• Travis Caples

My Favorite Players to Watch in 2020

Fantasy Football is all about winning. We want to win each week, win a championship, win some money, beat our friends and win each argument involving our favorite players. But sometimes in our thirst for winning we forget how much fun this made up game can be. I remember over 11 years ago when I first started playing fantasy how enthralled I was by the excitement of it all. There is something incredibly special about how this game can make you feel when “your'' player scores or tallies those points up for “your” squad. Now we enter the offseason and maybe your “fantasy fatigue” has set in and you just want to be done with it as it this year didn’t end the way you hoped. I wanted to provide a fun list, a happy list, and a way to tap back into the excitement this game should be played for. So now after some deliberation this is My Favorite Players to Watch in 2020. As always you can find us on Twitter or Instagram and for even more in depth analysis head on over to our YouTube channel where we post weekly videos to prepare and entertain you.

James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

I had to put James Robinson at the top of this list, not because there is any kind of ranking to it or because he even deserves to be at the top. I put him here because I have to try to make amends to him, to myself, and to Whispernation. I should have taken Robinson way more seriously in the days leading up to the start of the regular season. After the Jaguars cut ties with their former first round pick Leonard Fournette, it seemed as if Jacksonville was moving on to a combo of Devine Ozigbo, Ryquell Armstead, and some Chris Thompson sprinkled in. This was a situation I wanted to avoid and I said as much very loudly on our podcast and to those who asked. Enter the undrafted rookie James Robinson, who Jacksonville had been keeping under wraps. Former HC Doug Marrone said as much when he admitted that Robinson was the reason why they were so confident in letting go of Fournette. Robinson was a beast for not only the Jags but for fantasy football GMs who drafted him or more than likely scooped him up off of waivers. Robinson averaged 14.4 fantasy points per game on his way to the RB7 finish in all formats. This was after missing two games. People may not realize just how impressive Robinson was but he had only one game below 10.5 fantasy points all year and was ultra consistent. He sure was fun to watch and believe me I wish I had taken him more seriously and put him on even one of my seven fantasy football rosters. Ouch.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

If you know me, you know I am a die-hard Packers fan. So as a perennial glutton for punishment I had to put Dalvin Cook on this list, even though the highlight reel below is against my beloved Green Bay Packers. Dalvin absolutely COOKED the Packers and many other teams this year and was one of my favorite players to watch, hands down. Cook was dominant this year and finished as the RB2 in PPR formats and the RB3 in standard. Cook amassed 8 games with 20 or more fantasy points, 4 games with 2 or more touchdowns, and had 100 or more all purpose yards in 9 contests. The knock on Dalvin, early in his career, was that he could not stay healthy. In his first two seasons he only played in 15 total games but now in back to back years he has 14 or more games played in each season. Cook will look to be atop of the RB pack in 2021 as well and should be firmly in your top three players drafted heading into next season.

Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

Despite it becoming increasingly harder and harder to top his own resume, Alvin Kamara continues to do just that. This season Kamara finished as the RB1 or RB2 depending on your format for his best season-long finish of his career. AK continues to be one of the most efficient players in this game and it begins and ends with his receiving prowess. Kamara again flashed his pass-catching brilliance this year racking up 7 or more catches in 7 games this year. He also failed to score in only 4 games this season and only dipped below double digit points in one game. But the cherry on top of Kamara’s season was his week 16, fantasy championship, and Christmas day performance. Kamara gift wrapped a 155 rushing yard and 6 touchdown 54.7 fantasy point performance for his fantasy football GMs when they needed it the most. Also just check out those sick ass cleats!

Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers

This past offseason we got a preview of Justin Herbert on HBO’s Hard Knocks but I doubt anyone watching that show really thought the actual season that Herbert had was possible. Herbert started his NFL career as the 3rd QB drafted last spring, going to the Los Angeles Chargers as the #6 overall pick. Despite the first round pedigree, Herbert spent time as Tyrod Taylor’s backup until a freak accident with an injection by team doctor’s collapsed Taylor’s lung during the pre-game warmups for week two’s matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. After that debut, Herbert made his case for fantasy football stardom posting 24 or more fantasy points in 8 of his next 9 games. Herbert had some down games but ended up the QB9 in fantasy and broke the NFL record for touchdowns by a rookie QB with 31. Herbert had a special real season and helped his fantasy football GM’s have a special season as well. Justin piled up 3 or more total touchdowns in 7 of his games and had 8 games last year with 300 or more passing yards. There is no doubt in my mind, Herbert has a bright future in this league.

Josh Allen, QB, Buffalo Bills

I won’t bury the lead here: no player in both real and fake football took more of a step forward this season than Josh Allen. The Bills went out last offseason and added Stefon Diggs as a main weapon for Allen and boy did it help. The Bills ballooned to an elite offense in 2020 averaging 31.3 points per game which was 2nd most and 288.8 passing yards per game which was 3rd best. Allen was consistent and dominant in his overall QB1 fantasy season behind four games with four touchdowns. Allen had 5 games with 30 or more points and 8 games with 300 or more passing yards. Chances are if you had Allen on your squad, you made the playoffs and maybe even won it all. Chances are even higher you had a blast watching him play in 2020. I know I did.

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts

The excitement for Jonathan Taylor coming into the 2020 fantasy football season was at an all time high after the Colts took the Wisconsin product in the 2nd round of the NFL draft. Given his talent and pedigree, many experts assumed he would have no problem supplanting veteran Marlon Mack by season end. In week one, on nearly the first carry of the game, Marlon Mack snapped his achilles tendon and further opened the door for Jonathan Taylor to make a name for himself. The problem with Taylor in the first half of 2020 was his sporadic usage. His percentage of team snaps 55% or lower in 8 of his first 10 games. This may be hard to remember for Jonathan Taylor turthers and even harder to believe if you just looked at his RB4 finish in standard scoring leagues and RB6 finish in PPR leagues. As one of those truthers I can remember Taylor’s worst performances in week 10 at Tennessee where he had 9 touches for 37 scoreless yards following it up with a 26 touch effort against the Packers the next week, before missing week 12 with COVID. The JT rollercoaster seemed like a lost effort for fantasy football purposes but then the Colts committed to his usage and he went NUCLEAR. In his final five weeks, Taylor averaged 21 touches per game, 144.6 all purpose yards per game, and scored 8 times. No other running back scored more points in fantasy football than Jonathan Taylor in weeks 13 thru 17. His per game average was 26 fantasy points during that span and he finally rewarded patient FF GMs. That stretch of 5 amazing games was enough to earn him a spot on this list as well as a likely first round ADP in drafts next fall.

David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears

I remember, vividly, on one of our Matchup podcast episodes prior to the Bears week 11 bye, asking the guys if David Montgomery was good at NFL football. I was genuinely curious. Prior to the bye, Montgomery had only two touchdowns, had only topped 3.5 yards per carry 4 times in 10 games and had zero 100+ rushing yard games. Maybe the weather turned, maybe the bye week rested their linemen, maybe Matt Nagy started coaching like his job was on the line, who knows? All I know is a flip switched in David Montgomery. Albeit he was aided by 6 straight favorable defensive matchups, but Monty went on a tear. He scored 20 or more fantasy points in 6 straight games, averaged 137 all purpose yards, and reached paydirt 8 times. David Montgomery, if you stuck with him, likely lead you to the playoffs and helped you make some noise and his RB6 finish in standard and RB4 in PPR deserves mention on this prestigious(sarcasm) list.

Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers

I won’t lie to you, I didn’t expect San Fran’s first round pick Brandon Aiyuk to make much of an impact in 2020 but he quickly became one of my favorite NFL players to watch on Sundays. San Francisco was forced to involve Aiyuk more than perhaps they would have liked given injuries to George Kittle and Deebo Samuel and not to mention the RBs last season. Aiyuk did not disappoint the 49ers or fantasy football GMs for that matter. From weeks 7 thru 15 in the games that he played(he missed some time on the COVID list), Aiyuk averaged 11.5 targets, 7.5 catches, 94.6 receiving yards, and scored 4 touchdowns. Additionally Aiyuk averaged 17 points per game in half PPR formats. Aiyuk looked like the perfect piece for Kyle Shanahan’s offense and has a bright future in that system. I mean this play here was for sure top 3 most exciting of the 2020 season:

Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Calvin Ridley has been somewhat of a fantasy darling since entering the league but this year he hit some amazing levels. He did it right out of the gate setting a torrid pace with 35 targets, 350 receiving yards, and four touchdowns in his first three games. In all but 3 games this year, Ridley had double digit fantasy points and the 3rd year pro finished as the PPR WR5 and standard WR4. He set a career high mark in targets with 143 which was 7th in the NFL in 2020. He also had the 6th most TDs this past season with 9. Ridley has gotten better each year he has played and I was excited to watch him last year and will be for years to come.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

The Packers created one of the most talked about football storylines for 2020 when they drafted Jordan Love in the first round of last Spring’s NFL Draft. And if you can remember, the fantasy football industry was even down on Aaron Rodgers after his QB9 finish in 2019 and given the way the team seemed to be catering to a run-heavy offense. Like a true legend, Aaron Rodgers used this talk and speculation as motivation on his way to a ballistic MVP season in 2020. It was the 7th time in his career he finished as the QB2 or higher in fantasy football as 2020’s QB2. He passed for 4,299 yards, 48 touchdowns, and only 5 interceptions. If you had Rodgers on your roster this season he racked you up 3 touchdowns or more in 12 of his 16 games last year and he only had one game below 20 fantasy points all season. As a die hard cheesehead I don’t need a lot of convincing to watch Aaron Rodgers every week but he was easily one of the most exciting players to watch for any fan of football this year.

Rodrigo Blankenship, K, Indianapolis Colts

I have to pay homage to the rookie kicker with the best name in all of football here: Rodrigo Blankenship. I mean sure he was the Kicker #5 in fantasy with 4 games over 14 fantasy points.. Yes, he forced Adam Vinateri into retirement. But this dude is a total stud. I mean just look at the specs! Get this: he told the media that the day he found out he was the starting kicker for the Colts, he was building a LEGO set with his girlfriend. How can you not root for this guy? I did. All year long.

Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

Was there any receiver better than Davante Adams this year? The answer is no. The WR1 in PPR and standard even missed two and a half games in 2020 with a hamstring injury. Adams was dominant with 8 straight games with at least one receiving TD which was an NFL record. He led the NFL in receiving touchdowns with 18 and now has 10 or more TDs in 4 of his last 5 seasons. Adams was downright nasty this year and so much fun to watch.

A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans

After a WR10 finish last season A.J. Brown decided to give us an exciting encore. Brown posted the WR9 season this year in standard and that was after missing two games with bone bruises in his knee. Brown played through injury all season and despite the pain only had 3 games below double digit fantasy points from weeks 5 thru 17. He also scored in all but 5 games all year. Brown has been a STUD since day one and one of my absolute favorite players to watch in the NFL.

Robert Tonyan, TE, Green Bay Packers

One of the biggest surprises of 2020 was 3rd year tight end Robert Tonyan’s breakout with the Packers. Tonyan has been called things like “transcendent” and “little Kittle” by his teammates and why not, the dude completely burst on the scene in 2020 during a week 3 Monday night game against Atlanta in which he caught all 6 of his targets for 98 yards and three touchdowns! He did not stop there. After a few quiet weeks Tonyan scored a touchdown in 5 of the final 6 games and finished as the TE3 in fantasy. His 11 touchdowns was tied with Travis Kelce for the most among tight ends this season. His name is Robert Tonyan and he is here to stay.

D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks would likely have more players on this list for me if they could have kept up their insane production through the entire season. D.K. Metcalf’s season, much like his teammates, was a tale of two halves. In his first eight games of 2020, Metcalf was the WR2 in fantasy with 788 receiving yards and scored 8 of his 10 total touchdowns. He followed that up with a WR23 performance in the final 8 games with only 515 receiving and just two touchdowns. Regardless he was the WR5 in standard by the end of the season and deserves to be mentioned here. He finished in the top 20 in targets, top 5 in red zone targets, and had 5 games with 100 or more receiving yards. PSA: this was only his second season. Metcalf is here to stay and here to dominate.

  • Like most of the Seahawks Metcalf was a tale of two halves.

  • Finished as the WR5 in standard and WR7 in PPR but for weeks 1-9 (8 games) he was the WR2 behind 788 yards receiving and 8 of his 10 touchdowns.

  • Things drastically slowed down for Hawks and Metcalf who finished as the WR23 in final 8 games 515 receiving yards and only 2 TDs

Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings got their guy in 2020 rookie Justin Jefferson. After a heavily scrutinized offseason where the media had much to say about Jefferson’s inabilities, he flipped the script on the storylines and dominated the football field. After only 5 catches and 70 scoreless yards in his first two weeks, Jefferson exploded for 175 yards and a touchdown in week three and never really looked back. The Vikings receiver amassed 1,400 yards on 88 receptions and scored 7 total touchdowns on his way to a WR6 finish in fantasy. According to PFF only Davante Adams and A.J. Brown was graded higher at WR this season. Jefferson will be a highly sought out player in drafts next fall but was easily one of my favorite players to watch in 2020.