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Players Who Could Thrive With An Opportunity Increase


We all know that volume beats everything in fantasy sports. With chances and opportunities, players have the means to rack up points. No matter how good they are, if they're not given targets or carries, it's always going to be impossible for them to get those fantasy goodies attached to their names. But what about players that were given just a few chances (either because of injuries or a clogged depth chart) and did incredibly well with them? Call it the Small Sample Conundrum.

We can always dream about upticks and bumps in usage and that is what I'm doing here. I've picked three players (a quarterback, a wider receiver, and a running back) that put up relatively good numbers in 2019 and that could see an uptick in volume come 2020.

If that is the case, all of them should be able to reach great heights if they are able to keep up their production rates. Let's explore what they did and their chances at repeating those feats if given a higher volume of opportunities.

 

QB - Drew Lock, Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos used three quarterbacks during the 2019 season. They started the year featuring Joe Flacco (Week 1 to Week 8), went with Brandon Allen mid-season (Week 9 to Week 12), and finally put Drew Lock under the spotlight to close the season (Week 13 to Week 17). That means Lock logged five starts in his rookie year after being drafted 42nd overall by Denver in 2019 and ranked tied-7th with David Blough (Detroit) for the most starts among freshmen QBs last year.

That is, indeed, a small sample to get any real conclusions about Lock's true talent. That being said, during the five games Lock played with Denver he got four wins against just a single loss. He finished 2019 with the second-highest completion percentage (64.1%) among rookie QBs with at least 150 pass attempts and broke the 1,020-yard mark with his 100 completions. Lock reached seven TDs on the season against three INTs and was sacked on just 3.1 percent of his pass attempts (lowest mark among all rookie passers).

In a full 16-game season of playing time, Lock projects (per PFF numbers) as the 22nd-best quarterback of 2020 with 215.8 PPR points over the year. That makes him a second-tier quarterback to their eyes with upside to reach 300 completions and 3,300-plus yards to go with 17 touchdowns. We're building castles in the air, sure, and it is harder to make solid projections on quarterbacks than any other position-player, but Lock has everything to excel next season manning his team from Week 1.

 

WR - Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins

There is no question who the no. 1 wide receiver of the Dolphins is. After (finally) breaking out in 2019, DeVante Parker is now the clear and surefire go-to wideout in Miami. He projects to virtually reach 200 PPR points in 2020 (198.4) and he shouldn't have a problem to reach 950-plus yards and 65-plus receptions with 6 or more touchdowns. Looking a little more down the projections leaderboard we find Preston Williams, soon-to-be Miami's no. 2 receiver.

Williams finished 2019 with 60 targets, two shy of no. 2 WR Albert Wilson back then. The fact is that Williams played only eight games to Wilson's 13 and even with that disadvantage he was able to outperform Wilson by reaching 428 yards to Wilson's 351. Going by the season raw numbers, Williams would have been the second fiddle to Parker without much trouble, but he just couldn't log enough playing time due to his ACL injury that abruptly cut his season short.

Projecting his 2020 numbers over a 16-game schedule, Williams is currently penciling in at 54 catches for 754 yards and 5 touchdowns. That would translate to 157.3 PPR points over the upcoming season. He would rank as the WR41 (good for FLEX in 12-team leagues and WR3 with upside in deeper formats) and is one of just 25 receivers expected to reach a 50/750/5 line in 2020.

 

RB - Bo Scarbrough, Detroit Lions

The Lions backfield was an absolute mess last season. The Lions got to put as many as nine different players on the field at different points during the year, ranging from one single game (Wes Hills) to all 16 (J.D. McKissic and Ty Johnson). Smack dab in the middle was Bo Scarbrough, who played six games between Week 11 and the end of the season. Although his production declined from the first to the last appearance, if thrust into a more prominent role, maybe Detroit might be onto something.

In his first four games, last season Scarbrough reached at least 55 yards topping out at 98 in Week 12. He also rushed for a score in his debut. While he would need to overtake both Kerryon Johnson and D'Andre Swift in the pecking order in 2020, you saw what happens with that backfield last season (that means: no one is safe out there and anyone can fall to injury).

Scarbrough projects to log just 32 rushing attempts and reach 134 yards next season to go with a touchdown. Let's assume he plays a higher role (due to injury or any other reason). Imagining him taking on Swift's or Johnson's volume of touches (around 170 rushing attempts, and 20 receptions) he would finish 2020 with approximately 710 rushing yards and 140 receiving. We'd be talking about him reaching nearly 115 PPR next season, more than a palatable amount for a guy starting the year on the third string. If nothing else, he may be worth a late-round flier in deep leagues or best-ball formats.

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