Looking back at fantasy football production can show some interesting revelations, trends, and insights to help you with your current fantasy roster.
Ranking players of the NFL’s past can be challenging and often be an exercise in subjectivity. For example, how do you compare Tom Brady of 2015 with Joe Montana of the ’80s? Outside of SuperBowl rings, all the statistics are subject to the style of play and how rules were enforced when they played. Or trying to rank the top wide receivers of all time can be tricky due to the same limitations of the times they played.
But that’s not a problem with fantasy football, where the stats don’t lie.
For example, who can forget the incredible stat line that LaDanian Tomlinson put up in 2006? The starting running back for the San Diego Chargers (sorry LA, they may play in Los Angeles, but they’ll always be the SD Chargers) put up an incredible 425 points on his way to running for over 1,800 yards, 500 yards receiving and setting the all-time single-season touchdown record of 31 total with 28 rushings and 3 receiving touchdowns.
And for that reason, we’ll take a journey down memory lane to give you the all-time 2015 fantasy football roster to help you analyze the pre-draft rankings and results to show you how to dominate your 2021 fantasy football draft.
For the intent of this throwback, we’ll only include standard scoring performers for our rankings, and for our discussion, we’ll assume a standard league roster of (1) QB, (2) RB, (3) WR/TE, (1) K, (1) DST.
With that said, here’s a list of top performers in 2015.
Cam Newton: Averaged 24.3 points per game, beating out Tom Brady by 3 points a game.
Pre Draft ranking: 10
Running Back (1)
Devonta Freeman: Averaged 16.3 points per game for the ATL Falcons, narrowly outpacing our RB 2.
Pre Draft ranking: 38
Running Back (2)
Adrian Peterson: “All Day” averaged 14.4 points per game, and between Freeman and Peterson, they combined more than the next 3-finishers did.
Pre Draft ranking: 2
Wide Receiver (1)
Antonio Brown: The Pittsburgh Steelers great was busy with an average of 15.4 to lead a crowded wide receiver discussion.
Pre Draft ranking: 1
Wide Receiver (2)
Julio Jones: In addition to an outstanding run game, in 2015, the Atlanta Falcons had one of the top receiving threats in Julio Jones, who averaged 14.9 points per game.
Pre Draft ranking: 5
Wide Receiver (3)
Brandon Marshall: Brandon Marshall was a game-changer at one point in time, and his fantasy points prove that out. In 2015 he averaged 14.4 points per game.
Pre Draft ranking: 24
Rob Gronkowski: Though the Tight End position has become a high-end skill position, 2015 was the beginning of that evolution, in that Gronk averaged 12 points a game, solidly positioning him as an alternative for top-end receivers.
Pre Draft ranking: 1
Stephen Gostkowski: Led the league in points with 10.7 points per game average.
Pre Draft ranking: 1
The Denver Broncos narrowly edged out the Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals with 11.7 points per game.
Pre Draft ranking: 6
So to recap, if you drafted the roster above, you’d have averaged 122.1 points per game, firmly winning your league by a comfortable margin.
So how does that apply to 2021? Well, the top-performing roster in 2015 had 5-positions outperform their pre-draft rankings, with 3 others performing at their pre-season ranks. So keep that in mind as you’re scouring your notes and draft ranks before your fantasy mock draft.
Another thing you’ll notice is the trends that top-flight running backs are hard to come by, but in the pass-happy NFL these days, there’s plenty of depth at receiver and tight end positions (though TE’s can be notoriously boom-or-bust outside the top couple).
Drafting the top performers and putting together the best fantasy roster is challenging. It requires a ton of research, a little luck, and constantly scouring waiver wire pickups that can bolster your chances. First, however, to get an edge over your competitors, you need to get up-to-date news and analysis from fantasy experts to help guide you in your chase for the championship.
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