Fantasy Takeaways After Projecting All 32 NFL Teams: AFC Edition

Projecting all 32 NFL teams is one of the most impactful things I do in my process. Here are my fantasy football takeaways and their impact on the AFC.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the best RB for the Chiefs – but I doubt I will roster him in 2020

There is not a single thing that Damien Williams does better than Clyde Edwards-Helaire on the football field. Nothing. He is with the defending AFC & Super Bowl champions and lines up next to Partick Mahomes. This sounds like a dream scenario, but I am not sure that Edwards-Helaire will return the capital that is being spent to acquire him. Currently, he is going as RB11 with an ADP around 19, a mid-second-rounder. I feel like we are drafting at his ceiling.

Since taking over as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs, Andy Reid’s running backs have averaged 320 total touches per season. As much as we would love to see it, Damien Williams will still be used with a sprinkling of both DeAndre Washington and Darwin Thompson for good measure. This is a high-explosive offense led by some of the most dynamic pass catchers at their respective positions, and it limits what we could see from Edwards-Helaire. 

Related | Drafting CEH could ruin your dynasty team

The Chiefs score and score a lot, but they do it on big plays, and rarely are they long, drawn out drives with a “take what the defense gives you” or a “three yards in a cloud of dust” philosophy. Edwards-Helaire is unbelievably efficient with his touches to bring the value to your team he is commanding on draft day.

I have him projected for 228 total touches and finishing as a top-15 running back in 2020. While completely understand wanting the guy attached to this offense; I just think we need to stop thinking it is such a surefire home run as we would like to believe.

Josh Jacobs could be a top-5 running back if he started seeing targets

Josh Jacobs has all of the potential and opportunity to be a top-tier fantasy running back. Jacobs received 242 carries (60.6%) of the 399 backfield carries for the then Oakland Raiders in 2019. Jacobs averaged 4.8 yards and racked up 1,150 yards. If you play in a standard scoring fantasy league, Jacobs has a higher value, but PPR is slightly limited compared to the players above him. 

While DeAndre Washington is gone, the Raiders re-signed Jalen Richard, who served as the lead passing back. Then through the NFL Draft, they added Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards, and the versatile Lynn Bowden Jr, who can line up anywhere he is asked. Richard and Washington saw 43 and 41 targets, respectively, compared to Jacobs’ total of 27. 

By finally adding some useful pass catchers and another guy in the backfield who can catch, Jacobs’ targets will be limited, and he has to take advantage of every one of them.

I have Jacobs projected for 276 carries for 1,106 yards, and 11 touchdowns. I also stated out 40 targets heading his way. He can be a 300 touch player and has the skillset and body to handle it. Jacobs would come as a value if it happens.

As for the pass-catchers, the only player I feel comfortable rostering on my fantasy team is Darren Waller. He will make a push for the TE2 in 2020 along with George Kittle. In best ball formats, Nelson Agholor presents solid value given his deep threat skillset but volatility.

Will Keenan Allen struggle this year for fantasy managers?

Keenan Allen has gone over 1,000 receiving yards four times in his seven-year career, including each of the last three seasons. The seasons when he came up short were due to injury-shortened seasons, not necessarily production. It won’t be a talent issue for Allen that holds him back but rather the talent under center.

Whether it is Tyrod Taylor or, eventually, Justin Herbert, I believe there will be a dip in overall production for the receivers for the Los Angeles Chargers. Allen lining up in the slot will lead to a low average depth of target, but plenty of them come season’s end. Allen has never been a high touchdown player, going over six just once during his rookie season. 

Currently, I have Allen projected for 79 catches on 124 targets for 960 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is my WR28 in PPR scoring for 2020.

There is hope on the horizon, but do the Dolphins take a step forward in 2020?

There is reason to be hopeful if you are a Miami Dolphins fan as the franchise seems to have a direction again. It seemed the only win of the season would be securing the 2020 number one overall pick in the NFL Draft as everything else was rather inconsequential. Not only did they surprise in the win total, but they were able to select the hopeful savior of the franchise in QB Tua Tagovailoa. 

The million-dollar question is, when is he going to play? Some project him to start more games than Ryan Fitzpatrick. I am more conservative when going through my projections as I have Fitzpatrick starting 11 games in 2020. There is no need to rush Tua out. The Dolphins will not be in the running for the AFC East or a Wild Card berth. The best thing possible is to give Tua the longest time possible to learn how to be a professional player, learn the playbook, and then bring him in later in the season for the reps while building for 2021. 

I have Fitzpatrick ranked as my QB30, and Tua is QB34. Not playing a whole season hurt his projections, while Tua is the second most valuable backup in 2020 behind Justin Herbert, who I believe will first see the field between the two rookies. 

The other question comes in the pass catchers. DeVante Parker finally broke out after five seasons, while leading the AFC in receiving yards and touchdowns. My issue is that his production came after Preston Williams suffered a torn ACL. 

Devante Parker
Photo Credit: RotoViz

The in and out splits show how much Parker needed to take over when he was the only receiver on the field. When we look at the first eight weeks for Williams, he was out-pacing Parker in several stat columns. From Weeks 1 through 8, Williams saw 60 targets for 32 receptions for 428 yards and 3 touchdowns. Williams was out-pacing Parker on targets, catches, and yards. It will be interesting to see how this year shakes out so long as Williams is full-go. 

The player to watch will be Mike Gesicki. If Williams has any setbacks or struggles with trusting his knee, which isn’t uncommon for players coming back until it “proves it,” Gesicki could see an increased workload. There are already rumors and coaches speaking that he can be moved off the line. If you choose to wait on tight ends or miss on the elite upper options, taking a shot with Gesicki could prove out to be a solid fall back option. 

Gesicki came out as TE12 in my projections, given the likelihood the Dolphins need to throw quite a bit and take advantage of his versatile role. There is room for him to outperform these numbers.

Tommy Garrett is a Fantasy Analyst for Pro Football Network and is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read all of Tommy’s work here, listen to him on PFN’s Fantasy Football podcast, and check out his contributions in PFN’s free fantasy newsletter. Give him a follow on Twitter: @TommyGarrettPFN.

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