Lamar Jackson, Baltimore
This may be the most “DUH” award that RnF has ever handed out. Jackson was the most impressive quarterback of 2019, tallying up 3,127 yards passing with an amazing 36 touchdowns. Adding to those already impressive totals, Jackson went for over 1,200 rushing yards with another nine scores on the ground. The only quarterback who has had anything truly resembling what Jackson did this season is Cam Newton’s 2015 campaign. Newton won the MVP that season with one less passing touchdown and roughly half the rushing yards of Jackson. Lamar was a complete beast and things are only looking up for him as he and Hollywood Brown should be an entertaining combination for the better part of the next decade.
Aaron Jones, Green Bay
Jones reminded us of simpler fantasy days this season. His knack for falling into the end zone brought us back to the days of LaDainian Tomlinson, Shaun Alexander, and Larry Johnson. Jones ran a clinic on the league this year going for 1,415 total yards with 19 touchdowns. Jones is going to be a strong first round consideration in all of our 2020 fantasy drafts. The only thing that could possibly make us shy away from him is Green Bay’s strong tendency to jump from running back to running back from one season to the next but Jones’ production should have them thinking differently next year.
Christian McCaffrey, Carolina
McCaffrey is on the same outrageous playing field as Lamar Jackson. No one else can hold a candle to his current production pace. It was only a year ago where we thought that the likes of Le’Veon Bell or David Johnson would go for 1,000 yards rushing with 1,000 yards receiving. Instead, it was the now fantasy legend McCaffrey. The Panthers’ running back went for 1,387 yards on the ground with another 1,005 receiving yard on 116 receptions. The icing on the cake is that he totaled 19 scores on the year — that’s like having Julian Edelman and Chris Carson rolled into one. McCaffrey is going to be the most cut-and-dry consensus number one overall pick since, well, maybe even ever.
Michael Thomas, New Orleans
As we continue on our way through our 2019 Honors, it’s becoming more and more clear that three guys ruled the game this season. While Lamar Jackson does indeed deserve the top billing out of all the contributors, Christian McCaffrey and Michael Thomas are right on his heels. The Saints’ wide receiver set the single season record for receptions at 149. With those 149 catches, Thomas totaled 1,725 yards and 9 touchdowns. These historic totals could have actually been even higher if Drew Brees hadn’t missed a third of the season with a thumb injury. We in the fantasy landscape love to forecast potential and many will be wondering what Thomas will be capable of accomplishing with a full season of Brees under center. Thomas deserves his just due this season but Brees’ current free agent status puts a wrinkle in his short term value.
Cooper Kupp, L.A. Rams
This was a toss up between the Rams’ wide receiver and Tampa Bay’s breakout star Chris Godwin. But the deciding factor was that Kupp played the entire season, making him more consistent. Godwin was an animal in his 14 games, going for 1,333 yards and 9 touchdowns. However, many owners will remember him for not being readily available for the playoffs. Cooper Kupp though, played a full season for the first time in – forever. In doing so, Kupp finished with 94 receptions for 1,161 yards with 10 touchdowns. While many wide receivers had fine seasons very much deserving of our high praise, it was Kupp who propelled himself the furthest up the board. With Kupp there is even more room to grow as the Rams’ salary cap is beyond bloated and now they have to pay up for cornerback Jalen Ramsey. So, someone who is getting paid is now going to be on the move and the easy money would be on Brandin Cooks. Kupp is already a second round pick worthy player and such a move could have him flirting with first round consideration.
Mark Andrews, Baltimore
Let’s clarify something real quick: This isn’t just a list of who had the best season’s at their respective positions. It’s about who increased their stock the most over a 16 game season. While George Kittle and Travis Kelce had fantastic seasons, we fully expected them to do so. Zach Ertz did well and then got injured in true Zach Ertz fashion. Those situations played out exactly as we had forecasted. Mark Andrews, however, was a relative unknown playing in an offense that we knew very little about. He went from being an unknown commodity to a Top-4 selection at his position next season as 852 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns will do that for a guy. You also have to factor in that Baltimore rested everyone in Week 17 and Andrews left early in Week 16. That could have put him up near 950 yards on the year given a slightly different set of circumstances. That would have had him with just 100 yards less than Kittle with twice as many touchdowns. That makes Andrews the top Riser at tight end.