FFStatistics MVP Award Show
The fantasy season has ended and it’s time to hand out some awards. I’m sure you’ll hear or read many of these with a bunch of different categories but I’m going straight to the meat. No side soup or salad here. Just the main course. We’re going to name the Fantasy MVP. Or at least who he is in my eyes.The term Fantasy MVP is a bit relative though. For some, it might mean the top scoring player in fantasy on a given year. Others might look at the season-ending numbers that show us which players were on the most fantasy championship teams.
For me, it’s a bit different. When I think of the fantasy MVP, I think of the player that most outperformed his ADP and projections. The Guy who didn’t necessarily come out of nowhere, although some of the nominees did this year, it can also just be a stud talent that took a huge leap forward this year. My list is a mixture of both and I’m sure some will disagree but either way, these players all showed they are worth more than we thought just a few months ago. I may even have an LVP nominee at the end for you (I’ll give you a hint, some people took him as high as the first or second round depending on league size and format). First things first though…
…And The Nominees For 2018 FF MVP Are…
(Reminder: Based on Production over Projection [4 Point/ Standard], Final rank, Consistency, and Weekly point totals through the first 15 games of the season.)
Patrick Mahomes, QB Kansas City Chiefs
- 2018 Pre Season QB Rank/projection-(16/250.2)
- 2018 Final Rank (Weeks 1-16)-Total Points-4 Point per TD/ 6 Point (1- 399.7/ 495.7)
- Production over Performance- (Rank +15/ Production +149.7)
- (See Table Above) Winning Weeks/ Good/ Solid/ Bad/ Losing- (6/ 7/ 1/ 1/ 0)
The Case For Mahomes
To say that the KC quarterback has been amazing this year would simply just be a disservice to the second year signal caller. The potential for the number one seed in the AFC in his first year of starting would be impressive on its own but we’re here for fantasy. Mahomes hit the ground running this year, or I guess passing would be more correct. From the First week when he threw for four touchdowns in a showdown with a tough division rival, to his Week 16 shootout with Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks. Mahomes hasn’t shown many signs of weakness in his game. He is still just a second-year player but young as he is, the shine on him is bright.
Mahomes season was about as consistent as can be. Only once this season did he finish outside the QB1 range (Top 12). The one game where he finished outside the Top 12 was against a Jacksonville defense that had been and is still a top pass defense. Even with the subpar finish, they had to 2018. In that game, Mahomes still threw for more than 300 yards and added a rushing touchdown. A finish of 16th to match is pre-season ADP. If he had thrown one TD that week, he would have been around the QB9 in Week 5.
Overall Mahomes had 14 QB1 weeks and averaged 26.6 points per week. 4.8 more points a week than the next closest option (Ben Roethlisberger 21.8.). He threw for over 300 yards in 11 of 15 games this season (So far), 50 total TDs (48 pass/ 2 rush) to just 13 total turnovers (11 interceptions/ 2 Lost fumbles), and nearly 5000 yards (4816, 1 Game left). All impressive by any measure. Then add in the fact that he is just a second-year player (first-year starter) and the sky is the limit.
Whether you wanna talk about his left-handed or sidearm throws, the fact he never missed a snap, or just look at the monster weeks Mahomes had, the season as a whole has been one big highlight. He started his season out in record-breaking fashion with a per game average of 20.7 completions on 31 attempts for just shy of 300 yards (298.7) and 4.3 touchdowns with zero interceptions (3 Game Totals-896 Yards/ 13 Touchdowns- Manning had 12 in 2013).
If there was a lull in his season it took place over Weeks 4-5. We knew he could not keep up the pace he started with but to say his next two games were bad is really underselling what he did in them. Mahomes completed 25 of 41.5 attempts for 308.5 yards and 1.5 total touchdowns (two rushing scores). Nowhere near the standard, he had set for himself but still not too shabby at all in a players fifth and sixth career starts(One in 2017, Week 17).
After the two so-called down weeks, Mahomes went back on his torrid pace. Over the next seven games, he would only fail to throw for three or more touchdowns once and over 300 yards twice. A sustained seven-game pace to rival the one that Peyton Manning went on it 2013. In many ways, Mahomes was even better than the future HOFer.
Mahomes Weeks 6-13 (7 Games, Week 12 Bye)
Completed 25/ 36.1 Attempts, 69.17 Comp. %, 344.3 Yards, 3.9 TDs, 1.1 INTs, 9.53 Y/A, 13.77 Y/C, 4.1 Rushing Attempts/ 24.6 Yards, 0 TDs 121.8 QB rate, 29.08 FF Points (15 Game Avg. 26.64)
Manning’s 2013 Season (16 Games)
Completed 28.1/ 41.2 Attempts, 68.29 Comp. %, 342.3 Yards, 3.4 TDs, 0.6 INTs, 8.3 Y/A, 12.18 Y/C, 2 Rushing Attempts/ -1.9 Yards, 0.1 TDs, 115.1 QB rate, 25.62 FF Points
Mahomes finished out his season a little less stellar but still solid as can be. He threw multiple touchdowns in all three games (7 Total) and almost 300 yards a game (297.7) with only one turnover. The young quarterback also has one more game to play and the Chiefs do have something to play for. Mahomes is around 11 points away from passing Manning for the biggest fantasy season ever. He should have no issue reaching the milestone. He is alo second in the NFL in Passings Yards, another milestone that could be reached by the young QB.
Phillip Lindsay, RB Denver Broncos
- 2018 Pre Season RB Rank/Projection-(81/34)
- 2018 Final Rank (Weeks 1-16)/Total Points-PPR(12/ 222.8), 1/2 Point(12/205.3), Standard(11/ 187.8)
- Production over Performance- (Rank +69/ Production+153.8)
- Winning Weeks/ Good/ Solid/ Bad/ Losing- (2/ 0/ 7/ 4/ 2)
The Case For Lindsay
When looking at Lindsay’s season we need to start before the draft. When the Combine invites were sent out, he didn’t receive one. “Add another chip on my shoulder,” he said. He was coming off a year in which
When the name Trey Quinn came over the loudspeaker, the former Colorado back knew his dreams of being drafted were over. Add another chip. Not particularly agile or strong when he tested prior to the draft. Standing just 5’7″ and weighing 184 pounds, he is a pretty small back. One thing he is though is fast (4.44 40 Yard Dash) and luckily for him, teams want speed.
Because Lindsay wasn’t drafted, he was labeled a free agent and able to sign with any team, The Denver Broncos came calling. They had seen him close-up being as they play in the same state and Denver liked enough of what they saw to bring him in. The speedy back came into a young and crowded RB room and knew it was gonna be a fight to stay on the roster. Fellow rookies Royce Freeman and David Williams, second-year back DeAngelo Henderson, and third-year back Devantae Booker also occupied space in the committee. Lindsay had a bag of chips on his shoulder.
Williams and Henderson have since moved on to different teams and Lindsay earned his place over them in the room in Pre-Season. He won a return job but also showed he can be a viable asset in the backfield for the Broncos. His rushing improved each week but his receiving game usage did fall off which is surprising for a back that hauled in 117 passes for over 1000 (1084) yards in college. He id only score three times through the air but still, his usage can’t be ignored.
- vs MIN-5 Touches (2 Rush/ 3 Receptions), 47 total yards (7 Rush/ 40 Rec, Led RB corp. in Yards), 1 TD, 1 Ret, 34 Yards
- vs CHI-6 Rushes, 32 Yards (Led RB corp. in Yards), 1 Return, 12 Yards
- @ WAS-6 Touches (5 Rush/1 Reception), 49 Total Yards (31 Rush/18 Rec, Second among DEN RBs in Yards), 1 Return, 20 Yards
The rookie UDFA took the league by… well, surprise or storm. You pick. He put together a stretch of games that had him exiting Week 14 as the RB9 in standard and 10th in both 1/2 and full point PPR scoring. The numbers were extremely impressive for someone with not only very few expectations but also a player that didn’t see more than 50% of the snaps in a game until Week 7 and never saw more than 65% the entire season. Not even in games that Royce Freeman was hurt. But he produced and in a big way for your team.
Weeks 1-14 (13 Games)
- 17 Touches/ 18 Opportunities (2/3 Targets), 102 Total Yards, 1 TD, 35 Snap %
- 15 Touches/ 15 Oppo.(1/1 Target), 111 Yards, 42 Snap %
- 4 Touches/ 6 Oppo.(0/2 Targets), 20 Rush Yards, 16 Smap %- Ejected for throwing punches (Played 11 snaps/ 16%)
- 14 Touches/ 14 Oppo.(2/2 Targets), 79 Total Yards, 1 TD, 40 Snap %
- 15 Touches/ 16 Oppo.(3/4 Targets), 81 Total Yards, 38 Snap %
- 10 Touches/ 11 Oppo.(6/7 Targets), 66 Total Yards, 30 Snap %
- 15 Touches/ 15 Oppo.(1/1 Target), 96 Total Yards, 1 TD, 59 Snap %
- 21 Touches/ 21 Oppo.(3/3 Targets), 112 Total Yards, 1 TD, 56 Snap %- Freeman Banged up so Lindsay gets his first 20+ Touch game.
- 19 Touches/ 20 Oppo.(2/3 Targets), 84 Yards, 58 Snap %
- 15 Touches/ 16 Oppo.(4/5 Targets), 106 Total Yards, 2 TDs, 57 Snap %
- 14 Touches/ 14 Oppo.(0 Targets), 110 Rush Yards, 1 TD, 63 Snap %
- 20 Touches/ 20 Oppo.(1/1 Target), 159 Total Yards, 2 TD, 42 Snap %
- 18 Touches/ 21 Oppo.(4/7 Targets), 51 Total Yards, 1 TD, 65 Snap %
Lindsay scored 10 times in the first 14 weeks of the year and was clearly the best of the three backs the Broncos use primarily. Booker plays on third downs primarily so one would assume they like his pass protection better and Freeman is the bruising power back. Lindsay largely had to do a lot of his work as a 2 down back and in between the 20’s, in space. He averaged 5.76 Yards every time he ran the ball and 7.24 Yards per Reception while gaining just shy of 91 yards a game (90.6). He also added in 10 Returns (7 KR/ 3 PR). For the Draft Capital you had to use on him, or lack thereof (Waivers), Lindsay was well on his way to being a potential dark horse in the FF MVP race.
Weeks 15-16 (Injured in Week 16)
The only reason this isn’t a close race is due to Lindsays finish. In Week 15, he came up small for your team with 44 Total Yards and didn’t cross the goal line. He did however still receive 20 Opportunities and hauled in four of his six targets. In PPR he wasn’t quite as big of a dud. In Week 16, Lindsay was on his way to a good day. 12 Touches on the same amount of Oppo. with two receptions on as many Targets for 56 Total yards before exiting with a hand injury and is now on injured reserve.
Season Wrap Up
Lindsay became just the third UDFA to rush for over 1000 yards in his rookie year (1034). He was also closing in on the Broncos rookie rushing record but will come up short. I wouldn’t call Lindsay a workhorse moving into next year as the Backfield will still be crowded. The type of injury he suffered as well will need to be fully healed before he can carry a ball again (Wrist). Whatever takes place moving forward, the Broncos rookie RB had a great season and will be interesting moving into next year. Lindsay also could have been a great fill in if you drafted Lev Bell and didn’t get James Conner, as Royce Freeman was still garnering most the buzz.
George Kittle, TE San Fransico 49ers
- 2018 Pre Season TE Rank/Projections-(12/81.8)
- 2018 Final Rank (Weeks 1-16)/Total Points-PPR(3/ 228.8), 1/2 Point(3/ 189.3), Standard(3/ 149.8)
- Production over Performance- (Rank +9/ Production +68)
- Winning Weeks/ Good/ Solid/ Bad/ Losing- (2/ 2/ 4/ 5/ 2)
The Case For Kittle
To say that the Tight End position is a relative wasteland would be an understatement. In a Year where a player that can be considered the most dominant TE to play the game when he’s healthy, was rendered largely ineffective for large parts of the season. We will get into that player later on though. We’re here to talk about the 49ers second-year stud TE, George Kittle. The Number three TE in 2018 wasn’t viewed that way when the season started. Kittle made sure there was no doubt in anyone’s mind what kind of a player he was and can be moving forward. Last week I stated that he might be my early favorite for the 2019 TE1. Regardless if you agree or not, he can’t be outside your top three at the position. Let’s see what makes him a 2018 FF MVP candidate.
Kittle’s Impressive Season To Date…
Let’s start at the end of his season just so you know how good Kittle has really been. Although he trails Travis Kelce in receiving yards, they are both in line to break the all-time receiving yardage record for the Tight End position (Kittle 1,228, Kelce 1,274, NFL Record-Rob Gronkowski 1,327 ). So as you can see, Kittle is 100 yards shy of breaking the record that was set by Gronk in 2011. One would anticipate this being a goal of the Niners in week 17. Kittle is also 19 Receptions behind Kelce on the year as just bit of context on his season.
After The Catch
The second-year TE has also been a YAC monster in ’18. He currently sits at number one in the league in Yards after the Catch per Reception as the only player in the league to average double digits (10.1). His total of 750 YAC sits second behind only Christian McCaffrey (775 Yards), is 189 yards more than the next closest pass catcher (Juju Smith-Schuster (561 Yards, seventh), and 212 Yards ahead of Kelce (538, 10th) for tops at TE. With the ball in his hands, there’s few better in the league. The 5th round pick in 2017 was not held back at all by his 4.52 40 Yard Dash (96th Percentile), 117,7 Speed Score (94th), 127.3 Burst Score (89th), 10.8 Agility Score (100th), and a 10.36 Catch radius (95th)… Clearly, there is a little sarcasm there because he has lived up to his pre-draft testing without a doubt.
In Comparison To The Other Top Tight Ends
Kittle entered the top three at the position by doing it a bit differently than the other two that are with him. Zack Ertz just broke Jasen Witten’s TE Reception record (Ertz-113 Rec/ Kittle-79 Rec), and Kelce scored six more times than kittle did (Kelce-10 TD/ Kittle-4 TD). I included Eric Ebron and his 12 Touchdowns in the comparison (Below). The drop off is steep even with Ebron having such a big season. Just based on the trust factor, Kittles game is more sustainable than Ebron’s and Ebron should have to compete more for Targets next season if Jack Doyle is healthy. The Colts were in the Red Zone far more often than the injury-riddled Niners squad.
Top Four Tight Ends
(Top four are the same in Standard, 1/2 Point, and PPR formats)
- Travis Kelce- Caught 98/141 Targets, 1,274 Yards, 10 TDs- Points (PPR 259.9, 1/2 Point 216.9, Standard 173.9) +19 Targets, + 46 Yards, +6 TDs Difference
- Zack Ertz- Caught 113/152 Targets, 1,148 Yards, 8 TDs- Points (PPR 235.6, 1/2 Point 186.6, Standard 140.6) + 30 Targets, – 80 Yards, + 4 TDs Difference
- George Kittle- Caught 79/122 Targets, 1,228 Yards, 4 TDs- Points (PPR 206.3, 1/2 Point 171.8, Standard 137.6)
- Eric Ebron- Caught 62/104 Targets, 690 Yards, 12 TDs- Points (PPR 198.6, 1/2 Point 169.6, Standard 137.3) -18 Targets, -538 Yards, + 8 TDs Difference
Kittle will get his starting QB back, healthy WRs and RBs, and another year in the Kyle Shanahan system. Defenses will need to focus on other guys every week instead of just Kittle in theory. He should see some positive TD regression. They say TEs usually break-out around year three or four. Good luck to defenders next year if that’s the case. Much of this season has been with backup QB Nick Mullens, including his monster seven Reception, 210 Yard, one TD half in Week 14. Wait until the offense is at full strength…
Christian McCaffrey, RB Carolina Panthers
- 2018 Pre Season RB Rank/Projections-(11/184.4)
- 2018 Final Rank (Weeks 1-16)/Total Points-PPR(1/ 380.5), 1/2 Point(2/ 327.5), Standard(3/ 274.5)
- Production over Performance- (Rank +10/ +89.9)
- Winning Weeks/ Good/ Solid/ Bad/ Losing- (3/ 6/ 3/ 3/ 0)
McCaffrey didn’t make the final three for me due to too a couple things. As you can see below, The start to his season was far less jaw-dropping than the end. I can’t hold this against him too much but it did hold some weight. Nobody was ever sitting McCaffrey. So even though his season was amazing and he far outperformed his projections, Lindsay outperformed his by a far greater margin and you got him for free.
Matt Ryan, QB Atlanta Falcons
- 2018 Pre Season QB Rank/projection-(14/257.8)
- 2018 Final Rank (Weeks 1-16)-Total Points-4 Point per TD/ 6 Point (3- 325.7/ 391.7)
- Production over Performance- (Rank +11/ Production +67.9)
- Winning Weeks/ Good/ Solid/ Bad/ Losing- (5/ 1/ 5/ 2/ 2)
Ryan started out as hot as anyone outside of Mahomes but he did trail off a little, Including a Week 13 performance that netted just 7.64 Points and might have lost you the matchup, before coming back strong in the playoffs and championship weeks.
James Conner, RB Pittsburgh Steelers
- 2018 Pre Season RB Rank/Projections-(68/49.2)
- 2018 Final Rank (Weeks 1-16)/Total Points-PPR(6/ 267.6), 1/2 Point(7/ 241.6), Standard(7/ 215.6)
- Production over Performance- (Rank +61/ Production +166.4)
- Winning Weeks/ Good/ Solid/ Bad/ Losing-(4/ 2/ 2/ 3/ 1)
Conner stepped in while Lev Bell tried to figure out what he wanted to do and Conner’s performance essentially ushered Bell out the door for good. He saved many an FF team but due to a late season, high ankle sprain was unable to play during your fantasy playoffs.
Tyler Boyd, WR Cinncinatti Bengals
- 2018 Pre Season WR Rank/Projections-(96/51.1)
- 2018 Final Rank (Weeks 1-16)/Total Points-PPR(15/221.1), 1/2 Point(15/183.1), Standard(16/145.1)
- Production over Performance- (Rank +82/ Production +84.2)
- Winning Weeks/ Good/ Solid/ Bad/ Losing-(0/ 2/ 3/ 5/ 2)
Tyler Boyd came out of nowhere this year. Overshadowed by AJ Green, Tyler Eifert, and Joe Mixon and rightfully so. Boyd made a name for himself though in 2018 hauling in 76 receptions on 108 Targets for 1,028 Yards and seven TDs. Boyd’s season slowed towards the end as they became more and more injured as the season went along. It’s the “No AJ Green/ Jeff Driskel effect.”
Weeks 2-8 Per Game Averages
Caught 6.6/8.7 Targets, 84.9 Yards, 0.7 TDs (Not too shabby)
And The Winner Is…
Patrick Mahomes! The choice would have been tougher had Kittle been able to cross the goal line a couple more times or is Lindsay were able to finish last week by putting one in the end zone. TDs, after all, are what drives fantasy and Mahomes has been a part of more than anyone else in the league.
Bonus: Least Valuable Player…
Rob Gronkowski, TE New England Patriots
- 2018 Pre Season TE Rank/Projections-(1/164.4)
- 2018 Final Rank (Weeks 1-16)/Total Points-PPR(10/ 126.8), 1/2 Point(10/ 104.3), Standard(10/ 81.8)
- Production over Performance- (Rank -9/ Production -82.6)
- Winning Weeks/ Good/ Solid/ Bad/ Losing-(0/ 2/ 3/ 3/ 4)
I’ll make this quick. Gronkowski’s numbers might not look so bad… If he weren’t the consensus TE1 prior to the season and if you didn’t have to spend in some cases, a second round pick. It all depends on your league and how they view Tight Ends. As you see below, Gronk averaged the fewest points per game since his rookie season and was extremely inconsistent. He was injured through much of the year but he played. which means more often than not, he played for you. The results were more often than not a disappointment. This could be the fall off we’ve feared. We will have to see what happens in the postseason and offseason. Rumors circulated of retirement last season and with the injuries throughout his career, who can blame him.