Second half summary: fantasy players who reigned and rotted in the big stage


Ella Shen

Cooper Kupp (10), Jonathan Taylor (28), and Jamarr Chase (1), dominated in the fantasy playoffs, putting up historic statlines.

Lucas Quick and Rikin Patel

The regular season of the NFL, aka the fantasy season has come to an end. As we wrote about the first half of fantasy, it’s now time to close out the season with our “award ceremony,” but in the context of the more important stage of the season: the playoffs. Taking a look back, here are some players who shined and shadowed in the finale.

Best waiver pickup: Amon Ra St. Brown

You didn’t expect to see a Lions player here, did you? Although the Detroit Lions had a rough season, Amon Ra St. Brown really turned into a huge stud for them, as the rookie receiver from USC managed to put a massive load of weight on his shoulders in that offense, with the absence of TJ Hockenson, who had undergone surgery on his hand. 

St. Brown was drawing a fair amount of targets, even in that double-digit category in the first half of the season, so it wasn’t shocking that his workload was going to rise. But starting in week 13, Amon Ra was able to play at an elite level– even with a scratchy quarterback with Jared Goff under center– and managed to hold in at least 8 catches each game, finishing the last three games of the season with over 90 yards, and as well as snagging in four touchdowns. 

Not to brag, but we noticed St. Brown’s success immediately after his blowout performance and the Lion’s first win of the season against the Vikings, and it sure paid off, and it did for others, as from week 13-17, he put up wild numbers, with 43 catches, 451 yards, and four touchdowns, and was easily a top 5 receiver during the playoffs of the fantasy season, and arguably could’ve been the MVP for the second half, as he was rostered in 56.5% of fantasy championship teams. 

The Detroit Lions have found a building block in their receiving core with St. Brown’s dazzling finish to this season, and could definitely be a future star. It’s almost impossible to repeat what he did to finish off the season, but Amon Ra St. Brown is undoubtedly highly under the radar for next season, and could possibly be listed as a top 20 receiver going into next year’s draft, and could be drafted in round four next year.

Least incorporated player: James Robinson

Oh boy, we can go on for what situation James Robinson was put in the second half of this season, and it certainly didn’t have a nice ending for Robinson as well, as he suffered a torn achilles against the New York Jets in the first quarter. Let’s begin with that. If you were in a James Robinson owner, this was a massive letdown and possibly threw your chances away to winning it all, as it did for me, as this was the golden opportunity for Robinson to blow up against a bad Jets rushing offense, and was finally getting the heavy workload back after Urban Meyer being fired. Robinson was listed as a top-five running back for that week, and was an unlucky series of events, as he only finished with one point after leaving the game. 

Setting that aside, Robinson is very talented and young running back for that shrunken and poor Jaguars offense, yet Robinson’s workload had suddenly took a huge dock, now I don’t know if Urban Meyer purposely was doing this during his finals moments in Jacksonville, because Robinson did point out the issue during an interview after a blowout loss against the Rams, and having only eight carries in that game. Even before that, Robinson starting week 11, was only getting 12 rushes in the majority of the second half, but was able to save a quiet fantasy outing with touchdowns in a couple of those games. In week 14 and 15 he saw no workload at all, as it really seemed like Urban Meyer was purposely making him sit on the bench more than getting any time to get on the field with that offense, as he only had 14 carries for 48 yards in those two games. 

This clearly did not help your fantasy team at all, as who was your likely RB2, was just being left in the dust just weeks prior to the playoffs and even in the beginning of the playoffs as well. The achilles injury just made it an unfortunate ending to his season because his workload was back to it’s normalcy again back in week 16 against the Titans. 

His future is undetermined as well, since the only reason why he was the clear cut starting back for the Jaguars was because their first round pick rookie running back in Travis Etienne missed the whole season due to a left foot injury. So it is likely to see both Robinson and Etienne split carries in that Jacksonville backfield, leaving James Robinson’s production next season to not seem super reliable. His ADP will definitely drop next season, and should be drafted no better than a RB3 for your fantasy team next season. 

MVP(s): Cooper Kupp and Jonathan Taylor

Let’s be honest, there shouldn’t be an argument on who was the MVP to finish off the season, as both Taylor and Kupp shined for the entire season, both finishing at the top spot in their position this season. With them both having outstanding seasons, and being highly rostered, it’s only right to put both of them in this category. 

Starting with Jonathan Taylor, who is now showing the same explosiveness he had back in Wisconsin, now in the big leagues, as he ended off the whole season with over 2100 yards of scrimmage and 20 touchdowns. Taylor’s role in the Colts offense this season was enormous and arguably responsible for the Colts success before dropping their last two games. 

Starting at week 10, Taylor continued to stay absolutely dominant, having 100 yards in 7 of the last 8 games of the season, including an incredible handling against the Bills defense in week 12, as he put over 50 points, which was the best performance for any player before Jamaar Chase’s dominance against the Chiefs later in the season. Taylor was the most productive running back this season, as he was rostered in 60% of fantasy championship teams, and in my opinion, the clear number one pick for next year’s draft. 

Cooper Kupp had a historic season for a wide receiver, as he nearly broke Calvin Johnson’s record for most receiving yards in a season, but just fell short, yet still managed to put over 1900 receiving yards during his more than just a breakout season. There was no doubt that Cooper Kupp was wildly productive all season, and still put great stats in the fantasy playoffs as well, as starting from week 10, he had four games with over 10 catches, as well with five games with over 100 yards, and to add the cherry on top, five touchdowns to add on it.

Cooper Kupp had quickly emerged in the list of the NFL’s best receivers, and now having one of the best seasons any receiver has had into his resume. Kupp finished as the overall top receiver and it wasn’t even close, and also had the highest percentage of rostering of any player on championship fantasy teams, as he was rostered in 61.8% of them. I’m expecting his ADP to be very high next season, and believe he’ll be listed as a top 7 pick in next season’s draft.

Best rookie: Ja’marr Chase

Alas, we get to the least contested award. You might’ve been wondering if we’re going to say “It was a hard decision” but in truth, it really wasn’t. Patriots quarterback Mac Jones may have brought the Patriots to 1st place in the AFC East toward the end of the season but not only did the Bills clinch 1st but the Patriots also lost badly against the Bills with a score of 17-47 in an embarrassing Wild Card defeat. There is no question that for showing consistency and high-level performances throughout the season, Chase deserves this award.

During the preseason, Chase’s dropped passes from Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow made headlines and cast doubt on his ability as an NFL receiver. Before Chase’s first snap with the Bengals, his girlfriend claimed he assaulted her while she was pregnant, an accusation that also seriously cast doubt on his future in the NFL. 

When he played his first game, Chase caught 5 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown, immediately solidifying his role in the Bengal’s offense as a physical field stretcher who wins at the line of scrimmage. The outstanding rookie receiver then went on to make 81 catches for 1,455 yards, the most by any rookie in the Super Bowl era. His performances were highlighted by eye-popping acrobatic catches and big-play moments

During the Bengals’ win over the Kansas City Chiefs by a score of 34-31 in Week 17, Chase caught 11 receptions for 266 receiving yards and three touchdowns, setting the NFL record for most receiving yards by a rookie in a game ever.

If that isn’t enough, Chase continues to be productive during the offseason playoffs. In his most recent game against the Las Vegas Raiders in the Wild Card round, Chase caught 9 of 12 targets for 116 yards, the most catches, and yards by any player that game, contributing to the Bengals’ win over the Raiders.