No question about it, if you ask anybody about who biggest breakout WR of the 2019 Fantasy Football season was the name you will definitively hear will be Chris Godwin! In his 3rd year Godwin went from a WR that had never posted over 850 yards receiving to totaling 86 receptions for 1333 yards and 9 TD's, which landed him in the Top 5 WR's in Fantasy Football across all formats. And while many people were high on Godwin in 2019, he was usually a 4th round pick which is what made him such a great value and steal at the end of the year. Naturally, heading into the 2020 Fantasy Football season people are wondering what young, up and coming WR will be the next to follow in these footsteps? Well, ask and you shall receive because below are our Top 5 candidates who could do just that!
*Note not all WR's on this list are in the exact same situation Godwin was last year, however they all share one MOST important similarity and that is UNDERVALUED WR's with major BREAK OUT potential!
Ridley is BY FAR the most common name that comes up when trying to find best approximation of a Chris Godwin type of breakout in 2020. Similar to Godwin, Ridley will be entering his 3rd year, with a very pass heavy offense on which he is considered the #2 option behind Julio Jones. While we don't necessarily believe that Ridley will out-produce Jones, like we saw Godwin do with Mike Evans, we do sincerely believe that this Atlanta offense can sustain TWO Top 10 Fantasy WR's. Like Godwin, Ridley has yet to post a 1000 yard season (last year might've happened if he didn't miss 3 games) but he has shown improvement every year and has a knack for getting in the end-zone (17 TD's in the span of two years). With an MVP QB like Matt Ryan who had close to 4500 passing yards again last season, opportunities will be aplenty along with getting the high scoring NFC South divisional boost. And even if the Atlanta offense does struggle we know they won't go away from the passing attack as in 2019, during a down year, the Falcons were #1 in pass attempts. In terms of ADP Ridley also sits in a similar spot to Godwin last season as he is usually drafted around the 4th/5th round. In truth, it wouldn't be a shock to see Ridley's value continue to rise so our suggestion would be to invest in him while you still can as this entire Atlanta offense will be one you will want to buy stock in for the 2020 Fantasy season.
While Woods is now the veteran of the LA WR group, he is still regarded as the #2 option on the offense behind Cooper Kupp. To some extent this makes sense as Woods is a bit older and scoring wise isn't as explosive as Kupp. And yes maybe we're cheating a bit here by including Woods on this list, but we absolutely believe in the skill set and there is no doubt that the value is there. Right now it's not uncommon to see Woods go a round or two later than Kupp, depending on the platform you draft on, but slowly more and more analysts are coming around to the idea that stat wise Woods and Kupp could finish in very similar places. We know that Woods has delivered in terms of production before so that is not something we are worried about, especially on a Rams offense that projects to be pass heavy without a true #1 RB and questions with their offensive line. In all likelihood Kupp and Woods will both probably finish with around 80-90 receptions and close to 1100 yards so don't be surprised if Woods is the top WR for the Rams in 2020, especially if he improves on his TD number from last year (2). Another factor in all of this is the schemes that the Rams were running towards the end of 2019 with more two-TE sets which took Kupp off the field somewhat regularly. If this continues in 2020 it will be another reason that Woods could see more opportunities than expected. Similar to RIdley, Woods has an ADP of around the 4th/5th round which screams value for a player that has WR #1 upside!
Brown is heading into his sophomore year after an up and down rookie performance during which we saw major flashes, but also saw a mix of inconsistencies and injuries. While the Ravens are an offense that largely relies on their TE's, WR wise Brown is by far the most explosive player on that offense as his competition is the likes of Willie Snead, Miles Boykin, and Chris Moore. The game breaking speed that Brown possesses has drawn Tyreek Hill like comparisons and in term of player comparison it makes sense. For Hill his breakout came in his second year during which he pretty much doubled his yardage (593 to 1183) and increased his reception count from 61 to 75. Fast forward to 2018 when Patrick Mahomes took over and that's when Hill emerged to an even bigger degree. The reason we bring this up is that the situation in Baltimore with reigning MVP Lamar Jackson and a second year, speedster in Brown shares a lot of similarities to that of KC. Now, yes the Ravens and Jackson are more run oriented which is why we are not necessarily predicting the same type of blow up for Brown. But still, he should nonetheless see major improvements from just being able to stay healthy alone. The reason we say that is because 46 receptions and 584 yards are very modest numbers for Brown who could get close to the 1000 yard mark as he continues to gain experience and build chemistry with Lamar Jackson. Right now Brown is accurately viewed as a bit of a boom or bust candidate that is better suited for standard scoring but his late round price tag and high ceiling should give you confidence in taking a chance on him.
The Steelers are just one of those franchises that pump out WR talent throughout the years and Diontae Johnson could be that next great, young WR to come out of Pittsburgh. The blueprint is pretty fresh in fact as Johnson could follow in the steps of JuJu Smith-Schuster (he could arguably be on this list too considering his 4th round ADP) who had a pretty quick breakout during his first two years opposite AB and a healthy Ben Roethlisberger. As far as the #2 WR on the Steeler offense, Johnson also seemed to separate himself from James Washington last season and the fact that it came mostly courtesy of Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges makes is that much more impressive. In fact by simply adding a healthy Big Ben this Steeler offense, in the blink of an eye, goes from an offense to avoid to one that can be a Top 10 unit for 2020, which Roethlisberger often accomplishes when playing the majority of the season. But getting back to Johnson he will likely see an increase across the board stat wise as we expect improvement in receptions (59) and yards (680) compared to last year. Also worth noting is that the Steelers consistently produce at least two viable fantasy WR's as we have seen with guys like AB, JuJu, Sanders, Wallace, and others. Overall, the risk to invest in Johnson isn't all that high as he is usually another double digit draft selection with tremendous upside on an explosive offense.
While the pecking order is mostly set in the KC offense there's a reason the Chiefs just made Patrick Mahomes the highest paid player in NFL history and that's because he has the ability to make everyone around him sensational. Favorably, Hardman is also very talented in his own regard as last year he was viewed as the possible Tyreek Hill replacement, but with Hill's situation getting sorted out Hardman will remain in that WR #2 spot for the time being. Nonetheless, the upside is there for Hardman as he has a very similar skillset to Hill and can be a burner that can reach the end zone on any single play. While Hardman only had 26 receptions last year he also had over 500 yards receiving which shows that he averaged over 20 yards per catch! Favorably we expect the reception total to increase for Hardman this year along with the general passing yardage offensively with a fully healthy Mahomes. The great thing about Hardman is that he is currently a double digit pick ADP wise so he can be had at a great value. Overall, Hardman should still be viewed as a better Standard WR and possibly better in best ball formats as we believe he will definitely improve this year but his MAJOR breakout is likely coming in 2021.