Did you draft Kurt Warner, Carson Palmer, or anybody affiliated with the Carolina Panthers? Well, fear not young fantasy Jedi - there's still plenty of season left for the typical studs to turn things around. But just in case, here are five under-the-radar players that opened the season with solid performances that may be worth looking at in the future.
Brodie Croyle, Kansas City Chiefs - Filling in for an injured Matt Cassel (who loved the “Get Well Soon” tulips Josh McDaniels sent him), Croyle stepped up and went 16-24, for 177 yards and a pair of touchdowns. In all fairness Croyle did get a great deal of support from his rushing game that went wild for 29 total yards. It’s going to be a long season for anybody who got drunk and accidentally drafted Larry Johnson.
Mike Bell, New Orleans Saints - In between Drew Brees’ six touchdown passes, the New Orleans Saints ran the ball all over the vaunted Detroit Lions’ defense (okay, stop laughing - they tried really hard), thanks to Bell’s 143 yards on 28 carries. While it’s uncertain if starting running back Pierre Thomas will be back in the line-up next week, with the often injured Reggie Bush on the roster, Bell is definitely worth holding onto for now.
Patrick Crayton, Dallas Cowboys - Somewhere in Buffalo (where apparently the Bills have not been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs yet) Terrell Owens is pretending to be happy for his former teammate. Crayton (who led all Northwest Oklahoma State alumni in receptions last season) torched the Buccaneers’ secondary for 135 yards and one impressive 80-yard touchdown reception.
Mario Manningham, New York Giants - After Plaxico Burress ran a post-route to prison at the end of last season it was unclear which of the Giants’ receivers would help pick up the slack. And while one solid performance (3 receptions, 58 yards, 1 touchdown) doesn’t mean the former Wolverine will be a fantasy stud, it looks as though he will be getting consistent looks from Eli Manning throughout the season.
Jake Delhomme, Carolina Panthers - With four interceptions, one fumble, and a quarterback rating that Ryan Leaf would call embarrassing (14.7), Delhomme was undoubtedly the most valuable player for any fantasy team that started the Eagles defense. It takes a certain kind of player to look at his five interception NFC Divisional Playoff game and say “You know what, I can probably do worse.” Well done, Jake. You actually had fans chanting to bring in a guy named Matt Moore.
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