2017 Fantasy Football Season in Review: Where did all the Fantasy points go?

Check out a breakdown of each position in 2017 here: QuarterbacksRunning BacksWide ReceiversTight Ends

If you felt like your teams weren't scoring as many Fantasy points as in the past, it's because they weren't. Fantasy points were down across the board at every position:

Top-12 QBs 20.3 FPTS/gm -1.2 from 2016
Top-12 RBs 12.7 FPTS/gm -1.0 from 2016
Top-12 WRs 10.0 FPTS/gm -0.7 from 2016
Top-12 TEs 6.3 FPTS/gm -0.3 from 2016

What the heck happened?

For starters, touchdowns were way, way down. The league as a whole saw 1,121 offensive touchdowns – the lowest since 1,106 were scored in 2007!

Of those 1,121 scores, 380 came on the ground (tied with 2014 for the lowest since the league expanded to 32 teams) and 741 through the air (the lowest since 710 in 2009).

NFL teams passed just 17,475 times, 820 fewer pass attempts than 2016 and the lowest league-wide tally since 2011. Naturally, rushing attempts were up to 13,734, 414 more than 2016, and the highest amount of rushes since 2013.

It's wrong to believe that the league is suddenly trending toward a run-first, non-touchdown-scoring mentality. That's silly. And you can't pin it on the zebras – there were fewer penalties called in 2017 (3,419) than 2016 (3,443).

But it is believable that teams aren't going gung-ho over running the no-huddle like many did over the past few seasons. Be it because teams wanted to milk the clock, or because teams didn't trust their quarterbacks to run the no-huddle, fewer plays were attempted in 2017 (31,209) than in any of the past six years. Fewer plays mean fewer stats, which means fewer Fantasy points.

However, this season could prove to be an anomaly. 

As quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck and Deshaun Watson get healthy and passers like Mitchell Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes grow more comfortable, we should see stats rise in nearly every passing category in 2018.

Nonetheless, Fantasy owners should be prepared to attack the running back position more than in any of the past few seasons. We're seeing the league start to value rushers more, and not just as pure ball-carriers.

Fourteen different running backs had at least 50 catches, the most since 2013. Of those 14, eight finished in the top-12 in standard formats, 10 in PPR. This has been in line with a trend we've seen over the past few seasons where running backs have been doing more and more as pass catchers. Do not expect the league to revert from this – bank on more teams embracing the "air back," a term coined by CBS Sports NFL columnist Pete Prisco back in 2012 to describe sleek, speedy rushers with good hands.

It'll be great for them... and terrible for receivers.

Welcome to the next chapter of Fantasy Football.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Dave Richard has spent nearly his entire career covering the National Football League. Beginning with NFL.com at the boom of the Internet, Richard was that site's first Fantasy Football writer before transitioning... Full Bio

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