A Year of Fantasy Football in Review

Michael Daiuto, Reporter

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Every NFL season is filled with many spectacular and intense moments.

The sport draws millions of viewers to root for one of thirty-two teams, and many fans wish they could make an impact on the game.

In Fantasy Football, someone can do much more than that.

From drafting a team, to making substitutions, to fighting for a championship, it’s a football fan’s dream.

As the final week of the NFL regular season has come to a close, fantasy seasons have finished up as well.

This also means that participants in fantasy leagues have felt the feeling of success or defeat.

The most important factor determining how every team’s season goes is how the players drafted perform.

Here are the top five drafted players at each position compared to the top five at the end of the year, according to ESPN PPR (Points Per Reception) rules.

Quarterbacks 

According to Fantasy Pros, the five highest drafted quarterbacks on average were:

  1. Aaron Rodgers
  2. Deshaun Watson
  3. Tom Brady
  4. Russell Wilson
  5. Cam Newton

It turns out that only one of them was able to stay in the top five ranks.

The top five after all seventeen weeks were:

  1. Patrick Mahomes
  2. Matt Ryan
  3. Ben Roethlisberger
  4. Deshaun Watson
  5. Andrew Luck

Photograph by Jeffrey Beall [CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
Patrick Mahomes was the highest scoring quarterback in Fantasy Football this season. Photograph by Jeffrey Beall [CC BY 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

The quarterbacks drafted first, other than Watson, placed much lower than anticipated.

Rodgers, picked first, placed sixth, Brady picked third, placed fourteenth, Wilson picked fourth, placed ninth and Newton picked fifth, placed thirteenth.

Running Backs

The top five running backs drafted on average were:

  1. Todd Gurley
  2. Le’Veon Bell
  3. David Johnson
  4. Ezekiel Elliott
  5. Alvin Kamara

Johnson ranked ninth and Bell didn’t play a game this year.

The other three remained in the top five, with McCaffrey and Barkley, who was drafted sixth on average, filling in the other spots.

At the end of the year, the top five consisted of:

  1. Saquon Barkley
  2. Christian McCaffrey
  3. Todd Gurley II
  4. Alvin Kamara
  5. Ezekiel Elliott

Photograph by Keith Allion [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Saquon Barkley was the number one scorer in fantasy football at the running back position this year. Photograph by Keith Allion [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Wide Receivers

The top five wide receivers drafted on average were:

  1. Antonio Brown
  2. Deandre Hopkins
  3. Odell Beckham
  4. Julio Jones
  5. Michael Thomas

Beckham came in fifteenth overall and Thomas placed sixth, but everyone else remained.

The five highest scoring wide receivers in the end were:

  1. Tyreek Hill
  2. Deandre Hopkins
  3. Davante Adams
  4. Julio Jones
  5. Antonio Brown

Tight Ends

Lastly, the top five highest drafted tight ends on average were:

  1. Rob Gronkowski
  2. Travis Kelce
  3. Zach Ertz
  4. Jimmy Graham
  5. Greg Olsen

Gronkowski came in eleventh, Graham placed twelfth, and Olsen was twenty fifth.

At the end of the season, the top five scoring tight ends resulted in:

  1. Travis Kelce
  2. Zach Ertz
  3. George Kittle
  4. Eric Ebron
  5. Jared Cook

After the players have performed, the experience of managing your team and playing the game is all that matters.

Junior Matthew Ware explained that Fantasy Football is so popular because it is “much more manageable than other fantasy sports,” as the “NFL plays sixteen games a season, and most games are on Sunday.”

Junior Matthew Schwanke also feels that creating your own team is a huge draw.

“I believe that the creativity [Fantasy Football] has allowed for people to really connect to their own team because it represents them,” said Schwanke.

There are many reasons that people enjoy managing a team too.  

Junior Nate Binko’s favorite part is “picking up players that weren’t drafted [since] they bring a new spark to a team that really needs it.”

Schwanke loves to figure out matchups between his players and the teams they go up against, and Ware enjoys bragging to his friends when he wins.

Not only has the past been filled with fun, but the future looks bright for Fantasy Football too.

From doing dynasty leagues, where you keep some of your players year after year, like Ware is excited for, to learning about new rookies, which Schwanke and Binko are looking forward to, there are many more magnificent seasons to come.

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