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Now widely regarded as the best wide receiver in football, Thomas comes off a historic 2019 campaign in which he set an all-time NFL record with 149 receptions. Additionally, Thomas led the league with 1,725 receiving yards and 26 red-zone targets.
No position player offers a higher floor that Thomas, who exceeded double-digit targets in 12-of-16 games and whose quietest performance (Week 13) still resulted in six grabs and 10-plus PPR points. The main catalyst for Thomas's production is his elite hands, which resulted in a league-best 94.9% True Catch Rate- the highest of his career to date.
Still just 27, Thomas is just about to enter his prime and remains one of the most secure options in all of fantasy football with QB Drew Brees at the helm of the Saints' high-octane attack. While scooping up running backs early in fantasy drafts remains a viable strategy, targeting the best wideout in the game offers the safest return-on-investment of any first-rounder. Whether it's dynasty, redraft, standard, or PPR, Michael Thomas should be a top-10 selection in every fantasy football league.
Davante Adam’s 2019 campaign was derailed due to injury after Week 4, in which he posted 10 receptions for 180 yards. Once Adams returned from injury, from Week 9-16, he posted 127.6 fantasy points, which ranked 6th among WRs in PPR scoring. Despite missing 4 games, among WRs, Adams finished tied-12th in receptions (83), tied-2nd in Red Zone Targets (23), and 3rd in total Target Share with a 30.3% Target Share. Even in a season haunted by a turf toe injury, Adams maintained his elite-level of play and is primed for a massive rebound season in 2020.
Green Bay elected not to draft a complimentary WR in the 2020 NFL Draft, leaving Adams as Aaron Rodgers’ number 1 weapon. Adams thrives when handling the bulk of the workload in the passing game. The addition of free-agent WR Devin Funchess does not impact Adam’s fantasy production; having another suitable WR on the outside should allow Adams to dominate various areas of the field. Adam’s touchdown numbers dropped in 2019, after finishing with double-digit touchdowns from 2016-18, so getting into the end zone more in 2020 should be high on his priorities. Adams is one of the most reliable pass-catchers in the league, hauling in over 70 receptions in 4-straight seasons. I expect Adam’s to return to his 2018 form (WR2 in PPR), continuing to command a massive target share for the Packers, with a serious chance of finishing 2020 as a top-2 fantasy WR. Michael Thomas is the only wide receiver I would consider drafting before Adams in fantasy this season.
Few players can offer the consistency that Julio Jones brings to the table. In each of the past six seasons, Jones has finished as a top-7 fantasy wideout while averaging 104 receptions and 1,565 yards. Selecting Jones in the first or second round has been a winning formula for a long time and there are no indications that that trend will end any time soon.
About the only thing that has plagued Jones has been lack of touchdowns. Only once in his storied career has he surpassed double-digit scores, but that could change in 2020. TE Austin Hooper, who joined the Cleveland Browns via free agency, is vacating a whopping 18 red-zone targets, which were two more than Jones commanded all season. New tight end Hayden Hurst will certainly factor in but the 6-foot-3 Jones should see a significant increase in red-zone targets, which should help boost those scoring numbers.
The Falcons also play an appealing schedule for wideouts, with six games against the defensive-challenged NFC South and also includes tilts against Detroit and Minnesota squads that ranked in the top 7 of fantasy points allowed to wideouts. It gets even better during the fantasy playoffs as Jones gets matchups with the Saints and two games against Tampa Bay to close out the season.
DeAndre Hopkins has been one of the best wide receivers in fantasy since entering the league in 2013. In 2019, he once again dominated going for over 1300 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns. Entering 2020, Hopkins finds himself on a new team with the Arizona Cardinals and new quarterback in Kyler Murray.
Going from Houston to Arizona presents a big change for Hopkins. He is unlikely to see a 25% - 30% target share that he would routinely see in Houston. With the Texans, Hopkins was surrounded by far inferior talent than what his new situation is in Arizona. With fewer targets he will need to be effective in the red zone to achieve fantasy success. Larry Fitzgerald led the Cardinals in red-zone targets (14) which were one more than Hopkins saw last year in Houston.
Considering the important aspect of Hopkins’ game is not to win with separation, but with contested catches; that should translate to his new team in 2020. Hopkins was 15th in the NFL in contest targets (26) and was 12th in contested receptions (12). His average target separation (1.39) ranked 50th. However, Murray showed in his rookie season that he was not afraid to throw the ball into tight spaces. In 2019, Murray’s receivers ranked third to last in target separation (1.31), so he should not be hesitant to throw it to Hopkins even if he is “covered”. Hopkins should also help as an outside wide receiver and even stretch the field vertically at times. The Cardinals struggled to get solid production from their perimeter receivers.
In 2019, Hopkins’ yards per reception (11.2) ranked 61st, yards per target (7.8) ranked 48th, and yards per route run (2.45) ranked 13th. His total air yards ranked in the top-12. Those were all way above the current Cardinals receiving corps. Hopkins is the best receiver on the Cardinals, but we have seen elite receivers change teams and not live up to the hype. He will still likely be WR1 at the end of the season but could fall out of the elite WR1 tier in brand new surroundings.
Hyping up Tom Brady's next Randy Moss has been an annual tradition in fantasy football. It's also been a losing strategy as the Patriots failed to ever develop that elite outside threat. But now removed from New England and in Tampa, Brady finally has that type of talent in Mike Evans, a physical freak (6-5, 230) who has surpassed 1,000 receiving yards in each of his six NFL seasons and averaged eight touchdowns annually.
With Brady under center in place of Jameis Winston, Evans should see improved placement and accuracy. While Winston threw an NFL-worst 49 interceptable passes, Brady mustered only 17. Bruce Arians is an aggressive coach and while the Bucs won't have to be playing from behind quite as much, Arians will allow Brady the freedom to challenge defenders in tight windows and jump balls.
This should be extremely beneficial for Evans, who ranked 10th in the league last season with 28 contested targets but came down with only nine of those throws. With Chris Godwin emerging as one of the most dangerous inside receivers in the game, Evans should see more one-on-one coverage opportunities, and combined with Brady's touch and timing is going to have some monster games en route to another WR1 season.
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