Fantasy Football 2020: Dynasty Stash Players You Need to Grab Now

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistAugust 10, 2020

Fantasy Football 2020: Dynasty Stash Players You Need to Grab Now

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    For those fantasy football players who like to think about the sport through a long-term lens, dynasty fantasy leagues remain the best option.

    While standard leagues with differing lineup and scoring options remain the juggernaut of the industry, dynasty and keeper leagues that span multiple seasons are fun alternatives that incorporate actual rookie drafts and long-term consequences of decisions.

    One of the biggest differentiating factors from standard leagues is planning for seasons beyond the current one. Stashing players who don't help push for a league title this year but could boost a team to contention in subsequent seasons is a risky, albeit high-upside use of roster space.

    Below, let's look at the best current stash options for 2020, meaning mostly rookies to grab and lock up on the roster behind starters in hopes of ramped-up production next year. These guys aren't guaranteed to see major playing time this season, but talent and circumstance hint at much bigger things in 2021 and beyond.

Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Richard Shiro/Associated Press

    Tee Higgins out of Clemson was the first pick of the second round this year by the Cincinnati Bengals for good reason.

    Higgins put up 936 yards and 12 scores in 2018 and then followed that up with 1,167 yards and 13 scores while averaging 19.8 yards per catch during his college farewell tour. Funnily enough, one of his most common pro comparisons was A.J. Green.

    Green himself might be the reason Higgins doesn't see the field much as a rookie on a depth chart that also boasts John Ross III and Tyler Boyd. And if Green and his extensive injury history can't go, the snaps might instead go to veteran big-play artist Auden Tate, who played 59 percent of offensive snaps last year with Green out.

    Still, Green will play 2020 on the franchise tag, while the Bengals had Higgins in mind as a long-term running mate with No. 1 pick Joe Burrow. And when Higgins becomes more involved in the offense in 2021 or later, opposing defenses will remain focused on Boyd, Joe Mixon (provided he gets a contract extension) and potentially Green and/or Ross, leaving him plenty of room to produce over the long term.

Adam Trautman, TE, New Orleans Saints

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    It's always advisable to stash young guys who could eventually have the chance to play in the same offense as New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

    And in the case of Adam Trautman, it's very advisable even if Brees hangs up the cleats when 2020 comes to a close.

    Trautman, a third-round pick this year, dominated the competition at Dayton, which isn't much of a shock considering he checks in at 6'5" and 253 pounds. He put up 916 yards and 14 touchdowns over 11 games last year, but more importantly, he held up just fine at events like the Senior Bowl and combine.

    Jared Cook, at least for 2020, remains first on the depth chart. But he's 33 years old already, and the Saints made a point to trade up and get Trautman. He's clearly the long-term option at the position, though the unorthodox training camp and the presence of Cook mean he likely won't be a reliable safety net for a quarterback until his sophomore campaign.

Josh Reynolds, WR, Rams

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    Now might be a good time to take a wait-and-see approach with Los Angeles Rams wideout Josh Reynolds.

    Reynolds has had a somewhat quiet start to his career since joining the team via the fourth round in 2017. But with Brandin Cooks out of the way, he could see a steady rise in importance in the offense. Sean McVay even said confidence in Reynolds is part of the reason the Cooks trade to the Houston Texans happened.

    In 2019, for instance, Reynolds quietly scored once, posting 49 or more yards in each of his two starts. It was a subtle example of what he might be able to do if the Rams regularly deploy him in the base offense.

    That possibility is why Reynolds is at least worth a stash. The team used a second-round draft pick on Van Jefferson, but the preseason-less summer could mean a big delay in development for him. The Rams also only deployed Cooper Kupp on 80 percent of the offense's snaps last year and like to weave in two-tight-end sets.

    Written another way, Reynolds has the experience and talent to be a hefty producer. He's worth a stash on the strong chance those traits mean the Rams won't be able to find a reason to keep him off the field over the long haul.

Trent Taylor, WR, 49ers

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    Another upstart player with the chance to break out into starter territory in a year or two, Trent Taylor of the San Francisco 49ers heads into Year 4 in an interesting spot.

    First-rounder Brandon Aiyuk figures to do some heavy lifting right out of the gate, but Deebo Samuel is recovering from a broken foot and 2019 third-round pick Jalen Hurd didn't play a role last season.

    In other words, it could be a hybrid committee approach for a coaching staff that likes to play "positionless" football, and Taylor could find himself with some interesting usage in the pecking order as everyone lines up behind George Kittle. The Athletic's Matt Barrows could even see Taylor finishing third on the team in catches in 2020, though it'll require winning a roster battle and overcoming his injury history.

    To his credit, Taylor averaged 10 yards per catch with 430 yards and two scores in 2017 on 60 targets. If he keeps proving reliable, draft status and otherwise won't mean much over the long term if the rapport with Jimmy Garoppolo is there.

Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    A disruptive bit of quarterback play in 2020 could mean Miami Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki doesn't realize the ceiling his talent clearly hints at.

    But beyond 2020 is where Gesicki could really be a dynasty steal.

    While Gesicki looks like he could be a big Year 3 breakout after scoring five times over his last six games in 2019, that Dolphins brass is hosting a quarterback competition between Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tua Tagovailoa could mean an erratic ability to produce at a reliable clip.

    By 2021, fantasy owners could be looking at a situation where Tagovailoa is the full-time starter and the rapport with Gesicki is ironclad. That means a 6'6", 250-pound target who can line up in the slot or otherwise and averages 10.6 yards per catch for his career could be the big-play artist and safety net for one of the league's fastest-rising passers.

    Maybe the Gesicki outbreak will come earlier than anticipated, but either way, he's money in dynasty leagues as the rebuild in Miami kicks into another gear.

Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Of the limited rookie quarterback competitions this year, it feels like Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers could be the one to fully sit out the 2020 season.

    The Chargers have remained adamant they love the idea of starting veteran Tyrod Taylor with Philip Rivers gone. It reeks of a team trying to have its cake and eat it too after regressing from 12 wins to five last year, with head coach Anthony Lynn recently saying the following, according to Gilbert Manzano of the O.C. Register: "He'll probably be our Day 1 starter."

    That leaves Herbert on the bench, sidelining the sixth overall pick who completed 64 percent of his passes over 1,293 attempts in college, throwing for 10,541 yards and 95 touchdowns against 23 interceptions for a 153.1 rating.

    But when Herbert does inevitably get on the field, he's low-key going to have superb surroundings. Keenan Allen, fresh off 1,199 yards, remains one of the NFL's best wideouts. Franchise-tagged tight end Hunter Henry occupies a similar territory at his position. Mike Williams, the seventh pick in 2017, still has massive potential after a 1,000-yard season, and the running back depth chart has a nice one-two with Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson.

    Pair Herbert's traits with a great supporting cast and patient organization, and it creates a must-stash scenario for fantasy owners.