Jarrett Stidham fantasy football: ESPN unveils 2020 projections for Patriots QB

Jarrett Stidham fantasy football: ESPN unveils 2020 projections for Patriots QB

Editor's note: This article was written before Cam Newton reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Patriots on Sunday, June 28. Check out Newton's updated fantasy outlook as a member of the Patriots here.

Fair or not, expectations are high for Jarrett Stidham entering the 2020 NFL season.

Tom Brady left the franchise in free agency after winning six Super Bowl titles during a marvelous 20-year run with the New England Patriots. The team will have a quarterback competition for the first time in nearly 20 years, and Stidham is the favorite to win the job.

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It's possible Stidham doesn't start the season, as veteran Brian Hoyer has a lot more experience. That said, the Patriots didn't select a QB in the 2020 NFL Draft and they haven't signed a notable veteran in free agency. So, it would appear they are confident in Stidham's chances of being a competent player this year.

There's no question Stidham is a wild card entering this year's fantasy football drafts. He's unlikely to be a fantasy QB1 who starts each week, but there's certainly a chance he's a good backup to use in bye week situations.

ESPN recently unveiled fantasy football projections for the 2020 season, and it doesn't rate Stidham very well. He's ranked No. 26 among quarterbacks. Here is ESPN's stat projections and analysis for the Patriots quarterback using its standard scoring format:

3,569 passing yards, 19 passing TD, 12 interceptions, 193 rushing yards, two rushing TD, 218.65 fantasy points

Tom Brady is out and Stidham is in as the Patriots' quarterback. The 2019 fourth-round pick attempted only four passes during his rookie season, though he did impress during the preseason by completing 61 of 91 attempts (67%) for 731 yards (8.0 YPA), four TDs and one INT, as well as 88 rushing yards. The 23-year-old was very conservative (7.7 aDOT) and protected the ball well (36 TD, 11 INT) during 27 starts at Auburn, which fits the mold of what Brady brought to the table in 2019. Stidham is obviously a huge unknown, and his supporting cast is average at best, so he's best viewed as a dynasty hold and lottery-ticket flier in 2QB season-long leagues.

We did not rank Stidham in our own 2020 fantasy football quarterback rankings (top 20 players) earlier this month.

One factor working in Stidham's favor is the improved health of the Patriots offensive line. This unit was battered by injuries last season, but it should be healthier and deeper in 2020. Veteran center David Andrews has been cleared to return after missing all of 2019 due to blood clots. Left tackle Isaiah Wynn also is ready to go after missing eight games last year. New England also selected three offensive linemen in the 2020 NFL Draft.

If the Patriots are able to protect Stidham and give him a chance to make multiple reads, he should be able to post stats that make him fantasy relevant. His arm strength and poise are impressive, and we know he'll be well coached with Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels working with him.

Fantasy football rankings 2020: Top 10 defenses in your draft

Fantasy football rankings 2020: Top 10 defenses in your draft

Defense wins championships.

That's the case in real football, and it also can be the case in fantasy football if you carefully select your D/ST unit during your fantasy draft. Sure, you could play the waivers game all season long and try to ride whatever defense is hot for those few weeks, but wouldn't you rather a D/ST you can rely on all year and not have to think twice about it?

Of course you would. That's why we're here to help by listing the defenses you should have your eyes on in your 2020 fantasy football draft. Here's a look at the top 10.

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1. Pittsburgh Steelers (Bye: Week 8)

Minkah Fitzpatrick completely revitalized the Steelers defense when he arrived in Pittsburgh last season. The Steelers D/ST unit finished with the second-most fantasy points at the position last year and with Fitzpatrick in the fold for a full year, it should have a solid chance at claiming the top spot in 2020.

2. San Francisco 49ers (Week 11)

The 49ers lost DeForest Buckner on the defensive line, but that loss shouldn't hurt too much as they gained Javon Kinlaw with the No. 14 overall pick in this year's draft. Throw in Nick Bosa, who had nine sacks, an interception, and a forced fumble his rookie year, and San Francisco again should be a top D/ST unit in 2020 after finishing with the third-most points last year.

3. Baltimore Ravens (Week 8)

The fourth-best D/ST unit last year should thrive again this time around, especially with rookie linebacker Patrick Queen added to the mix. Most of Baltimore's starters will return in 2020, which makes the Ravens a reliable option in fantasy once again.

4.  Buffalo Bills (Week 11)

Buffalo's D/ST unit is bound to improve in 2020 after a mediocre 12th-place finish in fantasy points last season. Adding Mario Addison via free agency and drafting Iowa's A.J. Epenesa should give the Bills a boost, and the secondary once again looks promising with veteran Josh Norman joining Tre'Davious White. Don't forget about Ed Oliver, who looked great in his rookie year.

5. New England Patriots (Week 6)

The Patriots had the best D/ST in fantasy last year and it wasn't all that close. This time around, they'll have to get the job done without key contributors like Dont'a Hightower, Patrick Chung, Kyle Van Noy and Jamie Collins. The offense is bound to take a giant step back without Tom Brady as well, which means production as a whole may dip. Expect the Patriots to be one of the better defenses in fantasy football again, but definitely be wary of regression.

6. New Orleans Saints (Week 6)

New Orleans' defense often gets slept on, but it really shouldn't. The Saints D/ST finished with the ninth-most fantasy points at the position last year thanks to guys like Marshon Lattimore, Cameron Jordan and Demario Davis. Former Eagles star Malcolm Jenkins will be in the fold this season now too. Expect this to be a top fantasy D/ST once again.

7. Los Angeles Rams (Week 9)

The Rams D/ST is a solid pick for your fantasy team, as you'll have two of the best defensive players in the game in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey helping you out each week. L.A. finished with the fifth-most defensive fantasy points last year and is positioned for success again in 2020.

8. Chicago Bears (Week 11)

Simply put, Chicago's defense was a major disappointment last season. It finished 20th among fantasy defenses in points and just wasn't the dominant Bears D/ST we've been accustomed to seeing. I don't expect a repeat of that this year. There are too many talented players -- Khalil Mack, Roquan Smith, and now Robert Quinn to name a few -- for this unit to be a letdown again in 2020.

9. Kansas City Chiefs (Week 10)

When you think of the Chiefs, you probably think of Patrick Mahomes and that high-powered offense, not what they do on defense. But don't overlook Kansas City's D, either. The Chiefs D/ST finished eighth in fantasy scoring at the position last year and should be even better this season. This is a solid under-the-radar pick in fantasy drafts this year if you can't get one of the top defenses on the board.

10. Los Angeles Chargers (Week 10)

Well, we originally had the Jets on here as the No. 10 defense, then they traded Jamal Adams and CJ Mosley opted out of the season. So the Chargers slot in as the new No. 10 D/ST with several intriguing contributors on the defensive side of the ball heading into 2020. They drafted Oklahoma standout linebacker Kenneth Murray in the first round and added veteran cornerback Chris Harris Jr. to an already-solid secondary. Having safety Derwin James and defensive end Joey Bosa in the mix doesn't hurt either. L.A. might not be the one of the first few D/ST options off your fantasy board, but that just means more chances for you to steal them in one of the last couple of rounds.

Fantasy football draft kit 2020: Rankings, cheat sheets to help win your league

Fantasy football draft kit 2020: Rankings, cheat sheets to help win your league

What makes fantasy football so great? It's actually fun to do your homework.

If you're reading this, you're looking to get a jump-start on preparing for your 2020 fantasy draft ahead of the NFL season. That means poring over the latest player rankings at each position, identifying potential sleepers and busts and developing the perfect draft strategy to lift you to fantasy glory.

Good news: You've come to the right place. Our 2020 fantasy football draft kit comes complete with all of the draft essentials -- the top 100 overall players, player rankings by position, etc. -- as well as other valuable insights about which players to target and avoid.

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So, what are you waiting for? Below is all of our 2020 draft content; dig in!





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