How did you fare in your fantasy football league last year? Hopefully, you made the playoffs or won a championship, but sometimes things go wrong. Injuries, bad luck, or other outside factors can cause even the best fantasy managers to miss the playoffs. If that happened to you and you spent your December focused more on buying presents and spending time with family, you may have missed a few important things that could have ramifications in 2020.
Draft prep doesn’t begin a few months before the season, it’s an ever-growing task that includes information gathering that starts the season prior, if not sooner. So let’s take a look back at five things you may have missed late in the 2019 season that are notable as you dive head-first into 2020 fantasy draft prep. Note: All rankings referenced below are on a per-game basis in PPR leagues from Weeks 14-17 of the 2019 regular season with a minimum of two games played.
Eagles RB Boston Scott Outscored Miles Sanders
Everything about the end of the Philadelphia Eagles’ season was wacky because of all the injuries. Players like Scott and wide receiver Greg Ward were all of a sudden in starting lineups in DFS and for the fantasy playoffs after not being on anyone’s radar when the season began. It is interesting to note that Scott outscored his teammate Sanders 82.0 to 80.8 over the final four weeks of the season. The Eagles did not elect to bring in a veteran running back this offseason, so with Jordan Howard in Miami, Sanders will be the lead back in Philadelphia in 2020. However, Scott will have some sort of role as the No. 2 and could prove to be a significant value given his current ADP of RB48—for reference, Sanders’ ADP is RB13.
Broncos WR Courtland Sutton Was The WR50
You’re probably familiar with the narrative going around about how quarterback Drew Lock will lead Broncos playmakers to a high level of fantasy success after his strong finish to the 2019 season. Well, that wasn’t exactly the case late last season. Sutton struggled over the final month, catching just 51.4% of his targets for a combined stat line of 18-206-0. He was even outscored by teammate DaeSean Hamilton. Sutton did catch Lock’s first two NFL touchdown passes and put up a 4-74-2 line in Week 13 in Lock’s first start, but the road was very bumpy after that. Despite that finish, the addition of two rookie wide receivers, and being in a run-heavy offense, Sutton’s coming off the board as the WR19 in fantasy drafts right now.
Dolphins RB Patrick Laird Was The RB39; Matt Breida’s Current ADP Is RB42
There weren’t many Dolphins occupying fantasy teams last season, but late in the year, as the team improved, more players became fantasy relevant. DeVante Parker emerged as a star, Ryan Fitzpatrick was a solid bye-week fill-in, and Mike Gesicki emerged as a viable tight end option. But once the trade of Kenyan Drake happened, coupled with some health issues, players like Laird got scooped up. Laird was used in a pass-catching role, helping him crack the top 40 PPR running backs down the stretch. That role now belongs to the much better (and faster) Breida after his trade from San Francisco. If Laird could provide top-40 RB production, what will Breida do? Don’t sleep on talented players on bad teams—there’s value to be had.
Raiders WR Hunter Renfrow Was The WR4
There’s a huge caveat here that must be addressed up front: Renfrow missed Weeks 14 and 15. That being said, only Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup scored more points in the final two weeks of the season than Renfrow’s 45.9. It was the culmination of a very strong back half to his rookie year. From Weeks 8-17, Renfrow ranked as the WR17 in average fantasy points per game. He’s going as the WR66 in fantasy drafts right now. The Raiders may have drafted Henry Ruggs III in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but Renfrow’s slot role is secure and he should have an even better grasp on Jon Gruden’s offense in year two.
Cardinals TE Dan Arnold Was The TE14
Who? It’s completely understandable if Arnold’s name isn’t on your radar. He joined the Cardinals late in the season and became a go-to red zone target for quarterback Kyler Murray. Over the final three games of the season, Arnold was targeted 10 times, catching six passes for 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He averaged more fantasy points per game than Austin Hooper and Noah Fant in that stretch. Arnold’s current ADP is TE41, but keep an eye on him in touchdown-only leagues or leagues with 20-plus teams.
Bonus: Despite all of the concerns about his knee and wearing down late in the season, running back Todd Gurley was the RB14 over the final four weeks of the season. He’s currently going as the RB15 in fantasy drafts with no competition in the Atlanta Falcons backfield.