With the NFL inching ever closer to officially announcing a 17-game season, I decided it was time to update the projections for the coming reality. Most Fantasy Football leagues are weekly leagues, so the changes are more about showing more realistic numbers than changing player's value relative to each other. 


Because football is a violent game, I would expect more injuries in a 17-game season than what we experience in a 16-game season. Will it be exactly in line with the 5.8% increase in games? That's debatable, but if anything I'd lean more towards the injury rate going up by more. After all, the players will play more weeks in a row as well, since the league isn't adding another bye week.

The position that concerns me most in that regard is running back, with quarterback on the opposite end of that spectrum. It's more of a rankings discussion than a projections discussion, but I do think it's possible a longer season makes quarterbacks slightly more desirable and running backs slightly less desirable. 

The one blanket statement I can make about the change in projections is that the separation at the top looks even more severe. Christian McCaffrey is now projected to score 70 more Fantasy points than any other running back (and 208 more Fantasy points than RB170). Patrick Mahomes now has a 55-point advantage over QB2 and his projection is 103 points clear of QB12. Travis Kelce is projected for 53 more Fantasy points than Darren Waller. And some of these projections look a little silly, as well.

  • Patrick Mahomes is projected for 5,234 passing yards and 500.05 Fantasy points. That's only 243 yards shy of Peyton Manning's single-season record
  • Christian McCaffrey is projected for 2,300 yards from scrimmage. That's only 209 yards shy of Chris Johnson's mark. 
  • Travis Kelce is projected for 1,408 receiving yards, just eight yards off his record-breaking 2020. 

In other words, you should probably get ready for some records to fall. You also need to recalibrate your affinity for round numbers. I've got 31 receivers projected for at least 1,000 yards receiving and 19 running backs projected for 1,000 yards rushing. Those marks no longer signify anything close to greatness when you consider you only need to average 59 yards per game to reach the mark. 

And at quarterback, the numbers are even more jarring. There are 27 quarterbacks projected to throw for 4,000 yards. Four projected for 5,000 (Only eight quarterbacks have done that ever). And, as a sign of the changing times, 13 quarterbacks projected to run for at least 300 yards. 

The other position the 17-game projection really sticks out is tight end, even if you remove Kelce. The difference between No. 2 (Darren Waller) and No. 5 (T.J. Hockenson) is nearly Fantasy points. Another 20-plus Fantasy points separates Hockenson from No. 12 (Austin Hooper). Maybe the extra game will help people to more clearly see the difference between the elite tight ends and the rest.

We have a long offseason to fully digest what this means for Fantasy, but it does make me more interested in getting both an elite quarterback and an elite tight end, as I did in our recent mock draft. As the offseason progresses we'll have more on what to expect from a 17-game 2021 season.