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Fantasy Retrospection: 2019 Fantasy Football Year in Review – RBS, TEs, D/ST

Photo: Ron Schwane/Associated Press

Sometimes the best way forward is to look back. To have a successful fantasy season this coming year, lets look back at last season.

Running Back

Top Preseason Players (ADP)

  1. Saquan Barkley: ADP: 1.4
    • Ending Ranking: RB 10  
  2. Alvin Kamara: ADP: 2.5
    • Ending Ranking: RB 9
  3. Christian McCaffrey: ADP: 3.2
    • Ending Ranking: RB 1
  4. Ezekiel Elliott: ADP: 3.9
    • Ending Ranking: RB 3
  5. James Conner: ADP: 7.1
    • Ending Ranking: RB 35

Top Performers (PPR Scoring)

  1. Christian McCaffrey: 471.2 points
    • ADP: 3.2
  2. Aaron Jones: 314.8 points
    • ADP: 29.2
  3. Ezekiel Elliott: 311.7 points
    • ADP: 3.9
  4. Austin Ekeler: 309 points
    • ADP: 61.7
  5. Derrick Henry: 294.6 points
    • ADP: 43.8


Injuries hit the running back group pretty hard. Barkley, Kamara, and Conner all faced injuries that dropped them in the final rankings. When examining the final points, there is a nearly 33-point discrepancy between RB 6 and RB 7, Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette, respectively. That is a fairly big gap between six and seven, especially considering Cook was the 8th running back taken and Fournette was the 12th. Christian McCaffrey had far and away the most points and was taken in the top-3 picks in most fantasy drafts. It is difficult to account for injuries, but some running backs are relatively safe, such as Elliott, Cook, and Kamara, meaning that their performance will not surprise anyone. Next year, a player like Saquon Barkley, might be available for a good value. Running backs should still be taken high in fantasy drafts, but after the top-5 or 6 come off the board, it could be better to address other positions first, then take value, upside RBs later.     

Tight End

Top Preseason Player (ADP)

  1. Travis Kelce: ADP: 17.1
    • Ending Ranking: TE 1
  2. George Kittle: ADP: 28.3
    • Ending Ranking: TE 3
  3. Zach Ertz: ADP: 33.5
    • Ending Ranking: TE 5
  4. OJ Howard: ADP: 54.1
    • Ending Ranking: TE 31
  5. Evan Engram: ADP: 57.3
    • Ending Ranking: TE 19

Top Performers (PPR Points)

  1. Travis Kelce: 254.3 points
    • ADP: 17.1
  2. George Kittle: 222.5 points
    • ADP: 28.3
  3. Darren Waller: 221 points
    • ADP: 155.8
  4. Zach Ertz: 215.6 points
    • ADP: 33.1
  5. Mark Andrews: 207.2 points
    • ADP: 142.1


Travis Kelce was still the pinnacle and the prize at the tight end position for 2019. This should be the same next year as long as he stays healthy. Kelce would have been 9th if he were a wideout, so having that production at tight end in fantasy would have been valuable. George Kittle actually averaged the same amount of points per game as Kelce, but he played in two fewer games. Tight end is another position where we saw a drop big drop off from the sixth ranked player, to the seventh. This 24-point drop-off hints at a trend; the trend being that if you do not have the top guys, then it might be better to stream players based off of the matchup for that week. To put this in perspective, Dallas Goedert ended the season with the 10th most fantasy points amongst tight ends, and Mike Gesicki ended up with the 12th most. Tyler Higbee ended the year as TE 8, and most of his points came in the latter half of the season. It might be difficult to have consistent production out of the tight end position, but finding value and points here could make the difference for your team.         

Defense/Special Teams

Preseason Rankings (ADP)

  1. Chicago Bears: ADP: 92.4
    • Ending Ranking (DST): 17
  2. Los Angeles Rams: ADP: 105.6
    • Ending Ranking (DST): 5
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars: ADP: 109.3
    • Ending Ranking (DST): 18 (T)
  4. Baltimore Ravens: ADP: 117
    • Ending Ranking (DST): 4
  5. Cleveland Browns: ADP: 126
    • Ending Ranking (DST): 25

Top Performers (PPR Scoring Points)

  1. New England Patriots: 224 points
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers: 180 points
  3. San Francisco 49ers: 163 points
  4. Baltimore Ravens: 150 points
  5. Los Angeles Rams: 146 points


New England’s defense won more than a few games for fantasy teams in 2019 with just unreal production, but did level off toward the end of the year. The fact that only two of the top-five defenses from the start of the season finished in the top-five, shows how just how fickle this position is. It would be better to stream defenses then to try to ride one to fantasy glory. The points that defenses account for are pretty minute in regards to other positions, so having more than one defense on your team means that points and opportunity are being cast aside. 

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