With all the hype surrounding the recent NFL Draft and it’s incoming class of rookies, it’s easy to look past the rookies of last year and forget the real and fantasy football potential they could have with a year of the NFL under their belt.
Obviously we’re not going to forget about guys like Kyler Murray, Deebo Samuel, A.J. Brown, and Josh Jacobs (not to mention guys like D.K. Metcalf and Terry McLaurin). They had big time rookie years and in the fantasy community, solidified themselves as draftable names. But there are still plenty of players entering their sophomore season who could be in line to make a big impact in 2020 and, given the love people have for what’s new, could be coming cheap in fantasy drafts or trades for those of you in dynasty leagues.
As I look at last year’s draft class, there are five names in particular I think could take the leap their sophomore season and become steady fantasy producers this year.
WR N’Keal Harry, New England Patriots
The headline coming out of the Patriots 2020 draft naturally is that they didn’t draft a quarterback, likely meaning it’ll be Jarrett Stidham under center to start the post-Tom Brady era. But let’s not overlook the fact that they also didn’t draft a wide receiver. This should be a vote of confidence to Harry, especially given this was such a wide receiver rich draft. Harry flashed at times in his rookie year and with a full year under his belt—and maybe a little more flexibility and trickery in the offense without Brady (something Harry could have a lot of success doing)—I expect him to take a step forward and become a reliable fantasy contributor.
WR Preston Williams, Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins’ tank for Tua season-long moniker can to fruition during the draft as they snagged their future quarterback fifth overall. There are certainly question marks surrounding Tua Tagovailoa’s health, but if he takes the field, he’s an instant upgrade at quarterback for the Dolphins. Devante Parker stole many eyes at the end of last year but don’t forget about Williams who only played seven games last year before tearing his ACL, but managed to rack up 428 yards on 32 catches and three touchdowns in those games. He comes into 2020 likely a lock for Miami’s number two receiver.
RB Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
You may not have forgotten about Sanders entirely, but maybe you’ve forgotten just how good he was at times last year. Sanders finished 2019 with 818 yards and three touchdowns on 179 carries and 509 yards and three touchdowns on 50 catches. Those are great numbers for a rookie year and things only got better for Sanders as the Eagles didn’t bring back Jordan Howard who racked up 119 carries last year. More carries for Sanders in the backfield and possibly even more production in the passing game could set him up to take a huge fantasy leap his sophomore season.
WR Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs
As long as Patrick Mahomes remains under center in KC, I’m buying as much Chiefs offense stock as I can. With Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins and new running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire garnering much attention, don’t ignore the fact that Hardman had six touchdowns and 538 yards last year as the Chiefs’ fifth most targeted player (only 41 targets). I fully expect Hardman to surpass Demarcus Robinson as the Chiefs’ de facto number three receiver and see upwards of 60 targets in 2020. At his 13 yards per target last year, there’s a lot of breakout potential waiting in Hardman.
QB Drew Lock, Denver Broncos
Find someone who believes in you as much and as quickly as Broncos fans believe in Drew Lock. Denver has done everything this offseason to put Lock in the best possible position to succeed, signing Melvin Gordon, drafting Jerry Jeudy, KJ Hamler and Albert Okwuegbunam, and bolstering the offensive line selecting Lloyd Cushenberry III. Along with Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant, and Phillip Lindsay, Lock has all the weapons he could need to succeed and if he does, he could bring legit fantasy value. He may not get drafted in your fantasy league, but he’s certainly a name worth monitoring.
Which sophomore will have the bigger fantasy season?
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