As a fantasy football analyst, the time has come for me to make bold predictions for the 2020 season. Obviously, some of these may sound absurd, but when has a fantasy football season played out exactly as it was expected to? There are always going to be surprises, so here are five bold predictions that I believe can legitimately happen in the 2020 fantasy football season:
*Predictions are based on PPR scoring*
1. Hayden Hurst finishes as a top-5 tight end
Hurst has been my favorite breakout candidate for months now, and my opinion has not changed. Atlanta leads the league in vacated targets with 258 due to the departures of Austin Hooper, Mohamed Sanu and Devonta Freeman. While Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley will be the clear top targets for Matt Ryan, Hurst has a great opportunity to slide into Austin Hooper’s role. Hooper caught 71+ balls in each of his last two years for a combined 10 touchdowns. The Falcons love utilizing their tight ends in the passing game, and Hurst will be more than capable of handling the large workload. He’s been stuck behind Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle in Baltimore’s depth chart for the last two years, but now is his time to shine.
2. D.K. Metcalf outscores Amari Cooper on his way to a top-20 finish
If you’ve read most of my articles you know I’m staying away from Amari Cooper at all costs this season. Cooper’s inconsistencies continue to haunt him, as he caught 5 or less passes in 10 games last year. With rookie CeeDee Lamb now in the mix, Cooper won’t have nearly as much room for error. That will likely translate to a serious drop in production. Metcalf, on the other hand, is primed to challenge Tyler Lockett for the #1 receiver role in Seattle. The sophomore phenom saw only 10 less targets than Lockett last year. He’s bound to surpass him on the depth chart at some point as he expands his route tree. Metcalf — who stands 6’4 and weighs in at 229 lbs — is a matchup nightmare for any defender. He’s primed for a breakout campaign, while Cooper is only primed to regress.
3. Julio Jones finishes as WR1
Jones has been the most consistently-elite fantasy receiver in recent memory. He’s posted nearly 1,390+ yards in six straight seasons, and is set to receive a bump in targets. The only thing that consistently holds Jones back from a fantasy perspective is his lack of touchdown production. He’s only scored double-digit touchdowns once in his career, but that could very well change this season. Michael Thomas will likely see less targets with the addition of Emmanuel Sanders in New Orleans, opening the door for Jones to challenge for the WR1 spot. I think he’ll win it.
4. Baker Mayfield is a QB1
Mayfield was atrocious last year, failing to build a rapport with Odell Beckham Jr. and finishing as just QB19. This season, things appear to be different. Mayfield’s chemistry with Beckham appears to have significantly improved, and Cleveland boasts one of the most impressive offensive arsenals in the league. He may have disappointed last year, but this time things are going to be different. There’s a reason Baker was drafted #1 overall, and those skills will be put on full display in the 2020 fantasy football season.
5. Kareem Hunt finishes as a top-15 running back
Speaking of the Browns, I’m a huge fan of Kareem Hunt in their offense. While he technically can be considered a backup, Hunt has plenty of PPR standalone value. He was on pace for 74 catches last season, and I believe he can rack up more than that this year after a full off-season to get situated in Cleveland. The Browns will find plenty of ways to get Hunt involved, whether it be in two-back sets or lining him up in the slot. James White — another receiving back — finished as RB7 in 2018. Look for Hunt to play a similar role in Cleveland’s offense this year.
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