Following my last article, I continue with my 2020 projections for fantasy football after doing projections for all 32 teams, this time for the NFC.
As I mentioned in the previous article, doing projections is the biggest teacher I have in the offseason. When doing rankings, it is an opinion when looking at one player against another. However, when doing this, I don’t look at the standings until I finish the last team.
Doing it this way, I look at each team in its own way based on tendencies, talent, and any changes that have taken place since we last saw football. This way takes out bias, for the most part. Sure, my fingerprints are all over these, but I try to base all of my stats and conclusions on logic and previous history.
With all of that said, let’s look at how the NFC will shake out and which players to target and which ones to maybe avoid.
2020 NFC Fantasy Football Projections
DeAndre Hopkins will see a regression in 2020…but is still elite
Anytime you talk about one of the best players in the sport and fantasy, taking a dip in production hurts to do. I just have a hard time finding a way DeAndre Hopkins goes over 135 targets.
From what I have seen, I might even be on the optimistic side of that stat line too. Between Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald seeing 203 targets combined, I have Hopkins taking a rather substantial drop from his five-year average of 30% target share to 23.1%. He is still a top 10 wide receiver in fantasy, but out of the wide receiver number one discussion.
Another note is I continue to love Kenyan Drake for 2020. Add this to the lists of platforms I discussed my love of him. I am not the only one as PFN Betting Expert Chris Smith was in favor of the overs when looking at Drake’s 2020 prop bets.
When Drake landed in Arizona until the end of the season, he was RB4 in PPR formats. Drake went on to average 5.2 yards per carry during that stretch with an impressive 19.92 fantasy points per game. While the defense will continue to be bad and force the Arizona Cardinals into negative game scripts, their total plays per game will elevate Drake’s potential. Drake comes out as RB6 in my PPR projections this year.
Calvin Ridley will continue his breakout
The Atlanta Falcons will start a trend in this article of the NFC South being a hotbed for fantasy scoring. I have Julio Jones projected for 151 targets on his way to a WR3 finish on the season. Also, Todd Gurley is still a viable option in the early rounds. While the Falcons will monitor his snap counts, he is still on a one-year deal and no use to hold back, so land as the knees hold up.
I have Gurley projected for 265 total touches on his way to an RB14 finish. My big take away was that I love Calvin Ridley this year. Mohamed Sanu is gone, and the Falcons didn’t make any moves to replace him even though Russell Gage will receive a bump. Also, Austin Hooper was replaced with Hayden Hurst, who I think will be a serviceable tight end, but won’t see the 100 targets that Hooper was used to seeing.
In 2019, once Sanu was traded, Ridley saw a spike in virtually all of his numbers. I believe we see the trend continue, and it turns into a 1A and 1B situation for the Falcons between him and Julio. I have Ridley with 120 targets and 8 touchdowns leading to a WR15 finish.
Beyond McCaffrey and Moore, things get confusing for Carolina
So many things make the Carolina Panthers hard to project in fantasy and feel confident in them. There is a new coach in Matt Rhule, the new offensive coordinator in Joe Brady, and a new quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater. Christian McCaffrey can and likely will regress a touch, but he is still in a league of his own. RB1, check the box move along.
The pass catchers get a bit more intriguing. After seeing 135 targets in 2019, I have D.J. Moore dropping slightly to 130 but more efficient with those while finding the endzone. Moore comes in with nearly 1200 yards and my WR9 in PPR projections.
Behind him, I can see it going in several ways. The addition of Robby Anderson as a deep threat could be enticing, but Joe Brady has also come out recently, saying that Curtis Samuel fits what this offense wants it to do perfectly. I have Samuel and his role in the slot coming out on top between the two at the end of season standings. Carolina likely won’t be in a lot of games going for a win with a porous defense, and I expect to see a lot of garbage time. As a combination, this is much better for fantasy success than it is for NFL wins.
David Montgomery might have sneaky fantasy value in 2020
We all know that David Montgomery was historically inefficient in 2019, averaging just 3.7 yards per attempt on 242 rushes. How many players are in line for 250 or more carries with little to no competition in the NFL? I have Montgomery as one of only eight running backs to surpass the 250 carry threshold in 2020. While he will lose out on 72% of the running back targets to Tarik Cohen, the floor is there as he will be more efficient in 2020.
As I covered in the latest episode of the Fantasy Force podcast, I love Allen Robinson this year. Robinson became one of only 11 wide receivers in the last eight years to finish as a WR1 in fantasy while on a bottom-five scoring offense. In 2019, Robinson was one of only four players who saw 20% or more of their team’s targets in 90% or more of their team’s games (15-of-16). The others were Michael Thomas (20% target share in 16-of-16 games), DeAndre Hopkins (15-of-16), and Davante Adams (11-of-12).
The targets are there, and Robinson gets the best quarterback of his career, even if that isn’t saying a lot in Nick Foles. He is WR11 in my 2020 projections. Also, Anthony Miller is a player who can see 100 targets and can be acquired at a discount in drafts. He presents some sneaky good value.