Fantasy News & Analysis

Jahnke: 32 Fantasy Stats to Know from the 2020 NFL Season

Jan 3, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs the ball against the Houston Texans during the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

While preparing my fantasy football rankings each week, I come across statistics and trends worth monitoring. Usually these observations help to inform my rankings. Now that the regular season is over, I want to spend a little time quantifying some of the accomplishments of players across the league.

Several can be found in premium stats as well as the PFF fantasy stats. We now have 15 seasons of data, so several of these will be within that context. 

Arizona Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald ended the season with the most receptions among wide receivers without a drop at 54. DeAndre Hopkins was tied for the most receptions among players with only one drop with 115.

Atlanta FalconsCalvin Ridley gained 16 first downs on deep passes. That led all wide receivers this year and was tied for 10th-most in the last 15 years.

Baltimore Ravens J.K. Dobbins is one of six running backs over the last 15 years with 100 or more carries and 6.0 or more yards per carry.

Buffalo Bills Stefon Diggs gained 468 receiving yards from hitch routes. That not only led all players this year, but was 56 more yards than any receiver in a season in the last 15 seasons.

Carolina Panthers Mike Davis finished second in the league in avoided tackles per attempt at 0.26. He tied for the fifth-best season in the last 15 years.

Chicago Bears Darnell Mooney avoided 17 tackles on his catches, leading all rookie wide receivers. He is tied for fourth-best by a rookie wide receiver in the last five seasons.

Cincinnati Bengals Tee Higgins gained 11 first downs from in routes. He ranks second in the last 15 years among rookies, finishing just behind Keenan Allen in 2013 and just ahead of Calvin Johnson in 2007.

Cleveland BrownsNick Chubb finished with 4.1 yards after contact, leading all running backs. There have been 11 instances over the last 15 years of a back finishing with 3.8 yards after contact per carry or better over a full season. Chubb owns three of those — each of the last three seasons.

Dallas Cowboys CeeDee Lamb gained 877 receiving yards while lined up in the slot. That’s the most for a rookie wide receiver in the last 15 years. Given slot receivers are much more prevalent now compared to 15 seasons ago, he might have the all-time record for rookie slot receivers.

Denver Broncos Jerry Jeudy accumulated 102 yards after the catch from in routes. He is the only rookie wide receiver to manage over 100 yards after the catch on in routes in the last 15 seasons.

Detroit Lions D'Andre Swift gained a first down or touchdown on 31.7% of his carries when faced with eight or more men in the box. That ranks second-best for a rookie back in the last six seasons only behind Kerryon Johnson in 2018.

Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers threw 27 touchdown passes where his receiver caught the pass in the end zone. He finished tied for second-most this season and tied for fourth-most in the last 15 seasons. Rodgers owns three of the six best seasons with 28 in 2016 and 27 in 2011.

Nov 26, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) smiles in the huddle during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Texans Deshaun Watson averaged 8.9 yards per pass attempt, leading all quarterbacks in 2020 and ranking sixth among QBs in the last 15 yards.

Indianapolis ColtsJonathan Taylor finished with 69 first down rushes, ranking fourth-best among rookie running backs in the last 15 seasons. He finished just ahead of former Colt Joseph Addai, who had 66 first downs in 2006.

Jacksonville Jaguars James Robinson led all rookies with 170 yards after contact on his catches. That was fifth-most for a back in his rookie season in the past six years.

Kansas City Chiefs Travis Kelce’s 79 first down receptions are the most for a tight end in a season in the last 15 years. He finished with 66 last year, which ranks seventh, and 67 the year before, ranking fifth.

Las Vegas Raiders Darren Waller’s 19 contested catches are tied for the most for a tight end in a season over the last six years.

Dec 27, 2020; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) throws a pass against the Denver Broncos during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Chargers Justin Herbert broke the all-time record for most passing touchdowns by a rookie quarterback with 31. He also has the record for most deep touchdown passes in the last 15 years with 12.

Los Angeles RamsCooper Kupp led all wide receivers in avoided tackles on his catches with 21. It was also more than any wide receiver had in all of 2019.

Miami Dolphins Lynn Bowden Jr. caught 28 passes and didn’t drop one. It was the third time in the last 15 years that a rookie wide receiver caught 28 or more passes and didn’t drop a pass.

Minnesota Vikings Dalvin Cook ran for 91 first downs, ranking second-best among backs this year and third-best among backs in the last 15 seasons.

New England Patriots Cam Newton finished with 56 rushing first downs, leading all quarterbacks and tying his career-high. He matched his own second-best mark for a quarterback in the last 15 years. Newton owns seven of the top 13 seasons over that time.

Nov 28, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) celebrates after he ran for a first down in the second half against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints Alvin Kamara’s 290 yards after contact on catches are the most for a running back this season by nearly 100 yards and the fifth-most by a back in the last six seasons. He also owns the second-best season with 340 yards after contact in 2017.

New York Giants Daniel Jones finished with 8.6 yards per carry when excluding kneel downs. That is the highest rate for a quarterback in a season in the last six years.

New York Jets Sam Darnold averaged 5.5 yards after contact per attempt, the most for a quarterback with at least 25 attempts in a season in the last 15 years. When excluding kneel downs, he still remains at the top with 6.7 yards after contact per attempt.

Philadelphia Eagles John Hightower was the first wide receiver in the last 15 years to see over 25 targets and have an average depth of target above 22. He finished with a 22.4 average depth of target on 29 targets.

Pittsburgh SteelersJuJu Smith-Schuster caught 81 passes from the slot — the most slot receptions by a player in the last five years and second-most in the last 15 for a player not named Wes Welker.

San Francisco 49ersDeebo Samuel’s 12.2 yards after the catch per reception are the most for a wide receiver with at least 30 catches in a season in the last 15 years.

Seahawks' D.K. Metcalf (14) carries the ball against the Eagles Monday, Nov. 30, 2020 in Philadelphia.

Seattle Seahawks D.K. Metcalf caught five touchdowns on contested catches, which led all players this year and is tied for third-most in the last five years.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tom Brady threw 27 touchdowns where his target caught the pass in the end zone. That's tied for the fourth-most in the last 15 years. Brady also has one of the three better seasons with 28 in 2007. 

Tennessee Titans Derrick Henry ended the season with 1,490 yards after contact. That is the most for a player in the last 15 years and 121 more than the second-best mark.

Washington Football Team Alex Smith‘s average depth of target was down to 5.4 by the end of the season. This was the lowest rate for a quarterback with at least 100 dropbacks in the last 15 years. Two-thirds of his pass attempts were short of the first down marker — the most in the last 15 seasons.

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