There were a ton of receivers that were on the verge of greatness in 2019, but through probably no fault of their own didn’t really get the opportunity to break out. Whether an injury derailed them or their offense struggled, these players had to wait till this year to show what they are really capable of.
There are many receivers in the NFL, which makes it easier for fantasy owners to wait until later rounds to try and find the sleepers, gems, and breakout candidates. But is it easy to spot them? Let’s make it a bit easier for you and go through some of the biggest breakout candidates for 2020.
The ADPs come from our 12-team ADP .
N’Keal Harry – New England Patriots
N’Keal Harry had a pretty non-existent season in 2019, but the 2nd year receiver now has the Patriot rookie curse behind him, as well as a new QB. It’s not surprising that HC Bill Belichek has a thing against starting rookies in his offense, as evidence from Harry’s 12 receptions for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Harry was a first-round draft pick and came with a lot of hype. He did make some highlight reel catches when he was actually on the field, but that didn’t earn him any playing time. This season, hopefully, will be a bit different. The Patriot offense is a lot different, especially with the loss of QB Tom Brady, so they may need to use every offensive weapon they can to win games.
Harry also has the QB change that may help him more than hurt him. We all know Brady was very partial to WR Julian Edelman, but now Cam Newton(figuring he wins the starting role) comes in with no real rapport. Could Harry be the one to be Newton’s go-to? It’s not crazy to think that Harry will be the new star for New England, and for your fantasy team. Harry is going in the 14th round, so even if he somehow busts, it won’t hurt your team all that much.
Preston Williams – Miami Dolphins
Preston Williams was also a rookie in 2019, but he actually was given the opportunity to show what he could do. Unfortunately for him, an ACL tear ended his season early. Williams was dynamic for the Dolphins, catching 32 passes for 428 yards and 3 touchdowns in only 7 games started. Had he continued that pace, he would have flirted very close to 1000 yards receiving.
Williams has a few things going for him this coming year. He is healthy and has another year of experience. He also has QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who loves to sling the ball without a care in the world. And thanks to their terrible defense, Fitzpatrick has to throw early and often. Now the Dolphins could pivot to rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa if they struggle, but Williams has enough presence that he should still produce solid numbers.
Williams is going in the 11th round, which seems pretty cheap for a potential fringe WR2/3.
Allen Lazard – Green Bay Packers
Lazard got lucky this offseason, or maybe the Packers just like him so much that they figured they didn’t need any of the dozens of rookie WRs in the NFL draft. Whatever the reason, the Packers did not add much help at all for Aaron Rodgers, and the one WR they did add (Devin Funchess) already opted out of the season. That leaves Devante Adams and Allen Lazard as the only real options for Rodgers.
Apparently, Rodgers told the coaching staff that he wanted Lazard on the field, otherwise we may never have seen his true talent. Obviously Rodgers sees something in the young WR, and the last two games of the season proved that. Lazard was targeted 17 times over those two games, catching 9 of them for 114 yards and 1 touchdown. Lazard now has a year with Rodgers under his belt, 0 receivers to compete for targets with, and comes in at a price of an 11th round pick. For the Packers number 2 WR, he is a steal that could easily reach 800 yards and 5 touchdowns this season.
Diontae Johnson – Pittsburgh Steelers
Diontae Johnson was another rookie in 2019, but he made the most of a bad situation by catching 59 passes for 680 yards and 5 touchdowns. And he did that with not one, not two, but three different QBs. Now he should have starting QB, Ben Roethlisberger, back behind center, who had one of his best seasons in 2018, before injuring his elbow the following season.
Johnson should be the #2 behind JuJu Smith-Schuster, and with most of the attention drawn to him, Johnson hopefully with make the most of his opportunities. Roethlisberger has had two 1000 yard receivers before, so it’s not impossible to see him do it again.
Other fantasy owners are taking notice because Johnson is being drafted in the 8th round. If the Steelers return to what they were a few years ago, Johnson will easily eclipse the 1000 yard mark.
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