Recapping the Fantasy Football Regular Season – Sports Illustrated

Sports are all about superlatives. Who’s ranked No. 1? Who led the league in scoring? Don’t even get me started on Heisman talk. Fantasy sports aren’t all that different.
We like to assign labels. MVP. Bust. League-winner.
With the regular season in the rear view and the fantasy postseason beginning Thursday night, Winners Club enlisted your help to assign superlatives for Weeks 1-14. We have been eliciting responses from our readers and followers over the past few days to get an idea of where you all stand on some of the biggest unofficial awards and designations for the 2021 fantasy football regular season.
So how did you all vote? Let’s find out.
The leading scorers at each position are as follows:
QB Josh Allen, Bills—23.5 PPG
RB Jonathan Taylor, Colts—23.7 PPG
WR Cooper Kupp, Rams—25.8 PPG
TE Travis Kelce, Chiefs—15 PPG
D/ST Patriots—10.1 PPG
K Nick Folk, Patriots—11.1 PPG
(Scoring data from ESPN.com, ADP data from FantasyPros)
Of those three highest scorers—Kupp, Taylor and Allen—our followers voted Taylor as this season’s MVP.
The poll was posted during the Bills-Buccaneers game, during which Allen surpassed Brady as the top scoring quarterback with a monster performance.
Taylor came on strong late last season during his rookie year, but preseason concerns about quarterback Carson Wentz and guard Quenton Nelson gave fantasy managers pause about the second-year player. Taylor had a concerning start, tallying 31.2 PPR points in his first three games. He scored a touchdown in every game from Week 4 on and his lowest output during that stretch was 18 points — with a peak of 53.4 on the back of five total touchdowns and 200-plus yards in Week 11.
Photo credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Kupp was similarly a model of consistency, never finishing with fewer than 11 fantasy points in a single game. He led all scorers in total points this season and leads the NFL in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Kupp was unequivocally the best value in fantasy drafts this past summer at WR18, going in the fourth round on average.
Brady and Allen were both volatile scorers, especially compared with Kupp’s consistent dominance. They each surpassed 30 points a handful of times while having their fair share of outings with fewer than 20 points. And their methods of scoring were starkly different—Brady threw for 600 yards more than Allen and tossed eight more touchdowns. Allen made up the difference with 463 more rushing yards than Brady and two more scores on the ground.
Photo credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
There are two obvious candidates for the top addition of the season:
RB Elijah Mitchell, 49ers—15.1 PPG
RB Cordarrelle Patterson, Falcons—17.7 PPG
As is the case with many waiver pickups, there wasn’t anything obvious before the season about either player. Patterson was seemingly buried on the depth chart in Atlanta and has never been a high-volume player in his lengthy NFL career. Mitchell wasn’t even the first running back San Francisco drafted in 2021. Both not only carved out roles, but dominated their respective backfields.
Of the two clear choices, our followers voted Patterson as the best pickup this season for his Year 9 breakout.
A nice story for Patterson in Week 1 turned into a pair of touchdowns against the Buccaneers in Week 2. From then on, he became a mainstay in fantasy lineups and the most reliable offensive weapon on a team of first-round pass catchers. Patterson accounts for 10 of Atlanta’s 25 touchdowns this season and has already set career highs in carries, rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.
Photo credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
Meanwhile, Mitchell, in his rookie season, stepped into the RB1 role in Kyle Shanahan’s run-friendly offense after a slew of injuries. He ran for 104 yards in his first-ever game and broke triple digits on the ground three other times.
One lucky manager landed Patterson and Mitchell on his waivers:
The question with the most responses was the most negative. Who hurt your team?
There were some common replies:
Allen Robinson’s name came up a lot. The Bears receiver is on his way to turning in his worst season ever. Robinson has one touchdown and a career-low 32 catches this season. Considering he was drafted a full round before Kupp, it’s more than fair to say Robinson, who has two games with 10 or more points, was one of the biggest disappointments of the year.
Fantasy disappointment comes in all shapes and sizes. Robinson played in 10 games and was not really fantasy viable for any of them. Christian McCaffrey, the consensus 1.01, missed significant time with injury for the second season in a row. But when he did play, he was phenomenal. McCaffrey scored more than 24 points four times in five healthy games this year. Not worth the top overall pick in retrospect, but he wasn’t letting you down when he did play.
Ezekiel Elliott, Darren Waller, Antonio Gibson, Josh Jacobs, DK Metcalf and DeAndre Hopkins were all mentioned. If you zoom out, these players played well this season! When you factor in their high average draft position and week-to-week volatility… not so much.
Mike Davis was another big miss. Yours truly fell for the hype train and got burned. Patterson’s breakout had a lot to do with Davis being unable to replicate what we saw in Carolina last season. Volume was always going to be key to his success and Patterson earned the touches Davis was expected to see.
And then there’s these, shall we say, other factors that hurt people’s fantasy teams this season.
Good luck in the postseason and thanks for reading Winners Club. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.
Despite a tough matchup, Jonathan Taylor is locked-in as a top option vs. the Patriots.
Sportsbook projections are incredibly accurate, so their numbers should direct fantasy decisions.
Browns-Raiders, Seahawks-Rams, and Eagles-WFT have all been bumped back to the start of next week.
The Dolphins D/ST is good to begin with and this week they get to tee off vs. the Jets.
Matt Prater faces the Detroit Lions, his former team, in a sweet revenge game matchup!
As long as Josh Allen starts for Bills, Dawson Knox should be a popular target.
Look for Brandon Aiyuk to overrun the Falcons defense in a juicy Week 15 contest.
Jalen Hurts will look to exploit a vulnerable Washington defensive secondary in Week 15.

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