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Which Players Should Have Scored The Most Points in 2019? (Fantasy Football)

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Jul 7, 2020

Among wide receivers, only Michael Thomas had more opportunity than Julian Edelman in 2019

What if we were to base 2019 fantasy football finishes solely on opportunity? Who would be the best? Would the answers shock you, or would it leave us saying “duh” the entire time? With fantasy drafts coming soon, I wanted to answer those questions.

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Every passing attempt, rushing attempt, and target has an expected value, and it’s different for each position. Quarterbacks averaged 3.03 fantasy points per rushing attempt inside the five-yard line, while running backs averaged 2.67 fantasy points on those same opportunities. There are differences with every position.

So, I went back through all the information I had available and figured out where every snap took place. Based on where every pass attempt, rushing attempt, and target happened, here’s a look at which players had the most opportunity in 2019.

Quarterbacks

Opp Rank Player TotalOpp Actual Finish Diff
1  Tom Brady 317.94 12 -11
2  Jameis Winston 316.60 5 -3
3  Kyler Murray 307.23 8 -5
4  Carson Wentz 306.65 10 -6
5  Jared Goff 305.88 13 -8
6  Lamar Jackson 296.82 1 5
7  Aaron Rodgers 293.87 9 -2
8  Russell Wilson 288.73 3 5
9  Matt Ryan 288.27 11 -2
10  Dak Prescott 287.29 2 8
11  Philip Rivers 273.50 18 -7
12  Andy Dalton 271.11 25 -13
13  Deshaun Watson 270.94 4 9
14  Baker Mayfield 270.28 20 -6
15  Josh Allen 270.25 6 9
16  Derek Carr 257.39 16 0
17  Ryan Fitzpatrick 256.79 17 0
18  Mitchell Trubisky 256.50 26 -8
19  Jimmy Garoppolo 254.48 14 5
20  Gardner Minshew II 253.26 19 1
21  Jacoby Brissett 246.07 23 -2
22  Kyle Allen 243.76 28 -6
23  Patrick Mahomes 235.57 7 16
24  Daniel Jones 229.60 24 0
25  Kirk Cousins 221.15 15 10
26  Sam Darnold 212.76 27 -1
27  Drew Brees 181.58 21 6
28  Ryan Tannehill 154.09 22 6
29  Matthew Stafford 146.73 29 0
30  Mason Rudolph 130.86 30 0

 

It’s pretty crazy to see Tom Brady atop this list, but understand that he threw 613 passes with a league-leading 99 of them in the red zone, including 45 of them from inside the 10-yard-line. Kyler Murray ranked second with 23 pass attempts inside the five-yard line and actually finished with negative points on his three carries in that area of the field, which should’ve netted just over 9.0 fantasy points.

As you can see, Patrick Mahomes is pretty special. Despite missing two full games and totaling No. 23 in opportunity, he still finished as the No. 7 quarterback. Meanwhile, Kirk Cousins overcame a lot by finishing as the No. 15 quarterback, as his opportunity suggested he should’ve finished outside of QB2 range.

Running Backs

Opp Rank NAME TotalOpp Actual Finish Diff
1  Christian McCaffrey 354.15 1 0
2  Ezekiel Elliott 278.64 4 -2
3  Leonard Fournette 269.53 9 -6
4  Nick Chubb 243.51 7 -3
5  Dalvin Cook 241.68 5 0
6  Aaron Jones 235.95 2 4
7  Joe Mixon 234.62 13 -6
8  Le’Veon Bell 224.35 17 -9
9  Alvin Kamara 217.58 12 -3
10  Chris Carson 214.79 11 -1
11  Saquon Barkley 213.64 10 1
12  Austin Ekeler 213.09 6 6
13  Todd Gurley 206.32 14 -1
14  Derrick Henry 204.98 3 11
15  David Montgomery 199.44 25 -10
16  Phillip Lindsay 185.72 19 -3
17  Sony Michel 182.60 28 -11
18  Josh Jacobs 181.23 18 0
19  Kenyan Drake 178.45 16 3
20  Melvin Gordon 178.33 23 -3
21  Devonta Freeman 178.31 21 0
22  Miles Sanders 177.99 15 7
23  Mark Ingram II 170.91 8 15
24  Marlon Mack 163.87 20 4
25  Carlos Hyde 160.10 27 -2
26  James White 157.80 22 4
27  Tarik Cohen 151.06 37 -10
28  Adrian Peterson 146.82 30 -2
29  Ronald Jones II 139.02 26 3
30  Royce Freeman 137.21 39 -9
31  Latavius Murray 133.28 29 2
32  Tevin Coleman 129.09 36 -4
33  Devin Singletary 127.41 31 2
34  Peyton Barber 126.53 40 -6
35  Frank Gore 125.19 46 -11
36  Duke Johnson 119.43 32 4
37  David Johnson 115.49 38 -1
38  Jamaal Williams 115.29 34 4
39  James Conner 111.36 33 6
40  DeAndre Washington 108.50 43 -3
41  Damien Williams 108.47 35 6
42  Jaylen Samuels 106.75 52 -10
43  LeSean McCoy 105.98 42 1
44  Raheem Mostert 103.51 24 20
45  Nyheim Hines 100.39 49 -4
46  Jordan Howard 97.60 41 5
47  Kerryon Johnson 95.69 53 -6
48  Gus Edwards 93.72 45 3
49  Chris Thompson 89.95 55 -6
50  Matt Breida 88.14 44 6

 

This chart shows that if you can predict the volume, you probably have a good shot at predicting running back production. Sure, there are outliers in Raheem Mostert (whew), Mark Ingram, and Derrick Henry, but most are just a few spots from the opportunity they received. Le’Veon Bell was the only running back who finished top-14 in expected fantasy output, but outside the top-14 producers.

There were underperformers lower in the ranks, too, but you can potentially find value there because those players are unlikely to perform as poorly in 2020. Someone like David Montgomery comes to mind. He had the 15th most expected fantasy points among running backs. That’s phenomenal volume, and the Bears did absolutely nothing to change that this season. The same can be said about Tarik Cohen, who ranked 27th in expected points.

Frank Gore‘s role on the Bills should’ve netted the No. 35 running back finish, so if Zack Moss can be average (or above average), he should have flex value. Meanwhile, Devin Singletary‘s opportunity is not great. He’s not getting carries/targets when they matter most (in the red zone), and the Bills already said Moss will take over Gore’s role.

Wide Receivers

Opp Rank Name TotalOpp Actual Finish Diff
1  Michael Thomas 262.13 1 0
2  Julian Edelman 225.21 10 -8
3  Julio Jones 220.58 3 0
4  Allen Robinson 219.06 11 -7
5  Keenan Allen 212.96 8 -3
6  DeAndre Hopkins 210.13 5 1
7  Robert Woods 206.76 17 -10
8  Tyler Boyd 204.87 23 -15
9  Jarvis Landry 200.67 13 -4
10  Cooper Kupp 192.67 4 6
11  D.J. Moore 191.00 18 -7
12  Odell Beckham Jr. 187.96 26 -14
13  Courtland Sutton 183.01 19 -6
14  Davante Adams 180.44 24 -10
15  DeVante Parker 176.71 7 8
16  Curtis Samuel 175.82 36 -20
17  Jamison Crowder 172.98 31 -14
18  Mike Evans 172.32 12 6
19  Chris Godwin 169.66 2 17
20  Kenny Golladay 169.03 6 14
21  DJ Chark Jr. 167.09 16 5
22  Tyler Lockett 163.16 14 8
23  Amari Cooper 162.44 9 14
24  Larry Fitzgerald 159.69 37 -13
25  John Brown 158.08 20 5
26  Christian Kirk 157.79 40 -14
27  Michael Gallup 151.45 22 5
28  Dede Westbrook 146.95 45 -17
29  DK Metcalf 144.98 32 -3
30  Cole Beasley 143.19 34 -4
31  Emmanuel Sanders 140.35 33 -2
32  Marvin Jones 136.00 27 5
33  Mike Williams 133.46 38 -5
34  Deebo Samuel 133.33 29 5
35  Danny Amendola 132.26 53 -18
36  Terry McLaurin 131.48 27 9
37  Tyreek Hill 130.82 30 7
38  Stefon Diggs 130.66 21 17
39  Robby Anderson 130.56 39 0
40  Calvin Ridley 128.38 25 15
41  Mohamed Sanu 128.19 63 -22
42  Diontae Johnson 127.52 43 -1
43  Sammy Watkins 126.13 51 -8
44  Chris Conley 125.57 41 3
45  Sterling Shepard 122.39 50 -5
46  Anthony Miller 119.71 57 -11
47  A.J. Brown 117.37 15 32
48  Auden Tate 117.10 71 -23
49  Golden Tate 115.85 42 7
50  Randall Cobb 115.56 44 6
51  Darius Slayton 114.40 35 16
52  Alex Erickson 113.71 76 -24
53  Russell Gage 107.41 78 -25
54  Alshon Jeffery 107.09 58 -4
55  James Washington 106.77 52 3
56  Brandin Cooks 104.99 62 -6
57  Zach Pascal 103.94 49 8
58  Hunter Renfrow 103.32 55 3
59  Marquise Brown 102.28 46 13
60  Nelson Agholor 99.24 77 -17
61  Will Fuller 98.73 54 7
62  JuJu Smith-Schuster 98.50 65 -3
63  T.Y. Hilton 98.00 56 7
64  Breshad Perriman 93.77 48 16
65  Corey Davis 92.53 64 1
66  Tyrell Williams 91.69 47 19
67  Albert Wilson 91.57 83 -16
68  Steven Sims 90.20 66 2
69  Preston Williams 85.27 75 -6
70  Phillip Dorsett 81.99 67 3
71  Geronimo Allison 80.12 90 -19
72  Demaryius Thomas 79.51 85 -13
73  Ted Ginn 78.91 80 -7
74  Marquez Valdes-Scantling 78.68 79 -5
75  Jarius Wright 78.40 105 -30

 

It would appear that wide receivers aren’t nearly as predictable as running backs, even if you can guess their projected targets. Remember that there was just one running back who had top-14 opportunity but finished outside the top-14 running backs? Well, there were six wide receivers who did that.

If the giant number 32 didn’t stand out, that’s just how much higher A.J. Brown finished from where he was expected to based on opportunity. Did you notice the wide receivers around him? He had similar opportunity to Anthony Miller, Auden Tate, and even Alex Erickson. That’s brutal. So, if you’re expecting a breakout in 2020, he needs a TON more volume. No other receiver finished even 20 spots higher than expected.

It may have shocked you to know that Curtis Samuel should’ve finished as the No. 16 wide receiver based on his opportunity. Sure, the quarterback play was bad, but his opportunity wasn’t too far behind his teammate D.J. Moore, who finished as the No. 18 wide receiver. Other standouts at the bottom of the list were Tyler Boyd, Christian Kirk, Jamison Crowder, and Odell Beckham Jr.

The bottom line here is that if you want to take a shot on a wide receiver breaking out despite having what is perceived to be less opportunity, he has a better chance of hitting than a running back or tight end. Wide receivers are somewhat unpredictable in this study.

Tight Ends

Opp Rank Player TotalOpp Actual Finish Diff
1  Travis Kelce 190.50 1 0
2  Zach Ertz 183.50 5 -3
3  Darren Waller 155.17 3 0
4  George Kittle 149.96 2 2
5  Austin Hooper 138.88 6 -1
6  Mark Andrews 136.05 4 2
7  Tyler Higbee 132.10 8 -1
8  Mike Gesicki 121.44 11 -3
9  Dallas Goedert 120.74 10 -1
10  Greg Olsen 118.21 13 -3
11  Jason Witten 116.33 12 -1
12  Hunter Henry 108.00 9 3
13  Jack Doyle 103.36 17 -4
14  Evan Engram 96.27 18 -4
15  Noah Fant 94.85 16 -1
16  Jared Cook 93.06 7 9
17  Tyler Eifert 91.17 20 -3
18  Jimmy Graham 89.17 21 -3
19  Jacob Hollister 87.38 23 -4
20  T.J. Hockenson 82.54 31 -11
21  Gerald Everett 82.36 26 -5
22  Cameron Brate 78.86 24 -2
23  Vance McDonald 76.16 32 -9
24  Eric Ebron 73.62 27 -3
25  O.J. Howard 72.73 29 -4
26  Jordan Akins 72.49 25 1
27  Kyle Rudolph 72.38 14 13
28  Dawson Knox 72.33 30 -2
29  Darren Fells 69.61 15 14
30  Irv Smith Jr. 67.00 35 -5

 

If there’s anything you should learn from these charts, it’s that opportunity matters more to tight ends than maybe any other position. Running back is close but seeing no tight end who was top-12 in opportunity veer more than three spots in either direction is something to latch on to.

After seeing this, you likely understand why I’m lower on Jared Cook than most. Current ECR is TE9 while his ADP is TE8. Knowing he ranked 16th in opportunity last year, and that they added Emmanuel Sanders to the team, it’s tough to see him finishing even top-12 this year. On the flip side, T.J. Hockenson played just 12 games, and was on pace for 110.1 expected points, which would’ve ranked 12th among tight ends. Natural progression in his career could mean that he’s being severely undervalued as the TE16 in ECR and TE15 in ADP. Also, you clearly don’t want to buy in to Kyle Rudolph or Darren Fells again in 2020.


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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

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