The fantasy football season has come to an end. Those that love it take it seriously, tireless study, read articles and even sometimes come up with their own rankings. The more casual fantasy players won’t even look at the research and will trust a cheat sheet they download minutes before the draft or even the rankings in the draft that they are doing. That probably isn’t the best way to go about your drafts in the future and at the very least you should check out ADP (Average Draft Position) which is a good tool, but again not perfect. We will look at some of the best values from the 2019 season and some of the biggest busts as well according to ADP. For this article, I used the ADP rankings from www.fantasypros.com that amalgamated four different ADP’s in their rankings. Standard scoring was the scoring system used to analyze the data.
The Quarterback is always one of those positions that most fantasy analysts tell you to wait on and that would have been sound advice to take this year as well. Only one of the top 5 quarterbacks taken in ADP actually finished in the top 10. That quarterback was Deshaun Watson, who was the third QB off the board and finished fifth in QB points this season. Four of the top six quarterbacks were drafted in the eleventh round or later. In order of most points scored Lamar Jackson was the fourteenth QB off the board, Dak Prescott was the seventeenth off the board, Jameis Winston was fifteenth off the board and Josh Allen, who finished sixth in quarterback points in fantasy this year, was the twentieth quarterback off the board during drafts. Jackson just missed scoring the most points in a season and Dak and Winston led high powered offenses that scored a lot of points. Allen, like Jackson, used his legs all season long which helped him get into the top six in scoring. Not all was bad with the other top quarterbacks taken as Mahomes finished eighth after being drafted first, and Rodgers finished eleventh after being the third quarterback off the board. The fourth quarterback off the board was Baker Mayfield, and he ended up finishing eighteenth overall. The strategy of taking a quarterback late worked like a gem this year and was sound advice once again during the 2019 season. Will it again be the right move next year with a lot of the younger quarterbacks ascending? We will see how it shakes out but one thing is for sure, there will be more surprises in 2020.
The running back position in fantasy is always an important one and has been hotly debated in the last few years as PPR scoring has become more prevalent. The discussion seems to be around RB or WR or even zero RB strategies which some like to do, however it forces them to hit on some later round options. As for ADP this year the top five taken were Barkley, McCaffrey (CMC), Kamara, Elliott, and Connor. CMC finished first in points and had a remarkable season and the only other running back in the top five that finished in the top five was Ezekiel Elliott, who was taken fourth and finished fourth. There were a lot of busts in the RB position this year as James Connor finished thirty third in running back scoring. David Johnson, who was also taken in the top ten in drafts, finished as the thirty-seventh best running back in fantasy. Barkley finished tenth and Kamara finished sixteenth which isn’t terrible, but for where you had to draft them, it was not the production you were looking for. As for some that surprised Derrick Henry finished second in points and was taken thirteenth overall. Austin Ekeler and his jack of all trades finished seventh in points despite being the twenty-seventh running back taken. Mark Ingram finished inside the top ten despite being the twenty-second running back off the board. RB1’s are hard to find and many go looking for them in the first round of drafts, however maybe there is some merit to the zero RB strategy and something more fantasy players may be looking into after this season from some of the top RB’s in the 2019 season.
The Wide Receiver position, where fantasy players typically find the most consistency, was hurt by the ADP rankings this year as the biggest busts this season came from the top ten at the position. Odell Beckham was the sixth receiver taken and he finished the 31st in standard scoring. JuJu Smith-Schuster was taken as the seventh receiver off of boards and due to many circumstances finished a resounding 66th in standard scoring. That is some bad luck but for those in the middle rounds, they found some gems. Golladay, Godwin, and Kupp were all high-end WR1’s this year and came off the board as the 19th, 20th, and 21st receivers taken. The takeaway is something that a lot of auction guys know is that more bites at the apple in the middle tend to reap more benefits than just grabbing the top guys. There were a variety of reasons that this came to pass but it is important to remember that receiver is the deepest position behind quarterback so tread lightly.
The biggest takeaway is to do your homework. Don’t rely on what you are told or what is on the list during the draft. Make your own list, chop and change it constantly, and be looking at sites and information that don’t regurgitate the same coach speak and BS throughout the preseason. Look for something different and add it to your research and evolve. Fantasy has evolved and so should its players.
Corey Easley is a Contributor for the Unwrapped Sports Network website. Follow him @Cmoney52 on Twitter.