2020 has just started, and the fantasy season is a long ways away. Some up us are coming off league titles, and some of us are ready to erase a last place finish. The good news is we can take a look at some of the things that happened in 2019 to get an edge for next year.
- Derrick Henry dominates December
Henry is a mammoth of a human being, and it’s been thought that he becomes harder to tackle as the season wears on. As injuries pile up, and teams are eliminated from the playoffs, the big man rumbles with ease, but is it significant? Late season and into the fantasy playoffs (weeks 13-17) Henry steps up his game, right when you need it. His average points per game the last three seasons have been 8.4, 12.6, and 19.6 PPR points per game in 2017, 2018, and 2019. But what is it through the end of the Fantasy season? Henry averages an ABSURD 23.8, 23.7, and 10.5pts per game in the fantasy playoffs. A huge statistical increase each year, missing only one of the 15 possible games during that stretch (Titans sat a bunch of players week 16). He’s dominant, and that is especially so during the playoffs.
2. Don’t draft a QB early
Drafting a QB early to get a “premier” QB is not worth the risk. WAIT ON QB in the draft next year, there’s going to be value. Here’s a look at the top 5 QB’s drafted this season, and where they finished.
Not a single QB in the top 5 reached their ADP amongst QB’s. The first QB to meet his ADP or exceed it? Russell Wilson, who was the 8th selected.
3. Defenses are highly dependent on their schedule
This one is pretty self-explanatory, a good fantasy defense can be predicted by the strength of their schedule. The Steelers, Ravens and Patriots, 3 of the top 4 fantasy defenses this season, had a strength of schedule 12th easiest or better. The top defense in the Patriots, played had the second easiest strength of schedule this season.
4. The youth movement has arrived
Here’s the top 5 players at RB and WR along with their ages:
|McCaffrey (23)||Thomas (26)|
|A. Jones (25)||Godwin (23)|
|Elliott (24)||J. Jones (30)|
|Ekeler (24)||Kupp (26)|
|Henry (25)||Hopkins (27)|
Top 5 RB’s are all under the age of 25, and the WR’s are younger than 27 with the exception of Julio. Don’t get stuck drafting older players because of their names. WR’s and especially RB’s hit their peaks early. When your debating picks next year, you might want to give a young guy the edge.
5. Michael Thomas is the best WR in football, and deservedly so
Michael Thomas had elite production this year. Elite level volume (149 catches), would really help you do that. His volume isn’t just a product of the offense however, he creates his own, and here’s how. Michael Thomas this season, has a catch rate of 80.5%, higher than any other WR, its so dominant in fact, that the next closest WR with more than 50 targets (Thomas had 185), was 5% lower than Thomas, and he did that at a higher rate than any WR in the NFL. He quite simply makes catches that other WR’s do not. When you factor that into his target share, that’s what allows him to put up better numbers than anyone has ever seen. The man has hands.
6. Off field concerns have a tendency to come back to bite
When guys have issues coming into the season, sometimes that’s the sign you need to stay away. Four examples of guys with huge potential the past three years who disappointed fantasy managers due to their behavior.
- Antonio Brown – Played in 1 game in 2019, and cost many people a championship, but the signs were there in the offseason and preseason when he went wild on social media.
- Le’Veon Bell – Had issues with his contract in 2018, held out the entire season, is signed by the Jets, and goes the entire year without a 100yd rushing game.
- Josh Gordon – Do not let the potential fool you, the man unfortunately isn’t where he needs to be mentally
- Melvin Gordon – While he played this year (Looking at you bell) he finished 23rd at the position, but even more startling had fewer points per game that his back up, who managed to finish the season as RB 4.
7. A great offense is important for RB’s, but even more so for WR
Let’s take a look at offense rank and compare it to fantasy points for elite WR and RB.
|RB||Team Points Scored||WR||Team Points Scored|
The top 5 WR’s all played on offenses in the top half of the league in points scored. Keep this in mind when looking to draft WR’s next season, while volume is important, also keep in mind the offense that they play for. Teams that put up points are great for WR. While you think the same would be for running backs, its seems that that it not the case. While I’m not saying “Draft a RB on a bad offense” I am saying that it might not be as important as you think. That being said, scoring is always better than not scoring, so if you in a pinch on who to draft, take the guy on the team more likely to be in the end zone.
8. Raheem Mostert is the most talented back in the Bay
You might think this is crazy, but hear me out. Mostert really came on at the end of the season this year, and still has time to make noise in the playoffs. Thus far he’s excelled rushing, despite the fact that he ranks 9th in terms of the percentage of runs against an 8 man box at 32.12% per Next Gen Stats. He averages 5.6 ypc, the highest amongst all qualified running backs, even though he’s 9th (!!!) in number of 8 man boxes faced. This number is higher than Breida, and a whole 1.6 yards more than Coleman. His 8 rushing TD’s are tied with Melvin Gordon, Nick Chubb, Kenyon Drake, and Marlon Mack, despite having 25 less carries than the next closest on that list. The man is talented, and if he can take over the backfield in a prolific offense, he should be poised to break out next season.
9. TE is a premium
Getting a good TE isn’t something that’s nice to have, it’s something you need to have if you are going to compete down the stretch. Including the fantasy playoffs the top 5 TE’s scored an average of 224.14 points this year, and none of the top 5 average below 13.8ppg. The next 3? They only averages a 173.2 points, and only one managed more than 12ppg. If you look outside the top 10? No TE averaged 10ppg. Elite TE’s are tough to come by, and getting one you can depend on can help you excel.
10. AJ Brown will be a star next season
In a season that many fans did not predict, the Titans have no beat out the Patriots on wildcard weekend and head to the divisional round. After the starting the season in a downward spiral, most credit the change from Mariota to Tannehill with the resurgence of this team, and he’s made a huge impact. But don’t sleep on AJ Brown. Brown has been shown that he can soar on the deep ball. His average air yards per target is 13.4per Next Gen Stats, right up there with another excellent rookie WR in DK Metcalf and OBJ. He accounts for nearly 30% of his teams air yards. He’s what separates him, even with a ton of his targets being deep passes, his catch percentage is 61.9%, which is above both Metcalf and OBJ in that category. With 8 receiving TD’s and no real endzone receiving threat on that roster, Brown is in a position to win a lot of people their games next season. What can Brown do for you?
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