We are half-way through May, and even though most of the country is still trying to figure out how our major sporting events will take place, the NFL has held its draft and released its schedule for the 2020 season.
Although there is still over 3 months until the NFL season is set to begin, with the draft and a majority of free agency in the books, here is my early NFL fantasy football rankings for this year.
The running back pool was deep last year, with 29 different backs averaging at least 11 points a game that played 9 or more games. McCaffrey stood head and shoulders above the rest, averaging almost 30 a game, and no reason to not believe that he will continue that production this year.
Tier 2 contains running backs that can carry your fantasy team as well, as long as they can stay healthy. Cook and Barkley both missed multiple games last year, showing the importance of handcuffing your top players.
You can find good backs in tiers 3 and 4 as well, many of which who will have a majority of their teams carries. With David Johnson being traded to Houston, that gives him more carries and Kenyan Drake the opportunity to become a top-10 fantasy running back.
Tier of his own:
1. Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers
2. Saquon Barkley – New York Giants
3. Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings
4. Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints
5. Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys
6. Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans
7. Austin Ekeler – Los Angeles Chargers
8. Nick Chubb – Cleveland Browns
9. Josh Jacobs – Las Vegas Raiders
10. Kenyan Drake – Arizona Cardinals
11. Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals
12. Aaron Jones – Green Bay Packers
13. Miles Sanders – Philadelphia Eagles
14. Le’veon Bell – New York Jets
15. Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars
16. Melvin Gordon – Denver Broncos
17. James Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers
18. Todd Gurley – Atlanta Falcons
19. David Johnson – Houston Texans
20. Chris Carson – Seattle Seahawks
In today’s pass happy league, there are more opportunities for receivers to have a big impact in fantasy football. Especially in a PPR league, the right wide receiver combination can take you to fantasy football gold.
There was unprecedented quarterback change this offseason, so there are some wide receivers that have seen their stock improve, especially in the case Chris Godwin and Mike Evans in Tampa Bay, with the addition of Tom Brady.
Deandre Hopkins, already one of the top wide receivers in the NFL, moved out west to the Arizona Cardinals where he will catch passes from last year’s 1st overall pick Kyler Murray, which should help the young quarterback.
1. Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints
2. Deandre Hopkins – Arizona Cardinals
3. Chris Godwin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
4. Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons
5. Davonte Adams – Green Bay Packers
6. Amari Cooper – Dallas Cowboys
7. Kenny Golladay – Detroit Lions
8. Tyreek Hill – Kansas City Chiefs
9. Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
10. Allen Robinson – Chicago Bears
11. Adam Thielen – Minnesota Vikings
12. Odell Beckham Jr. – Cleveland Browns
13. Juju Smith-Schuster – Pittsburgh Steelers
14. DJ Moore – Carolina Panthers
15. Keenan Allen – Los Angeles Chargers
16. Courtland Sutton – Denver Broncos
17. Tyler Lockett – Seattle Seahawks
18. T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts
19. A.J. Brown – Tennessee Titans
20. Calvin Ridley – Atlanta Falcons
Lamar Jackson exploded last year in his MVP season, averaging more than 6 points/game than the second best quarterback. Although a repeat season will be tough, his ability to run the ball give him the opportunity to take over any game.
Mahomes fell back a little from his MVP season the year before, partially due to a knee injury that caused him to miss 2 games. Barring injury he should be able to get back to form this year.
The days of a pocket quarterback leading your fantasy team, such as Drew Brees and Tom Brady, is coming to an end. The ability to scramble out of the pocket and make plays with their legs helps their team on the field and your fantasy team at the same time, considering that most leagues give more points for rushing yards and rushing touchdowns.
1. Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens
2. Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs
3. Russel Wilson – Seattle Seahawks
4. Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans
5. Kyler Murray – Arizona Cardinals
6. Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys
7. Josh Allen – Buffalo Bills
8. Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints
9. Tom Brady – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
10. Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
11. Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers
12. Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles
13. Mathew Stafford – Detroit Lions
14. Kirk Cousins – Minnesota Vikings
15. Daniel Jones – New York Giants
16. Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers
17. Baker Mayfield – Cleveland Browns
18. Jared Goff – Los Angeles Rams
19. Jimmy Garoppolo – San Francisco 49ers
20. Drew Lock – Denver Broncos
The elite tight end group continues to grow, from just Kelce and Ertz a couple of years ago, then Kittle, and now Mark Andrews as one of Lamar Jackson’s favorite targets.
The drop off to the second tier is not as drastic as it once was, and obviously before his retirement and subsequent trade to Tampa Bay, Rob Gronkowski was the best tight end in the game – when healthy.
Tier 3 is full of solid tight ends, who have the ability to score big fantasy points but most weeks will be average, then tier 4 you have to hope that they reach their potential for this year.
1. Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs
2. George Kittle – San Francisco 49ers
3. Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles
4. Mark Andrews – Baltimore Ravens
5. Darren Waller – Las Vegas Raiders
6. Rob Gronkowski – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
7. Austin Hooper – Cleveland Browns
8. Hunter Henry – Los Angeles Chargers
9. Evan Engram – New York Giants
10. Tyler Higbee – Los Angeles Rams
11. Jared Cook – New Orleans Saints
12. Noah Fant – Denver Broncos
13. Mike Gesicki – Miami Dolphins
14. Jack Doyle – Indianapolis Colts
15. Jimmy Graham – Chicago Bears
16. T.J. Hockenson – Detroit Lions
17. Hayden Hurst – Atlanta Falcons
18. Eric Ebron – Pittsburgh Steelers
19. Blake Jarwin – Dallas Cowboys
20. Chris Herndon – New York Jets
Defense / Special Teams
A strong defense / special teams can put you over the top in your fantasy league. Sometimes to get the tier 1 defenses though you may have to reach a little earlier than you really want to.
Tier 2 defenses will be solid and get you good points every week, and sometimes high scoring output. Tier 3 should at least not lose you any games, while tier 4 defenses you will want to look at the match ups from week to week.
1. San Francisco 49ers
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
3. Chicago Bears
4. Buffalo Bills
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. New England Patriots
7. Indianapolis Colts
8. Denver Broncos
9. Minnesota Vikings
10. New Orleans Saints
11. Los Angeles Chargers
12. New York Jets
13. Dallas Cowboys
14. Kansas City Chiefs
15. Los Angeles Rams
16. Seattle Seahawks
17. Houston Texans
18. Green Bay Packers
19. Tennessee Titans
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There is still plenty of time before fantasy football drafts, but it is never too early to start preparing. Things will change but for now this is my rankings for the upcoming fantasy football season. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!