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Fantasy football: Top surprises, busts of 2010

Michael Vick

Michael Vick Credit: Getty Images

With most fantasy leagues entering the final week or two of their regular seasons, it’s time to reflect on this year’s biggest surprises and disappointments.

All-Surprise Team

Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia
He wasn’t even supposed to start for his own team, yet he leads all QBs in fantasy points per game.

Peyton Hillis, RB, Cleveland
The second-best fantasy running back wasn’t even selected in most leagues’ drafts.

Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland
On the verge of being considered a first-round bust before the season, McFadden is 12th in fantasy scoring among running backs.

Brandon Lloyd, WR, Denver

The eighth-year journeyman never had 1,000 yards receiving before this season. He’s on pace for 1,600.

Steve Johnson, WR, Buffalo
In the preseason, even some avid football fans hadn’t heard of Johnson, who is now eighth among receivers in fantasy scoring.

Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jacksonville
Lewis wasn’t considered a top-20 tight end before the season. Only the Chargers’ Antonio Gates has been better.

Dan Carpenter, K, Miami
Carpenter’s back-to-back games of five field goals brought him to fantasy prominence.

Cleveland defense
Who would have dreamed the Browns’ defense could outscore the Jets, Ravens and Vikings?

All-Bust Team

Matt Schaub, QB, Houston
The rise of the Texans’ running game dropped Schaub, a top-five QB on draft day, to 16th in fantasy scoring at his position.

Shonn Greene, RB, Jets
Greene was a fashionable candidate for a breakout season. Turns out he wasn’t even the best running back on his own team.

Beanie Wells, RB, Arizona
His 3.4 yards-per-carry average and two touchdowns are abysmal.

Randy Moss, WR, New England/Minnesota/Tennessee
Despite playing with five different quarterbacks, Moss has topped 59 yards just once.

Brandon Marshall, WR, Miami
Drafted seventh among receivers on average, Marshall has not been a top-40 fantasy wideout. Even teammate Davone Bess has outscored him.

Brent Celek, TE, Philadelphia
Celek is on pace to finish with 554 fewer receiving yards than he had in 2009.

Garrett Hartley, K, New Orleans
Hartley was a top-three preseason kicker but lost his job temporarily after missing some chip shots.

San Francisco defense
The best fantasy defense a year ago, the 49ers are 12th this season and available in more than half of Yahoo! leagues.

Ryan Chatelain (ryan.chatelain@am-ny.com) is amNY’s fantasy football columnist
 

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START/SIT FOR WEEK 13

START
Kyle Orton, QB, Denver (at Kansas City): Orton passed for 347 yards and three touchdowns in Week 10 against the Chiefs, who are 24th vs. the pass.

Mike Tolbert, RB, San Diego (vs. Oakland): Tolbert has rushed for 100 yards in back-to-back games. The Raiders allow 133.7 yards per game on the ground.

Randy Moss, WR, Tennessee (vs. Jacksonville): Moss should benefit from the likely return of quarterback Kerry Collins. The Jaguars are ranked 28th against the pass.

SIT

Carson Palmer, QB, Cincinnati (vs. New Orleans): The Saints' third-ranked pass defense has allowed a league-low seven TDs through the air.

LeGarrette Blount, RB, Tampa Bay (vs. Atlanta): The Falcons held the rookie to 46 yards rushing in Week 9. Atlanta has not allowed more than 77 yards to any running back since Week 2.

Wes Welker, WR, New England (vs. Jets): Moss' departure means Welker will draw more attention from the Jets' defense, which has shut down Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson and Terrell Owens in recent weeks.

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