These are 2nd year players to buy now in your fantasy leagues:
WR N’KEAL HARRY – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Harry didn’t have much impact during his rookie season in large part due to missing the first nine games. By the time he returned, the Patriots were locked into an offense that was built around doing just enough to win while relying upon their defense. Harry was the first WR the Pats have taken in the first round since Bill Belichick became the head coach, and just the fifth taken in the Top-75 picks.
Tom Brady left this off-season and Julian Edelman’s time is running out. Harry will be Edelman’s replacement in this offense as he excels out of the slot by winning on contested catches and with yards after the catch (YAC). Harry fits this mold perfectly, as he was first among draft-eligible wide receivers in contested catches and seventh in YAC/reception. He checked the boxes for Belichick a year ago, and now is the time to buy low.
TE TJ HOCKENSON – DETROIT LIONS
Early draft capital – check. Elite college production – check. Athleticism – check. TJ Hockenson checks all the boxes you want when predicting the next breakout elite TE. With Matthew Stafford back from injury, the Lions will be able to spread the ball out more. The one knock against TJ Hockenson becoming an elite TE in year two is that he’s TOO good at his position. Hockenson is a very accomplished blocker, and unfortunately, the Lions offensive line doesn’t accomplish its primary goal, blocking, with the kind of success you’d like to see, so Hockenson will be asked to block more often than some of the other elite receiving talents at the position.
TE NOAH FANT – DENVER BRONCOS
Noah Fant came into the NFL as one of the most athletic tight end prospects ever, making him an easy first-round pick. He ranked in the 98th percentile among TE Combine participants in the 40-yard dash, three-cone drill, and vertical. Drew Lock will have a full offseason under his belt at quarterback, and while I fully expect the Broncos to take a WR in the draft, I believe Fant will be the second-best pass catcher on this team in all categories behind Courtland Sutton. Sell your opponent on the inconsistencies a rookie tight end has, especially with catching balls from another rookie and a long-washed up Joe Flacco.
WR PARRIS CAMPBELL – INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
The Colts are going to draft a receiver, maybe two, but they are going to be outside wide receivers. Campbell was drafted to play the slot, and with Eric Ebron off to the Steelers, there are more targets available over the middle. While injuries derailed his rookie season, a healthy Campbell can be a league-winning player. He ran a blazing 4.31-second 40-yard with the fastest short shuttle in the class, but he was explosive with a 40.0-inch vertical and 135.0-inch broad jump–both third among all wide receivers in the combine. While he is intended to be the slot receiver, Campbell already proved to his coaches during his rookie season that he knows and can execute in all three positions.
WR MECOLE HARDMAN – KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
“I feel the need…the need for speed.” The Chiefs’ front office must do their off-season scouting at Daytona and Indianapolis; that or they are fantasy football players because they’ve loved speed freaks. Hardman was drafted as a fill-in in case Tyreek Hill was suspended last year. Hill wasn’t suspended, but Hardman shined in limited playing time making 26 catches on 41 targets for 538 yards and six TDs.
The Chiefs need to get this guy the ball more. Unfortunately, Hardman’s 2020 outlook didn’t improve during free agency, as Demarcus Robinson resigned and Sammy Watkins restructured the final year of his contract to keep the Chiefs WR room crowded with speedsters. However, Hardman’s too good to not see his role expand, even if it’s likely to take until that traditional year three for a true breakout.
RB JUSTICE HILL – BALTIMORE RAVENS
We all knew Justice Hill’s 2019 role was murky after the draft last year. At that time, the Ravens backfield included Mark Ingram, Kenneth Dixon, and Gus Edwards. Kenneth Dixon never was able to stay healthy, and 2019 was no exception. So, after he was released the hope was that Hill would pick up more of a role in the offense. That wasn’t to be, as the Ravens had a good thing going with Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram doing the bulk of the work, and Gus Edwards plowing into defenseman to bully them.
Edwards is was given an exclusive rights tender, leaving Hill as the next man up behind Mark Ingram who will turn 31 this season. Ingram has two years left on a three-year contract he signed last offseason, but the Ravens do have a potential out next offseason. This is Hill’s season to prove to John Harbaugh what he can do, otherwise, the Ravens will be drafting a RB early in 2021. Given Edwards’ exclusive rights tender is for barely more than the league minimum, Hill should be expected to move past him on the depth chart.
RB ALEXANDER MATTISON – MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Mattison is a bull in a china shop playing behind one of the most oft-injured RBs in the league (Derrius Guice and Kenneth Dixon excluded) in Dalvin Cook. Cook has played in 30-of-48 games over the last three seasons, but in three of the games he did play in last year, he played less than 50% of snaps due to lingering injuries.
Cook is also entering the final year of his rookie deal, and while his time missed due to injury makes it unlikely he holds out this season, he very well could be looking at the franchise tag and hold out next year–all dependent on if he doesn’t miss extended time this season. Mattison also missed some time at the end of last season, but you can do a lot worse than securing the handcuff of an oft-injured workhorse on a team that wants to run first on every down.
Keep up with all these players rankings and ADP over on RotoHeat.com!