Welcome to the first installment of our 2020 Fantasy Football Projections. A lot has changed in the AFC South over the past 12 months. All of these changes are accounted for as the 2020 Fantasy Football AFC South Projections are created.
Andrew Luck's surprise retirement has turned into Philip Rivers taking over for Jacoby Brissett under center for the Indianapolis Colts, who may have found their future running back, drafting Jonathan Taylor out of Wisconsin. All signs indicating Marlon Mack is heading to free agency after this season.
The Houston Texans traded DeAndre Hopkins for David Johnson and the Jacksonville Jaguars continue to dismantle their team as they rebuild. Is Gardner Minshew the future? Or are they tanking for Trevor Lawrence?
2020 Fantasy Football AFC South Projections
What the Titans did last year was nothing short of amazing.
Ryan Tannehill came in and looked like the greatest quarterback of all-time according to just about every QB statistic. As much as we all love Derrick Henry and know the offense runs through him, this team is nothing with poor quarterback play. That is why Marcus Mariota is now a member of the Oakland Raiders.
With Henry entering a contract year and the uncertainty of re-signing him to a long-term contract, the Titans drafted Darrynton Evans with the 93rd pick (3rd round) in the 2020 NFL draft. However, he i just 5'10 and 203 pounds. Dion Lewis played 40% of the snaps last year but was not involved in the offense at all. He is now a member of the New York Giants.
A.J. Brown showed flashes of greatness and eclipsed 100 receiving yards five times in his rookie season. However, he also had eight games with less than 50 yards receiving. That inconsistency makes him a very risky WR2 in Fantasy Football. His current ADP is in the early fourth round and that is just too high for me.
Corey Davis has burned too many Fantasy owners to even be considered during drafts, but maybe this is the year everything finally comes together and he proves to be a valuable waiver wire pick up!
Delanie Walker was cut this offseason and Jonnu Smith will finally see a full seasons worth of targets. In weeks 14, 15 and 16 Smith caught 11 passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Hopefully that means he will be a bigger part of the offense in 2020 and have some Fantasy value in 2TE, Superflex and deeper leagues.
Without DeAndre Hopkins (150 targets in 2019 - 163 in 2018), it will be interesting to see how Deshaun Watson decides to split up his pass attempts. He continues to be a top-six Fantasy QB due to his ability to run for touchdowns.
David Johnson was the return for DeAndre Hopkins and was replaced by Kenyan Drake in the Arizona Cardinals backfield. Johnson was actually a top 10 PPR running back through the first eight weeks last season. That, plus the success of Carlos Hyde in the Texans system last year gives me great hope for a return of the David Johnson we all once loved. If you can grab him as your one of the last RB2's in your draft, I think he will return solid value
The Houston Texans also traded for Brandin Cooks, sending a second-round pick to the Los Angeles Rams. Cooks, along with Will Fuller and Kenny Stills are all deep threat receivers so it will be very interesting to see how the offense operates. Don't forget, Watson is one of the most sacked QBs in the NFL, consistently under pressure. The longer he needs for his receivers to get downfield, the more likely he is to take off running.
This could benefit Randall Cobb, who is quietly coming off one of his best seasons. Last year, with the Dallas Cowboys, Cobb averaged 15 yards per reception. He also hit 800 yards receiving for the first time since 2015 with the Packers. I will be looking to add him to my bench in just about every draft.
Darren Fells and Jordan Atkins aren't names that make the list of top tight ends in the NFL or Fantasy, but Watson likes them and Fells caught seven touchdowns last year!
rookie Michael Pittman
— Keith Lott (@WeTlkFntsySprts) May 21, 2020
With Philip Rivers under center in 2020, things should play out a little differently. After a full year of a healthy Andrew Luck led Indianapolis to 433 points, Jacoby Brissett managed the Colts to 361 points in 2019. It's safe to assume the 2020 squad should score somewhere in between those two totals.
Rivers, 38, is coming off a career-worst 3.9% touchdown rate on top of 20 interceptions.
The Colts backfield is a difficult one to project. With Jonathan Taylor being drafted 41st overall, it is more than likely we see Taylor have a major impact in his rookie season. Most sites are projecting him to out-touch Marlon Mack but I am just not on board with that. Taylor does hurt Mack's value in Fantasy, but I can't imagine he scores more Fantasy points. Mack finished at RB20 in half-PPR scoring last year with 247 carries. He won't see as many touches but hopefully, he can stay healthy all year with Taylor there to help carry the load.
Fantasy experts rank Taylor as RB19 while Mack is ranked RB41. according to FantasyPros Half-PPR ECR. If ADP comes anywhere close to this, I am all in on Mack.
Even at his age, Rivers is still going to take shots down the field, which is good for T.Y. Hilton, who is projected to finish as a WR2. Brissett did not take those shots downfield which limited Hilton's upside, in the 10 games he did play. A healthy Hilton is good for 15 yards per reception!
Parris Campbell's rookie campaign was cut short due to a hamstring injury, surgery on a sports hernia, a fractured hand and a season-ending broken foot in Week 14. The assumption here is that Campbell is fully healthy and earns the WR2 slot on the depth chart.
Last year, Zach Pascal led the Colts in just about every receiving category with T.Y. Hilton and Parris Campbell battling injuries. Is Michael Pittman Jr., another second-round 2020 NFL Draft pick, going to dominate the WR2/3 targets? Clearly Twitter seems to think so!
All expectations are that this offense is going to be bad and the team is going to be trailing more often than not. Sometimes by a lot. Gardner Minshew is going to have fantasy value, but it will happen because a QB gets injured or bye weeks.
Leonard Fournette couldn't find the end zone in 2019 so positive touchdown regression is expected. However, he is not likely to see 100 targets in 2020. Jay Gruden is running the offense and brought Chris Thompson along with him.
D.J. Chark is the lone Jaguars WR worth drafting and even he is ranked as a WR3 according to expert consensus ranking. Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley and rookie Laviska Shenault will each have their moments but should prove to inconsistent to roster all season long.
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