The 2020 fantasy football season was the most difficult and challenging campaign that fantasy managers have ever endured. Playing in the middle of a pandemic that kept fans out of stadiums (for the most part), altered NFL rosters, blew up schedules, and changed waiver deadlines, there were more hurdles than ever en route to a fantasy championship. But we endured, getting through a full 16 weeks and crowing a league winner. So, now’s the time to hand out a little online hardware with my first-ever Fabby Awards for Sports Illustrated. It’s all about the gold!
Most Valuable Player of the Year
Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints: Kamara finished the fantasy season as the top-scoring running back, averaging a league-high 25.2 points per game. He recorded 20-plus points nine times and put up a historical performance in fantasy championship week, scoring six rushing touchdowns and 56.2 points on a Christmas Day many fantasy fans won’t forget. Kamara, who has now produced at least 81 catches in all four of his NFL seasons, will be a top-five pick in 2021 drafts.
Breakout Player of the Year
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seahawks: Metcalf finished the fantasy season sixth in points among wideouts, making good on the statistical promise he showed as a rookie. He scored 18-plus points eight times, and his 10 touchdown catches are tied with A.J. Brown for the fifth-most in the league among wide receivers after Week 16. Metcalf also led the Seahawks in both target share (24%) and red-zone targets (13). At 23, he’ll be a fantasy superstar for seasons to come.
Sleeper of the Year
Justin Jefferson, WR, Vikings: Jefferson finished the fantasy season as the WR8 with 79 catches, over 1,200 yards through the air, and seven touchdowns. He put up those numbers despite seeing a mere six targets in his first two contests. If we remove those games, Jefferson was the WR4 from Week 3-16 and one of only five wide receivers to average more than 18 points per game. Based on his 119.6 ADP on Fantasy Football World Championships (FFWC), the rookie was a steal.
Super Sleeper of the Year
Justin Herbert, QB, Chargers: When I tell you that no one saw Herbert coming, I mean no one saw Herbert coming. The Chargers were forced to start him after their starter, Tyrod Taylor, suffered a lung puncture from a doctor’s injection (odd, right)? Herbert finished the fantasy season as the QB10, averaging more than 21 points per game while also breaking the record for touchdown passes thrown by a rookie quarterback. The sky’s the limit for this electric signal-caller.
Rookie of the Year
James Robinson, RB, Jaguars: Robinson finished a spectacular fantasy season as the RB4, despite not being drafted in many leagues. The Jaguars released Leonard Fournette and lost Ryquell Armstead (COVID), which opened the door for the undrafted rookie to shine. He would score 20-plus fantasy points in five games, including a pair of 30-plus point performances. With Trevor Lawrence a lock to be in teal next season, Robinson could be better in 2021.
Bust of the Year
Michael Thomas, WR, Saints: Thomas was the No. 1 wideout in fantasy football last season, scoring more than 374 points with a league-high average of 23.4 points. In 2020, he played in just seven games due to injuries and suspension (he punched a teammate) and finished as the WR88. When he was active, Thomas averaged 11.9 points. That ranked as the WR38 among receivers with at least seven games played. Thomas could fall out of the top 20 in 2021 drafts.
Draft Day Value of the Year
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers: Last season, Rodgers was a fantasy dud with just 26 touchdown passes and an average of 17.4 points per game. That brought a lot of doubt about his 2020 value, so much so that his FFWC ADP fell to 141.3. Well, Rodgers proved his critics wrong with a bananas 47 total touchdowns and an average of nearly 24 points a game. This year’s QB4 in the fantasy season turned out to be an absolute steal in drafts and a game-changer once again.
Waiver Pickup of the Year
Mike Davis, RB, Panthers: The loss of Christian McCaffrey for all but three games could have been a crippling blow, but fantasy fans who landed Davis off the waiver wire were able to weather the storm. The veteran back finished the fantasy season as the RB11, besting runners like Nick Chubb, Kenyan Drake, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the stat sheets. Davis is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, but his impact in Carolina was certainly felt in fantasy land.
Comeback Player of the Year
David Montgomery, RB, Bears: Montgomery didn’t come back from an injury; he returned from being not good as a rookie. Last season’s RB24 went on an absolute tear in the second half of 2021, scoring a combined 126.2 points in his final five games of the fantasy season. No runner, not even Kamara, had more points in that time. The Iowa State product was a league winner for countless fans, and his success will lead to a top-30 overall pick in most 2021 drafts.
Fantasy Stinker of the Year
Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys: Zeke was tremendous the first four games of this season, averaging 22.1 fantasy points. It all went to heck after that, however, as the Cowboys lost Dak Prescott and dealt with multiple injuries on the offensive line. Without his quarterback, Elliott averaged just 12 points per game. He also failed to score double digits in five of his final eight games of the fantasy season. Zeke will be better in 2021, but he cost a lot of fans a 2020 postseason berth.
Performance of the Year
Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints (Week 16): Kamara played the role of Santa Claus to an absolute tee, handing out 172 total yards, six touchdowns, and 56.2 fantasy points worth of presents on Christmas Day. He could have scored a seventh touchdown too, but coach Sean Payton pulled him in favor of Taysom Hill in a goal-to-go situation in the second half. Regardless, Kamara’s statistical heroics put many fantasy fans ahead to stay in the ever-important fantasy championship week.
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Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for all of the latest breaking fantasy football news and the best analysis in the business!