It’s time for the second wave!
No, not the second wave of COVID-19, but rather the second article about NFL players that changed teams this offseason.
Even though reading things in order isn’t really applicable for these articles, you should still take a few minutes and check out Part One where I breakdown the quarterbacks and running backs that are on new teams heading into the 2020 NFL season.
But since you’re already here, take a look at the wide receivers and tight ends that changed teams this offseason and how I see them factoring into the 2020 fantasy season.
DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals
2019 w/ Hou: 104 receptions, 150 targets, 1,165 receiving yards, 7 total touchdowns; 212 fantasy points (WR6)
It’s not too often we see a player that finished in the top 10 of all fantasy wide receivers get traded in the offseason, but here we are as the Cardinals obtained one of the league’s best and most productive players while the Texans continued to prove their incompetence with their combination general manager/head coach. What’s not to love about Hopkins? He’s a target monster, he’s ultra productive with a large sample size, and he’s moving to an offense that’s going to throw the ball all over the field with second-year quarterback, Kyler Murray. Currently going near the end of the first round as the third wide receiver off the board, there should be no hesitation on making Hopkins your fantasy team’s top receiver despite being in year one with his new team. In fact, I’m not opposed to stacking Murray and Hopkins in a league this year as both players have a great chance of finishing in the top five of their respective positions.
Stefon Diggs, Buffalo Bills
2019 w/ Minn: 63 receptions, 94 targets, 1,130 receiving yards, 6 total touchdowns; 187 fantasy points (WR19)
I like what Diggs brings to the table as an actual wide receiver in the NFL, however, I’m not so sure that I’m in love with his current 4.09 ADP in redraft leagues. We’ve seen Diggs as a competent WR2 for your fantasy squad in the past, but things are a little different in Buffalo as the Bills are even more focused on the run game than the Vikings, and despite the hate for Kirk Cousins, Josh Allen is likely a downgrade as he hasn’t proven to be the most consistent passer so far in his NFL career. Diggs will have some boom weeks that may put you over the top when you really need it, but I don’t think he’ll be consistent enough to be relied upon on a weekly basis. If he slips to the fifth or sixth round I’d give him a go, but the fourth round is a little too high for me.
Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans
2019 w/ LAR: 42 receptions, 72 targets, 583 receiving yards, 3 total touchdowns; 103 fantasy points (WR59)
Cooks has been a fairly consistent fantasy receiver the majority of his career up until last year when he posted career lows in receptions and touchdowns. He did miss two games, but the production still wasn’t anywhere close to what we’ve become accustom to with Cooks. It’s hard for me to get too excited about Cooks in Houston, but if there’s a receiver to own for the Texans, I believe it has to be Cooks. With a current ADP of 7.07 (WR34) you’re not breaking the bank by selecting Cooks, and having the luxury of using him as a flex/spot-start option could be a perfect role for him this fantasy season.
Robby Anderson, Carolina Panthers
2019 w/ NYJ: 52 receptions, 96 targets, 779 receiving yards, 5 total touchdowns; 134 fantasy points (WR39)
I’m fairly confident the only Panthers’ player I want on my fantasy roster this year is Christian McCaffrey. I see the potential with D.J. Moore, but an ADP of 4.06 (WR17) is a little too high for me with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. I’m fairly confident that I’d rather have Anderson at his ADP (10.06, WR47) over Moore at his, but I’m still not going out of my way to select him. If you’re on the clock in the 10th or 11th round and need depth at receiver and Anderson is the next best in your rankings, he’s probably not going to hurt you; but don’t expect him to be anything more than a guy you’re starting if you’re in a pinch.
Emmanuel Sanders, New Orleans Saints
2019 w/ SF: 66 receptions, 97 targets, 869 receiving yards, 5 total touchdowns; 150 fantasy points (WR33)
I pronounced Sanders dead (in regards to fantasy football anyways) last offseason, and now I want to take it back. There’s no better way to be resuscitated than to land in an offense with Drew Brees, that was also in dire need of a No. 2 wide receiver. Drafting Sanders at his current ADP (8.10, WR40) feels like one of the biggest steals on the board right now. Maybe I’m a little biased since I currently have him ranked as my WR22, but you’ve got to believe that opposing defenses will focus the majority of their attention on Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, leaving Sanders with some favorable matchups. Taking Sanders at the end of the eighth round is one of the best low-risk selections that just may find his way into your starting lineup more often than not in 2020.
Breshad Perriman, New York Jets
2019 w/ TB: 36 receptions, 69 targets, 645 receiving yards, 6 total touchdowns; 120 fantasy points (WR47)
Perriman finally found some fantasy relevancy last year setting career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns, and should be given every opportunity possible to succeed in New York after the Jets parted ways with Robby Anderson this offseason. Based on opportunity alone, Perriman is worth the selection at his ADP (14.09, WR68) as the likes of Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson and rookie Denzel Mims are the top candidates to compete for targets at the receiver position. I don’t see the Jets as an offensive juggernaut in 2020, but I do believe in Sam Darnold and believe he can help make Perriman fantasy relevant to the extent where you’ll be able to use him when your team isn’t at full strength due to injury and/or bye weeks.
Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns
2019 w/ Atl: 75 receptions, 97 targets, 787 receiving yards, 6 total touchdowns; 152 fantasy points (TE6)
In 2019 Hooper went from “just a guy” at the tight end position to a guy you actually looked forward to using as your starting tight end last when he was healthy. A productive contract season paid off for Hooper as he signed with the Browns this offseason as he now he joins an already crowded offense when it comes to targets. I actually anticipated Hooper’s ADP being higher than what it’s currently at (8.03, TE9), so I do see value in making him the ninth tight end off the board. However, if you’re draft Hooper expecting the same type of production as we saw from him last year, I think you may want to focus your attention on a different tight end. There are simply too many mouths to feed in Cleveland, and while I expect the Browns’ offense to take a big step forward in 2020, I think the primary benefactor will be Odell Beckham Jr.
Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons
2019 w/ Balt: 30 receptions, 39 targets, 349 receiving yards, 2 total touchdowns; 62 fantasy points (TE34)
If you’re the type of fantasy football player that likes to let nearly everyone pick their starting tight end before you do, then I suggest taking a deeper look into Hurst. He was never a statistical monster in Baltimore, but that’s in large part due to the fact that the Ravens struggled with the passing game in Lamar Jackson’s rookie season, and because Mark Andrews was seeing a large percentage of the targets thrown to tight ends. Hurst immediately fills the void left by Hooper’s departure, and should have no issues posting career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns in year one with Matt Ryan in Atlanta. He’s currently my TE7, and I would have no issues rolling into Week 1 with Hurst as my fantasy squad’s starting tight end.
Eric Ebron, Pittsburgh Steelers
2019 w/ Ind: 31 receptions, 52 targets, 375 receiving yards, 3 total touchdowns; 71 fantasy points (TE28)
Remember that time Ebron posted 750 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns in a single season? If you do, just try your best to pretend that it never happened because I don’t want you to even consider thinking Ebron has those type of capabilities in Pittsburgh. Sure there’s a bit of a void still in the Steelers’ offense outside of James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster, but Ebron won’t be the person to fill this void on a consistent enough basis to warrant starting him weekly. He’s currently being taken near the end of the 13th/early 14th round in fantasy drafts, so if you want to draft two tight ends then sure, go ahead and pick him, but my prediction is that he’ll be the first person you’re cutting if you’re active on the waiver wire.