If you get the No. 1 pick in 2020, you can breathe easy, because you've got the easiest decision anyone will make on Draft Day. Don't get cute: Take Christian McCaffrey. He was head and shoulders above everyone else in 2019, and was the No. 2 Fantasy RB in 2018 — his floor is somewhere between the top of the rankings and the history books.
Of course, your first-round pick usually isn't one you'll have to sweat. You don't want to make the wrong pick, sure, but it's really hard to do that with the kind of talent you're looking at at the top. The elite players in Fantasy aren't just that because of their upside — it's also because it's hard to see how things could really go wrong for them.
Of course, things could go wrong for any one of them, just as easily as things could go right. As you get ready for the 2020 Fantasy season, the best place to start is by getting to know the player pool, and the best way to do that is to dive into Heath Cummings' breakdown of our top-100 players for 2020. He'll make the case for and against each player, so that when you get ready to pick, you can make up your own mind.
Read about No. 1-10 below, and get to know the rest of the top-100 players here:
- No. 11-20 - Travis Kelce through D.J. Moore
- No. 21-30 - Cooper Kupp through Aaron Jones
- No. 41-50 - Lamar Jackson through Courtland Sutton
- No. 51-60 - Stefon Diggs through Cam Akers
- No. 61-70 - Devin Singletary through Hunter Henry
- No. 71-80 - Michael Gallup through Tarik Cohen
- No. 81-90 - Deebo Samuel through Jordan Howard
- No. 91-100 - CeeDee Lamb through Tevin Coleman
The Case For: There are few things easier than making the case for Christian McCaffrey. He has been the No. 1 running back in PPR each of the past two seasons and he's still just 24 years old. He's a true workhorse back but a high percentage of his touches come in the passing game, which should reduce the wear and tear he racks up. The No. 1 overall pick is the easiest in Fantasy this season. Just take McCaffrey.
The Case Against: McCaffrey has a new head coach, offensive coordinator and quarterback. While that all could ultimately be a good thing, they have talked about not having McCaffrey on the field for every play this season the way he largely has been the last two seasons. Also, he did rack up 403 touches last year. While we think his passing-game heavy role should make him less susceptible to injury, that doesn't mean he's immune.
The Case For: Even in a down year Saquon Barkley finished as a top-10 back while missing three games. When he's on the field, the Giants use Barkley as a three-down back. He's a lock for 300 touches if healthy and he's averaged 5.6 yards per touch in his career — do the math. The Giants new coaching staff would prefer a run-heavy attack, plus Barkley has already shown the ability to handle 120 targets in the passing game. If anyone outperforms McCaffrey, it will be Barkley.
The Case Against: Barkley saw his target rate crater in 2020, especially when the more mobile Daniel Jones was under center. New offensive coordinator Jason Garrett doesn't exactly have a long history of using his backs in the passing game. If the Giants defense struggles, this team could end up in a lot of bad game scripts, and if Jones continues to look downfield that could really lower the floor for Barkley.
The Case For: Thomas just set an NFL record with 149 receptions, one season after setting an NFL record with an 85% catch rate. He's caught at least 100 passes three seasons in a row and even an injury to Drew Brees didn't impact his production — he averaged 8.4 catches for 110 yards per game with three touchdowns in Teddy Bridgewater's five starts.
The Case Against: The Saints signed Emmanuel Sanders and Alvin Kamara should be healthier after playing through an ankle issue in 2019. That could cut into Thomas' 185 targets from a year ago. Because he's never been an elite yards per reception or touchdown guy, Thomas needs to lead the league in targets if he's going to lead receivers in Fantasy points.
The Case For: In his four years in the NFL, Elliott has averaged 125 yards per game and 13 touchdowns per 16 games. No one has been as consistently excellent as Elliott. He's the go-to back on one of the best offenses in the NFL and should be a lock to return top-five overall value.
The Case Against: Tony Pollard flashed as a rookie and after paying Elliott the Cowboys have incentive to lengthen in his career. Kellen Moore's passing game focuses on downfield options, which cost Elliott two targets per game in 2019.
The Case For: Kamara has averaged five yards per carry and 8.5 yards per reception in his three-year career and saw a career-high 18 touches per game in 2020. Assuming he stays healthy this year you should expect a career-high in yards and a bounce back in his touchdown totals. Expect 1,500 total yards and double-digit touchdowns and know there's upside beyond that.
The Case Against: Kamara's efficiency has gone down every year of his career. Last year he averaged a career-worst 5.5 yards per target in the passing game. Emmanuel Sanders could cut into his target share and Taysom Hill could continue to cut into his red zone work. Kamara doesn't have the touch upside or floor of the likes of Ezekiel Elliott or Dalvin Cook.
The Case For: Cook finally delivered on his potential in 2019 and only Christian McCaffrey was better on a per-game basis. Cook is locked into a feature role on one of the most run-heavy offenses in football and he should catch around four passes per game to boot. If anything, Cook could be better in 2020, considering he somehow wound up with zero receiving touchdowns on 53 receptions.
The Case Against: I cannot remember a consensus top-six pick with Cook's recent injury history. In 2017 Cook played just four games before he suffered a torn ACL; in 2018 he missed five games due to a pair of hamstring injuries; last year he missed a pair of games with a shoulder injury. It's really hard to project Cook for 16 games when he's failed to do it three straight years. And even if you don't worry about his injury risk, the murmurs about a potential holdout should be enough to drop him on your draft board. We discussed how we're handling that potential holdout on Monday's podcast. Listen below and be sure to subscribe for non-stop Fantasy Football content.
The Case For: If Michael Thomas doesn't lead the NFL in targets, Adams is the most likely play to do so. He's averaged more than 10.5 targets per game each of the past two seasons and the Packers did absolutely nothing to bolster their receiving corps in the offseason to change that. He's a surefire first-round pick in all formats.
The Case Against: Adams had better get 10 targets per game, because he's not efficient enough to justify a first-round pick without enormous volume. He's still never done better than the 8.2 yards per target he averaged in 2018 and was back below 8.0 last year — among 23 players with 300-plus targets over the last three seasons, Adams ranks just 17th in yards per target.
The Case For: Julio Jones is still one of the best receivers in the game and he's been consistently awesome for nearly a decade. He's had at least 83 catches and 1,394 yards each of the past six seasons, finishing as a top-six receiver each of the past five seasons. With Mohamed Sanu and Austin Hooper gone, Jones should be a lock for 150 targets again.
The Case Against: Jones is on the wrong side of 30 and last year was the first time in his career he was below nine yards per target. If he can sustain last year's efficiency, he's still an elite receiver, but if that was the start of a decline than Jones could get surpassed by Calvin Ridley sooner rather than later.
The Case For: Let's forget about 2019 for a second. Tyreek Hill and Patrick Mahomes were banged up for much of the year. In 2018, Hill was the No. 1 wide receiver in non-PPR. He's tied with Tyler Lockett for the highest yards per target (9.94) since they started tracking targets in 1992, and in the three years before 2019 he averaged an additional 20 Fantasy points on the ground. And that "terrible" 2019? Hill averaged 12.5 non-PPR points per game in his 13 healthy games (counting playoffs). That would have made him top five in the format once again.
The Case Against: Remember last offseason when we weren't sure Hill was going to be allowed to play football? Hill is still among the most likely players to miss time due off field concerns if only because of his past. On the field, his lack of target volume is a bit of a concern in full PPR. He's never caught more than 87 passes in a season.
The Case For: It took an injury to Jordan Howard, but when Miles Sanders got going, he really got going. From Week 11 through Week 16 Sanders averaged 105 yards per game and scored more PPR Fantasy points than any running back not named Christian McCaffrey or Ezekiel Elliott. Now Howard is gone, and the Eagle have done little to replace him. Sanders looks like a potential every-down back on an above average offense, giving him top-five upside.
The Case Against: The 229 touches Sanders had in 2019 were the most any Eagles back has had since head coach Doug Pederson arrived in Philadelphia. Even if Boston Scott and Corey Clement are the other backs on the roster, history tells us this will still be some sort of committee. Last year Sanders scored two touchdowns (and lost one yard) on six carries inside the 5-yard line. Scott, on the other hand, scored on all four carries he was given inside the 5.
So what Fantasy football sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which WR1 candidate can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that was all over Derrick Henry's huge season, and find out.