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Players to Be Thankful For in 2020 (Fantasy Football)

by Isaiah Sirois | @is_sirois | Featured Writer
Nov 26, 2020

Each year, Thanksgiving kicks off the American holiday season. And each year, we welcome family and friends into our homes — or they welcome us into theirs — as we pig out on food, enjoy good conversation, and watch football. And give thanks, too, of course.

That said, this year might be a bit different.

Perhaps you may plan to welcome fewer guests into your home. Maybe you plan to have none at all. If you’re not one to cook the meal yourself, perhaps you’re planning to stay at home and give it a whirl. After all, you can always order takeout if it doesn’t work out. And maybe instead of sitting down at the same table to talk over a home-cooked meal, you plan to chat over the phone instead.

Our circumstances may change, but as humans, we adapt. We persevere. We’ll get through this pandemic together, and, hopefully, we’ll all get to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner together next year. We’ll get to catch up, reminisce on the wacky year we just had, and move on with our lives.

But this isn’t Click (2006), that wacky Adam Sandler movie about the time-altering remote control. We can’t just skip ahead a full year. Instead, we should give thanks for what we can still do this year: pig out, enjoy good conversation, and watch football.

So as we give thanks, let’s remember to be thankful for the NFL players, staff, and coaches who give theirs up each season to ensure we have something to watch on Turkey Day — and for their continuing to do so despite the ongoing pandemic.

Let’s also tip our caps to those players who have risen above and beyond — not just to carry their teams to victory, but to carry our all-important fantasy teams as well. Here are some of the guys for whom you should be especially thankful this year.

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Kyler Murray (ARI)
The sophomore quarterback ranks as the QB1 through Week 11, and friends, it’s not close. He has a 23.5-point advantage over Russell Wilson — that’s a wider gap QB6 Deshaun Watson’s average points per game (22.9), and a full 16.2 points more than what Lamar Jackson had scored at this point last year.

Sure, you would’ve had to pay up in your draft to get Murray. But hey, taking the year’s QB1 at QB6 is still a pretty good deal, especially when you get to watch him break records like this one.

Sure, Murray may not end up becoming the third-consecutive sophomore to win the Most Valuable Player Award. So what? Patrick Mahomes, the odds-on favorite, didn’t have to beat someone like Patrick Mahomes when he won the award in 2018. Heading into Week 12, Murray trails only Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Aaron Rodgers in MVP betting, per sportsbooks. That’s an accomplishment all its own.

We’ll see Murray next when he plays the New England Patriots this Sunday. Bill Belichick’s defense is always tough, but I doubt that they’ll have something planned that Murray can’t handle.

James Robinson (JAC)
Let’s jump back to mid-August for a moment. Would you believe me if I told you that an RB1 was sitting right there on waivers for you to take? I doubt it. And if I told you that it was an undrafted rookie out of Illinois State, you almost certainly would have laughed me off.

But it’s 2020, so something this crazy had to happen.

Robinson ranks as the overall RB4 so far this season, and he’s accomplished that with healthy performances each week. Not one to boom or bust, Robinson has scored at least 10 PPR points in every game this season. Not even Derrick Henry can say that!

Regardless of whether you drafted Robinson or got him off waivers, he single-handedly changed your fantasy season. Let’s raise a glass to the record-setting rookie phenom!

Stefon Diggs (BUF)
There are tons of wide receivers to be thankful for this year. Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and Keenan Allen deserve some praise, but Stefon Diggs definitely deserves the most.

Unlike Adams and Allen, Diggs is yet to miss a game this season. And unlike Hill, Diggs is yet to score fewer than 10 PPR points in a given week. When the two receivers went head-to-head in Week 6, Diggs came out the victor — he posted 16.6 points to Hill’s 5.5.

Diggs has more going for him than consistency, however, as the ex-Viking was the best value at his average draft position (ADP). You could have gotten Diggs at WR27 this year, while Adams (WR2), Hill (WR3), and Allen (WR20) would have cost you a good bit more.

After a rocky few years in Minnesota, we should all be thankful that Diggs has thrived in his new surroundings. Here’s to you, Diggsy!

Travis Kelce (KC)
Who else could it be? Kelce has missed one game since 2014. He has finished as the overall TE1 each year since 2016, and he finished as a top-10 option in the two years prior.  As of today, he ranks as the TE1 with a 55.9-point lead over second place. He has a wider lead than Zach Ertz has points on the season (49.8).

This year has shown us just how terrible the tight end market really is. Of the top four options, we lost Ertz and George Kittle to injuries, and Mark Andrews has struggled with consistency. Meanwhile, a 34-year-old Jimmy Graham currently ranks as the TE11.

But Kelce hasn’t just had a good season for a tight end. No, he’d currently rank as the WR4 on the year, ahead of both Tyler Lockett and Stefon Diggs. At running back, only Dalvin Cook and Alvin Kamara have more points than Kelce does. Kelce even has more points than some big-name quarterbacks, including Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Wentz, and Matt Ryan.

Kelce is on pace for 313.6 fantasy points, which would be the highest total of his career — and the most from a tight end since Rob Gronkowski’s record-breaking 2011 campaign. Speaking of Gronk’s records, Kelce is on pace to smash his 2011 yardage record by over 100 yards.

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Isaiah Sirois is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Isaiah, check out his archive and follow him @is_sirois.

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