5 Crazy Fantasy Football Stats | 2018 Fantasy Football
One of the only things I've learned about fantasy football over the years of pretending to analyze it is that you really know nothing. Literally, anything you say has a coin flip chance to be wrong, and a coin flip chance to be right. Crazy shit happens, every Sunday, of every month, of every NFL szn. So, I've compiled 5 crazy fantasy football stats from the 2017 season (and a few others) that will help us look forward to 2018.
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1. Elite Fantasy RBs > Elite Fantasy WRs
The NFL might be on it's way to becoming a passing league, but as far as fantasy football is concerned, it's still a running back's league. Looking back 8 years, we see that elite RBs far out-produce elite WRs in fantasy. There was the outlier 2015 season when a ton of RBs got injured and/or busted, leading to the 0-RB theory in 2016, and if you faded that theory, you probably won your league.
The average Top-5 fantasy RB outscores the average Top-5 fantasy WR YoY by 23 fantasy points. If you take out the 2015 szn, that number shoots up to 34....
RBs are still king - and they'll be a heavvvvvy part of my early draft strategy in 2018 fantasy football drafts.
2. Pass-Catching Backs Are Here to Stay
You could look at this a few ways, but I think what it comes down to is that there are only a few teams with true featured-backs and coaches are becoming more and more comfortable using pass-catching backs as specialists. The days of the bruising, ground-and-pound are basically gone. In 2017 we had 14 different RBs with over 60 targets and 50 receptions, that's almost half the teams in the NFL.
Here are the fantasy finishes of the 14 RBs with at least 50 receptions in 2017: RB1, RB2, RB3, RB4, RB5, RB6, RB7, RB9, RB11, RB15, RB23, RB32, RB39, RB41. And that doesn't include Dalvin Cook (RB9 on FPPG), Chris Thompson (RB11) and Rex Burkhead (RB16) who all likely would've reached 50 receptions and finished as top-20 RBs had injuries not shortened their campaign.
If you're looking for a tie-breaker, look no further than a running back's involvement in the passing game. The way the NFL is going, defenders getting bigger, stronger, faster combined with o-lineman and quality QB at a premium - RBs who can get open quick and catch the ball are more important than ever.
3. First Round WRs Have Been THE WORST Over the Last 3 Years
Take a hot second to look at and digest this chart:
The only guy you'd be remotely happy with drafting at this point is Amari Cooper and MAYBE Parker or Fuller - but the excitement with those two is more about potential then development. Injuries and lack of production have plagued these three classes like the fuckin flu did to America this winter.
We take a look at the RBs over the same span:
A true case of quality trumps quantity. Can we still use the word trump in regards to something being better than or dominating something else? We'll keep politikkks out of this.
Every one of these RBs picked in the first round has been a key, staple piece to their respective offense. I think this kinda goes back to stat #2 - teams recognize it's a passing league, but maybe it'd be wiser to invest outside of the WR position unless you're seeing a once-every-10 year type player (Julio, A.J. Green, type player). I didn't name Antonio Brown because no one knew what he'd develop into. He was passed on 194 times before Pittsburgh rolled the dice. And trips they hit. Anywho, investing in pass-catching RBs seems to be the wave, and the way to develop your offense. Thinking outside of the first round even, we have Joe Mixon, Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt, Tarik Cohen, Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones, Marlon Mack, Chris Carson... all from just last year's draft.
I guess the points of this whole thing is to be less afraid of rookie running backs, especially those that can catch - at least less afraid than rookie WRs, especially those at the top of the draft, most of whom can't catch...
4. Todd Gurley is the first non-QB to lead the NFL in fantasy points per game (PPR) since 2006.
Gurley averaged 25.8 PPR FPPG. Russell Wilson finished 2nd (25.7) and Carson Wentz 3rd (25.1). LaDainian Tomlison, Steven Jackson & Larry Johnson were the last non-QBs to lead fantasy football in this back in 2006.
5. Of the Top-8 Fantasy QBs in 2017, Only Two of Them Were Drafted As a Top-8 QB
Those two were Russell Wilson & Tom Brady. The other 6?
- Cam Newton - QB9 finished as QB2
- Alex Smith - QB22 finished as QB3
- Kirk Cousins - QB10 finished as QB5
- Carson Wentz - QB18 finished as QB6
- Phillip Rivers - QB13 finished as QB7
- Matthew Stafford - QB15 finished as QB8
As always, draft the late-round QB. Unless you play in a QB point-heavy league or 2QB league and you want to invest in a top-tier QB. Otherwise, there will be these types of guys that pop off and out-perform their ADP every single year, usually sitting on your waiver wire.