The 2020 NFL season is nearing its halfway point and players across the league are performing on the field, shining on social, and scoring big in fantasy leagues.
As fantasy performance leads to newfound fame for several players each season, we wanted to dive deeper and understand how fantasy scoring impacts social media engagement and follower growth.
Using ESPN’s standard NFL fantasy scoring (1-point PPR), we pulled the current top 100 scorers and evaluated where they rank among all NFL athletes on social this season in terms of total engagements, audience size, growth, and growth rate on Twitter and Instagram.
+ 41 are in the top 100 of total engagements
+ 42 are in the top 100 of total audience size (followers)
+ 44 are in the top 100 of total followers added.
+ 13 are in the top 100 of total follower growth rate
We also found a moderate correlation value (0.49) between fantasy scoring and total following.
Four NFL players in the top 100 fantasy scorers (Ben Roethlisberger, Matthew Stafford, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Philip Rivers) aren’t on social. Here’s a deeper breakdown of some of the top performers in fantasy and on social:
Russell Wilson & DK Metcalf | Seattle Seahawks
While the Wilson to Tyler Lockett connection has been just as impressive on the field, both Wilson and DK Metcalf rank in the top ten for total engagements and follower growth.
Wilson is third overall in fantasy points, first in engagements (8.36 million), second in audience size (10.4 million) and fifth in follower growth (246.6 thousand).
Meanwhile, Metcalf is 15th in fantasy points, eighth in engagements (3.77 million) and first in follower growth (405 thousand). Although he didn’t earn any fantasy points for it, Metcalf also made one of the most socially-shared plays of the season when he ran down a Budda Baker interception to save a touchdown.
Starting my Russ for MVP campaign today— DK Metcalf (@dkm14) September 21, 2020
Patrick Mahomes | Kansas City Chiefs
One of last season’s fantasy MVP’s has picked up right where he left off.
Mahomes ranks first in fantasy points, second in total engagements (7.65 million), eighth in audience size (5.46 million), and second in follower growth (401.8 thousand). He also has the self-awareness to thank his fantasy team managers after a big game.
Chase Claypool | Pittsburgh Steelers
Claypool came on the scene in week two with 88 yards and a score on the season, the followed up with a four-touchdown performance in week four.
Although he’s 56th in fantasy points and 136th in following, he ranks 19th in engagements (1.84 million), third in follower growth (307 thousand), and sixth in growth rate (181.3%).
Joe Burrow & Justin Herbert | Rookie Quarterbacks
Facing the pressure of starting as rookie QB’s, both Burrow and Herbert have found immediate success.
Burrow is already the 31st most-followed NFL player (1.77 million). The Bengals starter ranks 24th in fantasy points, 15th in engagements (1.82 million), and eighth in growth (185.5 thousand).
Herbert took over the Chargers starting job in week two and held his own against Mahomes in his first career start. He ranks 12th in fantasy points, 26th in follower growth (75.3%), and 23rd in growth rate (51.2%), despite not being on Twitter.
James Robinson & Travis Fulgham | Breakout Players
After going undrafted in all but the deepest of leagues, Robinson and Fulgham are now two of the biggest breakout fantasy stars in the 2020 season.
Fulgham has only played five weeks, but he sports the highest Instagram engagement rate (53.80%, minimum five posts), the highest Instagram growth rate (1020.8%), and the second-highest Twitter growth rate in the NFL (558.4%).
Robinson claimed the starting RB job in Jacksonville just before the season-opener and ranks third in Instagram engagement rate (42.69%, minimum five posts), third in Instagram growth rate (435.8%), and fifth in Twitter growth rate (183.7%).
The following are the remaining NFL players that are currently in the top 100 in fantasy points scored and follower growth on social media.