The 2018 fantasy football season is over.
Championships have been won, payouts dispersed and trophies ordered!
If you’re anything like me though, you’re already diving into next season and which players could become values in the draft.
However, it’s easy to miss what happened in 2018 if we don’t look back and reflect on the previous season. Some truly incredibly fantasy performances were delivered and we could easily rush on by them if we aren’t careful.
With that being said, it’s time to pump the brakes on looking forward to next season for a quick second though and take a look back at the most shocking fantasy football stats from 2018!
1. Mike Evans Finished With 1,500 Receiving Yards
If you didn’t have Mike Evans on your fantasy rosters, you might not even be aware of this stat.
Actually, even if you did have Mike Evans on your fantasy rosters, you might not be aware of this stat.
Evans dominated this year as a top-tier wide receiver, however it may have been one of the quietest performances we can recall in recent history.
1,500 receiving yards is no small feat. It takes an incredibly talented wideout to accomplish something of this magnitude, but Evans was never really talked about much this year as one of the big name wide receivers despite finishing as a Top-10 guy.
Don’t downplay what Evans did in 2018. He’s still an elite weapon in Tampa Bay and should be viewed as one of the top wide receivers for next season’s redraft leagues. And if you play in any sort of Dynasty or keeper leagues, he’s a must-hold.
2. Chris Carson Finished 5th in Overall Rushing Yards
When the Seahawks drafted Rashaad Penny in the first round of this past NFL Draft, Chris Carson became an afterthought in the Seahawks run game.
This led to the former 7th round NFL draft pick being taken as the 32nd running back off the board in Fantasy Redraft Leagues.
To everyone’s surprise, Carson became the fantasy value pick of the year and exploded onto the scene with 1,151 rushing yards and 9 TD’s.
The 1,151 rushing yards was good enough to put him behind only Ezekiel Elliot, Saquon Barkley, Todd Gurley and Joe Mixon.
Moving forward, Carson’s value may take a hit because of the Seahawks wanting to integrate their first round investment (Penny) into the mix…but no one can deny what he did this season. Even if Penny does become the focal point, Carson is under contract for two more years in Seattle, so he should remain involved.
Regardless of his future involvement though his production this year cannot go unnoticed. If you were smart enough to draft him this past season, or scoop him up off of waivers, you got an incredibly valuable fantasy contributor.
3. Matt Ryan Finished Just Shy of 5,000 Passing Yards
Another player like Mike Evans, who finished better than you may have realized, is Matt Ryan.
Ryan finished with 4,924 passing yards and 35 touchdowns this season. These are almost identical numbers to the ones he put up in 2016 when he finished as the #2 overall fantasy QB. This year was the same result as he finished as the #2 overall QB in fantasy football behind only Patrick Mahomes.
However, if you didn’t have Matt Ryan on your team, you might not have realized how effective he was this season.
Now, Steve Sarkisian is out as the Offensive Coordinator in Atlanta and it remains to be determined who will take over play-calling duties.
Ryan has shown to be less effective his first year in a new system over the course of his career, so take caution when drafting him next season. But he’s at least demonstrated that he can still be a fantasy force and needs to be talked about with the top quarterbacks in this league.
4. George Kittle Finished With More Yards Than Adam Thielen
Earlier this season, Adam Thielen was the must own name at the wide receiver position.
He was putting up insane, video-game-like numbers throughout the first half of the season and seemed like he was a lock to be the #1 overall wide receiver once the season was over.
But over the latter half of the season, when you needed him the most, Thielen saw a downturn in targets and receptions and finished as the #7 WR in PPR scoring formats.
That’s not the huge news though…the huge news is that a tight end by the name of George Kittle hauled in more receiving yards than one of the top-tier wide receivers!
Kittle finished the season with 1,377 yards on 88 receptions, while Thielen finished with 1,373 yards on 113 receptions.
In a tight end landscape that is so difficult to predict for fantasy purposes behind the studs like Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz, Kittle has emerged as a top option and should be treated as such moving forward.
When a tight end can haul in more receiving yards than your top-tier WR, you have a fantasy superstar. If you have him in a Dynasty format, he’s a must-hold player. And if you’re starting up a Dynasty league this year for the first time, he needs to be taken with a high pick due to his talent and the volatility of the position.
(Oh and he did all of this with a 3rd string quarterback)
5. Kenyan Drake Finished As A Top-15 RB In PPR
This might be the most shocking fantasy nugget I came across in my research.
Kenyan Drake was an absolute disaster for your team this season if you played him week in and week out.
Due to Adam Gase, the former head coach of the Miami Dolphins, Drake would more often than not finish with less than 10 touches in a game. Because of this, there were games that you lost this year because Drake didn’t receive the ball enough.
However, there were some weeks that Drake exploded and delivered huge performances that won your matchup for you.
While looking at the year-end rankings and seeing Drake up near the top might cause you to think he had a good year, don’t be fooled. Drake hurt you more than he helped you.
This is a perfect example of why doing research in the offseason is so crucial before next year’s drafts…just because a player finished near the top doesn’t always mean that he was a useful fantasy option.
With all that being said, there’s still hope for Drake next season as Gase has been relieved of his coaching duties. The next coach might be more keen on giving Drake the ball more than 10 times per game.