Good news, the NFL and NFLPA have agreed on COVID-19 amendments to the current CBA! I haven’t sifted thru all of the amendments yet, but I can only assume the NFL’s billion dollar attorney’s have convinced the NFLPA’s million dollar attorney’s that the players should play this season in exchange for oat milk coupons rather than money. On the plus side, this paves the way for a timely start to the NFL season. But what else does it mean for us fantasy fiends? Well, here’s a breakdown of what the new powder puff training camp will look like:
NFL players just received this email breaking down how this unique training camp will work: pic.twitter.com/UoCwXxialO
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) July 25, 2020
You’ll hear talking heads declaring that this scaled back training camp will drastically reduce preseason injuries. Then you’ll hear others state that poor conditioning will lead to more in season injuries and an overall poor on field product. Both might be right, both might wrong, both might be crazy. Only 8-pound, 6-ounce, newborn infant Jesus knows the answer. The one thing I’m sure of is the incoming tidal wave of NFL corona absences headed our way. Which should make each and every bench spot as valuable as a roll of March 2020 two-ply. I’ll be running for the hills at the first sign of preseason injuries, which is why Deebo Samuel was omitted from my top 40 and top 60 wide receiver rankings. But he did land a spot in my top 80 wide receivers for 2020 PPR fantasy football:
Tier 10 (cont’d)
61. Alshon Jeffery – Speaking of injured players . . . Alshon just pulled a hammy between the intro and this blurb. Alright so he isn’t injured just yet, but he is one of a handful of glass players I’m significantly devaluing in the year of corona. In shallower leagues—like 10 teamers— I’d move Jeffery up 15-20 spots in the rankings because replacement value in those free agent pools will be much higher.
2020 Projection: 60 receptions, 780 receiving yards, 5 total touchdowns in 13 games
PPR Pts: 168 / 12.9 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 138 / 10.6 ppg | Standard Pts: 108 / 8.3 ppg
62. Deebo Samuel – How can Deebo have a Jones fracture? His name’s Samuel! Ugh, I hate to rank a player that I like so much this low, but this particular injury can be one of the most difficult to bounce back from. Just ask Samuel’s 49er teammate and fellow wide receiver, Trent Taylor, who sustained the same injury in the preseason last year. Taylor underwent five, yes, FIVE surgeries last year and missed the entire season. It took Sammy Watkins two full seasons to recover from his 2018 Jones fracture and it’s not much of a stretch to say Watkins will never be the same player. AVOID.
2020 Projection: 45 receptions, 630 receiving yards, 100 rushing yards, 4 total touchdowns in 12 games
PPR Pts: 142 / 11.8 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 119.5 / 10 ppg | Standard Pts: 97 / 8.1 ppg
63. Kenny Stills – Who killed Kenny’s fantasy value? Brandin Cooks and Randall Cobb killed Kenny’s fantasy value. That is until Cooks gets hit in the head and Will Fuller has his yearly injury vacation. But it’s not like we can afford to stash Stills on our benches in the year of corona—unless you’re in a deep league and/or one with a massive bench.
2020 Projection: 55 receptions, 770 receiving yards, 4 total touchdowns in 15 games
PPR Pts: 156 / 10.4 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 128.5 / 8.6 ppg | Standard Pts: 101 / 6.7 ppg
64. Hunter Renfrow – It’s hard not to root for Renfrow once you’ve seen his very average looking physique and prematurely receding hairline. If we’re ranking the most unathletic looking players in the NFL, the list would look something like this:
4. Eddie Lacy
Man, I miss Eddie Lacy. Renfrow though, is he good? Not sure. But Gruden loves him—I know, Gruden literally loves everyone, even Antonio Brown—and I get this feeling that Renfrow is one of those players that’ll out kick his coverage his entire life. We can’t draft solely based on feelings though. Unless they’re Kerryon Johnson feelings, then it’s encouraged.
2020 Projection: 55 receptions, 660 receiving yards, 4 total touchdowns in 14 games
PPR Pts: 145 / 10.4 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 117.5 / 8.4 ppg | Standard Pts: 90 / 6.4 ppg
65. Mohamed Sanu – I get that Julian Edelman isn’t going anywhere and N’Keal Harry is the much more exciting option, but the prophet Mohamed is a totally forgotten man this draft season. He’s the 85th WR off the board over the last month in NFFC drafts as of this writing. The last three years in Atlanta, Sanu was a lock for the numbers I’ve projected below and he seemed to grasp the difficult Patriots playbook pretty well after his midseason 2019 relocation. He doesn’t come without risk, but he’s currently one of my favorite deep league targets. Sanu you love me?
2020 Projection: 60 receptions, 650 receiving yards, 4 total touchdowns in 15 games
PPR Pts: 149 / 9.9 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 119 / 7.9 ppg | Standard Pts: 89 / 5.9 ppg
66. Denzel Mims – You wanna go to the New York Jets or you wanna go home? King Kong ain’t got sh*t on Denzel! I could go on for awhile with Training Day quotes. Mims is one of my favorite receivers from this draft class and I ranked him #11 in my top 20 rookies for 2020 dynasty leagues. He’s a dart throw at this stage with very uncertain opportunity, but Mims could be an elite deep threat. There’s big time upside if you’re into that.
2020 Projection: 50 receptions, 700 receiving yards, 3 total touchdowns in 15 games
PPR Pts: 138 / 9.2 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 113 / 7.5 ppg | Standard Pts: 88 / 5.9 ppg
67. Randall Cobb – I was among those who wrote him off last year, but the Cowboys didn’t play hide the Cobb with Randall. It seems there’s more left in the tank and the Texans just paid him 18 million guaranteed over the next three years, so they better use him. If Fuller and Cooks go down early, Cobb could post huge fantasy numbers.
2020 Projection: 50 receptions, 600 receiving yards, 4 total touchdowns in 14 games
PPR Pts: 134 / 9.6 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 113 / 7.5 ppg | Standard Pts: 84 / 6 ppg
68. Tre’Quan Smith – Rod Tidwell taught us all about The Quan in Jerry Maguire. Jerry was Rod’s Ambassador of Quan; now I’ll be your Ambassador of Quan. Smith is another draft throw, but he’s a high upside dart throw which is my favorite kind and the reason I use cork board. I’ve already seen positive words from multiple members of the Saints coaching staff regarding Tre’Quan. He was stunted by injuries in 2019 and will be at best Brees’ third option out to the gate, but #3 on the Saints can still be fantasy relevant. And in the year of corona, he’s only a couple infections away from being a fantasy WR1!
2020 Projection: 40 receptions, 520 receiving yards, 6 total touchdowns in 14 games
PPR Pts: 128 / 9.1 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 108 / 7.7 ppg | Standard Pts: 88 / 6.3 ppg
69. James Washington – Nice. I’m hesitant to buy into a Steelers offense led by a 38 year old QB coming off elbow surgery. But if Big Ben is the Roethlisberger of yore then there can be value in three Steeler receivers. Even though I’m not sold, the price on James Washingbeard is more than reasonable as he goes off the board well after pick 200.
2020 Projection: 45 receptions, 650 receiving yards, 4 total touchdowns in 15 games
PPR Pts: 128 / 8.9 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 111.5 / 7.4 ppg | Standard Pts: 89 / 5.9 ppg
70. Josh Reynolds – With Cooks gone, Reynolds finally gets his opportunity as Goff’s third receiver. But now he’ll have to fend off 2nd round rookie Van Jefferson who’s known for his crisp route running. I expect Reynolds does hold him off with this whole kid gloves training camp, just don’t expect consistency with Kupp, Woods, and two good tight ends still around.
2020 Projection: 45 receptions, 635 receiving yards, 4 total touchdowns in 15 games
PPR Pts: 132.5 / 8.8 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 110 / 7.3 ppg | Standard Pts: 87.5 / 5.8 ppg
71. Tyrell Williams – Tyrell of House Williams got off to a scorching start last year but got banged up week five and never quite returned to form. Not sure if he’ll ever return to form, but there’s an outside chance the veteran remains Derek Carr’s number two option behind Waller if he can hold off dad-bod Renfrow and the two exciting Raider rookies. That outside chance is worth something, maybe.
2020 Projection: 40 receptions, 620 receiving yards, 5 total touchdowns in 15 games
PPR Pts: 132 / 8.8 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 112 / 7.5 ppg | Standard Pts: 92 / 6.1 ppg
72. Michael Pittman – Philly Rivers signed with Indy and was rewarded with a sexy second round rookie wide receiver from this years draft class. Pittman has the build and skill set to play the Mike Williams role for Rivers immediately. The upside is very real, but as with all rookie receivers, I’m tempering expectations.
2020 Projection: 45 receptions, 620 receiving yards, 4 total touchdowns in 15 games
PPR Pts: 131 / 8.7 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 108.5 / 7.2 ppg | Standard Pts: 86 / 5.7 ppg
73. Henry Ruggs III – You like speed? No, not that kind of speed. Put that rolled up twenty dollar bill away! Ruggs is lightning fast (4.27 forty), but I’ve found myself wondering whether he’s more John Ross than Tyreek Hill. Still the Raiders spent pick #12 on him in this years draft so he should get every opportunity to prove himself, plus Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow aren’t exactly the stiffest competition. I could be severely underrating Ruggs.
2020 Projection: 45 receptions, 630 receiving yards, 3 total touchdowns in 15 games
PPR Pts: 130 / 8.7 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 107.5 / 7.2 ppg | Standard Pts: 85 / 5.7 ppg
74. Laviska Shenault Jr. – Remember how I mentioned avoiding injured guys and rookies? Viska checks both those boxes after having core muscle surgery immediately following the combine. On the plus side, he’s very cheap in drafts and could jump Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley as Uncle Rico’s number two down in Jacksonville. There’s an outside chance for a Deebo Samuel type rookie impact if Shenault is able to get healthy and up to speed.
2020 Projection: 40 receptions, 500 receiving yards, 3 total touchdowns in 13 games
PPR Pts: 113 / 8.7 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 93 / 7.2 ppg | Standard Pts: 73 / 5.6 ppg
75. Miles Boykin – Boy oh boy I was wrong about Boykin last year. He was my dark horse pick from last year’s loaded receiver class and was pretty much the only one who didn’t blow up other than N’Keal Harry. Despite his lack of usage there were still some positives, namely three of his 13 receptions going for touchdowns. But Boykin also saw 7 targets in the Ravens one playoff game, which might be a sign of things to come.
2020 Projection: 40 receptions, 600 receiving yards, 5 total touchdowns in 15 games
PPR Pts: 130 / 8.7 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 110 / 7.3 ppg | Standard Pts: 90 / 6 ppg
76. Larry Fitzgerald – The year is 2090. Justin Bieber III is president, COVID-89 is spreading like wildfire, Larry Fitzgerald and Frank Gore have led the Washington Loaded Potato Skins to their 12 consecutive championship. There’s a good bit of competition for targets in Arizona these days, but I won’t be surprised if Fitz outperforms my projections yet again. Problem is, after week two last year Larry only topped 70 receiving yards once and caught only two touchdowns in that stretch. It’s going to be hard to ever start the legend in anything other than the deepest of leagues.
2020 Projection: 55 receptions, 600 receiving yards, 4 total touchdowns in 16 games
PPR Pts: 139 / 8.7 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 111.5 / 7 ppg | Standard Pts: 99 / 6.6 ppg
77. Brandon Aiyuk – So many rookies, so much upside, so much uncertainty. I wasn’t a big Aiyuk fan coming into the draft but the 9ers spent a first rounder on him and now Deebo is down. But San Francisco will still be run first and George Kittle will be a target hog when the do decide to throw.
2020 Projection: 45 receptions, 580 receiving yards, 3 total touchdowns in 15 games
PPR Pts: 121 / 8.1 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 98.5 / 6.6 ppg | Standard Pts: 76 / 5.1 ppg
78. Jalen Hurd – Assuming Deebo does miss a chunk of the season, one of these San Francisco treats will vastly outperform their rankings. My money (I don’t have any money) is on Aiyuk or Hurd; problem is Kendrick Bourne and Dante Pettis are both in the mix and each have more NFL experience which will hold extra value this season. Feel free to take your fliers, just don’t get overly attached.
2020 Projection: 40 receptions, 500 receiving yards, 3 total touchdowns in 13 games
PPR Pts: 108 / 8.3 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 88 / 6.8 ppg | Standard Pts: 68 / 5.2 ppg
79. Parris Campbell – I went to Paris last winter, fun city. There’s this Jewish alley in the old part of town that has the best falafel. Parris Campbell has an extra ‘r’ and isn’t as good as falafel. But he might be as good as a nice Schwarma; the jury’s still out after an injury plagued rookie season. The smart play is probably fading the rookie Pittman and taking a shot on Campbell panning out as Rivers’ number two option in his second season.
2020 Projection: 45 receptions, 500 receiving yards, 3 total touchdowns in 14 games
PPR Pts: 113 / 8.1 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 90.5 / 6.5 ppg | Standard Pts: 68 / 4.9 ppg
80. Antonio Gandy-Golden – You down with AGG? Yeah you know me is. Hmmm that could use a little work. The
Redskins Loaded Potato Skins have already lost second year receiver Kelvin Harmon to a torn ACL which opens the door wide for the unknown rookie out of Liberty. Gandy-Golden reminds me a bit of Preston Williams: raw, lanky body, jump ball specialist who can make some spectacular plays. My money (haven’t come into any in the last two blurbs) is on AGG quickly becoming Haskins’ number two option in the capital.
2020 Projection: 35 receptions, 500 receiving yards, 4 total touchdowns in 15 games
PPR Pts: 109 / 7.3 ppg | 1/2 PPR Pts: 191.5 / 6.1 ppg | Standard Pts: 74 / 4.9 ppg