An eighth of the way through the NFL’s regular season, fantasy football is already in full swing and some players already have some owners tearing their hair out. Shonn Greene owners anyone? Others have outperformed early expectations, however, leading fantasy owners to wonder whether they can keep it up all season long. Here’s a look at some of the players to keep an eye on.
Michael Vick, quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles:
Vick has to be the surprise of the football season thus far. Not only has he stepped in seamlessly as the Eagles’ starting signal caller but he’s also proven to be a much better pocket passer than most people thought he was capable of being. True, he’s only beaten the Lions, but his performance in Week 1 against Green Bay was equally as impressive. With more than 140 yards rushing to go with a passer rating in the top five in the league, Vick is as dangerous as ever right now, though fantasy owners still shouldn’t expect this type of production to continue all season long.
Arian Foster, running back, Houston Texans:
Even though Foster didn’t do much in Week 2 after his Week 1 explosion, he’s still in a great position for the rest of the season. In the first two weeks, the Texans proved that they can move the ball either through the air or on the ground with Foster and he should be able to pile up the touchdowns on one of the most potent offenses in the league.
Jahvid Best, running back, Detroit Lions:
After being bottled up in Week 1 despite scoring two touchdowns, Best exploded in both the running and passing game in Week 2 against the Eagles. With QB Matthew Stafford still out with a separated shoulder, the Lions clearly will be turning to Best to move the football in a variety of different ways. Best has the type of explosive abilities that very well could make him the Offensive Rookie of the Year, which is a great way to help sell NFL tickets. Still, owners should expect Best to score fewer touchdowns as defenses start to key in on him, though he could still put up a similar rookie season as Matt Forte did a couple years back with the Bears.
LaDainian Tomlinson, running back, New York Jets:
Considering that LT was probably scooped up in your league very late with minimal expectations, it probably comes as a surprise to most that he’s been the much more impressive player in the Jets’ backfield. Tomlinson’s per carry average is much higher than Shonn Greene and Greene has also dealt with some fumbling issues. As the weather turns, however, the Jets will likely look to use the power running of Greene a bit more, but LT has played well enough to deserve consistent touches.
Jay Cutler, quarterback, Chicago Bears:
Cutler played so poorly last season that it was difficult imagining him turning it around right away – even with new offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Unfortunately for the rest of the league, that’s exactly what Cutler has done in the early going. When he plays within himself and doesn’t force the ball too much, Cutler can be one of the best gunslingers around and probably even has the best arm in the entire league. You have to be wary of him having a Cutler lapse against a good defense here and there, but what he’s done so far has been nothing short of impressive.
Darren McFadden, running back, Oakland Raiders:
McFadden could end up being one of the absolute steals of the year. Heading into the season, McFadden was competing for carries with Michael Bush, who has since been hampered by injury. McFadden has seized the opportunity, though, and has actually been the most consistent rusher in the league after two weeks, rushing for big totals in each of the first two games. Bush could still come back and swipe some carries, but the Raiders have to consider making McFadden a feature back if he can produce, particularly considering the high draft pick Oakland spent on him a few years ago.
Eddie Royal, wide receiver, Denver Broncos:
Royal doesn’t seem to have the physical makeup to be a number one option, but he’s really been that for Kyle Orton in the first two weeks of the season. Royal is a very good route-runner and is one of the best possession receivers in the league when a quarterback is actually looking for him, which Orton wasn’t doing last season with Brandon Marshall on the roster.
Josh Freeman, quarterback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
The Bucs don’t really feel like a 2-0 team, but they are exactly that due to the phenomenal early play of Josh Freeman. With four touchdown passes, only one pick and no fumbles, Freeman isn’t playing like a young quarterback at this point and he also can hurt defenses with his feet as well. Freeman can make all of the throws and is one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the entire league. If he can continue to limit mistakes, Freeman could be the man in Tampa Bay. BOLA TANGKAS