2020 Fantasy Football Top-100 Rankings: Breaking down No. 21 through 30

In our breakdown of the top-100 players in Fantasy football for 2020, No. 21-30 is an interesting stretch. The top of the player pool is dominated by running backs, reflecting the direction the game has moved in the last few years, but after the first 20 or so, your options start to open up. 

That’s because, while those elite running backs stand out from the crowd, the second and third tier aren’t quite as obvious options to dominate. Oh sure, they may, but every back going off the board in this stretch has question marks — Josh Jacobs doesn’t catch passes, Aaron Jones has real competition for touches, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire doesn’t even have a starting job locked up yet.

So, this might be the spot of your draft where you want to move on wide receivers. No matter what path you ultimately end up following when it comes time to draft, you’ll want to get to know the player pool for 2020, and the best way to do that is to dive into Heath Cummings’ breakdown of our top-100 players. He’ll make the case for and against each player, so that when you get ready to pick, you can make up your own mind. 

Read about No. 21 through 30 below, and then read about the rest of the top-50 here: 

The Case For: Cooper Kupp‘s 16-game pace over the past two seasons is for 89 catches, 1,151 yards and 11 touchdowns. And that was before the team jettisoned Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks this offseason. Kupp is Jared Goff‘s favorite target in the red zone, and even when he struggled in the second half of 2019, he kept finding the end zone. Kupp should repeat as a top-10 receiver once again in 2020.

The Case Against: That struggle in the second half coincided with a shift in the Rams offensive philosophy. Tyler Higbee became a focal point and Kupp struggled to even get on the field at times. He was below a 67% snap share in three of the final four games for the Rams. Sean McVay is always tinkering with the offense, so there’s always a threat he tinkers Kupp out of the game plan.

The Case For: Josh Jacobs lived up to his first-round pedigree as a rookie, averaging a robust 4.8 yards per carry and leading the league with 69 forced missed tackles. Jacobs was on pace for 298 carries before his shoulder injury and is one of a handful of backs who should be expected to top 300 touches in 2019.

The Case Against: There were two questions about Jacobs entering the NFL: Would he be involved in the passing game? Could he handle a feature workload? Both questions remain. Jacobs didn’t hold up for 16 games in 2019 and he only had one game all season with more than three targets. The Raiders brought Jalen Richard back and drafted Lynn Bowden. Both of whom could limit Jacobs in the passing game. Jacobs has the talent and should get plenty of carries but worries about durability and a lack of targets prevent him from having top-five upside.

The Case For: The third-year breakout for Kenny Golladay resulted in one of the most efficient receiver seasons we’ve seen: He averaged 18.3 yards per reception and scored 11 times on just 119 targets. Did I mention he did this with Matthew Stafford missing nearly half the year? Golladay’s target rate slowed after Stafford went down, so it’s possible we still haven’t seen the best from the 26-year-old receiver.

The Case Against: The problem with elite efficiency is it almost always leads to regression. Golladay had eight touchdowns on 167 career targets before last year and it’s not fair to expect he’ll score more than eight in 2020. You should also expect he’ll regress back closer to 16 yards per reception. Golladay’s low catch rate means he’ll need a major increase in targets to have a shot at finishing in the top 10 in PPR.

The Case For: It feels like Calvin Ridley‘s three missed games caused everyone to miss the fact that he already broke out. He averaged 15 Fantasy points per game last year; that’s almost as good as Amari Cooper. But he was even better after the team traded away Mohamed Sanu. In six games he averaged 18.5 PPR points per game, which would have been good enough for a top-five finish in 2019.

The Case Against: There’s just no way Ridley is going to keep finding the end zone once every 11 targets, so he’s going to need a serious increase in volume to finish as a top-12 wide receiver. It’s possible Hayden Hurst takes the Austin Hooper, Russell Gage grows into the Mohamed Sanu role, and Todd Gurley becomes a 50-catch back again. If that happens, Ridley may have a hard time topping 115 targets.

The Case For: The easiest case for Clyde Edwards-Helaire is to look at what happened the last time Andy Reid employed a rookie running back in a feature role. Just three years ago Kareem Hunt accumulated 1,782 total yards, caught 53 passes, and scored 11 touchdowns. And Hunt wasn’t even a first-round pick like Edwards-Helaire.

The Case Against: The impact of coronavirus on offseason training and workouts could have a major impact on rookie running backs. Every indication the Chiefs have given is that Damien Williams will be the Week 1 starter at running back and the expectation should be that Edwards-Helaire will have to earn his way onto the field in passing situations. If Williams is able to stay healthy there’s a realistic possibility neither back sees more than 12-14 touches a game in the first half of the season. That makes Edwards-Helaire a better fit as your No. 2 running back than a No. 1.

The Case For: Before his injury-riddled 2019 Adam Thielen was coming off back-to-back seasons of at least 90 catches and 1,276 receiving yards. Now, that was before Mike Zimmer demanded a shift to a more run-heavy offensive scheme, but targets shouldn’t be a problem for Thielen with Stefon Diggs shipped to Buffalo. Thielen has 100-catch upside as the true No. 1 receiver in Minnesota this season.

The Case Against: If Zimmer can get his defense to play up to his standards, there may not be anyone who gets 100 targets, much less 100 catches. In Thielen’s best season he had a 25% target share, and this is a team that only threw 466 passes last year. It’s also difficult to trust a receiver on the wrong side of 30 who struggled with injuries like Thielen did last year.

The Case For: Remember when JuJu Smith-Schuster was a consensus top 20 draft pick? It seems kind of weird that one injury-riddled year playing with Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges changed that. Ben Roethlisberger is already back throwing footballs (to Smith-Schuster) and you can feel free to get hyped to draft the 23-year-old receiver once again. This is still the same guy who caught 111 passes for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns as a 22-year-old.

The Case Against: The one question people had about Smith-Schuster coming into the year was whether he could consistently beat double coverage or handle a team’s best corner. We didn’t get that question answered in 2019. Now Diontae Johnson has emerged and the team added Eric Ebron and Chase Claypool in the offseason. The Steelers have plenty of weapons and one of the best defenses in the league so you shouldn’t expect anywhere close to the 166 targets Smith-Schuster saw in his breakout 2018.

The Case For: Outside of Tyreek Hill, no receiver in NFL history can match Lockett’s 9.94 yards per target for his career. He has an excellent case as the most efficient receiver in NFL history — at least since the stat began being tracked in 1992. And before a Week 10 injury against the 49ers he was on pace to finally get recognized for his greatness in Fantasy. In his first nine games he caught 59 of 72 targets for 767 yards and six touchdowns. Only Michael Thomas and Mike Evans had scored more Fantasy points. Expect a healthy Lockett to be a top-12 receiver in 2020.

The Case Against: DK Metcalf emerged after Lockett’s injury and there’s hardly room for two No. 1 receivers in one of the most run-heavy offenses in football. Metcalf does profile as a more traditional No. 1 receiver, which could keep Lockett capped at around 115 targets. That’s enough for him to be a high-end No. 2 receiver, but probably not a No. 1 in PPR.

The Case For: Evans has posted six straight 1,000-yard seasons and was on pace for one of his best seasons before an injury cost him the last three games of 2019. In the past two seasons he’s averaged 92 yards per game and 10.5 yards per target. Three times in the past four seasons Evans has finished as a top-eight wide receiver. His history makes the case for him.

The Case Against: The Buccaneers figure to be a more balanced offense with Tom Brady under center, which will hurt Evans’ target total. Also, Brady in recent years has not been the type of quarterback who likes to stand in the pocket and wait for the deep routes to develop. Brady has typically favored the types of routes Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski run. There’s a real risk Evans’ targets fall to the lowest they’ve been since his rookie season.

The Case For: The Packers ran a more balanced offense in their first year under Matt LaFleur and their actions this offseason seem to indicate that will continue. While Jones won’t likely match last year’s touchdown total (19), he was averaging a score every 19 touches before last year. Even if increased competition limits Jones to 200 carries, you should still expect he approaches 1,000 yards and double-digit scores.

The Case Against: The acquisition of AJ Dillon could really exacerbate Jones’ coming touchdown regression. While Dillon isn’t like to take any targets away from Jones, he’s exactly the type of back who could quickly work his way into a short-yardage role. If Jones is sharing targets with Jamaal Williams and goal line work with Dillon it will be very difficult for him to be more than a No. 2 running back, much less the No. 2 back like he was in 2019.

So what Fantasy football sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which WR1 candidate can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that was all over Derrick Henry’s huge season, and find out.

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