If you had to guess: how many more PPR points were produced by the top-100 fantasy wide receivers (WR) in 2017 vs. 2018? 500 points? 1,000 points? From afar, let’s look at the increased running back (RB) production in 2018. Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey with 385-point PPR season’s, Todd Gurley and Alvin Kamara with 350-plus point season’s. Since 2010, how many running backs have finished with 350+ PPR fantasy points in a season? Seven. Total.
Inevitably, we are going to see less production out of the WRs when the RBs were producing like this, right? Wrong. The top-100 WRs from 2018 outproduced 2017 by over 1,370 PPR points total. The top-50 from 2018 outproduced 2017 by over 920 PPR points.
The top-100 skill positions (RB, TE, WR) from 2018 outscored 2017 by nearly 1,600 points. In 2018 there were five more WRs in the top-100 skill positions, three less TEs, and two less RBs. Yes, the RBs on this list had a combined 240 more points in 2018 vs. 2017 (with two less RBs), but this is eclipsed by the 1,570 more by the WRs. What was the change?
1) Touchdowns. With only 5 more players, the top-100 WR producers had 47 more TDs in 2018 than 2017 (328 vs. 281). In total, there were 52 more TDs by all skill positions (476 vs. 424). The best of the best WRs produced even more.
2) Catch percentage. The top-100 fantasy WRs had 8,314 targets in 2017 and 8,307 targets in 2018-a whopping seven less. Average yards per reception was a minuscule change (13.34 in 2017 to 13.11 in 2018). Even with these identical samples, there were 343 more catches or a 4.1% increase in catch percentage.
3) Yards. 3,807 to be exact. Those extra 340 catches equated to 3,807 more yards by the top-100 fantasy WRs in 2018.
Are quarterbacks throwing the ball that much more accurately? Are the elite wide receivers just producing more? Was it a fluke? Will I draft a WR earlier knowing this information? No to all. But it does help disprove this offseason sentiment we’re feeling that the running backs were that much better than the wide receivers in 2018. Even with the small sample size, 2018 wide receivers should be recognized for the increased touchdowns, catch percentage and yards all while seeing similar target samples.
Top-100 PPR Wide Receivers 2017 vs. 2018
Top-100 PPR Skill Position Players 2017 vs. 2018
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