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Top ten players heading into 2020 fantasy football

Will Christian McCaffrey once again dominate the fantasy football landscape in 2020? We break down the top ten coming out of the 2019 season.

Christian McCaffrey #22 of the Carolina Panthers before their game against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium on December 29, 2019 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images

Before we get too deep into 2020, let me remind you how wrong we all were when drafting in the first round last season. Don’t avert your eyes, you need to see this:

2019 ADP vs. Actual Results

Rk 2019 ADP Rk Non-QB Fantasy Results
Rk 2019 ADP Rk Non-QB Fantasy Results
1 Saquon Barkley 1 Christian McCaffrey
2 Alvin Kamara 2 Michael Thomas
3 Christian McCaffrey 3 Aaron Jones
4 Ezekiel Elliott 4 Ezekiel Elliott
5 David Johnson 5 Austin Ekeler
6 DeAndre Hopkins 6 Derrick Henry
7 Davante Adams 7 Dalvin Cook
8 James Conner 8 Chris Godwin
9 Le'Veon Bell 9 Julio Jones
10 Nick Chubb 10 Cooper Kupp

Above, we have the half PPR ADP for 2019 and then the results, the Top-10 non-QB fantasy players for the season. Only two of the Top-10 players going into 2019 ended up in the Top-10 for the season. Injuries were the biggest reason for players not living up to expectations, but whatever the reason, we’re often wading through the swamp Bird Box style when projecting NFL players for a whole season.

But, it’s still a fun process and when we start early enough, we can begin to get a feel for the opportunities and talent in the upcoming season. So, let’s get in it. Here are my Top-10 players for the 2020 fantasy season.

1. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers

The only question for McCaffrey going into 2020 is if he will again handle a huge workload. In 2019 he averaged 25 touches a game with a total of 402. But, McCaffrey was so far ahead of the competition that he was 111 half PPR points in front of Michael Thomas. New coach Matt Rhule has used his running backs well in college, so I don’t expect the offensive changes to hurt McCaffrey, but expecting another 1,000 yards on the ground and through the air might be asking a bit much.

2. Michael Thomas, WR, Saints

I expect the Saints to grab a wide receiver in the draft but finding someone to significantly cut into Thomas’ workload is asking a lot of a rookie. The Saints have Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas as their offensive anchors and as long as Sean Payton and Drew Brees are there, Thomas isn’t going to slow down much. Expecting another record-breaking season isn’t smart, but the talent and opportunity should remain the same.

3. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Cowboys

Elliott saw a slight decrease in work this season with 355 touches compared to his 381 last season, but he again was a Top-5 fantasy player. His consistency is what I like and that should continue, as Dallas still has one of the best offensive lines and offenses in the league. Mike McCarthy can’t do much worse than Garrett and there’s a chance the new coaching staff gives this team a boost in 2020.

4. Saquon Barkley, RB, Giants

I expect the Giants to upgrade their offensive line this offseason, which would be a nice boost for Barkley, who had a disappointing season in 2019. A high-ankle sprain kept him out three and a half games and likely slowed him down after that as well. He turned things on in the last three games of the season, showing that he was back to full health and still as dynamic a runner and pass catcher as advertised. There’s room for him to move up in these rankings, but I prefer Thomas and Elliott’s overall offenses to the Giants at the moment.

5. Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints

Much like Barkley, a high ankle sprain took Kamara out two games and sapped his big play ability until the end of the season. He also had trouble scoring touchdowns in 2019, which has not been a problem for him in the past. Touchdown numbers fluctuate plenty and there’s no reason to think a healthy Kamara doesn’t get right back on track in 2020.

6. Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings

Cook missed much of the end of the season with a shoulder injury, but came back and was a huge part of the Vikings upset win in New Orleans. He’s one of six running backs in the league that hit 300 touches and he missed two games and part of two others. His workload is a bit scary for his health but he didn’t suffer any structural injuries in 2019. He’ll be a full go for next year and again the every-down back on a run oriented offense.

7. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans

Hopkins had a down season in 2019 and finished fifth in half PPR wide receiver points. He was one of four receivers to hit 100 receptions and will continue to have DeShaun Watson throwing him the ball. In his previous two seasons, Hopkins caught 13 and 11 touchdowns and ended up with just seven in 2019. I expect him to get back into double-digits in 2020.

8. Davante Adams, WR, Packers

Adams had a foot issue that kept him out four games, but he was a target hog when healthy, averaging over 10 targets per game — second only to Michael Thomas. Aaron Rodgers isn’t the same player he was a few years ago, but he still is better than most and will be in his second year with Matt LaFleur’s offense. A healthy Adams won’t have a six game touchdown drought to start the season in 2020.

9. Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs

Hill had a down season, as he missed four games and big parts of two others, but his ability complemented by Andy Reid’s play calling and Patrick Mahomes’ arm, give Hill the most upside of any wide receiver in the league.

10. Derrick Henry, RB, Titans

Henry is always going to have to play above expectations in any PPR league, even half PPR, if he is to be a top fantasy player. Of course, he played well above expectations this season, finishing as the fourth best running back in full PPR and third in half PPR. And that doesn’t take into account his huge playoff stats. I don’t see Mike Vrabel going away from Henry like he has in the past, so the rushing attempts and touchdowns should be there in 2020, but he is still a much safer Top-10 pick in standard leagues.