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Early 2020 Fantasy Football Rankings + Sleepers

Dec 30, 2019

Christian McCaffrey is the undisputed first overall fantasy pick next season

Congratulations if your fantasy squad took home the title or if your NFL team advanced to the playoffs! Now that the 2019 fantasy football season has come to close, now is a great time to move forward and see what 2020 has in store for us. With both free agency and the NFL Draft in front of us, these rankings are certainly subject to change, but this provides us with an immediate look at who will be atop the fantasy landscape in August based on what we’ve learned from this past season.

We asked the most accurate experts to rank their top 10 players for next year’s drafts. Those rankings were then made into a consensus. Plus, each of our featured analysts also went ahead and broke down their top overall pick and favorite sleeper heading into 2020.

Featured Pros:
Anthony CervinoGridiron Experts
Andy HollowayThe Fantasy Footballers
Jake CielyThe Athletic
Mike TagliereFantasyPros
Dan HarrisFantasyPros
Joe BondFantasy Six Pack
Patrick ThormanEstablish the Run
Jeff RatcliffePro Football Focus

2020 Top-10 Players (Half PPR)

Consensus Rank Player Position Team Best Rank Worst Rank
1. Christian McCaffrey RB CAR 1 1
2. Saquon Barkley RB NYG 2 3
3. Ezekiel Elliott RB DAL 3 4
4. Michael Thomas WR NO 2 6
5, Dalvin Cook RB MIN 3 6
6. Alvin Kamara RB NO 3 9
7. DeAndre Hopkins WR HOU 7 10
8. Nick Chubb RB CLE 7 N/R
T-9. Tyreek Hill WR KC 7 N/R
T-9. Davante Adams WR GB 7 N/R

Also receiving top-10 votes: Derrick Henry (#11), J. Jones (#12), M. Evans (#T-13), J. Mixon (#T-13), J. Jacobs (#T-15), A. Jones (#T-15)

2020 Fantasy Football Draft Advice

Each expert answered two questions about the players they like next season. Here are their suggestions for who you should target.

Q1. Who is your top sleeper candidate for drafts next season?

Preston Williams (WR – MIA)
“If we’re talking early 2020 sleeper candidates in half-PPR scoring formats, 2019 UDFA WR Preston Williams comes to mind from the Dolphins. If they make the right move at quarterback, Williams could really make an impact moving forward. In fact, even if the Dolphins retain Ryan Fitzpatrick as the starter, I would take a shot on Williams in the latter rounds of my fantasy draft. Not only did he finish with 60 targets in eight games (7.5 targets/game), catching 32 of them for 428 yards and three scores, but he also ran a route on 80.6 percent of the Dolphins’ pass plays in the games he was active for prior to tearing his ACL in Week 9. With his six-foot-four, 211-pound frame, this big-bodied wideout could also make an impact in the red area, where he accumulated six receptions this season, finishing 30th amongst qualifying receivers. Considering the fact that the Dolphins are rebuilding, you can assume that there will still be plenty of games in which they are playing from a negative game script, which means there will be more garbage-time production to be had for Williams. And in fantasy football, garbage-time production matters. Just ask Blake Bortles. While it is early, Williams is a player I will be watching closely this offseason. If Williams opens 2020 as Miami’s WR2 — and he could since head coach Brian Flores touted Williams as a “big loss” following his season-ending knee injury and that the wideout did an “incredible job” in the games he played — the impending second-year receiver will be a steal in upcoming fantasy drafts.”
– Anthony Cervino (Gridiron Experts)

Derrius Guice (RB – WAS) 
“I believe Guice is on the Leonard Fournette path and not just because his career path is a near copycat. Guice dealt with multiple injuries and spent his first two seasons missing action. Fournette played 13 and eight games, respectively, while also being banged up through a few outings over his first two seasons. The true reason I reference Fournette is that they are also similar players who have more passing upside than many realize thanks to LSU’s ancient offense (well, until this year). Fournette is proving that by blowing away his previous receiving numbers and I believe Guice was the better prospect coming out of college. The injuries may have taken their toll, but if like Fournette, Guice can finally play a full season in year three, he’ll be in the RB1 conversation.”
– Jake Ciely (The Athletic)

Devin Singletary (RB – BUF) | Christian Kirk (WR – ARI) | Kenyan Drake (RB – ARI) 
“Singletary may well deserve a top-tier draft spot in 2020, but is unlikely to receive it as he came on for fantasy players over the second half. I’d look to snag him as an RB2 draft pick with RB1 potential next year. Look for some draft-day targets on the Cardinals’ offense in 2020 as well, like Kirk and (if re-signed) Drake. Only one team (Saints) had more 25+ point performances since Week 5 of 2019 than the Cardinals. Their draft positions will be muddied by the Cardinals’ losing record, but there is some serious upside in the desert.”
– Andy Holloway (The Fantasy Footballers)

David Johnson (RB – ARI) 
“Johnson is my top sleeper for 2020. His draft stock will plummet after this season, I get it; I really do. However, I’m betting he is not with Arizona next season and gets a shot to be the lead back for a team. DJ proved, pre-injury, that he can still be a legitimate fantasy asset when given the workload, averaging 17-plus fantasy points in half-PPR scoring through six games. I doubt we see the 2016 DJ, but could he be a top-12 back again? Absolutely.”
– Joe Bond (Fantasy Six Pack)

John Ross (WR – CIN) 
“Ross should fly just far enough under the radar, due to Tyler Boyd’s presence and A.J. Green’s return, to be a solid draft value. Particularly in best-ball formats, Ross’ big-play profile will round out wide receiver corps nicely. His 1.97 mark in the uber-predictive yards per route run metric bodes almost as well as Cincinnati’s impending quarterback upgrade.”
– Patrick Thorman (Establish the Run)

Cincinnati Bengals Offense
“It’s extremely tough to give just one player this early in the offseason process since we don’t have any sort of ADP to go off of, so I’m going to just say the Bengals’ offense. This team went through turmoil in 2019, dealing with a multitude of injuries on the offensive line, losing A.J. Green for the season, losing John Ross for a majority of it, and then finding another weapon down the depth chart with Auden Tate. Knowing they have the No. 1 pick and that Joe Burrow is likely to take over as their quarterback, this team suddenly has one of the better skill-position groups in the league. Year two is where we’ll see what Zac Taylor can really do as a play-caller.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

N’Keal Harry (WR – NE) 
“It will admittedly depend on factors such as whether Tom Brady returns and who the Patriots add at receiver, if anyone, but Harry is someone who I currently expect to have many shares of for a bargain price. He dealt with injury for much of the year and was still fairly raw when he was on the field, but he’s incredibly talented and was the Patriots’ first-round pick. Brady looked for him in the red zone, and he has the size and talent to become a major weapon if he can stay healthy. I expect him to take a big leap in year two.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Q2. Why is the player you ranked at No. 1 the best fantasy option in 2020?

Christian McCaffrey (RB – CAR)
“It is safe to say McCaffrey will be the locked and loaded consensus No. 1 overall pick in 2020. Not only has he finished as an RB1 in half-PPR scoring formats in each of his first three seasons in the NFL (RB11, RB3, RB1), but he is also coming off back-to-back years finishing as a top-three back. What’s more, McCaffrey is not just a threat to break off big runs in between the tackles, he is also your prototypical three-down back who is as big of a threat as a receiver, if not more, as a rusher and is showing no signs of slowing down. And while his 2,392 (1,005 receiving) total yards and 19 touchdowns on 403 touches (116 receptions on a team-best 142 targets) is impressive, what made his 2019 showing even more spectacular is the fact that he did it on a Panthers offense without much of a passing attack sans Cam Newton. It was the CMC show and it didn’t really matter that the enemy defense game-planned to contain him on a weekly basis — they just flat out couldn’t. McCaffrey finished as the RB9 or better in all but two weeks in 2019. Oh, and I didn’t even mention the fact that he has yet to miss a game in his career, so durability is a non-issue with this 23-year-old workhorse. As the No. 1 back in opportunity-share (92.4 percent), touches (403), red-zone touches (65), and goal-line carries (13) all while finishing as the No. 6 back in yards per touch (5.9), it is safe to say that McCaffrey is in line for another opportunity-filled campaign in 2020 with no signs of a significant regression in his production. Although some should be expected if we’re being real — especially if the Panthers make the right move at quarterback this offseason, which could open up those clogged running lanes — you’d be crazy to look anywhere else than in McCaffrey’s direction if you’re drafting from the 1.01 spot in your 2020 fantasy football drafts, regardless of scoring format.”
– Anthony Cervino (Gridiron Experts)

“If Christian McCaffrey isn’t your No. 1 pick, there’s something wrong with your process. Sure, there may be some who point out that it’s extremely rare for a running back to finish No. 1 in back-to-back seasons, but unless you’re projecting injury (something you shouldn’t do), there’s no process that would suggest McCaffrey isn’t the safest pick atop 2020 drafts. Looking at the 15 games played in Weeks 1-16, his receiving stats of 109 receptions, 933 yards, and four touchdowns would’ve placed him as the No. 13 wide receiver in PPR formats. Over the final six games of the season, he saw 72 targets. There were just 53 wide receivers who hit that mark during the entire fantasy season. Oh, and if we were relying on just rushing production from running backs, his 1,361 yards and eight touchdowns would’ve been No. 1 among running backs. So, you’re getting the RB1 and a borderline WR1 when you start him.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Christian McCaffrey is locked at No. 1 heading into the 2020 season after hitting 1,000 rushing yards and 1,000 receiving yards with three different quarterbacks in 2019. He’s simply too dynamic, too versatile, and too integral to this team. The variables around him seem to be reduced to insignificance and he puts up dominant performances, regardless of touchdown opportunities. An absolute beast, CMC will go No. 1 in 2020.”
– Andy Holloway (The Fantasy Footballers)

Christian McCaffrey will be my No. 1 regardless of if Cam Newton is back at quarterback. We’re talking about one of the most impactful running backs of all time, who rescues his fantasy value if he’s having a low rushing week thanks to his WR1-like receiving upside. I know people will be quick to push against a running back repeating as No. 1, but Todd Gurley just did it in 2017-18 — while missing games — and while being more touchdown reliant.”
– Jake Ciely (The Athletic)

“I doubt any fantasy owner will seriously consider taking anyone other than Christian McCaffrey with the first overall pick in any format. Regardless of his quarterback, McCaffrey combines an incredibly high floor with a preposterously high ceiling. He has a sky-high involvement in the passing game, is consistently used near the goal line, and is as durable as they come. There’s no reason to overthink this one.”
– Dan Harris (FantasyPros)

Christian McCaffrey is the obvious choice here. He was fantastic in 2018 and actually got better in 2019. There is likely to be a young, unproven quarterback and there will be a new coach, but I can’t imagine the workload changing much for CMC who is as reliable as they come. He is going to be one of the safest No. 1 overall picks ever.”
– Joe Bond (Fantasy Six Pack)

Christian McCaffrey’s ridiculous workload isn’t going anywhere soon. His passing game usage is unmatched and he maintained excellent efficiency despite the rest of the offense careening toward dumpster-fire territory. His environment will almost certainly improve.”
– Patrick Thorman (Establish the Run)

Thanks to 2019’s most accurate experts for sharing their advice! For more of the experts’ insight, be sure to follow each pundit on Twitter (click their names above) and visit their respective sites. Happy New Year to everyone!

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