Early Fantasy Football Sleepers (2020)
As the NFL playoffs get underway, some of us are basking in the glory of a successful fantasy football season and some are still wondering what went wrong. Whether you’re defending a title or realizing your misguided priorities (relationships, career, personal hygiene, etc.) have hindered your efforts, it’s never too early to start preparing for next season.
There are some obvious caveats involved in putting out this article in January. The draft and free agency will change the dynamics in every team somewhat, as will coaching changes. With that in mind, the upside to posting this now is that the season is still fresh and we can make some more accurate notes to build on as we prepare for next season. Here are some sleepers I’m currently hoping to target next year.
Daniel Jones (NYG)
If you predicted Lamar Jackson’s breakout, kudos to you. I don’t see anyone exploding from the back of the pack this year, but I’m high on Jones and his upside. If you consider that he really only played in 12 games, his point per game average came in at eighth last year; heady stats for a rookie. I’m not sure the Giants even need to add a significant weapon as Darius Slayton looks like the real deal and injuries derailed the production of Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Golden Tate, and Sterling Shepard. A taller red zone threat would be a nice addition, but if the Giants can add a great left tackle in the draft, this offense (and quarterback) could explode. The new coaching staff and scheme will be a significant factor, of course, but that could be a positive factor as well.
Derrius Guice (WAS)
If you think Guice is one of those guys that just can’t stay on the field, I hear you. If you look at his injury history though, it’s really not extensive. As we know, recovering from a knee injury in 2020 is a much faster and more complete process than it was a few years ago. Guice had a minor knee issue in college and then tore his ACL in a preseason game last year. To injure a knee again this year may be exasperating for his owners, but it wasn’t the ACL this time and he hurt it early enough to ensure he should be ready for training camp next season. Ron Rivera has utilized his running backs very well in the past and Guice has undeniable talent.
Ronald Jones (TB)
I’m reluctant to trust Bruce Arians, but he seemed to understand late in the season that Jones was by far his best back. During his last two games, Jones posted 183 yards rushing (25 carries), five receptions for 42 yards, and one touchdown. Those are numbers you can live with for your No. 2 running back and Jones also started looking like he did in college, showing innate ability to make defenders miss and maximize yardage on each play. This is an extremely productive offense and Jones has the chance to become one of the focal points moving forward.
Parris Campbell (IND)
Campbell never had a breakout game last year, as injuries pretty much shut down his rookie season. He’s an extremely fast (4.31 forty) receiver with a good size/speed ratio (six feet, 208 pounds) and a great opportunity in Indianapolis. With T.Y. Hilton drawing coverage, Campbell has the chance to steadily transition from a No. 2 receiver to the top guy over the next couple of years. Even with limited playing time, he should have a much better grasp of the offense next year and could break out as many expected him to do this season.
Preston Williams (MIA)
Williams exploded on the scene during the preseason last year and was a solid contributor during the season until an injury put him on IR. With the long-awaited breakout of DeVante Parker, Williams can return to a productive complementary role next year. The quarterback position is a huge question mark, but Williams looks to have the talent to be a full-time receiver in this league. The 6’5″ receiver is an obvious red-zone threat moving forward as well and could fill the No. 3 receiver spot on your squad for very little investment.
Jonnu Smith (TEN)
Sometimes it’s hard to tear off a label, but the Titans are no longer a terrible offense. Somehow, Ryan Tannehill has resurrected his career and now players like A.J. Brown and Derrick Henry are stars. Smith could be the next one with that designation, as Delanie Walker is 35 years of age and can no longer stay healthy. Coming in at 18th in tight end scoring may keep him off the radar for many owners, but he ended the season strong and is just 24 years old. He is great in the open field and possesses rare speed for a tight end.