The Blog of Northern Aggression

The Blog of Northern Aggression: Surprises and Disappointments

By David Wipperman (a.k.a. Ragnarok) – @Wipperman

David Wipperman, also known as Ragnarok (or Rags) on the forum, has been in charge of setting up the Wednesday fantasy football mock drafts for a few years. Ragnarok had his own section in the fantasy mocks this summer where he broke down the best and worst teams.

Ragnarok will be writing his own weekly column on this Web site. It will contain a different topic each week as well as some of his gut bets, which should be used for entertainment purposes only.

You can follow Ragnarok @Wipperman or leave a comment below.

This week, I am going to use a suggestion from Rackcitysteelers and discuss some of the biggest surprises so far this season. As I stated earlier this year about the assumptions we make about teams, the same holds for individual players. I’ll go over some of the biggest surprises and busts this year based on where the majority of us viewed them going into the season.

Biggest Disappointments:

5. Tavon Austin – He is just a rookie so I can’t be too harsh, but considering how highly everyone thought of him coming into the season, especially in fantasy formats, he simply hasn’t done anything. I think that we all expected him to at least have made some splash plays or at the worst be targeted more.

4. Colin Kaepernick – It looked like he was going to pick up right where he left off after he made my Packers look awful, but since then, he has slowed down significantly. Part of this has been due to Anquan Boldin being his only healthy target with Vernon Davis hobbled, but being as talented as he is, he should be doing better regardless.

3. Antonio Cromartie – Last year, Cromartie was arguably the best cornerback in the NFL. This year, he has had some major issues in coverage. This is especially surprising due to the dominance of the Jets’ front seven. He hasn’t been awful consistently, but it has been a considerable drop-off.

2. Matt Schaub – Now, Schaub has never been one to light the world on fire but four pick-sixes in as many games is beyond funny. Everyone expected him to come in, be the solid game-manager that he always has been and take the Texans to the playoffs. Instead, he has fully imploded. The only thing that keeps him from being in the top spot is that a better quarterback has fallen just as hard.

1. Eli Manning – I find this to be a pretty obvious choice. Manning has been absolutely atrocious this season in every aspect. We’ve gotten used to him throwing interceptions, but he’s reached new and epic levels in terms on turning the ball over. I’m not a big fan of his offensive line, which has not given him much time to throw, but it seems like he has regressed to rookie form.

Biggest Surprises:

5. Julius Thomas – We all knew he has insane physical talent, but he really turned into one of the best receiving threats at the tight end position. The only reason he isn’t higher is because he suffers from the Peyton effect. How good would he be without Manning at quarterback? Regardless, he has come a long way in route running and adds a fourth legitimate weapon to a filthy Broncos passing attack.

4. Kiko Alonso – Easily the frontrunner for Defensive Rookie of the Year, he has been all over the field for the Bills. Besides being a very good tackler, he has shown himself to be an excellent cover linebacker, which is a necessity in today’s NFL. For a team that has struggled for a long time, he looks to be an excellent defensive building block.

3. Aqib Talib – Talib was solid last year, but so far this season he has been one of the top two cornerbacks in the NFL. He has essentially shut down everyone he has come up against, which has allowed the other New England defensive backs to focus elsewhere. His presence is even more valuable considering the loss of Vince Wilfork up front, as they will have to cover for a bit longer.

2. Terrelle Pryor – How many people saw this out of Pryor? We all knew he was a great athlete, but his growth as a passer, especially in his technique and footwork, has been fantastic. If he continues this, he will not only solidify the quarterback position for the Raiders in the first time for more than a decade, but he will allow them to spend a high draft pick on a cornerstone at a different position.

1. Robert Mathis – His whole career, people have wondered if he was just a product of Dwight Freeney. He is giving all those people a giant middle-finger. He has been absolutely phenomenal for the Colts and is currently tied for the league lead in sacks. You have to be happy for a guy like this putting together this type of season.

The Blog of Northern Agression Menu:
NFL Power Rankings - 10/31
Surprises and Disappointments - 10/19
Hard Knocks - 10/10
Mock Draft - 10/4
NFL Power Rankings - 9/27
Football Team Bias - 9/11
Surprise Super Bowl Team - 9/6

NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

2024 NFL Mock Draft - Feb. 21

Fantasy Football Rankings - Feb. 19

NFL Picks - Feb. 12