Fantasy Football 2020: Ranking Sleepers, Busts and Safest Players This Year

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistAugust 29, 2020

Buffalo Bills running back Zack Moss (20) catches a pass during an NFL football training camp in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020. (James P. McCoy/The Buffalo News via AP, Pool)
James P. McCoy/Associated Press

Every fantasy football manager has to go into the draft prepared for all types of scenarios.

What if you need a sleeper pick to replace someone who went to another team? Where are the potential pitfalls in the early rounds? Whom can you count on to produce?

Fortunately for those with plenty of questions headed into draft day, we have all the answers, with top-10 rankings for sleepers, potential busts and the safest picks in point-per-receptions leagues.

Offseason acquisitions and training camp reports shed light on what to expect during the 2020 campaign. Based on that information, 10 players are ranked in each category. Their average draft positions, presented parenthetically, are according to Fantasy Football Calculator.


Top 10 Sleeper Picks

1. TE Hayden Hurst, Baltimore Ravens (7.07)

2. RB Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team (7.09)

3. RB Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills (8.05)

4. WR Jerry Jeudy, Denver Broncos (10.03)

5. QB Cam Newton, New England Patriots (11.01)

6. WR Justin Jefferson, Minnesota Vikings (11.01)

7. WR DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles (11.09)

8. TE Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns (12.04)

9. WR Breshad Perriman, New York Jets (13.04)

10. TE Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans (13.08)


RB Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills 

James P. McCoy/Associated Press

Keep an eye on Zack Moss. Joe Buscaglia and Matthew Fairburn of The Athletic warned everyone that the reports out of camps have "undersold" the rookie third-rounder's potential impact this season.

According to Buscaglia and Fairburn, Moss has excelled in pass-protection situations, which essentially gives him the green light to contribute on passing downs.

"Zack Moss is going to be a factor on passing downs," Buscaglia wrote. "Typically, the ability to pass-protect is what helps young backs get on the field as rookies. Moss is checking that box in training camp, and he's also showing the ability to make plays out of the backfield, which is an understated part of his game."

At Utah, Moss hauled in 66 passes for 685 yards and three touchdowns, so he's comfortable as a receiver out of the backfield. At 5'9", 223 pounds, the Bills can also use him in goal-line situations as opposed to Devin Singletary, who's 5'7", 203 pounds.

With a probable pass-catching role, Moss can make fantasy managers happy with 10-12 carries per game, especially if he's involved inside the red zone.


Top 10 Potential Busts 

1. RB Le'Veon Bell, New York Jets (3.05)

2. RB David Johnson, Houston Texans (3.06)

3. WR DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers (3.10)

4. RB David Montgomery, Chicago Bears (4.07)

5. RB Mark Ingram II, Baltimore Ravens (4.09)

6. WR DJ Chark Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars (5.01)

7. WR Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (5.06)

8. WR Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills (6.06)

9. WR A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals (6.09)

10. TE Evan Engram, New York Giants (7.03)


RB Le'Veon Bell, New York Jets 

Adam Hunger/Associated Press

New York Jets head coach Adam Gase has already rolled out the conservative plan for Le'Veon Bell.

Bell responded to a tweet from Eric Allen of 360 Jets Production that reported the team held him out because of tightness in his hamstrings.

"Ain't nothing wrong with my hamstrings," Bell tweeted.

This conflict sounds off alarm bells because Bell felt he didn't receive enough touches during the previous campaign. The 28-year-old running back worked hard on his body conditioning through the offseason, though those efforts may not equate to a bigger role in the upcoming term.

Additionally, Gase seems pleasantly surprised by 37-year-old running back Frank Gore, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

"He looks the same as he did 12 years ago," Gase said. "I can't explain it. When I watch him, I flash back to 2008. He looks the same. He is an old-school player. His burst looks good. His vision is never going to change."

In 2018, under Gase, Gore logged 156 carries for 722 yards. If he handles a similar volume this season, Bell would have a low production ceiling, with rookie fourth-rounder La'Mical Perine also in the mix.

We probably haven't heard the last of this saga concerning Bell's workload. Fantasy managers should stay on the safe side and fade him this season.


Top 10 'Safe' Picks

1. RB Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers (1.01)

2. RB Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys (1.05)

3. RB Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints (1.04)

4. QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs (2.07)

5. WR Julio Jones Jones, Atlanta Falcons (2.02)

6. WR Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (1.06)

7. RB Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (1.02)

8. QB Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens (2.11)

9. RB Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders (1.09)

10. WR Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (1.10)


WR Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

Perhaps you expected to see Michael Thomas ranked ahead of Julio Jones, but based on the roster changes for the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons, the latter should have a more productive 2020 campaign.

The Saints signed Emmanuel Sanders this offseason. He's recorded at least 66 receptions and 868 receiving yards in each of the past two terms. At 33, he remains a solid No. 2 wide receiver option—something New Orleans hasn't had since Ted Ginn Jr.'s 2017 performance (53 catches, 787 yards and four touchdowns). As a result, Thomas' numbers could slide a bit compared to his past two seasons.

The Falcons lost tight end Austin Hooper to the Cleveland Browns during free agency. He ranked second on the team in receptions for the 2018 and 2019 campaigns. Without him, Jones could see more targets as Hayden Hurst finds his way in the offense.

Furthermore, Falcons running back Todd Gurley logged a career-low 1,064 yards from scrimmage with the Los Angeles Rams in 2019. If his problematic knee becomes an issue, Atlanta may lean heavily on the passing game to move the ball. And Jones could have another monster year.

In three of the past five seasons, Jones has averaged at least 100 receiving yards per game. Since 2014, he's ranked within the top seven at his position in fantasy points for each term, per FantasyPros.


Follow Bleacher Report writer Maurice Moton on Twitter @MoeMoton.