Surprise, Surprise: The Biggest Fantasy Football Surprises In 2017

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Through two weeks of the NFL season, there have already been a plethora of surprises—both good and bad—from a fantasy football perspective. Some players have been major letdowns, while other lesser known players have already swung fantasy matchups.

Cody Jinnette and Chance Cassidy each give their lists of biggest fantasy surprises so far, including both good and bad surprises. They also let you know whether these players’ performances from the first two weeks of games will become a trend throughout the rest of the year in the first installment of “surprise, surprise.”

Cody Jinnette

QB — Andy “Red Rocket” Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

I don’t know if I’ve ever been this wrong about anything sports related in my life. Andy Dalton has been a mess this year. Not only did he not return to his 2015 form, he took Top 10 QB “2015 Andy Dalton” out to a farm, *censored for legal purposes*, AND THREW HIM TO THE PIGS. The Bengals’ offense has been awful, their offensive line can’t block, and Dalton looks like the Monstars from Space Jam stole what little footballing talent he had away from him. The Bengals have played two games and haven’t scored a touchdown. Even the Jets have scored touchdowns this season. I’m off the AJ Green bandwagon, I’m off the Tyler Eifert bandwagon, and I am now on the “try to out suck the Jets for Sam Darnold so the Bengals can rebuild on the fly bandwagon.” 

RB – Marshawn “My Phone Autocorrects Him to Lunch” Lynch, Oakland Raiders

I think a lot of people were hesitant to pick him up after coming out of retirement. He was out of football for over a year and came into an offense that was built to pass the ball. They have good receivers, an incredible pass blocking line, and a QB that will be competing for an MVP. Now, they finally rounded out their offense with a great back. Lynch is back to his usual, violent self, running the ball like a bull through the streets of some Spanish city that I can’t pronunciate and probably won’t visit. I believe that as the year goes on, Marshawn will be featured more and more building up to the playoffs. He’s had a great start to his year and by midseason, I expect him to be back to 95 percent of what he was in Seattle. He’s a hot buy-now candidate if you have an owner willing to let him go in your league.

WR – Stefon “The Vi-King of the North” Diggs, Minnesota Vikings

I love Minnesota, but was worried that they wouldn’t have any playmakers at receiver. I think Sam Bradford is a fine quarterback, but with Cordarrelle Patterson and Laquon Treadwell both not working out, they needed Diggs to step it up in a big way this year. The Vikings have been missing an outside playmaker since Randy Moss left, and Diggs looks one step closer to being that guy for them. In his sophomore year last year, he had 900 receiving yards with only three touchdowns. Many expected the offense to open up a bit and him to make a step forward, but it looks like he might have made a big leap. If Bradford gets back in the next week or two, look for Diggs to make a run at being a top 10 fantasy receiver this year. He looks ready to be that kind of guy and the Vikings desperately need it.

 TE – Jack “Not Your Grandma’s Doilies” Doyle, Indianapolis Colts

Tight end is always a weird position to predict. So many guys are touchdown dependent, and it’s hard to predict who will be worth owning outside of the top 3-5 guys every year. Doyle has become a top target for every quarterback that has put on a jersey for the Colts, and those consistent targets look to make him a comfortable top 10 guy. Like most TEs, he will have that monster 16-point, two touchdown game, but from what I’ve seen from him this year, he looks like he’ll be more than that this year. As a Colts fan, I was expecting the offense to run entirely through Hilton and Moncrief. Doyle getting consistent targets all year wasn’t really on my radar, but it looks like the reality of the situation in Indy right now. Expect consistent targets and receptions out of Doyle for the rest of the year.

Flex – Kenny “Fitbit” Britt, Cleveland Browns

You’re probably thinking, “Fitbit? You’ve one upped yourself on stupid nicknames here.” Let me explain. The only conceivable reason that Kenny Britt has been half-heartedly jogging his routes on that football field is because he needs 10,000 steps a day. That’s it. He doesn’t seem interested in getting open, he doesn’t want to win football games, he just wants to jog his routes and collect paychecks. I thought that if the Browns could figure it out with a semi-stable quarterback, he could be low end WR2. It’s looking more likely that I’m going to drop him in two weeks and put him on my “do not ever draft list” alongside Jeremy Hill and the football player formerly known as Eddy Lacy. He has an upcoming stretch of three games at Indianapolis, vs. Cincinnati, and vs. the Jets. If he can’t produce in at least two of these games, cut your ties now because it won’t get any better.

Chance Cassidy

QB — Trevor Siemian, Denver Broncos 

Siemian came (LOL) out these first two weeks proved that starting him over Paxton Lynch was the right call. There were doubts surrounding the Denver Broncos’ offense, and at the center of those doubts was QB play. Siemian has started this season blocking out the haters as he shares the most touchdowns scored by a QB this season with big money Matthew Stafford at six. I am not quite ready to go all in on Siemian, but so far, he is second in QB fantasy points with no signs of slowing down.

RB — Adrian Peterson, New Orleans Saints 

I knew Peterson would underperform and not get very many touches with three running backs and Drew Brees in New Orleans, but I didn’t expect it to be this bad. I haven’t decided if the main cause of AD’s low numbers is due to his age or the RB situation in New Orleans, but either way, his low production has been shocking.

WR — Brandon Marshall, New York Giants

At the beginning of this season, I expected big things from Marshall. He was finally getting away from terrible QB play and moving towards borderline mediocre QB play. So far, Marshall has been nonexistent in the Giants’ pass-heavy offense. With Odell sitting out the first game and clearly not 100 percent for the second, I thought Marshall had an even better opportunity to shine. Even when Marshall does get the ball thrown his way he has had some bad drops, which has been surprising given his consistency throughout his career.

TE — Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys 

At the ripe age of 35, Jason Witten has probably made many college frat stars happy by showing that age might be actually just a number for tight ends. Many people, including myself, thought Witten was on the back end of his career and was done putting up quality fantasy numbers. And while that still might be the case, he has not shown it to be true these first two weeks as he leads tight ends in scoring and leads the league in receptions with 17.

Flex — Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs

I decided to pull a surprise inception and shock you all by putting Kareem Hunt on my list. This rookie from Toledo has come out of nowhere and put himself on the map putting up a total of 71 fantasy points through two weeks. Out of all the rookie running backs this year, very few, if anyone, expected Kareem Hunt to be at the top through the first two weeks. Hunt leads the league in rushing with 229 yards, and he’s also a threat in the passing game. I expect him to slow down a little bit but to still be a top back this season.