20 Players Who Will Move Up Draft Boards (2020 Fantasy Football)
Now that sports have disappeared for an extended period of time, there are more fantasy football fanatics wanting to draft sooner than ever to fill that void. I’m one of them. Why shouldn’t you draft early?
Well, part of the reason people don’t is due to other owners in the league complaining. They’ll say something to the effect of, “What if my guy gets hurt? Then I’m screwed for the season.” Let me be clear when I say that if you play with guys/girls who say this, you should be in contention for the championship every single season because they don’t understand the simplicity of injuries and how it affects fantasy. Their stud running back who they drafted in the first-round could go down in Week 1. It’s just as easy that one of the other 11 teams had their first-round pick get hurt. This should not have any impact on when you draft.
The real reason they don’t want to draft early is due to them being unprepared to do so. They’d never want to admit that, but ideally, you draft as early as possible. If your leaguemates said they’d draft today, do it. I said it last year and I’ll say it again – there’s value to be had everywhere for those who are informed. Every news blurb you’ve read on our site, any article that you’ve read about Hayden Hurst, every tweet you’ve read, every podcast you’ve listened to… you’ve learned something from every single one. Guess what? Your leaguemates haven’t. I know this because of where the ADP is on players like Hurst.
Of the 20 players I projected to move up boards last year, 14 of them did, while A.J. Green was one who didn’t because of injury. The idea is to give you the best idea on which players you can get as a steal right now before the majority of public catches on. The data used in this is from our consensus ADP (average draft position) that is collected from various sites in half-PPR from the week of 6/8/2020.
Kyler Murray (ARI) Current ADP: QB6, Guess ADP: QB4
It’s somewhat shocking to see Murray as the sixth quarterback off the board, considering he had a pedestrian rookie season and still finished as the No. 8 quarterback, and now has DeAndre Hopkins added to his arsenal. Not only that, but year two under Kliff Kingsbury will certainly help. There’s a short list of quarterbacks with QB1 potential, and Murray’s on it.
Gardner Minshew (JAX) Current ADP: QB28, Guess ADP: QB21
Everything the Jaguars have done this offseason screams, “We’re in the market for the No. 1 overall pick.” They brought in no competition for Minshew, as his backups are Mike Glennon and Jake Luton. He has the starting gig locked down. Despite starting just 12 games in 2019, Minshew finished as the No. 19 quarterback. He also rushed for 344 yards with no touchdowns. The average number of rushing yards per touchdown for a quarterback last year was one every 96 yards. If we added three rushing touchdowns to Minshew’s season, he would’ve been the No. 15 quarterback (again, with just 12 games started).
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC) Current ADP: RB16, Guess ADP: RB14
There’s a lot of smoke this time of the year, and Damien Williams remaining the starter is one of the rumors causing fantasy owners paranoia. Last year, Andy Reid gave 31-year-old LeSean McCoy 8-12 carries per game with Williams on the roster. But now, you take a 21-year-old running back who they drafted in the first round who has a three-down skill set, and think Williams remains the starter? It’s only a matter of time before that concern goes away.
Todd Gurley (ATL) Current ADP: RB19, Guess ADP: RB16
It seems so long ago that Gurley was the Christian McCaffrey of the fantasy world, but he was. Now playing for a high-scoring offense with an upgraded offensive line, and he’s going as a mid-to-low-end RB2? The Falcons have no other running back on the roster who’s anywhere near as talented as Gurley, as Ito Smith was getting benched before getting injured, and Brian Hill failed when thrusted into a larger role. Provided Gurley has no health issues come draft season, he’s going to be drafted higher than his current ADP of RB19.
Jonathan Taylor (IND) Current ADP: RB22, Guess ADP: RB18
Why do fantasy owners want to continue to believe that Marlon Mack is going to steal much work from Taylor? If they really liked Mack, they wouldn’t have drafted Taylor at the top of the second round. Taylor was widely considered the best running back in this year’s class and is now going to play behind the top offensive line in football. He could be a Nick Chubb-type producer.
Tarik Cohen (CHI) Current ADP: RB46, Guess ADP: RB35
We all knew there’d be regression for the 5-foot-6 running back after his RB7 finish in 2018. It happened worse than anyone thought, but still, he finished as the RB37. So, why is the early crowd moving him down to the RB46? There’s only one direction for this offense to go, and Cohen will surely hit on more explosive plays in 2020 (there was practically none in 2019). It’s only a matter of time until drafters realize he’s a legitimate RB3/flex option with weekly upside.
Latavius Murray (NO) Current ADP: RB45, Guess ADP: RB38
Once you get outside the top 35 running backs or so, you’re getting into the players who’ll occupy bench spots on your fantasy team. Go ahead and name three more running backs being drafted outside the top-40 who carry legitimate RB1 upside. That’s precisely what Murray was in 2019 in the two games that Alvin Kamara missed… the RB1, by a whole 7.3 points.
Jordan Howard (MIA) Current ADP: RB39, Guess ADP: RB35
He’s not a sexy fantasy pick, that much is true. However, here’s a fun fact Bobby shared on the FantasyPros podcast last week: Here’s the list of RBs in the past decade with as many touchdowns and rushing yards as Jordan Howard in their first four seasons: Ezekiel Elliott, Todd Gurley, Arian Foster, End list. He’s likely going to lose third-down work to Matt Breida, but he’s still a starting running, and one who’s going outside the top 36.
Joshua Kelley (LAC) Current ADP: RB69, Guess ADP: RB51
There are many fantasy enthusiasts who get really mad when Austin Ekeler loses out on goal-line carries to Kelley, the player the Chargers drafted to take over the Melvin Gordon role in the offense. He’s 5-foot-11 and 212 pounds, which is best suited for that role over the 5-foot-9, 195-pound Ekeler. While I don’t believe he’ll get 12-15 touches per game, he’s going to move up draft boards once people start watching the preseason games.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT) Current ADP: WR17, Guess ADP: WR13
How many people have forgotten the fact that Smith-Schuster was drafted as a top-five receiver last year? Some were actually taking him as the first receiver off the board. After a year where he dealt with many injuries and lost his starting quarterback, he’s dropped into the middling WR2 range? The Steelers have already said he’s moving back to the slot, which will help his efficiency rise while matched up with nickel cornerbacks. His WR17 ADP will not last long.
Calvin Ridley (ATL) Current ADP: WR18, Guess ADP: WR16
The hype on Ridley’s third-year breakout are real. I know this because Kyle Yates posted a “Why Calvin Ridley Will Be A Top-10 WR” article in May, and it led to me telling him I’d had Ridley as 2020’s version of Chris Godwin in my Early 2020 Bold Predictions article I did in January. There were many replies to that tweet saying, “it’s not bold if everyone is saying it.” It seems many are catching on, which will be reflected in his ADP very soon.
Robert Woods (LAR) Current ADP: WR23, Guess ADP: WR19
Despite scoring just two touchdowns during the 2019 season, Woods finished as the WR17. If he’d scored just two more touchdowns, he would’ve been the WR12, right in front of Mike Evans. Crazy, right? What’s crazy is his current ADP of WR23, well behind teammate Cooper Kupp (WR13). The gap between them is minimal, and the case can be made that Woods is more valuable and predictable, as Kupp was the WR44 from Weeks 9-16.
A.J. Green (CIN) Current ADP: WR28, Guess ADP: WR24
This is a case of “seeing is believing” with Green. Once fantasy owners see him out there running routes, he’s going to move up draft boards. Green has never averaged less than 7.7 targets per game in his career and belongs inside the top 24 wide receivers. Did everyone miss the fact that he’ll have Joe Burrow throwing to him?
Diontae Johnson (PIT) Current ADP: WR46, Guess ADP: WR38
The hype is building around the second-year wide receiver, as you’re starting to see more and more fantasy analysts tout him. After doing projections, Johnson was someone who skyrocketed up my board, as it’s extremely likely that he hits 100-plus targets from Ben Roethlisberger. In fact, going back to 2008, Ben Roethlisberger‘s top two wide receivers combined for at least 225 targets on eight different occasions, including 334 times when he had Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster in 2018. His ADP of WR46 is too low.
Henry Ruggs (LV) Current ADP: WR54, Guess ADP: WR46
Once you get outside the top 40-45 receivers, it becomes the area of unknown. That’s when you start seeing fantasy owners taking “their guys” they believe can break out. So, why not Ruggs? There’s minimal competition at targets, the Raiders selected him over Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb, and he fits Derek Carr‘s skill set of continually targeting receivers around the line of scrimmage. Yes, contrary to belief, Ruggs is someone who’ll receive most of his targets on screens and slants. His upside shouldn’t last outside the top 50 wide receivers.
Anthony Miller (CHI) Current ADP: WR55, Guess ADP: WR50
There’s a benefit to the Bears having two quarterbacks battling for the starting job in 2020, as it gives Miller a better chance at having competent quarterback play. Still, even with Trubisky under center, Miller has quietly been one of the most efficient receivers in football over his first two seasons. Here’s a good visual to show that:
|Anthony Miller 2018-2019||139||85||1,079||9|
|Robert Woods 2019||139||90||1,134||2|
Corey Davis (TEN) Current ADP: WR77, Guess ADP: WR60
I get it, he’s burned fantasy owners in the past. Still, Davis is solid receiver who’s no longer going to see the opposing team’s top cornerback. In the 22 games Davis has seen more than five targets, he’s averaged 4.7 receptions, 59.3 yards, and 0.32 touchdowns per game. Over the course of a 16-game season, that’d amount to 75 receptions for 950 yards and five touchdowns. The situation reminds me of DeVante Parker in 2019 whose ADP was WR76.
Michael Pittman (IND) Current ADP: WR67, Guess ADP: WR61
Any time you see a receiver who has the potential to lead his team in touchdown receptions being taken in the 15th round, you know he’s going to move up draft boards. The Colts have already stated that Pittman will be playing the “X” receiver role, and knowing that his stature is similar to that of Vincent Jackson, Philip Rivers should have no trouble finding (and targeting) him.
Hayden Hurst (ATL) Current ADP: TE14, Guess ADP: TE10
When I went to look at the ADP for this article, I was somewhat shocked to see Hurst up at TE14, though it’s still not high enough. Once Hurst was traded to the Falcons, I knew he’d be drafted as a top-12 tight end. The team never replaced Mohamed Sanu, then let Austin Hooper walk only to trade a second-round pick for Hurst. Under Dirk Koetter, the Falcons have finished top-eight in pass attempts in all four seasons. Targets are what matter most for tight ends, and Hurst is going to get them.
Jace Sternberger (GB) Current ADP: TE33, Guess ADP: TE26
Has the public not awoken from the departure of Jimmy Graham? How about the lack of pass-catching options for Aaron Rodgers? Sternberger was the Packers third-round pick last year, and someone I liked quite a bit through the scouting process. He can play a possession-style role if needed, as evidenced by his 48 receptions for 832 yards and 10 touchdowns at Texas A&M in 2018. When looking for potential breakout tight ends, you need to find a starter, and Sternberger is just that. He’s also tied to Aaron Rodgers.