Ask the Experts
Posted Jan. 12 at 06:28 AM
ASK THE EXPERTS appears weekly with answers to a new question being posted Thursday morning. How the guest experts responded when we asked them:
What was the fantasy season's biggest surprise?
So many it is hard to choose but I think it has to be Cam Newton who shattered every passing and rushing record for a rookie quarterback including playing far better than Peyton Manning did with fewer interceptions and arguably a lesser cast around him than Manning had as a rookie. He’ll dial back the running over the next season or two as they always do but his place as a passer will only grow with more experience and a better cast of receivers in the future.
Dorey is the co-founder and lead NFL analyst for The Huddle and author of Fantasy Football: The Next Level. He has projected and predicted every NFL game and player performance since 1997 and has appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers, radio and television.
There are always surprises that make sense, such as Victor Cruz, Fred Jackson, Cam Newton, even Tim Tebow. But this season has to be the year where all of us have to now throw out conventional wisdom and bow to Marshawn Lynch. His stretch of 7 games in a row with a TD carried many an owner to the fantasy playoffs, and he has to be no worse than a top 10 back next year. I detested Lynch before the season, and fought tooth and nail for 5 weeks before I had to succumb to the reality that he was a top 5 fantasy back this year and as consistent a performer as there was in the game. Never saw it coming, never thought it possible. So very surprised!
Adams is the publisher of www.fantasyinsights.com. Adams appears on NBC in Los Angeles on The Challenge with Fred Roggin following NFL Sunday Night Football in America, with extended web commentary on NBCLA’s website. On Bloomberg Sports ”4th & Fantasy” Dish became the “man who beat the machine,” outpicking Bloomberg Sports Fantasy Decision Maker data tool for the 2010 season. Dish also hosts Fantasy Insights, a podcast on Voiceamericasports.com weekly on Thursdays from 5:00-6:00 PM EST.
The struggles of Titans RB Chris Johnson. A close second was the breakout season of Giants WR Victor Cruz, but I had a feeling he would be productive, as I drafted him as my final pick in the 14-team FFWebMasters experts league draft. He helped me make the playoffs in that league.
Nazarek is the CEO of Fantasy Football Mastermind Inc. His company offers an online rookie draft kit, preseason draft guide, customizable cheat sheets, fantasy drafting programs including auction values, weekly in-season fantasy newsletters, injury reports and free NFL news (updated daily) at its web site. He has been playing fantasy football since 1988 and is a four-peat champion of the SI.com Experts Fantasy League, a nationally published writer in several fantasy magazines and a former columnist for SI.com. For more info go to www.ffmastermind.com. Nazarek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To me it had to be the lackluster performance by Chris Johnson, have the wheels already fallen off, is he fat and lazy now that he has the money. Johnson had some decent games to close out the year, but didn't finish in the top 15 amongst RBs in most scoring systems.
Kamys is president of Dr. Stats Fantasy Sports. His company, via the web, offers player news, injury reports, cheat sheets, projections, weekly matchups, statistics, and a customized team tracker. Dr. Stats Fantasy Sports also e-mails preseason newsletters and reports throughout the season. For more info visit www.docstats.com or send email to email@example.com.
I am not surprised at all that Cam Newton ran for 706 yards. It wouldn’t have surprised me if he ran for 6-7 TDs. Everyone saw that potential at Auburn, and that’s why he showed up as a late-round draft pick in a lot of fantasy leagues. Never would I have believed, however, that Newton would also be instantly effective as a passer, averaging 253 passing yards per game and throwing 21 TDs. And he didn’t run for 6-7 TDs — he took it in 14 times in his own. In typical fantasy formats, he finished similar in value to the likes of Brees, Brady and Rodgers. That’s a historic, surprise season that none of us will ever forget. Honorable mention: Victor Cruz (I guess we all should be paid more attention when he caught 3 TDs in that preseason game against the Jets; he’s a playmaker).
Allan is the senior writer for Fantasy Football Index. He's been in that role since 1987, generating most of the player rankings and analysis for that publication. His work can be seen in Fantasy Football Index magazine, and also at www.fantasyindex.com.
I’d have to go with Cam Newton. The 2010 Heisman Trophy winner no doubt had phenomenal raw talent but who could have expected his dominating performance. He played in a simplified offense in college (one read, pass or then run) but that didn't matter at all. Not only did Cam set the NFL record for most rushing TDs by a QB but he also ousted Peyton Manning’s name from the record book for most passing yards by a rookie in NFL history as well. Simply amazing. Newton’s upside is scary. Throw out the wait on a QB strategy if you can get one of the elite QBs next year, including Cam Newton who is a legitimate mid first round fantasy draft pick.
Dynasty Rogues is the fantasy football information site run by fantasy football enthusiasts for fantasy football enthusiasts. The site includes a year-round approach to analyzing football information for those in dynasty and redraft leagues. Dynasty Rogues were the 2008 Champion of the Fantasy Index Experts' Competition.
Marshawn Lynch was the No. 26 fantasy back through eight weeks of the year, just another forgettable veteran with a 3.6 YPC and 263 piddly rushing yards. I was utterly shocked to see him tack on 941 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns from that point forward, succeeding no matter the obstacles (teammate injuries, tough matchups) put in his way. Although the specific details were different, Reggie Bush's three-month spike out the door in Miami followed many of the same themes. At the end of the day, the heck with the name brands. We're just in it for the numbers.
Pianowski has been playing fantasy football for 18 years and writing about it for 15. He joined Yahoo! Sports in 2008 and has been blogging 24/7 on RotoArcade.com ever since.
It's gotta be the performance of the top QBs. Whether it was because of officiating favoring the passing game, the impact of the lockout, or the quality of QB play, the signal-callers ruled the world of fantasy football this year. Consider this: Peyton Manning finished as the #1 fantasy QB with 369 points in 2010. Those same 369 points would have had him way down at No. 6 this year. One of the keys to next season will be determining whether or not these passing numbers were a fluke or a trend.
Smola is the Senior Editor of DraftSharks.com. DraftSharks has been providing fantasy football analysis since 1999. The site provides its members with feature articles, daily email updates, in-depth player profiles and projections, its exclusive MVP Draft Board, and much more. This past year, Draft Sharks took home the Fantasy Sports Trade Association's award for most accurate preseason projections.
By far it was Tony Gonzalez. I was nearly equally shocked by Darren Sprole4s (As the Saints were too from what I was told) but Gonzo's comeback to Fantasy Football relevance was shocking. He wasn't only dominant but consistent as well. Matt Ryan leaned on him heavily and he responded all the way up to the playoffs.
Tranquilli is the founder of BFDFANTASYfootball.com. This is the eighth season BFD will be offering advice. In 2010 their subscribers won over $500,000 in High Stakes Fantasy football events.
The record setting year for QBs was a surprise. On the bright side, I predicted lots of good TE depth, an injury plagued year, a poor performance from Peyton Hillis and the sinking of the Titanic.
Hendricks is the author of Fantasy Football Guidebook, Fantasy Football Tips and Fantasy Football Basics, all available at his website, www.ffguidebook.com, at all major bookstores, and at www.amazon.com. He is a 20-year fantasy football veteran who regularly participates in the World Championship of Fantasy Football (WCOFF), National Fantasy Football Championship (NFFC) and finished 7th and 16th overall (out of 228 competitors) in the 2008 and 2009 Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC).
It was pretty amazing for Marshawn Lynch to go from part of a three-man committee on a bad running team in the first half of the season -- a guy who was actually waived in a money league I was in -- to an every-week starter I had no hesitation using in my Super Bowl despite his matchup with the league's best run defense, one that hadn't allowed a rushing score all season. I hope it wasn't just a contract push and he's every bit as good next year after getting paid this offseason.
Richardson has been a columnist and contributor to the Fantasy Football Index magazine and web site for the past ten years. His responsibilities include team defense and IDP projections and various site features, and he has run the magazine's annual draft and auction leagues since their inception. He previews all the NFL games on Saturdays and writes a wrap-up column on Mondays during the NFL season.
New this season! We'll post the weekly question on Facebook, and the best reader answer will get included in the column. Here is this week's reader winner:
C'mon, it has to be Tim Tebow. Ian Allan was there at the Emerald Queen Casino for the John Clayton Fantasy Camp when the name "Tebow" was a running joke, mentioned often so that people in the audience could order an additional shot of their favorite liquor. Undrafted in all but the deepest of leagues, especially after he was demoted during camp, he rose to prominence in Week 5 and averaged over 15 fantasy points per game the rest of the season. He saved the Broncos season, and possibly saved the seasons of many other fantasy teams (sadly he couldn't help my own from going down in flames). Cam Newton is definitely a strong second, though many took a flier on him during the draft just in case he did well.
Posted by DAVID DIGREGORIO | Jan. 12 at 11:02 AM
Gronkowski and Graham should get a little more notice.
Posted by ANDY RICHARDSON | Jan. 12 at 12:24 PM
I agree on Gronkowski, but Graham got plenty of preseason love. Maybe he exceeded expectations, but he wasn't a total surprise. Stafford should probably be in the discussion, based on where he was drafted in most leagues. Nobody thought he'd stay healthy.
Posted by Moishe Steigmann | Jan. 12 at 05:06 PM
Not sure that I agree about Stafford. His stats, actually, weren't surprising; only his games-played total was. If we had projected him for 15+ games, he would have been easily the top-drafted QB after the projected top-5. His numbers would not have been a surprise at all. The other guys mentioned here, though, put up just some shocking numbers.
Posted by Robert Heater | Jan. 12 at 11:32 PM
Everyone who had Jordy Nelson as a top 5 WR please raise your hands.
Posted by Moishe Steigmann | Jan. 13 at 08:56 AM
Hey, Robert: Does 1000 yards and 10 TDs as a prediction count? My hand is up for that.
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