2020 Fantasy Football: Breakouts 1.0 highlighted by Year 2 running backs, Year 3 wide receivers

Writing about breakout players is one of my favorite things to do. It's always fun taking a look at guys who are ready to make the leap from good to great and become standout Fantasy options.

So here's Breakouts 1.0 for 2020. I'm excited about these players for this year, as well as others we'll be writing about throughout the offseason.

This is our first look at breakouts prior to free agency and the NFL Draft, and several things will change. But, as of February, these are many of the players I'll be drafting on most of my Fantasy teams. And you should as well.

Quarterbacks
ARI Arizona • #1
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
2019 Stats
PAYDS
3722
RUYDS
544
TD
24
INT
12
FPTS/G
19.3
I liked Murray as a sleeper in 2019 when he was a rookie, and he was good at times and occasionally great. He averaged 19.3 Fantasy points per game, and he scored at least 20 Fantasy points in seven games. I'm expecting him to improve in his second year, especially as a passer, but the reason to covet Murray is his rushing prowess. He was second among quarterbacks in rushing yards last year behind Lamar Jackson with 544, and he also scored four rushing touchdowns. He should continue to make plays with his legs, and he has top-five upside in all formats. I'm expecting him to go over 4,000 passing yards (he had 3,722 with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2019), and Christian Kirk is another breakout candidate in this offense as his top receiver. Plan on drafting Murray soon after Patrick Mahomes, Jackson and Deshaun Watson come off the board, and I like him in the range of Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott.
BUF Buffalo • #17
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
2019 Stats
PAYDS
3089
RUYDS
510
TD
29
INT
9
FPTS/G
21.2
Like Murray, a reason to want Allen on your Fantasy team is his rushing ability. He was third among quarterbacks in 2019 behind Jackson and Murray with 510 rushing yards, and he led all quarterbacks with nine rushing touchdowns. He has to improve as a passer with just 3,089 yards, 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions last season, and he only attempted 461 passes. But I'm hoping the Bills continue to enhance their receiving corps with another weapon added to John Brown and Cole Beasley, and I also expect more from Allen in his third year as he continues to develop. Allen has top-10 potential, and he's worth drafting with a mid-round pick in all leagues.
Running Backs
PHI Philadelphia • #26
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
2019 Stats
RUYDS
818
REC
50
REYDS
509
TD
6
FPTS/G
13.4
I'm hoping that the Eagles do little to add to their backfield this offseason and let Sanders and Boston Scott do most of the heavy lifting. That would put Sanders in the lead role, and he excelled in that scenario last year as a rookie when Jordan Howard was out. In his final five healthy games of the regular season (he was hurt in Week 17 against the Giants), Sanders averaged 20.4 PPR points, and he had 23 catches over that span. He has star potential and can be a No. 1 Fantasy running back in all leagues if given a featured role. That hasn't always been the case for Philadelphia running backs under Doug Pederson, but I'm hopeful for Sanders doing that in 2020. He could be worth a pick in Round 2 on Draft Day this year.
LV Las Vegas • #28
Age: 22 • Experience: Rookie
2019 Stats
RUYDS
1150
REC
20
REYDS
166
TD
7
FPTS/G
14.1
I would love to see Jacobs get more work in the passing game in 2020, but that's not likely to happen after Jalen Richard got a contract extension. Jacobs had just 20 catches for 166 yards as a rookie, but he also missed three games with a shoulder injury. Hopefully, he's capable of 30-plus receptions this season, which would only enhance his Fantasy outlook, because he's a star as a rusher. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry and had seven games with at least 12 PPR points. The Raiders should continue to run their offense through Jacobs, and he should be the best player in Las Vegas this season. He's a No. 1 running back in non-PPR leagues and a borderline No. 1 option in PPR. Jacobs should be a top-25 overall pick in all formats.
BUF Buffalo • #26
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
2019 Stats
RUYDS
775
REC
29
REYDS
194
TD
4
FPTS/G
12.8
Like Sanders, I'm hoping Singletary doesn't face much competition for touches in 2020 because I love his talent heading into his sophomore campaign. He showed flashes of greatness as a rookie despite sharing touches with Frank Gore, and it's likely Gore isn't coming back to Buffalo this year. Singletary had seven games with at least 14 total touches in 2019, and he averaged 12.6 PPR points over that span. I'm hopeful he'll be more involved in the passing game, and he had five games with at least three catches in his final nine outings. I consider him a high end No. 2 running back with No. 1 potential, and he's someone I'll be drafting as early as Round 3 in all leagues.
ARI Arizona • #41
Age: 26 • Experience: 5 yrs.
2019 Stats
RUYDS
817
REC
50
REYDS
345
TD
8
FPTS/G
14.4
Drake's outlook could change a lot in the next few weeks since he's an impending free agent. He's hoping to return to Arizona, but the Cardinals also seem intent on keeping David Johnson. However, should Johnson leave Arizona, and if Drake is the main option for the Cardinals, he could be amazing. He showed that last season when he was given a featured role following his trade from Miami. During his eight games with the Cardinals, Drake averaged 19.1 PPR points per game, including three games in a row with at least 17 PPR points to close the season. We've seen plenty of great games from Drake during his NFL career with the Dolphins and Cardinals, but he's never been consistent with his production. Maybe that finally happens if he's the main option in the backfield for Arizona in 2020. Stay tuned.
Wide Receivers
DEN Denver • #14
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
2019 Stats
REC
72
TAR
125
REYDS
1112
TD
6
FPTS/G
13.4
It was a good season for Sutton in 2019. Now, it's about to be great in 2020. He's entering his third year in the NFL, which is a time when receivers take a leap in production. Sutton is trending in the right direction after a nice rookie season in 2018 (42 catches for 704 yards and four touchdowns on 84 targets) led to a quality sophomore campaign (72 catches for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns on 125 targets), but the best is yet to come. I'm excited for Sutton to get a full offseason with quarterback Drew Lock, and hopefully new offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur will feature Sutton as much as possible. Sutton didn't post great numbers with Lock -- he averaged 12.0 PPR points in five starts with Lock compared to 14.1 PPR points in 11 starts with Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen -- but I'm sure that's a connection that will flourish with time. Sutton is a borderline No. 1 Fantasy receiver worth drafting in Round 4 in all leagues.
ATL Atlanta • #18
Age: 25 • Experience: 3 yrs.
2019 Stats
REC
63
TAR
93
REYDS
866
TD
7
FPTS/G
14.6
Like Sutton, Ridley is another third-year breakout receiver candidate, and he's already been highly productive in his first two seasons. As a rookie in 2018, Ridley had 64 catches for 821 yards and 10 touchdowns on 93 targets. He followed that up with 63 catches for 866 yards and seven touchdowns on 93 targets in just 13 games last year. Ridley really took off in 2019 when Mohamed Sanu was traded to New England prior to Week 8. In his final six games (Ridley missed the last three games of the season with an abdomen injury), he averaged 17.1 PPR points per game. The Falcons could add another receiver this offseason, but Austin Hooper is also a free agent and could leave Atlanta. We'll see what this receiving corps looks like in a few months, but Ridley should be No. 2 in targets behind Julio Jones. He's a top-15 Fantasy receiver with No. 1 upside, and he's worth drafting as early as Round 4.
WAS Washington • #17
Age: 24 • Experience: 2 yrs.
2019 Stats
REC
58
TAR
93
REYDS
919
TD
7
FPTS/G
13.3
McLaurin has the chance to be the best receiver from the 2019 NFL Draft, which is saying something given the talent in that group. Right now, I have him second behind A.J. Brown, another breakout candidate, and just ahead of D.K. Metcalf, who is also a breakout receiver. We saw flashes of greatness from McLaurin in 2019, and he opened the season with three games in a row with at least 17 PPR points. He closed the year with three games in a row with at least 15 PPR points, and hopefully he'll have more consistent production this year. In seven starts with Dwayne Haskins, McLaurin averaged 12.0 PPR points per game, and hopefully their rapport will improve this offseason. Washington should add another pass catcher this offseason, but McLaurin should be the top target for new offensive coordinator Scott Turner. I like McLaurin as a No. 2 Fantasy receiver with top-15 upside, and he's worth drafting no later than Round 5 in all leagues.
DAL Dallas • #13
Age: 24 • Experience: 3 yrs.
2019 Stats
REC
66
TAR
113
REYDS
1107
TD
6
FPTS/G
14.6
Gallup has the chance to be a solid Fantasy receiver in 2020, which is also his third year in the NFL. But his fate is likely tied to Amari Cooper, who is a free agent. If Cooper leaves the Cowboys, Gallup could be a star. He was already solid in 2019 with 66 catches for 1,107 yards and six touchdowns on 113 targets. He had nine games with at least 11 PPR points, including six with 16 points or more. He had 10 games with at least seven targets, and he averaged 17.7 PPR points in those outings. If Cooper were to leave the Cowboys, Gallup should have plenty of games with a high volume of targets. Now, if Cooper stays in Dallas, Gallup is still a potential starter in all leagues. But I'm writing this now with the chance that Cooper leaves, which would make Gallup a borderline top 15 Fantasy receiver in all formats.
Tight Ends
DEN Denver • #87
Age: 22 • Experience: 2 yrs.
2019 Stats
REC
40
TAR
66
REYDS
562
TD
3
FPTS/G
6.6
Fant is going to be a popular breakout candidate for many Fantasy analysts this year, and rightfully so. He has the chance to be a star. We'll see what the Broncos do to enhance their receiving corps beyond Sutton and Fant, but those two should be the favorite targets for Lock. We saw Fant flash some big games as a rookie in 2019 with three games with at least 11 PPR points, but he was largely disappointing. Still, the athleticism and big-play ability he showed at Iowa as well, should help Fant make a significant leap in production in 2020. He's a low-end starting option on Draft Day with top-10 upside, and he's worth drafting with a mid-round pick in all leagues.
CAR Carolina • #80
Age: 23 • Experience: 3 yrs.
2019 Stats
REC
16
TAR
30
REYDS
136
TD
1
FPTS/G
2.1
Thomas should now be the main tight end for Carolina with Greg Olsen gone, and that's been a good thing for his Fantasy outlook over the past two seasons. In the past six games that Olsen has missed over the past two years due to injury, Thomas has scored at least 14 PPR points in four of them. We hope Carolina will have more consistent quarterback play in 2020, whether that's a healthy Cam Newton (foot) or a quality replacement, but Thomas should be among the top four options in the passing game with D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel and Christian McCaffrey. And new offensive coordinator Joe Brady liked using his tight ends at LSU, with Thaddeus Moss a big part of the passing game. Thomas has the chance to be a No. 1 Fantasy tight end in all leagues, and he's worth drafting with a late-round pick.
Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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