By Matt Cott and Matthew Schwimmer of RotoAnalysis
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – To win any fantasy football league, you need players that are able to outperform where you drafted them. Breakout performances end up filling a hole in your lineup and propelling you to wins all season long. This week, we at RotoAnalysis are taking a look at some of the biggest breakout performances this year and how the players got to the top of the fantasy leaderboards.
Knowshon Moreno, Broncos RB
Coming into the season, Moreno was the third Bronco running back drafted in most leagues. 13 games later, he ranks as the fourth best fantasy running back in the entire league. With 1,300 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns, Moreno has consistently produced week in, week out. This crazy turn of events teaches us a few lessons going forward. The first lesson is to closely monitor every running back battle in the preseason – it’s often not who you think, and the undervalued player could end up breaking out in a huge way (think Zac Stacy as well). The other major lesson is to trust in the best offenses around the league. Moreno hit both of those categories to perfection and is the reason a lot of fantasy teams have snuck their way into the playoffs.
Josh Gordon, Browns WR
Gordon is a player who has been overlooked throughout his young career. He was a supplementary draft pick, had a suspension to start the year, and went into the season with Brandon Weeden as his quarterback. That’s a pretty unique situation, and speaks to just how impressive his season has been. His recent hot streak has been historic with 774 yards and 5 touchdowns in just four games for an average of 27.7 fantasy points per game. Calvin Johnson remains the #1 WR for drafts next season, but Gordon will probably go #2 and is truly a superstar.
Alshon Jeffrey, Bears WR
The second-year wide receiver has completely beaten all expectations this year, and actually outgained teammate Brandon Marshall in the process. When coming out of the draft, critics hated Jeffery for his lack of size and ability to catch the ball. However, he has put those thoughts completely on the back burners to make himself a top 5 fantasy receiver this season. Working alongside Marshall makes it extremely difficult for defensive coordinators to double either of these talents – the two rank 4th and 5th in fantasy points this season. The one concern is whether the Bears will retain Jay Cutler next season, but it seems fair to assume the Bears quarterback, whoever it may be, will be more than competent.
Jordan Cameron, Browns TE
Cameron and Josh Gordon should give the Browns a 1-2 pass-catching duo that most teams can only dream of. However, the lack of strong or even mediocre quarterback play has prevented both from thriving together at most points this year. Cameron still has a shot at 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns despite his recent struggles, and has the second most receiving yards of any tight end in the league. Given this fact and another injury to Gronkowski, Cameron belongs in every TE discussion after Jimmy Graham next year.
Agree? Disagree? Questions? Tweet @RotoAnalysis and be sure to follow Moe @MoeProblems, Matt @KidCotti21, and Matt@Schwimingly. Check out their work on RotoAnalysis.com, as well as The RotoAnalysis Fantasy Sports Podcast.