If time has taught us anything, it is that fantasy football is an unforgiving mistress that is constantly inviting variable change into the lives of leagues and fantasy owners throughout the world who choose to engage in this maddening hobby. Fantasy players know far too well the ups and downs associated with embarking on fantasy football supremacy.
The level of predictability associated with fantasy football has greatly diminished in the last few years for several reasons. The use of running back committees, depreciation of the tight end position in scoring, and the number of prosperous wide receivers that populate the NFL today have made it more and more difficult to predict the “pop off” players that fantasy owners were far too familiar with recognizing in the past. More and more fantasy owners are focusing on finding those late round “gems” that garner favorable return based on their average draft position or ADP. This article will reflect on some of the 2019 seasons “forgotten” players and discuss why they are ideal candidates to bounce back for a favorable return in 2020. Let’s begin!
Tevin Coleman: San Fransisco 49ers Running Back
The San Fransisco 49er running backs are arguably the most effective and valuable group of backs in fantasy football. The problem? Predicting the pop off candidate for that week. Tevin Coleman owners were nothing short of frustrated after how positive his sixth-round ADP looked at the beginning of the 2019-2020 season.
Coleman ended up taking part in a whirlwind committee involving anywhere between three to four running backs on a consistent basis as a result of injury or “playing the hot hand”. The former Indiana standout ended the regular season with 137 rushing attempts, 544 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns. He added twenty-one receptions for 180 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown to his end of season stats. Coleman did have a stretch between weeks five through twelve where he averaged 14.3 fantasy points per game in half PPR formats which is solid running back two numbers. It’s important to note that the average is heavily skewed due to his week eight performance where Coleman scored a monstrous 37.80 fantasy points and won several fantasy owners their matchups that week. However, its week 12 through 16 that fantasy owners still have fresh in their mind. In that span of games, Coleman averaged a dismal 2.6 fantasy points due to the emergence of Raheem Mostert.
In 2020, things will be better for Coleman for several reasons. There are murmurs that the 49ers are looking to trade Matt Breida due to their already strong and capable backfield group. Breida is an absolute fantasy stud when healthy and on the field but it’s been painfully obvious that the three year back has difficulty staying on the field. With the combined might of Coleman, Mostert and Wilson Jr there just doesn’t seem to be any reason to keep Breida around anymore. Coleman has consistently averaged four yards or more a carry throughout his career and has generally been involved in the passing game with an average of roughly 27 reception per season.
Am I advocating that Tevin Coleman is going to be a fantasy superstar next year? No. However, I am advocating that he will return on his ADP that will surely drop lower than last years sixth-round price tag and that he will provide fantasy owners formidable running back two or three numbers most weeks. The best part about Coleman this year is that he will likely be cheap and that his counterpart Mostert will eat up all the offseason hype causing him to be heavily over-drafted. Right now, Fantasy Pros has Coleman being taken as the RB 37 just outside of the RB three group. If you can stash a possible running back two who will likely be your third, maybe fourth running back taken in the draft, then all systems are go on Coleman’s fantasy football rebound campaign.
Sony Michel: New England Patriots Running Back
The fantasy football production expected from the New England Patriots will be a thoroughly debated topic throughout the offseason. Coach Bill Belichick will be tasked to produce a winning season without star quarterback Tom Brady on the roster. After an inconsistent and underwhelming 2019 campaign, New England Patriots running back Sony Michel posted a 247-rushing attempt season that resulted in 912 rushing yards, seven rushing touchdowns and 12 receptions for 94 yards.
It was a challenging year for Michel owners as the sophomore running back only posted six games over ten fantasy points in half PPR scoring formats as the Patriots offense struggled to put the powerful Michel into favorable scoring situations. Even then, Michel did post over 900 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns which isn’t all that bad. The lack of consistency and number of single-digit fantasy point finishes is what ultimately began to turn fantasy owners off in the season.
With the departure of Tom Brady and no news of adding a quarterback capable of moving the ball as effectively as Brady did so in past seasons, look for the Patriots coaching staff to utilize their above-average running back squad mainly consisting of Sony Michel and James White to lead the pack.
Fantasy owners can look to Michel with hope going into 2020. Michel will get the ball in 2020, mark my words. He has had over 200 plus carries in both seasons as a Patriot and has proven to be able to bruise his way into averaging over four yards a carry in his NFL career thus far. Michel will get over 200 carries yet again this season and is the best option for the goal line work hands down. Currently, Fantasy Pros has Michel being drafted as the RB 30 off the board which is far cheaper of a price than his late second/early third-round draft price of last year. If fantasy owners can snag him at a discount in the middle rounds as an RB three, it’s reasonable to believe that the most talented runner on the roster can provide value and beat his ADP in 2020.
Mike Williams: Los Angeles Chargers Wide Receiver
There is no other way to say this plainly. Mike Williams was not himself last year. The former Clemson wide receiver who was coming off an impressive 11 touchdown season a year prior was clearly struggling with staying healthy on a consistent basis. What’s surprising is that he was still able to put up a 1000 receiving yards which is the most in his career since Clemson with just 49 receptions. Williams received a minimum of five targets in nine out of fifteen games this season and still is a monster when it comes to 50/50 balls and being able to overpower his defenders. Standing at 6’4 and weighing 220 pounds, a healthy Williams is quite simply a fantasy sweetheart.
Yes, there are concerns about the quarterback situation in Los Angeles. Yes, there are concerns about his health. Williams has the entire offseason to get healthy, build somewhat of a repour with whoever is going to throw the ball and rebound to a touchdown machine. Scooping up Williams in the late 7th or early 8th round of drafts can be a great addition to your fantasy squad who can return on his current ADP by improving in the touchdown category. If he were to repeat another 1000-yard season and say, add a mere three touchdowns to his already two? Fantasy owners would be very happy taking a wide receiver in the late middle rounds who can quite possibly return a 50/1000/5 line any day.
T.Y. Hilton: Indianapolis Colts Wide Receiver
Let’s not forget how good T.Y. Hilton was in the first several weeks of the season. According to Yahoo Sports, Hilton averaged 12.6 fantasy points in the first six weeks of the season and that includes a week he didn’t play. Take that out and the eight-year veteran averaged an awesome 15.2 fantasy points a game in half PPR scoring with subpar quarterback play! The eight-year veteran was posting solid WR two number which is what most owners drafted him to be going into the season. Hilton has never been a touchdown-dependent fantasy option but has instead used his speed and football IQ to garner five 1000 plus receiving seasons when healthy. The hot start that had fantasy owners praising Hilton’s success took a turn for the worst after injury and a Colts offense that struggled to consistently move the ball down the field.
Fast forward to March 2020. The Colts have signed Phillip Rivers to a year one deal and once again Hilton is in the presence of a Hall of Fame-calibre quarterback who can effectively get the ball downfield and into the hands of the best receiver on the team. It isn’t a hurdle or stretch to call for Hilton finishing as a top 15 option at the position if healthy in 2020. Fantasy Pros currently has Hilton being drafted as the WR 25 off draft boards but that will likely start creeping up into the late teens as the seasons gets closer. Even then, draft T.Y. Hilton. With Rivers at the helm and a Colts offense ready to soar into the upper tier of fantasy production, Hilton has the potential to return huge on his draft price and return to WR one numbers with relative ease.