Fantasy Football 2020: Ranking Best Keepers for Upcoming Season

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2020

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs past Baltimore Ravens players during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

It's never too early to start planning for your next fantasy football title. (It's the offseason, folks; let the optimism fly, right?).

There are myriad ways to attack your preparation. You can search out statistical indicators to identify the next batch of sleepers. You can pore over scouting reports to tab the top incoming rookies. You can track the transactions log to discover players poised to seize new opportunities.

But the most critical step in this process is getting your keepers right. These are your foundational players, and if you guess wrong here, you'll be in for a long season.

We're here to point you in the right direction with a look at our top 30 point-per-reception keepers for the 2020 season and a dive into three players capable of outperforming their ranks.

              

Top 30 Fantasy Football PPR Keepers for 2020

1. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

2. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

3. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

4. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

5. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

6. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

7. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

8. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

9. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

10. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

11. Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

12. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

13. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

14. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

15. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

16. Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys

17. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

18. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

19. D.J. Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers

20. Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders

21. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns

22. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

23. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

24. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

25. Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions

26. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

27. Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings

28. A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans

29. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

30. Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens

              

Players Who Can Outperform Ranking

Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

If the Titans bring back Derrick Henry in free agency, he could be a fantasy monstereven if he's an afterthought in the passing game.

Late last season, Tennessee provided the blueprint for his fantasy dominance. Its offense veered into Henry-or-bust mode, and the 247-pound bruising back boomed with the heavier workload.

Over his final six outings, he ran the ball 139 times for 896 yards and 10 touchdowns. For context, only 31 backs topped 146 carries for the season, 18 cleared 896 rushing yards and seven tallied 10-plus touchdowns. Tack on Henry's 83 playoff rushes for another 446 yards and two touchdowns, and you basically have top-five running back seasonal production in only nine contests.

The Titans followed that formula to recover from a 2-4 start and eventually reach the AFC Championship. If they pay big bucks to keep Henry, they could look to maximize that investment with another enormous amount of offensive chances.

          

Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

While we don't have Aaron Jones inside our top 15, we know for a fact he can deliver a top-10 finish.

How, you ask? Because just this past season he was the seventh-highest scorer overall and second-best running back in fantasy, per NFL.com.

Some of his 2019 stats might seem unsustainable, namely the 19 touchdowns he scored by rushing (16) and receiving (three). Over the past two seasons combined, he'd only found the end zone 13 times, so it's fair to wonder whether that's repeatable.

But maybe this is Jones' new reality. Maybe it's a simple result of the Packers finally being receptive to all those #FreeAaronJones pleas.

"In his rookie year, he had 138 yards and two touchdowns on 20 touches against the Saints on Oct. 22, and the next two weeks got a total of 11 touches combined, and you're like, 'What is going on? Free Aaron Jones!'" ESPN's Matthew Berry said.

Jones has rushed for 5.0 yards a clip for his NFL career, and he has 32 touchdowns in 40 games. If he gets the right opportunity, he has the talent to be a fantasy elite.

           

Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens

While the football world is understandably back in a love affair with Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes, he wasn't the quarterback who set the fantasy realm on fire this past season.

That distinction went to regular-season MVP Lamar Jackson, the second-highest producer overall. His dual-threat talent gave him cheat-code numbers: 3,127 passing yards, 1,206 rushing yards, 36 passing touchdowns against six interceptions, seven rushing scores.

He can be (and has been) great. But part of his appeal is also the near-absence of any bust potential.

"Not only can he almost single-handedly win you games every week, but he'll also virtually never cost you one," The Ringer's Riley McAtee wrote. "Rushing quarterbacks have both higher fantasy ceilings and floors than their pocket-anchored counterparts. The ceiling is evident in Jackson's record-seeing fantasy year, but the floor has been visible, too."

That was Jackson's first season as a full-time starter. He could be even better in 2020, and the same goes for the young playmakers around him in Baltimore. For all the fantasy experts who will tell you to wait on quarterbacks, Jackson might be the one worth breaking the mold.

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