Keeper Options for the 2020 Season
While we’re still a few weeks away from the 2019 NFL season, it’s never too early to consider the future. With many fantasy leagues implementing keepers, knowing the 2020 landscape can provide a distinct edge. Here are a few player who could benefit from player movement next offseason.
Devin Singletary, RB, Chicago Bears
Following a disappointing 2019 season, the Buffalo Bills selected Singletary with the 10th pick in the third round of the NFL Draft. He’s stuck in a three-way timeshare with Frank Gore and LeSean McCoy this season, but looks like the back of the future with his teammates both in their early 30s.
Only 22 years old, Singletary should also benefit from Gore and McCoy’s upcoming 2020 free agency. Just last year, McCoy managed a meager 514 rushing yards in 14 games, with Gore finishing only slightly better with 722 yards in that same span. Not the type of players a rebuilding team needs.
Duke Johnson, RB, Houston Texans
The moment fantasy enthusiasts have finally been waiting for. After 2019, Johnson has a chance to finally claim an elusive bell cow workload. Recently traded to the Houston Texans, Johnson’s main competition comes in the form of 2020 unrestricted free agent Lamar Miller.
Throughout his career, Johnson has done nothing but produce. In each of his four NFL seasons, he has at least 47 receptions, but only topped 100 carries one time. The Miami Hurricanes’ all-time leading rusher, Johnson stands 5-feet-9-inches tall weighing 207 pounds, more than capable of handling a full workload.
Miller, on the other hand, has fallen below 1,000 rushing yards in two consecutive seasons, despite playing 16 and 14 games, respectively. Just turning 26 years old, Johnson is primed to take over the Houston backfield next year.
Kalen Ballage, RB, Miami Dolphins
After entering the 2018 as the 31st pick in the fourth round, Ballage stepped up for 218 total yards in the Dolphins’ final three games. So far this offseason, Ballage has worked his way into a direct timeshare with incumbent starter Kenyan Drake.
On top of his potential role this season, Ballage could be looking at a much larger workload come 2020. Drake will become an unrestricted free agent after 2019, potentially opening the door for the Ballage show. Last season, he looked solid in limited opportunity, rushing for 5.3 yards per carry. Looking back to his college days, Balage caught 64 passes in his last two seasons on campus.
While these stats don’t mean Ballage will have a breakout year, they should allow him to receive a longer look in the Dolphins’ offense this season, proving he can handle a three-down role in the future.
Parris Campbell, WR, Indianapolis Colts
The 27th pick in the second round of the NFL Draft, Campbell finds himself buried on a crowded depth chart in Indianapolis. With a hamstring injury causing him to fall even further down the pecking order, Campbell may not break out until late in the year. However, he remains a solid pick in keeper leagues, due to roster uncertainty in 2020.
Currently, Devin Funchess, Chester Rogers, Eric Ebron, and Jack Doyle find themselves with expiring contracts in 2020. This leaves the Colts with a gaping hole in the passing game outside of T.Y. Hilton. Running a 4.31 40-yard dash, Campbell recorded 1,063 receiving yards in his final season at Ohio State.
With draft capital working in his favor, Campbell should see ample opportunity as soon as 2020. Looking further down the road, Campbell could become the Colts’ WR1 of the future with Hilton already 30 years old.
N’Keal Harry, WR, New England Patriots
Similar to Campbell, the Patriots used premium first-round draft capital on Harry with their eyes set on the future. Coming out of Arizona State, Harry posted two straight 1,000-yard seasons and ran a 4.53 40-yard dash at 228 pounds.
Next season, all of Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas, Maurice Harris, and Phillip Dorsett become unrestricted free agents. Compounding the Patriots’ lacking wide receiver options in 2020, Julian Edelman is on the back end of his career at age 33.
While Harry might not produce immediately in 2019, he looks like a solid keeper candidate for the 2020 season. Spending a year to learn the Patriots’ offense could allow him to work as a starter immediately next season.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Green Bay Packers
Throughout the 2019 offseason, Green Bay has continually hyped Valdes-Scantling as the team’s top receiver behind Davante Adams. Despite the hype, he remains attainable in the mid-rounds of fantasy drafts, with Geronimo Allison and a slew of other receivers on the Packers. However, Valdes-Scantling provides an added bonus in keeper leagues, with the path to playing time clearing out significantly post-2019.
Green Bay is set to lose a number of pass catchers after 2019, including Allison, Trevor Davis and Jake Kumerow. With holes to fill in 2020, the Packers have added incentive to see what they have in the Valdes-Scantling before looking to options outside the organization.
The potential to work as Aaron Rodgers’s No. 2 receiver is enticing, and whoever earns the role has value. For years this position has been productive for fantasy, with names like Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and James Jones all achieving fantasy relevance as Rodgers’ second option. Valdes-Scantling is worth reaching for in drafts due to his potential this year and next year.
Gerald Everett, TE, Los Angeles Rams
The former 2017 second-round pick of the Los Angeles Rams, Everett is stuck in a timeshare with Tyler Higbee. With the Rams playing 11-personnel on a majority of their snaps, Higbee cuts directly into Everett’s playing time and production.
However, with Higbee set for free agency in 2020, Everett might finally obtain and every-down role in the Los Angeles offense. He’s shown ability as a receiver over his time in the NFL, reeling in at least four passes in three of the Rams last four regular season games in 2018.
Other Potential Beneficiaries from 2020 Free Agency
Tyler Boyd – AJ Green
Nick Chubb – Kareem Hunt
Dion Lewis – Derrick Henry
Courtland Sutton – Emmanuel Sanders
Mecole Hardman – Tyreek Hill, Demarcus Robinson
Justin Jackson – Melvin Gordon, Austin Ekeler (RFA)
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside – Nelson Agholor
Miles Sanders – Darren Sproles, Jordan Howard