Fantasy Football Rankings 2020: Early List of Top Players and Sleepers to Target

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2020

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) warms up before an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

The 2020 NFL season isn't scheduled to kick off until September 10, but many fantasy managers are already prepping for the drafts that will take place between now and then.

While it's usually a good idea to hold off on drafting until at least the preseason, valuable information can be gleaned earlier. By knowing which players are likely to see favorable situations, which rookies are likely to start and which players could be in danger of losing starting roles, managers can draw a bead on potential late-round steals and sleepers.

Last season, for example, recognizing that Seattle Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf was part of a relatively shallow receiver corps potentially led to tremendous late-round value. He finished second on the team with 58 catches, 900 yards and seven touchdowns.

Here, you'll find some potential sleepers who could reward managers in a big way this season. First, though, a look at the updated points-per-reception rankings.


2020 Fantasy Top 50, PPR

1. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

2. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

3. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

4. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

5. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

6. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

7.. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

8. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals

9. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

10. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

11. Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

12. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

13. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

14. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

15. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

16. Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders

17. Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

18. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

19. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

20. Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions

21. Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys

22. Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens

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

24. Kenyan Drake, RB, Arizona Cardinals

25. Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns

26. Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

27. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

28. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

29. Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

30. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

31. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns

32. Todd Gurley, RB, Atlanta Falcons

33. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

34. Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears

35. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

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

37. Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings

38. Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams

39. Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks

40. DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins

41. Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills

42. Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos

43. Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens

44. Stefon Diggs, WR, Buffalo Bills

45. Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks

46. DJ Chark Jr., WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

47. DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks

48. Darren Waller, TE, Las Vegas Raiders

49. Cam Akers, RB, Los Angeles Rams

50. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals


Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Despite owning a 2-14 record in 2019, the Cincinnati Bengals are a bit deeper at receiver than the Seattle Seahawks were last season—assuming A.J. Green is healthy, that is.

Rookie quarterback Joe Burrow will have the likes of Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross and fellow rookie Tee Higgins in the lineup.

Of these, Green is the only one to crack the top 50, and that's based on the assumption he will be fit and in pre-injury form. However, Higgins is worth a late-round flier because of his upside.

The 21-year-old is a massive 6'4", 216-pound target, who can act as a security blanket for Burrow and as a potential matchup nightmare.

"He's played all three receiver spots and can be moved around to match up against cornerbacks," NFL Media's Lance Zierlein wrote. "His size and "above the rim" talent make him a uniquely dangerous playmaker deep and in the red zone."

Preexisting chemistry won't be a factor for Burrow, and Higgins could quite easily become his favorite target. At best, he could develop into Cincinnati's No. 1 receiver; at worst, he should be the sort of big-bodied touchdown vulture who is worth the occasional flex play.


DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Matt Rourke/Associated Press

On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have Philadelphia Eagles wideout DeSean Jackson.

The 33-year-old is coming off a season plagued by injuries—he appeared in just three games—and will face competition for catches from rookie first-rounder Jalen Reagor.

However, Jackson still possesses high-end speed and can be the field-stretcher for quarterback Carson Wentz. In the first game of the 2019 season, he caught eight passes for 154 yards and two touchdowns. While such numbers cannot be expected weekly, that is indicative of the role he can play in the Philadelphia offense.

While Jackson was forced to undergo core muscle surgery last season, he appears on track to return to pre-injury form. He recently posted a video of himself running routes on Instagram.

In his last healthy season, which came with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018, the University of California product caught 41 passes for 774 yards and four touchdowns. That was with a receiving corps that also included Chris Godwin and Mike Evans

If healthy, Jackson could be a 1,000-yard receiver for this first time since 2016.


Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers

Adam Hunger/Associated Press

As a rookie last season, Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Diontae Johnson caught 59 passes for 680 yards and five touchdowns. He largely did so with the disappointing tandem of Devlin Hodges and Mason Rudolph at quarterback.

Even with subpar quarterback play, Johnson could be in store for a notable second-year jump in 2020. However, he may be getting more than subpar play out of veteran Ben Roethlisberger—at least, that is what Pittsburgh is banking on.

Roethlisberger missed the vast majority of the 2019 season with an elbow injury that required surgery. Presumably, he will be 100 percent recovered and under center when the Steelers open the season against the Dallas Cowboys.

Again, we have to assume the 38-year-old will be in pre-injury form or close to it. If so, the impact for Johnson could be tremendous. In 2018, Roethlisberger threw for an incredible 5,129 yards and 34 touchdowns with 16 interceptions.

Like Jackson, Johnson could realistically flirt with the 1,000-yard mark in this season if Big Ben still has the goods.