As of now, the NFL football is happening. However, within the current climate anything can change.
Assuming the NFL season is played, I’ve been diving into the depths of Fantasy Football and trying to find potential value. Trying to figure out touch share and predict potential gains can be a futile exercise knowing players will unpredictably miss games due to COVID-19. As the offseason has progressed and I look more and more into trends and predictions, I’ve devised a list of players who will play significant roles in 2020 (all things considered).
Robert Woods – WR – Los Angeles Rams
Since joining the rams, particularly Sean McVay’s offense, Woods has posted career highs in his prime years. The Rams departed Gurley and Brandin Cooks so the offense will operate differently this year. With that in mind, Woods has posted back to back 1,200+ yards from scrimmage seasons scoring 10 TDs since 2018. 2019 saw an increase in targets and receptions which were both career highs. With Cooper Kupp healthy, the emergence of Tyler Higbee, and the arrival of rookie Cam Akers the Rams will look to get back on track offensively and Woods see accessible coverage.
ADP – Dynasty: 60.5 , Standard Redraft: 50.3
James Conner – RB – Pittsburgh Steelers
Personally, drafting previously injured RBs isn’t exactly my forte. I usually tend to leave them for everyone else but something keeps drawing me to Conner having a very good year. His best season in 2018 saw him reach 1,470 yards from scrimmage for 13 TDs and with Big Ben back under center we should all fully expect to see the Steelers offense take a large leap in production from last year with Mason Rudolph. Anthony McFarland and Jaylen Samuels will undoubtedly share snaps and passing downs with Conner, but this should help to keep JC healthy and fresh. 3 factors lead me to believe he’ll produce in fantasy this year.
- Rapport with Ben. With the way the offseason has played out this season should favor returning players over newcomers due to many reasons but chemistry will be huge for players as they feel out the rookies or FAs.
- He’s 6’1” 233lbs. He’s the big back which means he’s the go-to goal line threat. Fantasy doesn’t care if he doesn’t rush for over 100 yards if he is bound to have a few 2 TD games. It’s always good to have a goal line back who is also the #1 starter.
- He’s in a contract year. Contract years are normally reason enough to draft a player. He’ll definitely have a little extra motivation to secure a future contract with Pittsburgh or elsewhere. Either way, he’s only 25 and still a valuable asset when healthy.
ADP – Dynasty: 37.9 , Standard Redraft: 26.2
Julio Jones – WR – Atlanta Falcons
Just Do It. Draft Julio. Don’t overthink this decision. In recent drafts, I’m getting him in the 3rd round or late 2nd as the 5th-8th WR. Make no bones about it, Julio Jones is the best (arguably if you want to argue against it) WR in the NFL. 2019 saw a dip in production but that was mainly caused by the lack of offense line production and he still went for 1,394 yards receiving with 6 TDs.
The offensive line will undoubtedly perform better in 2020. With Todd Gurley pounding the rock and Calvin Ridley on the other side of the ball, Matt Ryan should have a field day with his favorite target and Julio will increase in production as the Falcons look to have a top 7 offense.
Why not draft Ridley instead? That is entirely up to the drafter but Ridley is going mid 3rd and 4th round and for that price, might as well go Julio late 1st or 2nd round on the way back.
ADP – Dynasty: 11.9 , Standard Redraft: 15.9
Matt Ryan – QB – Atlanta Falcons
I’m an Atlanta Falcons fan and homer. Call me that if you will, I just did and I didn’t offend myself. Matt Ryan should have a great season in 2020 with a re-emerging run game and improved pass protection. Even getting sacked a career high 48 times in 15 games, Ryan still was able to throw almost 4,500 yards in 2019. As Lindstrom and McGary return fully healthy for their 2nd seasons, pass protection should improve dramatically.
The arrival of Todd Gurley and Hayden Hurst, improvement up front, Calvin Ridley primed to break out over 1,000 yards receiving, and the emergence of Russell Gage will allow Matt Ryan to thrive. Right now he is going in the 8th-10th rounds and at that range should provide top 7 fantasy numbers. Oh yeah and, you know, Julio Jones helps things too. A Matt Ryan and Julio Jones stack should be deadly this year.
ADP – Dynasty: 104.6 , Standard Redraft: 80.3
Ronald Jones II – RB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Ke’Shawn Vaughn will undoubtedly play a role in the reformed and retooled Tampa Bay offense. The Tampa offense should fire on all cylinders with multiple weapons at Tom Brady’s disposal. Ronald Jones returns along with Dare Ogunbowale for a 2nd year under Byron Leftwich. There will be a RB battle and here’s why I like Ronald Jones II and own him in a lot of leagues for 2020:
- Jones is entering his 3rd season as a professional and provided over 1,100 yards from scrimmage last year.
- Jones had a better college career than Ke’Shawn Vaughn in 3 seasons to Vaughn’s 4.
- RJ2: 3,619 rushing yards, 302 receiving yards, 42 TDs
- KV: 3,296 rushing yards, 638 receving yards, 33 TDs
- Jones is 3 months younger (22 – 23) than Vaughn (23) and already has a stronger 3 year college career along with 2 years in the NFL.
- Jones knows the offense and has improved his pass catching ability this offseason.
- Jones is essentially the same size as Vaughn so there doesn’t appear to be an edge for goal line work or passing downs.
- PASS PROTECTION: Ultimately, you can’t get PPR points pass blocking. Reportedly, he’s been bulking up and naturally he’ll be a better pass blocker with more experience, weight gain, and maturity.
I wouldn’t hold my breath on RB1 production cause oxygen is very critical to human life, however his ceiling is an RB2 with a solid Flex 3rd RB option. He ended the season with his first 100+ yard rushing game, he flashed in random spots throughout 2019, and should have every opportunity to be the #1a guy in Tampa for at least 2020.
ADP – Dynasty: 111.8 , Standard Redraft: 83.6
-Stay Safe and #MaskOn