Coming off a rather interesting fantasy football season, there are 10 crazy stats in particular that you should know before heading into the 2019 season. With so much to go over, we’re not going to waste your time. Let’s dive into the goodies.
1) Even though he only played in 12 games this season, Melvin Gordon finished as the RB6 overall. His 18.8 fantasy points per game were only behind fellow 2015 draftee Todd Gurley. In 12 games, Gordon recorded 1,375 total yards and 14 total touchdowns, which gives him about 114 yards and 1.1 touchdowns per game on average. If Gordon would have stayed healthy and played all 16 games, his per game average indicated he would have finished as the RB2 overall, surpassing Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, and Ezekiel Elliott. With all those running backs finishing higher this year, the early average draft position would make me think Melvin Gordon will be available towards the end of the first round, which is a steal considering we would be talking about him as a top-3 pick if he stayed healthy.
2) The Chicago Bears defense was one of the best fantasy defenses of all time in 2018. If you drafted or picked up this unit early in the season, congrats on scooping up one of the best gems in fantasy this season. The Bears defense scored a whopping 183 fantasy points. That’s 30+ more than the Los Angeles Rams defense who had the second-best fantasy defense this season. To put this feat into a more broad perspective, check this out. The Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers combined for 161 fantasy points. That’s still 22 points less than the Bears team. Whether it was the teams combined 50 sacks, or the 27 interceptions, the 23 forced fumbles, or even the 6 defensive touchdowns, this team exceeded expectations. It was a mighty success under new head coach Matt Nagy and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. I am excited to see if they keep up the success heading into year two of the Nagy Era.
3) Davante Adams finished the season as the most underappreciated elite WR in the NFL and its time we start taking notice. Anyway, it goes without question when saying that Adams was extremely dominant this season. He was a top-20 PPR WR in every game this year besides one, he never had below 16 fantasy points in a game, and had 80 yards and/or a TD in every single game this season. We have to factor all of that in with the fact that Adams saw the hardest schedule this year when it comes to corners. He saw the Bears unit twice, Xavier Rhodes twice, Josh Norman, Tre’davious White, Darius Slay, Richard Sherman, Stephon Gillmore, and Patrick Peterson. Even when the Green Packers struggled as a whole, Davante Adams got his, and that’s all that matters considering the Packers could be struggling this upcoming season.
4) When you check and see where players ended at their respected positions at the end of the year, you might be surprised to see Derrick Henry finish as the RB14 overall. He struggled mightily at the beginning of the season, as he was the RB37 from weeks 1-13. Things did pick up after a monumental Thursday night football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he had 240 yards and 4 touchdowns. From weeks 14-16, he went on to finish as the RB1 overall during that 3-week span. Of course, it’s a small sample size but Henry should have a lot of hype surrounding him this offseason due to his big finish to the season. He will be drafted as a high end RB2 with RB1 upside as long as the Tennessee Titans continue to use him as they did back in weeks 14-16 this past season.
5) Patrick Mahomes finished as the QB1 and it wasn’t even close. Not many people expected him to come out and do what he did in his first season as the Kansas City Chiefs starter. Mahomes finished the year with an absurd 400 fantasy points. The second closest QB in fantasy points was Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger with 327 fantasy points. To prove how crazy those numbers are, Mahomes had 400 fantasy points while only 6 other QB’s got above 300+ fantasy points. Digging more into Mahomes personal stats, he had 50 passing touchdowns which led the league, 5,097 pass yards which were second in the league, and also led starting QB’s in the league in yards per attempt with 8.8. The hype surrounds Mahomes this offseason is going to be crazy but rightfully so. He is without a doubt the first QB drafted in all draft formats this upcoming season.
6) George Kittle was the most explosive TE this season. Kittle finished the season with 20 plays that went for 20+ yards, leading all TE’s in the league. Only 7 WR’s had more big plays so it’s very impressive to think about, especially when knowing Kittle is a TE. Kittle went on to finish the season as the TE3 overall behind Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz. It was a close race to superiority despite Kittle seeing 20 targets less than the other Pro-Bowl TE’s. With the shallow amount of talent at the TE position, as usual, Kittle will be one of the first TE’s taken off the board this upcoming season. Imagine the upside he has going from Nick Mullens to franchise QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
7) Juju Smith-Schuster was everything we expected this season and more. The second-year wideout from USC went on to build off of his impressive rookie season and left us wanting more. He finished with 166 targets (4th in the league), 111 receptions (6th in the league), 1,426 receiving yards (5th in the league), and finished as the WR9 overall. He was close with teammate Antonio Brown in every category this season besides the touchdown department. If Juju would have gotten say 2-3 more TD’s he would have catapulted inside the top-5 WR’s. I’m never going to say don’t draft Antonio Brown, but Juju offers similar upside and you will be able to get him a round or two later in redraft leagues, although it’s a whole different case in a dynasty league where Juju will likely be drafted ahead of Brown.
8) If you followed any of my work this past year whether it was on @fantasyfootballstateofmind on IG, or @dailyfantasy305 on Twitter, you knew I was all in on Joe Mixon in 2018. This guy exceeded my expectations and then some. Even though he missed 2 games this season, he still finished as the RB9 overall in .5 point per catch leagues. He flew under the radar throughout most of the season even though he was extremely safe and flashed upside. Only Joe Mixon, Todd Gurley, and Saquon Barkley had 5+ games with 20+ fantasy points this season. We also have to mention the safety he brought fantasy owners because he only had one bad game all year and it came against the Kansas City Chiefs back in week 7. The Chiefs won the game early so the Bengals had to abandon the run game. Lastly, my favorite thing about Mixon’s game is his big play ability. He had the second must runs this year with 12 20+ yards. Only Saquon Barkley had more this season. He is locked into a top-10 RB role in 2019.
9) Julio Jones finished 2018 with one of the best single seasons of his career. He went on to lead the league in targets and on top of that, recorded an absurd 1,677 receiving yards, which led the league. On top of the number of targets and yards, he got this season, he actually scored touchdowns! The 8 he got in 2018 was the most he recorded going all the way back to 2015. It’s crazy to think that it took him all the way until week 9 for him to score his first touchdown of the season. After he got that out of the way, he started going bonkers. From weeks 9-14 of the regular season, he had 5 games where he went for 20+ fantasy points. After finishing the year as the WR5 overall, he is a bonafide WR1 in 2019 and deserves the respect.
10) Let’s test something out here, Do you know who Ka’imi Fairbairn is? No? Never heard of him? Well, he finished the season as the league’s number one scoring kicker. I’m bringing this to your attention because Fairbairn had an average draft position going into the 2018 season as the 26th ranked kicker. Even though he finished as the top fantasy kicker in the league, he still wasn’t even owned in 85% of leagues worldwide. How does that work? People think of Justin Tucker and Stephen Gostkowski and then pay no mind to the unheard of Houston Texans kicker. This is a lesson learned, do not draft a kicker until the last round because you got people drafting Stephen Gostkowski in the 7th round and he barely finished as a top-10 kicker.