Here at Breakdown from the Bench we love both Christmas and Fantasy Football, so we decided to combine the two to create a new instant classic, the 12 Days of Fantasy Football Christmas!
We will be releasing an a stat each day that was crucial to the 2018 fantasy football season to go along with the number for that day of Christmas. Come back each day to take a look at the all the different gifts (good and bad) that fantasy football gave this year!
December 25th (Day 1): One terrible #1 pick
Many people had to choose between Bell and Todd Gurley II. Besides the fact that Gurley outscored Bell 372.1 PPR points to 0, the Rams running back led 55.9% of fantasy teams he was on to the ESPN playoffs. Conner was the most owned player in the fantasy playoffs at 75.9%, while teams that rostered Bell made it to the postseason in just 3.5% of leagues (2nd lowest behind Alfred Morris).
December 26th (Day 2): An RB2 with only two rushing TD’s
Cohen and his 2018 stats signal a change in fantasy football. No longer are owners always looking to target RB’s that pound the ball into the end zone. With the growing amount of PPR leagues and receiving threats out of the backfield, fantasy footballers are looking to backs like Cohen, James White, and Christian McCaffery who can be counted on to catch at least a few passes a game. Five backs in the top 13 in PPR scoring had 88 targets or more in 2018.
December 27th (Day 3): Three Elite Tight Ends
The tight end landscape was barren this year except for these three gems (and an inconsistent Eric Ebron). Each was good enough to rank in the top-15 for wide receivers in PPR scoring, leading many to believe that these three TE’s could be first or second round picks in next year’s fantasy football drafts. The last TE1 this year (or TE12) would have been WR54, or a WR5. This only makes Ertz, Kelce, and Kittle even more valuable.
December 28th (Day 4): Four double-digit PPR games from Hogan
The Patriots wideout was one of the biggest busts in fantasy football this year, as many expected him to take the next step and become a target monster in the Patriots high-powered offense. Hogan was the 10th highest scoring wideout in 2017 before sustaining an injury midway through the season, leading to his high draft position in 2018. This year, Hogan was only able to muster three TD catches and caught more than four passes just once. Despite Josh Gordon’s absence in a Week 16 matchup against the Bills, Hogan didn’t receive a single target.
December 29th (Day 5): Five 4 TD games from Mahomes
Patrick Mahomes was a revelation as a later round pick in 2018. With an ADP in the triple digits in all formats according to Fantasy Pros, Mahomes was certainly one of the best values in fantasy drafts this summer. He will likely be the #1 QB picked in most drafts next season.
December 30th (Day 6): Six 100+ combo yard games for Lindsay
Fantasy football leagues are often decided by waiver-wire pickups, and Lindsay was certainly the best of the bunch in 2018. The undrafted Broncos rookie RB finished the season as the 12th-best back in PPR scoring and took the touches that many thought would go to Royce Freeman. If you are a really big Lindsay fan, you can even donate to sending him to the Pro Bowl.
December 31st (Day 7): Seven catches a game for McCaffery
McCaffery was an absolute beast this year and was an RB1 in PPR formats nearly every week. The Panthers RB was able to sustain a huge workload this season, and it will be interesting if Carolina uses him in a similar fashion in 2019. If so, he could be a viable #1 overall pick in PPR drafts.
January 1st (Day 8): Eight straight 100-yard games for Thielen
Thilen was a target monster the first half fo the season and certainly powered many teams to early season wins. The Minnesota State product was the 13th most-owned player among ESPN fantasy playoff teams. It will be interesting to see if people value Thielen based on his first or second half performance in next year’s fantasy football draft – though it will likely be somewhere in between. If he sustains performance close to either end of the spectrum in 2019, he will either be a huge bust or a great value.
January 2nd (Day 9): Nine double-digit games for the Bears D/ST
According to ESPN, the Bears were owned by 69.3% of fantasy playoff teams. The addition of Khalil Mack was a revelation to the Monsters of the Midway, and they will certainly be the top D/ST picked in most 2019 drafts. The Bears outscored fantasy studs such as Nick Chubb, Kenny Golladay, and Tyler Boyd in 2018.
January 3rd (Day 10): 10 TD’s from Tyler Lockett
“Hot Lockett” was a TD monster this season, even though he didn’t receive much volume in the Seahawks’ run-heavy offense. Lockett ranked 97th (!) in the NFL in targets per game with 4.4, but was a master of the big play. He ranked tied for 5th among WR with 10 receiving TD’s.
January 4th (Day 11): 11 20+ PPR point games for Saquon Barkley
Barkley rumbled for 1307 yards and 11 TDs on the ground in his rookie season. What was even more impressive was his involvement in the passing game, as he caught 91 passes on 121 targets for 721 yards and 4 TDs. Barkley could be the top pick in fantasy football drafts next season, and will almost assuredly be a top-three selection in all formats.
January 5th (Day 12): An inconsistent QB12
Kirk Cousins finished the season as ESPN’s QB12, right on the fringe of QB1 territory. With weapons like Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and Dalvin Cook, many expected the new Vikings QB to have a big season. While Cousins did certainly show some flashes (and many of his struggles may not have entirely been his fault) he has unable to live up to fantasy football owners’ expectations.