With the 2020 NFL regular season now less than one month away, that means this year’s fantasy football drafts will be happening even sooner. For fantasy football fans throughout the country, the research and strategizing has already been going on for weeks — if not months — as this season could produce some intriguing results for teams as a whole and individual players alike as there won’t be very many fans in the stands, which could change the dynamic of some performances in 2020-21.
On the other hand — and as always — there were quite a few notable players that changed teams, which will have an effect on those franchises in a big way. With a lot of the players that have made a move this offseason playing at the quarterback position, that means that not only with signal callers effect different teams but also the wide receivers that they inherit. As a result, some wide receivers could see an increase in production in 2020-21 while others may fall off in a big way.
It will be interesting to see if some gambles ultimately pay off or fantasy football owners’ seasons crumble before they ever start.
15. DeVante Parker, Miami Dolphins
Last season, Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker encountered a breakout year while there is no reason that his production shouldn’t carry over into 2020-21. After 2019-20, it is hard to argue against the fact that Parker most definitely has the ability to serve as a legitimate No. 1 wide out atop the highest level — especially for an up-and-coming franchise like the Dolphins. However, it will be interesting to see who the Dolphins trot out under center, though, as Parker could greatly benefit from first round NFL Draft pick and former Alabama Crimson Tide standout Tua Tagovailoa being the team’s starting quarterback Week 1.
14. Julian Edelman, New England Patriots
With Tom Brady now in Tampa Bay and former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton under center in New England, 2020-21 should be an interesting season for longtime Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman. Even though Brady has left the Patriots after serving as the only quarterback Edelman has really ever known, the veteran pass catcher can certainly be a reliable option for Newton or any other quarterback considering his knack for catching the football over the middle. If Edelman can quickly become Newton’s favorite target, the Patriots top wide out has the ability to put up some serious numbers in 2020-21.
13. Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos
Although Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton ended last season as the team’s top pass catching target, there will be no doubt that he will be a go-to option for quarterback Drew Lock to begin the 2020-21 campaign. Now the veteran pass catcher for the Broncos, Sutton will almost certainly encounter a career year in 2020-21, especially with former Alabama Crimson Tide wide receiver Jerry Jeudy on board to lessen the load and shift defenders all over the field. Sutton could be one of the best steals of fantasy drafts this season depending where he is ultimately coming off the board over the course of the next few weeks.
12. A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans
There is still a serious argument to made for soon-to-be second-year wide receiver A.J. Brown as last year’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year as he has since 100 percent solidified himself as the No. 1 pass catcher for the Tennessee Titans. With tight end Delanie Walker and wide receiver Tajae Sharpe no longer in Tennessee, Brown will no doubt receive the majority of the workload after proving he can handle it as a rookie last season. Even with Adam Humphries and Corey Davis also in the Titans wide receiver room, Brown is obviously the guy in Tennessee moving forward.
11. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys
Because defenders will now be forced to worry about both CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup in addition to Amari Cooper, 2020-21 will be the year that Dallas Cowboys fans remember forever when the former Oakland Raiders standout is discussed down the road. Cooper is one of the best all-around wide receivers in the league, though sometimes he is overlooked. If he is overlooked by opposing defenses this season, whoever the Cowboys play will be in serious trouble while fantasy owners should take a chance on Cooper very early come draft day.
10. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
If Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford can stay on the field in 2020-21, it is going to be a monster year for wide receiver Kenny Golladay. Despite the presence of both Marvin Jones, Jr. and Danny Amendola, there is no doubt that Golladay is the man in the “Motor City” as he has quickly progressed to becoming the Lions’ top target along the outside. Because of his versatility quite literally anywhere on the field when it comes to catching passes, a high volume of touches is surely headed Golladay’s way in 2020-21 — red-zone targets included.
9. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Unfortunately for Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin, he put the league on full notice last season en route to producing week-in and week-out. Although a wide receiver of this elite caliber cannot really be stopped, there is no way that Godwin has another year like he did last year as the Buccaneers spent the majority of the time playing from behind, which created an enormous amount of garbage time production for the entire team. With former New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady now in town and ready to spread the ball all over the place, fellow wide out Mike Evans, tight end Rob Gronkowski and running back LeSean McCoy will all have to eat too, taking away from Godwin just enough.
8. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings
With former Minnesota Vikings wide out Stefon Diggs now with the Buffalo Bills, it seems as though his former running mate Adam Thielen will be seeing an increase in targets this time around as he is the most established veteran pass catchers on the roster at this point — and by a long-shot. Even with Tajae Sharpe coming over from the Tennessee Titans and the team drafting Justin Jefferson, quarterback Kirk Cousins will lean on Thielen in a big way, especially early on in the year, which should bode well for fantasy owners if the veteran wide out can stay on the field in 2020-21.
7. Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
Now officially a member of the Buffalo Bills and giving the AFC East franchise a true No. 1 pass catching option, former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs is in store for a massive year. With Bills quarterback Josh Allen possessing the ability to sling the football all over the field, Diggs will surely be targeted more this time around than he ever has in his career prior to this upcoming NFL season. If Diggs can haul in these targets and the Bills find success as a team, he will be someone you definitely want on your fantasy team on a weekly basis.
6. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Mike Evans has produced big numbers each and every year of his NFL career…and now he has Tom Brady throwing him the football! Things will only improve for Evans now that Brady is under center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as there will be targets galore for the veteran pass catchers in 2020-21. Because defenses will be forced to deal with a slew of different options on offense when facing off against the Buccaneers, Evans will either allow his teammates to receive the majority of the workload or he will be open quite a bit — give me the latter.
5. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
As long as quarterback Patrick Mahomes is employed by the Kansas City Chiefs, the defending Super Bowl champions will be just fine in the passing game. As it stands today, wide receiver Tyreek Hill is the team’s top option at the position, which means that Mahomes will continue to feed him the rock at a very high rate. It also helps that Hill is one of the fastest players in the NFL today, so his ability to get open down the field — and just about anywhere on the field for that matter — will put him in position to help the Chiefs in a big way once again. If the Chiefs are winning football games, there is a very good chance that Hill is playing a massive part in such success.
4. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
Quite possibly the best all-around wide receiver in the game today, Julio Jones always produces for the Atlanta Falcons — simple as that. With the Falcons adding running back Todd Gurley this NFL offseason and fellow wide out Calvin Ridley stepping up more and more each year, Jones now has a solid offense around him and quarterback Matt Ryan as that will certainly allow him to put up some gaudy numbers in 2020-21. Then again, it really doesn’t matter who is throwing him the football or who else is around him, Jones is going to get his catches one way or another which makes him a must-have if at all possible.
3. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers did not really improve at the wide receiver position this NFL offseason, which probably isn’t a good thing for fans of the heralded franchise. However, this also means that quarterback Aaron Rodgers will once again be forced to solely look to wide receiver Davante Adams in 2020-21. As if Rodgers needed an excuse to get Adams the football, he won’t really have a choice when he drops back to pass this time around. Adams could very well be the top wide out selected in some fantasy drafts and that is perfectly fine.
2. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals
A change of scenery and yet another up-and-coming and prolific signal caller will only aid former Houston Texans and current Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Similarly to the aforementioned Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons, Hopkins is open even when he’s technically not. Quite simply, Hopkins is one of the best pass catchers in the NFL and joining an improved Cardinals team with former No. 1 overall pick Kyler Murray under center will only benefit him moving forward. There is no doubt that Hopkins will once again eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark while he will also receive a ton of red-zone targets as the Cardnals offense should be pretty impressive and fun to watch in 2020-21.
1. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas is just a catching machine at this point in his career. After setting the NFL record for receptions in a single season last year, there is absolutely no reason that Thomas can’t produce at a similar level in 2020-21. Not only that, but the Saints are expected to compete for a Super Bowl this season as future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees nearing the end of his career. If one thing is for sure, there is no way Brees will go out on a low note while Thomas catching passes and scoring touchdowns will be vital to New Orleans’ success in 2020-21. It’s pretty simple at the moment — it would be very difficult to select another wide receiver ahead of Thomas in any fantasy draft setting this year.