Fantasy Football 2020: 5 Players Generating Buzz Entering Mock Season

Martin FennContributor IIIAugust 11, 2020

Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson runs up field after catching a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Craig Lassig)
Craig Lassig/Associated Press

The time has come for fantasy owners to start hawking the newswires and keeping tabs on training camps around the NFL.

With the 2020 season just under a month away and no preseason games available for further analysis, fantasy owners would do well to pinpoint the players making some noise during training camp.

Naturally, there are sure to be any number of star players to choose from in the early rounds, but finding value in the middle and later rounds is the key to unlocking victory in fantasy football.

Here are some players building a sense of hype regarding their potential fantasy value. The first of which is a rookie who suddenly finds himself as the feature back for one of the NFL's most high-powered offenses.

          

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs

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Clyde Edwards-Helaire was already being hailed as an ideal fit for Andy Reid's offensive scheme when the Chiefs drafted him with the final pick of the first round in April.

The former LSU star had a massive 2019 for the Tigers, rushing for 1,414 yards and 16 touchdowns while also hauling in 55 receptions for 453 yards and another score.

Reid said after the draft he thought Edwards-Helaire was every bit as good Brian Westbrook, whom Reid coached in Philadelphia.

More recently, Westbrook said the 21-year-old is in a "great situation" playing for Reid, per Jamey Eisenberg of CBS Sports. He also said Edwards-Helaire could really establish himself as an every-down back if he can perfect pass protection schemes.

It always seemed likely Edwards-Helaire would get every opportunity to compete for time in the backfield. But with Damien Williams opting out, the rookie will get the lion's share of the touches at the running back spot. He could thrive as a multidimensional Chiefs offense that could put up a lot of points.

         

RB Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

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Miles Sanders was high on fantasy radars last year, but expectations might be even higher entering the 2020 campaign.

The former Penn State standout had a tremendous rookie season, rushing for 818 yards on 4.6 yards per carry while also tallying 509 yards receiving and three touchdowns on 10.2 yards per reception.

While these numbers might not look overly impressive, Sanders played just 53 percent of all offensive snaps, per Pro Football Reference. The Eagles failed to land any of their top backfield targets in the offseason, meaning they have enough confidence in the 23-year-old to give him even more touches.

Westbrook was also highly complimentary of Sanders, saying "As we saw toward the end of (last) season, we saw a kid that was just gaining more and more confidence." He also suggested Eagles head coach Doug Pederson might give Sanders "20-23 touches" per game.

Sanders showed glimpses of his game-breaking potential last year, and he might be one of the top backs in fantasy if he gets more volume.

         

WR Terry McLaurin, Washington Football Team

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"Scary Terry" was one of the lone bright spots for Washington's offense last season.

McLaurin was another rookie standout, amassing 919 yards receiving and seven touchdowns on nearly 16 yards per reception. Field Yates of ESPN noted his 93.8 fantasy points were the most of any active receiver through his first five career games.

The Ohio State product did not score in six straight games between Week 7 and Week 13, but he had a strong three-game stretch to close the year and totally dominated the team's target share.

McLaurin will have his hands full in 2020, given Washington failed to make any marked upgrades at the wide receiver spot. It will also be interesting to see how Dwayne Haskins develops under center.

Nevertheless, McLaurin has serious big-play potential and has already established himself as the team's No. 1 receiver. The 24-year-old could be on the verge of a huge sophomore year should he continue to develop a strong rapport with Haskins.

            

WR Diontae Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers

Adam Hunger/Associated Press

The Steelers' offense was something of a mess last year.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed all but two games, and running back James Conner also dealt with injuries. Not to mention star wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster struggled to replicate his breakout 2018.

One positive development was the play of 2019 third-round pick Diontae Johnson, who finished the year with 59 receptions for 680 yards and five touchdowns. The Toledo product also ranked as the second-most elusive rookie wideout in 2019, per Pro Football Focus.

The 24-year-old told reporters, including Joe Rutter of TribLive.com, he and Roethlisberger have worked on their timing as the veteran signal-caller gets set to return under center. He also said the quarterback looks as good as ever, which obviously bodes well both for himself and the rest of Pittsburgh's offense.

Most of the focus will be on Smith-Schuster as he looks to rebound in 2020, but Johnson might have better value as someone who could be an explosive target in the middle or later rounds.

          

WR Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears

Paul Sancya/Associated Press

Perhaps Allen Robinson would be held in higher regard if he had more reliable quarterback play over the course of his career.

The former Pro Bowler saw a whopping 154 targets last season, finishing the year with 98 receptions for 1,147 yards and seven touchdowns. His catch percentage was the highest it has been in his career, despite an underwhelming season from Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

Robinson might not have the accolades, but he is getting plenty of respect from the fantasy community.

The 26-year-old is the ninth-ranked wideout with an average draft position (ADP) of 29, per Fantasy Pros. Additionally, Pro Football Focus listed him as one of just eight "locks" to go over 1,000 yards receiving mark in 2020.

Not to mention, Robinson is in a contract year. He and the Bears have not had much communication on an extension, per Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times. This is likely to be a motivating factor for the Penn State product as he hopes to solidify his status as one of the best receivers in football.

             

All stats obtained via Pro Football Reference or Sports Reference, unless otherwise noted.