence of Keenan Allen along with Antonio Gates, Rivers is now a starting QB from a fantasy perspective again. As of this writing, Rivers was on pace for 4,700 yards passing and 30 TDs. A big improvement from the previous year.
1. Zac Stacy- The gold medal goes to.... Zac Stacy! Stacy came into the NFL as a 5th round draft pick this year. The rookie out of Vanderbilt had back-to-back 1,000 yard season in the SEC. This year, Stacy is on pace to rushing for almost 1,000 yards. This comes after he recorded just ONE rushing attempt in his first four starts! Stacy has solidified his status as an up and coming RB for years to come possibly. He reminds me a lot of a RB from last year that nobody really knew coming into the season named Alfred Morris :) Look for much more to come from Stacy going forward. Oh and just fyi, I called for Stacy to have fantasy relevance before preseason began. He was on my sleeper list to win the RB job out of St. Louis :)
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