Five Most Surprising Players in 2011: Fantasy Football Report

There have been a number of players that have surprised fantasy football owners with great statistics so far this year. Those owners willing to take risks and not simply make what were perceived as the obvious picks in their drafts may have benefit quite a bit through the first half of the season.

Below are five of the top players to really stand out from the crowd unexpectedly this year.

Cam Newton(notes) - Carolina Panthers

Newton has to lead this list, because while some owners expected him to do well, the statistics that he has managed to put up are far surpassing expectations. Through the first eight games of the year, Newton already has 2,393 passing yards and 319 rushing yards. He also has 18 touchdowns that have made him the second most valuable fantasy football player so far.

Fred Jackson(notes) - Buffalo Bills

Jackson has been a pretty good running back to have in the past, but his numbers have been outstanding this year. Through just eight games for the Bills, he has 803 rushing yards, 391 receiving yards, and 6 touchdowns to his credit. That makes him one of the two most valuable running backs to have in fantasy leagues.

Eli Manning(notes) - New York Giants

Manning is putting up some of the best statistics of his career, throwing for 2,377 yards and 15 touchdowns while having just 6 interceptions this year. He still isn't a running quarterback, but he has played himself into the group of the best eight quarterbacks in fantasy football this year.

Michael Bush(notes) - Oakland Raiders

Thanks to some injury problems for the Raiders, bush has really been able to step into the spotlight recently. He has 490 rushing yards, 229 receiving yards, and 5 touchdowns for the Raiders in limited action. His playing time is bound to increase, and those owners that took an early risk on drafting him have benefited greatly from that decision.

Rob Gronkowski(notes) - New England Patriots

Being a tight end for Tom Brady(notes) can yield nice benefits, but Gronkowski wasn't projected to put up the statistics that has so far this year. He already has 596 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns for the Patriots, giving fantasy owners who drafted him early a nice benefit for finding his value before most leagues.

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Updated Saturday, Nov 12, 2011