Five NFL Players Having A Better 2015 Season Than You Realize
It's hard these days for statistically great NFL players to go under the radar, what with the Draft Duels and Fantasy Kings constantly clogging up our online pop up ads and television commercials and sponsored segments and so forth. Still, these guys will probably surprise you with just how good they've been through the first twelve weeks of the 2015 regular season.
5. Ronald Darby (CB)
Remember before the season started when everyone believed that the first incarnation of the Rex Ryan-era Buffalo Bills defense was going to be one of the best units in the league? Well that may not have come to fruition quite like they'd hoped, but rookie cornerback Ronald Darby is an absolute stud.
Darby is one of only fourteen players all-time to accumulate 19 or more passes defensed through Week 12 of the regular season. That list of players includes the likes of Ty Law on the 1998 Patriots and Aenas Williams on the 1994 Cardinals, among others. That's not bad company for a rookie corner back.
Additionally, Darby has recorded 54 total tackles including three tackles for a loss as well as 2 interceptions. If that's what he has done in the first eleven games of his rookie year, then the Bills might have struck gold.
4. Chris Johnson (RB)
This season has been a resurgence of sorts for the running back position, as the number of elite passing offenses in the NFL seems to have dwindled down to very few.
Everyone knows that Adrian Peterson is having a comback year and that Devonta Freeman and Todd Gurley have emerged as bonafide superstars. But did you know that Chris Johnson is having quite the comeback season of his own? Not only that, but he's doing it on a team that does have one of those elite passing offenses and is currently a favorite to make it to the Super Bowl.
Johnson currently has 814 rushing yards and three touchdowns. That puts him on pace to finish the regular season with over 1,184 yards rushing; a mark he hasn't reached since 2012 when he was still considered one of the better backs in the league.
UPDATE: Johnson left the third quarter of the Cardinals game against the 49ers on Sunday afternoon with a knee injuryand did not return.
3. Allen Robinson (WR)
If you got lucky enough to land Allen Robinson on your fantasy team then you are certainly aware of the fact that the wide receiver for the much-maligned Jags has somehow magically raked in 55 catches for 927 yards and eight touchdowns this season so far; helping to turn their season around.
And he's not the only prolific receiver on the team! He splits targets with Allen Hurns, who has a not-too-shabby 38 receptions for 758 receiving yards for seven touchdowns. But it's Robinson who is the X-factor for one simple reason: he is one of the best first down receivers in the NFL. He has caught 41 first down passes, which is incredibly high for a guy whose quarterback (blake Bortles) is still young and inexperienced in his sophomore year in the league.
The rate at which he converts 1st down targets makes the 6'3" 215 lb. Robinson infinitely more dangerous. Just for context, consider that he is the same neighborhood as A.J. Green and Odell Beckham Jr. on first down receptions.
2. Chandler Jones (DE)
It wasn't an easy decision to put at Patriot on this list, as the thought that a Patriots player could be under-rated is a little hard to swallow for most NFL fans. Unfortunately for them, that's what Chandler Jones is.
Sure, you may know his name as one of the most important players on the New England defense, and you may be aware that he is currently 3rd in the NFL in sacks right now with 10.5. (And that's before the Patriots Week 12 game against the Broncos on Sunday Night Football.) But did you know that he is only the second Patriot to ever record more than 10 sacks through Week 10 of the regular season? The only other player to do so for New England was Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, who recorded 12 sacks through Week 11 in 1985 and 11 sacks through Week 11 in 1987.
In addition to his 15 total QB hits and 61.5 sack yards, Jones has also forced two fumbles and has 10 tackles for a loss. Jones isn't just one of the best pass rushers in the league right now, he's one of the best pass rushers the Patriots have ever had. I know it's a bitter pill, but you're going to have to swallow.
1. Tyrann Mathieu (S)
The artist formerly known as Honeybadger is having a breakout year for the NFC-leading Arizona Cardinals, proving himself to be one of the most dynamic players on one the best teams in the NFL.
The Cards currently sit at 9-2 with a three game lead over the Seahawks in the NFC West, and they owe much of their success to Mathieu, who has crafted himself into one of the truly elite utility defensive backs in the league. The former LSU star is in his third year at safety for Arizona, but it would be a disservice define him as just a safety. Mathieu does a little bit of everything, and he does it all with the speed and tenacity that you remember him for.
So far he has recorded 68 total tackles, including a sack, 10 tackles for a loss and a forced fumble. He also has four interceptions including a pick-six, as well as an impressive 14 passes defensed. There is no aspect of the defense that Mathieu can't be called upon to help with. If you haven't been watching this kid play football this season, do yourself a favor and start.
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Gaming Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.