As usual, the fantasy football season has been full of pleasant surprises. Whether it’s been second tier guys who’ve risen to the top tier, or guys you never heard of joining the world of fantasy relevance, there have definitely been a number of surprises this season.
This article will focus on skill position guys—i.e. running backs and wide receivers.
10. Darren Sproles RB – New Orleans Saints - When evaluating running backs, most fantasy footballers would have told you to go with Mark Ingram of the Saints running backs, but Sproles has been the more consistent option and a pleasant surprise for those that drafted him late, or even picked him up after a terrific Week 1.
9. AJ Green WR – Cincinnati Bengals – We knew AJ Green would eventually be among the league’s elite wide receivers, but we didn’t think it would happen so soon. Projected somewhere in the 100s in most leagues, Green has the 26th most fantasy points in Yahoo standard formats.
8. Matt Forte RB – Chicago Bears – Forte was expected to be a solid fantasy contributor, but not at the level he has produced. He has an astounding 785 yards from scrimmage in five games, which has more than made up for his two touchdowns.
7. Beanie Wells RB – Arizona Cardinals – I doubt anyone expected the type of year from Wells as they have been getting. So far he’s been a goal line machine and leads all running backs with six touchdowns. He hasn’t broke the bank in yardage, but he’s a solid play in a weak division.
6. Pierre Garcon WR – Indianapolis Colts – Garcon has broken out the previous two weeks having developed a great chemistry with Colts starter Curtis Painter. He has 284 yards the past two games with no signs of slowing down.
5. Victor Cruz WR – New York Giants – With performances of 110, 98, and 161 yards the past three weeks, Cruz owners can officially consider him an everyday starter. He also had three touchdowns during that time span and has developed a great deal of trust from QB Eli Manning.
4. Ryan Matthews RB – San Diego Chargers – Prior to the season it appeared as if Mike Tolbert had taken the starting RB spot for the Chargers, and it also felt like that after Tolbert’s Week 1 three TD performance. Since then Matthews has dominated in total yardage and also been getting the bulk of the goal line carries. He is sixth among fantasy RBs and has 674 total yards in five games.
3. Wes Welker WR – New England Patriots – Wes Welker has completed dominated so far this season, compiling 740 receiver yards and five touchdowns. He is on pace for 2368 yards, which would shatter the previous record. He is the No. 1 producer among skill position players, but honestly his dominance is not as much as surprise as the next two guys given he was ranked in the 40s and 50s.
2. Steve Smith WR – Carolina Panthers – If it weren’t for Welker, the fantasy world would be oozing over Steve Smith instead. Smith and Cam Newton have developed an incredible chemistry in such a short time. Smith has 609 receiving yards and three TDs in five games and is behind only Welker and Calvin Johnson in points by WRs after being ranked in the 80s or 90s by most outlets.
1. Fred Jackson RB – Buffalo Bills – I probably could have gone with 1a and 1b with Smith and Jackson; the two have been such a huge surprise so far this season. Jackson is dominating both running and receiving and doing it at an incredible pace. He is averaging 142 yards from scrimmage, but also has the goal line carries to boot. Those yards and his five touchdowns have him as the No. 1 fantasy running back through five weeks, despite being ranked around the mid 70s before the season started.