2020 Season in Review: Players on the Most Teams that Made the Playoffs (Fantasy Football)
The 2020 fantasy football season has come to an end. If you made the playoffs and won your championship, congratulations! If not, don’t look back in anger. You’ll have a shot again next year, and if you’re reading this article, it sounds like you’re already trying to prepare.
Evaluating the players on the most teams that made (or missed) the playoffs can help us identify who to draft next year — and who to avoid. Here are my notes on the players on the most teams that made it into postseason contention.
Kyler Murray (ARI)
100% rostership rate, 67% playoff rostership rate.
Although he struggled down the stretch, Kyler Murray finished with the most overall fantasy points, and he led the way in playoff rostership at quarterback. Murray became the third-consecutive sophomore quarterback to finish as the overall QB1, following Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson.
Murray’s strong performance reinforces a lesson that’s become increasingly clear — when drafting a quarterback, you should target mobile passers before their less mobile pocket counterparts. Of the year’s top-10 finishers, all but Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady flashed upside with their legs this season.
I suspect that we’ll be talking about Jalen Hurts in this section after next season.
Honorable mention: Josh Allen (BUF): 100% rostership rate, 65% rostership rate.
Dalvin Cook (MIN)
100% rostership rate, 79% playoff rostership rate.
Cook finished as the overall RB2 in PPR, half-PPR, and standard-scoring leagues. He finished behind only Alvin Kamara in all formats. That’s the lowest number on this list, and it’s worth noting that Cook was also the overall RB1 in both half-PPR and standard-scoring leagues heading into most leagues’ playoffs, which begin after Week 13.
If you took Cook in the first round, it would’ve been tough for you to have missed the playoffs, as only 21% of his managers failed to make the postseason. Cook has always flashed tons of upside throughout his career, but injuries had plagued him up until this point. But the Florida State alumnus played in 14 of 15 fantasy-relevant games this year, the second year he’s been able to do so, and it might be time to retire the “injury-prone” label. Cook should go in next year’s top-four picks.
Alvin Kamara (NO)
100% rostership rate, 74% playoff rostership rate.
Like Cook, Alvin Kamara had a rock-solid season, as he finished as the overall RB1. Unlike Cook, however, he scored a jaw-dropping six touchdowns in Week 16, which vaulted him from a 0.3-point advantage over Cook to a 40-point advantage over him. Kamara’s Week 16 performance accounted for 10.5% of his overall fantasy production.
It’s worth noting that Kamara managers may have struggled down the stretch, too, as Kamara didn’t do much with Taysom Hill under center. He was the overall RB11 from Weeks 11 to 14, the games that Hill started, and he averaged only 14.2 points per game. That was worse than players like Cam Akers and J.K. Dobbins during those same weeks.
Again, like Cook, Kamara should go in next year’s top-four picks. That said, if Drew Brees retires and the Saints stick with Hill under center, he may struggle to post RB1 numbers.
Honorable mention: Derrick Henry (TEN): 100% rostership rate, 68% playoff rostership rate.
Davante Adams (GB)
100% rostership rate, 72% playoff rostership rate.
After a dominant season, Adams finished as the overall WR1 in PPR, half-PPR, and standard-scoring leagues. What’s more impressive is that Adams only played in 13 fantasy-relevant games! The veteran receiver did most of his damage by finding the end zone, as he scored 17 receiving touchdowns before Week 17, the most in the league.
Adams’ end-of-season stats are impressive, but he wouldn’t have had as good a season if not for those touchdowns. He ranked fourth in targets (149), tied for second in receptions (115), and ranked fifth in receiving yards (1,374).
For as great of a season as Adams had, it’s important to identify him as a prime regression candidate. He posted a career-high in catch rate (77.2%) by more than 10%, and he scored once every 6.4 receptions, an absurdly efficient clip. That’s ahead of guys like Mark Andrews (8.3) and Chase Claypool (6.9). Adams is a great receiver and should be ranked as a WR1, but you can’t expect him to post these numbers again next season.
Tyreek Hill (KC)
100% rostership rate, 70% playoff rostership rate.
Hill played some fantastic football this year. He finished one slot below Adams as the WR2 in all scoring formats, but he was the WR1 everywhere when the playoffs began. His playoff stats definitely left something to be desired, but hey, at least he got you to the playoffs.
Patrick Mahomes’ lead wideout ended the year with the 11th-most targets (135), 17th-most receptions (87), and the eighth-most receiving yards (1,276). Those are all unremarkable stats, but his second-most receiving touchdowns (15) vaulted him up the fantasy rankings.
Like Adams, Hill is another regression candidate. He scored a touchdown once every 5.8 receptions, which is even less sustainable than Adams’ absurd clip. You can definitely expect that to tick down next year as the Chiefs integrate Clyde Edwards-Helaire and a new draft class into their offense.
Honorable mention: D.K. Metcalf (SEA): 100% rostership rate, 68% playoff rostership rate.
Travis Kelce (KC)
100% rostership rate, 72% playoff rostership rate.
Kelce was a cheat code at tight end this season. Entering the playoffs, he had a 48.1-point lead over the next-best tight end in PPR, Darren Waller. He had a 120.2-point lead over the TE5, Mark Andrews, more than the total points Andrews had at the time (119.4).
He ended the fantasy season with an even bigger gap over Waller (60.9), and after Week 17, he was tied with Waller for the sixth-most targets (145). While he led Waller in receiving yards (1,416 to 1,196) and receiving touchdowns (11 to 9), Waller actually caught more passes than him (105 to 107).
This season’s results demonstrate the significance of drafting a tight end early. Doing so gives you a massive positional advantage over your opponents, and I expect Kelce to be a first-round pick next year.
Honorable mention: Darren Waller (LV): 100% rostership rate, 68% playoff rostership rate.
Younghoe Koo (ATL)
90% rostership rate, 60% playoff rostership rate.
The man, the myth, the legend. After almost kicking his way out of the league, Koo proved that he belonged in the NFL and finished as the second-best fantasy kicker. That said, Koo was the K1 after Week 13 by a four-point margin. His 12.7 fantasy points per game ranked first by a 1.4-point margin.
Koo’s breakout suggests that you shouldn’t take a kicker before the last round. Why? Guess how many of the top-five kickers in ADP actually finished as top-five kickers. Oh, that’s right, it’s none of them. You could’ve easily picked up Koo or K1 Sanders off waivers.
Honorable mention: Jason Sanders (MIA): 85% rostership rate, 53% playoff rostership rate.
Cleveland Browns D/ST
88% rostership rate, 64% playoff rostership rate.
Cleveland’s appearance on this list speaks to the limitations of this data. Since I’m looking at rostership percentages from Week 16, I can only see which players fantasy teams had on their roster after Week 16. As such, it makes perfect sense that the Browns were on a lot of playoff rosters that week, as they were up against the Jets.
The Browns were the DST12 entering the playoffs, and they finished the year as the overall DST15. The lesson here is that everyone streams DSTs, and if you’re spending an early-round pick on one, you should seriously reconsider your approach.
Honorable mention: Pittsburgh Steelers: 91% rostership rate, 56% playoff rostership rate.
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