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12 Must-Have Players (Fantasy Football)

Jun 25, 2020

Clyde Edwards-Helaire has the potential to be one of this year’s most productive RBs

We’re only about a month away from the start of training camp and NFL fever is now beginning to heat up! As the fake football draft season begins, hardcore fantasy managers have already begun their research to recognize which athletes could push them to a title in 2020. The following list of players is a mix of discounted guys who possess incredible upside and early or mid-round athletes that still have room in their draft price to offer good value and become some of the game’s elite producers. Once your draft starts, you’d do well to be on the lookout for all of these names. Without further ado, here are our featured pundits’ must-have players for the upcoming season.

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Q. What one player outside the top 30 in the half-PPR expert consensus are you hoping to end up with in all your leagues and why?

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC): Consensus Rank: 33rd Overall | RB16
“I’m as scared as you probably are, but I’ll have my eye on Edwards-Helaire in every draft in the fall. The running back landscape gets very murky pretty quickly and I’d rather lock in his sky-high potential at a reasonable value in the mid-30s than roll the dice on massive risks like Todd Gurley, Leonard Fournette, or Melvin Gordon around the same spot. Chiefs running backs as a unit had 87 receptions and 17 total touchdowns last year and that was with a weekly carousel of mystery and — dare I say — mediocre talent. I’ll happily take the risk, and hopefully the reward, with Edwards-Helaire.”
– Donald Gibson (FantasyPros)

“All eyes are on the new member of the Chiefs’ running back corps, Clyde Edwards-Helaire. A fantasy football dream come true, he was selected in the first round to be used immediately. No team selects a running back that early to deploy him in a committee. The rookie has the skill set to be a three-down back and a star in today’s NFL because of his versatility. Andy Reid’s top running back has ended as top-eight back in fantasy points per game in 12 of the last 16 seasons. Patrick Mahomes‘ newest weapon has top-five potential this season.”
– Mauricio Gutierrez (Estadio Fantasy)

Keenan Allen (WR – LAC): Consensus Rank: 46th Overall | WR20
“I’m not the kind of guy who chases the sexy pick and I’ll rarely pay an expectant price for a player. By the time the draft rolls around, we’ll have had enough shirtless photos of A.J. Brown to whip the fantasy community into a frenzy and as much as I want in on that action, I probably won’t pay for him in redraft leagues. The alternate move then is to look for a player no one is talking about and this year that’s Allen. People have been doubting him for years, but he’s played three-straight 16-game seasons with a minimum of 97 receptions and 1,196 yards. Will the Chargers run more with Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert? Probably. Are they a downgrade at quarterback? Maybe. But do they seem likely to trail in games, giving him a ton of second-half targets? Yup. He’s finished as the WR15 or (considerably) better in each of those three seasons and did so while only scoring six touchdowns a year. No regression here.”
– Jon Collins (Fantasy Sports LR)

Terry McLaurin (WR – WAS): Consensus Rank: 57th Overall | WR25
“In order to end the season as a WR1, a receiver historically needs to achieve a pair of milestones — see a minimum of 130 targets and reach the end zone at least six times. McLaurin, the 25th ranked wide receiver in ECR who is widely available in the sixth round of early drafts, fits the profile of a target magnet with skills in the red zone. I understand why he remains undervalued despite an excellent rookie season where he posted a line of 58/919/7 — Washington has one of the more underwhelming rosters in the league. This lack of offensive firepower, however, is why you should be targeting McLaurin. Don’t be surprised if he ends up amongst the league leaders in targets and puts up a top-12 season at a sixth-round price tag, locked in as the focal point of Washington’s offense.”
– Matthew Hill (DataForce Fantasy Football)

Raheem Mostert (RB – SF): Consensus Rank: 61st Overall | RB26
“There is always some risk when drafting Kyle Shanahan running backs since he changes starters so often, but there is a potentially HUGE reward with Mostert. Check out this list of the running backs with the most fantasy points over any eight-week stretch last season. Christian McCaffrey – 205.9 (ADP No. 1), Derrick Henry – 171.7 (ADP N0. 7), Dalvin Cook – 163.6 (ADP No. 6), Aaron Jones – 151.4 (ADP No. 15), Raheem Mostert – 149.2 (ADP No. 63), Ezekiel Elliott – 133.8 (ADP No. 3), and Kenyan Drake – 131.4 (ADP No. 21). Those were the only eight weeks Mostert started for the 49ers. He has a legitimate chance to be a top-five fantasy running back and yet you can get him easily as your RB3, so I’ll have him everywhere.”
– Bobby Sylvester (FantasyPros)

D.J. Moore (WR – CAR): Consensus Rank: 31st Overall | WR13
“He’s not too far outside of the top 30, but Moore is my answer. He took a major leap in his sophomore year catching passes primarily from Kyle Allen. And while Teddy Bridgewater isn’t a household name, he’s an improvement. By the way, he’s entering his third NFL campaign at 23 years old — a couple months younger than Rams rookie wide receiver Van Jefferson. Here’s a fun fact to serve as icing on the proverbial cake — Moore is the only player in football history to tally at least 140 catches, 1,900 yards and 200 rushing yards in his first two seasons, according to Pro Football Reference. Look for the Maryland alum to ascend to WR1 status in 2020.”
– Zach Greubel (Gridiron Experts)

Calvin Ridley (WR – ATL): Consensus Rank: 39th Overall | WR17
“If possible, I’d have Ridley on all my fantasy teams. He’s a true breakout candidate that checks all the boxes. Prior to getting hurt and having his season cut short, Ridley was on pace for 1,066 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019, which would have had him as the WR14. Now going into his third NFL season, there’s a real chance for a breakout, even if Julio Jones isn’t going away any time soon. If you want to know if there’s room for both to be WR1s, look no further than the Bucs last year with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Ridley is an ascending talent and the Falcons didn’t add a receiver of significance to replace Mohamed Sanu.”
– Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros)

Jonathan Taylor (RB – IND): Consensus Rank: 51st Overall | RB23
“I’m drafting Taylor every chance I get. His current ranking is an absolute joke and I don’t know why more people aren’t on board. He’s one of the best RB prospects we’ve seen in the last 10 years, posting over 2,000 yards in all three seasons at Wisconsin thanks to a 99th percentile speed score mixed with well-above-average burst and agility. He’s an elite running back behind one of the best offensive lines in football, playing with one of the best screen game quarterbacks in the sport.”
– Nick Zylak (Fantasy Football Advice)

Ronald Jones II (RB – TB): Consensus Rank: 101st Overall | RB39
“I’ll go outside the top 100 here and say Jones II, who is just 22 (a year younger than Ke’Shawn Vaughn) and about 20 slots lower on the ECR table. The risk-reward is excellent there for a runner attached to a Bucs squad that has an improved defense and should get better in the turnovers department thanks to Tom Brady stepping in for Jameis Winston, creating better run scripts throughout their games. I’m not saying RoJo is the runaway RB1 on this team — there’s room for both to perform — but everyone’s attacking the receivers while letting this dimension of the offense slip. The fact that Jones mustered over 700 rush yards (and 1,000 total yards) as a 22-year-old, second-year back in an offense that had to go vertical so often makes a strong enough case for me to hit ‘draft’ all over.”
– Nick Mariano (RotoBaller)

Christian Kirk (WR – ARI): Consensus Rank: 98th Overall | WR38
“At WR38, Kirk barely cracks the consensus top 100 and I don’t get it. If Cardinals signal-caller Kyler Murray is going to be a top-five fantasy quarterback, he’ll need to heavily target some players not named DeAndre Hopkins, and after cresting 100 targets in only 13 games last year, Kirk is the most likely candidate for big volume next to Nuk. Kirk’s situation is pretty similar to Calvin Ridley’s and everyone loves Ridley this season. But for whatever reason, Kirk hasn’t seen the same spike in cost, so I’m hoping to snap up that arbitrage value with Kirk in all of my drafts.”
– Greg Smith (TwoQBs)

Courtland Sutton (WR – DEN): Consensus Rank: 44th Overall | WR19
“It’s close between Sutton and D.K. Metcalf, but I will choose the former. Sutton had a monster second season in 2019 despite playing with a decrepit Joe Flacco and inept Brandon Allen for most of the year. He showed a nice rapport with Drew Lock at the end of the season, seeing a total of 35 targets in his final four games. With Lock and Sutton having more experience and some time to build more chemistry, Sutton should be even better in 2020.”
– Walter Cherepinsky (WalterFootball)

Dallas Goedert (TE – PHI): Consensus Rank: 124th Overall | TE15
“I prefer to wait at tight end this year given how much upside there is in the TE10-20 range. It also means there are plenty of fallback options if someone else were to snatch Goedert from me. The appeal with Goedert is that he should be able to return value at his ADP (TE16), even if Zach Ertz remains healthy. However, if Ertz were to miss any time, Goedert would be a potential top-five tight end. No other tight end possesses that built-in upside. Considering we are entering a season with the most uncertainty we have ever seen, it’s wise to load up on anti-fragile players like Goedert.”
– Sean Koerner (The Action Network)

Jonnu Smith (TE – TEN): Consensus Rank: 126th Overall | TE16
“When answering this question, I take ADP (average draft position) into account. With that in mind, Smith is the player that I’m considering a ‘must-have’ player in 2020. He’s on the verge of a huge breakout in this offense and he’s currently going outside the top-12 tight ends. Last year, I planted my flag early on Chris Godwin. This year, I’m calling my shot with Smith.”
– Kyle Yates (FantasyPros)

Thank you to the experts for giving us their must-have players. Be sure to give them a follow on Twitter and subscribe to our podcast below for advice all year round.

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