We're talking about bold predictions for 2020 on the Fantasy Football Today podcast this week, and we had an interesting conversation at the top of Monday's show about the definition of a bold prediction. You should listen to what Dave Richard and Heath Cummings said about what a bold prediction is for them.
For me, it's something about a player I believe in, only I take it to an extreme. What I mean by that is I'm going to give you the best possible scenario for that player if everything goes right this year.
In 2019, I said Lamar Jackson could break quarterback scoring, and he was close, finishing with the second-best season ever for a Fantasy quarterback behind only Peyton Manning in 2013. Jackson scored 32.5 Fantasy points per game compared to 33.0 for Manning.
Now, I didn't have Jackson ranked No. 1 last year — he was just outside the top five at quarterback for me — but his bold prediction came true. And that's what I hope happens with these other bold predictions this year. We discussed that and my bold predictions on Monday's episode of Fantasy Football Today Podcast. Listen below and be sure to subscribe for non-stop Fantasy Football content:
Here are five bold predictions I have for 2020:
1. Clyde Edwards-Helaire will be a top five running back in PPR
Andy Reid wanted him. Patrick Mahomes wanted him. You want him on your Fantasy team. Reid is going to have fun with Edwards-Helaire, much as he did with Brian Westbrook, LeSean McCoy and Kareem Hunt (who led the NFL in rushing as a rookie in 2017). He's a star.
You'll likely have to draft Edwards-Helaire in Round 2 to ensure you'll get him, but he has the upside to finish as a top-five running back in 2020. He dominated at LSU in 2019 with 1,867 total yards and 17 total touchdowns, including 55 receptions. Mahomes is going to love playing with Edwards-Helaire, and Reid will maximize his talent. Damien Williams is just a speed bump on Edwards-Helaire's road to a monster campaign in 2020.
2. Darrynton Evans will be the top waiver wire add of the season
That is, if he goes undrafted at all in your drafts. I'm nervous about Derrick Henry coming off his dominant performance last season because he had more than 400 total touches, including the playoffs. If Henry misses any time due to injury, Evans should be the starter in Tennessee, and he could be awesome in that system.
I'm drafting Evans as a lottery ticket. Tennessee finished 2019 as the third-best rushing team in the NFL, and it's doubtful the Titans would change their style dramatically even if Henry were out. Evans is coming off consecutive seasons with at least 1,200 total yards, and he scored 23 total touchdowns in 2019 at Appalachian State. He could be a league-winner if Henry were to miss any time this year.
3. Tyrod Taylor leads the Chargers to the playoffs
If we were guaranteed to get Taylor as the Chargers' starter for close to 16 games, I would have him ranked near or inside my top 12. He has that kind of upside. The pass-catching ik14ttalent on the Chargers' roster is great with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry and Austin Ekeler, and the offensive line should be much improved with offseason additions of Trai Turner and Bryan Bulaga. Taylor also has proven he can run the ball with two seasons on his resume of at least 568 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns.
As we know, the Chargers have Justin Herbert waiting as their quarterback of the future after selecting him at No. 6 overall in the NFL Draft. And Herbert could start at any point in the season, which is why you're only drafting Taylor with a late-round flier in all Fantasy leagues. But should the Chargers surprise us and stick with Taylor, he's going to help a lot of Fantasy managers this year.
4. Calvin Ridley will be this year's Chris Godwin
Last year, we saw Godwin become a better Fantasy receiver than Mike Evans. Could the same thing happen this year with Ridley and Julio Jones? I hope not because most people are going to draft Jones as a first-round pick. But I would love if Jones and Ridley both finish as top-10 receivers this year, and that's how I have it ranked in all formats.
Ridley should close the gap with Jones this season. 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. Over that same span, Jones averaged just 14.4 PPR points per game. The Falcons did nothing to replace Sanu this offseason — maybe Russell Gage steps up to fills that role — and they lost Austin Hooper in free agency to Cleveland. While Hayden Hurst is a quality replacement option at tight end, you should expect plenty of targets for Ridley and Jones in 2020. Jones is still the leader of this receiving corps, but Ridley isn't far behind. He's worth drafting as early as Round 3 in all leagues.
5. The Browns will have the eighth duo in NFL history to rush for at least 1,000 yards with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt
The other seven teams to have a pair of players accomplish this feat were: 1972 Dolphins (Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris), 1976 Steelers (Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier), 1985 Browns (Kevin Mack and Earnest Byner), 2006 Falcons (Warrick Dunn and Michael Vick), 2008 Giants (Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward), 2009 Panthers (Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams) and 2019 Ravens (Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram).
Both running backs already have a 1,000-yard season on their resume. Chubb was second to Henry in the NFL in rushing last year with 1,494 yards, and Hunt led the NFL in rushing in 2017 with 1,327 yards. New Browns coach Kevin Stefanski was the offensive coordinator in Minnesota last season, and the Vikings were fourth in the NFL in rush attempts. Cleveland will run the ball a lot, and Chubb and Hunt will be heavily involved.
It's a stretch for both running backs to accomplish this feat barring an injury, but this is a good backfield to invest in at the right price. I'm drafting Chubb toward the end of Round 2 in PPR, and Hunt is worth targeting in Round 6 or 7.