Fantasy Football Rankings 2020
The Top-20 Ranked Fantasy Football Players for 2020
We’re just about three weeks away from the 2020 NFL Draft, where a new crop of players will be added to the fantasy football fanatic’s wish list. Nevertheless, most of the top-ranked players heading into a new fantasy season are already established based on previous performance.
Without trying to project which rookie skill-position players might crack the top ranks, we’re going to lay out who we think the top twenty position players will be as things stand right now. We picked the top-20 to cover two-rounds worth of fantasy draft picks in a 10-team league.
If you’re playing in a fantasy football league with more than 10 teams, you’re going to have to look elsewhere to fill up a complete second-round of your draft. Here’s our top-20 rank list. We’re using a standard scoring format in leagues that credit points per reception (PPR).
#1 Christian McCaffrey RB Carolina – We just cannot discount the numbers from 2019, despite questions marks about the Panthers’ offensive focus heading forward. McCaffrey amassed more than a thousand yards on the ground and through the air.
Only the Chargers Austin Ekeler was even close to those types of running back receiving numbers. In the PPR format we’ve applied here, McCaffrey hauled in 116 passes, second behind only Michael Thomas. Stir in 19 touchdowns and you have fantasy production that you simply cannot pass up.
#2 Michael Thomas WR New Orleans – There are some projection models that insist the top four positions will be occupied by running backs. This drifts back towards an old trend in the fantasy football mindset, which moved away from always targeting a top-flight running back with your first pick. Michael Thomas’s 2019 performance is the reason.
He totaled nearly 400 yards more than the second highest receiving total, and his 149 catches were three-dozen more than McCaffrey. He hauled in nine TDs as well. Thomas also built a nice gap between himself and the third highest fantasy point total. He is so far above the rest of the WR cast that if it were not for McCaffrey, Thomas could snatch the number one spot.
#3 Derrick Henry RB Tennessee – Our next block of three players are all running backs. Their 2019 stats were comparable. They could easily be interchangeable in spots three through five. Henry signed his franchise-tag tender, which indicates he is happy as a Titan.
Happy running backs, who appear to have an equally strong team value, often prove very productive. Henry tied Aaron Jones for rushing touchdowns in 2019, plus led the NFL with 1,540 yards. His hands are improving, so expect a few more receptions in 2020.
#4 Dalvin Cook RB Minnesota – Like Henry, contract status could play a role in his 2020 fantasy production. Cook is in the final year of a four-year rookie contract. Motivation to produce statistical numbers to transform into dollars-and-cents might be big. Cook has already proven to be a top-10 fantasy option.
One problem that jumps off the game log sheet is how he faded down the stretch. In three out of the final four games, Cook rushed for less than 30 yards a game. He did produce three TDs with saved some fantasy face. Certainly, Cook and the Vikings will try to forget the playoff performance against the 49ers. We’re going to look at the tail end of 2019 as an outlier and expect the total season numbers for Cook to reflect more like the first five weeks.
#5 Ezekiel Elliott RB Dallas – Zeke fell slightly off the elite pace he set during his first four seasons. He still eclipsed 300 carriers for the third time, only falling below that number in his suspension reduced 2017 season. Elliott averaged 4.5 yards per carry and hit pay dirt 14 times.
Some feel the Dallas Cowboys’ offense sputtered a little in the efficiency department in 2019. One way to rediscover that sense of ball-control efficiency would be to give Elliott more touches. The Dallas offensive line is still very good, so Elliott has to be deemed as a potential candidate for next-best running back after McCaffrey.
#6 Chris Godwin WR Tampa Bay – As with the previous three running backs, there are three or four wide receivers where the margin of difference is slim. We’re putting Godwin here as much based on his potential productivity as we are thinking about his new playmate in Tampa.
Godwin finished eighth overall in fantasy football productivity with the erratic play of Jameis Winston as his QB. He will now be catching passes from a Man Named Brady. Godwin’s reception and yardage numbers could increase slightly, but his TD potential might cement him as a top-10 fantasy commodity.
#7 Julio Jones WR Atlanta – There is some sense that Jones may eventually become the second-tier option in Atlanta behind Calvin Ridley. It’s doubtful that happens on a full-blown scale in 2020, but Ridley is certainly worthy of opposition attention.
Jones should still catch a whole bunch of passes for a whole bunch of yards. Now, Ridley may become an asset in the red zone. If defenses are trending towards keeping a more watchful eye on “other Falcon receivers”, then Jones could improve on his six TDs from last season. That would boost his fantasy production and reconfirm him as a must-own WR.
#8 Aaron Jones RB Green Bay – We’ll keep with a trend here and go with another Jones. Aaron Jones had a tremendous 2019 season, ranking third in the final PPR fantasy point standings. He showed decent balance in total yardage statistics, but tied McCaffrey with 19 TDs.
If the Packers decided to carve into his total carries per game, his usefulness would lose a little of its luster. However, he is an integral part of the passing game, plus a viable red zone target. Keep an eye on what Green Bay does at tight end, as this might reduce Jones’ red zone prowess, but not enough to darken his top-10 fantasy rank.
#9 Davante Adams WR Green Bay – We stuck with the same last name for ranks 7 and 8, now will stick with the same team has we move to number 9. By all indications, the Packers offense is going to get a fuel injection heading into 2020.
Jones emergence at running back has actually taken some heat off Adams. The Packers’ depth at wide receiver was a detriment to Adams’ being covered with a blanket, but Devin Funchess might expose him to more open lanes. He had double-digit targets in all but one game after week three, so he will clearly get enough looks to warrant solid fantasy production.
#10 Lamar Jackson – Most seasons, no one would ever take a quarterback in the first round of a 10-team fantasy football league draft. And then came Lamar Jackson. We’re not convinced Jackson will amass quite a large a rushing yardage total in 2020, at least and not stay healthy.
We also wonder if he’ll be able to account for 43 touchdowns again. Nevertheless, if not for McCaffrey’s fantasy dominating statistics, Lamar Jackson would have planted a quarterback at the top of the final fantasy rankings. He might not duplicate last season’s remarkable numbers, but will and should be removed from every fantasy draft board at some point in the first-round.
#11 Saquon Barkley RB New York – The New York Giants will need to move people out of the way to create running lanes for their prize ball carrier. They improved towards that objective the last three games of 2019. Barkley’s performance responded. He ran for over 100 yards twice, including 189 yards in overtime against the Redskins.
Barkley also tripled his rushing touchdowns during that same three-week stretch. We’re expecting better balance in the Giants’ offense will benefit him as well. Barkley’s target numbers in the passing game were also consistent throughout the season. He has the potential to jump the fantasy ranks if he can push for double-digit rushing touchdowns.
#12 Dak Prescott QB Dallas – After Jackson, we’re basing our quarterback inclusion in the top-20 on last year’s numbers and this year’s prospects. Prescott edged out Russell Wilson for the fifth best overall fantasy production. We think it’ll be likewise about as close in 2020. Prescott will also benefit from what’s perceived as better continuity on the Dallas offense.
Prescott inched close to the 5,000 yards passing milestone in 2019. It seems unlikely he’ll be able to overcome that lofty number, especially if Elliott is successful running the ball. However, if Dallas’s running game clicks, then Prescott is going to get red zone opportunities to match or surpass his 30 TD throws from last season. Now, can he erase a few of his 11 interceptions?
#13 Russell Wilson QB Seattle – As we said, the gap between Prescott and Wilson in 2019 was marginal. Our ranking of them for the upcoming season reflects that trend continuing. Part of the reason they ended up so close statistical for fantasy production was Wilson tossing only five picks in 2019.
He managed one more TD pass, but was nearly 800 total passing yards off Prescott’s numbers. Seattle made some off-season improvements on defense, which might point to a little more focus on ball-control by the Seahawks. However, Wilson should be as productive, maybe even more so.
#14 Patrick Mahomes QB Kansas City – It’s hard to fathom that Mahomes numbers in 2019 were restricted somewhat by injury. Four times during the Chiefs’ regular season, Mahomes launched over 40 pass attempts. Look for him to equal and maybe even surpass that stat. He also had a five game block towards the back-half of the season, where four times he completed less than 20 passes.
In three of those, his completion percentage was under 60 percent. We don’t perceive that many games below his career averages. If that happens, Mahomes should challenge Wilson and Prescott’s benchmark of 30-plus TDs. If he avoids a Super Bowl hangover season, Mahomes will be a top-20 fantasy producer or better.
#15 Josh Allen QB Buffalo – Allen was mentioned as a surprise at about the midway point of the 2019 season. He won’t be able to surprise teams with quite the same veracity next year. Nevertheless, an improvement in efficiency will plant him firmly in the upper echelon of NFL fantasy quarterbacks.
One of the constant problems people had with Allen as a fantasy commodity wasn’t actually with Allen himself. It was with his supporting cast. He now has Stefon Diggs as a lead receiver. This should help tremendously. He had multiple TDs six times. Look for that number to grow in 2020. Allen also threw only five passes the final week of 2019. Experience could bump Allen to superstar status, which is why Buffalo drafted him.
#16 Austin Ekeler RB Los Angeles – The Chargers felt they had something in-house that could account for letting Melvin Gordon move off to Denver. Ekeler has been the lead back when Gordon has been dinged up, and he performed extremely well. He has proven a useful cog in the Bolts’ passing game, grabbing nearly 100 balls for close to 1,000 yards.
Ekeler also led running backs in receiving touchdowns. Now, how much will he be able to improve on his 557 rushing yards and only three TDs running the ball? A lot of that will be determined by how many red zone touches Justin Jackson pilfers away. Right now, the Chargers are also looking at Tyrod Taylor as the QB, so it may be hard for Ekeler to repeat a top-10 fantasy performance in 2020. But, he’s worth a second-round pick for sure.
#17 Kyler Murray QB Arizona – We’re going to mention a couple of players who we bumped from last year’s final top-20 fantasy producers. One of them is now Murray’s Cardinal teammate. Because he now has a bonafide number one receiver, Murray may join our elite group of top-five QBs.
David Johnson played wounded towards the tail end of his time in Arizona, and Kenyan Drake is the beneficiary. He will also give Murray another offensive weapon. Nevertheless, the real reason we ink Murray in our top-20 is potential use and improved efficiency. He launched 542 passes in 2019. Look for that number to push 600. Now, if he reduces the 12 picks he tossed realizes TD expectations, Murray may rival Jackson as the league’s most-coveted fantasy QB.
#18 Leonard Fournette RB Jacksonville – Some envision Fournette as sort of a sleeper heading into 2020. He fell out of the top-20 final rankings last season. During a three game stretch towards the backend middle of the season, he totaled 38 carries. This is a running back that feeds of usage. The Nick Foles experience with the Jaguars is over.
We feel there could be a sense that Jacksonville may revisit what made them a playoff contender and that was ball-control. That could return Fournette to a 25 to 30 touches per game level. If that happens, the yardage will again pile up. But, and most importantly, he might improve on last year’s woeful three TDs. If Fournette gets ignored until late in the second round or into the third, grab him and smile.
#19 Aaron Rodgers QB Green Bay – While we don’t know for certain how the 2020 NFL draft will unfold, we have enough indications to make some projections based on needs. There are multiple forecasts that have Green Bay loading up on offensive talent. If that’s the case, some luster may be off Aaron Jones and Davante Adams, but not Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers is a future Hall of Fame inductee, and on the first ballot. Green Bay is projected to hand him enough weapons to improve upon last year’s numbers. Rodgers surpassed 4,000 yards in 2019, we look for even more. The biggest number that would bump his fantasy production up is TD passes. He had 26 last year. If he adds appreciably to that total, he’ll leapfrog his teammates into the final top-10.
#20 Cooper Kupp WR Los Angeles – One thing that Kupp has been for the Rams is consistent. While Todd Gurley faded out of the picture gradually in 2019, he is totally gone now. There is a new running back pair to handle most of the rushing for LA, but some sense added ball-control passing to be a strong probability.
If that’s the case, Kupp will get a huge boost in PPR leagues. He hauled in 94 balls for over 1,000 yards last year with 10 scores. There is a realistic probability he betters every one of those stats. Kupp ended last season right at number 20. Look for Jared Goff to take advantage of the route running precision of Kupp, possibly challenging Michael Thomas for the most receptions.
We erased a couple of players from last season’s final top-20 fantasy producers. Jameis Winston is gone for obvious reasons. DeAndre Hopkins and Deshaun Watson fall out because of a discontinued relationship on one hand, and an increased battle for touches on the other.
Watson won’t have Hopkins, and Hopkins is now a viable part of an Arizona offense, but one with more weapons. Nick Chubb is on the cusp of the top-20 list, but Kareem Hunt could eat into his PPR appeal.
You can never ignore that fellow named Brady, even in pewter and burnt orange. However, there is some indication that Tampa Bay may try to use a more conservative ball-control approach. So, that’s our top-20 projected fantasy player ranking, heading into 2020.
We added reasoning why we dropped a couple of last year’s members and replaced them new hopefuls. In summary, Christian McCaffrey will be the first player taken, either that or the first pick in your draft fell asleep. After that, work these projections to get at least two top-20 fantasy studs on your roster. If you get three, all the better for you.