By: David Connors @DConBlitz
Week 13 can be one of the most exhilarating weeks in the Fantasy Football season. For most leagues, it represents the final week of the regular season, Not only are we watching our matchups, we are watching our opponents matchups. We are running the scenarios in our heads that will guarantee our playoff spot, our desired seed, or that coveted bye week. Therefore, as week 13 comes to a close, congratulations to everyone who secured their playoff spot and are gunning for that Fantasy Football Championship! Looking back at the crazy 2020 season, it is time to recognize the players that stood out with awards derived from the popular holiday gift troupes. Tis the season for giving, therefore, without further ado, it is time to hand out the Blitzalytics Fantasy Football Cliche Holiday Gift Awards.
The Jewelry Award
Every year I go out and look for a thoughtful, shiny, expensive piece of jewelry to get my wife for Christmas, and every year she opens it, gets super excited then immediately puts it on. Not to toot my own horn, but it always looks incredible. She is excited and tells me she loves it. She will wear it all day. However, when it's time for bed, she will remove the shimmery item and place it in a box with all the other shimmery items where it will rarely be seen again. Perhaps she may break it out for a dinner date at a nice restaurant, and it will look fantastic, but those are few and far between.
Winner: Nyheim Hines, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Hines is the 13th ranked Running Back in full PPR leagues. He is already within twenty-one points of his career-high in fantasy points in a single season while scoring 2.5 more points per game than his previous high in points per game in 2017. The only dilemma with the pass-catching Running Back from the Colts is over 55% of his fantasy scoring came in 3 weeks. He has failed to surpass double-digit in more than half of his games. Hines looked shiny and expensive in week 1 with 2 touchdowns and 8 receptions. He has popped off a couple more times as well, but he has spent most of the season in the jewelry box. Congratulations Mr. Hines!
The Old Small Box in a Big Box Trick Award
It's mid-December and all of a sudden there is a massive box beside the tree for you. For the rest of December, you are trying to figure out what extravagant gift you got. You are flexing a bit that you have the biggest gift. Finally, the day has come to reveal your prized gift. Imaginations have run wild speculating what could be in the massive box. You tear the blue snowman wrapping paper off with excitement to reveal an ordinary brown box. You open the box and in it is a pack of raisins and the Letter D of the Britannica Encyclopedia that you didn't even realize was missing off the bookshelf because...who would?
Winner: Le’Veon Bell, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Le’Veon Bell's average draft position was the RB 18 off the board in PPR leagues. Even with lower production, Bell’s volume in 2019 made him a consistent RB2. The Jets paid a healthy sum to offensive line players over the offseason and drafted a mountain in Mekhi Beckton with their first draft pick. Bell looked like a safe pick in 2020 with upside. However, it did not take long after opening the package to realize you have been duked. Bell is averaging under 5 points a game in 2020. Even when you thought he was not only going to be free of Gase and the Jets but going to the most productive offense in the NFL, Bell has still failed to provide anything to fantasy players in 2020. At least you could eat the raisins and learn the mating habits of dingos with the Christmas Gift. Bravo, Bell!
The White Elephant Award
A White Elephant is referring to an oft regifted present that is typically large and extravagant by nature. The term ”white elephant” originated from the King of Siam, which is now Thailand, giving albino elephants to members of his court who he was unhappy with. The upkeep of the animal would sink them therefore the white elephant owner would then regift it.
Winner: Jerick McKinnon, RB, San Francisco 49ers
McKinnon is an inspirational story. Injuries have derailed McKinnon’s career for 2 straight seasons, and this man worked and rehabbed to be back on the football field. McKinnon has been a dynamic pass-catching Running Back who has had clutch games for fantasy players in a year where Running Back production has been barren. McKinnon’s name has frequented the waiver wire as much as anybody this season and there have been plenty of weeks where he filled inadequately. McKinnon has been a double-digit scorer 50% of the time. Can we get a round of applause for Mr. McKinnon?!
The Grinch Award
The Grinch rode into Whoville and stole Christmas from all the Whos. He packed up the presents! The ribbons! The wrappings! The Tags! The Tinsel! The Trimmings! The Trappings!
He packed them up on a sled and rode off. So, who has packed up your fantasy hopes, and rode off with them?
Winner: Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
Lamar had fantasy experts salivating at the thought of being able to put in a QB who will not only rack up passing stats, but stack that with rushing stats that contend with the league's best rushers. Jackson’s ADP was 1.05 in 2020 according to Fantasy Football Calculator, however, he went in the 2nd or 3rd in most competitive leagues. That means, at best, Jackson owners passed on the likes of DeVante Adams and Travis Kelce to draft him. Lamar is the QB 18 on the season. Fortunately, Lamar has been consistent in providing team managers with a decent floor, but the cost to draft him has crippled many teams. Mr. Jackson, your award is in the mail.
The Socks Award
It seems like every year somebody gets you a pair of socks. When you get them, you think “meh, socks.” When you open them, nobody is blown away by the present. Nevertheless, as the year progresses, the socks you got are easily the most practical gift you got. You use them on a regular basis and when you need some foot comfort, they come through in the clutch. Socks are consistent, socks are reliable.
Winner: James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
James Robinson was not only undrafted in the NFL Draft, but he was mostly undrafted in fantasy leagues. When looking for a top tier RB, one is usually looking for a Running Back with a high pedigree, on a good team, that will get a ton of opportunities to score. Therefore, it's not astonishing that nobody expected a ton of production from an undrafted rookie RB on the second-worst team in the NFL. Robinson is a sit ‘em and forget ‘em RB1 every week. He has yet to not surpass double digits in PPR formats this season. For those who are wondering if it is just a ridiculous amount of opportunity. Yes, but he also has exceptional vision. Robinson does not lose ground. He has been an exciting player in 2020, and I am excited to have a platform put a spotlight on Robinson’s season.
The Microsoft Zune Award
I remember when I was a High Schooler, and all my friends had their iPods with all their favorite songs loaded onto it. They would pull them out in the cafeteria and unravel those white headphones and slide their index finger across that circle to scroll through their playlists. It was the only thing I asked for that year. On Christmas morning, I saw the little square box. My excitement was through the roof. I threw back my breakfast and tried to be patient, but I could not stop staring at the tiny gift in gold wrapping paper. When it was time to open the present, I tore the paper off at breakneck speed. I felt my heart in my throat when I realized I had the off-brand. “It's the same thing,” my parents said to me. Years later, I can tell you that the Zune is 100% the same thing and I loved it and appreciate my parents more than they realize for spending their hard-earned money on me, however, on that day I was devastated. That is the essence of this award, disappointment. There are many candidates for this award, but I tried to avoid players whose sole reason for their disappointment was injury (i.e. Christain McCaffrey or Saquon Barkley).
Winner: Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
I know Thomas lost a bit of his year to injury, but he has not lived up to his round 1 billing. Thomas has been a victim of circumstance lately with Taysom Hill at QB, however, he has not played to his ability this season either. He has also lost you a week because he punched his teammate, CJ Johnson. Thomas has sunk fantasy lineups as the top WR taken in 2020.
The SHHH, Santa! Award
Shh, Santa is a very special present I got from my grandparents when I was 6. My grandparents lived several states away and we only got to see them once a year during Thanksgiving. When I first got the book, I did not think much of it. I read it, I liked it, and then left it on the bookshelf for a year. Then every Christmas thereafter, I would pull the book off and read it and appreciate it more and more each year as a reminder of my wonderful grandparents. Now that my grandfather has passed on, the book is a cherished item that I still get out and give it a quick read. It never fails to get me a little misty-eyed. The Shh, Santa Award goes to a player who was drafted and did not do much for your team to start the season. However, as the year progressed, he began to shine and become a stud.
Winner: Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Football Team
Gibson was an RB drafted in the double-digit round according to Fantasy Football Calculator. When drafting Gibson, fantasy players knew he was not going to come out Week 1 and light the fantasy world on fire. With that said, if you took the chance on Gibson, and endured his slow start, you have been rewarded with a high ceiling RB2. He has found the endzone 10 out of 12 weeks and has scored a touchdown in 5 straight weeks. It is our distinct honor to be awarding you, Mr. Gibson, with this prestige.
The Newest Gaming Console Award
And now for the Newest Gaming Console Award. This is the gift that makes the best unwrapping videos and gifs. This is the present that gets unwrapped and the lucky new owner of the gaming console loses their mind. They plug it in and it is exactly as awesome as it was expected. For me, it was a Nintendo 64. For many good little girls and boys in 2020, it will be the PlayStation 5.
Winner: Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
This award came down to Dalvin Cook or Travis Kelce, but I went with Kelce because he has provided a positional advantage at the Tight End spot that is unmatched. He has 40 more points this season in PPR scoring than the number 2 TE on the season and 100 more points than the number 4 TE. On average Kelce has provided a 10 point advantage per game for those lucky enough to have him week in and week out. Can we get a standing ovation for your Newest Gaming Console Award Winner, Mr. Kelce?!