High Upside Mid-Round Picks for Best Ball Leagues (2020 Fantasy Football)
History is on Diontae Johnson’s side as the Steelers have a terrific track record of receivers breaking out in their sophomore campaign.
Whether you’re new to fantasy football or a seasoned pro, our Fantasy Football 101: Strategy Tips & Advice page is for you. You can get started with 10 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Fantasy Football Draft or head to more advanced strategy – like When is it Okay to Reach on Draft Day? – to learn more.
Supplementing your roster with players who have week-winning upside is essential in fantasy football. This is especially true in best-ball formats where we can live with the floor so long as the weekly ceiling for a specific player is there. The middle rounds of a draft are a great spot to swing for the fences, especially if you were able to grab some studs early on. Here we will look at some mid-round options that you can target for your best ball drafts.
Diontae Johnson (WR – PIT): ADP – 11th Round
Johnson will go overlooked in most drafts but all things considered, I would much prefer him to JuJu Smith-Schuster. Johnson had a solid rookie season that saw him lead Pittsburgh in targets, receptions, and touchdowns. History is on Johnson’s side as the Steelers have a terrific track record of receivers breaking out in their sophomore campaign. Hines Ward, Plaxico Burress, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, and Smith-Schuster are all in that group. With Ben Roethlisberger looking like he will be 100% heading into training camp, Johnson appears primed to join them. With an ADP outside the top-100, Johnson will be on almost all of my rosters.
DeVante Parker (WR – MIA): ADP – 7th Round
Parker finally broke out in 2019 with a 1200-yard season that saw him snatch nine touchdowns. Playing on a Miami team that was more competitive than anyone expected them to be, Parker was the centerpiece of the Dolphins’ offense. He was targeted a team-high 128 times and he played his best football down the stretch helping the Dolphins finish with a two-game winning streak. Parker was one of only two receivers to register 55 yards in 13 games last season (Michael Thomas was the other) giving owners remarkable consistency to go with his week-winning upside. With Ryan Fitzpatrick back for another year and Miami avoiding the wide receiver free agent pool, expect Parker to once again be peppered with targets. I like him as an upside WR2 who comes at a relative bargain in the 7 th round of drafts.
Curtis Samuel (WR – CAR): ADP – 9th Round
Post-hype sleepers are some of the best to invest in and Samuel certainly fits that bill. Coming off what most consider a disappointing 2019, Samuel didn’t live up to his lofty ADP last summer. Now he is falling in drafts and if you are looking for a mid-round upside flyer at receiver, you could do worse. A legit 4.3 burner, Samuel actually upped his production in receptions, yards, and targets last year. The problem is that he consistently played to his floor but some of that was due to spotty quarterback play. To wit: Of his 107 targets (a healthy number) just over 62% of them were catchable which ranked outside the top-100 among receivers. The arrival of Matt Rhule and Joe Brady – both of whom have a rich history of reclamation projects at the college level – combined with the signing of Teddy Bridgewater should buoy his production.
Raheem Mostert (RB – SF): ADP – 9th Round
Drafting Mostert assumes some risk because of a crowded 49ers backfield but beginning in Week 12, Mostert registered double-digit touches in every game through the Super Bowl. He racked up over 700 yards rushing and scored 13 touchdowns over his last nine games (including playoffs) making his case as a player with week-winning upside that goes with a sneaky solid floor. Yes, the trio of Jeff Wilson, Jerick McKinnon, and Tevin return but Mostert has touchdown equity and those other backs have had their share of struggles. This seems like a spot where the public will largely be fading Mostert making him the perfect mid-round running back to target. You can draft him as an RB3 but don’t be surprised if he returns RB1 value some weeks.
Kareem Hunt (RB – CLE): ADP – 5th Round
A three-down running back who excels in the passing game, Hunt has plenty of standalone value heading into 2020 despite being behind Chubb on the Brown’s depth chart. In just eight games last season, Hunt racked up 37 receptions on 44 targets making him usable as a weekly flex play in PPR. The fact Hunt finished the season fourth on the team in targets in half a season is part of the reason Hunt could prove to be the better back to own. The other more obvious reason is, if Chubb were to miss time for injury, Hunt would find himself with a massive workload. While I hate to bet on that type of thing, the reality of the position leaves us with the potential to exploit inefficiencies in draft capital. There are few players in this range that offer his top-10 upside and buying in the middle rounds could be a profitable strategy, especially if you stack wide receivers early on.
Daniel Jones (QB – NYG): ADP – 11th Round
Jones had an up and down rookie season after replacing Eli Manning in Week 4. He turned in four weeks last season where he was a top-3 fantasy quarterback but also had an equal number of weeks where he scored 10 points or less. Still, there is a lot to like about Jones at his ADP as the week-winning upside is definitely here. The Giants have assembled some weapons around him in the passing game and it certainly helps to have Saqoun Barkely lining up next to him. There is also this: The Giants were eighth in the league in pass attempts in 2019 despite starting a rookie at quarterback for much of the year. I look for Jones to continue to have plenty of opportunities to rack up fantasy points so targeting him as an upside quarterback option makes a lot of sense. Invest with confidence.
Tyler Higbee (TE – LAR): ADP – 11th Round
Higbee finished 2019 on a tear with 432 yards on 43 receptions over his final five games. Extrapolating is a dangerous game but over the course of a 16-game season, Higbee would have been been on pace to be the TE1. The Rams offense should continue to be pass-heavy (Jared Goff led the NFL in attempts last year) and the departure of Brandin Cooks, and to a lesser extent, Todd Gurley should stabilize his market share of targets. Higbee is being drafted as a lower-tier TE1 and he makes a terrific option for anyone who misses out on the top three options at the position.
Subscribe: iTunes | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | SoundCloud | TuneIn | RSS
Jason Kamlowsky is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jason, check out his archive and follow him on Twitter @JasonKamlowsky.