Richard Benites | January 5th, 2019
The NFL Playoffs are underway, which unfortunately means that the traditional fantasy football season has now concluded. Whether your season didn’t end as planned or you’ve recently earned the bragging rights as league champion, there’s a good chance that successful owners had the following players on their fantasy roster. Both underrated surprises and the most productive of the bunch, here’s our picks for the 2018 Fantasy Football Season: Hall of Fame.
Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
Out of all the picks, this one was probably the playoff-friendly. If you were wise enough to pick up Derrick Henry sometime after Tennessee’s bye week, then his production for your team would’ve paid off plentiful.
From Week 13 through Week 16, when most fantasy football postseasons are occurring, Henry more than doubled his entire season’s fantasy point output, totaling 102.74 over this period of time. That’s an average of about 25 points per game from a running back who was on the majority of free-agency/waiver wires before crunch time in fantasy leagues, not to mention that ridiculous Week 14 game where Henry went for 238 yards and 4 touchdowns. Once you heard of him after that it was probably too late, and fantasy owners that capitalized on his success, capitalized BIG.
George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers
2018 was quite the year for young player breakouts, from undrafted running backs to potential franchise quarterbacks. However, the San Francisco 49ers wouldn’t have to look past the tight end position as breakout star George Kittle lit it up this year.
Totaling 170 points this year, in standard scoring, Kittle finished 2nd overall among all tight ends. Featuring both in the middle of the field and as a downfield threat, his success was also thanks to his YAC ability when extending plays. Altogether, chances are that Kittle was drafted in your fantasy league, but if you were lucky enough to pick him up off the waiver wire then you found yourself a trustworthy TE1 with big-play potential.
Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
When drafting a running back, looking for total touches is key; Panthers’ running back Christian McCaffrey embodies this very strategy. Almost doubling his total production from last season, McCaffrey was Round 1 draft material that was probably selected much later than he should’ve in your fantasy leagues.
Leading all running backs in both targets and receptions, McCaffrey also finished top 10 in rush attempts. Altogether, McCaffrey’s total fantasy point production of 278.50 was enough to earn him a top 3 finish among all running backs. Following an explosive Week 12 performance of 35.70 fantasy points, McCaffrey went on to finish the fantasy season averaging 20 points per game; proving clutch for fantasy owners once playoff time came around.
Chicago Bears, D/ST
With plenty of quality special team and defensive talent, which was only made better with the addition of DE Khalil Mack, Chicago had plenty of playmaking potential.
Finishing as the No. 1 D/ST by a fairly wide margin, Chicago finished fourth in sacks, first in touchdowns, and first in total interceptions with a whopping 27 on the season. From Week 1 on, it was made clear that this side was going to be special.
James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Out of all the aforementioned picks, this was the headlining one from the 2018 fantasy football season. Essentially a free agent at the beginning of the fantasy football season, you would’ve been blessed with a high workload RB1 if you foresaw the rising Le’Veon Bell contract issues.
Steelers’ running back James Conner ran his way into Pittsburgh fans’ hearts, and fantasy owners starting lineups, with his high usage and high production stat lines. Conner finished seventh overall among all running backs, with 225 fantasy points on the season. At first, questions arose concerning Conner’s ability to replace Bell’s exhausting workload; which he was more than able to. Many media outlets also report that Conner was present on the majority of fantasy football playoff teams, and if you’re like me, his help as an immediate RB1 was crucial in earning a league championship and subsequent bragging rights.
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