(Photo credit: Erik Drost)
Charles Herrmann (@HermsNFL)
The Lateral Chief Editor
One of the best parts about this game-within-a-game is the fun of predictions making, none more fun than breakouts, busts, and sleepers. Anyone reading this knows what we're talking about. Making side bets with your league mates, the joy of making yourself look and feel smart, and just the overall great feeling of following a journey from atop a bandwagon. Not all picks work out of course, but hey, even the best among us are not right all the time.
Using our rankings (coming out soon) and looking at FantasyPros ECR for PPR scoring, we at The Lateral have put together a group of WRs to highlight as our 2020 picks to breakout, boom, bust, and have some solid sleeper appeal.
Let's get started.
Breakout WRs for 2020:
- Charles' Pick: D.J. Chark
- Malcolm's Pick: Michael Gallup
CH: What we saw early last season between Chark and QB Gardner Minshew II after he took over for injured Nick Foles in the middle of Week 1 was pretty awesome. Over the first 6 weeks, D.J. Chark was the WR5 in PPR averaging 18.8 PPG. After that point, things cooled off for him a little bit, including dealing with an ankle issue, and from Week 7 on he was WR37 averaging 12.6 PPG. Some of that was due to the fact that Foles eventually came back for a few weeks there from his collarbone injury and it did not seem like he had much of a connection with Chark. When the Jaguars eventually went back to Minshew II from Week 13 on, Chark had already gotten banged up. But as of now, Foles is in Chicago and it's a one man show at QB for the Jags.
This is all a long winded way of saying one thing: with Gardner Minshew II as his QB, a healthy D.J. Chark is an absolute baller. That Jacksonville defense is so terrible and they're going to have to play from behind a lot again in 2020, and if you're telling me I can get a guy who's shown top 5 upside at WR19 FantasyPros ECR, I'll take that seven days a week and twice on Sundays.
MM: To me, Michael Gallup is an easy pick here, and I am happy to keep buying shares as people continue to worry about Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb killing his value. You know why? Gallup was basically two games away from me even being able to mark him as my "breakout candidate" in 2020 to begin with.
No, your eyes do not deceive you. For all the fawning over Amari Cooper, who is going as WR9 right now, Gallup finished only 0.2 PPG behind Amari Cooper in 2019. The only difference was Gallup had a meniscus tear that forced him to miss Weeks 3-4, after which he got right back on the horse and finished WR13 for the rest of the season, two spots ahead of Cooper. How is Gallup being rewarded for this? By going WR31. That's right, somehow CeeDee Lamb (current ADP WR38) is going to bring Michael Gallup's value down by 18 spots. Given that Randall Cobb just vacated 10.3 PPG in the Dallas WR corps, I think it is more likely Lamb fills and slightly improves on the Cobb role, rather than transforming Gallup into a WR3/FLEX candidate.
Another important thing to consider is that Gallup was also the more consistently targeted WR in Dallas during the 2019 season. Amari Cooper had 6 games in 2019 with 5 or fewer targets, the same as Randall Cobb (excluding Cobb missing Week 6). Including the two weeks that Michael Gallup missed, he only had 4 such games in 2019. Expect Gallup to utilize this consistency and talent to produce a finish much closer to Amari Cooper's WR10 from 2019 rather than Gallup's WR22.
Boom WRs for 2020:
- Charles' Pick: A.J. Brown
- Malcolm's Pick: Robert Woods
None? Yeah, that's what I said too. ECR WR18 is a great value for a guy who can be your solid WR2/low-end WR1.
Bust WRs for 2020:
- Charles' Pick: Allen Robinson II (but actually JuJu Smith-Schuster)
- Malcolm's Pick: Tyreek Hill
Sleeper WRs for 2020:
- Charles' Pick: Bryan Edwards
- Malcolm's Pick: Laviska Shenault Jr.
IT'S BRYAN EDWARDS SZN, FAM.
Alright, I've gotten that out of my system, the hype train is full steam ahead for the rookie out of South Carolina. Perhaps we should slow our roll a bit, but with Tyrell Williams dealing with a torn labrum, Edwards is in a prime spot in the Raiders offense. I'll let that first link do most of the talking, but here's the situation:
As of a few days ago, it seems that Edwards has won the battle for the X spot. Granted, 2019 TE breakout Darren Waller is still in the mix, the team spent a 1st round pick on Henry Ruggs III out of Alabama, but I could see a world in which Edwards can ball out and put up a Darius Slayton type season for you in 2020.
Edwards has some pretty big upside for a guy who can be had with the last pick of your draft. The best hype trains are the ones that come at a low cost that you can get off after Week 1 if you're wrong. This one fits that category. Go ahead and take a stab on Edwards at ECR WR95, several spots behind teammate Hunter Renfrow at ECR 69 (nice).