Potential 2020 Starters to Stash (2019 Fantasy Football)

by Zachary Hanshew | @ZaktheMonster | Featured Writer
Aug 25, 2019

Duke Johnson has the chance to takeover Houston’s starting RB job this season

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We’re just a couple weeks away from opening kickoff of the 2019 NFL season, but there’s no reason why we can’t look ahead to 2020. There are plenty of players whose number will get called next year due to expiring contracts ahead of them on the depth chart, retirement, or overwhelming talent that forces the coaching staff’s hand. Today, I’m going to highlight 20 players who could be highly valuable one year from today. If you play in dynasty or keeper formats, these are guys you should stash now as an early investment for the 2020 season, and some of them have fantasy value right now.

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Quarterback

Dwayne Haskins (WAS)
The big-bodied Ohio State quarterback was the second signal-caller off the board in this year’s draft, going 15th to the Redskins. Despite the lofty draft capital Washington spent on Haskins, he’s likely to start the season riding the bench behind Case Keenum and his perennial mediocrity. It’s going to be a losing season for the Redskins anyway, and the coaching staff may see the light sooner than later and give Haskins the reps he needs. Still, his status is uncertain for his inaugural campaign. However, Haskins will almost certainly be the starter next season, and he’s worth a stash in dynasty formats, particularly in two-quarterback and superflex leagues.

Teddy Bridgewater (NO)
Bridgewater got a fresh start with the Saints when he was traded from the Jets last offseason. After tearing his ACL and missing the 2016 season, Bridgewater had a poor 2017 and wound up with the Jets, where he was nothing but bench fodder. The Saints gave up a second-rounder for Bridgewater, and he has been impressive in limited action with New Orleans, having a great 2019 camp. He’s the heir apparent to Drew Brees (who is in a contract year) and could be the Saints’ starter as early as 2020. Stash the dual-threat quarterback while you can.

Jarrett Stidham (NE)
This is a more speculative pick, but the Patriots don’t seem willing to give Tom Brady the contract extension he’s looking for, and he could be out the door next season, leaving Stidham as his replacement. With a year under his belt to learn from the GOAT, the fourth-rounder should be NFL ready by year two. Add in the fact that he’s playing in a Bill Belichick system, and you’ve got a recipe for success. It’s unclear what his value will be in standard leagues, but he’s certainly worth a look in two-quarterback or superflex leagues.

Daniel Jones (NYG)
The Duke product has been highly successful in his first taste of NFL action, going 16-of-19 for 228 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions in two preseason games thus far. If he doesn’t end up starting at some point this season for the Giants, he’ll be a virtual lock to open 2020 as the starter, especially with the 39-year-old Eli Manning as a free agent next year.

Josh Rosen (MIA)
Rosen has been outplayed by Ryan Fitzpatrick in the preseason, but he’s the future of the franchise. Fitzpatrick is on his eighth team in 15 seasons, and Rosen is just trying to catch a break after a rookie season in Arizona where he received little support. If he can get the green light from the coaching staff, Rosen could be an effective fantasy quarterback next season.

Running Back

Duke Johnson (HOU)
Johnson will start this season as a backup to Lamar Miller, likely playing a complementary role as a passing-down back. Johnson is known for his abilities as a receiver out of the backfield and even finished as an RB1 in PPR formats just two seasons ago. Underutilized and underappreciated by the Browns, Johnson got the trade he so desperately desired and should see a lot more work with the Texans than with the Browns.

Lamar Miller has been largely underwhelming in his three seasons with Houston, and this is the final year of his deal. He’s unlikely to call NRG home in 2020, setting the stage for Johnson to be the lead back next season. It’s entirely possible Johnson plays himself into the RB1 role as early as this season, and he has standalone value in PPR formats. He presents some serious flex value in redraft leagues this year and is a perfect dynasty stash.

Kalen Ballage (MIA)
The second-year back flashed with limited touches last season, notably going 12/123/1 on the ground against the Vikings in Week 15. With Kenyan Drake banged up right now, Ballage has a good shot to be a Week 1 starter. Even if Drake’s health doesn’t cause him to miss time, Ballage will likely see a healthy dose of touches in a timeshare.

Drake is in a contract year, and he couldn’t take the feature role last season from a 200-year-old Frank Gore. He’s been largely disappointing, and Miami probably won’t bring him back beyond this season. The 6’2″ and 231-pound Ballage is the back of the future in Miami. He should be owned in redraft formats now as a sleeper and a potential streamer if Drake misses time, but he’s a highly valuable back to stash in dynasty formats.

Devin Singletary (BUF)
Singletary will be the Bills’ starting running back to open the 2020-21 season. Book it. The talented third-round pick has turned heads in training camp with his big-play ability and he could even be a huge part of the Bills’ offense in 2020. This backfield currently features LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore, two backs who have racked up a ton of touches in their respective careers and will both be free agents next year. The third-rounder out of Florida Atlantic is dripping with upside and should be rostered in 12-team redraft formats now and stashed in dynasty leagues.

Derrius Guice (WAS)
Guice has dealt with serious injuries over his first two offseasons, but he should be a huge part of the Redskins’ offensive gameplan when fully healthy. If he’s not healthy enough to take on a workhorse role this season, he’ll take that role on in 2020. The extremely talented LSU product will undoubtedly be worth a lot in a year’s time, especially if he impresses this season. Get him and stash him before his price skyrockets.

Matt Breida (SF)
Breida will be the 49ers’ top backup this season with Jerick McKinnon possibly opening the season on IR. Breida had a great 2018-19 season, going for 1,075 scrimmage yards and five total touchdowns, averaging a healthy 5.3 yards per carry. He’s in the final year of his deal, and with Tevin Coleman (and possibly McKinnon) ahead of him on the depth chart, Breida should draw interest from tunning back-needy teams in 2020 if he tests free agency. He’s a great player to hold onto, especially if he can land a starting job next season.

Wide Receiver

Preston Williams (MIA)
Williams has been dominant in his first training camp and he looks to have all the tools needed to make a big impact at receiver. The Dolphins haven’t had a dominant No. 1 receiver in years and if Williams can continue to make plays consistently, he could be the guy. It’s not a bad idea to take a chance on him in deeper redraft leagues this season, and rostering him in dynasty formats could pay big dividends next season and beyond. DeVante Parker is on the last year of his deal and has been a bust to this point in his career. If he doesn’t return to Miami, opportunities will be even more plentiful for Williams.

Mecole Hardman (KC)
It’s unclear if Tyreek Hill will get an extension from the Chiefs, but even if he does, Hardman is in line to see extended action next season. The oft-injured Sammy Watkins has a hard time staying on the field, and Hardman can fill Watkins’ role as a burner downfield. The rookie needs to be rostered in dynasty formats and is worth a 14-team league flyer in redraft formats.

Andy Isabella/Hakeem Butler/KeeSean Johnson (ARI)
It’s the last year of Larry Fitzgerald’s illustrious career, and someone in this receiving corps will benefit from his retirement. Who that is just isn’t clear yet. Isabella, the quick UMass receiver in the Danny Amendola mold, could see some slot work this season. Big-bodied Iowa State wide receiver Hakeem Butler broke his hand and will likely miss his rookie season. He’s a buy-low option. KeeSean Johnson has been the star of training camp.

All three receivers present some upside if they can land a starting role next season. Isabella and Johnson have a chance to start now, but the recent signing of Michael Crabtree puts a major damper on that outlook. All three of these receivers are worth a dynasty stash with plenty of opportunities available next season in Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray’s air-raid offense.

Tight End

Jonnu Smith (TEN)
Smith will have to sit behind Delanie Walker for at least one more season, but the up-and-coming tight end should be in for a big role next year. With Walker out almost all last year, Smith put up a 20/258/3 receiving line in 14 starts. It wasn’t an eye-popping year, but he displayed some serious athleticism on a few catch-and-runs. With another year to develop, and Walker in the last year of his deal, Smith should open 2020 as the Titans’ starting tight end.

Austin Hooper (ATL)
Hooper made his first Pro Bowl last season, thanks to a breakout campaign that saw him finish with a 71/660/4 receiving line. Hooper is a free agent next year, and he’ll likely draw a lot of interest around the league. His value could spike if he lands with a receiver-needy team, as his upside in Atlanta is capped by the presence of Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.

Ian Thomas (CAR)
Greg Olsen is saddling up for one more ride, and Thomas will have to wait another season to get starter duties, barring an injury to the former. Thomas finished his rookie campaign on a high note, going 25/246/2 over the final five games of the 2018-19 season. As Carolina’s full-time starter next season, he’ll be a highly-touted fantasy asset.

Mo Alie-Cox (IND)
The former VCU basketball player only managed seven receptions for 133 yards and two scores in his first NFL action last season, but he displayed some strong blocking abilities and major athleticism – two qualities that will likely earn him some more time on the field this season. At 6’5″ and 267 pounds, Alie-Cox has a huge frame and dynamic leaping ability. He and fellow tight end Eric Ebron and Jack Doyle are all in the final year of their respective deals, and Alie-Cox could be a big part of an offense next season, whether it’s playing for the Colts or another team.

Blake Jarwin (DAL)
It’s another case of a veteran taking reps from an up-and-comer, as Jarwin will have to wait for his turn another year behind Jason Witten. The second-year tight end showed promise last season with a 27/307/3 receiving line highlighted by a 119-yard, three-touchdown effort in Week 17. Without Witten and a clear No. 2 behind Amari Cooper, targets will be up for grabs in Dallas in 2020. Jarwin is in the last year of his own deal and he could be an impactful playmaker if he signs elsewhere. He’s a solid dynasty stash.

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Zachary Hanshew is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Zachary, check out his archive and follow him @zakthemonster.

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