Fantasy Football 2020: Early Rankings for Michael Thomas, Top WRsMay 13, 2020
Michael Thomas' record-breaking 2019 season has put him near the top of most of fantasy football draft boards.
The New Orleans Saints wide receiver should be the first player chosen at his position, and he could be taken in the top five in most leagues.
The next wideout off the board could be someone who did not rank in the top 10 in any of the major receiving categories in 2019.
Tyreek Hill will be selected for his potential to put up massive numbers in the Kansas City offense alongside Patrick Mahomes.
After that, the debate may get heated between Julio Jones, Davante Adams, Chris Godwin and DeAndre Hopkins, all of whom could put up 1,000-yard seasons.
Wide Receiver Fantasy Rankings
1. Michael Thomas, New Orleans
2. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City
3. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay
4. Davante Adams, Green Bay
5. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona
6. Julio Jones, Atlanta
7. Kenny Golladay, Detroit
8. Amari Cooper, Dallas
9. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay
10. Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland
Thomas led the NFL in receptions and receiving yards, and he finished in a tie for fourth in touchdown catches.
His single-season record of 149 catches came on 185 targets, and he averaged a league-best 107.8 yards per game.
Thomas has received at least 140 targets in each of the last three seasons, and in 2018 and 2019, he produced a catch percentage over 80.
If the 27-year-old produces at a similar clip in 2020, he could make a case to be the top overall fantasy football player.
That title currently belongs to Christian McCaffrey, who carries more value at running back because of his impact in both aspects of Carolina's offense.
You could justify taking Thomas as high as No. 2 overall because he is expected to perform at a similar level in a New Orleans offense that has the potential to score at least 30 points every week.
Some owners would argue that the premier running backs are more valuable at that stage, which could lead to Saquon Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott being chosen ahead of the Saints star.
If Thomas lasts beyond the No. 4 or No. 5 pick in any fantasy draft, it would be viewed as a shock given how consistent he has been in the New Orleans passing attack.
If you opt to go with a running back over Thomas, there should still be plenty of top-notch receivers left for you in the second round, such as Kenny Golladay and Mike Evans.
Hill has to be considered as a first-round selection because of the system he plays in with the Chiefs. When healthy, he is the No. 1 option for the top quarterback in the NFL.
In 2019, he recorded 860 receiving yards on 58 receptions in 12 games. That occurred after back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons.
Hill has had at least six touchdowns in each of his four seasons, and he produced a career-best 12 scores in 2018 when he combined with Mahomes for a full 16-game slate.
The 26-year-old does not have a comparable catch percentage to Thomas, but his speed could lead to more scoring plays and more touchdowns of 40 yards or longer.
Hill would likely be selected late in the first round once the initial wave of running backs ends.
It may be hard to justify taking him over one of the top five-to-six running backs, but once those players are off the board, he should be considered.
Hill's scoring potential in Kansas City's offense could be too enticing to ignore if you are selecting anywhere from No. 8 to No. 12.
Godwin is expected to receive a boost in draft position after Tom Brady's arrival with the Buccaneers.
The 24-year-old is coming off his first 1,000-yard season in the NFL in which he recorded career bests in targets, receptions, yards and touchdowns.
Godwin topped Mike Evans in most stat categories and played in one more game than his Tampa Bay teammate.
Both receivers should benefit from Brady's pocket presence, but the Penn State product deserves the nod over Evans because of how much he improved in Bruce Arians' system in 2019.
The surge in production combined with the addition of Brady could make Godwin a late first-round choice over Adams, Hopkins and Jones.
Those three receivers could all make a case to be chosen in the opening round, but they all come with some minor concerns.
Adams will be the primary target of most defenses with little depth behind him in Green Bay, while some of Jones' touchdowns could be taken away by Calvin Ridley, and Hopkins may take a few weeks to get on the same page with Kyler Murray.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90
Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference