We go into every year of Fantasy Football with a group of players that we are high on for one reason or another. But more often than not the reason we like these guys is because we see MAJOR breakout potential and serious upside to finish in the RB 1, WR 1, and etc. category. These breakouts don't necessarily have to be sleepers or late round players, they could be guys that are being drafted in the 2nd/3rd round but you realize their ADP should be MUCH HIGHER. For example, last year we at ADP told you to buys guys like Aaron Jones, Dalvin Cook, Leonard Fournette, and Julian Edelman as often as you could because they were in store for BIG years, and wouldn't you know it all those guys finished in the Top 10 Fantasy scoring in Standard or PPR formats by the end of the year! So, today we will go ahead and do the exact same looking at the 2020 season and give you our Top BREAKOUT candidates at EVERY position.
At this point we have written countless articles and made plenty of videos where we continuously highlight Matt Ryan and how much of an ABSOLUTE STEAL he is heading into the 2020 Fantasy Football season. As of the publishing of this article, the majority of drafting/ranking platforms have Ryan ranked somewhere around their 8th-10th best Fantasy QB. In reality though Ryan's ceiling and more likely outcome for 2020 are a Top 5 finish. But let's take a look at all the reasons for this optimism once again:
The Falcons lead all NFL teams in pass attempts in 2019, translation: this is a PASS HEAVY team with a QB that will get a BUNCH of volume.
Ryan was once AGAIN a Top 5 Fantasy QB in terms of passing yards in 2019, with nearly 4500 yards through 15 games
The offense is one of the best in the NFL (Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Hayden Hurst, & Todd Gurley)
The offensive line is returning several healthy starters for 2020
The Falcons are in the NFC South a.k.a. the Fantasy Football GOLDMINE in terms of scoring for 2020
Similar to Matt Ryan, Tom Brady is in a GREAT situation for 2020 and is EXTREMELY undervalued right now. Yes he's in a new system and will be 43 years old, BUT the upside is INCREDIBLE!
Brady is surrounded by the best group of offensive play makers that he has EVER had
The Bucs offense has the talent to be a Top 5 unit in the NFL (Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Gronk, Howard, and Brate)
The Bucs continued to upgrade their offensive line as they added Tristan Wirfs in the 1st round of the NFL Draft
Bruce Arians is notorious for being a HC that produces high octane offenses with pass heavy QB's
Playing in the aforementioned NFC South which will precipitate many high scoring contests
Brady is currently ranked around the 10th best projected Fantasy QB if not worse, which means HUGE opportunity for overachieving
Drake might be a bit of a no-brainer here as he is usually an early second round pick, but think of this as a situation similar to Dalvin Cook last year. This is the type of player that's being drafted as an RB 1 but his upside is a Top 5 RB finish altogether! After joining the Cardinals last year, all Drake did was produce (out of 8 possible games he had 5 with over 10+ fantasy points with 3 of those being 25+ point outings). Now with no more David Johnson this backfield firmly belongs to Kenyan Drake who is also a very good dual threat RB that should be ranked higher in PPR formats. And if for some reason Drake does make you nervous consider that Chase Edmonds is a very capable handcuff that you can ensure Drake with, similar to Cook and Mattison in 2019. On top of all of this the Arizona offense in general should be one of the most improved this year with a young QB in Kyler Murray that many are projecting to breakout himself in 2020 and with a revamped WR core now featuring DeAndre Hopkins.
Naturally Gurley is viewed as a bit of an unknown heading into 2020 with a new team in the Falcons and coming off a year with the Rams where he was severely underutilized. But we would argue that joining the Falcons was one of the BEST things that could have happened for Gurley and his fantasy outlook. In order to avoid repeating ourselves you know all the reasons why we LOVE the Atlanta offense already (just scroll up and look over our Matt Ryan pick). Let's also not forget that Gurley is only 1.5 years removed from being the BEST RB in all of Fantasy Football. Now sure those days are probably over but a Top 10 finish is still VERY MUCH POSSIBLE. Consider that Gurley is on a 1-year contract and the departure of Devonta Freeman and you know the Falcons will heavily rely on Gurley. On top of all of this Gurley's current value is anywhere from a late 2nd round pick to a mid 4th round pick which is highway robbery!
Conner is another RB that we have been high on for several months and we aren't backing away from that stance. In fact, since we started highlighting Conner back in March his ADP has slowly increased where he is now usually a sure fire 4th round pick or maybe 3rd rounder depending on your platform and scoring formats. Still though, there remains big value and overachieving potential for Conner. The reality is that last year was a wash for every offensive weapon on the Steelers as soon as Roethlisberger went down in Week 2. And yes Conner dealt with injuries again but at the moment he is HEALTHY and when that is the case he is the UNQUESTIONED workhorse RB for the Steelers. On top of this the Steelers STILL have a dominant offensive line and GREAT defense which will create plenty of scoring opportunities for Conner on a weekly basis.
Naturally with Stefon Diggs no longer with the Vikings the opportunities for Thielen will increase. Now sure, the Vikings are a run first team, BUT Kirk Cousins has still averaged over 4000+ passing yards over the last 5 years. And even if those numbers do go down, Thielen is currently by FAR and AWAY the best WR the Vikings have so he will naturally receive a lot of volume. In fact the next group of WR's after Thielen are mediocre at best with the best option probably being rookie Justin Jefferson who will likely have a slower start to the season, not unlike many other rookies, due to the cancelled NFL preseason. While 2019 was a disappointing year for Thielen due to injuries, let's not forget that the two year prior he averaged over 100 receptions and was a WR 1 in fantasy. That is the type of production we are expecting from Thielen in 2020 and with his current ADP being a 3rd/4th rounder there is great opportunity.
There is a reason that Ridley has been most often pegged to be this year's Chris Godwin. Even though Ridley has yet to surpass 1000 yards and is entering his 3rd year his arrow is pointing WAY UP for 2020. Similar to Godwin in 2019, Ridley is playing on a pass heavy offense, across a Top 3 WR, but also has an MVP QB throwing him the football. The bottom line is that even as a 3rd/4th round pick as is his current ADP, Ridley still has the ability to outperform his expectations as he can be a borderline Top 10 Fantasy WR this season. We have gone in depth about why we are so high on other Atlanta offensive members and the same holds true for Ridley. Opportunities will be aplenty for Ridley all year long and playing in the NFC South will be a great boost 6 times during the year.. Also if anything were to happen to Julio Jones, Ridley will automatically receive and even bigger bump in volume and ceiling as the main target for Matt Ryan in that case.
Can Engram stay healthy, that is honestly the main and only question when it comes to Engram's fantasy value for 2020. Many people will tell you that Engram is too big of a risk to be trusted and maybe to some degree that's true, BUT at his current ADP the risk is ABSOLUTELY outweighed by the reward. Just think about it this way, last year when healthy Engram was a Top 5 Fantasy TE and in fact would have finished the year as such if you extrapolate his stats for a full 16 games as he was on pace for 900+ receiving yards and 6 TD's. Couple that with the fact that Engram is a matchup nightmare for defenses and that Daniel Jones airs out the football a BUNCH then that will translate to a lot of opportunities in 2020. We currently have Engram ranked as a high end Tier 2 TE and the ability to land him in the 6th/7th round at a position that can otherwise be a wasteland is something we are very excited about!
Having Philip Rivers join the Colts was a HUGE win for the Indianapolis offense and especially for Jack Doyle. Currently a TE that is ranked outside of the Top 15 TE's and might be going undrafted, Doyle has SERIOUS upside. We have said this before, but Rivers is a QB that has always loved his TE's, think Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry, and Jack Doyle should be no exception. This paired with the departure of Eric Ebron will make Doyle a popular target for Rivers. Add to this that outside of T.Y. Hilton, Doyle is probably the next best consistent pass catching option that will see a high % snap rate on a week to week basis and the arrow continues to go up. And even though Rivers is on the old side let's not forget that he was 3rd in the NFL in 2019 in passing yards and that will be a big positive change for the Colts who had to rely on Brissett for the majority of 2019.