2020 Season in Review: 10 Players the Experts Got Right at Each Position (Fantasy Football)
That’s all, folks! The 2020 fantasy football season has come to a close, and it’s time to look back on what went wrong — and what went right. I’ve already profiled the top players at each position, and if you’re looking to formulate your draft strategy for next season, that’s a great place to start.
With that said, it’s time to break down the expert’s predictions, too. I have used FantasyPros’ pre-draft expert consensus rankings (ECR) and run them against the results from Weeks 1 to 16 for PPR leagues.
- Patrick Mahomes (KC): Draft Ranking: QB1; Final Ranking: QB3; Difference: -2
- Russell Wilson (SEA): Draft Ranking: QB4; Final Ranking: QB5; Difference: -1
- Deshaun Watson (HOU): Draft Ranking: QB5; Final Ranking: QB6; Difference: -1
- Tom Brady (TB): Draft Ranking: QB11; Final Ranking: QB8; Difference: +3
- Jared Goff (LAR): Draft Ranking: QB17; Final Ranking: QB15; Difference: +2
- Baker Mayfield (CLE): Draft Ranking: QB18; Final Ranking: QB19; Difference: -1
- Joe Burrow (CIN): Draft Ranking: QB20; Final Ranking: QB23; Difference: -3
- Drew Lock (DEN): Draft Ranking: QB26; Final Ranking: QB25; Difference: +1
- Sam Darnold (NYJ): Draft Ranking: QB28; Final Ranking: QB31; Difference: -3
- Tua Tagovailoa (MIA): Draft Ranking: QB34; Final Ranking: QB34; Difference: 0
The experts were better at guessing who wouldn’t be a QB1 than at guessing who would be. Only four QB1s were projected to finish as such within a three-spot margin of error: Mahomes, Wilson, Watson, and Brady, all of whom have lengthy track records as QB1s. The experts whiffed on guys like Lamar Jackson, who failed to live up to the hype in his third year, and Josh Allen, who vastly exceeded expectations.
A handful of QB2s were accurately projected to finish as such: Goff, Mayfield, Burrow, and, depending on your league’s size, Lock. While Goff’s QB15 finish is a tad bit inflated by injuries — there’s no way he would have finished that highly if Dak Prescott and Burrow hadn’t gotten injured — he was still a safe call to finish as a higher-end QB2. Likewise, experts were right that Mayfield would finish as a lower-end QB2, although his stats are inflated by several boom weeks. The same is true of Drew Lock.
It’s hard for me to call Burrow a “hit,” as he would’ve exceeded expectations had he played a full season. That said, perhaps some experts were assuming for Cincinnati’s terrible offensive line when making their projections, and the injury was a direct consequence of their poor play.
Experts also correctly called that Sam Darnold and Tua Tagovailoa wouldn’t be viable fantasy assets.
- Alvin Kamara (NO): Draft Ranking: RB4; Final Ranking: RB1; Difference: +3
- Dalvin Cook (MIN): Draft Ranking: RB5; Final Ranking: RB2; Difference: +3
- Derrick Henry (TEN): Draft Ranking: RB6; Final Ranking: RB3; Difference: +3
- Kenyan Drake (ARI): Draft Ranking: RB10; Final Ranking: RB14; Difference: -4
- Josh Jacobs (LV): Draft Ranking: RB12; Final Ranking: RB9; Difference: +3
- Nick Chubb (CLE): Draft Ranking: RB14; Final Ranking: RB13; Difference: +1
- Chris Carson (SEA): Draft Ranking: RB16; Final Ranking: RB17; Difference: -1
- Melvin Gordon (DEN): Draft Ranking: RB20; Final Ranking: RB18; Difference: +2
- Devin Singletary (DEN): Draft Ranking: RB28; Final Ranking: RB30; Difference: -2
- J.K. Dobbins (BAL): Draft Ranking: RB34; Final Ranking: RB31; Difference: +3
The running back landscape changed dramatically when Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley went down early in the season. Had those injuries not happened, the experts may have hit on a few more picks. The first names in this list — Kamara, Cook, and Henry — all moved up three spots due to those injuries (and Ezekiel Elliott‘s regression, which the experts did not see coming).
Elsewhere, experts correctly tabbed Drake, Jacobs, and Chubb as low-end RB1s. Like the aforementioned trio of backs, Jacobs’ final ranking improved by three, likely due to the top three backs’ injuries and regression. While Chubb may have been a miss had he played the full season, as he finished as the RB7 in PPR points per game (PPG), he ended up just one slot above his draft ranking. Drake didn’t have as much ceiling as some experts anticipated, but his regression was somewhat predictable; he was due for some touchdown regression, and Kliff Kingsbury likes to feature multiple backs (see: Chase Edmonds).
Experts correctly tabbed Carson and Gordon as solid RB2 options, and they also predicted higher-end RB3 finishes for Singletary and Dobbins.
- Davante Adams (GB): Draft Ranking: WR2; Final Ranking: WR1; Difference: +1
- DeAndre Hopkins (ARI): Draft Ranking: WR5; Final Ranking: WR4; Difference: +1
- Allen Robinson (CHI): Draft Ranking: WR7; Final Ranking: WR7; Difference: 0
- Adam Thielen (MIN): Draft Ranking: WR11; Final Ranking: WR10; Difference: +1
- Mike Evans (TB): Draft Ranking: WR12; Final Ranking: WR11; Difference: +1
- Amari Cooper (DAL): Draft Ranking: WR15; Final Ranking: WR14; Difference: +1
- Jamison Crowder (NYJ): Draft Ranking: WR36; Final Ranking: WR35; Difference: +1
- Emmanuel Sanders (NO): Draft Ranking: WR45; Final Ranking: WR47; Difference: -2
- Darius Slayton (NYG): Draft Ranking: WR46; Final Ranking: WR48; Difference: -2
- Mike Williams (LAC): Draft Ranking: WR54; Final Ranking: WR52; Difference: +2
I am very impressed with how the experts did at wide receiver. Despite the Michael Thomas curveball, most rankings actually panned out, and experts projected five WR1s to finish within a spot of where they actually did. Adams, Hopkins, Thielen, and Evans all moved up a spot thanks to Thomas, while Robinson finished exactly where he was expected to.
Despite Dak Prescott’s injury, Amari Cooper finished as a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 as predicted. However, he might have exceeded those expectations if Prescott hadn’t gotten hurt, so it feels unfair to hand this one to the experts. Cooper was the WR8 after Week 5; had he kept up his pace of 17.8 PPG, he would’ve finished as the WR5. He’ll be a great buy-low option in next year’s drafts if people forget about his strong start to the season.
While the experts struggled in the WR2 range, they accurately called a handful of WR3/WR4s. They projected Jamison Crowder as a reliable, lower-end WR3, and he finished as one despite missing some games due to injury. Likewise, Emmanuel Sanders finished as the lower-end WR4 he was expected to be.
The experts also correctly tabbed Darius Slayton and Mike Williams for relative down performances. While Slayton finished as the WR37 last year, experts approached him with skepticism, correctly projecting him for a low-end WR4 finish. Mike Williams (WR39) received the same treatment, and that yielded similar results.
- Travis Kelce (KC): Draft Ranking: TE1; Final Ranking: TE1; Difference: 0
- Mark Andrews (BAL): Draft Ranking: TE3; Final Ranking: TE6; Difference: -3
- Darren Waller (LV): Draft Ranking: TE5; Final Ranking: TE2; Difference: +3
- Hunter Henry (LAC): Draft Ranking: TE8; Final Ranking: TE8; Difference: 0
- Rob Gronkowski (TB): Draft Ranking: TE13; Final Ranking: TE9; Difference: +4
- Noah Fant (DEN): Draft Ranking: TE15; Final Ranking: TE12; Difference: +3
- Dallas Goedert (PHI): Draft Ranking: TE16; Final Ranking: TE18; Difference: -2
- Jonnu Smith (TEN): Draft Ranking: TE17; Final Ranking: TE13; Difference: +4
- Irv Smith (MIN): Draft Ranking: TE23; Final Ranking: TE22; Difference: +1
- Gerald Everett (LAR): Draft Ranking: TE28; Final Ranking: TE24; Difference: +4
The tight end market was a little strange this year. Unlike previous years, in which Kelce, Kittle, and Ertz were the consensus “big three,” Mark Andrews beat out Ertz for the third slot, while Darren Waller seemed like a rock-solid fifth option, giving us a “big five.”
Of those players, Kelce, Andrews, and Waller all finished as high-end TE1s. Andrews struggled with consistency, which made sense, as some touchdown regression was inevitable. In contrast, Waller ended up as the clear-cut second option, which his volume suggested would happen. Kittle only busted due to injury, as he finished as the TE3 in PPG.
Outside of the top-five options, the tight end market was a relative mess. Experts were spot on with Hunter Henry, who finished right at TE8, but they slightly underestimated Rob Gronkowski and Noah Fant. Both finished as low-end TE1s.
Experts correctly called Jonnu Smith a high-upside streamer, which his TE17 ranking suggests, but he ended up beating his final ranking by four spots. The expert rankings for Dallas Goedert and Irv Smith also panned out, but both players missed weeks due to injury, as did the other tight ends on their roster, so I can’t really chalk them up as good calls.
Beyond our daily fantasy football content, be sure to check out our Daily Fantasy Football Tools. From our Value Plays – which allows you to identify players who are projected to outperform their salaries – to our DFS Cheat Sheets – that helps you get a quick read on the day’s players – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.