2020 fantasy football
James Robinson burst onto the scene as the biggest surprise in 2020 for fantasy owners. (Douglas DeFelice/USA TODAY Sports)

2020 Fantasy Football: Three Takeaways From This Year’s Fantasy Season

Ahhh yes, 2020 fantasy football is nearly over. As week 16 comes to a close tonight and week 17 is approaching, fantasy owners are either wondering what went wrong or thanking the fantasy gods because they made it to the championship.

In most leagues, the fantasy playoffs end in week 16 due to the fact that any NFL team with a playoff spot secured sits their star players. Through all the ups and downs of the infamous COVID year, we now have time to sit and reflect on what was, and what could have been.

So without further adieu, let’s take a look at five of the biggest takeaways from the roller coaster ride that was the 2020 fantasy football season.

The tight end position is a monopoly 

The tight end industry is run by the one and only Travis Kelce, and it has been for almost the last five seasons now. In 2020 with just one game remaining, Kelce has 105 receptions, 1,416 yards, and 11 touchdowns, which is his best fantasy season to date.

In four out of the last five seasons, Kelce has finished the year as the number one ranked TE. Kelce finished second only once to the great Rob Gronkowski in 2017, and there’s no shame in that. 

Within the last five seasons, Kelce has managed to put up 1,000 yards or more, despite only having Patrick Mahomes as his full-time QB since 2018. Very seldom do we see tight ends that put up multiple 1,000 yard seasons, let alone one 1,000 yard season.

It can be argued that Kelce should be a bonafide first rounder in every league, especially PPR leagues. We haven’t seen a run like this since Rob Gronkowski in the early 2010’s, and we certainly haven’t seen a tight end this consistent in their 30’s since Tony Gonzalez.

If Kelce is on your team you love him but if he’s with the opposition, you hate him. While there have been other great tight ends to come up through the fantasy pipeline in recent years like Darren Waller, Mark Andrews, George Kittle, nobody seems to be able to steal the TE title from Kelce.

Rookie RB’s Require a grace period

The rookie running back class in 2020 was full of surprises, most of which were pleasant ones.

Some of these up-and-coming rookies include: Jonathan Taylor, D’Andre Swift, Cam Akers, J.K Dobbins, James Robinson and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Regardless of where they were drafted, they all seemed to truly reach their fantasy potential closer to the second half of the season, with the exception of Edwards-Helaire.

According to fantasydata.com, two of the top 10 fantasy RB’s were rookies this year (Taylor at No. 7 and Robinson at No. 4), both of which had more yards and touchdowns in weeks 9-16 than they did in weeks 1-8.

Even J.K. Dobbins has had a touchdown in every game since week 11, which is extraordinary considering the Ravens have a lot of depth at the position with Mark Ingram and Gus Edwards in competition for carries.

For many fantasy owners, the most pleasant surprise this year was James Robinson, who has had at least 80 scrimmage yards every game spanning from weeks 7-14, a stat that reigns over not just rookies, but all running backs.

Nearly all of the previous rookie RB’s mentioned were high on the majority of fantasy owners’ draft boards, and nearly all of them will finish the year with formidable campaigns with just one week left.

Mobile quarterbacks are here to stay

The idea of a mobile quarterback is something that once started as a novelty idea, even during the Michael Vick era, not many people considered the RPO (Run-pass option) to be a viable playing style. 

Traditionalists of the NFL typically believe that QB’s are passers of the football first and foremost, but that attitude is slowly fading, especially in the eyes of fantasy owners.

According to fantasydata.com, five of the top 10 fantasy QB’s this year are players that many consider to be ‘mobile’ quarterbacks. Among these quarterbacks are: Kyler Murray (No. 1), Deshaun Watson (No. 4), Josh Allen (No. 5), Russell Wilson (No. 6), and Lamar Jackson (No. 8).

Josh Allen may even be a stretch to call a ‘mobile’ QB but at his size, there is nobody else that can run with speed and shed tackles like he does. 

Murray currently has 3,884 passing yards and 816 rushing yards and 37 total touchdowns which will likely grant him number one status when it’s all set and done. 

Jackson is probable to finish the season as the leader in rushing yards for QB’s, given the fact that he is at 908 right now and the Ravens play the 4-10-1 Cincinnati Bengals. 

Of the five QB’s mentioned, four of them have thrown for over 3,500 yards, with the lone ranger being Lamar Jackson. 

Four out of the five QB’s also have single-digit interceptions on the season, with Murray in double-digits at 12 INT’s.

These five quarterbacks have proven to be extremely effective at both throwing and running the football, performing at elite levels for their teams. It’s also worth noting that all of these quarterbacks are on playoff-contending teams, which shows that they aren’t here to just pad fantasy stats, but they’re here to win–and here to stay.

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