During the 2019 Fantasy Football season, Lamar Jackson finished as the No. 1 quarterback and Chris Godwin ranked as the No. 2 wide receiver. Jackson's average draft position was 135.3 (QB18) and Godwin's was 48 (WR20).
What's the lesson here? Sometimes your best player can come outside of the first round. While the top 10 or 12 picks are always considered to be the heart of a fantasy roster, but there is always the chance of finding a diamond in the rough and getting top value outside of the first round or two.
When it comes to this fantasy season, here are some candidates.
Preseason rankings: Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers | Tight Ends | Defense/Special Teams | Top Rookies | 10 sleepers and breakouts | Tips for a perfect draft | Players to avoid drafting early
Note: The assumption is that the draft one is in is a maximum of 12-teams, which is how "rounds" will be determined.
QB - Kyler Murray - Arizona Cardinals (ADP: 55.5, QB6)
- 2019 stats: Passing: 3722, 20 TDs, 12 INTs; Rushing: 544 Yds, 4 TDs
- 2019 points: 297.28 (QB7)
Like Jackson in 2019, Murray enters 2020 with high expectations in Year 2. Unlike Jackson, Murray had a larger body of work in his rookie year and showed that he is already a rather polished passer. There are already higher expectations for him, especially with the addition of DeAndre Hopkins, but Murray has a legitimate chance to place as one of the top point scorers at his position.
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There's a chance that Kingsbury could get even more creative with Murray's rushing talents for his sophomore campaign, which is even better for fantasy owners. Murray is already in the top tier of QBs, but you can still get him near the fourth or fifth round, or maybe later. If he ends up making the leap, he could become your biggest weapon.
QB - Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons (ADP: 79.0, QB10)
- 2019 stats: Passing: 4466, 26 TDs, 14 INTs
- 2019 points: 281.34 (QB11)
Ryan is a consistent option at quarterback, and he could be a tremendous value pick in 2020. Going in the middle rounds, there's a chance he outplays that draft position based on the way the offense is set up. With Gurley in the backfield, he still has an option for checkdowns. Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Hayden Hurst are great targets to have down the field as well.
Atlanta could become a pass-heavy offense depending on how Gurley's knee holds up, giving Ryan plenty of volume to work with. Ryan is already a valid QB1 option with the potential to be a top scorer by the end of the year.
RB - Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles (ADP: 21.0, RB13)
- 2019 stats: Rushing: 818 Yds, 3 TDs; Receiving: 76 Rec, 509 Yds, 3 TDs
- 2019 points: 168.7 (RB15)
Running back is a hard position to find value at after the first few rounds, as the top guys go quickly. The surprise scorers are usually backups or rookies who take on a bigger role that no one really saw coming. Still, there's a chance running back now in the top 10 at the position could rise up.
Sanders is a strong candidate, as things look to be in his favor in Philadelphia's backfield. A confusing committee in the past, Sanders looks to be the guy to get the bulk of the carries and opportunities out of the backfield. Jordan Howard is also no longer around to vulture touchdown in the red zone.
WR - Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers (ADP: 51.0, WR 20)
- 2019 stats: 104 rec, 1199 Yds, 6 TDs
- 2019 points: 157.5 (WR11)
Allen is more talented than his draft position, and his past numbers support it. I think the reason he is slipping is due to the situation at quarterback. Justin Herbert is the future, but until he's ready, Tyrod Taylor could be under center. Neither will give Allen the volume Rivers has in the past, hurting his initial stock.
However, Allen is a darn good receiver and there's a chance that his ability to get open makes life easier for the passer. If Herbert progresses early or Taylor becomes consistent, he could easily play above his projections.
TE - Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons (ADP: 120.0, TE13)
- 2019 stats: 30 receptions, 349 yards, 2 TDs
- 2019 points: 46.9 (TE 34)
Like with running backs, the best tight ends are the best tight ends. This means the guys at the top of the draft boards are the ones who typically end up scoring the most points.
Still, Hurst is a sneaky option for your draft day. A first round pick when he came into the leave, he was expected to be the main catalyst in Baltimore's passing game, but then Mark Andrews took over. Now in Atlanta, he'll be the No. 1 tight end in an offense that loves to throw the ball.
Austin Hooper showed what a tight end can do in that offense, and Hurst could be next in line.
All stats via FantasyPros