2020 Fantasy Football WR Awards
Hello Heat Seekers, welcome to episode 123 of Sully’s 2 Cents Fantasy Football Podcast. I am your host, Rob Sullivan. The Sully’s 2 Cents Fantasy Football Podcast is a proud member of the RotoHeat Family of Podcasts.
Alright, episode 123, picking up my four-part series, recapping the fantasy season. Each episode will cover one of the four skills positions. Episode 3 in the series is Wide Receiver position.
I will give you Sully’s MVP, Rookie of the Year, Comeback Player, Breakout and Bust for each position. For the Dynasty fantasy managers, I provide a buy and a sell at each position as well.
MVP: Devante Adams – Green Bay Packers
There were a few different ways that I could have gone with this one, Adams, Tyreek Hill, and Stefon Diggs. I even had a scenario in which Justin Jefferson grabbed this award but that was a tad ridiculous and more of a Viking’s fan trying not to award a Packer the MVP.
As good a season as those two had, there is no denying Adams here. For the record I believe that Devante Adams is the best WR in football. So, handing him this award was fairly straight forward.
He finished his season with 358.4 PPR points, 29.5 points clear of Tyreek Hill who played one more game and 29.8 clear of Diggs who played in two more contests. Adams averaged 25.6 points per game compared to Hill’s 21.9, and Diggs’ 20.5.
When Defensive Coordinator’s draw up a plan to defend the Packers they key on Adams, he sees every type of coverage imaginable on a weekly basis and it simply does not matter. Adams gets open, Rodgers hits him, wash, rinse, repeat.
Aaron Rodgers targeted Adams 149 times this season, only three times was he targeted less than 10 times this season and one of them was week 2 when he left early due to injury. Adams turned those 149 targets into 115 catches for 1374 yards and 18 scores. 5 times he gained more than 40 yards and 73 of his 115 grabs moved the chains.
In the end this award goes to Adams with my utmost confidence and in reality, upon further review it wasn’t close.
Rookie of the Year: Justin Jefferson – Minnesota Vikings
Awarding Justin Jefferson the Fantasy MVO at WR was a stretch, awarding him Fantasy WR ROY was a slam dunk. Honestly no other rookie WR came close and this was a hell of a rookie WR class.
Jefferson appeared in all of the Vikings 16 games in 2020. He finished the season with 88 receptions on 125 targets for 1400 yards and he scored seven touchdowns. He wasn’t a starter in Vikings offense until Week 3
His 1,400 receiving yards were the most all-time among rookie receivers, surpassing Anquan Boldin. His 88 receptions set a new rookie mark in Minnesota, surpassing Randy Moss, you may have heard of him.
Jefferson was labeled as a slot receiver only but thankfully the Vikings lined him up outside as well this season. JJ showed elite route running and body control playing on the outside in Minnesota’s two-receiver set base offense.
23 of his 88 grabs were 20+ yard receptions, 4 times they were 40+ yards and his longest grab of the year went for 71 yards, and 58 of his grabs resulted in first downs. His 1400 yards were the third most by a WR this year and he trailed only Stefon Diggs, Travis Kelce and DeAndre Hopkins in receiving yards.
Expect Jefferson to replace Adam Thielen as Minnesota’s No.1 receiver next year. It’s possible that Jefferson gets even better in 2021 when you consider Thielen’s unsustainable red zone touchdown run in 2020.
Justin Jefferson takes home my Fantasy ROY award, and I have a strong feeling this will not be the only award I bestow upon him in his career.
Comeback Player: Stefon Diggs – Buffalo Bills
From a Viking WR to a former Viking WR in Stefon Diggs. There were a bunch of players that I would like to have the opportunity to re-rank this season, none more so than Diggs. Simply put I blew it here.
In 2019 as a Viking, Diggs finished his season as WR24 with 212.1 PPR points, and he was as unhappy a WR as there was. He ultimately got his wish and was shipped to Buffalo.
In 2020 Diggs led the NFL in targets, with 166, receptions with 127, yards with 1535, and tied for 15th in touchdowns with 8. Add those stats up and Diggs had a 328.6 PPR point season. Simply put it was a remarkable year
It becomes even more impressive when compared to 2019. He saw an increase in fantasy points of 132.41 (8.27/game). He was targeted 72 more times in 2020 vs. 2019, had 64 more receptions, and 405 more yards.
When Diggs expressed his displeasure in Minnesota, I was willing to drive him to the airport. If he ever changes his mind and wants to come back, I would be happy to pick him up.
Breakout: Calvin Ridley – Atlanta Falcons
There were some serious options here for Fantasy Breakout of the Year. I considered Diontae Johnson, Curtis Samuel, and Corey Davis to name a few. In the end I selected Calvin Ridley by the narrowest of margins over D.K. Metcalf.
Ridley completed 2020 with a career high 143 targets, a career high 90 receptions, and a career high 1375 receiving yards. His 9 touchdowns were one less than the 10 he posted in his rookie season. His 281.5 PPR points were a career high, 88 more than 2019, and 74.7 more than his 2018 rookie season.
2020 was his first of what I expect to be many top-12 WR finishes, landing at WR5. His 18.8 PPR points per game were 4th best.
Ridley this year stepped up in the Falcons offense that was forced to deal with Julio Jones for 7 games this season. In the process Ridley has assumed the No.1 WR role in Atlanta.
I mentioned earlier that I got some takes wrong this season, well I got some right as well. I had Ridley as my WR11 entering 2020, many thought I was too high, and it turns out I was too low.
Bust: DJ Chark – Jacksonville Jaguars
It feels like I have been cautioning fantasy mangers when it comes to D.J. Chark for years now. Reality is it has only been two.
Chark entered 2020 as the consensus WR23, in the end he finished as WR49. Last season he finished as WR17. He saw a decrease in fantasy points from 2019-2020 of 72.21 PPR points. In 2019 he averaged 15.10 points in 15 games, and in 2020 he averaged 11.80 points in 13 games.
When Chark started 2019 as the WR5 thru 8 weeks, dynasty managers went bonkers and his value was perceived to be one of multiple first rounders. Simply put that was insane. Chark in my opinion was and somehow still is an overrated fantasy asset. By the way in weeks 9-17 a season ago he was WR47, giving all that paid attention some insight to his future.
The fact that the Jacksonville Jaguars are adding Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence in the NFL Draft, and the fact that Chris Conley and Keelan Cole are free agents bodes well for Chark. He might be one of breakout candidates entering 2021. For now, he exits 2020 as a bust.
WR to Buy: Courtland Sutton – Denver Broncos
When Courtland Sutton was selected by the Denver Broncos 40th overall out of SMU in the 2018 NFL Entry Draft I was high on him. He finished his rookie season with 42 grabs on 84 targets for 704 yards and 4 scores. He was WR50.
In 2019 he increased his numbers to 72 catches on 124 targets for 1112 yards and 6 scores. He finished as WR19. In 2020 I gobbled up Courtland Sutton shares in my start-up drafts like a man possessed. When Brad Menendez is high on a WR, you should be too.
In his first two seasons Sutton was catching passes from Case Keenum, Joe Flacco, Brandon Allen, and Drew Lock, note exactly a list of the leagues elite.
Set to take the next step in 2020 with a new offensive coordinator, two additional WR weapons, and a second year TE with upside, Sutton suffered a torn ACL in Week 2, after missing Week 1 with a foot injury. His promising season was limited to 6 targets and 3 catches for 66 scoreless yards.
There are a lot of fantasy managers down on the Broncos and specifically Drew Lock. If you listened to episode 120 then you would know I am not one of those managers. Sutton coming back into this offense gives it life. It enables Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler to be the No.2&3WR options they were supposed to be, and don’t forget about Noah Fant. Sutton will be extremely hard to double cover next season. I like all these weapons to increase in value and if I can buy Sutton I will be.
WR to Sell: Adam Thielen – Minnesota Vikings
I need to start this off by stating what might be the obvious, I love Adam Thielen. I love him as a Vikings fan, and I love his as a fantasy manager. The reality is there comes a time when all players start to take the journey down the backside of the mountain.
In 2021 Thielen’s fantasy value will start heading south. He is a sell for me as a result. Thielen burst onto the fantasy radar in the later portion of 2016. From 2016-2020 Thielen averaged 119 targets, 83 receptions 1087 yards and 8 touchdowns a season.
In 2020 he finished as WR10 with only 74 catches and 925 receiving yards. He reached the top-12 for the third time in four seasons on the back of 14 touchdowns (third most among WRs). Scoring 14 touchdowns in a season is hard to do, to replicate it again is extremely unlikely.
In 2017 on 34 more targets with 17 more receptions he scored 4 times Thielen finished that season as WR7. In 2018 he had 45 more targets than in 2020 and 45 more receptions. That season on route to finishing as WR7, he scored 9 times.
In his career prior to 2020, Adam Thielen caught one TD every 12.92 receptions. In 2020 he had one for every 5.26 catches.
I mentioned when listing Kirk Cousins as a QB sell in episode 120 that the Vikings offense likely regresses in terms of passing volume and efficiency in 2021. Justin Jefferson is the new No.1 WR and Adam Thielen will be entering his age 31 season. I love this player, but he is going to regress and you should be selling him now as a result.
That’s going to do it for today’s episode, thank you for tuning in for my 2020 Fantasy Football WR Awards.
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In our next episode I will wrap up the 4-part Fantasy Awards series with the Tight Ends. Stay safe and stay healthy Heat Seekers. Take care.