2020 PRESEASON PRO
Corey Parson | Dr. Roto | Ben Heisler | Matt Bayley | Kimra Schleicher | Darren Summer | Ian Ritchie | Shawn Childs | Mark Deming | John Rozek | Ben Heisler | Frankie Taddeo| Roy Larking | Scott Atkins | Bill Enright
Sleeper: WR Diontae Johnson, PIT
In his career, Ben Roethlisberger has produced some excellent seasons for his wide receivers. Last year, Johnson only saw the field for 52 plays over the first two weeks with Big Ben behind center. The rookie blossomed after Week 2 while playing with two weak quarterbacks. Johnson's ceiling is much higher than James Washington, and having JuJu Smith-Schuster playing well as Pittsburgh's top wide receiver should open up the other side of the field and lead an exceptional sophomore season.
Bust: RB Aaron Jones, GB
I had a "love-hate" relationship with Jones last year. I had some late "love" for Jones after waking up from a fantasy nightmare just before the final week of drafts in the high-stakes market. He was a lay-up selection when he slid to the fourth round after a quiet performance on the Thursday night game (13/39) against the Bears. My “hate” here came when I was on the doorstep of winning $200,000 with six minutes to go in the final game on Monday night against the Vikings in Week 16. Nine seconds later, Jones scored a 56-yard touchdown, and my dream was lost.
I get his explosiveness, and he should be much better in the passing game. My issue here is that he is a contract year, and the Packers decided to buy insurance in the draft by selecting A.J. Dillon. Also, I don’t particularly appreciate that Green Bay failed to improve the receiving options for Aaron Rodgers. Without impact touchdowns and regression in touches, Jones should only be an RB2 in fantasy drafts. He'll be good, but fall short of his ADP expectations.
Breakout: WR Calvin Ridley, ATL
To borrow a roulette term, sometimes a fantasy owner has to bet on the "come" on a player. That means projecting him to make a massive step forward. Ridley won’t be flying under the radar while being a WR2 in most fantasy formats this year. The Falcons will throw as much as the best teams in the NFL, giving Atlanta’s top two receivers plenty of chances to excel in 2020. With a downgrade at tight end, Ridley can’t help but see 90-plus catches with a run at 1,300-plus yards and double-digit touchdowns. If Julio Jones has an injury, Ridley would instantly have top-five wide receiver status.
Comeback: WR A.J. Green, CIN
Over my successful years in the high-stakes market, I’ve not owned Green on many teams since 2013. When on the field, he fits into the elite playmaker mode while showcasing plenty of scoring ability over his first five seasons in the NFL (45 touchdowns over 76 games). After missing almost a year and a half of action, his WR1 status has sunk to backend WR3. The change at quarterback could be extraordinary though, and Green still has plenty of life left in the tank at age 30. Given his six seasons with over 1,000 yards receiving, I’m willing to bet on a seventh while being priced almost like a freebie on draft day.
Stash and Cash: RB Joshua Kelley, LAC
Last year I was one of the bigger fans of Austin Ekeler, and he almost helped me win a considerable payday across many leagues. He’s been working hard in the offseason to get stronger and carry the Chargers' RB1 role.
However, I don’t trust the coaching staff in Los Angeles to fully commit touches to him, and I expect them to use another runner on early downs. My bet this year in the late rounds will be the rookie RB Joshua Kelley. I love his combination of power and speed, and he looks like a much better fit than Justin Jackson. His pass-catching experience is limited, which will lower Jackson's fantasy production even if he does secure the Chargers' RB2 role. If Ekeler had an injury, Kelley would help fantasy teams with by earning the starting job.
MORE FROM SI FANTASY
2020 PRESEASON PRO
Corey Parson | Dr. Roto | Ben Heisler | Matt Bayley | Kimra Schleicher | Darren Summer | Ian Ritchie | Shawn Childs | Mark Deming | John Rozek | Ben Heisler | Frankie Taddeo| Roy Larking | Scott Atkins | Bill EnrightSubscribe for full article
Get Access to Our Exclusive Content
Already subscribed? Log In