An Edgemont Students’ Guide to Fantasy Football
Every year in August, thousands of people reopen the ESPN Fantasy app in preparation for another year of a grueling, heartbreaking sport: Fantasy Football. In a nutshell, fantasy football takes the performance of players in the National Football League (NFL) and translates each stat into a point value. In most leagues, you draft your team completely from scratch. Every year there are a few great players whom people overlook for some reason, who go later in a draft than they should. These are called “booms”, for which is what everyone is looking.
At the same time, you try to avoid drafting players that end up doing worse than expected, commonly known as “busts”. Countless debates break out every year between friends about who’s team is better, which player is better, which players are booms/busts, and so on. So, we decided to gather data to see how Edgemont students assess such matters.
Before we start, here is a list of the point values for offensive players in a typical PPR (point-per-reception) ESPN Fantasy league for reference:
The first category that we asked students about was who they thought the best quarterback has been this year for fantasy. Quarterback is traditionally a position where there is a relatively small point range, meaning the best and worst quarterback won’t have too large a point differential on average. However, Josh Allen, the QB for the Buffalo Bills, has been a level above the rest this season. Through 8 games he’s averaging 27.2 points, about 5 points more than second-place Joe Burrow at 22.5. His dominance was also noted throughout Edgemont, as he accumulated 76% of the votes for the best quarterback. Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes, and Lamar Jackson split up the rest of the total but weren’t even close to Allen.
We then asked the student body who they think the best running back, receiver, and tight-end has been this season. This season, many backs have stood out, such as Christian McCaffrey, Austin Ekeler, Saquon Barkley, and others. However, Barkley has been the best this season, getting nearly 40% of the votes, while Austin Ekeler of the L.A. Chargers and Christian McCaffery split the rest of the votes. Ekeler has been averaging 25 points per game and is ranked as the best running back on ESPN’s fantasy app. Saquon ranks fourth on ESPN, and McCaffery second as of now.
Of the receivers, Cooper Kupp of the L.A. Rams seems to be Edgemont’s receiver of choice, getting nearly 40% of the votes. Kupp is coming off of a historic season, where he led the NFL in yards, catches, and touchdowns. This season, he has stayed strong, averaging 24.5 ppg, and is ESPN’s number 3. Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill (ranked 1 and 2 on ESPN) took home the majority of the remaining votes. The tight end position is not as tightly contested with Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews being the two clear dominant forces at this position. Travis Kelce, however, has been the best this year averaging 21 ppg and getting almost 85% of the votes.
Now, for the players that have disappointed and surprised people the most this season. Starting with the “busts”, the votes are in favor of Johnathon Taylor. Taylor was the best fantasy running back last year and the consensus #1 overall pick in most drafts this year, but he has been unable to mimic anything close to his production last year. He is currently ranked as the 33rd-best running back this year due to a combination of injuries and poor performances.
On the other end of the spectrum are the surprising players, or “booms”. Dameon Pierce, Josh Jacobs, and Breece Hall racked up the majority of these votes as late-round picks who rose to the ranks of the top 10 players at the running back position. Jacobs ended up with the highest percentage at just over 30%. He has emerged as a dominant force at running back and boasts a stretch of three games where he averaged 33.8 points.
In another section of our form, we asked Edgemont students to submit a picture of their fantasy football team for a chance to be featured in this article. We selected three submissions. We will also look at the average PPG (the total average ppg of all the starters), average position rank (the average of all the player’s position ranks), and two different subjective grades.
This first submission comes from Bennett O’Reilly. He is in a 10-team standard PPR league, and on paper, his team looks pretty good. At first, some might question the fact that he has Daniel Jones starting at quarterback, but he is quietly having a good fantasy season averaging 16 ppg with some big games sprinkled in. His running backs are also very good on paper, both top-15 overall picks in most leagues. However, they have been injured and not performed well this year. He has the #1 ranked receiver as of now in Tyreek Hill. He also has Michael Pittman, who is very talented and has been good in spurts this year. Schultz is a solid tight-end option and Boyd will probably be good while Ja’Marr Chase is out. His kicker and defense are both great.
Average PPG: 120.0 Average Position Rank: 16.2
Current Grade: B- Potential Grade: B+
This next submission comes from Harley Pfeffer. He is in a 10-team standard PPR league as well. Starting from the top, Tua Tagovailoa is his quarterback, and he has proven some of his doubters wrong this year. His running backs are pretty solid with Aaron Jones trending up recently and Miles Sanders representing the lead back of one of the best rushing offenses in the NFL. His wide receivers are definitely the strong point of his team. Both Brown and Samuel could go for 40 points at any time, and Higgins is one of the more underrated receivers in the league. At tight end, Kittle ranks as an elite player for the past few years, but his production has dropped off this year. There are some slight concerns with his kicker and defense as of late, but those are replaceable positions.
Average PPG: 118.9 Average Position Rank: 16.2
Current Grade: B Potential Grade: B+
This final submission comes from an anonymous student. Their team has one of the most dynamic quarterbacks in the NFL, Lamar Jackson. After a disappointing year last season, he has bounced back in a big way, averaging 22.3 ppg, and is the #3 ranked QB on ESPN. Skipping ahead to the wide receivers, Adams, Brown, and Cooper have all had great seasons. Each of them has been a Top 10 wide receiver this year. At tight end, Travis Kelce has proven himself the top player. Turning to the running backs, Walker has really come alive as of late and Patterson was playing terrifically before an injury four weeks ago. The defense and kicker are both great as well. Injuries are a concern for this team but when healthy, there is no reason it can’t win its league.
Average PPG: 139.8 Average Position Rank: 11.3
Current Grade: A- Potential Grade: A+
With this fantasy season far from over, anything could change in the blink of an eye. A player could “boom” or “bust” at any given moment, and nobody knows when that will happen.