When you do fantasy football rankings on a weekly basis, patterns emerge. Some guys—Peyton Manning, Calvin Johnson, Jimmy Graham, etc.—are in your top 10 at their positions no matter what the matchup.
Of course, fantasy football—and the NFL in general—is far less predictable than that, and every week a new hero or surprising performer emerges. Here, I’ve decided to highlight some of the more surprising entries in my top-10 rankings at quarterback, running back and wide receiver.
Seeing these names on this list shouldn’t shock attentive fantasy players, but if you’ve had doubts about their inclusion, let me try to convince you why they belong.
Notes: All point totals for standard-scoring leagues. Points against stats come from ESPN. The Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots and New York Jets are on bye this week.
|1||Peyton Manning||Denver Broncos||San Diego Chargers||28|
|2||Drew Brees||New Orleans Saints||Dallas Cowboys||27|
|3||Matt Stafford||Detroit Lions||Chicago Bears||24|
|4||Tony Romo||Dallas Cowboys||New Orleans Saints||23|
|5||Philip Rivers||San Diego Chargers||Denver Broncos||21|
|6||Nick Foles||Philadelphia Eagles||Green Bay Packers||20|
|7||Robert Griffin III||Washington||Minnesota Vikings||19|
|8||Russell Wilson||Seattle Seahawks||Atlanta Falcons||18|
|9||Andrew Luck||Indianapolis Colts||St. Louis Rams||17|
|10||Cam Newton||Carolina Panthers||San Francisco 49ers||15|
No, I don’t think putting Nick Foles on this list is an overreaction, mostly because we don’t need to simply react to his seven-touchdown performance against the Oakland Raiders.
In his six quarters against the New York Giants and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Foles threw for 493 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. In those six quarters, Foles accumulated 44 fantasy points (though he did rush for one touchdown, a pretty rare occurrence one would imagine).
Yes, he was awful against the Dallas Cowboys, but there’s been far more good from Foles this year than bad.
There’s no reason to think he can’t put up solid numbers against a Green Bay Packers team that is giving up 250.5 passing yards per game (20th in the NFL) and 17.6 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks per week in standard-scoring leagues, 22nd in the NFL.
And with Seneca Wallace now under center for the Packers, Green Bay may struggle to hold onto the ball, meaning the quick-strike Eagles will have more possessions to get into a rhythm. Add it all up, and Foles is a great start this week.
|1||Adrian Peterson||Minnesota Vikings||Washington||25|
|2||Matt Forte||Chicago Bears||Detroit Lions||22|
|3||Alfred Morris||Washington||Minnesota Vikings||19|
|4||Reggie Bush||Detroit Lions||Chicago Bears||18|
|5||LeSean McCoy||Philadelphia Eagles||Green Bay Packers||18|
|6||Marshawn Lynch||Seattle Seahawks||Atlanta Falcons||17|
|7||Eddie Lacy||Green Bay Packers||Philadelphia Eagles||23|
|8||Chris Johnson||Tennessee Titans||Jacksonville Jaguars||15|
|9||Knowshon Moreno||Denver Broncos||San Diego Chargers||15|
|10||Zac Stacy||St. Louis Rams||Indianapolis Colts||14|
There aren’t really that many surprises here. I’m moved Eddie Lacy from No. 2 on my rankings to No. 7 because I think the Packers will struggle on offense without Aaron Rodgers, but he’s still an RB1.
If you are surprised to see Zac Stacy in the top 10, you haven’t been paying attention. He’s now registered seven or more fantasy points in five straight games and hit double-digit points three weeks in a row.
His performance on Sunday was epic, as he accumulated 178 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. Only Chris Johnson matched his 29 fantasy points amongst running backs.
This week he faces an Indianapolis Colts defense that just gave up 143 rushing yards to the Houston Texans, who were playing without Arian Foster. He may not be good for another 29 fantasy points, but he’ll hit double digits for a fourth straight week.
|1||Calvin Johnson||Detroit Lions||Chicago Bears||24|
|2||Dez Bryant||Dallas Cowboys||New Orleans Saints||21|
|3||A.J. Green||Cincinnati Bengals||Baltimore Ravens||20|
|4||Wes Welker||Denver Broncos||San Diego Chargers||18|
|5||DeSean Jackson||Philadelphia Eagles||Green Bay Packers||17|
|6||Brandon Marshall||Chicago Bears||Detroit Lions||15|
|7||Demaryius Thomas||Denver Broncos||San Diego Chargers||15|
|8||Keenan Allen||San Diego Chargers||Denver Broncos||14|
|9||T.Y. Hilton||Indianapolis Colts||St. Louis Rams||13|
|10||Andre Johnson||Houston Texans||Arizona Cardinals||12|
The first surprise here is that I’ve dropped Jordy Nelson right out of the WR1 conversation for this week. With Wallace under center on Monday night, he had three receptions for 40 yards. Yes, the Chicago Bears have better corners than the Eagles, but I think it’s safer to consider Nelson a WR2 until we see what type of chemistry he has with Seneca Wallace.
The second surprise may be Keenan Allen, but like Stacy, he’s a waiver-wire MVP that has been incredibly productive of late. In fact, since Week 4, Allen is averaging 13 fantasy points per week. He won’t be a WR1 every week, but with a tasty matchup against the Denver Broncos, he’s gonna blow up.
Speaking of blowing up, how about T.Y. Hilton? If there were any concerns if Andrew Luck could replace Reggie Wayne, Hilton at least eased them with seven receptions, 121 yards, three touchdowns and 30 fantasy points against the Texans.
Speaking of Houston, look who is back in the top 10—Andre Johnson! With Case Keenum under center, Johnson had a huge night, scoring 40 fantasy points, or the equivalent of the production he offered fantasy owners in his previous six games.
Surely Johnson owners are loudly proclaiming, “So long and good riddance, Matt Schaub.”
Hit me up on Twitter—I’ll answer your fantasy lineup questions, commiserate with you over underachieving players and wonder how Foles could throw more touchdowns on Sunday (seven) than Terrelle Pryor has thrown this year (six).