Unfortunately, injuries are a part of every sport and fantasy football is no exception. Every year we have to weigh our options and ask ourselves if it's worth drafting a player that is coming off an injury or has an injury history in general. Often times these type of players are viewed somewhat negatively and as a result their draft stock will take a hit. But if you are a savvy fantasy player then you know that this is also a great chance to find hidden value and take advantage of injury concerns with potentially huge returns. For that reason, today we are highlighting 7 names that you should take a chance on this 2020 Fantasy Football Season!
There might not be a bigger poster-child for this category than Cam Newton at the moment. With the news that Cam Newton joined the Patriots on a 1-year incentive laden deal to compete for the starting QB spot, Cam yet again finds himself in fantasy relevance. Of course, the question for Cam these last two years and even before, while in Carolina, has been his health as just these last two years he has had shoulder and foot surgery. However, prior to that Cam looked to be hitting his peak as an NFL QB and is only a few years removed from his MVP campaign. But nonetheless, there is uncertainty with Cam's stock which is why it took him this long to get signed to begin with.
When we breakdown Cam, he is still relatively young at 31 and will be extremely motivated to prove his doubters wrong and pretty much the entire NFL landscape believes that if healthy, he will beat out Jarrett Stidham for the starting QB spot in New England. If that does happen, which we also anticipate, then it's not too crazy for Cam to be viewed in fantasy similarly to his 2019 projections. Personally, we had Cam as a Top 10 Fantasy QB option as he carries the extreme value of rushing production (i.e similar to a Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen) which will guarantee him a pretty safe floor on a week to week basis. The weapons for the Patriots aren't mind-blowing, but Cam has done more with less during his time with the Panthers. Edelman can still be a WR #1 for the team with Harry and Sanu stepping up when needed and White/Michel will be a combined, lesser version of CMC. At the end of the day there is a real possibility that Cam gets drafted as a back-up QB initially, but then turns into your #1 option similar to Lamar Jackson of 2019, and we all remember how that turned out.
Since breaking out two years ago Conner has enjoyed some spurts of success, but has also dealt with his own injuries which has created durability concerns in the fantasy world. Even though last year Conner only played 10 games, there's not much to take away as the season pretty much ended in Week 2 for every Steeler offensive player when Roethlisberger got injured. Looking forward to 2020 though, Conner is definitely being overlooked a bit, for now at least (we expect his ADP to continue to rise as we get closer to the start of the season). At this point in time Conner is being drafted somewhere in the 4th round usually, which is INSANE considering that he is the workhorse RB for Pittsburgh, is a great pass catcher, and plays behind a very good offensive line. Ceiling wise, this all translates into a Top 15 Fantasy RB, which would mean close to RB 1 production! While the recency bias might make some people stay away from Conner it's not every day that you can land a high volume RB 1 upside player in the 4th round.
Many people were worried about Gurley last season and how his knee would hold up for a span of 16 games. As a result many owners had Gurley on their Do Not Draft Lists, but in reality Gurley actually played the entire season and any limitations that he did have were due to the Rams limiting his volume and having issues on their offensive line. Now playing on a 1-year deal for the Falcons in 2020, Gurley is in a much better position to succeed than he would've been if he had stayed with the Rams or even compared to last year. Simply put, the Falcons will be a MUST OWN offense in fantasy as they are extremely potent offensively! Matt Ryan is a Top 10 QB (who is also being undervalued) and the Falcons play in the NFC South which will produce many high scoring affairs. Gurley is the unquestioned starter at RB with Freeman no longer in Atlanta and playing on a 1-year deal we expect the Falcons to try and get the most out of him this year. While the days of Gurley being the best RB in Fantasy are probably gone he still has serious Top 15 RB potential and can be had in the 3rd round or later!
Similar to Todd Gurley, Johnson's best days as the top RB in Fantasy Football are probably gone. BUT, that doesn't mean he still can't bring a lot of value to your roster, especially in PPR formats. Johnson has missed chunks of time each of the last few seasons now, but in reality the injuries haven't been extremely serious. We believe that a change of scenery for DJ can revive his career a bit, similar to Kenyan Drake, as he could very well be the best RB the Texans have had in recent memory. Depending on the platform you are drafting on, there might not be a player with bigger ADP discrepancies than Johnson, which means there is still a good chance to get him somewhat cheap. While we would target Johnson more so in PPR leagues, he should still easily combine for over 1000 yards offensively and could be one of the best pass catchers for the Texans from day one. The best projection for DJ right now would probably be a high-end RB 2 as we have him reaching 1000 yards rushing with 50 receptions for 450 yards receiving. Even though the Houston offensive line leaves a bit to be desired, we saw Carlos Hyde finish with over 1000 yards rushing last season so we have faith that DJ can reach that number as well.
Hilton has been a WR that we have specifically stayed away from these last few years, not because he's injury prone, but more so because he was being drafted as a borderline Top 10 WR. However, Hilton's 2020 value is being treated quite differently as many people have downgraded him after 2 years of unreliable production and now he is projected by many to finish outside of the Top 20 Fantasy WR's. Now, if Jacoby Brissett was still the QB for the Colts we would agree but the trajectory of this entire offense changed when they signed Philip Rivers. Even though Rivers is on the older side, he can still sling it and there is no doubt that Hilton is his most reliable target at the WR position. If you're someone worried about Rivers being able to sustain fantasy relevant weapons keep in mind what type of receiving production guys like Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler have put up not only last year, but the year prior as well. While there is no guarantee that Hilton will play the entirety of the 2020 season he should automatically see the majority of targets go his way, which could allow him to produce WR 1 type numbers even though he's being drafted after the 4th/5th round in fantasy.
Cooks is on the move yet again, but this time he is taking some recent concussion troubles along with him. When you look at the WR room in Houston though, especially with the departure of DeAndre Hopkins, this is a location prime for opportunity. And for what it's worth it's not like Cooks is the only WR with injury concerns for the Texans, as they probably have the most injury riddled group of WR's in the NFL when you consider Will Fuller and Kenny Stills. Somewhat surprisingly, many analysts believe that Fuller should be the first Houston WR drafted, but those are lofty expectations for a WR that has never played a full season in his career. On top of that, Cooks is more experienced and the Texans did give up a lot to bring him in so we actually think he is the Houston WR to own. Right now Cooks is being drafted in double digit rounds and several rounds after Will Fuller which screams UNDERVALUED! Since the price tag isn't all that high for Cooks, while his ceiling is the #1 WR for the Texans which could turn into a #2 WR in Fantasy he is absolutely worth the gamble. We currently project Cooks to be a Top 25 WR in all formats and get at least 1000 yards receiving.
In case you didn't get the memo, Philip Rivers joining the Colts is a BIG DEAL for every offensive player. In fact, Doyle might be one of the biggest benefactors as he is the 2nd-best pass catching option behind T.Y. Hilton and we all know how much Rivers has relied on his TE's before (i.e. Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates). A huge factor in all of this is also the departure of Eric Ebron which will greatly increase the usage of Doyle on a week to week basis as he is the unquestioned #1 TE in Indianapolis now. While Doyle has missed time these last two years, when healthy he put up respectable numbers with Luck playing and we fully believe Doyle can do it again. In addition, Jack Doyle is our pick for BREAKOUT TE in 2020 as far as a TE that is being overlooked by the public, but can finish in the Top 10 and be a league winner at a position that is so hard to hit on to begin with, similar to Mark Andrews and Darren Waller of last year.