Fantasy Football 2020: Rankings for Top Sleeper and Bust Candidates

Theo SalaunContributor IIIAugust 7, 2020

Alabama wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (11) grabs a pass in front of LSU defensive back Grant Delpit (7) in the first half of an NCAA football game Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

In an NFL season with more variables than ever, fantasy football is about to be peak chaos. But that's what makes this fun and why we're bringing some of the spiciest sleeper and bust candidates to the table.

In the early rounds, you grab positional safety. But later, it's all about weighing upside against downside. For each offensive position in football, we've got two sleepers and two busts to consider eyeing in your rankings. 

It should be noted that these are seen through a standard scoring lens, with FantasyPros' consensus rankings as our baseline for ADP and their 2019 leaders for last year's scoring ranks. Like much of fantasy sports, nothing is concrete here. Essentially, each sleeper is someone who can vastly outperform their ADP relative to those ahead of them and each bust can easily be surpassed by those below.


2020 Fantasy Football Sleepers

QB: Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns; Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

At quarterback, Mayfield disappointed drafters by finishing last year at QB19 despite a high ADP. This year, he's ranked No. 17. Considering the circumstances, too much of that 2019 hype has evaporated. He should not be behind the likes of Daniel Jones, Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton.

The Browns brought in Kevin Stefanski at head coach (who helped a Minnesota Vikings team hit 10-6 last season as offensive coordinator), Alex Van Pelt at offensive coordinator (who was Aaron Rodgers' quarterback coach from 2014-17) and Austin Hooper at tight end (who was TE7 last year). Further, Odell Beckham Jr. is healthy and Kareem Hunt will be available from Week 1.

Joe Burrow, meanwhile, is a Heisman winner coming off of possibly the greatest NCAA quarterbacking season of all time. The guy who threw for a single-season record 60 passing touchdowns now joins a Zac Taylor offense with weapons like A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Auden Tate, John Ross III, Tee Higgins, Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard.

Oh, and 2019 first-round pick Jonah Williams is healthy and should help the offensive line. Burrow is a better option than his No. 20 ADP would lead you to believe.


RB: Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team

Jones is ranked at No. 31 despite finishing last season as the RB23. Per Tampa Bay's Scott Smith, head coach Bruce Arians has already said he's the "main guy" and incoming veteran LeSean McCoy is already asking James White and Dion Lewis about being Tom Brady's pass-catching back, per NFL Network's James Palmer.

All football fans know just how potent Brady's backs can be, especially the goal-line bruiser. Jones has legitimate RB1 upside.

Abdul Memon @abdulamemon

ANTONIO GIBSON!!! https://t.co/IbZjfFa1jF

Gibson is a much longer shot to excel, but the capacity is there. Ranked RB57, the third-round draft pick may well be one of the most electrifying rookies of this draft, as both a receiver and runner. Derrius Guice and Adrian Peterson are great, but the former is injury-prone and the latter is 35 years old. 

Washington spent draft capital on Gibson for a reason. Should touches open up, his upside could be realized by midseason.


WR: Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders; Breshad Perriman, New York Jets

Stefon Diggs (No. 27), A.J. Green (No. 28) and even Jalen Reagor (No. 52) could all be appealing sleepers at wide receiver. But Ruggs' ADP is legitimately shocking at No. 54. 

In one of the most stacked classes for his position in NFL history, the Raiders chose the pure lightning in Ruggs as the first receiver off the board at No. 12 overall. One has to imagine that's because head coach Jon Gruden missed the opportunity to build his offense around Antonio Brown and envisions Ruggs as the next best option.

Jordan Reid @JReidNFL

Henry Ruggs III is a Ferrari that operated in a Honda car lot weekly. He moves at a different tempo than his surroundings and makes everyone else look as if they’re moving in slow motion. https://t.co/PiuzTCe3J1

He has unbelievable speed and the potential for a higher target share than any other rookie receiver. The upside relative to ADP is untouched by anyone else in fantasy football.

Perriman, meanwhile, is a veteran who showed what his blazing speed is capable of as he piled up 101.2 yards and one touchdown per game while averaging 7.4 targets to finish out the Buccaneers' last five games of 2019. Now he replaces Robby Anderson on a Jets team that will likely be playing from behind in most matchups. At No. 55, Perriman is another speedster with clear upside. 


TE: Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins; Noah Fant, Denver Broncos

How on earth is Gesicki's ADP TE14 this season? He finished last year as the TE12 after finishing the season by averaging 7.8 targets and amassing four touchdowns over five games. The 2018 second-round pick could be deadly in 2020.

Denver Broncos 365 @DailyBroncos

“Travis Kelce who?” - Noah Fant https://t.co/YeqlBQ9OnV

Speaking of deadly, Fant was untouchable when he got the ball last year. That wasn't very often, and second-year quarterback Drew Lock most certainly presents question marks, but the now-sophomore tight end could have a ridiculous season should his targets tick upward. ADP has him at TE13, but he's a better gamble than nearly half of the players going before him.


2020 Fantasy Football Busts

QB: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Brees finished last season at QB20 mainly due to missing five matchups because of injury but is ranked at QB10 by ADP for 2020. While he's excellent, Taysom Hill is still around, and there's no reason to go high on a quarterback in fantasy football. Similarly, Ryan is ranked QB8, but guys with similar upside like Matthew Stafford and Aaron Rodgers will still be available later (QB12 and QB13, respectively).


RB: Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens; Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts

Joe Mixon and Chris Carson could be here, as each have question marks that make their ADP a little scary. But Ingram already had to worry about three other dangerous players stealing rushes last season (Lamar Jackson, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill). Now, Baltimore drafted J.K. Dobbins in the second round and Ingram's touches are a little too risky to justify an RB21 ADP.

Similarly, Taylor is a fantastic player in a talented room. Marlon Mack is a tremendous runner and Nyheim Hines is a pass-catching threat. Taylor has an incredible ceiling as a true dual-threat, but an RB23 ADP ignores the fair chance that his touches are limited by his teammates' abilities.


WR: Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys; Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos

Cooper is ADP's WR9, and he finished last season at WR10, but Michael Gallup continues to emerge as competition for touches. In 2020, the ball could be spread around even further with the addition of first-round pick CeeDee Lamb.

Sutton dropped to ADP's WR20 after finishing 2019 as WR17, but that downgrade may not be enough. He is a truly exceptional talent, but Jerry Jeudy is the best all-around receiver of 2020's draft class and should compete for what were already uninspiring passes from Drew Lock.


TE: Evan Engram, New York Giants; Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers

Engram is TE6, Henry is TE8. Both are uncontested talents, but both have concerning injury histories at a position with fantastic sleepers. While they could each finish in the top five among tight ends, the injury risk and late-round availability of their peers means neither is worth the price tag.