15 Players to Target in Dynasty Leagues (2020 Fantasy Football)
Leading up to free agency and the NFL Draft, there is opportunity to speculate and capitalize on potential offseason moves that impact player values. To help you, we’ve asked our writers for the players that they are currently targeting the most in their dynasty fantasy football leagues.
Q: Which player are you targeting most in dynasty leagues?
Mecole Hardman (WR – KC)
With the outstanding performances of rookie receivers like A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf making headlines, Hardman has flown under the radar as a fantasy asset. The former second-round pick didn’t do much in his first year, catching 26 balls for 538 yards and six touchdowns. However, that was mainly a product of opportunity. Hardman only received 41 targets and averaged a 45% snap share in 2019. Even when Tyreek Hill was sidelined, Hardman only averaged 66% of the snaps and three receptions per game. If we extrapolate his numbers and take his performance on a per-100 snaps basis, he would rank 11th among wide receivers in fantasy points. With Sammy Watkins potentially on his way out and Demarcus Robinson hitting free agency, Hardman is slated to take over the WR2 role opposite Tyreek Hill in a Chiefs’ offense that averaged the fifth-highest points per game (28.2) in 2019. After finishing as the WR64 in his rookie year, Hardman is slated to see a massive increase in production and could enter WR2 territory in 2020. He’s my favorite buy in dynasty, and I am trying to grab him everywhere I can get him.
– Dan Ambrosino (@AmbrosinoNFL)
I am trying to get as many Mecole Hardman shares in dynasty leagues as humanly possible. He won’t be cheap to acquire, but Hardman’s price will never be lower than it is right now. There is a legitimate chance that the Chiefs decide to move on from Sammy Watkins this offseason in order to shave $14 million off their cap, which would lock Hardman onto the field for every snap of a Patrick Mahomes’ offense. Watkins has one final season left on his contract and even if the Chiefs hold onto him, Watkins has not exactly been a perfect beacon of health throughout his career. Hardman is too talented to keep off the field – he averaged an absurd 20.7 yards per catch in his rookie season, and Hardman’s game-breaking speed will lead to gobs of big plays and long touchdowns. Hardman turns 22-years-old in March and will be an anchor for your wide receiver core for the next 8+ years. Giddy up!
– Jarad Evans (@Jarad_Evans)
Justin Jefferson (WR – LSU)
I have consistently written that Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy is my favorite fantasy prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft. I am not alone in that assessment and the only way I can target Jeudy in a dynasty league is if I have one of the first picks. A player that I am most targeting in dynasty leagues means a player that I think will be available after the early picks and that I think could have both an immediate impact with a chance for future stardom. Jefferson is a player that may or may not go in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, so he is a player that should be available after the first round in a dynasty league rookie draft. He is a big player at 6′ 3″ and 192 pounds. He had great statistics playing with quarterback Joe Burrow, and he finished 2019 with 111 receptions for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns. The statistics are great, but that does not necessarily translate to the NFL, especially when he played on such a loaded college team that won the National Championship. What I love about his college game that I do think translates to the NFL is his versatility. Jefferson played the slot wide receiver position for LSU and excelled in that spot, but he can also play on the outside. He runs good routes, and he has both the size to be a red-zone threat and the speed to be a deep threat. Making a contribution as a rookie means being able to see the field early in the season. Two things that will help a rookie wide receiver see the field early is solid route running and the ability to play multiple positions. If he goes to a team with a good quarterback situation and offensive creativity, he has a chance to contribute immediately. He just turned 21 years old in January, and his upside is tremendous. That combination of ability to see the field immediately and upside to be a future star makes him a player that I would be targeting a lot in my dynasty leagues.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)
2017 First Round Players
The 2017 draft ended up being pretty prosaic outside the quarterback position. First-round players that have fallen from grace but still have potential are guys I’m looking for. In particular, I am trying to acquire wide receivers Corey Davis and John Ross and tight ends O.J. Howard and David Njoku. All four are cheap as chips and have the potential to take off this year. Davis has been very disappointing but still has been mildly productive, and A.J. Brown is only helping his potential rise. Ross was on fire last year until he got hurt and now should get an upgrade at quarterback. O.J. Howard is my “talent over situation” player. As a Buccaneers fan, I hope Arians finds a way to exploit his talent. And with the post-Sashi regime out of Cleveland, I hope the new group finds room for Njoku. Like Howard, he’s too athletic and talented to just ignore.
– Marc Mathyk (@masterjune70)
Odell Beckham Jr. (WR – CLE)
The price tag has gotten far too cheap for a guy that’s clearly one of the most talented wide receivers in the NFL. OBJ is 27 years old and it isn’t too long ago that he was the WR7 or higher in PPR in three straight seasons. The Browns’ offense is only going to improve after getting rid of Freddie Kitchens. Beckham has plenty of years of production ahead of him for fantasy football, and we often forget that it wasn’t long ago that he was in consideration for the WR1 in dynasty, even the 1.01 in startup dynasty drafts. Anytime a player like this sees a major drop in value, it’s worth taking a look at buying him low.
– Aaron Schillinger (@aaron_schill)
Damien Harris (RB – NE)
There are a lot of excellent names on this list, but almost all of them will cost a pretty penny. Damien Harris might be free. He never saw the field in 2019 after New England drafted him with a third-round pick, so most owners have soured on his value going forward. However, rookie running backs rarely touch the ball in the Bill Belichick era unless they were first-round picks. Harris ran a 4.57 40 and posted the fourth-best vertical jump among all running backs in the 2019 class. He’s an explosive athlete built to handle a full carry load in the NFL. Harris drew a lot of Mark Ingram comps during the draft process, and he split carries with Josh Jacobs at Alabama. Jacobs is unquestionably the better back, but the split Belichick’s good friend Nick Saban employed may be a similar split New England sees with Harris and Sony Michel in 2020. Michel hasn’t been the same since reaggravating the same knee he injured in 2017, and he finished at the bottom of the pack in yards after contact. It’s not far-fetched to envision Harris assuming primary ballcarrier duties in New England sooner rather than later, and he can probably be acquired as a big upside dart throw for dirt cheap if he’s not currently sitting on your waiver wire.
– Paul Ghiglieri (@FantasyGhigs)
Mark Andrews (TE – BAL)
Heading into the 2019 season, Ravens tight end Mark Andrews was a popular pick to be the breakout tight end of the year. At the same time, there were also skeptics saying, “he doesn’t get enough snaps to be fantasy relevant.” Well, guess what? In a way, both sides were right. Even while playing on only 41% of the Ravens’ offensive snaps, Andrews had a terrific year finishing second overall in scoring among tight ends. In a season in which Andrews never played more than 56% of snaps in any given game, he still racked up 64 receptions, 852 yards, and 10 touchdowns. On the surface, those numbers are great, but you can’t expect a player to perform as well as Andrews did while only playing on 41% of snaps. That said, this stat would worry me a lot more if there weren’t rumors swirling about the possible departure of fellow Ravens’ tight end, Hayden Hurst. If the Ravens were to move on from Hurst it would allow Andrews to play significantly more snaps which will only lead to more fantasy points. Good tight ends are hard to come by in fantasy football, especially dynasty leagues, which is why acquiring someone like Andrews now is a move everybody should be looking to make.
– Eli Berkovits (@BookofEli_NFL)
Josh Jacobs (RB – LVR)
Jacobs is coming off an impressive rookie campaign in which he carried the ball 242 times for 1,150 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in just 13 games for the Raiders. That’s more than half the carries backup running back DeAndre Washington received last year (most of which came in Jacobs’ absence) and was good enough for a top-20 fantasy finish in PPR formats. Though Jacobs was limited in the passing game with only 27 targets, 20 receptions, and no scores out of the backfield in 2019, Raiders GM Mike Mayock believes 2020 could be a big year for Jacobs in the team’s aerial assault. “Josh can catch a football,” Mayock told reporters earlier this week, “and I think challenge No. 1 for him in Year Two is developing those talents.” As the lone ranger in the Raider rushing attack in 2020 — and the likely beneficiary of more targets in the passing game — I am buying as many shares of Josh Jacobs as possible in all dynasty leagues.
– Jim Colombo (@WideRightNBlue)
Deebo Samuel (WR – SF) & Terry McLaurin (WR – WAS)
Terry McLaurin and Deebo Samuel are currently the WR29 and WR31 in our Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR) for PPR leagues. Samuel finished as the WR13 in Half-PPR scoring per-game over the final eight weeks of the season (including Week 17 since the 49ers were playing for something). McLaurin finished as the WR25 in Half-Point PPR scoring per-game in 2019 (factoring out Antonio Brown who played 1 game, also excluding Week 17). McLaurin was a bit worse with Haskins, logging a WR35 finish in per-game scoring after Haskins took over the starting job. That said, the team context for McLaurin can’t get much worse in 2020, as he dealt with a rookie quarterback who was playing behind a bad offensive line. McLaurin established himself as a true alpha in the league with great versatility and will be a staple of fantasy teams in a WR2 capacity for many years to come. Samuel has even more upside (and arguably more safety), especially with his main established competition in Emmanuel Sanders possibly heading to a lukewarm free-agent market. Samuel is a perfect chess piece for a fantasy-friendly offense and should be a featured weapon for the 49ers for the better part of the next decade.
– Mark Leipold (@LeipoldNFL)
Juju Smith-Schuster (WR – PIT)
I bought into Juju Smith-Schuster entering the 2019 season and got burned. Based on what he showed in his 2018 breakout season, I was confident that he could repeat his production in 2019. Unfortunately, those hopes went down the drain when Ben Roethlisberger suffered an elbow injury, leaving Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges to lead the team. Spoiler alert: it didn’t go well for them or the rest of the offense. Per Sports Info Solutions, Roethlisberger’s percent of catchable throws over the last four seasons was 75 percent — that dipped to just over 71 percent with Rudolph and Hodges. Furthermore, the Steelers threw the ball 11 times per game fewer in 2019 than they did in 2018, the most significant decrease in passing attempts this past season. As far as Juju himself, he’s still one of the younger players in the league, despite already having three seasons under his belt. At just 23 years old, he’s younger than Courtland Sutton, Terry McLaurin, Chris Godwin, and Calvin Ridley. Assuming Roethlisberger is back to full health to start the season, I’m expecting a major bounce back for Juju and the rest of the Steelers’ offense. It won’t be easy to get Juju, but if there’s any time to buy low, it’s now.
– Sam Hoppen (@SamHoppen)
Tyler Boyd (WR – CIN)
Many people in the dynasty fantasy football community believe we have seen Boyd’s ceiling. Looking at the raw data and opportunity, that is difficult to argue against. The 25-year-old is coming off a career fantasy season where he saw 148 targets and 90 receptions with 1,046 yards and five touchdowns. While being the go-to receiver in a lackluster offense, Boyd managed to reach WR18 in full PPR formats. There is certainly concern related to the Bengals bringing in another pass-catcher or even the possibility of the return of A.J. Green, which would possibly cut into Boyd’s target share and production. While this might be true, we must look at the circumstances surrounding Boyd and the Bengals in 2019. The Bengals were near the bottom of the league in many offensive categories, including points for, passing touchdowns, interceptions, first downs, and scoring percentage. Poor offensive line and quarterback play did not help the cause. Boyd’s catchable target rate was 76.9%, which ranked 58th among all wide receivers. While it is all but given that the Cincinnati Bengals will be drafting Joe Burrow with the first-overall pick in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft, we can not only expect a higher perceived value through this offseason but also a more efficient 2020 from Boyd than we have seen in years past. Boyd is currently coming in at WR24 in terms of our Expert Consensus Rankings, as well as current DLF dynasty mock ADP. Invest in Boyd throughout this offseason and enjoy the value spike in the future.
– John Bauer (@TheBauerClub)
Preston Williams (WR – MIA)
One non-rookie I am targeting in dynasty leagues this offseason is Preston Williams of the Miami Dolphins. While I expect the Dolphins to make at least one offseason addition at wide receiver, Williams’ role should be safe. Williams led the Dolphins in targets, receptions, receiving yards, and air yards before he was lost for the season in Week 9. Bridge starter Ryan Fitzpatrick played much better in the second half of the season and has a clear affinity for the undrafted free agent. DeVante Parker has far surpassed Williams in dynasty value in the eyes of many, but Williams is the receiver to own until Parker proves he can outproduce him when both are healthy.
– Raju Byfield (@FantasyContext)