Even though the 2019 season isn’t over, that doesn’t mean we can’t use this as another chance to look at players and evaluate talent. Sure, most of our teams aren’t playing this weekend in conference championship games, but we can still find a reason to watch. For me, I use this as one last chance to get game film on players to use in my dynasty rankings during the 2020 NFL Conference Championship games.
Whether you are playing in a bunch of NFL DFS tourneys and using lineup optimizers, or watching and taking notes for dynasty league startups, there is something here for all of us.
Here I break down each main positional group and their current 2020 dynasty rankings.
*Rankings are based on PPR scoring
In my last article, I went over my dynasty quarterback rankings in which I go over each play in their given tier in more detail. There should be no surprise that of this weekend’s quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes is the #1 ranked out of all of them and also the #1 overall QB for dynasty (Lamar Jackson is #2, for example). The combination of age, talent, and surrounding cast in Kansas City make him one of the safest picks in all of fantasy football.
After him, we see Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Garoppolo coming in at #9 and #10, respectively. While Rodgers is still one of the elite arms in the NFL, age is a factor that must be calculated when drafting and ranking for 2020. As for Garoppolo, I think for 2020, he has a very safe QB2 floor thanks in large part to being able to target players like George Kittle and potential second-year breakout Deebo Samuel.
Ryan Tannehill was one of the biggest surprises of the 2019 season after replacing Marcus Mariota for the Tennessee Titans in Week 7. From that point on, Tannehill was the highest-rated player according to the PFN Offensive Share Metric (OSM) at 34.36. Getting into a new system and away from the Miami Dolphins and Adam Gase was just what he needed to resurrect his career.
Once we get past the quarterbacks, we see some separation happen in rankings and their respective tiers. It took solid quarterback play to get here, but teams have made it this far with, at times, average running back performances.
As for the Tennessee Titans and the Green Bay Packers, they were led by their running backs to get to this point. Derrick Henry was a one-person wrecking crew this year on his way to the 2019 rushing title. Currently, Henry is my highest ranked running back of the players left at #9 in the position for 2020. He could move higher, but with his impending free agency, we need to ensure his landing spot before locking him in.
One of the more fascinating stats of 2020 is Aaron Jones’ touchdown percentage. Jones (19) accounted for 43.18% of Green Bay’s 44 offensive touchdowns. I highly doubt we see a repeat of this in 2020, but so long as Matt LaFleur leans on him and not a committee approach, Jones can be a mainstay in the RB1 conversation for years to come.
Then we get to teams with more cloudy futures for 2020. We still have no idea what Kansas City wants to do at the running back position, and needing to rely on Damien Williams in a starting role is not something I want to be apart of. The starting role in this offense is a desirable piece to own in dynasty; I don’t think that player is on the roster right now. I am looking at the Chiefs to draft a running back this year and that running back will instantly shoot up rankings if it happens.
As for the San Francisco 49ers, we get a team that loves to run the ball but zero ideas on who it will be doing it. That’s why I have their running backs ranked all in the same range. Raheem Mostert is at #34, followed by Tevin Coleman at #37, and then Matt Breida one spot behind at #38. These are all valuable assets for your teams. Any one of them can have a solid game or a break off a long run. You just don’t know who it will be.
The one thing all of the teams playing in conference championship games over the weekend had in common was an elite or breakout wide receiver to rely on. Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill are already elite. Both players are in the top 5 of positional rankings and are the top 10 overall (#9 & #10). After them, we see three wide receivers who are all on the radar of the “next breakout wide receiver” in 2020. A.J. Brown and Deebo Samuel both look to take the next step and be considered some of the best in the NFL and the WR1 for their respective teams.
Looking at Mecole Hardman, his speed has already gotten him to the Pro Bowl in his rookie year as a kick returner but could again in the future at his natural position. When looking for the closest comparison for his skill set, we don’t need to look far because that player is on his team already in Hill. There is no wonder why the Chiefs advanced to the Super Bowl with this amount of talent.
One of the position battles we need to watch in the offseason and camps is who will emerge as the Packers WR2 for 2020. It seems that Allen Lazard has carved himself into a role moving forward, but nothing is set in stone. Geronimo Allison and Marques Valdes-Scantling will look to take the job as well as any new talent the Packers choose to bring in via the draft or free agency.
Here we have the real creams of the crop at their position. The gap from the elite of the tight end group to the next is arguably the largest we see at any position, led by George Kittle at #1 and followed by Travis Kelce in second. At 26 years old, Kittle will be at this level for at least five more years so long as he stays healthy. Even though Kelce is currently 30 years old, it’s not outside the range of possibility to see Kelce remain elite for at least three more years. Long enough for you to select him and compete for a championship with a win-now mindset in dynasty.
Jonnu Smith appears to have all the athletic ability to become a real threat for the Titans in years to come. I have him at TE15, which is a bit bullish compared to other minds in the industry. As for Green Bay, Jimmy Graham is a useable tight end in real life, but someone to avoid in dynasty. At 33 years old and a consistent injury risk, look for another option before taking him in your drafts.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter: @PFN365 and @PFNDynasty to stay up to date with all things around the NFL and the 2020 fantasy football season. Also, continue to visit Pro Football Network for NFL news and in-depth analysis while also visiting our Fantasy Football section for more coverage.
Tommy Garrett is a writer for PFN covering Fantasy Football. You can follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.