For six weeks in a row Kareem Hunt has led the league in PPGAR so it’s no surprise to see him at the top of the leaderboard at this point, though his lead has dwindled. Also unsurprising: the top five players are running backs which, if you’ve followed us the past several weeks, you’ll know is nothing new. It’s not all RBs, though. As the season has progressed, some intriguing story lines have emerged: can Deshaun Watson continue his elite play? Can Zach Ertz continue to outpace his tight end counterparts? Can Chris Thompson really be this good? (I totally predicted he would be, by the way.) Time will tell how long these players can continue their dominance but for now, to paraphrase the Big Tuna himself, you are what your PPGAR says you are.
Kareem Hunt and Todd Gurley are back at it again in this week’s PPGAR rankings, though their leads have narrowed significantly as the season has gone on. After scoring 45.6, 25.9 and 25.3 points in each of the first three weeks of the season, Hunt has actually “slowed down” amassing only 16.1 and 14.6 points in the last two weeks (which is still pretty damn good).
In other PPGAR news, Leonard Fournette has been a delightful surprise this year on a fairly stagnant offense. It’s possible his numbers will pull back to the pack a bit as teams hone in on the run against Jacksonville and dare Blake Bortles to throw on them. Out wide, DeAndre Hopkins might be back, you guys. Remember what a beast he was in 2014 and 2015? Well, this year he’s been a target machine on a surprisingly efficient offense in Houston even if he’s another slow-down candidate as defenses learn Deshaun Watson’s tendencies.1
Another week, another Kareem Hunt explosion of fantasy output. Will he slow down?
As promised last week, we’d start to see some of the guys we are accustomed to seeing in the top tier of PPGAR. Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, Devonta Freeman, etc. are all working their way up the charts.
Despite this, with next week being the quarter mark of the season, Kareem Hunt, Todd Gurley, Chris Thompson, Ty Montgomery, and Stefon Diggs make up the top five players in terms of PPGAR through the first three weeks. Like a Donald Trump tweet, this season in Fantasy Football has been so unpredictable.1
One of the reasons RBs are ruling the roost so far this season is that RB output is down about a point per game compared to years passed. In the past five years, replacement tier PPG has been around nine for RBs. This year, replacement tier PPG for RBs has been about eight. Basically, the highest performing RBs are playing really well and the gap has widened between the highest tier and replacement tier output, compared to other positions.
One man arms himself with a calculator, the other with his intuition. They enter the cage for a no holds barred bloodbath to answer the age-old question, “Can Kareem Hunt keep this up?”
Kareem Hunt – Kansas City Chiefs
2017 : 3 GP | 401 yds | 9 rec | 137 yds | 6 Total TDs
Alex Schillinger: Kareem Hunt didn’t exactly have the best start to his professional career: he fumbled his very first NFL carry. After that, though, he’s been pretty much flawless with 392 yards (on 46 carries) and four rushing TDs to go with a pair of receiving TDs. The Toledo alum has worked his way onto 100% of the rosters in ESPN leagues and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. But the question remains, is it even possible for the rookie to keep up this pace?
Mike Bergsman: You mean, a pace of 2,138 yards rushing, 731 yards receiving, 32 touchdowns, and 48 receptions? A pace that equates to an average of 32.3 PPG and 516 total fantasy points, shattering every record ever, and probably inserting himself into the Hall of Fame based on one year alone? Absolutely not.
Long gone are the days of Aaron Rodgers, Le’Veon Bell, and Antonio Brown atop the PPGAR rankings.
The top 10 players in terms of PPGAR so far this year are absolutely dumbfounding. I know it’s early, but c’mon, Sam Bradford, Alex Smith, Todd Gurley, Tarik Cohen, Jason Witten, and future first ballot Hall of Famer Kareem Hunt!?!
In all actuality, this trend is not new. Have a look at some of the best fantasy performers in week two of last year.
Just remember, the guys you drafted in the first few rounds or for the most money in your auction draft often have a couple of bad weeks per year. It’s rare that EVERY week you’ll get their “average” points per game. They call this crazy phenomenon “reversion to the mean.”
Let’s hope some of the guys you expected to shine all year will do some of that mean reversion black magic. Without further adieu, here’s the PPGAR rankings through week two.
I guarantee Alex Smith, Tarik Cohen, and Sam Bradford were not the sleeper picks you had in mind this year.
Week one of the 2017 fantasy football season was….odd. Only one of the top ten players in terms of total points from 2016 are in the top ten of PPGAR in week one.1
Here are your week one PPGAR leaders.
Show of hands: how many of you have done fantasy drafts in Madden? I know I can’t be the only one. So the other day I was thinking about how great it feels to draft the best possible team, sit back and marvel at the juggernaut I’ve built. I rarely ever play the actual games; usually, I just simulate the season. If the team isn’t any good, I can always restart the season until it works out.1
Fantasy football scratches the same itch except that when I’m playing real fantasy football – by which I mean real fantasy football, not video game football2 – I can’t restart when things don’t go my way. Which sucks. To avoid that misery, my fellow fantasy players and I go to great lengths to build strong teams.3 All of which begs the question: can these two types of team building be combined? Can Madden ratings provide insight into future fantasy success?
One man arms himself with a calculator, the other with his intuition. They enter the cage for a no holds barred bloodbath to answer the age-old question, “Is this guy any good?”
Marshawn Lynch – Oakland Raiders
2016: Did not play (retired)
Mike Bergsman: One of the most interesting storylines of the 2017 season is Marshawn Lynch coming out of retirement to play for his hometown Raiders. From 2012 to 2014, Lynch was the top RB in standard fantasy leagues, and despite not having much of a reputation as a receiving back he was still ranked third in PPR leagues, behind noted pass-catchers Matt Forte and Jamaal Charles. That’s a great bit of history but it’s just that: history. After a year off, it’s tough to know how well Lynch will play, especially on a brand new team and in a brand new offense. Will he tear it up like the good ol’ days or go all Steven Jackson on the Falcons?
It happens almost every year. A first round draft pick who’s expected to change the fortunes of a perennial basement dweller and sure enough, they’re nothing but hot garbage. Or you’ll see an almost nobody fifth rounder come out of nowhere and make the Pro Bowl.1
Over the last five years, there have been some pretty outstanding rookies that have made their way onto the field. And they’ve come from all throughout the draft. They’ve made a huge impact on both real, live-action football, the one that we all used to watch, and Fantasy Football, the one we’re willing to trade our first born for.
Here’s a look at how every single offensive rookie measured up in terms of first year output since the 2012 season: