The NFL preseason is here, giving fantasy football fans their first look at what the upcoming NFL season might look like.
A strong fantasy lineup always comes out of making bets on the future of players. Scanning for tips on under-the-radar players is step-one to blowing up your league.
Then, when your underrated picks wishlist is polished off and ready to go — preferably with potential busts weeded out — it’s time to look for players poised for a breakout 2019-29 NFL season.
Will Fuller’s improving health could pay off
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson comes highly recommended as a fantasy pick, and it’s in no small part due to wide receiver Will Fuller looking healthy at training camp.
Fuller’s chemistry with Watson was an initial worry, but Watson himself says things are improving fast. With so few games played, they simply need time to develop rapport as players. Progress looks to be moving quickly on that front.
Fuller’s torn ACL played a big part in him appearing in only 17 of 48 possible games in his NFL career so far. In those appearances, he tallied 60 receptions, for 926 total yards and 11 touchdowns. Look for him to have a monster year if he can stay healthy.
DJ Moore could shine in Devin Funchess’ absence
In 2018, WR DJ Moore totaled 960 yards on 68 catches. This is in the context of Cam Newton’s shoulder injury leading to a depressed overall offensive performance for the Panthers.
With Devin Funchess off of the team, Moore will get the opportunity to bolster his resume. More passes are going his way in 2019-20. He deserves it, after only one drop on 82 targets and averaging 7.7 yards after the catch in his rookie season.
Dante Pettis game film points to a strong season
This 49ers WR averaged 17.3 yards per grab in his rookie season. Fantasy owners might typically avoid overvaluing that statistic over the small sample size of just one season, but it’s still worth taking note of.
The real key is in the signs of upcoming improvement seen in Pettis’ film. QB Jimmy Garoppolo is also looking on track in training camp, so this is an offense that shouldn’t be underrated.
Rumors point to Marlon Mack getting more work
Colts running back Marlon Mack is rumored to have a bump up in his role. Despite just 10 games of work, Mack ranked 15th in good-blocking carries in the 2018-19 season. That explains why the Colts are interested in giving him a three-down workload.
This vote of confidence could see Mack bumped up to RB1 levels when just a few months ago he was usually assumed to be a low-tier RB2. He has all the makings of a strong player that simply hasn’t had the opportunities to show what he’s really made of.
Baker Mayfield’s fantasy-friendly offense
Last season, QB Baker Mayfield was a backup. By the end of that year, he was a breakout star with a bright future and one of the most talked-about new faces in the NFL. He led the NFL in deep completions per game, catapulting him to one of the top 10 QBs in fantasy.
He’s likely to be underrated for 2019-20 due to his inexperience and the general distaste fantasy owners often have for hyped players, so consider the pieces around him in the new Browns offense.
He has a full offseason to develop his strategic abilities with play-caller Freddie Kitchens. His training camp work with WR Odell Beckham is leading to great results on and off the field. These ingredients are likely to push Mayfield beyond expectations and towards a major breakout season.