5 potential rookie fantasy breakouts 2020. The Counselor gives you some solid rookies to target in your draft that could break out this season.
Welcome to the show, everybody. Joseph Robert, The Fantasy Football Counselor. In this video, we’re talking about five rookie fantasy breakouts for 2020. Excited to dive in this list here for you. I want to make you aware the running backs and the wide receivers I’m going to mention here, I’m leaving quarterbacks out. I’m just talking running back and wide receivers with these five fantasy breakouts here. I’m leaving out some of the main obvious names guys like Jonathan Taylor and guys like Clyde Edwards-Helaire. I wouldn’t even say they’re obvious, but there are guys that are on everybody’s radar and being drafted very early in fantasy drafts. I’m digging a little bit deeper here and giving you five fantasy breakouts that are rookies, okay?
Excited to dive in this episode, because I think a lot of people need to be aware of this. I think a lot of people need to dig deeper into their drafts because sometimes the obvious person for like … for example, a guy like Clyde Edwards-Helaire may not break out, right? You got to take a look at other guys potentially as well. I’ve got five names here I’m excited about that I’m excited to dive into. Before I get into that, guys, make sure you guys get the 16 Rounds Draft Solution at thefantasyfootballcounselor.com.
1. Cam Akers
The first guy I want to talk about here is Cam Akers. Listen, Cam Akers average ADP in regards to … because I do a lot of mock drafts, okay? In regards to his ADP, he’s coming off in around the fifth round. Now a lot of people in your league may not know who he is and maybe sleeping on him, okay? But Cam Akers is in a prime position to succeed with the Rams. Now the Rams may get knocked a little bit on their O-line, but the fact of the matter is he is in a prime position to succeed. Listen, Darrell Henderson did nothing last year. Absolutely nothing. I’m going to pull up his stats. I think he had like what? 39 attempts. I’m looking at it right now. Todd Gurley had 223 attempts. Malcolm Brown, 69 attempts. Darrell Henderson, 39. Now I talk to my Rams, the guy that’s helping with Fan to Fan. He’s going to be looking after the Rams. I spoke with him and I’m like, “Hey, man. What do you think of this committee?” He’s like, “Man, listen. It all comes down to pass protection. You got to look at Cam Akers. If he can protect, do some good pass protection, and protect the quarterback, we’re in a good situation.” It’s going to come down to that. It’s going to come down to training. It’s going to come down to the hot hand. Malcolm Brown has had years to wow us and we’re not wowed, but he’s got really good pass protection, right? He’s a safe player that the Rams may lean on if they need that player if Cam Akers doesn’t emerge. But listen, he’s set for a prime season and here’s what’s really attractive with him completely. Now he played behind the O-line of Florida State, which really kind of sucked. 5’10”, 215, really good size for a workhorse running back. He had 231 attempts, over a thousand yards, 1,144 yards on the ground, 14 touchdowns. He still managed to get 30 receptions and four receiving touchdowns.
Now what I like about him aside from him being a workhorse in college his last year is again, he put those numbers up behind a totally mediocre O-line. Not only that, Rams, but that was also their first pick. The Rams picked him first in the second round. Their first pick was in the second round in the NFL draft, and they went with Cam Akers. That shows a lot of faith and that shows that the need and the void there. They also got rid of Todd Gurley confidently. When I look at the situation, I’m like, “Hmm, they got rid of Todd Gurley pretty confidently. They must have had their eye on Cam Akers because he was a top-five running back prospect heading into the NFL season here as a draft prospect.” I look at Cam Akers, I’m like, “This is really exciting. Malcolm Brown used to wow me. I’m not wowed. Darrell Henderson, they didn’t really believe in him last year. Only 39 attempts, 147 yards, 3.8 yards per carry. Just wasn’t utilized. If they did believe in Darrell Henderson, they wouldn’t even acquire Cam Akers.”
“Listen, we got Darrell Henderson. We believe in him. We’re not … ” No, it wasn’t like that. Their first pick guys, the GMs, the owners, they sat down and said, “This guy looks good. We’re going to utilize him. There’s a void now of 223 attempts from Todd Gurley last season.” Now Todd Gurley was not utilized properly, right? He was preserved is the word I’m trying to find here. He didn’t really get going till mid- to late-season. That’s why he only had 223 attempts. I’m expecting more than 250 attempts at least to be available for a workhorse running back if Cam Akers runs away with the job and I think he could. A potential breakout that you can get in the fifth round as part of a robust RB strategy.
Let’s say you go Saquon. Let’s say you go Jacobs. Let’s say you go Fournette. Then you go Cam Akers, okay? As your fourth running back, and a part of a robust RB strategy, that is phenomenal. You’ve got the ceiling and you’re not risking too much. You’re already locked in with your three running backs prior to him. He’s your fourth running back. You’re going to feel really good, okay? Cam Akers, a first potential breakout in regards to a rookie player for fantasy.
2. Justin Jefferson
The second player here I’m looking at, won’t work dive into too much detail, but with wide receivers, there’s always a bit of a crapshoot, always a bit of a risk. Now I’ve got three wide receivers here on the list. I’m going to list them off here. Not in any order, but not in an order of priority. The guy I like here is Justin Jefferson. Now I’ll tell you why I like Justin Jefferson. He is in a position to succeed. That’s the next guy I really want to talk about. He’s in a prime position to succeed. Why is that? Well, I’ll tell you. Stefon Diggs is no longer on the Vikings anymore. He’s in a prime position to succeed. Mind you, he’s with LSU, got the ball from Joe Burrow. Is Cousins going to be a major upgrade? It’s the NFL. It’s a different speed, a different pace. They’ve got Thielen there. That’s probably going to draw double coverage. Now, if you look at Diggs last year, had an off-year. He was demanding the ball, didn’t get it. Only 94 targets, 63 receptions, six touchdowns. Now he’s going to be a plug and play here. They had other guys there that just didn’t really do it. Laquon Treadwell for years. He’s not going to be there anymore. Chad Beebe, these guys don’t matter, okay? These guys are not relevant.
What matters is that they drafted this guy with their first pick, 22nd overall in the first round. They believe in Justin Jefferson. This guy is the next guy on my list here and I love him. I love him as a potential breakout. He’s a wide receiver so I am a little concerned but you get this guy for super value. You get him for cheap, probably after the seventh, eighth round, okay? You can get this guy. Again, you’re going to basically get him as your WR 2/3, probably more like a 3 on your team with some major, major upside, okay? The ceiling is there. Now don’t look at Diggs’ last year as a benchmark for the expectations of the volume. Now, if you look at 2018 Diggs, which is … Jefferson, he’s supposedly going to go in and plugin for Diggs. Diggs had 150 targets for 102 receptions. I think the Vikings were down on the passing game a little bit last year. Cook ran the ball a lot, but I think this year they’re going to throw more. They’ve got Jefferson, they’re going to groom him, they’re going to work him. Hopefully, he becomes that breakout player that I like.
3. Chase Claypool
Next guy on the list, no particular order, Chase Claypool. I love this guy. I love the upside. I love the ceiling and I love more than anything the opportunity with this guy, okay? What’s appealing with this guy is that he was picked up in the second round with the first pick of the Steelers. Again, Steelers, big organization, they know how to pick wide receivers. They’ve had some really good wide receivers on their team.
You look at a guy, 6’4″, 238, and you’re like, “Oh, my God. This is kind of exciting here.” And they get Big Ben’s there, right? Big Ben likes that big body receiver, and there really isn’t another wide receiver too. They got Diontae Johnson, who I think could line up on the outside with Claypool. You got JuJu in the slot and this could be really exciting. If you guys remember, I may sound like a broken record, but I keep repeating the stat because it’s very important. Big Ben actually led in passing attempts and passing yards in 2018 and made both JuJu and Antonio Brown top 10 receivers. 168 targets to Antonio. 166 to JuJu. There’s a void there. Someone’s got to catch the ball. Chase Claypool could be that guy and you get him for literally free. Big fantasy football sleeper with a major breakout potential. Again, what’s really appealing is his talent, the opportunity, and of course, he was the first pick of the Steelers. He was picked up very quickly by them in the second round so I’m excited. I’m really excited about the 6’4″, 230 plus-pound Chase Claypool. Very excited, potential breakout.
4. Michael Pittman
Next guy here. Another receiver I’m really excited about. Again, I don’t get excited about wide receivers, but what really excites me is that these guys are being picked up very early by the teams. There’s void in the opportunities there for these guys because who the quarterback is, the volume, the attempts and that void they’re filling in for a potential receiver that’s not there, right? The next guy is Michael Pittman. Guys, I love this guy. Picked up in the second round with the first pick of the Colts again.
Now again, what’s really appealing … Oh, by the way, Jefferson 1,540 yards in college. 18 touchdowns, 15 games. When you look at Claypool over a thousand yards, 66 receptions, 13 touchdowns. We look at Pittman, 101 receptions, 1,274 yards, 11 touchdowns. These guys can get it done. All over a thousand-yard receiving yard receivers. This is really exciting, okay? Again these guys were picked with the first pick for that team. The end, there’s a void and opportunity if you look at who’s throwing the ball, right? Not so excited about Jefferson when you look at what he’s done with Diggs back in 2018. He made digs a pretty good receiver and Thielen, but then you look at Big Ben with Chase Claypool, now you’re looking at Philip Rivers with a nice O-line and Pittman’s a plug and play. I’m not really sold on Parris Campbell. Hilton/Pittman could be a great connection here. These guys lining up on the sides and you’ve got Philip Rivers throwing the ball, who’s got a chip on his shoulder. A lot of people saying he’s washed up. Look for him to play angry this year and Michael Pittman’s going to be a beneficiary. What I like again, I’m not high on wide receivers, but I keep saying this: I love the value of these guys. You get them for free. Get Chase Claypool, Pittman put them on your bench, one of these guys, potential breakout, really exciting stuff. Absolutely love them, okay?
5. AJ Dillon
Next guy here: Let’s go to a running back. Now there’s a couple of running backs I like later that are free you can get that have potential breakout potential. McFarland for the Steelers. You got Moss for the Buffalo Bills. You got Joshua Kelly and now you got AJ Dillon. The guy I’m going to talk about here is AJ Dillon. Why I like him, why the opportunity is there. Now I don’t like this guy as a guy you get early. I don’t like this guy for a high ceiling, but I do like the potential breakout and probably later in dynasty leagues. I’ll tell you why. The guy’s a monster, right? In college, great numbers. Last year, 318 attempts out of Boston College, 5.3 yards per carry, 14 touchdowns. No slouch catching too. Caught 13 receptions for 195 yards. Not spectacular, but he can catch the ball if he needs to. Big boy, man. Six foot, 240 pounds plus. I like the upside. Now here’s the thing. Aaron Jones is due for a contract. Will they pay him? That’s a big question. I doubt it. A lot of these teams are bringing in guys like Johnathan Taylor, who I also like as a breakout. But he’s more of an obvious guy so I kept them out of here.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire. They’re bringing these guys because, “Hey, man, why pay an Aaron Jones when I can get a guy like AJ Dillon, who could actually outperform him potentially and not pay him? I can get him through his rookie deal there, right?” Aaron Jones last year, 236 attempts, had a pinnacle year. Jamaal Williams still there, 107 attempts for him. We have over 335, 340 plus attempts available to be had. Now, Aaron Jones here’s the thing with him. Had a pinnacle year last year, 16 touchdowns, which means they get to that end zone and they plug it in. They pound it in. They’re going to be using AJ Dillon to pound the ball in a lot. That’s my prediction here. Not only that, but they also drafted him in the second round with their second pick after they drafted quarterback Love there. I’m looking at this. I’m thinking, “Okay, this guy could be the future running back workhorse for the Green Bay Packers. They’re not just going to keep them on the bench. They’re going to integrate him and ride the hot hand if AJ Dillon decides that he wants to take off.” He could be a bench guy, but I don’t see that. I see him getting worked. They invested way too high draft capital in him and I just definitely see him being used near the goal line.
Aaron Jones, again, 16 rushing touchdowns. I think they’re going to use Dillon near the goal line so look for Aaron Jones’s volume to at least be cut in half when you’re looking at the goal line and a major significant decline to Aaron Jones is here. Not to mention Aaron Jones, out of the three seasons he’s played, he’s only finished one season only playing 12 games in the first two seasons of his career, showing some signs of injuries in the past. Again, coming off a pinnacle year, looking for a decline and looking for AJ Dillon to step up and probably be the primary franchise running back of the Green Bay Packers, okay?
There you have it. Cam Akers, Justin Jefferson, Chase Claypool, Michael Pittman, AJ Dillon, five names for you guys you can get. You can call them rookie sleepers, whatever you want to call them. But listen, these guys are due for a breakout season. They’re in a position to potentially break out as rookie fantasy players and you can get them for super great fantasy value with a high ceiling. There you have it, guys. Make sure you guys get the 16 Rounds Draft Solution where I go over all these players, sleepers, breakouts, everything you need at thefantasyfootballcounselor.com. Follow the Twitch channel for Fan to Fan Network below or go follow FTFN on Twitch or Fan to Fan Network on Instagram. Guys, also, if you’re not following me on social, I’m on Tiktok, I’m everywhere at Fantasy Football Counselor. You’re doing yourself a disservice. We’re having a lot of fun on those channels. Make sure you guys are following everywhere. Thanks for being here, guys, and I’m out.
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