The fantasy football season is over. Most are just thankful that the season finished without too many hiccups. Most of the top names that finished in the top 10 were expected, like Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rodgers, and Lamar Jackson. But a few other names cracked the top finishers, including Josh Allen and Justin Herbert. Find out who else gets superlative honors below.
Fantasy Football: Justin Herbert, Josh Allen Take Home Superlative Awards
MVP: Josh Allen
This is a rare case where the QB1 overall doesn’t get the award. Kyler Murray was actually the top-scoring quarterback. And those that got him still got an excellent value. Murray had a mid-to-late fourth-round grade. But Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills proved to provide even more. ESPN had him as the QB10 with a 10th-round grade. So in this case, patience was rewarded to those that waited.
Murray’s ascension was helped in part by his new target, DeAndre Hopkins, who acted as one of the top duos in the league. Allen also got a new wide receiver, Stefon Diggs, who led the league in receptions and receiving yards. But Allen’s progress as a passer was the real reason for his improvement.
Coming into his third season, Allen had yet to have a 300-yard passing game. He bucked that streak in Week 1. Then he got his first 400-yard passing game in Week 2. On the year, Allen had nine games with at least 300 passing yards. He also kept up what had made him a startable fantasy option besides his subpar passing numbers his first few seasons. Allen had over 400 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. Next season, he will be drafted much higher.
Bizarro Quarterback: Deshaun Watson
Aside from rookie Justin Herbert, Deshaun Watson was the only other quarterback who finished top ten in points per game whose team did not have a winning record. In fact, seven of the top 10 fantasy quarterbacks made the playoffs. The Arizona Cardinals narrowly missed out, going 8-8. Justin Herbert finished just inside the top-10 as a rookie for the Los Angeles Chargers, but they went 7-9. Deshaun Watson is the third quarterback whose team missed out on the playoffs. They were also the worst of the bunch, with a 4-12 record.
But that doesn’t mean Watson was bad, as evidenced by his QB6 finish. This was despite Bill O’Brien trading away his top target, DeAndre Hopkins. It was also despite O’Brien being so bad that he was fired after starting the year with four winless games.
Despite the changes around him, Watson never missed a beat. He only had three games all year with fewer than two total touchdowns. He also protected the ball well, committing just ten total turnovers. Additionally, Watson got better throughout the year, throwing for at least 300 yards in six of his last seven contests. Whoever is head coach next season for the Texans should not scare away fantasy team managers from drafting the dynamic playmaker.
Biggest Bust: Cam Newton
Cam Newton is a little difficult to call a bust, considering he was a late-round pick for many fantasy team managers. But once he was announced as the starter for the New England Patriots, many expected the legendary Bill Belichick to be able to squeeze the most out of him. The first few weeks things were looking good for Newton. He scored four rushing touchdowns in his first two games. In Week 2, Newton threw for 397 yards, quieting the questions on if he could still be an effective passer.
But red flags were already starting to emerge. After only throwing one touchdown in those first two games, Newton then only threw one more for the next five games. One appeal of rushing quarterbacks is that they have a reasonably high floor. But not for Newton. He had three games with five or fewer points and six games with 13 or fewer. The biggest issue was just how terrible Newton was when it counted. His championship slate for fantasy football – weeks 14-16, his point totals were 5.06, 13.06, and 10.16.
Overall, Newton finished as the QB20. Even if he wins the starting job wherever he goes next season, Newton will be hard to trust in fantasy football.
Breakout: Justin Herbert
Justin Herbert was the third quarterback taken in the 2020 NFL Draft. Though still a top 10 draft pick, he was largely overshadowed by Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa. However, he ended up looking like the best quarterback of the draft class, at least in year one. Herbert ended up averaging the eighth-most points at the quarterback position (not counting Dak Prescott and Marcus Mariota).
Herbert’s real-life team may not have won a ton of games, but the fantasy football teams he was on probably did. Herbert only had one bust game all year, which also happened to be his only game without a passing touchdown. Including his rushing touchdowns, Herbert only had four games with less than two touchdowns.
Los Angeles let go of their head coach Anthony Lynn. But the team showed promise at the end of the year, winning their last four games. The team also locked up Keenan Allen with a long-term contract prior to the start of last year, so Herbert will keep his favorite target for the immediate future. Look for Herbert to do even better next season and push for a top-five finish.