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Why Vikings’ Dalvin Cook is the 2020 fantasy football MVP

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As we say goodbye to the nightmare of 2020, we welcome an annual arena of horror: the end of the fantasy football season. As awful as this year was, at least the NFL completed its schedule (so far) and gave fantasy owners something hopeful, at least for parts of the season.

So let’s take a look at this season’s MVP, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, who might have helped you steal a moment of championship happiness in this calendar of misery — before we throw those calendars into a sacrificial fire.

It was a difficult decision. We eliminated quarterbacks because there are too many good ones (six in the top eight overall). We eliminated Travis Kelce, despite being nearly 65 points better than the next best tight end, because he demanded a second-round pick, so he simply met value. Davante Adams got a moment of consideration, but we tried to look at this with more than just the severely flawed narrow scope PPR provides, and Adams got a huge boost from that prejudicial scoring format.

Vikings
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook
Getty Images

That left us looking at running backs. And Alvin Kamara was the top scorer. Not only top RB, but top scorer overall. Then how in the world did we land on Cook as the MVP? Well, do you have a minute?

First, Kamara had 83 receptions to Cook’s 44. So that is nearly 40 extra points in PPR, which accounts for the scoring disparity (377.8 for Kamara, 337.8 for Cook). So if you wisely played in formats that did not include full-point awards per reception, that gap is much smaller.

But that’s not all. The more significant swings in weekly scoring was the main reason we leaned toward Cook — he was simply much more consistent.

Cook averaged 24.1 per week in PPR, Kamara 25.2. But Cook had just eight games in which he scored below his average, Kamara had 10. And when Cook failed to reach his average, he missed it by an average of 6.15 points, and Kamara missed by 7.36. So Cook’s bad games cost you a total of 49.2 points over eight games and Kamara’s 73.6 over 10.

A perfect example is Kamara historic six-touchdown game in Week 16, which netted him an overall season-long league high 56.2 fantasy points that week. Yet, he had failed to reach his 25.2 average for five straight games beforehand, and in that span had two in which he failed to score even 11 PPR points.

So there is a decent chance if you had Kamara, you might not have made the finals with him. And heading into Week 16, Cook had a better weekly average: 24.7 to 23.0. Also, Cook had more total yards (1,918 to 1,688), which more than makes up for fewer TDs (17 to 21), further bolstering the PPR correction.

So Dalvin beats out Alvin, at least according to the Madman. If you think that is heresy, just chalk it up to more 2020 madness. Otherwise, here’s to a much less maddening 2021.

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