Top 7 Things I F*cked Up in 2020 Fantasy Football
This is a mix of season-long stuff, dynasty, rookie, player-specific, strategy, etc.
1. Miles Sanders
If you listened to me and went Sanders first round, I'm sorry. I did it in one league, the most televised league on my channel, obviously, the ETGD. He was my first round pick, I went 12-2 in the regulars season, first place, 11 points behind most points scored, Knocked out by Snacks in the semis.
All that to say, one player won't kill you. But, this normally would. I got let off the hook with Sanders busting because,
Almost all of the first 14 RBs were busts. On top of that, the WR1 was a bust, Michael Thomas. The WR3, Julio Jones played 9 games. The first two rounds was littered with busts, injuries and frauds. It was basically like anyone who hit on 3 of their first 4 picks, was in the playoffs this year in nearly every league.
Okay, enough of that - what's the lesson here. Well, first of, if we go byke to one of my better videos this summer, it was how to spot/draft a league-winning RB. I defined a league-winning RB as an RB that averages over 20 fppg (half ppr) over the course of the season.
We looked at all of them over the last 10 years, 2009-2019 (there were 20 of them) and broke down the similarities.
It loosely settled on the following criteria:
- catch 50 passes, be on a top 12 scoring offense, run behind a top-12 run-blocking line
If you're winning your league, you need a running back cracking the league-winning formula, 20+ fppg.
Based on the numbers we calculated and our formula, the 4 top identified running backs that had the highest likelihood of hitting this 20+ ppg mark that hadn't yet done it in their career (took out Cmac, Saquon etc) were Dalvin Cook at 1, Derrick Henry, Miles Sanders and Aaron Jones. Cook and Henry both accomplished it this year. Aaron Jones was kind of close 17 ppg, RB5 overall, but Sanders dropped off.
Few things here. When that video came out, the projected upside for both Sanders and that offense was very high. It came out in early July maybe.
From there, a few things happen and I didn't waiver on Sanders despite them lol completely my fault. 1. Their offensive line sustained a ton of injuries, massive injuries and lengthy ones. That would push the RBing part of the formula down and make his upside less captivating. I didn't budge. Then, Sanders ended up suffering his own multi-week injury in mid/late August, and as I preach each and every summer -- don't find injuries, they'll find you. I didn't waiver - continued to love Sanders. I even started a bunch of my videos towards the end of the summer stating, I know it's probably ignorant of me to continue to promote Sanders, but listen.. it's why you play fantasy football. He was a guy I liked and just wanted on at least one of my teams.
Here's what I'll say, the people fading Sanders did so strictly bc they though Pederson would put him in an RBBC. Sanders saw 216 opps in 11.5 games = that's just about 19/game. On pace for 72+ targets, this was not a committee. His efficiency metrics by just himself were good, his ypc was top 5 in the NFL again, yards per touch #7, yards created/touch #9. This dude is going to put it all together one year. - the receiving work was terrible though, tons of his targets were uncatchable and he dropped a ton of them. But after his 50 catch rookie season, that and more were obviously in his range of outcomes. Fading him for committee was wrong, fading him for a broken offensive line and not believing in Carson Wentz would've been correct.
Take away - we want to shoot for league-winning running backs in the first few rounds - but use a strict set of parameters, don't move the goal posts bc u like a guy.
2. I Literally Don't Care About Your Evaluation on QBs
Nobody on twitter knows how to value QBs. Literally no one, I will be doing literally 0 scouting of Rookie QBs and will invest in them if they have draft capital.
It was Josh Allen a few years ago. Justin Herbert this year.
I won't fade 1st round rookie QBs because I think they're not good.
I mean shit, I'm not going to fade any QBs at all because I don't think I'm good. While the majority of later QBs don't hit, the majority of hits were faded at some level in their career.
Look at the elite QBs in the NFL
- Russel Wilson (3rd round pick, 6th QB off the board in the 2012 NFL Draft).
- Aaron Rodgers (sat in that green room, fell to the 24th pick, was the 2nd QB taken in 2005... Jordan Love taken by the same franchise, just two picks later than Rodgers. People making fun of the Love pick right now, wouldn't touch him in superflex drafts, bet your attitude gonna change in a year or two)
- Tom Brady (Obviously 6th rounder in 2000).
- Justin Herbert (didn't fall far, but he was the 3rd QB off the board... we were told he was easily the worst of the 3, looking like the best).
- How about in 2018, when the Bills drafted Josh Allen as the 3rd qb off the board and most people believe Josh Rosen the guy picked three spots behind him was better. In that same draft.. who else do we have as the 5th QB off the board? Last pick of the first round? Oh yes, reigning MVP Lamar Jackson. In a superflex rookie draft, Lamar was probably like a borderline 2nd round pick..
- One year prior to that, wasnt their a team or 10 that did somthing really stupid... oh yeah - the Bears took Mitchell Trubisky 2nd overall, where Patrick Mahomes fell to the 10th pick and Watson to 12.
My point being here is this:
I promise you, that when you're talking about evaluating QBs, you have absolutely 0 idea what you're talking about.
Almost every good QB in the league, not real NFL and fantasy dropped and/or was faded in the real NFL, which translates to fantasy. When people completely fade QBs in dynasty because they think they're a bad QB, it's a wildly wrong approach.
This is more tailored to dynasty players, and those playing in superflex dynasty leagues -- which should be anyone playing dynasty. Invest in QBs in superflex and dynasty. Do it often. More often than not they not wastes of picks, and are almost always more valuable in trade then where you drafted them.
3. Getting it done without anybody is a POSITIVE not negative
- Volume comes from being the only option, efficiency comes from being good.
- One big miss I had a couple of years ago was expecting JuJu to take a huge step forward when Antonio Brown left. Obviously didn't happen.
- That's a big red flag.
- You take a look at a few guys this year:
- C. Ridley was absolutely dominant with or without Julio, on the field.
- Again: Volume comes from being the only option, efficiency comes from being good.
- And this is a great lesson for me to learn when it comes to Brandon Aiyuk, he was great without Kittle and Deebo.
- Again: Volume comes from being the only option, efficiency comes from being good.
- Look at Darren Waller last year. It was a reason were really high on him coming into 2020. Everyone said he was only good bc OAK didn't have anyone. They drafted Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards, Lynn Bowden.. those people feeling real fucking stupid now:
- Lot of people out here deleting replies.
- ***INSERT WALLER TWITTER VIDEO***
- He was wildly efficient in every metric in 2019, proving he was good at football, not just a stat compiler.
4. Wide Receivers on New Teams
- One of the most popular narratives this off-season thatnks to the movement of a lot of really good WRs was.... that WRs on new teams cant be good!
- Welp. While the narrative works more often than not... 2020 was the big not.
- Stefon Diggs absolutely lights the league on fire and sets career-highs across the board, finishes as fantasy's WR3 - leads the NFL in targets, receptions, and receiving yards.
- Now, while no one expected the jump out of Josh Allen that they saw, it was always in the range of outcomes that Diggs saw an absurd number of targets, being the first time he's gotten to operate as an alpha. And the fact that John Brown, at 30 went for 1000 yards in Buffalo the year prior... we thought Diggs couldn't go nuts?
- I'm pissed at myself on this one, because that was actually what I was saying when the move first happened, and than I got caught in the echochamber of bullshit ass fantasy twitter and convinced myself that there's no way Diggs could be that good with Josh Allen.
- *** SHOW VIDEO OF DIGGS TAKE ***
- D Hop I was hands-off, that was just a straight L, thought he still wasn't winning you chips in the 2nd round. Still would go RB over a 14 ppg WR in fantasy any day of the week, the value over replacement, unless you're putting up top 2, maybe 3 type numbers isn't there for me.
- Regardless, take away here is that just to throw a blanket statement over any general position or circumstance and not look at it individually is wildly ignorant, also any time the entire industry is getting behind one blanket statement like that, you know it's the absolute wrong move.
5. Rookie WRs
- We had five separate rookie WRs finish as top 33 fantasy WRs.
- Justin Jefferson, Chase Claypool, CeeDee Lamb, Tee Higgins, Brandon Aiyuk.
- Lamb (90-WR37)
- Next 3 were Jeudy, Ruggs, Reagor
- Aiyuk (139-WR54 - only bc we knew of Deebo's foot)
- Jefferson (157-WR57)
- Shenault, Edwards, Pittman
- Higgins/Claypool undrafted
- I'm trying to think of something actionable here, bc most people will just be like... "dont be scared to draft rookie WRs", and tbh I still dont think that's good drafting.
- I'm not sure that I'll change my mindset on drafting them, at least not early. Those guys during the first weeks that dont produce and were picked in the 15th/16th round, are the first to get dropped. But here's what I'll come away with on this one... if the last few years have showed us anything, it's that rookie WRs need to be an absolute priority on waiver wires once you see see a little glimpse of sunlight. Once there's even the slightest slip of the titty out the bra, grab them.
- Of course there are going to be exceptions where they start strong from week one, but almost always, there's a pickup window right at the beginning of the season. Jefferson didnt do anything in weeks 1+2, was WR3, as soon as he exploded in week 3 my waiver wire video that week was like drooling over him, telling you he was top priority.
- Chase Claypool went undrafted most likely, if he didnt he was probably dropped after a 39-yard week one.. week 2 3-88-1, the rest is history.
- Tee Higgins, didnt even play week one. Week 2, not a big statline, but 6 targets, played over AJ Green, more snaps, that should've been a sign to pickup and boom Week 3 gets 9 targets score two touchdowns.. over his next 9 games he'd go over 62 yards and/or score a touchdown in 8-of-9 games.
- So, again, not saying it's always wise to draft rookie WRs, but the slimmer of breakout from them should make them a priority on the wire for you - Terry McLaurin last year, AJ Brown, etc.
6. It is ALWAYS worth rostering the preseason buzz RBs (and TEs)
It is HARD to come by running backs in dynasty. Their trade value is sky-high, and if they're any good at all, or anything about their collegiate profile is even semi likeable, they're going to go too high in rookie drafts.
Byke to the buzz stuff 97.8% of these guys won't hit. But on the off chance that one of them does, the juice was 100% worth the squeeze. I.E. James Robinson, and the dude that I'm actually personally referring to when I thought about this was J.D. McKissic. In the Go Fade Me Dynasty league, my most important dynasty league, I can't say McKissic was my best player, but possibly my most valuable down the stretch. When I was dealing with Ekeler and Cmac injuries and Tyreek Hill's bye, he was the goat. That 35 yard TD catch he had at the end of the game in Week 16 won me my championship in that league - beat Scott by like 4, doesnt happen without that.
WRs are a dime a dozen, even in dynasty. You'll almost never be able to pick a guy up right off the waiver wire and play him in your RB slot in dynasty - you can almost always do that at WR, they might not have a good week or be on a great passing offense, but you'll be able to find a starter.
This rule is actually two-fold - and I'd say even more prevalent when it comes to tight ends. Logan Thomas and Robert Tonyan this year -- Darren Waller last year.
When you hear buzz.... don't be late. Treat that buzz like an alarm clock and do not hit snooze.
What might be worthwhile is to reserve 1-3 roster spots that you use as like a carousel for these guys, used specifically for rostering them. Like someone gets hype, pick him up, and let him sit there for a bit -- if nothing, grab the newest hype guy -- if the first guy continues to get hype, leave him obviously.
7. The Market Will ALWAYS Reset Itself, and there's so much value to be had.
We went crazy on RBs this year in drafts. Early often and early.
It kind of might have bit you in the ass. Because everyone was doing it.
Again, whenever the entire market is doing something, it's best practice to fade.
That's on me for shitting where I eat.
This is what I said in the pre-draft strategy video and something I talked about often throughout the summer:
****Insert Video of Strategy****
A billion 1000 yard WRs led us to believe the position was unbelievably deep without high-end production. One of my favorite quotes,
If you're chasing numbers, you're looking backwards".
Naturally, the market reset itself, and only 16 WRs went over 1000 yards this year.
So, next year going into drafts people are gonna be like exactly as I said.. there are elite WRs on the top and the middle rounds arent great... etc. Shit is so predictable.
On the flip side....
Be a historian, and you'll be a champion.
We picked a brutal year to go all-in on RBs. But now they're going to be had at incredible value in drafts next year. The overall strategy of picking RBs was never based on individual players, it's based on positional scarecity and the high-end league-winning upside that comes from hitting on an RB as opposed to a WR. Every team has 2-3 viable fantasy WRs, not every team even has a single fantasy viable running back. The numbers are simple here and now that we can get them at value... next year's fantasy leagues are going to be ripe for the taking.