What We Learned in Week 16 (Fantasy Football)
I’m not going to say much about Week 16 in general, since the championship rings should speak for themselves. I’d rather spend a few sentences being sappy:
I hope all of you had a VERY Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday weekend with your family. I want to thank every one of you that read my work this season, I truly appreciate every single article view more than you could ever know. I’m very blessed to write for such an amazing site, and I love being apart of such a unique, supportive fantasy football community. This was such a tough year for so many people around the world, and it was a taxing year for all of us in so many ways. It’s important to spend time being grateful for the things you have, and I’m truly grateful for the Footballers, the #FootClan, and this beautiful game we all love.
The work won’t stop of course, but this is the end of this individual series. Even during the offseason for the NFL, fantasy football season never stops. If you have any ideas or feedback on how to improve this series for next year, feel free to find me on Twitter @TheFFGator. I can’t promise my Gif game is as strong as Mike Wright’s, though.
Here are the big items I took from Week 16 that I’ll be keeping my eye on going forward:
The NFL Pulled it Off, and We Should be Thankful
There were certainly some bumps in the road along the way, but all in all this season surpassed expectations in every way. There was a time during the offseason that it looked like we may not even make it a month, and a lot of people were assuming fantasy drafts were all for nothing. The full NFL season happening year after year is something we often take for granted, and 2020 was the perfect time to reflect on how awesome it is we get to watch such high-level athletes ball out weekly. There were a few confusing situations in Denver, Baltimore, and this week in Cleveland, but overall it was excellent execution on behalf of the league, and we really couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.
Alvin Kamara is a Fantasy Monster
Six touchdowns?! Seriously!? What a BEAST. Kamara was one of the best picks in the early part of the season, and he put the cherry on top of his fantasy season with a record-setting game on Christmas day. If you were facing Kamara, you probably didn’t even watch the games today because it was all but locked up for your opponent. After a three year stretch of excellent fantasy production, Kamara should be in the conversation for the top overall pick in PPR leagues next year and should be a lock for the top five in any format. Alvin makes things look easy on Sunday, and he is well on his way to being considered one of the great running backs of this generation. He’s also a primary example of the “new” running back that NFL teams are starting to lean on. If you can run routes, catch the ball, and hold your own between the tackles – there’s a place for you on a high-powered offense.
Jonathan Taylor Delivered as a League Winner
I was sweating my Jonathan Taylor love earlier in the season when he started to underperform and lose snaps to Nyheim Hines. I put it in writing that I’d prefer Taylor to the likes of Joe Mixon, Josh Jacobs, and even Miles Sanders. Thankfully for those of you that drafted him, and for my ego – Taylor performed very well. In the final four weeks of the fantasy season, he averaged a whopping 21.4 fantasy points and probably won a lot of you championships in the process. 2021 will bring the return of the Mack, but Taylor should still be an excellent pick and will be a hot commodity in dynasty and keeper leagues.
Lamar Jackson is Still a Great Fantasy QB
At this point in the season, it should be fairly safe to say that Lamar Jackson was way overdrafted. Through the dog days of the Ravens season, there were moments that he started to look more and more like a liability in lineups too. After a full sixteen weeks, the fantasy community should feel confident labeling Lamar an excellent fantasy quarterback, even if his 2020 ADP was too high. He has used his legs much more as of late, and that’s the key to his success at the top of your lineup. He should settle into the middle rounds in 2021 drafts which is where he belongs, and his standing as an elite fantasy asset is still in tact for now.
DJ Chark is Still Really Good
DJ Chark was the victim of some really bad luck in 2020, as his quarterback changed weekly and his offense was a complete disaster. Chark is a talented player who benefited from an absurd touchdown rate in 2019, and his ADP was a bit high because of it. For those of you that play in dynasty leagues (which I recommend), or those of you wondering about his future in the fantasy realm, I want to urge you not too worry too much. Chark is a great talent, and he will have a generational quarterback prospect throwing him the rock for the next decade. He should outplay his 2021 ADP if it doesn’t get out of control, and he’s one of my favorite trade targets in dynasty leagues right now.
Seriously, It’s Time to Give Up on the Aging Running Backs
This narrative is becoming a part of my identity because I am growing increasingly confused about why people hold on to it. Drafting fantasy running backs that have a ton of tread on their tires and have either switched teams or are a part of an offense without a high ceiling is a terrible idea. Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, Melvin Gordon, and yes, even Zeke, no longer have the ceiling they once did. I don’t mean that as a knock on their talent, it’s just a reflection of the position in the modern NFL. When you have a workhorse running back, he is going to wear down much quicker than other players, and his production and athleticism is a ticking time bomb. We can make all the excuses we want to make about why they deserve more opportunity, but more times than not your best course of action is to completely fade these types of backs. Alvin Kamara and CMC are unique cases since they are primarily pass-catchers, but even those two will eventually disappoint you if you continue to pay the price it takes to draft them. It’s a much smarter idea to try and take the guy who is about to break out, not the aging guy who might bounce back in a new environment.
The Dolphins are Ascending
The Miami Dolphins are quietly a team to be reckoned with, even if it’s not obvious right now. Brian Flores has done a phenomenal job building a roster with plenty of talent and grit, and Tua Tagovailoa should continue to improve. They also have a boatload of picks in the upcoming draft, and their solidified offensive line and young defensive corps put them in a great position for a long time. If you’re a fan of betting futures, I think the Dolphins will compete for the division crown in 2021 and could be a dark-horse candidate to go deep into the playoffs next year. If you’re a fan of the Lions, the Jets, the Jags, or any other franchise stuck in purgatory, I’d urge you to write letters to the front office and request they copy the Dolphins.
Diontae Johnson Will be 2021’s Calvin Ridley
Calvin Ridley was 2020’s Chris Godwin, and Diontae Johnson could be 2021’s Calvin Ridley. Johnson was absolutely peppered with targets this season, but his drops were the statistic that grabbed all of the headlines. If he can clean up his drops even a little bit, he will absolutely feast in 2021. Johnson should be a top 50 fantasy pick if you’re going by his production and role in the offense, but I have a good feeling he won’t be anywhere near there once drafts start to happen. Juju Smith-Schuster may not be in Pittsburgh anymore which would skyrocket Johnson’s ADP, but either way, I think he’s a slam dunk pick barring any unforeseen changes with the Steelers offensive core.
We May Have Overhyped the Seahawks Fantasy Prowess
I picked Russell Wilson to be the MVP this year, and after four weeks I felt like Nostradamus. DK Metcalf was the dynasty WR1, Tyler Lockett was an underrated WR2, and the memes of Russ cooking were exceptionally beautiful. Now that cooler heads have prevailed, it’s possible we may have overblown just how awesome this offense would be all year. Russ is still efficient and the Seahawks are champions of their division, but their fantasy output fell off a cliff. Tyler Lockett hasn’t crossed the 70-yard mark since his week six explosion, and he’s been someone we’d normally drop if his name value didn’t carry so much weight. Metcalf reminds me a lot of Kenny Golladay in terms of his fantasy production, so I’m worried that he may be overdrafted in 2021. His ADP will determine that, but for now – Russ and the Seahawks aren’t cooking dinner for many people anymore.
Davante Adams Should Be a Top-10 Fantasy Pick Again
Adams has been an absolute stud this year, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. He is a touchdown machine and the top dog for one of the best quarterbacks in history, ascending into his prime on a team without a second primary weapon. As far as fantasy football goes, Adams has been in a league of his own all season (well, a league with Tyreek Hill at least). Adams has a higher fantasy points per game total than Michael Thomas did in 2019, and he had one of the best fantasy seasons in recent memory. Adams should be right back in the top ten next season, and unless Rodgers’ arm falls off he should deliver on that ADP. Hill and Adams are the dynasty wide receivers that rule them all, and it’s been a blast watching Davante ball out this year.