Greetings, Falcoholics! The fantasy football season is upon us, so naturally I had to release my annual “32 NFL Teams, 32 fantasy football sleepers” list for the 2020 season. Last year, I had many sleepers who turned into big-time steals, such as tight end Austin Hooper for the Atlanta Falcons and wide receiver Mecole Hardman of the Kansas City Chiefs. It can be reviewed here.
Before we get started, this list will be comprised of one player per team who could bring tremendous value to your fantasy team, and is based on points-per-reception (PPR) scoring format. Some of these players will be recognizable, in that their average draft position (ADP) has great value. Also, some of these players may be unknown to you, because they’re likely a rookie who is flying under the radar or battling for a starting job. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Arizona Cardinals — WR Andy Isabella
2019: QB Kyler Murray
Cardinals’ Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury has already expressed confidence in wide receiver Andy Isabella, and with quarterback Kyler Murray looking to improve in his sophmore year in the NFL, Isabella is worth taking a look at. Isabella didn’t see a lot of action in 2019, only recording 9 catches for 189 yards and a touchdown.
But even with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins, Isabella should be able to carve out a decent role beneficial to those in PPR leagues. He’ll likely be listed behind DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, and Larry Fitzgerald on the depth chart, but with his current ADP of 253, Isabella is worth a late-round pick or waiver wire pick up.
Atlanta Falcons — TE Hayden Hurst
2019: TE Austin Hooper
Last year I had tight end Austin Hooper in this spot, and he proceeded to have a career-year. This year, I’m looking at Hayden Hurst, who was acquired via trade from the Baltimore Ravens. Hurst is a former first-round pick who was stuck behind Mark Andrews, and now has a chance to thrive in Atlanta. The tight end position in Atlanta is one that typically receives a lot of targets and Hurst has relatively no competition. Right now, Hurst has an ADP of 163 and is viewed as the 17th best tight end entering the season. This is great value, and Hurst should finish as a top-12 tight end.
Baltimore Ravens — RB J.K. Dobbins
2019: RB Mark Ingram
With the pick that was acquired by the Ravens as part of the trade that sent Hayden Hurst to the Falcons, the Ravens selected the talented Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins. Landing in Baltimore is a favorable spot for Dobbins’ eventual fantasy success. Even though he’ll be listed behind starter Mark Ingram, Dobbins could still be valuable later in the season or if an injury takes place in the backfield. In this talented offense, he would instantly become an RB1 if Ingram were to miss some time, and he makes a ton of sense for Dynasty formats.
Buffalo Bills — WR John Brown
2019: WR Cole Beasley
The Bills made a splash move this offseason by acquiring wide receiver Stefon Diggs from the Minnesota Vikings, providing quarterback Josh Allen with another target. Brown had one of his best seasons in 2019, and although he’s not by definition a “sleeper” he’s certainly going to bring good value to fantasy owners. Brown scored at least 10.4 PPR points in 13-of-15 games last year, and although his target share will dip due to Diggs, his current ADP is good value. Look for Brown as a flex/WR3 option.
Carolina Panthers — TE Ian Thomas
2019: WR D.J. Moore
With tight end Greg Olsen gone, the door is wide open for tight end Ian Thomas in Carolina. The issue is, nobody really knows what to expect from the Panthers offense which features a new head coach in Matt Rhule and quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Thomas should currently be viewed as a late-round flier with the potential of eventually becoming a TE1. The Panthers schedule also assists Thomas, as they have the most favorable matchups for tight ends based on points allowed in 2019.
Chicago Bears — WR Anthony Miller
2019: WR Allen Robinson
Entering his third season, wide receiver Anthony Miller has 139 total targets which have amounted to nine touchdowns. Miller’s biggest challenge is his target share in a shaky Bears offense and remaining consistent. During a five-game stretch in 2019, Miller had 33 catches for 431 yards and two touchdowns. If he can routinely remain consistent, he could provide decent value. Right now he’s no more than a WR4 with WR3 upside.
Cincinnati Bengals — QB Joe Burrow
2019: QB Andy Dalton
Normally, I want absolutely no part of a rookie quarterback in fantasy football. With Burrow though, there’s too much significant late-round value to ignore the potential upside. The Bengals haven’t been a good football team in quite some time, which means they’ll be behind throwing to play catch up. Burrow has a plethora of targets in wide receivers A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, John Ross, Auden Tate and running back Joe Mixon. Look for him in late rounds as low-risk backup QB.
2019: QB Baker Mayfield
Browns’ quarterback Baker Mayfield is in a similar category as Joe Burrow, in terms of fantasy football. Out of the gate I wouldn’t recommend having him as your starter, but he could potentially become a starter later in the season. With new Browns’ head coach Kevin Stefanski running the show, time will tell how the Browns offense turns out to be. But Mayfield has a lot of receiving targets in Odell Beckham, Jr., Jarvis Landry, Austin Hooper and running back Nick Chubb in the backfield. His current ADP is 105 and he’ll have the 4th easiest schedule for fantasy quarterbacks based on 2019 points allowed.
Dallas Cowboys — TE Blake Jarwin
2019: WR Michael Gallup
One of my favorite sleeper tight ends this season is Blake Jarwin. Dallas lost three receiving options this offseason in Jason Witten, Randall Cobb and Tavon Austin, and only really added rookie wide receiver CeeDee Lamb to help replace them. Jarwin has remained consistent for Dallas in his limited opportunities during the last two seasons, scoring three touchdowns and 300+ yards in each. With full-time reps as their starting tight end, he’s worth a late-round pick as he could produce significant value given his current ADP of 183 at the thinned-out tight end position.
Denver Broncos — QB Drew Lock
2019: WR Courtland Sutton
Another quarterback making the list is Broncos’ Drew Lock. Denver has invested heavily in their offense this offseason, adding players like Melvin Gordon, Jerry Jeudy and Albert Okwuegbunam. Combine those with Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant who were already on the roster, Denver could quietly have a solid offense in 2020. The Broncos have openly discussed letting Lock rip it more in 2020, and with his mobility, he should get some cheap rushing production which will soften his fantasy floor.
Detroit Lions — TE T.J. Hockenson
2019: WR Kenny Golladay
Last year, Lions’ tight end T.J. Hockenson exploded onto the scene in Week 1 recording 6 catches, 131 yards and a touchdown in the tie with the Arizona Cardinals. He then proceeded to score only one more time before being placed on injured reserve following Week 12. With Hockenson, you’re looking more at potential than anything. I’d recommend drafting Hockenson in later rounds as a backup tight end with the idea of stashing him in the hopes that he makes his Week 1 of 2019 production a regular occurrence.
Green Bay Packers — RB A.J. Dillon
2019: WR Geronimo Allison
The Packers, specifically head coach Matt LaFluer, refuses to unleash running back Aaron Jones. Jones showed in 2019 that he has the ability to be a top-10 fantasy running back, but the Packers don’t seem committed to making him such. Their second-round selection of the human-wrecking ball A.J. Dillon in the 2020 NFL Draft further explained their stance. Dillon won’t have any immediate impact, and can probably be picked off waivers following the league drafts, but don’t be surprised if he shows some minimal value as a goal line back later in the season.
2019: WR Keke Coutee
You could argue that nobody has declined fantasy-wise in recent history more than running back David Johnson. After recording 32 total touchdowns in his first two seasons, Johnson has scored 16 touchdowns in the three years that followed. Last season, the Cardinals essentially benched Johnson for Kenyan Drake, and during the offseason he was sent to the Houston Texans. Now this could bode well for Johnson, considering he has very little competition and the Texans have been a top-12 rushing team in terms of attempts each of the last six seasons. I still wouldn’t take him until the fifth round at the earliest.
Indianapolis Colts — WR Michael Pittman Jr.
2019: WR Devin Funchess
In the 2020 NFL Draft the Colts added a few offensive weapons, but one specifically for newly-added quarterback Philip Rivers. Pittman has great size, and has been compared to former Rivers’ target Vincent Jackson. Whether he performs at the level of Jackson is to be determined, but he should be an immediate starter for the Colts, which alone makes Pittman worth looking at with his current ADP of 171.
Jacksonville Jaguars — TE Tyler Eifert
2019: WR Marqise Lee
Although he has a history of dealing with injuries, and there’s no guarantee that he’ll avoid any in 2020, Eifert is an interesting desperation fantasy tight end. Eifert will be reuniting with his former offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. Eifert still remains a borderline TE2 heading into the season, and can probably be added via waivers.
Kansas City Chiefs — RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire
2019: WR Mecole Hardman
Probably the best sleeper entering fantasy drafts this summer is running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. He’s not necessarily a “sleeper” by definition, but more due to his value with his current ADP of 43. Edwards-Helaire is a true three-down back and has the ability (and opportunity) to double as a weapon in the passing game for the reigning Super Bowl champions. He may not be an immediate RB1, but I have little doubt if things go according to plan, Edwards-Helaire will finish as a top-12 running back in 2020.
Los Angeles Chargers — QB Tyrod Taylor
2019: TE Hunter Henry
If you miss out on the third wave of fantasy quarterbacks like Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff, etc. someone worth looking at is Chargers’ Tyrod Taylor. Taylor is expected to be the starter out of the gate, but for how long probably depends on how well he performs, obviously. Not only does he have a favorable matchup to start the season, the next eight weeks are favorable matchups prior to their bye week. However, be sure to have a plan in place in case Taylor stumbles early, maybe even his backup, rookie Justin Herbert.
Los Angeles Rams — RB Cam Akers
2019: WR Josh Reynolds
With running back Todd Gurley being released, the Rams opted to take a running back early in the 2020 NFL Draft. That running back, is Cam Akers who could carve out a large role early in L.A. While both Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson remain on the roster, the Rams knew what they had in both of them and still decided to take Akers early. He should be very useful in short yardage and goal line situations.
Miami Dolphins — WR Preston Williams
2019: WR Kenny Stills
Although he wasn’t initially a starter in 2019, Preston Williams made a name for himself early forcing the Dolphins to start him by Week 3. He was a top-40 wide receiver for nine weeks before a season-ending leg injury cut his season short. He still has competition with DeVante Parker, Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson on the roster, but don’t be shocked if Williams finishes 2020 as their second best receiving option.
Minnesota Vikings — WR Justin Jefferson
2019: QB Kirk Cousins
With Stefon Diggs now in Buffalo, the Vikings elected to draft a talented wide receiver in Justin Jefferson. Adam Thielen is still on the roster, but Jefferson will be their second best receiving option. It’s not crazy to think Jefferson could see anywhere from six to eight targets per game, and with his ADP at 146, there’s some low-risk involved.
New England Patriots — WR N’Keal Harry
2019: WR N’Keal Harry
To be honest, there’s a lot of uncertainty when it comes to the Patriots entering this season. Their new starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham, although talked-up heavily by their fans, has four passing attempts to his name, two of which were caught. If I had to choose a sleeper, I’d repeat my selection from last year’s article, and take wide receiver N’Keal Harry. Harry has good size, is a former first-round pick, and missed time last season due to injury. He’s still behind Julian Edelman and Mohamed Sanu on the depth chart, and he’s nothing more than a waiver wire add at this point.
New Orleans Saints — RB Latavius Murray
2019: TE Jared Cook
For some reason, Saints’ running back Alvin Kamara was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2019. Latavius Murray, his backup, practically split carries with Kamara and tied him in rushing touchdowns finishing the season with 146 carries, for 637 yards and five touchdowns. He’s not ever going to be a RB1 (unless Kamara misses time) but if the 2019 usage continues into 2020, Murray is a solid RB3/Flex play.
New York Giants — QB Daniel Jones
2019: WR Golden Tate
If you miss out on the top quarterbacks, a solid fall-back option is Daniel Jones. He’s by definition a sleeper, as he brings great potential at a low cost, with a current ADP of 115. Jones had four games in 2019 with at least 35 fantasy points in the 12 games he played. With targets like Golden Tate, Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and Saquon Barkley, I like Jones a lot in later rounds.
New York Jets — WR Denzel Mims
2019: TE Chris Herndon
The Jets were a wide receiver needy team entering the 2020 NFL Draft, and took Denzel Mims in the second round. He’s going to get plenty of opportunity early, as he’s expected to start along side Breshad Perriman who was brought in on a one-year deal. Mims has a current ADP of 194, and could very likely see 70+ targets in 2020, making him a very interesting sleeper.
Las Vegas Raiders — WR Hunter Renfrow
2019: RB Josh Jacobs
Truly one of the more puzzling finishes in fantasy football during 2019 was Hunter Renfrow’s final two games, where he had back-to-back 100+ yard games. I wouldn’t consider that a cositient performance going forward, but Renfrow certainly brings some value, especially in PPR leagues. With an ADP of 200, he’ll likely still be available towards the end of league drafts.
2019: WR DeSean Jackson
Although he’s not neccesarily a sleeper, Carson Wentz’s ADP is currently 91 which has him outside the top-10 fantasy quarterbacks entering this season. Some fantasy owners are scared off due to his injur history, but Wentz still managed to throw for 4,000+ yards and 27 touchdowns while missing some of his best wide receivers. The Eagles got Wentz some talent this offseason in Marques Goodwin, Jalen Reagor, John Hightower and Quez Watkins so I’d consider him on the low-end of QB1’s.
Pittsburgh Steelers — WR Diontae Johnson
2019: WR James Washington
By the end of the season, we could be looking back at Diontae Johnson as one of the better sleepers in fantasy football. Despite having quarterback’s Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges throwing to him, Johnson was able to post WR2 numbers in 31.3% of his games in 2019. With a more reliable quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger returning and an ADP of 126, I really like the value Johnson brings.
San Francisco 49ers — WR Brandon Aiyuk
2019: RB Tevin Coleman
The 49ers drafted Brandon Aiyuk and he’s expected to make an immediate impact. Aiyuk is someone who can stretch the field, while Deebo Samuel and George Kittle work the underneath. With Goodwin now in Philadelphia, Aiyuk becomes their deepthreat target and his ADP of 219 is too good not to take as a flier in later rounds, or even off the waiver wire.
Seattle Seahawks — TE Will Dissly
2019: WR D.K. Metcalf
In 2019, Will Dissly came out of nowhere to post TE1 numbers for the Seahawks. He wouldn’t be a sleeper, but Dissly sustained a serious leg injury which ended his season. The Seahawks also brought in former Panthers’ tight end Greg Olsen. With that all being said, if he’s healthy, I believe Dissly can return to TE1 form. His current ADP is 203, so don’t waste a selection on him. But he’s a name to monitor on your league’s waiver wire heading into the season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers — RB Ronald Jones II
2019: WR Chris Godwin
Ronald Jones has the very real chance of being the starting running back in a Tom Brady-led offense and somehow his ADP is only 94. Yes, I know they drafted Keshawn Vaughn in the third round but if he’s not an immediate impact, or plays more of a reliever role in 2020, Jones could be a top-12 running back. Vaughn’s ADP is 123, so it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to grab both if you can.
Tennessee Titans — QB Ryan Tannehill
2019: TE Delanie Walker
After becoming the Titans starting quarterback in Week 7, Ryan Tannehill was the second best quarterback in fantasy football. That’s a sentence I thought I would never type, but here we are. Tannehill has one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL in Derrick Henry which should continue to open up the passing game. Regression is likely expected, but his current ADP of 139 makes him a great value pick in later rounds.
Washington — RB Adrian Peterson
2019: RB Adrian Peterson
With Washington, Adrian Peterson’s Hall of Famer career has rebounded. He’s rushed for nearly 2,000 total yards and scored 13 total touchdowns in the last two seasons. The Washington backfield is very crowded, but Peterson is the clear veteran and seemingly hasn’t lost much of a step. His ADP bring solid value, and I think he’s worth getting in late rounds.
Well, that’s it folks. As always, if you ever want to talk fantasy football or need any advice, you can find me on Twitter @EvanBirchfield. Remember, when drafting in your league, ALWAYS go with your gut.