The NFL draft is in two months and fantasy football drafts are closer to seven months away. However, it’s never too early to speculate on potential breakout players. Here are three players that should be on everyone’s radar as the season slowly approaches.
Three Fantasy Football Breakout Candidates for 2019
Aaron Jones, Running Back, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Jones enjoyed a mini-breakout in 2018, though ex-head coach Mike McCarthy did everything in his power to prevent it. After his early-season PED suspension was up, he carried the ball 133 times for 728 yards and eight touchdowns. He boasted a hefty 5.5 yards-per-carry, but for some reason, McCarthy refused to make him a workhorse. Jamaal Williams carried the ball 121 times with a miserable 3.8 yards-per-carry.
McCarthy is gone now. In is Matt LaFleur, former Los Angeles Rams and Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator. LaFleur was the coordinator behind Todd Gurley‘s breakout 2017 season, in which he gained over 2000 yards from scrimmage and totaled 19 touchdowns. Jones’ breakout may not be to that extent, but he’s a fair bet for 1200 rushing yards and 10-plus touchdowns. He has RB1 potential, and should be a second-round pick in fantasy drafts.
Stat Prediction: 240 carries, 1250 rushing yards, 35 receptions, 265 receiving yards, 12 total touchdowns.
Chris Godwin, Wide Receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Many pegged Chris Godwin as a 2018 breakout candidate, but he didn’t fully deliver on that front. There were too many mouths to feed in Tampa Bay’s offense. In a limited role, he still managed 824 yards and seven touchdowns on 59 receptions. Godwin is a physical receiver with plus speed to go with a large frame. He stands 6’1″ and weighs 210 lbs. He makes contested catches and is a solid, if not excellent route runner for his size.
Buccaneers receiver DeSean Jackson is likely headed for greener pastures. This will open up the field and provide Godwin with more opportunity and targets. He will also benefit from playing opposite star wideout Mike Evans, who regularly faces double teams. Tampa Bay has a potential two-headed monster of physical downfield receivers in Godwin and Evans. Godwin has WR2 potential and should go in the middle rounds of fantasy drafts.
Stat Prediction: 120 targets, 75 catches, 1050 yards, 11 touchdowns.
Dante Pettis, Wide Receiver, San Francisco 49ers
Dante Pettis flashed big play ability throughout his rookie season despite subpar quarterback play. From weeks 12-14 he totaled 12 catches for 255 yards and four touchdowns. He’s an absolute burner with a ton of downfield potential. He averaged an impressive 17.3 yards-per-reception in 2018, and that was with a quarterback combination of C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens.
The 49ers $137 million man, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo should be fully recovered from a torn ACL by the time training camp rolls around. Pettis stands to benefit greatly from his return, as do all the 49ers’ playmakers. The offense as a whole has solid breakout potential, and second-year receivers often make a tremendous leap. Pettis will most likely be the second most targeted pass-catcher in San Francisco, behind tight end George Kittle. He has high-end flex potential and should be a middle-late round pick in all fantasy drafts.
Stat Prediction: 80 targets, 55 catches, 920 yards, 10 touchdowns
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