5 - 2019 Fantasy Superstars Who Will Regress in 2020
I have been playing fantasy football for over a decade now and I often think I have seen it all. Then something comes out of nowhere, completely defies conventional wisdom, and rewrites its own narrative. Every year I have the same revelation that no matter how much time, effort, energy, passion, (insert your buzz word here), that I put into this, the reason I love the NFL and fantasy football so much is how unpredictable it is.
We all have our stories. I was ridiculed for trading Torrey Smith for Cam Newton once (it won me a championship). I pulled off the heist of the century last season shipping off Aaron Jones (more on him later) and Allen Robinson for Deandre Hopkins and Melvin Gordon III. Guess who beat me in the playoffs? I’ve seen Willie Snead, Knowshon Moreno, Shane Vereen, Brian Hartline, and Brian Quick help me pull out W’s while guys like Odell Beckham Jr., LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson, and Peyton Manning have all wrecked at least one fantasy campaign for me. Those ups and downs are what make fantasy football so rewarding at times, and equally devastating in others.
As early as it is in the off-season it’s hard to pinpoint who the risers and fallers of the upcoming season are going to be. Since there isn’t a formal adp established for 2020 I decided to take a look at the final positional rankings for 2019 and determine who would not be able to repeat the success achieved the previous season. While I do believe some of these guys may still be good picks on draft day, I don’t expect the following 5 players to surpass their 2019 production.
Go big or go home, right? L-Freaky tops my list after a 2019 season that saw him actually outpace Patrick Mahomes record breaking 2018 season in ppg. The NFL MVP will likely put up stellar numbers in 2020, but I am not so sure he can lead the league in passing TD’s again while finishing as the number 28 qb in yards per game. I also think regression will come on the ground. 1,206 yards is a phenomenal season for a running back, let alone a quarterback. He can lose 300 of those yards and still be the best rushing qb in the NFL. Jackson is likely a top 3 QB at the end of 2020, but don’t expect the record setting pace you saw in 2019.
Aaron Jones will likely be a very popular regression candidate going into 2020. Jones ranked a respectable 14th in rushing ypg and 12th in total yards; he was a monster in the red zone with an NFL leading 19 touchdowns. With a declining Aaron Rodgers, and a healthy Davante Adams, expect Jones TD numbers to decrease drastically. The loss of TD’s will hurt Jones’ value, but he still should handle the rock and be productive enough to provide a rb2 floor.
Cooper Kupp finished as WR 4 in PPR formats in 2019. He was able to stay healthy and active for the entire season and compile 94 catches, 1,161 Yards and 10 TDs. And while I think Kupp’s best seasons in the NFL are ahead of him, he completely faded down the stretch averaging just over 5 catches a game for 50 yards. He did score a TD in each of those games, but the Rams have a lot of weapons, and I could see Kupp’s TDs regressing to a more sustainable number.
Henry was the best running back on planet Earth over the last 6 weeks of the regular season into the playoffs in 2019. In those 6 games Henry racked up 896 of his league leading 1540 yards (all this despite only having one game over 100 yards rushing in the teams first 9 games!) Henry also tied for the league in rushing TDs with 16. So why not Henry? Henry throws up the most red flags of any player for me. First of all he hit well over 375 total touches, which history shows is a recipe for disaster. He’s also about to get paid, which again, recent history will show you is a recipe for disaster. There’s also the concern that he has already reached his ceiling on the rushing side of the ball and will likely see both his yards and TD’s decrease in 2020. That would be okay except he doesn’t catch passes. For his career Henry has played more games than he has career receptions. In today’s game of football I’ll take a hard pass.
- DeVante Parker - Miami Dolphins - Wide Receiver
I have Parker as WR 35 in my way too early rankings. There will not be a single draft that I get him as the 35th receiver off the board. Parker entered 2019 never having exceeded 60 catches, 750 yards or 4 TDs in any season. Last year he had 72/1202/9. While Parker was sitting at WR 36 last season Preston Williams was starting to come into his own. Once Williams went down it was all Parker. What happens when Williams comes back? Also who is going to be throwing him the ball? Fitzmagic and him had his moments, but it’s almost a foregone conclusion the Dolphins select a QB in the upcoming draft, and unless they draft and stash Tua, I don’t see Fitzpatrick retaining his starting gig throughout the season. Even if they do draft Tua (which I believe they will) I expect Tua to be out on the field as early as imaginable. Maybe Parker finally figured it all out in year 5, but I’m going to lean with year 5 being the fluke.
So there you have it folks. These 5 guys are likely to take a hit from last year. This doesn’t mean to completely fade them off your draft boards, just understand that they probably won’t produce at the same clip as they did in 2019. As always, #staytrue!