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Early 2020 Breakout Candidates: Quarterback

It’s never too early to start planning your strategy for success in fantasy football. Whatever drives you to win, whether it’s cash, pride, bragging rights, or simply not having to do the league loser punishment, it’s justified if you are making every effort to try and take the league.

The thing that keeps fantasy football interesting is the unpredictability of players. You don’t know who’s going to break out, but sometimes a good sample size can tell a powerful story.

Here are some QBs who have the potential for a big 2020 that you should keep an eye on for your fantasy team this summer:

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Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

Kyler Murray had a terrific rookie season that was overshadowed by an overall poor performance by his Arizona Cardinals. The Heisman winner accumulated 3,720 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions while completing 64 percent of his passes. He averaged 232 passing yards and 34 rushing yards per game, cementing his status as a dual-threat QB who can take it up a notch in 2020.

The 22-year-old possesses great skills that would allow him to break out in 2020. For one, he had a measly five fumbles in 2019, showing he takes care of the ball. In addition, Murray had 378 on-target throws during the season as opposed to 92 poor throws. He had nearly a 74 percent on-target throws per pass attempt rate, confirming he is a precise passer. Nevertheless, the talented signal-caller needs help to take the next step forward, and it’s not by any fault of his own.

The QB was sacked 48 times in 2019, signaling the need for a better offensive line. Arizona ranked 26th in sacks allowed and needs to protect their QB better. Also, an upgrade at WR can help the soon-to-be second-year player thrive as the seemingly immortal Larry Fitzgerald cannot play forever. As a matter of fact, Kyler Murray has been hoping the team takes his former Oklahoma teammate CeeDee Lamb, who is one of the top-ranked wide receivers in the draft. With the eighth pick in the first round, that dream can certainly come true. With a revamped line and receiver help, Murray is poised to be a terrific fantasy player in 2020.

 

Daniel Jones, New York Giants

Rookie Daniel Jones had his up-and-downs in his rookie campaign in 2019. In his second year, the former Duke player is expected to take it up a notch. The 22-year-old finished last season with 3,027 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 12 picks in 12 games started. He averaged 232 passing yards per game and showed flashes of potential in select games. This includes a 352 yard, five-touchdown game against Washington on Dec. 22 that featured no picks thrown.

Jones needs to improve on ball security this season, though. The only direct concern he brings is his tendency to turn the ball over, as evidenced by his 12 interceptions and 18 fumbles. Other than that, there is a lot of promise. As a matter of fact, he had 318 on-target throws as opposed to 80 bad throws. He also had a 71 percent on-target throw per pass attempt rate.

The offensive line ranked 18th  for the Giants with the QB getting sacked 38 times. There’s always room for improvement in that department, but if Jones can be more careful with the ball, he can be a breakout fantasy prospect considering his propensity to have big games. It also doesn’t hurt that he has a collection of weapons like Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton.

 

Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville Jaguars

With the Jacksonville Jaguars likely to hand the reins full-time to him in 2020, Gardner Minshew will get a second chance to hopefully unleash his Minshew Mania frenzy on the league. The rookie took the league by storm in 2019 through keeping the Jaguars competitive in many of the games he played after Nick Foles went down in Week 1. His signature performance was in late October against the Jets when he compiled 279 yards, three touchdowns, and a 119.6 passer rating.

The potential to be great is there for the young signal-caller and it looks as if he will get that opportunity in 2020. Last season, he averaged 233 passing yards per game and was on-target for 332 passes as opposed to 84 bad throws. The rookie nearly had a 74 percent on-target throws per pass attempt rate. The 23-year-old can work on his ball security a tad bit, as he had 13 fumbles but only six picks. There are growing pains as a first-year player, but Minshew has all the ingredients for success at his disposal in Year 2, including workhorse RB Leonard Fournette, and three capable receivers like D.J. Chark, Dede Westbrook, and Chris Conley who happen to be looking for a breakout of their own.

 

Drew Lock, Denver Broncos

At just 23 years old, Drew Lock is poised to begin 2020 as the starter of the Denver Broncos after he authored an encouraging close to the 2019 season. Lock compiled 1,020 yards, seven touchdowns, and three interceptions in the five games he started to close out 2019, going 4-1 in that stretch. The rookie averaged 204 passing yards per game and 6.5 yards per pass attempt in his five games at the helm.

The Missouri native may have a small sample size, but his stats were impressive. He completed 64 percent of his passes in a total of 156 attempts. He also had 111 on-target throws and a 73 percent on-target throws-per-pass-attempt rate, showcasing his high accuracy. Although Denver’s notoriously porous offensive line has made headlines, Lock was surprisingly sacked only five times, a major improvement compared to how many sacks some recent QBs on the team endured. If the team can get another talented receiver via the draft like CeeDee Lamb, Henry Ruggs III, or Jerry Jeudy to play alongside Courtland Sutton, Lock will have quite the support to help him thrive. Denver picks 15th in the draft.

 

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

As impressive as Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen was in 2019, he has a chance to further display his growth in 2020. In 2019, the big-bodied QB was likely a matchup-dependent play, but with time comes experience. Allen finished last season with 3,089 passing yards, 510 rushing yards, 20 touchdowns, and nine picks. His dual-threat prowess helped fantasy owners some weeks though he averaged just 193 passing yards and 32 rushing yards per game.

Just to show the improvement from his rookie season, Allen threw for roughly 1,000 more yards, increased his completion percentage from 52 to nearly 59 percent, and doubled his passing touchdowns.

The 23-year-old proved he can be accurate as a passer, being on-target for 317 throws as opposed to 88 bad throws. The only lingering concerns are ball security, as the Wyoming product’s carelessness at times resulted in 14 fumbles. The offensive line also remains a bit concerning too, as Allen was sacked 38 times in 2019 compared to 28 in 2018. Of course, the draft can fix those needs along with adding an explosive receiver who can help Allen.

Buffalo picks 22nd in the draft, meaning guys like Tee Higgins from Clemson, Laviska Shenault Jr. from Colorado, and maybe Henry Ruggs III from Alabama could be plausible options to help bolster the receiver depth chart. If he can cut the fumbles/picks and get a WR1, Allen can be a breakout candidate in 2020.

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