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2020 Early Quarterback Sleepers and Draft Targets


Heading into 2020, Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, and Deshaun Watson will surely be the most-coveted quarterbacks in fantasy football drafts. Similar to Patrick Mahomes in 2018, Lamar Jackson took the NFL by storm in his first year as a full-time starter and set an NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback. Personally, I am skeptical that Jackson can sustain such production into 2020, at least at the rate he was going in 2019, because when teams have an entire offseason to review film they often find ways to adjust. This year, the Ravens performed exceptionally well in the running game because they would bring the backside tackle across the formation on some of the designed running plays, which is something that hadn't been seen much before. When teams used bigger fronts to defend the run, Jackson would oftentimes outrun the contain and if they used a smaller front to match Jackson's speed, they had to deal with Mark Ingram. If teams figure out how to combat these issues, the Ravens may be slowed in 2020. There's always a chance that the Ravens stay one step ahead of their competition, but at the likely first-round ADP Jackson will have in 2020, I will pass.

Patrick Mahomes had a record-breaking 2018 season that led some to draft him in the first round of 2019 drafts. Mahomes followed up his 2018 performance by finishing 2019 as the No. 8 quarterback on the season, despite missing a few games, playing injured in several others, and missing Tyreek Hill for part of the season. Even with all the adversity that Mahomes faced he still had a solid season, but there won't be as much hype around him in 2020, and he may fall a little in drafts. If Mahomes falls enough in drafts this summer, he could come at a decent value.

So who is worth targeting, especially if you play the late-QB game on draft day? Let us take a look at some quarterbacks that may slip in 2020 drafts for various reasons as well as some unproven guys that may be worth a stab with your last pick because they have the potential to take a second-year leap.

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Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2019 Stats:  5,109 yards, 33 TD, 30 INT, 250 rushing yards, 1 TD

Jameis Winston was the No. 3 quarterback in fantasy football in 2019, but the only things that people will remember about his season are that he threw 30 interceptions and that he let them down with a poor performance in Week 16 against the Houston Texans, which happened to be the fantasy football championship for most leagues. Winston went over 300 yards passing in 11 games last season, topping 400 yards three times, and had multiple touchdown passes in 10 games.

Although Winston had 30 interceptions last season, it should be noted that 18 of his 30 interceptions came in just five games against the Texans, Colts, Saints, Panthers, and 49ers. The point is that when Winston is bad, he's really bad, but when he's good, he's really good, and his volatility isn't that much different than that of Deshaun Watson. If Winston is brought back in 2020, I really like the prospects of him taking another step forward in his second year under Bruce Arians, especially with Chris Godwin and Mike Evans at wide receiver.

 

Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

2019 Stats: 4,039 yards, 27 TD, 7 INT, 243 rushing yards, 1 TD

Carson Wentz was drafted as a QB1 in 2019 and it was difficult to trust him for much of the year because the Eagles had so many injuries at wide receiver. The Eagles were clearly a better team with DeSean Jackson on the field. When he didn't play (most of the year), they lacked a field-stretching receiver. If D-Jax returns to full health in 2020 or the Eagles address the position this offseason, Wentz could be dominant in 2020.

Wentz finished as a top-10 fantasy quarterback this season but his 2019 campaign still feels like somewhat of a disappointment from a fantasy perspective because he only threw multiple touchdowns in a game seven times and went over 300 yards passing just five times. Wentz will be drafted as a borderline QB1 in drafts this summer, but if the Eagles have a legitimate deep threat, he could pay huge dividends and finish as a top-five quarterback.

 

Daniel Jones, NY Giants

2019 Stats: 3,207 yards, 24 TD, 12 INT, 279 rushing yards, 2 TD

Daniel Jones only averaged 6.6 yards-per-attempt in 2019 but that low number can be attributed to several factors. First, Jones was just a rookie and needs time to continue developing. Second, Darius Slayton is the only true deep-threat on the Giants roster and he didn't emerge until later in the season. Finally, Evan Engram, one of the most explosive tight ends in the league, was hurt for much of the year.

If the Giants can get healthy on the offensive side of the ball and hire an innovative offensive coordinator to replace Pat Shurmur this offseason, Jones may take a massive leap in 2020. Jones also adds a little to the Giants offense with his legs, which boosts his value for fantasy football purposes.

 

Drew Lock, Denver Broncos

2019 Stats: 1,020 yards, 7 TD, 3 INT, 72 rushing yards

Drew Lock didn't put up flashy numbers in his first five starts of 2019 but he did go 4-1 in those games. Lock missed much of the season due to injury which hurt his development, but he has several young, emerging playmakers at his disposal with Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant, and Phillip Lindsay. It will be interesting to see if he can develop decent chemistry with those guys after going through the full offseason program as the starter. If the Broncos are able to add a veteran receiver opposite Courtland Sutton through free agency to replace the departed Emmanuel Sanders, the likelihood that Lock breaks out in 2020 will only go up.

 

Dwayne Haskins, Washington Redskins

2019 Stats: 1,365 yards, 7 TD, 7 INT, 101 rushing yards

In 2019, Dwayne Haskins looked absolutely horrendous in his first few games for the Redskins. Haskins was not decisive with the football, held onto the ball too long, took too many sacks, threw some terrible interceptions and at times looked like he was not ready for NFL football. However, down the stretch, Haskins started completing passes at a higher rate, and stopped throwing as many picks. His yards-per-attempt were 9.3 against the Eagles and 8.9 against the Giants. Prior to Week 15 against the Giants, the highest yards-per-attempt he had in a game was just 6.6 yards, coming back on October 24th against the Vikings.

In 2020, the Redskins might actually get Trent Williams back at left tackle which would be a huge boost to the Redskins pass protection. In addition, both Terry McLaurin and Steven Sims Jr. should take a step forward with a year under their belts, and if the Redskins are able to add a tight end to the roster, Haskins could have some serious weapons at his disposal in the passing game. It's scary to think about, but a 2020 breakout from Dwayne Haskins isn't as crazy as it sounds, especially since he will play against the Eagles and Giants Defenses twice each.

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