Since we have no idea if we’ll actually have an NFL season this year, I figured now was the perfect time get wild and crazy and start wildly predicting how a 2020 NFL season might play out. I’ve got 10 bold fantasy specific predictions in no particular order for your enjoyment. Some of these I truly believe (looking at you Cam Newton), while others I just enjoy watching the world burn (sorry Panthers fans).
If you’ve got a bold fantasy football or general NFL prediction, make sure to drop it in the comments so we can check back on this article come 2021 and see how great we are at actually predicting things.
Christian McCaffrey won’t be a top 5 running back
McCaffrey is coming off a historic season and is 100% a darn lock for some form of regression in 2020. With more passing weapons now in Carolina—between D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Robby Anderson—there’s a decent chance McCaffrey doesn’t top 100 receptions which would certainly diminish he’s fantasy output. Also his 15 touchdowns on the ground last year was double his pervious career high meaning that number could drop back to single digits.
Joe Burrow outperforms Baker Mayfield, Carson Wentz, and Drew Brees
I’ve made my Bengals bandwagoning very clear so me hyping up a potential baller rookie year from Mr. Burrow shouldn’t be at all surprising. Burrow is currently going as the QB19 according to NFFC ADP, well below Mayfield (QB15), Brees (QB11), and Wentz (QB9). All three quarterbacks have question marks: No one’s sure what Mayfield is as a quarterback, Brees is getting older by the second, while either Wentz or his wide receivers can’t stay healthy it seems.
Todd Gurley leads the NFL in total touchdowns
Gurley’s fall from being the best running back in the NFL was sudden but I think people have given up on the guy a little too quickly. He scored 14 total touchdowns last year playing limited games and snaps for the Rams. In Atlanta, he’s in a new location, which often helps spark something in players, and is the unquestioned leader of that backfield. 17 total touchdowns in 2020 wouldn’t surprise me.
Cam Newton will finish a top 25 quarterback
I believe in Cam Newton. I believe in Cam Newton so much so that I think he’ll be a fantasy viable quarterback this year despite the fact that he likely won’t start the season on an NFL roster. There’s going to be a quarterback injury or Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles are both gonna suck and some team (*cough* the Bears *cough*) is going to come crawling to Cam hoping he can save their season. And he will. And he’ll put up fantasy numbers. I plan on drafting Cam in the final round of every one of my fantasy drafts this year.
Adam Thielen will lead the NFL in receptions
The Vikings traded away Stefon Diggs leaving the passing game squarely in the hands of Adam Thielen. Yes the Vikings have two solid tight ends in Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. as well as drafting Justin Jefferson, but Thielen is going to be the WR1 and WR2 in Minnesota and the offense reliance on him could be even greater in 2020 if Dalvin Cook’s holdout lasts into the year. Thielen put up 113 receptions in 2018 mind you which would have placed him third this year behind Michael Thomas and McCaffrey.
Travis Kelce won’t finish a top 2 tight end option
Do I have more to back up this prediction than just “it’s gotta happen at some point”? No. No I don’t. Kelce has been so dominate at the tight end position for so long that you have to think at some point his production is going to drop off and another name will rise to the top of the tight end heap. Could that be George Kittle? Maybe, especially with Deebo Samuel set to miss time. Or maybe Mark Andrews and Lamar Jackson set all kinds of scoring records this year. Or maybe Rob Gronkowski is a human cyborg and somehow comes back stronger and more dominate than ever before. It could happen.
Lamar Jackson scores MORE fantasy points in 2020 than 2019
I have Jackson’s grand total at an incredible 421.7 points, averaging 28.11 points per game. Now, right off the bat, he only played 15 games this season so if he plays all 16 and puts up the numbers he did last year, that’s more points. But more than just relying on Lamar playing a full 16 game season this year, I think Lamar is due for positive regression in the rushing touchdown department. Jackson ran the ball 176 times for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns. Josh Allen ran the ball last year 109 times for 510 yards and nine touchdowns. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lamar scores double digit touchdowns on the ground this year.
2020 DeAndre Hopkins will be 2019 Odell Beckham Jr.
Yes we’re all excited about Hopkins in Arizona playing in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense and with Kyler Murray, but we’ve seen this star wide receiver changing teams in the offseason story before and it didn’t go well. I remember being extremely excited about Odell heading to Cleveland to play with breakout star Baker Mayfield, only to have my hopes and dreams dashed as it took a while before Mayfield and Odell were on the same page and for Freddie Kitchens to realize that maybe throwing the ball in Odell’s general direction is a good idea. There’s a possibility that Hopkins has a seamless transition to Arizona and continues to be a top three fantasy receiver, but there’s also a chance that he falls and winds up a top 15 option after struggling making the transition.
CeeDee Lamb finishes as the Cowboys leading receiver
I nailed my last bold prediction involving CeeDee Lamb so I figured I’d double down on this new found talent of mine. Lamb was arguably the best wide receiver in this draft class and has been working his ass off getting ready for this NFL season. It may take him a little bit of time to get settled into the offense, but if things click for him early, he has the talent to instantly take off and become the number one guy in Dallas. Amari Cooper, while productive, has dealt with drops throughout his career and it’s unsure where exactly in the offense Mike McCarthy will have him play. (Cooper is a stud slot receiver but not as great on the outside. Hopefully McCarthy will see that and bump him inside.)
Kareem Hunt outscores Nick Chubb in PPR leagues
There has been a ton of buzz coming out of Cleveland regarding Hunt and his potential in the Browns’ passing game. It seems he has that gig locked down and we saw what he was able to do in that role last year from Week 10 onward. In that time, Hunt was the RB17 in PPR leagues while Chubb dropped from the RB6 to the RB15. With a full season of Hunt stealing away passing downs and being productive through the air, don’t be surprised if Hunt emerges as the better fantasy back in Cleveland.