Fantasy Football Roundtable: Early 2020 Outlook

Mike Fanelli, Joshua Abbe, Brandon Braasch, Joey Ricotta | January 7th, 2020 

The 2019 fantasy season has come and gone. Hopefully, you were able to bring home some titles and all the bragging rights (and money) that comes with it. However, the calendar has flipped to 2020 and it’s (probably) never too early to prepare for the upcoming fantasy season. The Scorecrow family is here to help fantasy owners get a jump start on the 2020 season, putting together another roundtable giving you their opinion on five fantasy football questions. Be sure to follow all of the writers on twitter and ask any questions you may have regarding their answers. Without any further ado, let’s get into it.

For clarity, all of the answers are based on one quarterback and PPR scoring leagues. For answers more specific to your league settings, feel free to contact any of the writers on twitter.

Who Should be Pick 1.01 in Redraft Leagues?

Mike Fanelli: Christian McCaffrey

You can make an argument for Saquon Barkley, Dalvin Cook, or Michael Thomas, but CMC is far and away ahead of all three. Two stats that show how dominant McCaffrey was this season. One, he averaged 8.5 more fantasy points per game than Cook (who finished with the second-highest average). Two, CMC’s receiving stats alone would have made him the WR12 this season. Depending on what happens in the offseason for the Panthers at quarterback, my answer may change but as of right now McCaffrey should be the consensus 1.01 pick.

Josh Abbe: Christian McCaffrey

I feel this will be a common answer, but it must be McCaffery. He was undoubtedly the best fantasy player for 2019 and became the third player ever to reach the 1,000/1,000 club for both rushing and receiving. McCaffrey should put up similar production, barring any injury in 2020. What’s astonishing for his 2019 season is that out of the 403 touches, he had zero fumbles during the season. Don’t hesitate when drafting in the lucky number one spot, take CMC.

Brandon Braasch: Saquon Barkley

I know a lot of people will take McCaffrey. I still like Barkley as the top pick. The Giants offensive line is going to get better through the draft. Daniel Jones should continue to grow and stop teams from stacking the box against Barkley. That will lead to more touchdown opportunities for Barkley. Before his injury this year he had two games with over 100 rushing yards. His last three games of the year were exactly what we all expected. He had 539 total yards and five touchdowns. People are quick to forget that Barkley had over 2,000 all-purpose yards as a rookie in 2018.

Joey Ricotta: Christian McCaffrey

Last year, I had Barkley as the top guy, followed by McCaffrey and Ezekiel Elliott. To me, despite the lack of production for much of the year displayed by Barkley, there’s an argument to put him ahead of CMC again. McCaffrey gets the edge over Barkley for me because of how much he was utilized this past season. With Matt Rhule hired, we’ll have to get a read on whether or not that type of usage will continue, but I think no matter what, McCaffrey proved he can be relied on heavily. He became only the third player in NFL history to achieve 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 receiving in a single season, and nearly reached Chris Johnson‘s total yards from scrimmage record.

Who Would You Take First: Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes?

Mike: Jackson

Honestly, I would be surprised if Jackson finishes as the QB1 next year as the last quarterback to finish as the QB1 in back-to-back seasons was Daunte Culpepper in 2003 and 2004. However, his rushing ability provides a weekly floor with plenty of upside as well. Much like with Mahomes this season, I expect Lamar to regress some off his MVP season. I also have concerns about Jackson’s play if offensive coordinator Greg Roman leaves for a head coaching opportunity somewhere else. However, at this point, Lamar should be the early favorite for the preseason QB1 given his performance this season.

Josh: Mahomes

I’m going to take Mahomes here. Yes, I know he was injured at one time, but that’s part of the regression still with spending that early pick on him as an investment to a championship. With that out of the way, Jackson should see the same thing with the unpredictability of that regression which is worrisome. You get an offseason with film to build defensive schemes and eventually the injury bug flares up. Now, I don’t wish he gets hurt, but with the workload he gets running the ball and being in the pocket taking hits, it’ll take a toll eventually. Plus, Mahomes has a better receiving core. Mahomes seems the better pick for me. I’m not a fan of the wait and see what the regression game is going to be.

Brandon: Mahomes

I know Jackson has been unreal this year but I would still go with Mahomes. I expect Jackson’s passing touchdowns to drop next year. Teams will have more film and not necessarily be able to stop him but contain him more than this year. With Mahomes playing hurt in some games this year that dropped his numbers down a little. Next year I expect Mahomes to be similar to what he was in his first three games of the year when he threw for 10 touchdowns and 1,195 passing yards.

Joey: Jackson

Mahomes is great don’t get me wrong, but Jackson provides a built-in floor that we’ve never seen before. Every time he steps on the field, his rushing ability guarantees you points. However, don’t draft Lamar before the third or fourth round. Very few quarterbacks can withstand the punishment dealt out, rushing the ball that many times in a season. Injuries aren’t predictable, but taking precautionary measures to limit injuries are. The Ravens could decide to back off the gas for much of the season to save him for the stretch run. If that’s the case, you’ll be giving up a very valuable early pick for a guy who won’t help you as much, until you get closer to the fantasy playoffs. Is that an okay trade-off? Maybe.

Early Favorite Post Hype Sleeper?

Mike: Derrius Guice

Health is clearly an issue with Guice. He’s halfway through his rookie contract and he’s played in five games. However, if and again it’s a big if, Guice can stay healthy in 2020, he will be a mid-round steal. In his five games this season, Guice averaged 11.5 fantasy points per game despite not getting 11 carries in any game. He scored on three of his 49 touches this season (6.1% TD rate) and averaged 11.4 yards per carry over his last two games on 15 carries. There was a lot of hype and hope coming into 2019 with Guice and hopefully, he can stay healthy in 2020 and finally fulfill his potential.

Josh: Parris Campbell

Campbell dealt with a lot of injuries this season. Playing alongside T.Y. Hilton, who keeps the coverage occupied, Campbell can become the number two wideout in Indianapolis. His speed and athletic profile are excellent and he should have a better idea of the playbook in year two. There are concerns about who will be throwing him the ball next season. Will it be Jacoby Brissett, a veteran, or a rookie? However, for as late as you can draft Campbell next year, he is worth a shot as he could turn into a weekly flex option next season.

Brandon: Justin Jackson

Jackson got a good amount of hype when Melvin Gordon was holding out. The Chargers will likely let Gordon leave in free agency. They know what they have in Austin Ekeler but they also like Jackson. In his limited touches this season he averaged 6.8 yards per carry. If the Chargers decide to not bring Gordon back look for Jackson to get more playing time and be a good find in next year’s draft.

Joey: David Montgomery

Monty burned a lot of fantasy players this past season. He was taken as early as the third round in leagues and did not live up to expectations. I think that will turn many people off of him in 2020, and the further he falls in drafts, the more I’ll like him. A lot of finger-pointing is going on in Chicago, as the Bears recently fired several offensive coaches. They hired offensive line coach Juan Castillo who has a history with Matt Nagy, as well as a history of producing good running games. With the uncertainty at quarterback, Nagy won’t be able to abandon the run completely again next year. Monty flashed upside, ranking sixth in the league in broken tackles with 28

Who Should be the WR1 in Redraft Leagues?

Mike: Michael Thomas

Thomas maybe just had the best fantasy season ever by a wide receiver. He broke Marvin Harrison‘s NFL record for catches in a season in just 15 games while catching 80.5% of his targets. Among wide receivers with at least 50 targets, Tyler Lockett had the second-highest catch rate at 74.5%. Thomas is the focal point of the Saints’ offense and passing game. As long as Drew Brees (or Teddy Bridgewater) is under center for the Saints in 2020, Thomas should be the first wide receiver off draft boards, potentially as high as second overall.

Josh: Michael Thomas

Thomas should be the WR1 going into the 2020 season and his astronomical numbers from 2019 prove it. He broke the single-season receptions record with 149 total catches for 1,725 receiving yards. He had one single-digit fantasy point game in 2019 and that came week 17 when most fantasy seasons were over. He is Brees’ favorite target and rightfully so, let him produce as your WR1 in 2020.

Brandon: Michael Thomas

It’s hard not to go with Thomas. He just broke the record for most receptions in a single season. There’s no reason to believe he will not replicate that next year. He almost had double-digit touchdowns this year ending with nine. Thomas should replicate this next season and even though I’m a fan of Julio Jones I would still have to go with Thomas.

Joey: Michael Thomas

Hands down, this is the guy for me. DeAndre Hopkins and Julio Jones are great but Thomas is the only receiver in the league that has proven not to be quarterback dependant. He had success catching passes from Brees, Bridgewater, and even Taysom Hill. He was named a First-Team All-Pro for the second season in a row and shattered the record for most receptions in a single season with 149. Thomas has now, led the league in receptions each of the last two seasons and had no fewer than 147 targets in each of the last three.

Early Favorite for 1.01 in Rookie Drafts?

Mike: Whatever running back the Chiefs select

In super flex or two quarterback leagues, Joe Burrow should be the top pick. However, based on single quarterback leagues, a running back will likely be the top pick. Instead of picking a running back, I’m going to pick a situation. If the Chiefs spend a top 100 pick on a running back and don’t add a Gordon, David Johnson, or Kareem Hunt in the offseason, whoever that back is (with a few exceptions) should be the top rookie pick. We’ve seen what a feature back can do in an Andy Reid offense and whoever is in that role will likely finish as an RB1 in 2020.

Josh: Jonathan Taylor

When you think running back, you think of a strong, big, fast, and downhill runner. That’s what Taylor is made of. I think he gets a good role on a team in need of a running back and will start right away. Now some are worried about his workload in college, but he has the tools to stay healthy and rack up the playing time. He is very similar to Zeke and we know how well that turned out? Keep him on your mind going into your rookie draft when deciding your number one pick.

Brandon: D’Andre Swift

Swift is going to be the next good running back from Georgia. In mock drafts, I’ve seen him potentially going to the Atlanta Falcons. That would be a great fit for him but no matter where he goes he has the skill set to be a good NFL running back. Swift is very athletic and can jump over or juke around defenders. He has the speed to run by the linebacker and I expect him to have a very good career. That being said this is a very talented draft and it is loaded with receivers and some very good running backs.

Joey: D’Andre Swift

Both the wide receiver and running back class is strong this year, but I generally value running backs more because I think they are far less likely to bust. Weighing the options, you won’t want to miss out on a top running back. With Swift deciding to go pro, the cameras should be spotted on him even more. The back out of Georgia rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of the last two seasons and has averaged 6.6 yards per carry during his college career. He has excellent quickness, cutting and pass-catching ability. You could say, he moves swiftly.

Questions and comments?

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