Monster Year Coming! – Wide Receivers – 2020
Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons
Jones is a thoroughbred at the wide receiver position standing at 6’3” 220 pounds. He is impossible to cover one on one and has great hands and a wide wingspan. He’s averaged over 1,500 receiving yards and 6 TD’s per season for approximately 186 fantasy points over the last six years. That’s basically a top five fantasy wide receiver guaranteed, and there are no signs of slowing.
The Falcons throw the ball twice as much as they run it and with plenty of quality complimentary skill position players, it’s difficult for defenses to completely focus on Jones. The only drawback is lack of double-digit TD’s. He’s done it once in his career and it seems the 6-8 range is his low-high range. There is no reason Jones can’t be the first wide receiver off the board.
Don’t forget to check out our other Monster Year Predictions!
Kenny Golladay – Detroit Lions
Golladay exploded onto the scene in year three and what’s most impressive, is that he did it without a viable starting quarterback for half the season. He had career highs in receiving yards with 1,190 and 11 TD’s. He is a prototypical wide receiver standing at 6’4” 215 pounds with a lean body and excellent speed. At seasons end, Golladay ranked 7th in receiving yards, 1st in TD’s and 3rd in yards per catch.
The main question coming into 2020 is whether Matthew Stafford can stay healthy. Golladay had four 100-yard games and 7 TD’s while Stafford was one the field. You can make the argument that a lot of Golladay’s second half of the season numbers were meaningless mop-up yards. Maybe they were with erratic quarterback play and second half comeback attempts. The evaluation of last season must be done over the first eight games where Golladay dominated. He is a top five receiver this year and I wouldn’t be surprised if he leads the league in TD’s again with a healthy Matthew Stafford.
DeAndre Hopkins – Arizona Cardinals
The wide receiving crew is shaping up for Kyler Murray after the monster trade for DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins has been one of the most productive wide receivers over the last six years with multiple 1,000-yard, double digit TD’s seasons. He was heavily targeted in Houston with a career average of 150 a season. Most wide receivers are lucky if they break 100 in a single season. Hopkin’s isn’t the biggest receiver at 6’1” but plays like a giant. His route running, quickness in and out of cuts and pure speed make him extremely difficult to cover.
Hopkins comes into Arizona as the clear #1 receiver on a pass heavy offense. The Cardinals threw the ball 58% of the time and I wouldn’t be surprised if that ratio leans even more to the pass. When players change teams it often has a dramatic effect on their fantasy value (good and bad). Trust that Kliff Kingsbury knows what he is doing and that he’ll seamlessly incorporate Hopkins into the offense. Hopkins averaged 10 fantasy points a week last season and coming into the 2020 campaign, that’s the floor. The ceiling is top five overall fantasy wide receiver.
Courtland Sutton – Denver Broncos
Sutton emerged as the #1 WR after Emmanuel Sanders was traded to the 49ers. Sutton is your prototypical NFL wide receiver measuring 6’4” 216 pounds. He catches the ball over the middle and isn’t afraid of contact in traffic. With 124 targets, Sutton ranked 18th in the NFL but only 30th in receptions in 2019. The reception to target conversion rate must improve for Sutton to reach elite status though averaging 9.4 fantasy points a week is a good start.
The sky is the limit for 2020. There are always a few running backs and wide receivers you wished you’d taken a chance on, and this year Sutton is the guy. He will be a 2nd round wide receiver pick next season but this year you can get him in the 4th. Drew Lock is going to blossom this season, Melvin Gordon and Philip Lindsay are a solid combination at running back and Noah Fant will require more attention from defenses. The selection of Jerry Jeudy in the 1st round in the 2020 draft will also take some pressure off Sutton. Rookie receivers rarely contribute but Jeudy may be the exception. The least he’ll do is draw attention away from Sutton and allow more single coverage. Sutton is in line for a career year and he is a great play as your #1 fantasy wide receiver after you’ve secured a running back.
Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints
Thomas had a tremendous year for the New Orleans Saints, leading the league in receiving yards with 1,725 and tied for 3rd with fellow teammate Jared Cook (among others) with 9 TD’s. He is a great route runner and finds open space all over the field. Thomas and Brees being on the same page is an understatement. Thomas has been building up to a career season for four years now with steady increases in receiving yards in each of his first four campaigns.
Quite often you find the guys who have a career year regress the following season, leaving 1st round drafters hanging they’re heads trying to figure out what happened. The window for the Saints is small but still wide open with Drew Brees coming back. Thomas may or may not exceed his career highs from last season but let’s not over think this one. A 10% regression will still be worthy of a top three wide receiver and if Drew Brees is healthy, elite fantasy numbers are a lock for Thomas.