Despite a historic 2019 season, Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is still one of the most polarizing players in the fantasy football community. Can Jackson possibly repeat his sensational 2019 performance or is the 2019 NFL MVP due for regression in 2020? Let’s take a look.
A statistical breakdown of Lamar Jackson’s historic 2019 season
Not only did Lamar Jackson finish as fantasy’s No. 1 quarterback, but the Ravens dual-threat signal-caller finished as the No. 1 overall fantasy producer in half-PPR formats. After a somewhat shaky rookie season, Jackson finished 2019 with 3,127 passing yards, a league-leading 36 touchdown passes, and only six interceptions. Jackson was also an efficient quarterback, completing 66.1% of his passes during the regular season.
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As solid as those passing numbers are, Jackson’s best work in 2019 was done on the ground. As the main threat in Baltimore’s league-leading rushing attack, Jackson added 1,206 rushing yards and seven additional touchdowns on the ground. Jackson became only the second quarterback in NFL history to rush for over 1,000 yards, joining former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick who rushed for 1,039 back in 2006.
A metric created by Pro Football Network fantasy analyst Phillip Caldwell, Consistency Score doesn’t look at overall points scored, but instead looks at how consistent each player is throughout the season. More consistent fantasy producers are better season-long investments than inconsistent boom/bust prospects since they produce more “starter quality” weeks.
As you can see from his Consistency Score, not only was Jackson the highest-scorer in fantasy football, but he was also the single-most consistent player. Jackson’s 14.43 consistency score is the highest score given to any player last year, well ahead of fellow top-five finishers Christian McCaffrey (12.13), Josh Allen (10.91), Michael Thomas (10.25), and Patrick Mahomes (9.53).
In 15 games, Jackson finished as a QB1 in 87% of Baltimore’s contests in 2019. The 2019 NFL MVP finished as a QB2 in the other 13% of games, meaning Jackson never finished below the QB2 threshold. The only other starting quarterbacks that can say this are Patrick Mahomes and Dak Prescott. Therefore, it is no surprise that Jackson, Mahomes, and Prescott fill the top three spots in my QB Tiers. Not only are they great, but they’re consistently great fantasy producers on elite NFL offenses.
Is regression coming for Jackson in 2020?
One of the biggest talking points used against Jackson is the likelihood that he significantly regresses in 2020. Jackson’s 2019 season will be difficult for him to repeat, but just how historic was it?
In the 18 years (2002-2019) of fantasy statistics collected on FantasyData, Jackson is one of only six players to finish with over 400 fantasy points in the half-PPR format. He’s one of just three quarterbacks on the list, making the 2019 season a truly historic one for the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner.
Jackson’s 415.68 points in 2019 finished as the third-most since 2002, behind only LaDainian Tomlinson (453.1 in 2006) and Patrick Mahomes (417.08 in 2018). The other players above 400 fantasy points in half-PPR include Christian McCaffrey (413.2 in 2019), Peyton Manning (409.98 in 2013), and Priest Holmes, who did it twice (408 in 2003, 407.7 in 2002).
What is Lamar Jackson’s value for fantasy football in 2020?
So after looking at Jackson’s 2019 season, how should we value him in 2020 fantasy drafts? That likely depends on each individual league and scoring settings, so we’ll look at it through the eyes of a traditional 1QB, half-PPR league. These settings seem to be the fairest scoring-wise and offer a more balanced ADP than SuperFlex, 6-point per passing TD, or full-PPR leagues.
Jackson currently has a FleaFlicker ADP of 19.5 overall in half-PPR leagues, which I think is a bit too rich even for the dynamic quarterback. Notable players behind Jackson in terms of ADP are Miles Sanders, Aaron Jones, Austin Ekeler, Kenny Golladay, Mike Evans, and Allen Robinson.
Knowing how quickly the running backs dry up, it’s difficult to justify drafting Jackson over any of those running backs listed, but you can certainly make a case for him over a wide receiver. There is a pretty big RB Tier drop after Ekeler, while the wide receiver group has talented players sprinkled throughout Rounds 3-6.
While I’m not usually someone that drafts quarterback before the late rounds, 2020 might be the exception if the draft falls that way. I prefer to attack running backs and wide receivers early in drafts, but I’m certainly okay with taking a premium player at a non-premium position once you hit the third round of your draft. Lamar Jackson is exactly the type of premium fantasy player that’s worth investing in with an early-round draft pick, but the third round would be preferable to the second where his ADP currently lies.