NFL 2020: Fantasy Football PPR Top 100 Rankings

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By RADIO.COM

Hello … is this thing on? Anticipation for fantasy football usually reaches a fever pitch this time of year. But as you’ve likely noticed, that has not been the case in 2020, as fantasy football players, myself included, have seen an influx of empty mock rooms on sites like ESPN and Yahoo, commissioners and leagues with no discernable plan and a general lethargy uncommon for this late juncture in draft season. I’ve witnessed this concerning state of affairs firsthand in several of my leagues, two of which remain without a scheduled draft date.

Wary of whether the NFL can successfully finish its season with the coronavirus still at large, some commissioners have suggested lowering league entry fees or making the move to DFS head-to-heads in lieu of a conventional regular season that could conceivably be canceled at any moment. Though hardly ideal—the weekly upkeep of waivers and free-agent auction bidding is part of what makes fantasy so enjoyable—I understand the sentiment considering the financial downturn amid COVID and other tumultuous world events that have shifted our focus away from fantasy football which, at the end of the day, is just a game.

Considering all that’s happened, I suppose it’s not a surprise that preparing for the upcoming fantasy season has not been a top priority for many this summer. Perhaps the lack of training-camp buzz and absence of preseason games—required viewing for resourceful drafters hoping to gain a grasp on position battles and potential late-round sleepers—have contributed to the relative apathy surrounding fantasy this year. Even I’ve neglected my usual fantasy preparations to a certain degree—blame it on the NBA and NHL playoffs being so relentlessly entertaining.

Interest will inevitably grow as opening weekend comes into clearer focus, but in the meantime, fantasy enthusiasts like myself will have to be our own cheerleaders, rallying the troops ahead of Week 1. If you’ve been delinquent in your fantasy prep and need to cram before your draft, don’t sweat it. I have you covered with my top 100 fantasy PPR rankings. I’m just one voice in a sea of many, so don’t regard these ranks as gospel, but if you’re stuck between choices and can’t decide, hopefully this can serve as a tiebreaker of sorts.

Alvin Kamara tries to put a Colts defender on skates
Photo credit Jonathan Bachman, Getty Images

1. Christian McCaffrey RB1

2. Saquon Barkley RB2

3. Ezekiel Elliott RB3

4. Alvin Kamara RB4

5. Dalvin Cook RB5

6. Michael Thomas WR1

7. Clyde Edwards-Helaire RB6

8. Derrick Henry RB7

9. Miles Sanders RB8

10. Davante Adams WR2

No real surprises here. Like many in the industry, I’m extremely high on Edwards-Helaire, the first running back selected in April’s draft. Life keeps coming up roses for CEH, who goes from leading LSU’s undefeated National Championship team to No. 1 status on the reigning Lombardi winners. The 32nd-overall pick was initially ticketed for a committee/passing-down role but Damien Williams’ decision to opt out amid COVID has since elevated him to top dog in the barbecue capital. Quietly on a Hall-of-Fame trajectory, Michael Thomas’ career 5,512 receiving yards are the most ever through a player’s first four seasons. The same goes for his 470 receptions during that span including a single-season NFL record 149 in 2019. With Drew Brees hinting this will be his final season, look for the Brees/Thomas connection to go out with a bang. Even in a down year, Thomas’ New Orleans teammate Alvin Kamara still gathered an impressive 81 catches (the same total he finished with in each of his previous two seasons) out of the Saints’ backfield. Kamara, who admitted to playing hurt throughout 2019, weathered a nine-game scoring drought before breaking out for five touchdowns over his final three appearances last year including a postseason loss to Minnesota. Fully healthy and angling for a contract extension, the former Rookie of the Year should be primed for a bounce-back season in 2020.

11. Joe Mixon RB9

12. Austin Ekeler RB10

13. Kenyan Drake RB11

14. Nick Chubb RB12

15. Josh Jacobs RB13

16. Tyreek Hill WR3

17. Julio Jones WR4

18. Aaron Jones RB14

19. DeAndre Hopkins WR5

20. Travis Kelce TE1

Should it concern us at all that Austin Ekeler has never operated as a true workhorse outside of a four-game stretch early last season when Melvin Gordon was holding out for a new contract? Here’s why I’m not losing sleep over it. Even playing fewer snaps than Gordon over the final 12 games last season (427-408 in Gordon’s favor), Ekeler STILL scored as the overall RB5 in PPR leagues on the strength of his enormous 18-percent target share (third-highest among running backs) during that span. Even if Ekeler loses rushing work to Justin Jackson and fourth-round rookie Joshua Kelley, his immense receiving talent keeps him in the RB1 discussion. Los Angeles also showed its commitment to Ekeler by signing the former UDFA to a four-year, $24-million extension this offseason. Coach Jon Gruden spent the summer talking up Josh Jacobs’ receiving prowess, only for Las Vegas to muddy the waters by signing former Lions pass-catcher Theo Riddick. With Riddick joining the likes of Jalen Richard and Devontae Booker in a suddenly crowded Raiders backup corps, Jacobs’ role shouldn’t change much in 2020, which is to say, fantasy players can probably expect another year of scant receiving usage out of the former 24th-overall pick. I’m typically not a proponent of drafting tight ends early, but Kelce, who led the position in both receiving yards (1,229) and catches (97) a year ago, is obviously an exception to the rule.

21. George Kittle TE2

22. Chris Godwin WR6

23. Mike Evans WR7

24. Kenny Golladay WR8

25. D.J. Moore WR9

26. Allen Robinson WR10

27. Lamar Jackson QB1

28. Adam Thielen WR11

29. JuJu Smith-Schuster WR12

30. Patrick Mahomes QB2

Mahomes may have the shinier contract, but Lamar, last year’s NFL leader in touchdown bombs with 36 (he also netted 1,206 yards on the ground, shattering Michael Vick’s single-season rushing mark by a quarterback), earns the distinction of fantasy QB1, at least in my book. Either way, it’s clear Jackson, last year’s regular-season MVP, and Mahomes, the 2018 MVP and reigning Super Bowl MVP, are in a tier all by themselves at the quarterback position. Former Maryland Terrapin D.J. Moore erupted for a monster 87-1,175-4 receiving line during his breakout sophomore campaign, numbers made more impressive by the underwhelming quality of quarterback play in Carolina last year. With Ben Roethlisberger back in the saddle for Pittsburgh, a bounce-back season for Smith-Schuster seems almost inevitable. Entering the final year of his rookie contract, JuJu has plenty of incentive to make 2020 his finest year yet. Some experts have made the” too many cooks” argument as reason to steer clear of Godwin and Evans in fantasy. The potential for fewer shootouts with turnover-averse Tom Brady under center has also been cited as a cause for concern, but I’m not buying either argument. Even if Father Time stuffs Brady in a gym locker and takes his lunch money, I’m still betting on Godwin and Evans to finish the year as WR1s.

Odell Beckham beats Marcus Peters for a Browns touchdown
Photo credit Jason Miller, Getty Images

31. Odell Beckham Jr. WR13

32. Amari Cooper WR14

33. Robert Woods WR15

34. Chris Carson RB15

35. Calvin Ridley WR16

36. A.J. Brown WR17

37. Tyler Lockett WR18

38. Cooper Kupp WR19

39. Todd Gurley RB16

40. David Johnson RB17

Even with in over-his-head Freddie Kitchens calling the shots in Cleveland (luckily the Browns were quick to pull the plug on that experiment), Odell Beckham—who played all of last season with a painful sports hernia, I might add—still eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving for the fifth time in his six-year career. Just a friendly reminder not to sleep on a man who once did this. The Rams’ offseason makeover, a roster purge that claimed Todd Gurley (released) and Brandin Cooks (traded) as two of its victims, leaves over 100 targets up for grabs in Los Angeles. With Cooper Kupp likely confined to the slot, Woods, who has quietly registered 80-plus catches in back-to-back seasons, figures to benefit most from those departures. Tyler Lockett compiled gaudy counting stats (82-1,057-8 on 110 targets) last year, but boy what a rollercoaster it was to get there. He cleared the 100-yard threshold on four occasions (postseason included) but was also held under 40 yards on four occasions including a disastrous goose egg against the Vikings in Week 13. There’s reason to be wary of Carson coming off hip surgery along with workload concerns raised by the presence of newcomers Carlos Hyde and DeeJay Dallas in Seattle. But as the lead ball-carrier on a team that rushed for the fourth-most yards in football a year ago, the former seventh-round pick still stands an excellent chance of returning RB2 value in 2020. It’s worth noting only four players in the entire sport—Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb—have rushed for more yards than the perennially overlooked Carson since 2018.

41. Le’Veon Bell RB18

42. James Conner RB19

43. Courtland Sutton WR20

44. Melvin Gordon RB20

45. Mark Andrews TE3

*46. Leonard Fournette RB21

47. Keenan Allen WR21

48. Jonathan Taylor RB22

49. Terry McLaurin WR22

50. Zach Ertz TE4

There are plenty of mouths to feed in the Mile High City (Denver used its first two picks in April’s draft on receivers Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler), which explains my reluctance to rank Sutton higher than 43rd overall despite reports he’s been the star of Broncos training camp this summer. An athletic marvel who’s drawn favorable comps to Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley, Taylor seems all but certain to overtake incumbent Marlon Mack at some point this season. One of the most decorated rushers in FBS history, I wouldn’t be surprised if Taylor is being discussed as a first-round pick, if not a top-five overall selection, in fantasy a year from now. Resentful the Jets signed him to begin with, coach Adam Gase seems determined to make Le’Veon Bell’s life a living hell. New York’s underachieving offensive line was Bell’s undoing in 2019. Now Bell’s latest impediment to success is Frank Gore, who Gase has praised like his own son this offseason (though they’re almost the same age). On the surface, it probably seems disrespectful to rank Allen this low. After all, Allen absorbed a franchise-record 104 catches last year, third-most in the league behind only Michael Thomas and Christian McCaffrey. While I still expect Allen to be a helpful fantasy contributor in 2020, his upside is capped by L.A’s transition to a slower-paced, run-reliant offense, a scheme catered to the strengths of bridge quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

51. D.J. Chark WR23

52. Kareem Hunt RB23

53. D.K. Metcalf WR24

54. T.Y. Hilton WR25

55. Devin Singletary RB24

56. DeVante Parker WR26

57. Stefon Diggs WR27

58. Michael Gallup WR28

59. Jarvis Landry WR29

60. A.J. Green WR30

It’s been 20 months since Green last stepped between the lines. Much has changed since then—the Bengals’ once barebones receiving corps is suddenly flush with talent (tantalizing rookie Tee Higgins, slot maven Tyler Boyd, the overachieving likes of Auden Tate and John Ross, author of the fastest 40 time on record at the NFL Combine) while the team’s offense now runs through reigning Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow of LSU. How Green fits among those moving parts remains to be seen, though when his body cooperates, the 32-year-old has typically been among the league’s best. Lost in Cleveland’s Hindenburg 2019 season was Kareem Hunt’s return to fantasy relevance. The former rushing champ finished the year with a flourish, scoring as the PPR RB17 from Week 10 on. For comparison’s sake, Hunt’s backfield-mate Nick Chubb was the RB15 over that span. Blessed with 96-percentile SPARQ athleticism (he blazed a scorching 4.34 forty at the Combine), Chark flopped as a rookie (14-174-0 on 32 targets) but redeemed himself with an emphatic 2019, becoming the Jags’ first 1,000-yard receiver since Allen Robinson in 2015. Michael Gallup made a similar sophomore leap in Dallas last year, ranking sixth in receiving yards per game (79.1) and seventh in yards per reception (16.8), though his 2020 prospects are complicated by the presence of former Lincoln Riley chess piece CeeDee Lamb, who fell into the Cowboys’ lap with the 17th pick in April’s draft.

Julian Edelman barrels into the end zone for six
Photo credit Adam Glanzman, Getty Images

61. Mark Ingram RB25

62. Marquise Brown WR31

63. Raheem Mostert RB26

64. Tyler Boyd WR32

65. Will Fuller WR33

66. D’Andre Swift RB27

67. Darren Waller TE5

68. Dak Prescott QB3

69. Julian Edelman WR34

70. Kyler Murray QB4

Even at much less than 100 percent, DeSean Jackson clone Marquise Brown showed plenty of promise in his debut season, breaking loose for seven touchdowns, a figure that ranked fourth among rookie receivers. With DeAndre Hopkins no longer part of the equation, Fuller has a golden opportunity to establish himself as the Texans’ new downfield alpha, assuming he can stay healthy, something he has yet to accomplish in his four NFL seasons. Coming off a career-best 1,117 receiving yards (which he achieved in spite of season-long shoulder woes), Edelman is closing in on New England’s franchise-record for career catches, needing just 74 to displace current pace-setter Wes Welker atop the Patriots’ all-time receiving hierarchy. We’ll see how Tom Brady’s longtime sidekick fares with former MVP Cam Newton at the control panel. Equipped with a new go-to receiver in Nuk Hopkins, former Oakland A’s prospect and reigning Rookie of the Year Kyler Murray should be poised for bigger and better things as a sophomore. Explosive rookie J.K. Dobbins may be coming for his throne in Baltimore, but Mark Ingram, fresh off a career-high 15 touchdowns in 2019, is still very much in play as a fantasy flex. Even with Dobbins gunning for lead status in a cutthroat Ravens backfield, the 30-year-old remains a key cog in an offense that set an NFL record with 3,296 rushing yards last season.

71. Deshaun Watson QB5

72. Ronald Jones RB28

73. Cam Akers RB29

74. Russell Wilson QB6

75. Evan Engram TE6

76. Marvin Jones WR35

77. Brandin Cooks WR36

78. Jamison Crowder WR37

79. Tarik Cohen RB30

80. Diontae Johnson WR38

I tend to prefer fantasy QBs with rushing capability and Watson and Wilson both fit that bill. Plagued by at least his fifth documented concussion, Brandin Cooks saw his run of four straight 1,000-yard receiving campaigns meet its demise in 2019. The Texans are the well-traveled Cooks’ fourth team in five years. Chain-mover Marvin Jones and teammate Kenny Golladay combined for 20 receiving scores last year even with Matthew Stafford shelved for the final eight games. A contested catch artist with 4.46 wheels, Jones is one of the best values I’ve seen in fantasy drafts this summer (97.3 ADP in ESPN leagues). Ben Roethlisberger threw for a league-leading 5,129 passing yards—good for the seventh-most in NFL history—the last time he was healthy in 2018, which should bode well for Diontae Johnson (59-680-5 on 92 targets as a rookie). I removed David Montgomery, who I had previously slotted at 59th overall, from my rankings after news broke of his groin injury at Bears training camp. That development may prompt some to take a renewed interest in Tarik Cohen, though, honestly, I don’t think this changes much for the fourth-year scat back. If Montgomery’s injury proves serious, I suspect Chicago would go the free-agent route, bringing in someone like Devonta Freeman to occupy early downs while maintaining the status quo by employing Cohen in his usual receiving capacity.

81. Tyler Higbee TE7

82. Josh Allen QB7

83. James White RB31

84. J.K. Dobbins RB32

85. Deebo Samuel WR39

86. Jordan Howard RB33

87. Phillip Lindsay RB34

88. Kerryon Johnson RB35

89. Darrell Henderson RB36

90. Zack Moss RB37

We’re getting into the weeds here with committee backs galore. Despite an underwhelming athletic profile (he tested poorly in the lead-up to this year’s draft, clocking a lethargic 4.65 forty in Indy), reigning Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year Zack Moss offers enough receiving chops to warrant RB3/4 consideration in PPR formats. Limited as a pass-catcher and not particularly fleet of foot, Howard enters the year with only a slight leg up on Matt Breida for lead responsibilities in a remade Miami backfield. Despite his considerable flaws, Howard’s NFL resume contains an impressive 32 touchdowns and a pair of 1,000-yard rushing seasons, making him a noteworthy value this late in fantasy drafts. Allen has struggled with accuracy (56.3 career completion percentage), a problem that dates back to his college days at Wyoming, though he’s been a marvelous scrambler at the NFL level, leading the quarterback position with 17 rushing tallies since 2018. Perhaps the arrival of Stefon Diggs (career-high 1,130 receiving yards as a Viking last season) will help Allen finally fulfill his full downfield potential. We know he has the arm for it. White is never a sexy fantasy pick, but he’s certainly reliable—something that cannot be said of New England’s other backfield weapons—and should mesh well with Cam Newton, who is obviously no stranger to targeting running backs in the passing game (see Christian McCaffrey).

Darius Slayton gallops to the end zone for a Giants touchdown
Photo credit Emilee Chinn, Getty Images

91. Hunter Henry TE8

92. Matt Breida RB38

93. Sterling Shepard WR40

94. Tevin Coleman RB39

95. Antonio Gibson RB40

96. Darius Slayton WR41

97. Marlon Mack RB41

98. Rob Gronkowski TE9

99. Preston Williams WR42

100. Ke’Shawn Vaughn RB42

We’ve arrived at the long shots, a table occupied by high-upside flyers including Preston Williams, who was trending toward a 1,000-yard season before an ACL tear closed the book on his impressive 2019 campaign. Already turning heads at training camp, Gibson checks all the athletic boxes: size (6’0”/228), speed (4.39), versatility (38-735-8 as a receiver last year). Unfortunately, we didn’t see much of him at the FBS level as Gibson spent the bulk of his college tenure buried behind Tony Pollard and Darrell Henderson in a star-studded Memphis backfield. Derrius Guice’s arrest and subsequent release should give Gibson a relatively clear path to carries in Washington. It’s hard to distinguish between New York’s receiving trio of Shepard, Slayton and Golden Tate, though Slayton—a forgotten fifth-rounder out of Auburn—was certainly the most impressive last season, pacing the G-Men in both receiving yards (740) and touchdowns (eight) despite not seeing the field until Week 3. Navigating Bruce Arians backfields has always been a fool’s errand and 2020 should be no different with Vaughn working to establish himself alongside Ronald Jones and declining vet LeSean McCoy. The Gronk/Brady partnership that worked so well in New England may grace us with a few more moments of gridiron glory, though anyone expecting vintage Gronk following a year-long football hiatus is setting themselves up for disappointment.

*Fournette was waived by Jacksonville on Monday

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