We're a quarter through the NFL season, so it's the perfect time to update my PPR rankings. These are tiered rankings organized by position. My rankings prioritize upside and downgrade injury concerns.
In this article, I'll identify players to consider trading away or acquiring to help you find trade targets and optimize your redraft lineups. These rankings account for overall volume and remaining schedule.
Below you'll find a few selections that will surely have you raising an eyebrow. Be sure to voice these concerns and come at me on Twitter @FAmmiranteTFJ! I can assure you that I'll be ready to provide insights behind these selections and we can engage in debate.
BUY HIGH: Josh Allen looks like a different passer this season, ready to join the elite ranks of the position. The addition of Stefon Diggs has been massive to Allen's growth as a quarterback. Pay the premium price to acquire Allen.
BUY LOW: Daniel Jones has really struggled this season, but the Giants have had a tough schedule. This will be a pass-heavy team that plays at one of the fastest paces in the league, so the fantasy points will be there. Jones has probably been dropped in your league.
SELL HIGH: Dak Prescott is one pace to shatter yardage records, but the Cowboys are playing at too fast of a pace, which is leaving their defense out to dry. Expect them to slow things down a bit and feed Zeke more. This team also loves to run in the red-zone, which caps Dak's upside. Sell high on the current QB1.
SELL LOW: Drew Brees is no longer the big-play passer that he once was. It's tough to trust a 41-year old quarterback to provide fantasy production, especially when quarterback is such a deep position. Currently QB23 in fantasy points per game, it's time to trade Brees for 40 cents on the dollar.
BUY HIGH: James Robinson has come out of nowhere as an undrafted rookie for a rebuilding team to deliver RB1 production. He's become the bell cow of the Jaguars' backfield, even adding some receiving production. Jacksonville has the ninth-friendliest schedule for running backs.
BUY LOW: David Montgomery has the easiest schedule for running backs. The injury to Tarik Cohen could allow him to see more work in the passing game. Nick Foles is an upgrade at quarterback, so we could see more touchdown opportunities.
SELL HIGH: Kareem Hunt has been highly productive this season and now Nick Chubb is on the shelf, but the Browns seem to prefer to keep their committee in the backfield. Some people view Hunt as a top-five back going forward, so take advantage of this selling opportunity.
SELL LOW: Mark Ingram is stuck in a committee that has become a situation to avoid for fantasy players. There's a chance that the Ravens start to give more work to rookie J.K. Dobbins, who looks like the more dynamic player. Try to sell Ingram's big-name for a more appealing bench piece with upside.
BUY HIGH: Amari Cooper is still the alpha WR1 in Dallas, posting over 25% target share and more than 30% air yards share, both of which lead the team. He's currently WR1 in PPR PPG and he should remain an elite option on a pass-heavy offense loaded with weapons.
BUY LOW: D.J. Moore has been a massive disappointment, but he still has over a 23% target share and more than 42% air yard share, so the production will come soon. Try to pry him off a fantasy player who thinks that Robby Anderson has supplanted Moore as the Panthers' WR.
SELL HIGH: JuJu Smith-Schuster still has the big name and his production has been inflated by his three touchdowns, but Diontae Johnson actually leads the Steelers in target share. There's a chance that Diontae has surpassed JuJu as Ben's favorite target.
SELL LOW: A.J. Green looks like a declining player, ready to be supplanted by promising rookie Tee Higgins. If you can use Green's big name to pick up an upside bench player like Chase Edmonds, I would fully support that move.
BUY HIGH: Jonnu Smith is breaking out before our very eyes, posting a 20.83% target share (3rd among tight ends), including 33.33% in the red-zone (2nd among tight ends). He's currently TE3 in PPR PPG and looks here to stay as a TE1.
BUY LOW: Evan Engram ranks second in targets among tight ends, but the production has not matched the volume yet. Luckily, he plays on a fast-paced, pass-heavy offense that has the second-easiest schedule for tight ends. Engram should get back on track this week against the Cowboys.
SELL HIGH: Robert Tonyan is generating tons of hype after his dominant performance on Monday Night Football. While I still consider him a TE1 going forward, try to take advantage of his big game and see if you can acquire someone reliable like Jonnu Smith.
SELL LOW: Tyler Higbee is just not receiving enough volume to put up TE1 numbers, ranking 22nd in targets among tight ends. While it's only been three games and he does have a three-touchdown performance under his belt, Higbee is someone to move right now - perhaps you can grab an upside wide receiver like Tee Higgins for Higbee.
Win Big With RotoBaller
Be sure to also check out all of our other daily fantasy football articles and analysis to help you set those winning lineups, including this new RotoBaller YouTube video:
I have also provided some updated rankings analysis regarding latest news and key player outlooks here. If any other significant news pieces affect rankings they will be reflected here with needed tweaks until the season opener. Commentary reflects PPR rankings yet can also apply to other positions.
The King’s Updated Rankings: Latest Analysis and Insights
Updated Analysis (Sept. 5th)
We are seeing some RBs named "starters" as Week 1 gets closer, and a possible shared backfield to open the season in Kansas City. Don't overreact to these pieces of news too much in the shorter term, as we have not experienced a normal preseason. Rookies and player who have changed teams may need more time during the regular season to ease into their projected lead roles. Take advantage in your drafts if guys like Cam Akers and Leonard Fournette start to drop.
Cam Akers will still be the featured back for the Rams, and it shouldn’t take long. The "starter" tag for Malcolm Brown is a prime example of how you should not overreact to some possible early-season roles. As a "starter", Brown will just be guaranteed to be on the field for the first play of the game.
Don’t draft Clyde Edwards-Helaire over a more proven top RB in the early to mid first round, but he is still a strong pick towards the end of the round. Darrel Williams should be the later round fantasy insurance backup.
Devine Ozigbo is now the best Jacksonville RB4 to draft, and take James Robinson as a potential flex position flier after the Top 40 RBs are off the board. Don’t totally forget Ryquell Armstead, as he could still emerge as the starter later in the season.
Damien Harris can still get a chance to be the eventual starter in New England, but if Sony Michel gets off to a strong start it may be harder for him to earn more than part of a committee role at best.
Try to get one of the Top 15 to 17 RBs off the board to feel comfortable with your top two picks at the position. After that point you are looking at the second starting spot making you more uncomfortable about opening the season with an adequate RB2.
Previous Analysis (Pre Sept. 5th)
Tampa Bay RBs: I have Leonard Fournette as RB23. He may share some work early on as he gets acclimated, but I expect him to be the pure lead runner by Week 3 or so. He can register a healthy amount of TD runs finishing off drives for the Tampa Bay offense if he avoids injuries. That has been an issue for him in the past. He is a better pass blocker than Ronald Jones, another reason why they added Fournette. I now have Jones at 41. He will be a time share back to start the season with a progressively shrinking role. He may open the year as the starter, which means he will be on the field for the first play of the game. I don’t buy into “coachspeak” from Bruce Arians backing Jones.
Jacksonville RBs: Ryquell Armstead has missed time because of illnesses, and Devine Ozigbo might open the season sharing time with him. This could end up being a time share and whichever player performs better in the first few weeks may earn the lead role. Armstead is a speedy runner with receiving potential and Ozigbo is more of a power runner. They are ranked right next to each other as RBs 36 and 37.
Washington RBs: After Adrian Peterson was cut, we may be looking at a full-blown committee here. Peyton Barber could be the main ball carrier, but he could eventually be overtaken by Bryce Love down the line. Antonio Gibson will complement Barber and has the most upside, yet he could be boom or bust. J.D. McKissic likely won't be a factor. Gibosn is RB42, Barber is RB43 and Love is at RB49. McKissic is RB 66.
Josh Gordon: Fantasy players still somehow get so intrigued and tempted by Gordon, but he will be the third WR in Seattle firmly behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf. Gordon can be a valuable No. 3 piece for Russell Wilson, yet he will be a high-profile role secondary target with the Seahawks. He won’t contribute enough to be anything more than a very late Best Ball target or DFS salary saver in fantasy football. Gordon is not even in the Top 65 at WR and won’t be worth a roster spot in traditional fantasy leagues. He’ll be a key performer for Seattle on some important downs, however he won’t produce well enough statistically overall to help most fantasy teams when he is available to play.
Le'Veon Bell: The stock is dropping and so is his ranking, as Bell is now RB26. Adam Gase continues his weird obsession with Frank Gore and there are indicators that Bell is unhappy in New York.Bell may have been frustrated with Jamal Adams because he wanted to get out of town, too. Gase held Kenyan Drake back in Miami and his bungling ways are going to continue to adversely affect Bell, too. He might regret leaving Pittsburgh at this point.
Miami RBs: Don’t be surprised if Matt Breida becomes the preferred ball carrier, while Jordan Howard is the goal-line guy. They are ranked right next to each other at RBs 31 and 32. If Breida stays healthy he is tenacious and gritty and can be a viable flex option.
D'Andre Swift: He may still win the starting job down the line this season. Swift can be a value Play to stash for the first few weeks. Be patient and reap later rewards. Swift is RB33 but will rise quickly later in the season.
Tyler Boyd/A.J. Green: Boyd is underrated. He is coming off two consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and the Bengals get the obvious QB upgrade for 2020. Boyd will be Cincinnati’s true WR1 this year. Green is simply too much of an injury risk and his best seasons may be behind him at age 32 after all the health issues he has endured through. Bigger WRs sometimes break down physically before we fully expect them to. Boyd is 14 spots ahead of Green at WR25. Don’t go after Green as a fantasy starter based on his past. Picking him may turn out to be a name recognition type of reach.
Anthony Miller:Nick Foles can steady the Bears offense to the point where the passing game actually garners some basic defensive respect. Miller is WR42, yet could easily serve as a fantasy WT3 this year with some occasional upside.
Hunter Renfrow: He will be Oakland’s leading WR this season. Renfrow played very well at the end of last year and could turn out to be a great value pick. He is my WR42 with an arrow pointing up.
Golden Tate: Over the past two seasons, only Michael Thomas has more yardage after the catch at WR. Don’t overlook Tate as a later WR pick, as he could be the Giants’ leading WR in 2020. He was brought in last year with the intention of being a very dependable target for a young QB.
The value TE strategy: If you choose to wait on TEs, there are a pair of sleepers that can serve you well. Chris Herndon (TE11) appears to be on the verge of a true breakout season and has the potential to be your starter. Back him up with TE14 Dan Arnold, who is my super sleeper of the year. Do not be surprised when he has six-plus TD catches in 2020 and emerges as a back-end fantasy TE1. The Cardinals are looking for Arnold to bust out and become a significant TD threat. You can land him with a final pick in your draft. Arnold may be the best-kept deep sleeper secret in fantasy football this year.
Detroit Fantasy City:Matthew Stafford (QB9) was playing at a Top 5 QB level when he was injured last year. The Lions may look to establish more offensive balance this season with a more dependable running game, but Stafford is still will have a floor of being a Top 10 fantasy QB. The ceiling could be Top 5 territory again. Kenny Golladay is WR6 and is a major all-around threat. He wins contested catches, gains yardage after the catch and had six TDs in the red zone this year. He could finish as a Top 3-4 fantasy WR in 2020 as he joins the true fantasy elite at the position
Every single season there is a hunger for fantasy football rankings. Every single season people draft their entire fantasy football team off of a list of names ordered by their favorite analysts or site. And every year those people make the most common mistake when it comes to rankings!
The mistake so many fantasy players make is treating rankings like an “end-all-be-all” rather than using them as a guide. That is all they really are. The next step is learning how to properly use that guide. After all, you don’t want to follow rankings blindly like Kevin in The League does.
That's what I'm here for. I will provide some insight as to my own rankings, how I came to those decisions, and why they differ from industry consensus.
My advice with rankings (especially while drafting) is to always to dissect your team as you go and find any weaknesses you may have. If you look at your team and feel you built a safe base but are lacking some upside, taking the highest-ranked player could hurt. Let’s say you are targeting a WR and look at the rankings you are using and realize the highest-ranked player is Julian Edelman, but right near him is Will Fuller. If you go by the rankings you will draft Edelman, but in a scenario like that knowing that your team lacks upside the play I would recommend is Fuller.
It’s why I am a big fan of tiered rankings. Because that way you can see the grouping of players that I think belong together. This gives you a general sense of the players in that range you should be targeting. But, inside that tier, you should be looking for the player that best fits your need. If you have a lot of safe players, go for upside. If you have a lot of players with upside but come with question marks, it may be best to a more proven player in the tier. Rankings are important in fantasy football but using them properly is just as important as having a good list on names!
Below are players that I am higher or lower on than consensus. For consensus, I will be using FantasyPros, which utilizes rankings from some of the top fantasy analysts and give an average rank. I then use that average rank and determine the players I have higher and lower than the field. I will explain why I feel the way I do with each player.
JaMycal Hastyis the player I disagree with the most with the consensus. If you listen to RotoBaller Radio on SiriusXM (moving 6am to 8am Saturday and Sunday) you have heard me mention Hasty before. Look, he is an undrafted free agent, so he doesn’t come with really any hype at all. But there is a reason I have him 60 spots higher than the average ranker. The thing is, it doesn’t have a whole lot to do with Hasty himself.
Any back that I can get a last-round flier on in Kyle Shanahan’s offense? Yes please! He is going to start getting more and more popular now that Raheem Mostert has requested a trade. I was off of Mostert well before any trade rumors too. You can read about that (as well as other backs I am low on here)!
Joshua Kelleyis someone I am higher on by over 20 spots in the rankings according to FantasyPros. That may seem contradictory since I am driving the Austin Ekeler hype train, but I do think Kelley has a role on this team. I continue to say I expect this backfield to operate much like the Saints. I expect Ekeler to dominate all passing duties, while also sharing carries out of the backfield with Kelley. Kelley has the chance to also become the goal line back. His upside is capped given Ekeler’s involvement, but Kelley is so cheap in drafts that he becomes a worthwhile gamble in rounds 12 or 13, sometimes even later.
I am a big believer that the rookie running backs possess a ton of upside in fantasy this season. In many of these instances, there is a rookie back coming in to compete with an incumbent back. In many of these cases, the downside for the rookie is they will have to share touches. But the upside is they can run away with this backfield and dominate opportunities. I do not feel this way about the incumbent backs, because they were on the roster and the team still went out and drafted a back early.
I am higher on Ke’Shawn Vaughn (+8), Cam Akers (+6), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (+6), Jonathan Taylor (+4) and Zack Moss (+2). Oddly enough the rookie I am lowest on is J.K. Dobbins (-6) but I am considering changing that. The reason I am scared though is because I value Mark Ingram higher than the other incumbent backs, plus there is also Gus Edwards there who could steal some touches. I like Dobbins, especially long-term, I just worry that this year the backfield may just be a little too crowded to live up to expectations. But if Ingram gets hurt, watch out!
The backs I am lowest on are the ones that I view as having little to no upside. If you haven’t read my 2020 fantasy football strategy article, it is all about trying to capitalize on as many upside shots as possible in the middle to safer rounds. The argument against safe floor players with little upside is that you hold onto them all year, likely only start them during bye weeks or if someone gets injured, and when you have to use them, your starting lineup is already worse by switching from a starter to a bench option.
Meanwhile, if you keep taking upside shots and some hit, you are going to be a powerhouse. To me, I would rather miss the playoffs trying to build a championship-caliber team than make the playoffs as the fifth seed and get bounced in round one. There are many safe backs that fit that category that I am lower on than consensus. I have James White 12 spots lower than his average rank. Is he going to finish higher than I have him ranked? Probably. But there are RBs that have higher ceilings that go around where he goes that I would simply rather take a shot on. Having White the last couple of seasons, I can tell you he may help you win a week when you’re in a pinch, but he will not win you a title, especially with Cam Newton and not Tom Brady. Others than fall into this group are Sony Michel (-5), Tarik Cohen (-6), Kerryon Johnson (-6), Patrick Laird (-8) and most of all Jamaal Williams (-16) and Adrian Peterson (-16).
Adam Thielenis a WR1 for me. In fact, in PPR he is my WR6, six spots ahead of his average ranking. Too many people are forgetting that Thielen was the WR7 in 2018 and was averaging 16.45 fantasy PPG in Weeks 1-6 last season, before injuring his hamstring. That injury really just ruined Thielen’s season as we saw him try to return and injure it. That injury is now behind him and Stefon Diggs is now in Buffalo. Meaning that there is plenty of work up for grabs in Minnesota. The Vikings may be a run-first team, but when they decide to throw you can expect them to go Thielen’s way constantly. The best part is you get him at a discount due to last year’s injury!
Marquise Brown is someone I have written and spoke about a bunch this offseason, so it is no surprise I have him seven spots higher than consensus. Brown was not healthy at any point last season. He had a screw put into his foot that forced him to miss the combine and much of the summer. Brown himself said he did not have his normal burst or top speed and by the end of the season his foot was mangled. Now he is healthy, more comfortable in the NFL and on a prolific offense where teams will not really be able to double team him. Good luck guarding this guy one-on-one.
I am way higher on Marquise's cousin Antonio Brown than the consensus. How much higher? Apparently 53 spots higher, which to me is shocking since I still have him ranked as a WR5. Look, we all know the hurdles AB still has to jump: a team needs to sign him and he needs to serve a possible suspension. But he goes so cheap and we all know the upside he possesses. You can nab someone who has WR1 upside when on the field in the reserve rounds? Yes, please! He has been getting more hype lately though as rumors about him fly.
Mike Evans(-7) is a player I am lower on and have been vocal about it this offseason. He now has a QB that doesn’t air the ball out or throw out wide as much as his former QB. I expect the Bucs to pass less in general as I think they will be trailing less.
Keenan Allen(-8) has been my guy for years. Ever since he got labeled as injury-prone for tearing his ACL and having his spleen rupture, he was a value. But that changes for me this season with the move at QB from Philip Rivers to Tyrod Taylor. In Taylor’s three seasons with the Bills, the only receiver he had top 120 fantasy points was Sammy Watkins in 2015. The only other receiver to top 100 fantasy points was Robert Woods. Allen could prove me wrong, but even if he does, he provides more of a safe floor rather than a high ceiling. And there are so many receivers in his range with higher upside.
Amari Cooper(-5) finished as the WR10 last season and yet you have to pay an even higher price to get him (WR9) in FFPC drafts. With CeeDee Lamb now on board, still with Michael Gallup and Blake Jarwin set to take over the Jason Witten role, there are a lot of mouths in this offense. Paying that price for Cooper, who does have a knack of being inconsistent week to week, just feels like paying for the ceiling. I will let others take him and target his teammates later in the draft.
Jack Doyle(+7) is a tight end I am definitely higher on than others. I believe Doyle could see the volume to finish as a low-end TE1. Rivers has always featured a tight end in his offense. First it was Antonio Gates and then Hunter Henry. Now Doyle won’t be those guys, but he is very much so in the mix for targets behind T.Y. Hilton. There is also no more Eric Ebron for him to have to split reps with. You can get Doyle as a TE2, but there’s upside to outlive that purely on volume alone.
We're right in the heart of draft season, so it's the perfect time to release my final PPR rankings. These are tiered rankings organized by position. My rankings prioritize upside and downgrade injury concerns. There are some players who I was previously high on, but was forced to downgrade due to injuries, such as Allen Robinson and D'Andre Swift. As with any rankings, remember to account for ADP in order to optimize your lineup!
In this article, I'll describe my reasoning behind a few players who I'm higher on than RotoBaller consensus, as well as others who I've ranked lower. I'll focus on players whose ranking discrepancy is more impactful, rather than just listing the players with the widest variance with RotoBaller consensus.
Below you'll find a few selections that will surely have you raising an eyebrow. Be sure to voice these concerns and come at me on Twitter @FAmmiranteTFJ! I can assure you that I'll be ready to provide insights behind these selections and we can engage in debate.
Joe Burrow (+10) checks off all the boxes that you want in a fantasy quarterback. He has a dynamic group of weapons in the passing game. He plays for a team with a weak defense. He's also a pro-ready prospect, so there won't be any playbook limitations. Burrow is going to make an immediate impact for the Bengals and he offers league-winning upside. Check out a more extensive look at Burrow's upside here.
Deshaun Watson (+5) now has an arsenal of deep-threats which align with one of his biggest strengths: downfield passing. He plays for a Texans' team with a porous defense which should increase his passing volume. His backfield consists of two backs more known for their receiving skills than running ability. It's the perfect storm for Watson to have a career year. I've laid out a more in-depth case for Watson at QB1 here.
Daniel Jones (+5) flashed significant upside as a rookie, putting up 25+ fantasy points in four games. He was able to do this despite never having all of his weapons on the field at the same time. Jones also has rushing upside, which raises his weekly floor. The Giants have a weak defense which will lead to several shootouts. You can check out more Jones talk here.
QBs I'm Lower On
Baker Mayfield (-9) is set for a bump in efficiency with an improved offensive line, but new head coach Kevin Stefanski looks poised to implement a more conservative offense that relies on the running game in an effort to mitigate Mayfield's turnover issues. Kirk Cousins attempted only 444 passes last season, so we can expect a similar number for Mayfield, who made 534 attempts last season. I just can't get behind that lack of volume.
Drew Brees (-7) is entering his age-41 season and has become more of a check-down passer. He threw 27 touchdowns on only 378 attempts last season, giving him a 7.1 TD%, which was the highest touchdown rate of his career. I just can't invest in an aging quarterback headed for significant touchdown regression, playing for a contending team that will likely limit his volume.
Josh Allen (-4) has the best supporting cast of his career with the additions of Stefon Diggs and Zack Moss. The problem is that much of his fantasy value is derived from his rushing touchdowns. Allen has rushed for eight or more touchdowns in the past two seasons - no quarterback has ever done that in three consecutive seasons, not even Cam Newton. Allen will need a bump in passing production to deliver fantasy value, but I can't bank on that given his struggles with accuracy.
Jonathan Taylor (+5) has a terrific setup with the Colts, running behind the best offensive line in football. Concerns over Marlon Mack has created a buying opportunity. As another back with deficiencies in the passing game, Mack has a redundant skill-set to Taylor. The Colts would be wise to move Mack at the trade deadline. Simply put, Taylor is one of the best pure rookie runners we have seen in recent memory. Even if he gets off to a slow start, there's a high chance that he'll be considered an RB1 during the stretch run.
Josh Jacobs (+5) was an absolute stud as a rookie, but his passing game concerns have kept his draft stock lower than it should be. This is a player who is one of the most talented pure runners in football, ranking first on PFF's elusive rating. Jacobs has the upside to lead the league in rushing yards. Even with the signing of Theo Riddick, it's hard to imagine Jacobs not eclipsing the 20 receptions he posted as a rookie. Capitalize on the buying opportunity presented by concerns over receiving volume.
Aaron Jones (+4) is likely to be peppered with targets playing for a Packers team with limited weapons outside himself and Davante Adams. Jones is going to be a focal point of this offense, with gains in receiving volume helping off-set touchdown regression. This Packers team looks like the discount version of the Saints' offense, with Jones playing the role of Alvin Kamara.
RBs I'm Lower On
Leonard Fournette (-11) joins a Buccaneers' team with a stacked offense, but I expect him to form a one-two punch with Ronald Jones. I think this is the case where Bruce Arians and his staff unexpectedly saw a veteran back available and decided to pounce, but I do believe that they are still high on Jones. I'd rather have Fournette than Jones, but this is a situation to avoid for fantasy. Don't expect anywhere close to the receiving volume that Fournette saw in Jacksonville.
Dalvin Cook (-7) is an outstanding running back, but I just can't invest in him this year due to his injury concerns and potential holdout. When Adam Schefter makes a bold claim that he would hesitate drafting Cook if his contract issues are not resolved by the start of the season, you know it's a red flag. There's simply too many talented running backs that can be selected in the first two rounds, so I'm out on Cook.
Christian McCaffrey (-1) put up one of the best fantasy seasons in NFL history, but I prefer taking Saquon Barkley this year. The reason is simple: McCaffrey is being over-worked. He's coming off a 403-touch season in 2019, which came on the heels of a 326-touch year in 2018. Running backs that receive such a workload tend to have down seasons or even sharp declines, so the Panthers would be wise to limit the touches of their 5'11, 205-lb back. I mention his frame because most backs with such workloads are at least 220-lbs, so this makes it even more important to reduce CMC's touches.
Will Fuller (+13) is now firmly entrenched as the WR1 in Houston with the departure of DeAndre Hopkins. When Fuller is in the lineup, Watson shines: +52 in passing yards per game, +1.5 in yards per attempt, and +2.9% in touchdown rate, so it's clear that the duo has great chemistry. We saw Fuller's ridiculous ceiling against the Falcons last year, where he went off for 14 receptions, 217 yards, and three touchdowns. Use the injury concerns as a buying opportunity.
A.J. Brown (+11) was one of three receivers since 1990 to put up 50+ receptions, 1,000+ yards, and 20.0+ yards per reception. He did that as a rookie on only 84 targets. There are concerns over volume, but Brown produced at a 100 target pace with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. As the Titans move away from Corey Davis, expect them to funnel targets to Brown. 130+ targets is within the realm of possibility. That gives him mouth-watering upside.
CeeDee Lamb (+8) joins a loaded group of wide receivers in Dallas, but the team has 166 vacated targets with the departures of Randall Cobb and Jason Witten. There's enough volume here for all three receivers to provide fantasy value. Lamb is currently tearing up Cowboys' camp and I expect him to supplant Michael Gallup as the WR2 on this team. The rookie receiver out of Clemson has league-winning upside, so he gets a big bump in my rankings.
WRs I'm Lower On
Keenan Allen (-11) is a clinical route-runner, but he looks poised for a down year with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, as the Chargers will transition to a low-volume, run-heavy offense. Allen depends on volume to excel, as he's not really a big-play receiver, so that really downgrades him in these rankings. The Chargers have a great supporting cast, so it looks likely that Taylor will remain the starter. That's bad news for Allen.
DeAndre Hopkins (-8) is one of the best receivers in football, but it's hard to invest such a high pick in a player who's joining a new team during this tumultuous off-season. Kliff Kingsbury's scheme involves having the quarterback spread the ball around, so it's likely that we see some regression in volume - don't expect Hopkins to reach 150 targets like he did last year. As promising as Kyler Murray is, he's a clear downgrade from Deshaun Watson. Let someone else draft Hopkins this year.
Cooper Kupp (-8) saw a sharp decline in production once the Rams transitioned to more two-wide-receiver/two-tight-end sets, as Robert Woods became the preferred target in this offense. I would expect the Rams to continue to utilize this formation most often, so Kupp looks more like a WR2 that's being drafted as a low-end WR1. I'd rather take ascending players like Terry McLaurin or D.K. Metcalf.
Chris Herndon (+11) had his sophomore season washed out due to injury, which has created a buying opportunity. Herndon put up 500+ yards as a rookie, joining elite company that includes Rob Gronkowski, George Kittle, and Mark Andrews. He also put up 8.96 yards per target that year, ranking 5th among rookie tight ends since the merger. Herndon has a clear path to targets playing for a Jets' team that has no alpha WR1. Check out a more in-depth look here.
Noah Fant (+5) is one of the most athletic tight ends in football, ranking in the 97th-percentile or higher in speed, burst, agility, and catch radius scores on PlayerProfiler. He flashed upside as a rookie with two 100-yard games on four or fewer receptions, including a 75-yard touchdown. Fant's big-play ability is unmatched at the tight end position. He looks like the best bet of the potential breakout young tight ends. Check out more on Fant here.
George Kittle (+1) takes over the mantle of top tight end because he could see a career-high in targets with injuries to Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Kittle is also headed for positive touchdown regression, as he only put up five touchdowns despite ranking tied for second with most targets among tight ends within the 10-yard line. Kittle is four years younger than Kelce and ready to take over at TE1.
TEs I'm Lower On
Rob Gronkowski (-9) is a 31-year old tight end with back issues coming off a one-year retirement to join a new team in Tampa Bay. The Bucs are playoff contenders with terrific tight end depth with O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, so they have an incentive to limit Gronk's snaps to keep him fresh for the stretch run. I just can't get behind investing in a touchdown-dependent tight end this year. Check out Gronk pessimism here.
Jared Cook (-8) is coming off a season where he set a career-high with nine touchdowns. The Saints are no longer a high-volume passing offense, so it's hard to expect Cook's low target total (4.64 per game in 2019) to increase. Cook is entering his age-33 season, making it tough to bank on sustained big-play production that he would need to deliver fantasy value. In a year where tight end is deeper than usual, I'm out.
Jack Doyle (-5) is another veteran tight end that I choose to avoid in favor of upside breakout targets. Doyle should get some volume with checkdown Philip Rivers at quarterback, but he's not a big-play tight end and he's never been a real threat in the red-zone (career-high is five touchdowns). I'd rather take a shot on a younger, more athletic tight end than settle for Doyle.
Win Big With RotoBaller
Be sure to also check out all of our other daily fantasy football articles and analysis to help you set those winning lineups, including this new RotoBaller YouTube video:
The NFL might be a quarterback-driven, pass-first league these days, but you are not going to win a fantasy football league without a decent running back corps.
Even though more NFL teams are going with a running-back-by-committee philosophy rather than relying on a running back to be a three-down workhorse, fantasy rosters have to be stocked with multiple solid rushers to have a chance of making a run for their league’s title and trophy. This is why running backs are the top four picks and make up seven of the first 10 picks overall according to RotoBaller’s updated 2020 rankings.
Here is my analysis of RotoBaller’s latest 2020 running back rankings for standard fantasy football leagues:
C-Mac was the best point producer among running backs last season thanks to topping the 1,000-yard mark in both rushing and receiving yards, racking up 116 receptions, scoring 19 touchdowns, and is the no-doubt No. 1 fantasy player overall heading into the season. If you are worried that Teddy Bridgewater will cause harm to McCaffrey’s fantasy value, trash the idea. The kid was dominant despite having a battered Cam Newton and inconsistent Kyle Allen as his signal-callers in 2019. McCaffrey would put up great numbers if Christian Hackenberg was his QB.
Barkley is No. 2 because we all know he can pile up another 2,000 combined yards as he did in his rookie campaign if he stays injury-free and the Giants offensive line opens holes instead of bottling him up in the backfield. He could have 1,500 rushing yards and 900 receiving yards as long as Daniel Jones and the offense around him does not implode.
Zeke Elliott is not the pass-catcher out of the backfield like McCaffrey and Barkley are, but his rushing yards and touchdowns are right there with the top two. Fantasy owners just have to hope he does not suffer any after-effects from his bout with COVID this offseason.
Alvin Kamara was one of the most disappointing players in fantasy football last season, especially in the touchdown category since he scored 18 in 2018 and just a half-dozen in 2019. He is lucky to be ranked this high and is more valuable in PPR leagues, but if he can stay healthy and regain his old form he will supply his fantasy owners with 1,500 combined yards and double-digit TDs.
Derrick Henry barreled his way to the 2019 rushing title and tied Aaron Jones for most rushing touchdowns with 16. He also had the best YPC (5.1) for any back with 200-plus rushing attempts and was tied for third with nine runs of 20 yards or more. Henry’s only drawback is his lack of receiving value. McCaffrey had twice as many receptions last year as Henry has had over his entire four-year career.
Joe Mixon was able to muster back-to-back 1,000-yard years despite hardly ever having No. 1 WR A.J. Green to keep defenses from stacking the line. Cincinnati’s offense should be better with Green returning and No. 1 pick overall Joe Burrow manning the passing attack, which bodes very well for Mixon.
The only thing that will prevent Chubb from being a top-five fantasy back this year is Kareem Hunt. The former Chief is too talented to not be given 10-15 touches per game. It is too bad Cleveland does not run a wishbone offense so both Chubb and Hunt could get 20 touches apiece on a weekly basis.
Josh Jacobs earns every hard yard between the tackles and should be a shoo-in for a second straight 1,000-yard season with 8-10 touchdowns. What he needs is more opportunities in the passing game. His 20 catches for 166 yards and zero touchdowns last season does not cut it for fantasy purposes.
Nobody’s fantasy value has skyrocketed faster than Edwards-Helaire’s. The first-round rookie has gone from understudy to the top tailback in the most dangerous system in the NFL with Damien Williams opting out of the upcoming season. If he is a quick learner and blends into Patrick Mahomes’ offense seamlessly, Edwards-Helaire could be a Tier 1 back and a fantasy savor. But if he hits a rookie wall or has a hard time adjusting to the pro game, he could be a fantasy failure.
Austin Ekeler is the second-best pass-catching running back in the league besides McCaffrey. This year he will eclipse the 1,000-yard mark on the receiving side, but will he come close to it on the running side? While Ekeler has a career 4.8 YPC, he has never rushed for 600 yards in a season and might be hard-pressed to break as many big runs now that he is more of an every-down-back and less of a change-of-pace back.
Aaron Jones has an uncanny nose for the end zone and is given ample opportunities thanks to Aaron Rodgers and his Packers. He doubled his output in the passing game from 2018 to 2019 as well. The only thing keeping him down in this tier is he does not get his number called enough. Jones only ranked 15th in the NFL in rushing attempts last season.
Kenyan Drake escaped the fantasy Siberia of Miami and blossomed as the linchpin of Arizona’s rushing attack, slashing defenses for 643 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in just eight games. Now that David Johnson has been traded to Houston, all that stands between Drake and a monster year is if head coach Kliff Kingsbury decides to call pass plays 95 percent of the time. Don’t put it past him.
Leonard Fournette only found the end zone three times last year despite touching the ball 341 times and was recently waived by Jacksonville, so nobody’s fantasy stock has fallen faster as the season is about to start. There is no doubt a team will take a flyer on him, but Fournette has no chance of duplicating that touch total again in 2020.
Todd Gurley was on top of the fantasy world in 2017 and 2018 when he scored 40 touchdowns during those two years. He still enters 2020 as the top tailback in an explosive offense, although the offense is Atlanta’s and not Los Angeles’. A change of scenery is not going to help Gurley’s cranky knee, though, so he is a fantasy risk no matter when you draft him.
Bell being ranked behind Conner is a fantasy crime against humanity. Conner had one very good season in 2018. Bell has had three separate seasons where he had more than 1,900 combined yards. Both have backups who will slice into their time and touches --- Benny Snell for Conner, Frank Gore for Bell --- but Bell has plenty to prove and a better track record of these two.
David Montgomery’s training-camp groin injury is probably going to cost him a game or two, so he might drop a tier heading into your Draft Day. If he falls farther than he should because of his injury, though, feel free to take him and enjoy the 13-14 solid weeks he gifts you.
Baltimore has the perfect offense and quarterback for a straight-line runner like Ingram, who racked up 1,018 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in his first year as a Raven. The trouble is second-round pick J.K. Dobbins should flourish in this offense, too, and is going to be a titanic thorn in the side of Ingram’s fantasy owners this year. And if Dobbins does not steal some carries from Ingram, Gus Edwards and quarterback Lamar Jackson will.
I wrote a previous article on how fantasy players should stop the hype train regarding Mostert, so you will not see me arguing he should be rated higher. He has not proven he can handle more than 12-15 touches per game, and he likely will not get the chance with veterans Tevin Coleman and Jerick McKinnon behind him on the depth chart in San Fran.
Swift’s chances of becoming Detroit’s primary ball carrier took a Brian Urlacher-like hit thanks to his preseason leg injury. Now Kerryon Johnson will likely be Detroit’s starting tailback until Swift gets back up to speed physically and with learning the offense.
Jordan Howard averaged 1,100 rushing yards and eight touchdowns per season over his three-year stint with the Chicago Bears before being robbed of six games last season with the Philadelphia Eagles. With injury-prone Matt Breida as his only competition for carries in Miami, Howard is a sleeper who could wake up fantasy teams with 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.
Sony Michel is coming off a foot injury, has to battle Damien Harris, James White, Lamar Miller, and Rex Burkhead for playing time in New England’s crowded backfield, and no longer has Tom Brady orchestrating his offense. Oh, and his offensive line lost two members due to COVID-related opt-outs. I would not touch Michel with a 100-foot pole until the late rounds.
Ronald Jones is a super sleeper since he is surrounded by Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and the rest of Tampa Bay’s upgraded offense. If he can keep his helmet on straight, improve his pass protection, and not earn the wrath of Brady and head coach Bruce Arians, Jones could have a super season as the best back in this juggernaut.
Mack’s fantasy value was harpooned as soon as Indianapolis selected Jonathan Taylor in this past year’s NFL draft. Mack is a solid runner who can provide 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns, but that is not going to happen now that Taylor is in town.
Tier 7 and Below
Poor Phillip Lindsay. The kid started his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard years, and what was his reward? Melvin Gordon and his multimillions placed above him in the pecking order. Even if Gordon and Lindsay split the touches and time it still means Lindsay’s fantasy worth has been damaged beyond repair.
I keep hearing how Chicago head honcho Matt Nagy is an offensive genius, yet what has he done with franchise quarterback Mitchell Trubisky? And how poorly did he utilized Cohen last season? Cohen will not average a paltry 3.3 yards per carry and 5.8 yards per reception XXX
All-Day AP is 700 years old and a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame when his career finally ends, but the guy is the No. 1 RB for the only NFL team that he could be the No. 1 RB on. Somehow, someway A.P. will end up with 800 yards and a half-dozen touchdowns, especially now that Derrius Guice probably got himself kicked out of the league due to his domestic violence arrest and sexual assault allegations.
Ryquell Armstead is no longer a Tier 9 back in the wake of the aforementioned Fournette being cut. But even though he will be Jacksonville's No. 1 rusher, the Jaguars offense is below-average at best and will be quarterbacked by a possible one-year wonder in Gardner Minshew, so do not pencil Armstead in for 1,000 yards just yet. His ADP is sure to shoot up in the final days before the NFL season. He's worth a mid-to-late round pick but don't overpay.
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Saddle up, PPR drafters! Here’s your all-inclusive reference for each tier of receivers throughout your draft.
We’re looking at how safe each receiver is, their potential upside (or lack thereof) and if they have a chance to jump up a tier in the receiver hierarchy or if they belong in the one below.
Snagging a receiver from one of the top tiers will give you a great base at the position and a leg-up against any owner who doesn’t have one. Yet if you fail to get a member of the top two tiers, don’t fret, but make sure you know who you’re targeting in tier three and beyond.
Thomas has been as consistently productive as you could ever want or expect from a wide receiver since entering the league in 2016. He’s missed just one game in four years and while he’s tallied over 90 receptions and more than 1,000 yards in each of his NFL seasons, it was last year where he really, really took a leap forward into elite territory.
Thomas led the league in both receptions (149) and receiving yards (1,725) in 2019, while adding nine touchdowns. As the clear focal point of a productive offense in New Orleans, Thomas is the clear Number 1 receiver on the board.
Adams, meanwhile, might be just as clear as the Number 2 receiver on the board. Like Thomas, Adams is the clear focal point of his team’s passing game and he has a quarterback who very much knows this and isn’t afraid to force the ball his way. Adams missed four games last year while dealing with turf toe and as a result, his season-long numbers from 2019 – 83 receptions, 997 yards and five touchdowns – don’t blow you away. However, just take a look one year back to 2018, when he caught 111 passes for 1,386 yards and 13 touchdowns and it’ll be clear what kind of upside he possesses.
Jones is the scariest member of this group for two reasons. First, he’s the oldest at 31 years of age and has a lot of wear and tear on him at this point. Second, he has an emerging young receiver on his team – Calvin Ridley, of course – who could continue to chip away at his target share.
The best version of Jones is a PPR dream. Look no further than his 2015 season where he caught 136 passes for 1,871 yards. However, that was five years ago and Jones has only topped 100 receptions in a season once since then. Last year, Jones caught 99 passes for 1,394 yards and six touchdowns. It’s reasonable to expect similar numbers this year, which would certainly validate his Tier 1 status, but he doesn’t have quite the upside anymore to reach the potential of Thomas and Adams.
Hill was on his way to becoming an elite fantasy receiver even before the emergence of Patrick Mahomes. But now that he’s catching passes from the league’s most dynamic quarterback, his fantasy value is even more substantial. In Mahomes’ 2018 breakout season, Hill caught 87 passes for 1,479 yards and 12 touchdowns. Last year, Hill missed four games and the Chiefs’ offense as a whole wasn’t quite as electric as the previous season, resulting in Hill’s end of season numbers looking slightly underwhelming at 58 receptions for 860 yards and seven touchdowns.
Hill is no doubt more valuable in non-PPR than he is in PPR. His big play ability led to him averaging 17 yards per reception in 2018. As a comparison, Thomas averaged just 11.7 yards per reception last year. However, while Hill won’t lead the league or likely even finish amongst the top five or so in receptions, he’s likely to be right at the top of the league in both receiving yards and touchdowns and is still an elite, top tier target in PPR.
Right on the cusp of the top tier are two receivers in the midst of a situation change. Hopkins has the bigger one, heading from Houston to Arizona, while Godwin’s signal-caller has switch from the gun-slinging Jameis Winston to the all-time great Tom Brady.
Hopkins is certainly in a great situation to have success. There’s no doubt about that. It’s just a question of exactly how his success will be manifested in fantasy terms, essentially how it compares to his fantasy output in Houston. The Arizona passing game should be electric, but there may be some weeks where they’re able to flourish without the need to heavily incorporate Hopkins. If defenses focus on Hopkins, quarterback Kyler Murray might in turn look to Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald more, or even the team’s solid pass-catching running back Kenyan Drake. Hopkins will have big weeks and certainly some sturdy season-long numbers, but he may not have the remarkable consistency that the Tier 1 guys have.
Same goes for Godwin. All Winston jokes are welcome here, but the guy still threw for a whopping 5,109 passing yards last year. That’s a total that Brady has reached just once in his career and last year, Brady was under that clip by more than 1,000 yards. Brady will most likely top his total from 2019 this year if he stays healthy, given Tampa Bay’s pass-focused offense, but it’s still unlikely that he’ll reach Winston’s mark from 2019.
Godwin also has the Mike Evans factor. Evans has compiled over 1,000 receiving yards in each of his six NFL seasons and has averaged over 17 yards per reception the past two years. You could argue Evans is even the 1A to Godwin’s 1B. Godwin has the higher upside as he excelled in his first high-leverage season last year, catching 86 passes for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns over 14 games. However, overall, he’s a slight notch below Hopkins in this tier.
This is an exciting and extremely important group that could make or break any owner’s season.
Robinson, Evans and Thielen are the safest members of the group, but also have the lowest ceiling. As long as all three of them remain healthy, they should return a low-end WR1 or at least a high-end WR2 type of season.
Golladay and Kupp have a good degree of safety as well, but they also have significant upside.
Golladay has flourished since he first became Matthew Stafford’s clear No. 1 target in 2018 and there could still be some room to grow for him even after a remarkable year where he caught 65 passes for 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s had a shade under 120 targets in each of the past two years. If that number can jump up to 130 or more, he could cement his place in Tier 2.
Kupp, meanwhile, received 134 targets in 2019, and wound up with 94 receptions for 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns. Now that the Rams are without Brandin Cooks, Kupp should see even more of a target-share, which could propel him to his first 100-reception season.
Smith-Schuster, Cooper, Moore and Beckham are the toughest calls here.
With Ben Roethlisberger back under center, there’s really no good reason we shouldn’t be discussing Smith-Schuster as a potential top tier receiver this year just like we did last year. The only thing that’s changed is that we saw that things can get extremely messy for Smith-Schuster when Roethlisberger isn’t in the picture. A worst-case scenario was certainly ugly for Smith-Schuster, but a best case scenario is a top tier WR1.
Cooper had a great end of the year stats last season with 79 receptions, 1,189 yards and eight touchdowns. However, fantasy owners need to be very aware that Cooper has a knack for inconsistency. Nearly a fifth of his yards from last season came in one game, when he totaled 11 receptions for 226 yards against Green Bay. He was held under 25 receiving yards on four occasions – yes, you read that right. Plus, the presence of rookie first-round pick CeeDee Lamb could make things even more complicated for Cooper.
Moore broke out last year with 87 receptions for 1,175 yards and four touchdowns, despite the team relying on the uneven play of quarterback Kyle Allen through most of the season. This year, with Teddy Bridgewater under center, it’s hard to know exactly how good the Panthers passing game will look apart from the seamless beauty of a Christian McCaffrey dump-off. Moore should reach 1,000 yards again this year if he stays healthy, but don’t expect him to improve much upon his receptions from last year. If anything, he may end up falling a bit short of that clip this year.
As for Beckham, last year was a nightmare and he still managed a decent WR2 year at the end of the day with 74 receptions for 1,035 yards and four touchdowns. It’s hard to imagine this year being any worse for him if he stays healthy. He’s a solid target as your WR2.
Hopefully once you get to this point, you already have one or two players from the above three tiers.
If not, or if you have a risky player like Smith-Schuster, Cooper or Beckham, then you’ll want to go for some safety here. Look no further than Allen and Hilton, two safe and reliable PPR veterans who should be peppered with targets this year.
As for the two Seahawks in this group, Lockett is the safer bet than Metcalf in PPR. Metcalf has shown a lot of big-play potential and has a chance to end up with the better season overall, but Lockett is more likely to lead the Seahawks in targets and receptions.
Wood might be the steal of this group overall, due to both his safety and his upside potential. He caught 90 passes for 1,134 yards and two touchdowns last year. The low touchdown output was likely a fluke and there’s a chance he benefits more from the departure of Cooks than Cupp does. The fact that Woods is going about 10 picks after Cupp and could easily produce similar or better numbers than his teammate is an indication of his value here.
That leaves us with the four most volatile players from the group: Brown, Chark, Sutton and Parker.
Sutton was a breakout performer last year, catching 72 passes for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns. But the team’s addition of the hyper-talented rookie Jerry Jeudy complicates matters for Sutton, as does the reliance on the still-developing arm of quarterback Drew Lock. Jeudy will certainly have games where he’s featured and expecting Lock to produce two sturdy fantasy receivers might be a risky practice.
Brown did his best Amari Cooper impression as a rookie, compiling 626 of his 1,051 total receiving yards in just five games while failing to top 30 receiving yards on six occasions. But if he finds more consistency, he could be a gem.
Chark and Parker are the two clear No. 1 receivers in questionable passing offenses. They’re both solid options as a WR2, but don’t expect either to take a leap into WR1 territory.
Despite the fact that he’s now 34 years old and won’t be catching passes from Tom Brady this year, there’s still a solid argument to make for Edelman as the top PPR option in this group. He had 153 targets last year and caught 100 passes for 1,117 yards and six touchdowns. While the signal-caller is new, the offense should generally function the same, which should mean a lot of short passes to the wily veteran.
Ridley, McLaurin, Boyd, and Brown are all extremely exciting in this group.
Brown has exceptional play-making abilities and projects as someone who is better in non-PPR than PPR, but he could still have room for PPR growth as his chemistry with Lamar Jackson grows.
Ridley and McLaurin are waiting outside the gate of fantasy stardom, but they’re locked out for now by, respectively, an elite receiver teammate soaking up targets and a shaky offense. The two had remarkably similar seasons last year, both with exactly 93 targets (Ridley missed three games, McLaurin missed two). As the clear No. 1 on his team, you’d think McLaurin has the higher upside overall, but due to the high-productivity of the Falcons offense, it isn’t quite that easy to declare that. Both are great options here.
Boyd, meanwhile, has developed into a PPR dream. He caught 90 passes on 148 targets this year and should be a reliable safety net for rookie quarterback Joe Burrow this year, giving him the chance to reach or improve on his reception total from last year.
Boyd’s teammate Green is the scariest member of this group. Last year, Green missed the entire season due to torn ligaments in his ankle, despite the fact that the injury was first projected to cost him only the start of the year. Fantasy owners will likely be hesitant to draft Green amongst this group, so you can avoid him as well and only grab him if he falls a bit further down.
Diggs and Landry both project to be low-end WR2 options in PPR. Now in Buffalo, Diggs won’t be plagued by the looming presence of Thielen, but he still won’t find himself peppered with targets in the way he may have been hoping for when he was discontent in Minnesota. Landry somewhat quietly out-produced his teammate Beckham last year, catching 83 of his 138 targets for 1,174 yards and six touchdowns. It’s unlikely he’ll outperform Beckham again, but he should still register a similar reception total.
Cooks vs Fuller is one of the most intriguing fantasy debates of the offseason and we barely have time to skin the surface of it here. The Texans will have an elite passing offense in 2020. You can count on that. However, it’s hard to project exactly how that will manifest itself in the week-to-week production of Cooks and Fuller. They’re both great options as your WR3, with Fuller getting a slight edge in my eyes due to his already-established rapport with quarterback Deshaun Watson.
The main thing that’s held Jones back the past few years has been injuries. When healthy, he’s been almost equally productive to his star teammate Golladay. However, with the 26-year-old Golladay in the heart of his prime and Jones, now 30, nearing the end of his, his per-game production should be starting to tail off.
Gallup is a bit of a risk here. He had 113 targets last year, up from 68 his rookie year, but it’s likely his 2020 target-share will fall somewhere between those two clips, primarily due to the presence of the team’s aforementioned rookie receiver Lamb.
Tate will be a factor in PPR leagues for as long as he maintains regular playing time on an NFL team. His upside is limited, but if you need safety as a WR3 or flex here, he’s a great option.
With PPR safety in mind, Sanders and Crowder would be next on the list.
The three rookies here – Lamb, Jeudy and Jefferson – are all more enticing in non-PPR, but that doesn’t mean that they have no value in PPR. The problem in PPR is that it’s hard to expect them to receive enough of a target share to warrant starting them every week, especially in a COVID-modified year that has led to a compromised offseason. They likely won’t be as well-groomed for the start of the year as they would have been with a normal offseason.
Kirk and Slayton stand out in this group as the two receivers who have the best chance of establishing themselves as must-start receivers. Kirk has the luxury of a high-end passing offense and Slayton has shown the ability to be a big play generator for a passing offense that’s on the rise.
Williams has been a much more enticing receiver in non-PPR since he first entered the league and this year, that may be even more of the case with the team’s shift from Philip Rivers to Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert.
Brown, meanwhile, is going to struggle to come close to his production from last year with the team’s addition of Diggs and is the riskiest member of this group overall.
Amidst these many names, the ones who have the best chance of being regular starters in non-PPR regardless of injuries on their team are Anthony Miller, Diontae Johnson, Deebo Samuel and Aiyuk.
Samuel is dinged a bit due to his broken foot that will cost him essentially the entire offseason and potentially the start of the season, but if he improves on his strong rookie campaign last year, you’ll be happy you drafted him. His teammate, Aiyuk, meanwhile, could reap the rewards of Samuel’s injury and step-in as the team’s No. 1. Drafting both players as a package is an intriguing hedge.
Miller had some strong showings late last season, which could suggest he’s cemented his place as the No. 2 for the Bears, a role that could certainly generate consistent fantasy production. Diontae Johnson, meanwhile, looks to be in a similar spot, as the No. 2 for a strong Steelers passing offense, taking up the role that his teammate Smith-Schuster flourished in while Antonio Brown was around.
The two Chiefs – Watkins and Hardman – are good boom/bust picks who could explode or implode any given week. Yet that boom/bust quality certainly makes them more enticing in non-PPR.
Reagor is extremely interesting as he seems to provide a unique skillset amidst the current Eagles receiving corps and could be a PPR specialist if he plays in the slot, which seems somewhat likely.
Harry, Perriman and Lazard all seem more apt for non-PPR, though Perriman could be the most likely one to find a high target-share and be equally valuable regardless of formats.
Shepard has shown flashes of PPR value, but the presence of both Tate and Slayton really complicates things for him.
Drafting both of the Colts – Pittman and Campbell – with late picks could be a favorable strategy to see if you can land a clear No. 1 receiver out of it.
As for everyone in this group and in lower tiers as well, consider the rest of the receivers you already drafted to help narrow down your selections. Handcuffing receivers isn’t essential, but it’s something worth considering, especially in deeper leagues. Drafting Lazard as insurance to Adams, or drafting Westbrook as insurance to Chark, for example.
A lot of the players from this tier and the tiers below will be constantly fluctuating between rosters and the waiver wire throughout the year. Don’t be too tied to anyone if you see someone else worth gambling on available.
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For the first time in what feels like an eternity, there are more than five tight ends to get excited about heading into a fantasy football season!
Breakout seasons from Mark Andrews, Darren Waller, and more propelled the position to new heights in 2019. Fantasy players will no longer be overcome with a sense of dread if they don't land a tight end before Zach Ertz gets selected. In years past, players would be talking themselves into Jimmy Graham and Greg Olsen as passable starters. Those guys still start in the NFL, but we have them ranked in the mid-20s rather than the early teens this year. We've got a new group of promising tight ends to talk ourselves into.
There's a lot to like from the tight end position this year. We'll be breaking down each tier of tight ends from our RotoBaller Rankings. You can find the full list here.
Fresh off two massive paydays, Kittle and Kelce find themselves once again a tier above the rest of the pack. RotoBaller has Kelce ranked as the 18th overall player, with Kittle following behind at number 21.
Both guys seem like safe bets to finish as top-five tight ends. Kelce notched 97 receptions for 1,229 yards and six total touchdowns, somehow regressing in each of those numbers from the previous season. He's a top option in a passing game led by a quarterback who's on pace to be one of the all-time greats. He should be the first tight end off the board in 2020, but Kittle is a fine consolation prize for owners looking to grab an elite tight end.
Mark Andrews, Zach Ertz, Darren Waller
Fantasy players who chose to wait on a tight end in 2019 were rewarded if they grabbed Mark Andrews late in their draft. Andrews broke out in a big way last season, leading all TEs in touchdowns with 10. Even if Andrews doesn't reach double-digit touchdowns again, he's a top pass catcher in an elite offense and belongs in this tier. Don't be surprised if he crosses the 1,000-yard mark this season.
Waller broke out in an even bigger way than Andrews last season, finishing as the TE3. His 90 receptions and 1,145 yards were second only to Travis Kelce among tight ends. Many have pegged Waller as a regression candidate, noting the numerous pass-catchers the Raiders added this offseason in addition to his low touchdown total last season. But Waller clearly still has a place in the passing game. He has valuable experience playing with Derek Carr and the Raiders made a big financial commitment to him. Even if he doesn't finish as a top-three tight end again, it would be a shock if he doesn't finish as a TE1 this year.
Zach Ertz has finished as a top-four tight end for the past three years and has been a top-10 tight end for the past five years. There's no reason to expect any serious regression here. He's one of the safest fantasy choices you can make in 2020.
For the final five games of last season, Tyler Higbee was the best tight end in the NFL. He averaged 21.4 PPR PPG, nearly five points more than the next highest tight end. The problem is that he was 35th among tight ends for the 12 weeks that preceded that. He has an incredibly high ceiling and a dangerously low floor in 2020. He's easily the riskiest option of the tight ends so far, but as we saw last year, his ceiling may be the TE1.
Will Gerald Everett's return impact Higbee's targets? Will the departure of Brandin Cooks and Todd Gurley II impact Higbee's targets? Were the last five games of the season a fluke, or did we witness Higbee's true form? These are all questions fantasy players will have to consider when selecting Higbee.
Evan Engram might be the top pass catcher on the Giants if he plays all 16 games this year. The problem is that he has missed 13 games over the past two seasons. Unfortunately, Engram may be shaping up to be this generation's Jordan Reed. But he managed to rank seventh among tight ends in PPR PPG last season, and will always be a "set it and forget it" type of player when he's active. The injury risk is going to be baked into his ADP.
The more casual the league you play in, the higher Rob Gronkowski's ADP is going to be. Just don't forget that Gronk had the worst year of his career before retiring in 2018 and that he's playing for a coach who's more likely to get his punter consistently involved in the passing game before he gets his tight ends involved. Having Tom Brady and Gronk might force his hand to use his tight end more, but there's a lot of risk with Gronk this season.
Austin Hooper finished third among tight ends in PPR PPG last season with 14.7. He left Atlanta for Cleveland in the offseason and his replacement, Hayden Hurst, falls just two spots below him in our rankings. Choosing between the two is simple: did Hooper blow up last season because he's talented, or did he blow up because of the situation he was in?
Hooper joins a talented, and crowded, group of pass-catchers in Cleveland. The Browns gave Hooper a nice payday when they signed him, but it doesn't even sniff what they have invested in Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, the team's top two receivers. Hurst will also have to compete for targets with a talented group of receivers, but 2019 proved that Atlanta has no problem getting the tight end involved. Both guys have big question marks. But the upside is much more promising than some of the tight ends you'd be drafting in this range in previous years.
Tier five is filled with young, talented tight ends who will all be seen as blow-up candidates
College teammates Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson were both drafted in the first round of last year's draft. Neither guy has a chance to be the team's top pass-catcher in 2020, and it's unlikely that either one is even the second option in the passing game. Fant specifically has to compete for targets with Courtland Sutton, two rookie receivers who the team spent high draft capital on, and an incoming Melvin Gordon III out of the backfield. But both guys showed promise in 2019 and tight ends have historically taken to the NFL slower than other skill positions.
Both Fant and Hockenson have a ton of promise. Still, that's all it is, promise. There's a reason they're available this late, but don't be surprised if one of these guys finishes as a TE1 this season. If I had to bet on one of them, I'd bet on Hockenson, simply because he has less competition for targets and a better quarterback.
If you're looking to find this year's Mark Andrews or Darren Waller, Miami tight end Mike Gesicki fits the mold better than anyone. The Dolphins have one proven wide receiver after a few players opted out due to COVID-19. Gesicki finished second among Miami pass-catchers last season in targets, receptions, yards, and touchdowns, and he somehow has even less competition for targets in 2020. Gesicki is a former second-round pick who has been quietly coming into his own as a solid NFL tight end. Quarterback play is going to be a question mark in Miami this season, but somebody has to catch passes from these guys. If you plan on waiting on tight end, Gesicki might need to be a priority. His ranking as TE14 feels a bit low to me.
Like Gesicki, Tennessee tight end Jonnu Smith finds himself out of Delanie Walker's shadow and in position to be the No. 2 pass-catcher on the Titans, but his ceiling doesn't feel quite as high. The Titans are going to feed Derrick Henry as much as possible and their receiver room is a bit deeper than Miami's. Still, Smith certainly has appeal at his ADP for those waiting on tight end in deeper leagues.
Pittsburgh acquisition Eric Ebron rounds out the top 20. Ebron has some appeal due to his name value and his memorable 13 touchdown season just two years ago, but I'm not buying into any hype here. Maybe there's a chance that Ebron picks up where Vance McDonald left off in 2018. Does reading that sentence really get you excited about anything? I see much more value in Chris Herndon (TE22) and Ian Thomas (TE23) than I do Ebron in 2020.
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Hitting on the right RB can win you a league. Christian McCaffrey was a monster in 2019, rewarding fantasy players who took him over Alvin Kamara, Ezekiel Elliot, and in some instances even Saquon Barkley. Sorting out this year’s RB landscape could be the difference between winning it all and missing the playoffs.
This year, McCaffrey is the consensus RB1, but Barkley is not far behind. There are a few highly-ranked runners with passing game concerns and a handful of talented rookies. Shooting for upside early and often might be the best strategy.
In this article, I will analyze the RotoBaller staff PPR RB rankings. In addition to the analysis of stats, I have watched college and/or pro film of every player I comment on.
Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings
The rankings table below was last updated on September 1st, to reflect changes related to Leonard Fournette being released by the Jaguars.
Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley are truthfully in a tier of their own due to receiving upside. Alvin Kamara being ranked over Ezekiel Elliott is noteworthy, as Elliott is being drafted as the RB3 based on ADP. I prefer Zeke because he has such a high floor and unquestionable touchdown upside. Many expect positive TD regression for Kamara, but it’s fair to wonder about his workload and durability after his injury-marred 2019. Latavius Murray is still there and Emmanuel Sanders should command more targets than previous Saints WR2s. I personally rank both Elliott and Dalvin Cook over Kamara.
Joe Mixon over Derrick Henry might raise some eyebrows, but in a PPR league, I would argue Henry should be ranked even lower. Last season from Week 1 to Week 9, Derrick Henry was RB14 in PPG. In the second half of the season, with Ryan Tannehill at QB, he was RB1. The issue with Henry is that the hyper-efficient second-half Titans offense simply will not exist this season. It was statistically one of the most efficient offenses of all time.
Tannehill may have turned a corner, but his second-half effectiveness would be unsustainable for an all-time great, let alone a player with his mediocre track record. Henry had a 72% rushing share last season after never eclipsing 50% in his first three seasons. I also expect his receiving TD rate, yards per carry, and yards per reception to drop closer to his career averages than the career highs they all were last year.
Mixon, on the other hand, is due for positive regression and an increase in target share. He finished as the RB6 in the second half of last season. His lack of production in the first half can be explained by a new offense, terrible offensive line, and a curious lack of action in the passing game. His 8% target share dropped from his 2018 target share of 12%, and because Giovanni Bernard’s did as well, Zac Taylor’s offense clearly did not emphasize utilizing RBs in the passing game. I expect that to change with a year of Taylor self-scouting and evolving his offense. The offensive line is also improved with the addition of Jonah Williams at left tackle. I agree with the RotoBaller ranking of RB6 and think he’s a bargain at his borderline 2nd-round ADP.
The top 10 concludes with Austin Ekeler, Miles Sanders, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. I personally rank Josh Jacobs and Nick Chubb over all of them, but I understand the reasoning in PPR. Ekeler, Sanders, and CEH project to receive much more work in the passing game.
The rankers at RotoBaller are high on Ekeler, but I think there’s a chance he underwhelms. Natural regression would be expected even if his situation remained the same, but the switch from Philip Rivers to Tyrod Taylor simply can’t be good for Ekeler. Rivers has always thrown to backs at a high rate, dating back to his days with LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles. He’s been as fantasy-friendly to RBs as any QB in the NFL. Tyrod Taylor could exceed expectations, which would probably mean just keeping the job, and still be a huge downgrade for Ekeler from a fantasy opportunity standpoint.
I project Ekeler’s rushes to go up, but not by much (remember Melvin Gordon missed the beginning of last season). I do not believe he’ll have a 19% target share again, or a 9% receiving TD rate, or an 85% catch rate, or a 10.79 yards per reception. Ekeler’s 993 receiving yards last year was the 6th-highest single-season total among running backs in NFL history. He’s RB15 in my personal rankings.
I have no issue with ranking Sanders or CEH in the top 10. Both have immense upside as pass-catching RB1s in good offenses. I prefer CEH over Sanders because I think he’s a better overall player, but there are always unknowns with rookies. Sanders has more bust risk than people realize. The RBBC concerns are well documented, but there’s also a chance he’s simply not that great of a player. I’ve been critical of his lack of vision since his days at Penn State.
Kenyan Drake at No. 11 is fair. Drake played a workhorse share of snaps in the Cardinals’ last seven games, parlaying that opportunity into fantasy greatness. Always a talented player, Drake was held hostage by Adam Gase and the putrid Dolphins offense for most of his career prior to his arrival in Arizona. An in-depth look into his film will reveal the same conclusions as watching this.
The issue with drafting Drake in the top 10 is projecting his workload in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. Chase Edmonds was an efficient backup to David Johnson in the first half of 2019 but was completely phased out of the offense when Drake was added and Johnson was healthy. His rushing share was still 24%, which I expect to increase based on being efficient and the clear backup to a guy who has handled a workhorse share for a grand total of seven games of his career dating back to Alabama. The good news is that Arizona’s offense will be better in Kyler Murray’s second year in Coach Kingsbury’s fast-paced system. Drake’s efficiency will likely take a dip, but he has a career 4.77 YPC for a reason.
Fantasy players have been burned by guys like Drake in the past - talented players who get hyped due to an unsustainable small sample, where drafters completely ignore an entire career worth of mediocre production. His upside is quantifiable - just look at the second half of last year - but there is risk here.
Josh Jacobs is my RB6 so I think he’s ranked too low here. I agree with RotoBaller rankings more than the general public, as his 18.7 ADP makes him an absolute steal. I wrote in-depth about Jacobs here. The bottom line is that he is one of the best backs in the league and will see more targets. The only concern with Jacobs is durability. He has league-winning upside.
Nick Chubb is also ranked appropriately. His limited involvement in the passing game underscores the only obstacle in his way from a top-five finish: Kareem Hunt. Chubb is still too good to rank outside the top 12, and he’s a steal at his 16th overall ADP.
The ranking that stands out the most is Leonard Fournette at RB15. I have him ranked at RB24. Fournette was one of my favorite prospects in the 2017 draft, but aside from a decent rookie year has done nothing but disappoint since entering the league. He has virtually no chance to repeat last year’s 20% target share with Chris Thompson coming to Jacksonville. The Jaguars might be the worst team in the league this year so he simply may not see that many rushing attempts.
Positive TD regression is possible, but I’m not counting on the Jags to score that much anyway. I think Fournette’s best path to fantasy value is somewhere other than Jacksonville. He makes sense as a low-cost trade acquisition for Bill Belichick as the Patriots’ new LeGarrette Blount.
UPDATE:After this article was written, Fournette was released by the Jaguars. The rankings table above has been updated to reflect this.
I don’t have a strong opinion on any of the rest of this tier as Chris Carson, Melvin Gordon, and Todd Gurley all have question marks. They have all been productive fantasy backs at various points, but all have flaws. Carson struggles to stay healthy and has a fumbling problem. Gordon is leaving a friendly situation to an unknown situation. Gurley looked washed up at times last year and has knee issues.
The one that intrigues me the most here is Bell, who looks to be in great shape. Still, it’s hard to ignore how putrid he was last year.
Jonathan Taylor is the single best value in fantasy drafts this year and has league-winning upside. I wrote more about him here, but the bottom line is that he’s an extremely talented runner on the team with the best offensive line in the league.
Here is a list of players who:
Had an all-time top 10 NCAA rushing season in a Power 5 conference.
Were drafted in the first 2 rounds of the NFL Draft.
Barry Sanders Melvin Gordon Marcus Allen Derrick Henry Jonathan Taylor LaDainian Tomlinson @RotoBallerNFL
Cam Akers at RB22 may raise some eyebrows, but I love the ranking. Akers has upside as the most talented runner in a system that has produced big-time fantasy seasons from Todd Gurley. Akers might not be 2017 Gurley, but the Rams used their highest draft pick on him for a reason. I disagree with the common take that this is not a good year for rookies. Preseason game reps are being vastly overrated. Rookies will get plenty of reps in training camp. And more importantly, the 2020 Draft was loaded with skill-position talent.
I draft for upside, so I’m most interested in D’Andre Swift and Kareem Hunt in this tier. Swift could be a re-draft bust, but the talent is there to make an impact and Kerryon Johnson has always struggled with durability. Hunt is an injury away from being a top-five back, and might still catch enough passes to be a weekly RB2 in PPR leagues.
Nothing else in this range stands out much. David Johnson’s ceiling isn’t high enough to take him over the receivers in this range, and Raheem Mostert could lose the hot hand at any moment. Mostert’s lack of pass-game upside means he’s only worth his ADP if he’s as efficient as he was last year or gets way more volume. I worry about the other backs in San Francisco.
The Miami backfield is a quagmire, and I agree with ranking Jordan Howard above Matt Breida. Howard is somewhat of a plodder, but he’s good enough near the goal line to have some value.
Tarik Cohen is one of my favorite values in this range. His efficiency numbers took a nosedive in his third season, but he showed explosiveness and speed in his first two seasons. While he might not ever handle enough touches per game to be an RB1, he’s a solid value with a higher floor than most RBs in this range.
My take on the Bucs backfield is that neither Ke’Shawn Vaughn or Ronald Jones will live up to their ADP. I think the addition of LeSean McCoy is telling. Bruce Arians and Tom Brady are going to play the back they trust the most. I’d give the rookie a better shot because Jones makes too many mistakes (PFF's No. 35 graded RB in 2019) and doesn’t have the receiving skillset to mesh with Brady. He’s an avoid for me.
There is still some value in the early 40s. Kerryon Johnson was a third-round pick last year and busted, but he still has some talent. He’s a fine pick as RB41 as a probable starter who can catch passes. Sometimes players with the injury-risk label make for great values. Every player is an injury risk.
Tevin Coleman is a cheap way to get a piece of the 49ers rushing attack and is fairly ranked at RB42. Latavius Murray’s upside makes him a tremendous value at RB43. He’s an injury away from being an RB1 and I think he’ll get more carries regardless. The Saints will run the ball more and he’ll get more than his 35% rushing share of 2019.
Keeping with the rookies-are-actually-undervalued-this-year theme, I love Zack Moss. Moss was drafted in the third-round to replace Frank Gore, and it wouldn’t shock me to see him earn more touches than Devin Singletary. From a film perspective, Moss is a better player. Moss is constantly banged up, but at RB44 there is huge upside for a currently healthy possible starter.
Tier 7 & lower
RotoBaller's preseason staff rankings have Antonio Gibson much lower than the consensus at RB61 and I agree with the idea that Gibson is overvalued. Much has been made about Gibson’s low number of touches in college (77), but I’m not concerned with that number as much as his lack of experience playing the running back position. Gibson primarily lined up at slot receiver at Memphis. Many are expecting Gibson’s transition to RB to be as smooth as Tony Pollard’s was. I don’t think it’s that easy. And while Adrian Peterson, Peyton Barber, and Bryce Love are on the roster, Gibson may see most of his work on special teams.
Adrian Peterson will likely have some nice moments, but I don’t expect him to be trustworthy in fantasy on one of the worst offenses in the league.
Duke Johnson’s usage has never made sense, so perhaps this is the year he’s used enough to matter. It’s worth a shot in this range. Darrell Henderson couldn’t beat out Malcolm Brown as a rookie, so I’m not interested unless he falls way past his ADP. The RotoBaller staff loves Joshua Kelley at RB49. I wouldn’t take him that high, but a Chargers back other than Ekeler will be relevant. Alexander Mattison, Chase Edmonds, and Tony Pollard are three of the most valuable handcuffs in fantasy. Dalvin Cook has had the most trouble staying healthy, whereas Kenyan Drake and especially Ezekiel Elliot have proven to be durable.
The most striking discrepancy between ranking and ADP in this range is DeAndre Washington. I think RotoBaller is ranking him way too low at RB77. The Chiefs offense is the best for RBs and Washington has been effective as a runner and pass-catcher throughout his career. CEH owners may end up hating him this year.
In this range, I'm buying the following as late-round fliers:
Ryquell Armstead because I think Fournette will be traded.
Carlos Hyde because I don’t think Carson can stay healthy.
Lynn Bowden Jr. because I believe in the talent and can see him getting Wildcat snaps.
Benny Snell Jr. because of James Conner’s durability issues.
Devonta Freeman because if he fired his agent that means he’s unhappy he’s not signed yet.
DeeJay Dallas because he’s the best receiving RB on the Seahawks roster.
Eno Benjamin because he was undervalued in the draft and is an injury away from a role.
Dare Ogunbowale because there is a chance he’s Tom Brady’s preferred passing-down RB.
Qadree Ollison because he scored four TD in the second half of last season.
And finally, my favorite sleeper is ranked RB98 currently, but will most likely shoot up draft boards in the weeks to come.
It is not very often you can draft a former Heisman runner-up in the 100s. Bryce Love is healthy and has a great opportunity to earn a role in the Washington backfield. Love was one of the best players in college football in 2017 and struggled with injuries in 2018, tearing his ACL in his final game. Washington took him in the fourth-round and redshirted him last season. Love worked his butt off to come back healthy and he now has a chance in a wide-open backfield. I expect his ADP to creep closer to RB70 in the coming weeks.
From @GMFB: As Washington moves on from RB Derrius Guice after ugly allegations on Friday, their backfield features Adrian Peterson and some question marks. But they don't plan on bringing in more backs as of now. And keep an eye on a now-healthy Bryce Love. pic.twitter.com/Xp715oDjEZ
RotoBaller’s 2020 wide receiver rankings for standard fantasy football leagues are looking a little different than they did a few months ago.
The NFL draft, trades, free-agent signings, salary-cap cuts and opt-outs due to the COVID crisis have all affected the wide receiver rankings since the last time our website’s rankings were released. So now that the start of the football season is a couple of weeks away, it is time to take a last look at these updated rankings before your upcoming auctions and drafts.
Here is my analysis of RotoBaller’s current 2020 wide receiver rankings for standard fantasy football leagues:
Michael Thomas led all receivers in receptions, targets and receiving yards in 2019, and he nobody was in his zip code in any of the categories. Considering he is only 27 years old and has trusty future Hall of Famer Drew Brees passing to him again, there is no reason to doubt this Thomas will be the top receiver in fantasy football for a second straight season.
Julio Jones has every right to be ranked right up with the best of the receivers, but his major drawback is he does not find the end zone nearly as often as other upper-echelon pass catchers. He has not had a double-digit touchdown season since 2012 and has only scored 17 times over this past three seasons despite being targeted 475 times. When a receiver is seeing that volume of passes, he has to get himself into the end zone more, especially when he is as talented as Jones is.
DeAndre Hopkins was already in a superb situation in Houston with Deshaun Watson throwing to him and having the Texans passing attack revolve around him, but now he gets to go to Arizona’s pass-first offense that is designed to open up space and create big-play opportunities for its playmakers. Fantasy players can bank on Hopkins gifting them 110 receptions, 1,400 yards and a dozen touchdowns in 2020.
Chris Godwin is coming off a breakout season (86-1,333-9) and will enjoy a humongous quarterback upgrade going from interception machine Jameis Winston to Hall of Famer Tom Brady. It is hard to place Godwin any higher, though, because you have to wonder how the targets in Tampa will be divided among him, Mike Evans, Rob Gronkowski and everyone else involved in Bruce Arians’ offense.
Golladay racked up 1,190 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns last year even though he had Jeff Driskel and David Blough throwing dying quails at him for half the season after Matthew Stafford was injured. His 2020 numbers will be even better if Stafford suits up for 16 games.
Smith-Schuster has a lot to prove coming off his injury-riddled 2019 campaign. He still has to show that he can post big numbers when Antonio Brown is not on the opposite side of the field distracting defenders.
Now that Brandin Cooks has been traded to Houston, Kupp’s targets should increase and so should his role in the Rams passing attack. Scattershot Jared Goff might not throw the prettiest passes, but they always seem to find Kupp’s sticky hands when they head his way.
A.J. Brown has four 100-yard games and five touchdowns over the final half-dozen games of the regular season, but he was shut down in the playoffs (five catches for 64 in three contests). Which Brown will fantasy players get in 2020? He deserves his Tier 2 ranking, but do not be surprised if he ends up as a Tier 1.
Both Sutton and Chark are young, exciting receivers who had breakout years in 2019 and have tremendous upsides. That said, they are in Tier 3 and not Tier 2 because they do not have proven track records and neither do the quarterbacks that will be throwing to them this season.
Keenan Allen was Philip Rivers’ top target and thanks to the veteran quarterback was able to post three consecutive seasons of at least 97 catches, 1190 yards and six touchdowns. Now that Rivers is in Indianapolis and Allen is stuck with either rookie Justin Herbert or mediocre veteran Tyrod Taylor, look for Allen’s numbers to trail off.
Not only is DeVante Parker coming off a career year that saw him rack up 1202 receiving yards and nine touchdowns, he has less competition for targets now that No. 3 and No. 4 receivers Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson have opted out of the upcoming season. He is the one to watch out of the Tier 3 group.
Hilton is coming off a season where he missed a career-high six games and averaged a career-low 11.1 yards per catch, plus he is 30 and will turn 31 in November. He has also never scored eight touchdowns in a season, which is a mild surprise considering how successful he has been. But since he has five 1,000-yard seasons to his credit and Philip Rivers coming in as his QB, Hilton deserves a spot in this tier rather than a tier or two below.
Stefon Diggs is one of the most explosive receivers in the business, is coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard years in Minnesota and is escaping Adam Thielen’s shadow now that he is in Buffalo. But will Diggs be able to escape Buffalo’s winter weather in December when Mother Nature is causing him more headaches than sticky cornerbacks? Switching offenses will not be a fantasy upgrade for Diggs, either.
McLaurin struggled at first when franchise quarterback Dwayne Haskins took over the offense in Washington, but the pair’s chemistry improved at the end of the season when McLaurin piled up 16 receptions for 273 yards and two touchdowns over his last three contests. Washington might not have a team name, but they have an undeniable No. 1 WR.
Fantasy players cannot afford to forget about A.J. Green. Sure, he cannot be ranked higher since he missed all of 2019 due to injury and was banged-up the year before, too. But Green was a top-five fantasy receiver before his injuries and has No. 1 pick overall Joe Burrow as his battery mate. If Green drinks his milk, takes his vitamins and stays healthy, his fantasy value will be a couple tiers higher than where it is now.
Edelman’s fantasy value will be decimated by the departure of longtime passing partner Tom Brady. His new quarterback and passing partner, Cam Newton, has not done his wideouts any fantasy favors in recent years. No Carolina WR topped the 1,000-yard mark when Newton was at the helm between 2015 and 2018.
Marquise Brown has the makings of being the next DeSean Jackson. He is going to be a hit-or-miss fantasy receiver who could hit a home run or two in a game and give fantasy owners 150 yards and two touchdowns one week, then be held to two catches for 30 yards the next. He will just not be targeted enough to be a top-tier fantasy WR because of Baltimore’s run-first offense. Hollywood was not targeted more than seven times in any of last 11 regular-season games last year.
Brandin Cooks was a money-in-the-bank fantasy producer between 2015 and 2018, breaking the 1,000-yard barrier with three different teams during those glory years. Of course, he was part of three tremendous offenses and benefitted greatly from the schemes and quarterbacks in those situations. Now Cooks will be part of a reshuffled receiver corps in Houston and is one concussion away from possibly having from having his career ended, so those risks keep him from reaching Tier 4 status right now.
Mike Williams is dealing with a sprained shoulder, which could impact his availability for Week 1. Nagging injuries have hampered him at times throughout his young career, and while his 20.4 YPC in 2019 was quite impressive, finding the end zone only two times after 10 scores in 2018 was not.
The door is wide open for Will Fuller to make a huge fantasy impact in Houston now that Hopkins has been dealt away, but will his harmed hamstrings and knobby knees allow him to? Fuller has missed 22 games during his four-year career and is too risky to rank any higher.
Emmanuel Sanders finds himself on his third team in less than a calendar year. Signing with the Saints might sound like it makes fantasy sense on paper, but No. 2 receivers never post quality numbers in New Orleans with Michael Thomas, tight end Jared Cook and top tailback Alvin Kamara all higher on the target totem pole.
CeeDee Lamb is a greyhound and would be ranked a tier or two higher if he was not drafted by Dallas. He might have a hard time finding consistent targets with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup already entrenched as the top two receivers in “Big D.”
Golden Tate’s 2019 numbers were skewed by a drug suspension that cost him the first month of the season. He would have finished with 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns over a full season if he was around all 16 weeks. Keep that in mind when ranking your receivers on your cheat sheet.
This year that other talented young receivers who might have their fantasy values stunted by issues beyond their control. Christian Kirk is on the verge of becoming a star, but now Nuk is in Arizona to assume the No. 1 WR role and take most of the targets.
Jerry Jeudy will be a future star in Denver, but what kind of quarterback play can he expect?
Perriman shows flashes of brilliance in limited time with Tampa Bay towards the end of last year, but can he be consistent and injury-free as a member of the New York Jets offense?
Tier 7 and Below
Diontae Johnson is an intriguing late-round option as long as Ben Roethlisberger does not suffer another season-ending injury.
Give Watkins credit for sticking with Kansas City with Patrick Mahomes for at least one more season even though he had to take a pay cut. Winning means more to him than putting up fantastic stats. That makes him a great guy but not the best fantasy receiver to hang your helmet on.
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Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's updated 2020 fantasy football rookie running back rankings. These rankings are being released after the 2020 NFL Draft, but things will of course change as we get closer to the NFL season. Those of you who are regular RotoBaller readers have likely already seen our updated overall fantasy football rookie rankings, released the morning after the draft. Now it's time to break those down in detail, going position by position with some tiered rankings analysis.
The RotoBaller crew has been busy fine-tuning all fantasy football rankings in the hours immediately following the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft. The first task was to focus on the recently-selected prospects in order to prepare dynasty owners for upcoming rookie drafts. Analysts Brandon Murchison, Phil Clark, and Pierre Camus have put together their early consensus running back rookie rankings for our loyal readers to use to their advantage.
Running back is always a focal point of any fantasy team. It's harder than ever to know which RB to trust, as so many teams rotate backs and rely on multiple players for production. As always, we take a forward-looking approach with our evaluations. These are subject to change as things unfold over the offseason, but for now here is a first look at our running back rankings for the 2020 rookie draft class.
NFL RB Rookie Rankings for Fantasy Football (Post-Draft)
Dynasty owners seem to have immediately decided that Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the top running back in rookie drafts, with many viewing him as the 1.01. I definitely view him as a top-five rookie for 2020 and there's no doubt that landing in KC was great for a pass-catching back like him. There is a ceiling on his production though, as the rushing volume won't be there even if he does claim the lion's share of carries and make Damien Williams expendable.
The path toward a 1,000-yard rushing season would be a tough one for him initially in such a pass-oriented offense. His role as a receiver gives him fantasy RB2 potential though. You can read my full take on Clyde Edwards-Helaire and whether he is indeed the next Brian Westbrook right here.
Unpopular opinion #1 - Jonathan Taylor isn't the top rookie or the top running back in this draft class. He isn't necessarily going to step in and take 80% of the carries while Marlon Mack is relegated to the bench. Not that Mack is so spectacular (otherwise they wouldn't have drafted Taylor) but he did average 4.7 and 4.4 yards per carry the past two years. Taylor was a second-round pick, not a first. Simply put, the Colts will do what nearly every NFL team does - use a committee.
One knock on Taylor, aside from the heavy usage in college which I am not concerned with, is that he isn't much of a receiver. That leaves him with a lower ceiling, as Nyheim Hines will also have a role. All told, the best-case scenario could be a 60-25-15 split in touches, with a more realistic scenario being one where Taylor and Mack split carries for much of the season. Don't get me wrong, he could develop into a fantasy RB1 but we can't let his 4.4 time at the combine overshadow the questions in his profile.
Unpopular opinion #2 - Cam Akers is my top rookie RB. I understand that the Rams' offensive line took a huge step back, grading out as PFF's 31st-ranked unit in 2019. As you may know, Akers ran behind one of the worst offensive lines in college throughout his career, so if anything he'll see this as an upgrade. He has the right combination of toughness and speed to make plays on his own without relying on gaping holes up front. He also has little competition for the starting role, as Darrell Henderson did nothing last year and won't be more than a change-of-pace back. I can't say the same about Taylor on any of these counts.
Tier 2 - RB Rookie Rankings
D'Andre Swift stands alone in the second tier and that's all because of my less-than-generous ranking. Therefore, justification is required.
Unpopular opinion #3 - Swift will not be a weekly starter for fantasy teams in 2020. I like Swift and had him as my RB2 in this rookie class before the NFL Draft. He should be in the top tier based on his ability. Landing spot and opportunity usually overshadow ability in the NFL, however, and Swift went to the worst possible spot. I'm not just blaming the ghosts of Ameer Abdullah and Jahvid Best either.
The Lions already had a capable running back in Kerryon Johnson, who coach Matt Patricia seems to hate for no particular reason. Johnson won't simply disappear, so this is likely to be a committee situation off the bat, much like Taylor in Indy. Swift will be limited by the competition but also the lack of rushing opportunities in general by this offense.
Detroit had a relatively balanced run/pass split in 2019, mostly out of necessity. Swift supporters and Lions fans may argue that Matthew Stafford missing half the season altered the season and limited everything offensively. This is certainly true, but why would Stafford returning create a bigger emphasis on the running game? If anything, the Lions may lean on their franchise QB as they usually do.
The defense also carries much of the blame for lack of rushing opportunities, as they ranked 26th in points allowed and 31st in yards allowed. Generally speaking, the worse the defense, the less the offense can establish the run. The selection of Jeff Okudah and Julian Okwara will help, but they won't suddenly be a top-10 defense. Unless Okwara can be an instant impact player, they have no viable pass-rusher other than Trey Flowers. As good as Swift may be, the volume just won't be there, leading him to be overdrafted based on his college career.
Tier 3 - RB Rookie Rankings
I thought I might be higher on Moss than most, but that didn't turn out to be the case. Moss didn't wow with his combine numbers, but NFL front offices don't care about that nearly as much as football fans and pundits. He steps into Frank Gore's spot in Buffalo and it's already been reported that he will have a similar role as the 1B to Devin Singletary. Gore saw 166 rush attempts last year and that's a fair estimate for Moss.
Unpopular opinion #4 - A.J. Dillon and Ke'Shawn Vaughn will be massively overvalued in dynasty. I like Vaughn as a player, but the Tampa Bay offense isn't geared toward the running game. Things will shift slightly with Tom Brady under center as opposed to Jameis Winston, but this is still a Bruce Arians offense. He just doesn't care that much about the running back position. He could carry weekly value if he outperforms Ronald Jones significantly, but that's an assumption we're making based on hope more than anything. Premium subscribers can read a more detailed evaluation and see where I have his rookie draft position in my one-man rookie mock article.
Dillon is another beneficiary of recency bias and combine stats. He's big and runs fast, granted. That doesn't always lead to production, however. Former BC alum Andre Williams was seen in a similar vein after he had a productive college career and ran a 4.56 40. He was last seen in the XFL. For some reason, Jamaal Williams gets constantly disrespected by the fantasy community, so the idea that someone can step in to replace him is appealing. Dillon isn't a shoo-in to do so and not worth a selection in the first two rounds.
Tier 4 - RB Rookie Rankings
We can see a path to production for Joshua Kelley, if he can just beat out Justin Jackson to be the RB2 in L.A. Likewise, Anthony McFarland doesn't stand out in any particular area, but with only injury-prone James Conner and plodding Benny Snell ahead of him in Pittsburgh, he could earn carries. The player I'm keeping a closer eye on is Darrynton Evans.
You'd think landing on a team that features the leading rusher in the NFL, Derrick Henry, who also led the league with 303 carries and a 69% team share would be a bad thing. It would definitely take an injury to make Evans start-worthy, but if that happens then he would be the hottest pickup of the year. Dion Lewis is gone and there is nobody else I could even name in the Titans' backfield (David Fluellen?). The Titans had a top-10 offensive line last year and added Isaiah Wilson in the first round to address a weakness on the right side. Evans might do absolutely nothing in 2020, but he's a stash I'm happy to have on my roster.
Tier 5 and Lower - RB Rookie Rankings
Lamical Perine has seen his stock rise after falling to the Jets. I'd like to see an Adam Gase offense do something... anything to prove that a running back can thrive under him. In the last three years as head coach of the Dolphins and Jets, his offenses have ranked 29th, 18th, and 31st in rushing yardage and in the bottom-three in rushing touchdowns each time. The one time he had a fantasy stud at RB was Jay Ajayi as a rookie coach in 2016. We know how that turned out, with Ajayi inexplicably being traded midway through the following season.
As a lifelong Miami fan, I'd love to say that DeeJay Dallas could do something at the pro level. He probably won't though, as nothing more than a solid but unexciting third running back who is adept at helping out in the passing game.
As a tough runner, some feel that former Cincy Bearcast Michael Warren II could find a short-yardage role in Philly. The upside is limited, but at this point you're simply hoping for someone who can see touches.
It looks like the Jags may not find a trade partner for Leonard Fournette, but it would be a shock if he's still on the roster in 2021. Given his injury history, Feaster could make a dent in a relatively shallow backfield if he can leapfrog Ryquell Armstead on the depth chart.
If you are among the many who think David Johnson's best days are behind him, Phillips could be an interesting flier. Bill O'Brien killed our vibes on Karan Higdon last year and we know Johnson will be run into the ground until he breaks down, so it would take an injury to make Phillips relevant. That isn't so far-fetched if you watched DJ last year, though.
Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's updated 2020 fantasy football rookie wide receiver rankings. These rankings are being released after the 2020 NFL Draft, but things will of course change as we get closer to the NFL season. It's been well-documented that the 2020 wide receiver class is one of the best to come our way in quite some time. The NFL draft didn't disappoint, with six receivers getting drafted in the first round, and two more receivers getting drafted with the first two picks of the second round.
Those of you who are regular RotoBaller readers have likely already seen our updated overall fantasy football rookie rankings, released the morning after the draft. Now it's time to break those down in detail, going position by position with some tiered rankings analysis. The RotoBaller crew has been busy fine-tuning all fantasy football rankings in the hours immediately following the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft. The first task was to focus on the recently-selected prospects in order to prepare dynasty owners for upcoming rookie drafts. Analysts Brandon Murchison, Phil Clark, and Pierre Camus have put together their early consensus wide receiver rookie rankings for our loyal readers to use to their advantage.
The big surprise in the first round came when CeeDee Lamb slipped all the way to the Dallas Cowboys, who now have one of the best wide receiver corps in the NFL. On the other hand, Denzel Mims and Jalen Reagor were drafted to the NY Jets and Philadelphia Eagles, two teams that desperately needed help at wide receiver which means they should both contribute immediately. Some of these highly touted wide receivers were drafted into great landing spots which elevates their fantasy value. Brandon Aiyuk operates great in space and was drafted to the ideal team, the San Francisco 49ers, who love to get the ball to their wide receivers in space. Tee Higgins was drafted to the Cincinnati Bengals in the second round, is likely to start immediately and should eventually replace AJ Green who will be 32 when the season starts as the Bengals X receiver. On top of all that, Higgins will be playing with Joe Burrow for the better part of his career which is a huge plus. Now, I will evaluate some of the top receivers and their 2020 outlook, broken down by tier.
NFL WR Rookie Rankings for Fantasy Football (Post-Draft)
Jerry Jeudy was the clear No. 1 wide receiver prospect heading into the 2020 NFL Draft. A few days prior to the draft, stories began circulating which cast doubt about Jeudy's surgically repaired knee and it's possible that news caused him to slip down to the Broncos at 15th-overall. While Jeudy is one of the most complete wide receiver prospects to enter the league over the last few years, demonstrating smooth and near-perfect route running, his landing spot has some question marks as Drew Lock will be entering his first year as a starting quarterback in the NFL.
In limited action in 2019, Drew Lock was rather conservative, throwing for just 6.5 yards-per-attempt and an average depth-of-target of just 7.1 yards. While playing conservatively, Lock did take care of the football last year, throwing for seven touchdowns and just three interceptions. Lock's downfield passing numbers were similar to Derek Carr's in 2019, so 2020 will be a big year for him because he has a chance to grow from last year's performance.
Pat Shurmur is the new offensive coordinator in Denver and has a great track record with quarterbacks, which means he should be able to get the best out of Lock, which is also good news for Jeudy. Regardless of quarterback play, Jeudy is the No. 1 wide receiver in the 2020 rookie class and should be the first wide receiver drafted in upcoming rookie drafts because he should have success in the league for the next decade.
Tier 2 - WR Rookie Rankings
Jalen Reagor was drafted into the best landing spot out of all the wide receivers in the 2020 draft class. DeSean Jackson missed almost all of the 2019 season due to injury and as a result, the Eagles lacked speed at wide receiver which contributed to Carson Wentz throwing for just 6.7 yards-per-attempt, his lowest mark since he was a rookie. Reagor runs great routes, can separate, and he brings speed to the table, something the Eagles didn't have in 2019.
Reagor's speed is going to help the Eagles who already have one of the best young quarterbacks in the league (Carson Wentz), a budding star at running back (Miles Sanders) and arguably the best duo of tight ends in the league (Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert). While Reagor is the third-ranked receiver in dynasty formats, you can argue that he should be the first receiver drafted off the board in re-draft leagues given his landing spot.
Henry Ruggs III was the first wide receiver selected in the 2020 NFL draft and the Raiders took him for a reason, they really need some speed on offense. In 2019 Derek Carr threw for 7.9 yards-per-attempt which was the highest mark of his career, but he only threw the ball an average of 6.9 yards downfield per attempt which was a very low mark.
At first glance, Ruggs appears to be miscast in Oakland given the fact that Carr doesn't really push the ball down the field a lot, but Ruggs brings a dimension of speed to the Raiders that they haven't had for quite some time. Given Ruggs' speed, Jon Gruden should be able to scheme deep-shots to him and get him the ball in space so he can catch and run. Josh Jacobs is a rising star in this league and commands respect from opposing defenses, which means that the Raiders are sure to use play-action to get Ruggs the ball deep.
Tier 3 - WR Rookie Rankings
Michael Pittman Jr. is the wide receiver to target in this third tier. Pittman has the height, speed, and ability to separate that will make him a star in this league. On top of that, his father was a running back in the NFL and won a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers, which means he has the pedigree to be a professional football player.
Although new Colts quarterback Philip Rivers has lost some of his arm strength over the years, in 2019 two wide receivers, Mike Williams and Keenan Allen, went over 1,000 yards receiving with him throwing them the ball. Rivers will have one of the best offensive lines in the league blocking for him which is good because he's not very mobile, so he will have time to get the ball down the field.
Pittman shouldn't draw extra attention because the Colts drafted a stud running back in Jonathan Taylor and they still have TY Hilton who will line up opposite Pittman. All signs point to Pittman having a big 2020 season and solid career in Indianapolis.
Tier 4 - WR Rookie Rankings
Tyler Johnson was a stud wide receiver for the University of Minnesota, and while he isn't exactly a burner, he can play, catching 13 touchdowns and 1,318 receiving yards in 2019. Johnson was drafted to Tampa Bay, who already has a crowded receivers corps with Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, but as we saw in 2019, injuries can happen.
In 2019, the Buccaneers ran 11-personnel on 51% of their plays, so Johnson does have an opportunity to get on the field as a rookie. This offense is going to be explosive in 2020 with Tom Brady leading it and Johnson has a legitimate chance to excel immediately, especially since the opposition will be paying attention to the likes of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski when he's on the field.
Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's updated 2020 fantasy football rookie quarterback rankings. These rankings are being released after the 2020 NFL Draft, but things will of course change as we get closer to the NFL season. You might have already seen the first iteration of our updated fantasy football rookie rankings, released the morning after the draft. Now, it's time to break down each position in detail.
The RotoBaller crew has been busy fine-tuning all fantasy football rankings in the hours immediately following the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft. The first task was to focus on the recently-selected prospects in order to prepare dynasty owners for upcoming rookie drafts. Analysts Brandon Murchison, Phil Clark, and Pierre Camus have put together their early consensus wide receiver rookie rankings for our loyal readers to use to their advantage.
Quarterbacks are tricky as they are not truly valuable outside of Superflex and 2-QB leagues due to their inherent replaceability for typical fantasy leagues. The 2020 Draft had its fair share drafted, but if you're looking for anything resembling a safe floor, I'd suggest looking elsewhere. Each and every QB drafted this year has his warts but luckily, a massive upside to go along with them. As always, we take a forward-looking approach with our evaluations. These are subject to change as things unfold over the offseason, but for now, here is a look at our quarterback rankings for the 2020 rookie draft class.
NFL QB Rookie Rankings for Fantasy Football (Post-Draft)
Joe Burrow is the unequivocal QB1 in this class. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. The Bengals did not think twice about drafting him and neither should you (if your draft position allows it). Burrow's historic Heisman campaign at LSU last season is only marred by the fact that he was not as successful the season before. The addition of Joe Brady and shift from a pro-style to a spread offense unlocked Burrow's game along with his teammates at LSU.
Burrow set the college passing touchdown record with 60 (and just six interceptions) while his completion percentage jumped nearly 20 percent from 57.8% to 76.3% between his redshirt junior and senior year. While he did a ton of talent/help around him in the form of NFL-level players such as Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, Terrace Marshall, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Saahdiq Charles, Damien Lewis, and Lloyd Cushenberry III, Burrow's ability to extend plays behind the LOS along with his natural touch on throws should allow him to translate well to the league.
He will be joining a Bengals team that is not without some talent of its own. In the second round of the 2020 Draft, Cincinnati added a premium prospect in Tee Higgins who was a top WR recruit out of high school and shined over the past two years at Clemson with 16 total touchdowns more than 2000 receiving yards. Higgins will be added to a solid receiving corps that featured Tyler Boyd, Auden Tate, and a former first-round pick, John Ross (who showed flashes in 2019). Not to mention, Burrow will potentially be throwing to A.J. Green if he does not get traded and have the luxury of handing the ball off to a premier running back, Joe Mixon if he does not hold out. The offensive line is improved as well since they are getting back a healthy Jonah Williams, their first-round pick in 2019 Burrow should be drafted in the top-3 of Superflex/2QB leagues and towards the end of the first in typical dynasty rookie drafts.
Unpopular opinion #1 - Tua Tagovailoia is a luxury pick, not a building block.
While I do believe that Tua Tagovailoa is an incredibly talented quarterback, it is ridiculous to ignore the recent injury history. Tua is coming off of a hip injury that was discussed as potentially career-ending due to the severity. Luckily, he had great doctors on his side who repaired the broken ligament, and now, he is reportedly 100% healthy and recovered. While I am no doctor (despite being a RotoSurgeon), I am of the belief that Tua, even when cleared to play in September, is still at high risk of re-injury. The hits in the NFL come from significantly larger, and stronger individuals in college.
Despite the league doing everything in its power to mitigate the damage done to their star assets, it is nearly impossible to guarantee that they will not take a few hard licks during the coarse of a season. What happens when Tua is deemed a runner on a play and gets cracked from the side repeatedly throughout a year? Part of his appeal is his mobility, teams will have to determine whether it is worth taking away a dimension of his game in favor of his health. Alabama essentially did that in 2019 and we saw the offense take a step back from the incredible heights it reached the year before.
A few Tua Tagovailoa stats:
He was the most efficient QB in CFB history with a 199.4 career passer efficiency.
He has the best career TD-INT ratio (7.91, 87 TDs-to-11 INTs) in FBS history with min of 70 pass TDs.
He has the best QBR (93.5) & YPA (10.88) since at least 2004.
I have not even brought up the fact that Tagovailoa has had surgery to repair both ankles within the past two years. While this surgery was midseason to get him back on the field sooner, it is still very worrying to pile on to him. The term "injury-prone" is thrown around a lot and typically frowned upon from medical experts, however, when a player is showing you time-and-time again that his body cannot stay together while playing this game at a high-level, it might be appropriate in certain cases to stick them with that label.
Tua is a risky first-round pick in multi-QB leagues and should only be drafted by teams who can afford that risk. The upside is insane if he does manage to stay healthy, I just do not like those odds with a premium pick.
Tier 2 - QB Rookie Rankings
Justin Herbert might be an underwhelming QB prospect but boy, is he athletic.
Herbert is the prototypical tall, white QB that NFL front offices (like Denver) drool over because of the "tools". The fact of the matter is, while Herbert did have some success in Oregon, he was helped out a ton by a scheme that asked him to make a ton easy throws like screens and other open throws to the flat or just past the LOS that boosted his completion percentage and surface stats. Herbert completed just around 60% of passes that were not screen throws last season and did not show consistency in the intermediate part of the field, where an NFL QB should be asked to throw significantly more than in college.
To be fair, Herbert did not have close to the pass-catching talent that Hurts, Burrow, and Tua had in their respective offenses but that does not absolve him.
The one stat that would terrify me if I'm considering draft Justin Herbert or Jordan Love is this...
% of uncatchably off-target throws targeting when an OPEN receiver 5-18 yards downfield in 2019:
Tua 4.3% Hurts 5.0% Burrow 5.1% Love 14.1% Herbert 18.1%
Herbert shouldn't be fully characterized as "inaccurate," however he does struggle in some aspects of the game that you would desire from a QB prospect and missing open receivers in the middle of the field a big worry. Accuracy is hard to teach, very few QB prospects truly become more accurate as they enter the league. Fortunately, there is no denying that he has a big arm and his athleticism will allow him to create with his legs when the right pass is not there.
If he can consistently make big plays downfield and not turn the ball over often, he should be a successful NFL quarterback despite probably not ever entering that upper-echelon of passers. A good comp for him is some mix of Ryan Tannehill and Josh Allen. Herbert should be in the league for a long time and be given every opportunity to succeed if health is not an issue. He's a fine upside pick in rookie drafts for his potential rushing production alone.
Tier 3 - QB Rookie Rankings
Jordan Love is an intriguing case. The Packers traded up from pick 30 to 26 in the first round to acquire the volatile QB who many deem as a bust from the jump. Love was favorably viewed after posting a 32 TD, 6 INT, 9.4 AY/A season while completing 64% of his passes in 2018 but absolutely fell off statistically in 2019. He threw nearly as many touchdowns and interceptions 20:17 lowered his completion percentage and his AY/A dipped to a 2017-like 6.4.
This raises eyebrows as to whether 2018 was just an aberration or if the loss of five out of his top-six primary receiving weapons (Darwin Thompson, Jalen Greene, Aaren Vaughns, Ron'Quavion Tarver, Dax Raymond), head coach and offensive coordinator played a major part in his regression. I'm tempted to believe the latter and that Love is not just some toolsy fluke.
Love is unfairly comped to Patrick Mahomes by some draft touts and it is wholly unfair to him to set some crazy standard like that. What Love does well is similar to what Mahomes does well in pocket-escapability and big-time throws but they are not on the same level. He is able to make throws on the move and sling dimes while at it.
Love is worth the upside, particularly in a plus-landing spot like Green Bay but is not worth taking too early in rookie drafts given that he is probably three or four years away from starting (much like the incumbent starter for the Packers).
Unpopular opinion #2 - Jalen Hurts is a gadget QB, not a future face of a franchise.
Jalen Hurts is Taysom Hill, if Taysom Hill was good at being Taysom Hill. Point being, he is so athletic that he belongs in the league but he just is not an accurate enough passer to cut it as a full-time QB. I am sure that in a spot-start situation, he could be a QB1 in fantasy due to his potential rushing production but that is not the ideal scenario for an NFL team to win unless in transitions its entire offense to a Ravens'-like mold on the fly.
What I see the Eagles doing with Hurts is operating him in short-yardage/goal-line situations to alleviate the hits that Carson Wentz will take. Hurts is not the "heir apparent" by any means. Wentz is only 27 and both of their contracts will run along the same timeline They'll utilize Hurts' size, athleticism, and durability on sneaks and QB runs that could option into passes to mix things up and give Wentz a break.
Hurts is deemed as this pick with massive upside, and it is possible he lives up to it if he was ever given the opportunity to start for a season, however, it would be unwise for any NFL team to make that decision if their goal was to win games.
Tier 4 and Lower - QB Rookie Rankings
This is really where we scrape the bottom of the barrel.
Jacob Eason and Jake Fromm were both potential Day 2 selection during the draft but saw their stock fall to Day 3. Eason landed in the more advantageous, long-term spot in Indianapolis while Fromm fell to the Bills in Round 6. Fromm is the antithesis of incumbent starter, Josh Allen, and has less of a challenge to eventually start if Allen goes down. Eason would have to challenge Jacoby Brissett for the QB2 role with the Colts and would likely lose that battle.
Fromm is much more game-ready than Eason due to his natural touch and awareness, however, Eason's upside is much larger due to his size and arm strength. Also, Philip Rivers is probably not the QB of the future with the Colts, opening up the door for Eason to have a slim chance of taking over in a year or two. Josh Allen is still extremely young and with his progression from year one to year two, it is doubtful that the Bills move on for at least a few years sans an absolute meltdown in performance.
Cole McDonald has a fun name and fun game but it is hard to see him taking over as a starter at the NFL level due to his unusual delivery and erratic game. He is athletic, stands at 6'4" 220lbs, and is quite capable of hitting some deep shots downfield. He has some of the best highlights in college. Unfortunately, a highlight reel won't win you games in the league.
Cole McDonald is a fun project for the Titans and is worth that late-round flier in multi-QB leagues given that he is capable of using his legs (750 rushing yards and 11 TDs last two years). He could easily become the Titans' QB by beating out former Toledo and AAF QB Logan Woodside and maybe start a few games this season if Tannehill goes down.
Cole McDonald had an average depth of target of 12.4 yards
Nate Stanley landed in Minnesota where he would probably never be asked to throw given how little their scheme asks of QBs along with his inability to do much besides stand in the pocket.
Anthony Gordon is a low-key winner after signing with the Seahawks. While there is no chance in hell that he starts in place of a healthy Russell Wilson anytime soon, the QB2 job there is basically his already because there are only two QBs in that room. Gordon showed flashes in Mike Leach's spread offense last season and looked like someone who could be drafted not only off of his tape but because of Gardner Minshew's success translating to the league. Gordon might struggle when asked to operate a pro-style scheme but at least for fantasy purposes, he could get a few spot starts if he sticks around.
Welcome back RotoBallers! Below you will find our staff's updated 2020 fantasy football rookie tight end rankings. These rankings are being released after the 2020 NFL Draft, but things will of course change as we get closer to the NFL season. Those of you who are regular RotoBaller readers have likely already seen our updated overall fantasy football rookie rankings, released the morning after the draft. Now it's time to break those down in detail, going position by position with some tiered rankings analysis.
The RotoBaller crew has been busy fine-tuning all fantasy football rankings in the hours immediately following the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft. The first task was to focus on the recently-selected prospects in order to prepare dynasty owners for upcoming rookie drafts. Analysts Brandon Murchison, Phil Clark, and Pierre Camus have put together their early consensus tight end rookie rankings (with overall rookie rankings listed) for our loyal readers to use to their advantage.
The tight end position is arguably the least-reliable position for immediate contributions considering the nuances that many rookies need to learn - run blocking, pass blocking, route trees, motion concepts, etc. Since 1996 only three rookie tight ends have scored over 100 points and only five have finished in the top-10 at the position during that season. In addition, the 2020 NFL Draft class was deep at many positions but tight end was certainly not one of them, so while we explore the rookie tight end class, it's important to keep in mind that most of these players will have little success during their first season and only a small handful of them are likely to become fantasy-viable in general. That's why it's so crucial that you select the right one in upcoming drafts.
NFL TE Rookie Rankings for Fantasy Football (Post-Draft)
Cole Kmet was the first tight end off the board and joins a ridiculously large tight end group in Chicago that is currently at ten after undrafted free agent signings. Obviously, the room will not end up that crowded, but the Bears did just throw $9 million guaranteed at Jimmy Graham on a two-year deal, which suggests they view him as a starting option.
Graham hasn't been effective in years, so Kmet could easily beat him out, but the rookie is not a strong enough blocker to currently start in the Bears offense, which asks their tight end to go in motion and block out in space a fair bit. If Kmet does improve there and gets on the field more, he could become fantasy relevant by the end of the season or in 2021 since the tight end is a crucial part of the Bears system and the Notre Dame product is a good in-line threat.
His hands are solid, but not great, and he's not going to do much damage after the catch so his upside will always be dependent on seeing a large enough target share and getting red zone looks, but there aren't many sure-fire hits at the tight end position anyway.
Devin Asiasi becomes an intriguing name because of where he landed. We all know the Patriots have loved to use their tight end in the past, but with Tom Brady gone and Bill Belichick likely not far behind him, the Patriots offense could look vastly different in a year or two. Asiasi is a bit of a raw prospect with only one year of production in college and work still to do on filling out his frame and getting stronger as a blocker.
However, he has upside as a receiving target, with good hands and solid quickness for the position. The Patriots are notoriously hesitant to allow rookies on the field, so Asiasi will need to show himself to be a consistently strong blocker at the NFL level before he sees any action, but his overall athleticism and solid hands give him more potential upside than Kmet, just with a much lower floor.
Tier 2 - TE Rookie Rankings
Tier 5 for All Rookie Positions/Ranks
Adam Trautman may be my favorite tight end in this class from a long-term fantasy perspective. He's a bit raw since he came into college as a quarterback, but he has ideal size for the position and tremendous athleticism. He was a basketball player, so he can keep defenders on his back and go up and high point a pass, but he also has the versatility to line up in different formations.
He's learning the technical aspects of blocking, but he has shown an aptitude and a desire for it, which is encouraging. He also landed in an ideal long-term spot. He won't contribute much as a rookie given his necessary growth and the presence of Jared Cook, but Cook is 33 and signed for only one more year, so Trautman could emerge in 2021 as a top-10 fantasy tight end in the Saints high-powered offense.
Harrison Bryant is a gifted receiver who ended up in a poor spot. The Browns just signed Austin Hooper to be the highest-paid tight end in football and still have David Njoku on the roster - a former first-round pick with elite athleticism who they couldn't find a way to get production out of when he was healthy. Bryant's future will entirely depend on how he is deployed because he is not strong enough or a good enough blocker to be a traditional tight end.
He will need to go in motion or line up out wide and operate mainly as a receiver. That's problematic on a roster that already has Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, and Austin Hooper. Until one or more of those players leaves town, it's hard to see Bryant having much fantasy value, but with trade rumors circling around OBJ, you could take a stab at the rookie and hope he becomes a Gerald Everett-type in the Browns offense.
Albert Okwuegbunam also landed in a bad spot for consistent fantasy value. Yes, he gets to play with his former college teammate Drew Lock, but he's also playing behind last year's first-round pick Noah Fant. The two are similar as "speed" players at the position, but Fant has much better quickness which allows him to get open underneath more often than Okquegbunam showed in college. The rookie's ceiling appears to be as a back-up tight end who could hit a splash play or two with his good straight-line speed.
Brycen Hopkins is another player who landed in a poor spot for immediate production. A solid receiving option with elite route running ability and the hands to be an effective downfield threat, Hopkins joins a tight end room that already has two similar players in Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee.
Despite not being exceptionally big, Hopkins is a willing and able blocker in space, so he fits in perfectly with the Rams offensive scheme; he just won't have much playing time early on to demonstrate that. Higbee is under contract until 2023, but Everett will come off the books after this season, so there is a chance for Hopkins to carve out a large share of the tight end role if the Rams decide not to bring Everett back. It's a roll of the dice, but the upside is there for him to be just behind Trautman in terms of ultimate fantasy success in his current system.
Tier 3 - TE Rookie Rankings
Tier 6 for All Rookie Positions/Ranks
Dalton Keene was the other tight end the Patriots took in the draft. An extremely versatile athlete, Keene managed to show out despite few opportunities at Virginia Tech. He proved to be a strong blocker with good hands that was able to break tackles and fight for jump balls.
As an alleged exceptional worker, Keene has the chance to be the type of player that is far more successful as a professional than a collegiate athlete, and he's in the system to do it. Based on his flashes of playmaking ability and his grinder mentality, I'd pick Keene over Asiasi as my long-term bet in New England, but it just might take a few years.
Tier 4 and Later - TE Rookie Rankings
Tier 7 for All Rookie Positions/Ranks
Thaddeus Moss is another one of the players in the aforementioned Bears tight end room after latching on as one of the higher-profile undrafted free agents. Randy Moss' son is not a dynamic athlete, which is likely why he slipped in the draft, but he is a physical and capable blocker, which will keep him on the field in the NFL, particularly in the red zone. Since Moss also has a wide catch radius and solid hands, his ability as a blocker could allow him to become a touchdown-dependent threat in the NFL, much in the same way Kyle Rudolph has.
Colby Parkinson landed in possibly the best spot after being drafted by the Seahawks. Pete Carrol's offense loves to use the tight end and so does Russell Wilson, which is why an unknown player like Will Dissly was able to rise to fantasy prominence this past season. However, Dissly has now suffered season-ending leg injuries in back-to-back seasons which left Jacob Hollister as the top option in Seattle.
Parkinson is a massive 6'7" and has shown the ability to make strong catches with his hands, which gives him an incredible catch radius. He's a willing blocker, so he doesn't need to be removed from the field in run situations, and his size obviously gives him huge touchdown potential. He works best in a tandem with a small more athletic player like Hollister, so Parkinson has the upside in this offense to be snagged late in dynasty drafts.
Sean McKeon picked a good spot for himself by signing an undrafted free agent contract with the Cowboys, who brought Jason Witten out of retirement because they were so disappointed with their tight end performance. McKeon is similar in that he's not an elite athlete but has exception hands and the ability to make difficult contested catches. He's an effective blocker but not exceptionally big or strong, so he won't be an every-down player; however, he could easily fill the role that Witten had for years in Dallas as a smart player who gets the most of his limited athletic ability.
Hunter Bryant is more of a move tight end who will contribute as a wide receiver rather than an in-line blocker. He has great ability after the catch and solid quickness, which will enable him to lineup flexed out wide in the slot. Bryant will likely not emerge as a starter at tight end given his size limitations and the presence of T.J. Hockenson, but Detroit doesn't exactly have a stable underneath option in their passing game, so it might come down to a battle between Bryant and fellow rookie Quentin Cepheus to see who fills that role. Bryant's ceiling is likely capped in that situation, but he has enough athleticism to become an intriguing stash in deeper leagues as a potential big slot receiving option.
Tight ends continue to climb in valuation, as top-notch players like Travis Kelce and George Kittle have entered the conversation as late first-round or early second-round picks in best ball formats with TE Premium scoring such as FFPC. Even in typical scoring formats, some fantasy managers want to secure a relatively safe option at an unpredictable position.
The NFL season is fast approaching, which means time is running out for best ball drafts to begin. We will continue to update rankings in every format throughout the offseason and you can find the latest rankings here.
In this column, we will evaluate the latest tight end rankings for best ball drafts. Complete your best-ball draft prep by reading about our tiered rankings at running back, wide receiver, and quarterback.
It's clear that there is a top-two rather than a top-three this year and a clear separation with a 23-spot drop from the top tier until the second. Kelce typically goes first but I am giving the slight edge to Kittle. The injuries to San Francisco's wide receivers will necessitate Kittle carrying a bigger load; even the smallest of increases will push Kittle over Kelce in terms of production. Their per-game averages were nearly identical last year.
You can't go wrong with either one, especially in a TE-premium format, so this isn't a decision to sweat so much as which RB do you settle on if you are drafted a tight end first.
Zach Ertz has officially lost his spot as TE3. Mark Andrews owns a higher ADP in nearly all formats and I personally ranked him a full two rounds higher, although one of our rankers still has Ertz ahead of him. There could be some trepidation based on Andrews' health condition (Type 1 Diabetes) and many have speculated that he could opt out of the season. He has stated otherwise and seems dedicated to getting Baltimore to the Super Bowl, so his draft risk should be mitigated.
To say Tyler Higbee is a polarizing player in the fantasy community is putting things lightly. For perspective, our three rankers have him at 66, 102, and 155 overall. That's quite a discrepancy. Then again, what are we supposed to make of this roller-coaster of a 2019?
For transparency's sake, I'm in the middle of our rankers at 102, placing Higbee firmly in tier three and just inside the top 10 at the tight end position. There is no way he repeats last year's stretch between Week 13-16 but it's also unlikely he reverts to being a non-factor. The Rams found something that works and will have to utilize 12 formation more often. Not only did it actually work, but Brandin Cooks is gone as is Todd Gurley, who was an excellent receiver out of the backfield. Best ball drafters shouldn't reach for Higbee expecting a breakout but he should be a solid source of points throughout the year. Don't forget about Gerald Everett though - he will get his share of targets.
How can we identify this year's breakout performer at tight end? That's the million-dollar question each year. I won't profess to have clairvoyance, but I do know that surprising TE performers usually emerge as a result of a weak wide receiver group. Darren Waller was far and away the top receiver in Oakland last year with a 25.2% target share because his next closest competition was oft-injured Tyrell Williams (14.5%) and rookie Hunter Renfrow (14.2%). The next two target leaders were running backs Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington. This is why the Raiders spent three draft picks on receivers.
Back to the question: who could break out this year? The most likely candidate has to be Mike Gesicki. We already know about his insane combine numbers but now the opportunity is there in his third NFL season. Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns have both opted out of 2020, so the Dolphins have DeVante Parker, Preston Williams, Jakeem Grant, and Isaiah Ford as their top receiving options. Throw in Williams returning from an ACL tear and Parker being completely untrustworthy (yes, jaded Dolphins fan here) as someone who's missed 11 games and just played his first full season out of five, there is a good chance Gesicki becomes a constant target.
My next favorite choice as a late TE1 selection is Noah Fant. I recognize the questions surrounding Drew Lock's development and Fant's inexperience but the ceiling is too tantalizing to pass up. Outside of Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy, the Broncos still lack depth at receiver, especially if KJ Hamler's hamstring injury lingers into the regular season.
New offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur should make a positive impact as well. Before his disappointing stint as head coach of the Giants, he managed offenses that finished top-12 in passing yardage in four of his five seasons as OC between Minnesota and Philadelphia. Fant has 4.5 speed and run-after-catch ability that plays well in best ball where he can provide spikes in production.
If Higbee was polarizing, Hayden Hurst is downright controversial. Mike Riggall is bullish to the nth degree, ranking Hurst 91 overall as his TE13. Phil Clark isn't buying it, dropping Hurst to 230 overall. Once more, I'm the middle man with Hurst at 166. I was a big fan when he was drafted by Baltimore in the first round (by legendary tight end Ozzie Newsome no less) but he struggled with injuries early and never usurped the starting job from Mark Andrews.
Now, he inherits the role that made Austin Hooper the top-scoring TE in the first half of last year and is tied to Matt Ryan as his signal-caller. Context clues point to a potential breakout but we should pump the brakes a bit. It's not a straightforward comparison, but I can't help be reminded of Coby Fleener a few years ago. He was solid in Indy for four seasons and then signed by the Saints to be the primary tight end. Expectations went through the roof as he was on a top-notch passing offense with a Hall of Fame QB in Drew Brees. It didn't go so well, as he totaled 631 yards and three touchdowns. Not terrible but based on his insane 7.01 ADP in 2016, it was a massive letdown. Hurst will need to find his way in this offense and will defer to Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley most of the time. He's a decent backup but do not count on him as a fantasy starter, even in best ball.
It seems as if Blake Jarwin is the trendy sleeper at this position but I can't bring myself to rank him inside the top 200. If we assume he can effectively replace Jason Witten's production from last year, that would make him fantasy TE12 in half-PPR. While that provides great return on investment based on his ADP, it also assumes that he will take over Witten's 75.4% offensive snap share and that CeeDee Lamb won't cut into his targets.
Kellen Moore stays on as offensive coordinator but Mike McCarthy is an experienced play-caller and will surely have an influence on the way things are run in-game. His offenses in Green Bay provided more opportunities to slot receivers than tight ends. Jarwin isn't a bad pick based on where he's going in FFPC drafts as the 18th TE off the board, especially with an extra half-point per reception, so this is the place to target him if at all.
Chris Herndon is a low-end preseason sleeper who is getting a little buzz. It's hard to trust someone who suffered both a suspension and a season-ending injury last year. Not to mention the fact he's on an Adam Gase offense... Still, Herndon seems to be the primary tight end for the Jets with very little competition for targets in a thin receiving corps. If he can keep it together, both physically and mentally, he has the talent to make plays after the catch as he did for the Miami Hurricanes.
Tier 6 and lower
Trey Burton was once a trendy sleeper but was simply average in his first year with Chicago before missing half of 2019 with injuries, producing little when he did play. He'll backup Jack Doyle, who is the TE to own in Indy, but bears monitoring if you draft three TEs. If anybody loves throwing to the tight end, it's gotta be Philip Rivers, right?
With the expected ascension of Irv Smith Jr. up the pecking order in Minnesota, Rudolph has become a non-factor for fantasy managers. It should be noted that Stefon Diggs' absence vacates an average of 121 targets per season since Kirk Cousins arrived and rookie Justin Jefferson is unlikely to absorb all of those. If Dalvin Cook continues to hold out or gets injured (again), the team could lean on Rudolph more than expected. There isn't a very high ceiling but he did finish as TE14 last year in fantasy, so he makes for a safe backup who is being discredited in drafts.
The final player on our list is one I must take responsibility for. I snuck Kahale Warring into my TE rankings as a dark horse for your final roster spot in best ball.
The Texans liked him enough to spend a third-round pick on him last year, only to see him miss the entire season. Darren Fells was the most productive tight end in Houston and was re-signed but is more of a backup plan than anything. Bill O'Brien loves his guys and Warring should get every shot to make an impression. Another former basketball player with elite athleticism at the position, the upside is high enough that he warrants a draft pick more so than Fells or most other backup tight ends.
The NFL season will be here quicker than Travis Kelce runs a slant route.
RotoBaller’s tight end rankings for standard fantasy football leagues have not changed drastically during the offseason, but there have been some risers and fallers to make note of. Most of the fantasy value changes have to do with the supporting casts around the tight ends in question changing either due to COVID opt-outs or other roster-related moves. If you want to be successful in fantasy football, you have to keep your eyes and ears open during the offseason. Yesterday’s sixth-ranked tight end might become tomorrow’s fifth-ranked in the blink of an eye.
Here is my analysis of RotoBaller’s current 2020 tight end rankings for standard leagues:
Kelce and Kittle deserve the most money out of all tight ends and have both been paid handsomely this offseason, with both of them signing multimillion-dollar extensions this month. Kelce has four straight seasons of 80 receptions and 1,000 yards to his credit and has only missed one game over the past six years. Kittle is coming off back-to-back campaigns of at least 85 catches and 1,000 yards despite being stuck in a run-first offense. There is no debate that they are the top two tight ends in fantasy football
Andrews had fantasy players worried that his Type 1 diabetes would cause him to opt out of the upcoming season, but it appears that he give it a go, which is great news considering he topped all tight ends with 10 touchdowns last season. Philadelphia drafted TCU standout Jalen Reagor in the first round of April’s draft, but Ertz will continue to be the focal point of the Eagles passing attack, even with tight end teammate Dallas Goedert taking some targets. Waller racks up receptions and yards with the best of them at the position, but the fact that he only scored three touchdowns last year and that the Raiders upgraded their receiving corps keep him out of the top tier.
Henry has as much upside and talent as any tight end in the NFL, but he has two things going against him that keep him in this third tier. One is his lack of durability (23 missed games in first four seasons). The other is that Tyrod Taylor or rookie Justin Herbert will be throwing to him and not Philip Rivers. Higbee was the breakout star and arguably the most valuable waiver addition in fantasy leagues in 2019. The questions are was his fantastic five-game stretch at the end of last year (43 receptions for 522 yards) a fluke and will Gerald Everett cause the Rams tight-end twosome to lose value if the pair splits time and targets.
While fantasy players should be titillated by the fact that Gronkowski has come out of retirement to join old quarterback buddy Tom Brady in Tampa Bay, the fact is that the injury-prone Gronk has two other above-average tight ends (O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate) and arguably the top tandem of receivers in the NFL (Mike Evans and Chris Godwin) to fight with for targets. He cannot in good conscience be rated much higher than this. Cook is more durable than Engram, has a better track record than Hurst or Fant, and has a much better QB passing to him than Hooper, hence the higher spot in the rankings.
Hurst has been a prime mover in the tight end rankings, though. He has moved up 10 spots and two tiers since my May column about tight ends in standard leagues came out.
Gesicki’s target total should go up this year now that Miami wideouts Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson have both opted out of the 2020 season. Doyle should be buoyed by the quarterback upgrade of Indianapolis replacing Jacoby Brissett with the aforementioned Philip Rivers, not to mention no longer having to share the tight end targets with Eric Ebron.
Hockenson battled ankle, shoulder and concussion problems during his rookie year and had a stint on the COVID-19 list a few weeks ago, but if he can just stay on the field he should have a super sophomore season.
Now that longtime top tight end Greg Olsen has taken his talents to Seattle, Thomas has the golden opportunity to prove he can be a No. 1 tight end. Granted, he will have Teddy Bridgewater as his quarterback, who did not do any fantasy favors for Jared Cook in New Orleans last season. Cook only had 13 receptions for 131 yards and two touchdowns in the five games Bridgewater subbed in for the injured Drew Brees.
Tier 7 and Lower
Knox was lining up to have a super sophomore season after showing glimpses of being a future fantasy force during his rookie campaign. Buffalo trading for Stefon Diggs to team with incumbent top target John Brown and slot receiver Cole Beasley might limit the targets Knox sees in 2020, though.
Will DeAndre Hopkins having his talents traded to Arizona help or hurt Fells’ fantasy value? That is the question for players who are not sure if Fells is a TE1 or TE2 coming into 2020 after his career year (seven TD) last season. Fells might get more looks, but will he get more opportunities for touchdowns if Hopkins is not around to help Houston get in the red zone? Fells has dropped in the rankings over the past couple months, so we expect him to struggle.
Howard had everything go against him in 2019, especially a head coach who never used him consistently and wavered in how involved he wanted Howard in the offense. Now that Gronkowski is in Tampa, it is hard to fathom Howard getting much more than 50 receptions and 550 yards with everyone that needs to be fed in that hungry Buccaneers passing attack.
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Be sure to also check out all of our other daily fantasy football articles and analysis to help you set those winning lineups, including this new RotoBaller YouTube video:
As you prepare for each draft, multiple factors are incorporated into your analysis of every selection. For those of you who participate in the highly popular Best-Ball leagues, this process includes building a team that can withstand the challenges that can emerge during the season, without having the opportunity for any form of in-season roster management. That’s why the team at RotoBaller provides a detailed analysis of our latest Best-Ball rankings that help you plan your drafts.
This article will present a breakdown of the wide receiver position. It is recommended that you develop a strategy for selecting your receivers that remains flexible based upon the flow of each draft. Some owners are capitalizing on the opportunity to seize elite receivers during the initial rounds, as their league-mates focus on collecting running backs. Others are stockpiling productive receivers after they have drafted backs with their early picks.
Regardless of how you build your roster, wide receivers will perform a significant role in determining your team’s success. 23 receivers are located among the top 50 in our rankings, while 60 receivers currently reside among the top 150. We will continue to update rankings in every format as we approach Week 1, and you can find the latest rankings here.
Thomas has never finished lower than WR7 in point per game scoring (PPR) since his 2016 rookie season, including last year’s rise to WR1. He has also experienced a steady increase in targets and receiving yards during that span, which culminated with the career highs that he attained during 2019 (185 targets/1,725 yards/91 first downs).
Most 1st Downs by a receiver in 2019
Michael Thomas - 91
Julio Jones - 77
DeAndre Hopkins - 68 Travis Kelce - 65
Keenan Allen - 63
Allen Robinson - 63
DJ Moore - 63
Chris Godwin - 63 Christian McCaffrey - 58
DeVante Parker - 58
He also led the NFL in each category, along with receptions (149), red-zone targets (26), and 100-yard performances (10). Thomas remains the premier weapon for Drew Brees, and nothing should deter you from making him the first wide receiver to be selected during your drafts.
Adams was fourth overall in yardage entering week 5 (378/95 per game) and was averaging 9 targets per game. A turf toe issue sidelined him from weeks 5-8, but his usage and output were exceptional following his return. Adams finished second in targets (91) and receptions (58) from weeks 9-17 and was second in point per game scoring during Green Bay’s final seven games. The Packers have chosen to compete with a dearth of receiving weaponry, which makes Adams a strong candidate to lead the NFL in targets. The relentless selection of running backs also leaves him available in Round 1 of most drafts.
The dynamic Hill has sustained an ADP in the teens throughout the offseason, in anticipation of the statistical fireworks that will ensue if he performs with Patrick Mahomes for 16 games. He was limited to 12 snaps from weeks 1-5, due to a shoulder injury. But he reemerged to lead all receivers in targets (52) and touchdowns (5) from weeks 6-10 while generating 844 yards and seven touchdowns during his final 11 contests. He also finished fifth in percentage share of team's air yards (40.1) during that sequence and presents owners with the potential to explode for huge gains on every route.
Anyone who believed in Godwin during their 2019 draft process was rewarded with an undisputed breakout season. He vaulted into the league’s elite tier of receivers by finishing second in point per game scoring, yardage (1,333), and touchdowns (9) from weeks 1-15 before a hamstring issue ended his season. Godwin enters his fourth season at age 24 while presenting opposing defenders with a lethal combination of size, speed, and versatility. This will allow him to remain among the NFL’s most prolific receivers with Tom Brady under center, which keeps him embedded among your early WR1 options.
Jones remains anchored within the league’s top tier of receivers as he enters his 10th season. He has averaged 162 targets (10.5 per game) since 2014 and has averaged 623 receptions (6.7 per game) and 9,388 yards (102 per game). This has preserved his place among the top seven in point per game scoring during that six-year sequence. Jones also led the league in air yards (1,911), finished second in targets (157), yardage (1,394), and completed air yards (1,039), and was fifth in receptions (99). The 31-year old Jones remains available in Round 2 and will deliver exceptional numbers once again.
Comp Air Yards
Hopkins stockpiled 830 targets from 2015-2019, led the league in 2017 (174), and finished among the top five in four of those seasons. He also led the league in target share during 2018 (33.1%) and finished second last season (30.9%). But even though Hopkins will maintain an integral role as the WR1 in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense, he will not reach the share that owners have become accustomed to. His diminished target total will also prevent him from matching the averages in receptions (97) and yardage (1,300) that he has attained since 2014. This places him at the low end of our tier 1 rankings.
Golladay has risen to WR1 status, which is reflected in our rankings, his ADP, and the production that he delivered during 2019. Golladay finished sixth in points per game scoring (non-PPR), led the NFL in touchdowns (11), and finished seventh in receiving yards (1,190). He also finished third in air yards (1,745), and yards per reception (18.3), while his proficiency as a vertical weapon fueled his five games of 100+ yards. Golladay also persevered through the eight-game absence of Matthew Stafford to achieve those career-best numbers and is primed to generate sizable production as Stafford re-emerges under center.
Cooper begins his second full season with the Cowboys after eclipsing 1,000 yards for the fourth time in five years. He also finished seventh in both receiving yards (1,189) and touchdowns (8), while his effectiveness as a downfield weapon propelled him to 10th in air yards (1,536) and third in completed air yards (935). Cooper also established new career-highs in yards per reception (15.1) and yards per target (10). His ability to prevail against overmatched defenders will sustain his role as the primary option for Dak Prescott while making him a low-end WR1 for owners.
Moore delivered a breakout season at age 22, by finishing within the top 10 in targets (135/9 per game), receptions (87), and receiving yards (1,175). He accomplished it despite missing Carolina's season finale (concussion) and operating with Kyle Allen for 12 of his 15 matchups. Moore will be performing in a restructured offense that is being concocted by Matt Rhule and Joe Brady, while also operating with a new quarterback. However, Teddy Bridgewater should locate his WR1 on a frequent basis. This could elevate Moore among the leaders in yards after the catch and he should also exceed last year’s touchdown total (4).
Evans has surpassed 1,000 during all six seasons of his career (1,210 per year) while averaging 139 targets and 15.8 yards per reception during that span. He also led the NFL in air yards (1,779) and was third in receiving yards (1,157) before being sidelined from Weeks 15-17 (hamstring). There is concern whether 43-year old Brady can engineer a downfield aerial assault. But Brady will be blending his strengths with Bruce Arians’ vertical approach, while Evans could be deployed in a mixture of high percentage routes and deep balls. This makes him an appealing target at his Round 3 ADP.
Thielen owners were forced to contend with consistent frustration during 2019, due to his lingering hamstring injury and the rigid offensive philosophy of Mike Zimmer. Thielen was sidelined for the first time in his career after performing in 87 consecutive games. He also averaged just 4.8 targets, 3.0 receptions, and 41.8 yards per game during the 10 games in which he was available. Those averages will rise this season, as the departure of Stefon Diggs has elevated Thielen into an unchallenged role as Minnesota’s WR1. However, his ceiling will be constrained by an offense that maintains a strong reliance on the ground game.
I have been targeting Robinson as my WR1 consistently during drafts in which I selected running backs during the first two rounds. His status as Chicago’s primary receiving weapon remains uncontested, and his massive target share should match the 27.3% that he registered during his stellar 2019 season. Robinson finished third in targets (154) while collecting 10+ in seven different games. Five of those occurred during the Bears’ final six matchups, as Robinson was third in targets and fourth in receptions during that sequence. Robinson also finished sixth in air yards (1,686), seventh in percentage share of team’s air yards (38.6), and is undervalued at his ADP.
One year ago, Beckham’s ADP (14) placed him at WR6. Optimism was based on the premise that he would be reenergized in a fresh environment. But Beckham failed to match lofty expectations while finishing 18th in receptions (74), and 23rd in yardage (1,035). He also averaged a career-low 64.7 yards per game and managed just four touchdowns. Despite the discouragement of 2019, the Browns have embarked on a promising path under Kevin Stefanski. Beckham’s Round 4 ADP also provides an opportunity to bet on his remaining talent.
Smith-Schuster is currently being drafted at WR12, as many owners remain confident that he can rekindle the production that he attained in 2018 (166 targets/111 receptions/1,426 yards). But his numbers plummeted last season (42 receptions/552 yards), as he was impacted by multiple injuries (knee/foot), and the prolonged absence of Ben Roethlisberger. Smith-Schuster will face competition for targets from the emerging Diontae Johnson, who assembled an impressive rookie season. Roethlisberger’s return also does not automatically assure that Smith-Schuster’s output will be restored to its 2018 level.
Brown established his ability to perform effectively as Tennessee’s primary receiving weapon after Ryan Tannehill replaced Marcus Mariota under center. He finished third in point per game scoring (non-PPR) from weeks 7-17, while finishing sixth in yardage (778), and fifth in touchdowns (6). Brown also led the league in yardage (605) and touchdowns (5) from Weeks 12-17 and finished the season with the NFL’s highest yard per target average (12.5). Brown has emerged as a viable WR2 with the potential to achieve WR1 output during his second season.
Kupp averaged 12.6 targets, 8.2 receptions, and 101 yards per game from Weeks 1-5. But those averages dropped to 5.9 targets/4.5 receptions/46.1 yards per game in Weeks 10-17, as Kupp trailed Robert Woods and Tyler Higbee in each category. His snap count percentage also diminished from 88.2% in weeks 1-12 to 63.3% in weeks 13-17, while Higbee’s snaps surged to 69%. Kupp did lead the Rams in red-zone targets (21), but he trailed Higbee yet again from Weeks 13-17 (13/8). However, Brandin Cooks also collected 23 targets during that span, and his departure improves Kupp's opportunity to remain highly involved - regardless of how Sean McVay blends his personnel packages.
Expectations for Metcalf’s 2019 rookie season were frequently tempered due to the limitations of his route tree and experience (21 games) at Ole Miss. But he developed into an explosive weapon for Seattle, while leading all first-year receivers in targets (100), and finishing third in receiving yards (900) and touchdowns (7). Metcalf also emerged as a resource near the end zone by finishing 10th overall in red-zone targets (18). His continued advancement as a receiver will combine with his speed and athleticism to produce numbers that exceed his Round 5 ADP.
Mohamed Sanu had been averaging six targets per game for the Falcons before an October trade extracted him from their roster. That created an enormous path for Ridley to accumulate targets and yardage as Atlanta’s unquestioned WR2. Ridley’s averages rose from 6.3 targets, 4.1 receptions, and 53.2 yards per game before Sanu’s departure, to 8.2/5.7/82.1 per game from weeks 8-14. He also tied for ninth in point per game scoring during that sequence, before being sidelined during weeks 15-17 (abdomen). Ridley also finished second overall in Football Outsiders’ DVOA (Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average).
As Kupp’s usage and output diminished last season, Woods paced the Rams in receptions (59/5.9 per game, yardage (779/77.9 per game) and targets (92/9.2 per game) during LA’s final 10 contests This included weeks 13-17, when Woods finished second overall in targets (59), receptions (39), and fourth in yardage (471). Woods' snap count was not curtailed by the Rams’ mixture of personnel packages, as he led all receivers in snaps (357). Woods’ ADP has risen 17 slots since April, and he should lead LA in targets, receptions, and yardage this season.
Over the last 10 seasons there have been 25 players to have an 1000 yard receiving season at age 23 or younger.
Pretty much all have gone on to become fantasy stars except Kelvin Benjamin and Sammy Watkins.
Chark experienced a meteoric rise from infinitesimal numbers as a rookie to finish among the top 20 in multiple categories. He was eighth in scoring after Week 14 and was also fourth in touchdowns (8), and sixth in air yards (1,355). He also averaged 8.2 targets, 5.2 receptions, and 74 yards per game) before contending with an ankle injury from Weeks 15-17. Chark still tied for seventh in touchdowns (8) while finishing 19th in targets (118), 17th in air yards (1,421), and 13th in percentage share of team’s air yards (34.9). He is now primed to flourish as Jacksonville’s primary receiver once again.
Sutton’s ascension into WR2 terrain during 2019 would normally have vaulted him to a more prestigious tier in our rankings. He finished inside the top 20 in scoring, targets (125/7.8 per game), yardage (1,112), air yards (1,452), and yards per route (2.48), while also leading the NFL in percentage share of team's air yards (42.93). But he was also absorbing targets in a Denver offense that was deficient in additional talent at his position. Now he must compete for opportunities with Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, and Noah Fant while functioning with a quarterback that remains unproven.
Allen is still just 28-years old, hasn’t missed a game since 2016, and has consistently proven his ability to accumulate high-quality production. He has averaged 148 targets, 101 receptions and 1,263 yards since 2017, and finished among the top six in targets (149), receptions (104), and yardage (1,199) during 2019. He retains the necessary skills to achieve similar results this season. But his customary Round 2 ADP has descended to Round 5. This is a byproduct of his conversion from consistent statistical success with Philip Rivers to the uncertain ramifications of operating with Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert.
McLaurin was the 101st receiver selected in last August's drafts (ADP 282). But he quickly seized Washington’s WR1 responsibilities and exceeded even the most optimistic projections. McLaurin led rookies in point per game scoring and finished second in receptions (58). His usage as a downfield weapon also lifted him to sixth in percentage share of team’s air yards (37.09), 10th in both yards-per-target (9.9), and 10th in yards per reception (15.8). He will operate with an unobstructed path toward high volume as Washington’s primary receiver. which should launch him into high-end WR2 territory.
Metcalf has been commandeering conversation as an ascending presence, but Lockett led Seattle in targets (110), receptions (82), receiving yardage (1,057), and touchdowns (8) in 2019. He also paced the Seahawks in air yards (1,340), percentage share of air yards (29.8), and target share (22.3). His numbers did plunge from 8.8 targets, 7.3 receptions, and 90.4 yards per game in Weeks 2-9 to 5.4 targets/3.3 receptions/41.4 yards per game from weeks 10-17. However, Lockett was contending with health issues (shin/flu), and owners can target him near the conclusion of round 5.
After four seasons of uninspiring numbers (5.3 targets, 3.1 receptions, and 41.8 yards per game), Parker experienced a career reawakening in 2019. He skyrocketed to fourth in both receiving yards (1,202) and air yards (1,713) and tied for third in touchdowns (9). His usage and production rose after promising rookie Preston Williams was sidelined, as Parker vaulted to first in touchdowns (5), and second in yardage (802) from weeks 10-17. He was also sixth in targets (76) and third in point per game scoring (PPR) during that span. Owners can select him confidently at his Round 6 ADP.
Green was 10th in point per game scoring after week 7 of 2018, before a lingering toe issue interrupted his season and his highly productive career. He is an intriguing Round 7 option as he returns to a transformed Cincinnati offense. However, his latest hamstring issue should be monitored.
Hilton should reclaim his role as Indy’s WR1 and benefit from operating with Rivers. He should also rebound from his career-worst 2019 season (68 targets/45 receptions/501 yards). But he might not reach his averages from 2013-2018 (131 targets/76 receptions/1,206 yards.
Landry finished 13th in targets (138), 12th in receptions (83), and achieved career highs in yardage (1,174) and yards per reception (14.1). Even if he does not replicate those numbers in Cleveland’s restructured offense, he remains undervalued at his Round 7 ADP.
Diggs finished second overall in yards per target (12.0), third in percentage share of team’s air yards (41.3), and fourth in yards per reception (17.9). But he now resurfaces in a Buffalo offense that finished seventh in run play percentage, and will also deploy John Brown as a downfield weapon.
Boyd finished among the top eight in targets (148), and receptions (90). The reemergence of Green and the presence of John Ross and Tee Higgins will prevent Boyd from reaching those 2019 numbers. But if Green encounters another significant health issue, then Boyd's stock will elevate immediately.
Gallup finished seventh in yards per reception (16.8) while finishing 10th in targets (57), and fifth in yardage (577) from Weeks 11-17. His enormous talent should propel him to favorable output despite competition for targets from Cooper and CeeDee Lamb.
Marquise Brown averaged 8.5 targets and 76 yards per game from Weeks 1-4 but just 3.7/28 per game from Weeks 5-17. He is healthy and can unleash his big-play potential with greater frequency.
Only Thomas captured double-digit target totals in more games than Edelman (10). But the 34-year old must now function without his customary signal-caller. Fuller can become Deshaun Watson’s primary target -if he can elude further injury. He averaged 9 targets/75 yards per game from weeks 2-6, but just 4.6/45 yards during his other matchups.
Slayton led the Giants in touchdowns (8) and targeted air yards (23.8). But the target shares for Slayton (14.3), and teammates Sterling Shepard (14.2) and Golden Tate (14.7) were extremely close.
The timeline for Samuel’s return is unclear. But he will function as the 49ers’ WR1 whenever he is operating at full capacity. Johnson overcame deficiencies at quarterback to lead Pittsburgh in targets (92), receptions (59), and target share (18.9).
With the influx of talented young prospects, the quarterback position in fantasy football seems to be the deepest it has ever been. Although the overwhelming mindset has been that you can wait on the position in drafts, it has become more prevalent as we enter the 2020 season. No longer is it a dire need to grab one of the top QBs off the board because building your roster at other positions while waiting is just as successful as owning Patrick Mahomes and limiting your value elsewhere. But as is always the case, each draft is different, and the time in which you look to add your QB changes based on how the drafts unfold. Sometimes you find yourself with the chance to select a QB that continues to slide down the board. In that case, you have to grab the value while it is there, even if it may be against your pre-draft strategy.
The staff here at Rotoballer have put together our consensus rankings for the position to help you better prepare for your drafts. Perhaps this road-map eases the draft process when the time comes to select your QB1 for the 2020 season and the selection isn't one that causes you a headache. There may come a point in your draft when you are faced with a decision between Drew Brees and Carson Wentz. Well, our handy cheatsheet or rankings will guide you in the right direction with the consensus best choice. Because we all know that you don't have to have the best QB to win in fantasy, but you must have a good one to stay competitive.
With that being said, let's take a look at the standard QB rankings from the staff as I analyze the tiers and breakdown the players within them. The goal is to give you a better perspective of players to target in your drafts and help you build your best roster.
The top tier in our rankings is filled by the top two QBs in fantasy with Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes. When it boils down to it, you can't go wrong with the selection of either. It all boils down to what you want from the position. With Lamar Jackson, you know you are getting more upside from a rushing perspective (1,213 yards on the ground). But shockingly enough, Jackson led the league in not only total points but also passing touchdowns. The question with Jackson for 2020 will be how to value him if there is a regression from his rushing yardage? If that yardage dips, can he offset that with increases from a passer?
Any way you slice it, the Ravens offense is geared to help Jackson succeed and that he does. Outside of industry drafts, expect to see Jackson taken at some point in the first three rounds. Heavy price? yes, but one that is certainly worth it.
The other QB in this tier, Patrick Mahomes, is without a doubt the top passer in the game today and a threat to score from any point on the field. The Chiefs' high-powered offense is tailored for Mahomes skill set allowing him to use his incredible accuracy to hit his playmakers in stride. Due to the injury, Mahomes took a step back in 2019 but still managed to finish as QB6 on the season. With his ability to pile up points (nine QB1 games in 2019), Mahomes should easily be one of the top two QBs off the board during drafts.
The next tier is chock full of established fantasy talents that still have some upside in their value. Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, and Josh Allen all reside within this group. Dak Prescott has been one of the most consistent scorers in fantasy with a QB1 finish in each of the last four years. Now heading into 2020, he is playing for a big contract, surrounded by an immense amount of talent. Playing with a Cowboys offense that is among the best in the league in scoring (6th) and pace of play (6th), Prescott will have his opportunities and should be among the top at the position yet again in 2020.
Between the next two (Murray and Wilson), you have two players that are years apart in experience but bring similar value to their game. Even with a very inconsistent year, Murray used his legs (544 yards and four TDs) to finish as the QB9 on the season. Now with a full year under his belt in the system and the addition of DeAndre Hopkins, Murray has the table set for a major step forward in 2020. The defense is expected to be subpar, putting Murray and the offense in a positive game-script in terms of fantasy production. Wilson continues to be the model of consistency in fantasy scoring never failing to provide a QB1 finish in his career. The Seahawks offensive mentality remains a run-first offense, but we did see an increase in passing attempts (516) from Wilson a year ago. He has the weapons there to utilize (Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf) but must be allowed to be let loose to have value as a passer (only two 300-yard games in 2019). He's become incredibly efficient in scoring (over 30 passing TDs in each of the last three seasons) and must continue to be that way to hold his ranking in fantasy.
The final two QBs in this tier, in my opinion, come with question marks. With back-to-back top-5 finishes at the position, Watson has proven to be a valuable commodity for fantasy owners. But we saw some inconsistencies in his game in 2019. His YPA dropped below 8.0 for the first time, while his interceptions (12) rose as well. The departure of Hopkins will hurt this offense, but the opportunities will still be there for Watson to hold his value in these rankings. As for Allen, there is a lot of promise that he will make yet another step forward in his progression (QB8 in 2019) in the upcoming season. The rushing potential is what drives owners to Allen (17 rushing scores in his first two years), but if Allen is to truly reach his potential he must improve as a passer. He graded out as the worst QB in the league in catchable passes 20-yards downfield a year ago and now has a receiver (Stefon Diggs) that excels in that area. I have Allen as QB14 in my rankings, but I can see Allen taking that step forward and maintaining QB1 value this season.
This group consists of only two veteran QBs playing on high-powered offenses (Matt Ryan and Drew Brees). Even though he has the 26th toughest schedule for the position in 2020, Ryan and the Falcons offense always put up numbers. With weapons all around him and a defense that is expected to be bad, Ryan will have to put up points. He has not been under 4,000 yards passing since 2010 and consistently is around 30 TDs each year. So you know what you are getting with the player. Also, if you believe in superstition, Ryan has been the QB2 each of the past two "even-numbered" years.
Due to the injury last year, it was the first time for Brees outside the top-10 at the position since 2003. Expect for him to be there yet again in 2020 (also may be his final season) thanks in large part to the outstanding supporting cast he has around him.
What could be called the veteran tier, this group is full of years of fantasy football experience. Tom Brady is learning the first new system of his career but is surrounded by what may be the best set of receivers he's ever had. The potential is there for him to see 30 TDs yet again, but I believe the time of him being a high volume passer is done.
Carson Wentz suffered to a QB24 finish a season ago as the team was hit with countless injuries to receivers. But after re-stocking the tool shed, we should see Wentz get back to his QB1 ways in the high-powered Eagles offense.
Both Rodgers and Stafford are aging veterans that seem to be heading in opposite directions.
Sure, Rodgers was again over 4,000 yards passing last year with 26 TDs, but his second-half performance left a lot to be desired. Add in a run-based offense with a lack of receiving options and you have a QB that could likely struggle to get back to his once-dominant ways. Stafford, meanwhile, was on the way to what may have been the best season of his career before the injury. Playing a poor defense and a group of talented wide-outs, Stafford should be able to push for a low-end QB1 finish.
In this next group, you find a mixture of established talents along with some up-and-coming players. Out of this group, the player that catches my eye the most is Daniel Jones. He had an up and down season, as most rookies do, but when he hit he hit big. Two of his big scoring weeks were inside the top-10, a stat that only Lamar Jackson and Russell Wilson can claim for 2019. The supporting cast around him may not be the greatest, but with a poor Giants Defense allowing plenty of points, the honus will be on Jones and the offense to match points. With a full 16 games to work with, I believe that Jones could put together a 4,500-yard season with over 30 TDs. Putting him in the discussion as a low-end QB1.
Meanwhile, the other QBs in this tier all have questions surrounding them. Can Ben Roethlisberger come back from the elbow injury and return to QB1 form? Or will the passing attack continue to suffer after the departure of Antonio Brown? Will Ryan Tannehill carry the momentum of the eight-game stretch to finish the 2019 season forward, or will we see the Titans offense from the playoffs that solely focused on Derrick Henry? Both Jared Goff and Baker Mayfield are coming off of disappointing seasons but have the tools and weapons to make a large leap forward. Goff has been there before but the 12 personnel of the Rams could limit his opportunities to score. While Mayfield flashes the skills of a potential QB1, he lapses in judgment, and turnover worthy plays lead to bouts of inconsistency that lands him in this spot on our rankings.
Joe Burrow stands above veterans Kirk Cousins and Philip Rivers but this is where the rookie QB belongs. He brings a talent at QB to the Bengals that they have not had in years. He can make all the throws and even does that with accuracy down the field. The talent around him is good enough to carry him on off weeks, but Burrow could find himself putting consistent numbers. The Bengals offensive line will be vastly improved in 2020, while the defense may be one of the worst in football.
When it comes to what you need in a fantasy QB, those two factors in heavily. Opportunity is the name of the game, and Burrow should see plenty of it. I would not be shocked to see him put 4,000 passing yards and 30 TD in his rookie season.
Tier 6 and lower
The rest of the QBs that fill out of rankings are players that you will see hold value mostly as QB2s in fantasy or if they are even rostered at all depending on the size of your league. But still, you can find diamonds in the rough down in this area that could prove to be helpful for you in the 2020 season.
Cam Newton- Continues to rise up the rankings and should have weeks in which he puts up QB1 numbers. We've seen in the past when he is healthy he is a viable option to fantasy owners and I expect to see Bill Belichick get the most out of Newton. There will be weeks in which Newton could cause you headaches, but drafting him as a QB2 for fantasy allows you to find the right matchups in which to start him.
Drew Lock- The second-year QB showed down the stretch in 2019 that he has some tools to work with. So the front office went out and added pieces around him to help take the next step. Although they will lean more on the run with Melvin Gordon, look for the Broncos to utilize a lot of 11 personnel with stud Courtland Sutton and rookie Jerry Jeudy causing tough matchups for opposing defenses.
Gardner Minshew II - Minshew's rookie campaign was full of ups and downs but also saw six QB1 finishes. He is starting to catch the eye of other experts in the industry as a potential sleeper for the 2020 season. Much of that is due to the addition of Jay Gruden as offensive coordinator who has gotten the most of QBs like Andy Dalton and Kirk Cousins. With the state of the Jaguars Defense, we could see plenty of garbage time scoring from Minshew in 2020. Which helped a former Jaguar (Blake Bortles) put together a QB1 season previously.
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