The All Breakout Fantasy Team – June Edition
QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE
The following are seven players that look strong to have a breakout season for 2019.
Quarterback | Baltimore Ravens
Entering his second season in the NFL, former Louisville quarterback and first-round draft pick Lamar Jackson looks to lead the Baltimore Ravens offense. After landing behind veteran quarterback Joe Flacco, Jackson started off the season on the bench and ended up starting in seven games in 2018. This off-season, we saw the Denver Broncos sign Flacco, leaving the starting role to Jackson. He proved to be more than capable during his time as a starter, as his record was 6-1 in his seven starts. Despite losing his first playoff game to the Chargers, Jackson definitely looked promising in his time as a starter, and has a bright future ahead of him with the Ravens.
We all know the upside that rushing quarterbacks have in fantasy football, and Jackson is no exception. As someone who was known for doing damage on the ground as a rusher, that ability was on display last year as he finished the season with 147 carries for 695 yards and five touchdowns. Quarterbacks in the NFL that have the rushing ability can offer some serious upside for fantasy football purposes.
With Flacco out of town and Jackson looking to take the reigns of that offense, he is a prime breakout candidate for 2019. His 16 game pace is promising and that offense as a whole is heading in the right direction. The running back additions of veteran Mark Ingram and rookie Justice Hill brings a strong tandem to the running game behind a solid offensive line. Drafting Marquise “Hollywood” Brown with the 25th overall pick in the NFL Draft is promising for that offense as well. I wasn’t crazy about Brown as a prospect, but it’s clear the Ravens are looking to add a ton of speed and explosiveness on that offense with rookies Brown and Hill. They also have a couple talented second-year tight ends with Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst. All signs are pointing to a potentially electric offense in Baltimore, and Jackson is the head of that offense.
Running Back | Detroit Lions
Heading into the 2019 season, one of my favorite breakout candidates for fantasy football is the former Auburn running back, Kerryon Johnson. After being drafted in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Lions found themselves with a couple of veteran backs in LeGarrette Blount and Theo Riddick to pair with the new rookie. In 2019, the Lions will no longer have Blount but do have Riddick signed for another year.
In just seven starts in 2018, Johnson was very efficient on the ground and through the receiving game. He finished the season with 118 carries for 641 yards and three touchdowns, good for an efficient 5.4 YPC. He also caught 32 of 39 passes for 213 receiving yards and a touchdown. Johnson ended up starting in seven games, and played in ten games total after suffering a knee injury late in the season.
In 2018 Blount totaled 154 carries for 418 yards, good for an abysmal 2.7 YPC. He also totaled five rushing touchdowns over the season. With Blount no longer in Detroit and Johnson on pace to be fully ready for the 2019 season, he has a major role ahead of him. With the potential volume available to him, Johnson has legitimate RB1 upside for 2019.
Running Back | Green Bay Packers
Entering his third season in the NFL, running back Aaron Jones finds himself in a position with good upside. Over his first two seasons, he’s been a part of a committee with Jamaal Williams and played in 12 games in each season. The talent has not been an issue for Jones, as his biggest issue has been his health. The upside is there, but he also has a low ceiling as he could end up missing time with injuries and splitting the backfield with Williams.
Jones definitely comes with some risk and is the RB15 according to the latest FantasyPros ADP. He’s the 28th player off the board, making him an early third round pick. Using a third-round pick in redraft leagues on Jones comes with risk, but the upside can’t be ignored. If he can stay healthy, he offers high-end RB2 upside in 2019.
Wide Receiver | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
One of the most popular breakout candidates of 2019, and rightfully so, is the third-year wide receiver in Tampa Bay, Chris Godwin. With DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries both out of town, there are plenty of targets to go around and Mike Evans can only get so many of them. Jackson finished the year with 74 targets and Humphries had 105. Godwin finished the 2018 season with 95 targets and started to come on towards the end of the season. Godwin isn’t just in a good situation to be fantasy-relevant, but he’s a very talented receiver and was a highly touted prospect out of Penn State. Landing in Tampa Bay was less than ideal as there are so many mouths to feed, but 2019 is the perfect scenario for Godwin.
With Evans on the outside, Godwin looks to thrive out of the slot. O.J. Howard is a rare specimen who requires a great deal of attention from opposing defenders and Cameron Brate is also a favorite target for Jameis Winston. Opposing defenses will need to focus on Evans and Howard, leaving Godwin as the guy to feast on short-yardage plays. There are definitely still a lot of mouths to feed in Tampa Bay, but it would take an injury for Godwin not to get significant volume in 2019. The price tag on Godwin is getting high, but it is absolutely deserved.
Wide Receiver | Detroit Lions
Another Detroit Lions player that is primed for a breakout season in 2019, is the third-year wide receiver, Kenny Golladay. After starting in just five games as a rookie in 2017 due to a hamstring injury, Golladay started in in 13 games last year and played in 15 total games, missing just the season finale with a chest injury. He ended up finishing as the WR21 in PPR scoring in 2018 with 70 grabs on 115 targets for 1,093 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
Golden Tate played for seven games in Detroit last year and finished with 44 catches on 69 targets for 517 yards and three touchdowns. From Week 9 – Week 16, Golladay totaled 75 targets, 40 receptions, and two touchdowns. He had three games with double-digit targets, two games with 100+ receiving yards, and the majority of his fantasy points came after Tate was traded. With Tate out of town and the only other main threat to take away targets being Marvin Jones, Golladay has a chance to take a big step forward in 2019 and make his way towards high-end WR2 territory, or better.
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Wide Receiver | Chicago Bears
Heading into the 2018 season, wide receiver Anthony Miller was someone I liked to potentially make an impact as a rookie. Miller was a fairly highly-touted prospect with excellent college production and good measurables. Out of Memphis, Miller was the fifth wide receiver off the board in the 2018 NFL Draft. In an offense led by Mitchell Trubisky and play-caller Matt Nagy, there is a lot of upside for fantasy purposes with the weapons Chicago has.
As a rookie, Miller led the Bears with seven touchdowns and spent most of his time working the slot. Miller had apparently been playing through a shoulder injury that he suffered in Week 3. He also hauled in five touchdowns inside the red zone last year on just seven receptions. The Bears drafted Riley Ridley fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, but otherwise it looks to be just Allen Robinson as the only real competition to take targets away from Miller. I’m not a Ridley fan and expect Miller to be ready for Week 1. The targets need to increase, but as the slot receiver in that offense, coming back healthy will keep him on the field more and I expect Nagy to get him more involved. Miller has a great chance to take a big step forward in 2019.
Tight End | Pittsburgh Steelers
As we all know, the tight end position is a bit of a mess after the three elite tight ends of Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and Zach Ertz. There are a few good options after that with guys like O.J. Howard and Evan Engram, but most all of the deeper tight end options come with concern in some shape or form. One of the later round guys that I’ve found myself targeting for the 2019 season is Vance McDonald. Between McDonald and Jesse James, these tight ends in Pittsburgh have been tough to choose who will put up points consistently, and now James is in Detroit.
In 2018, McDonald finished as the TE10 on the season and that was largely due to the lack of points scored by tight ends last year. He was the number ten tight end in fantasy with just 50 receptions, 610 yards, and four touchdowns. He quietly had a fairly productive season, but wasn’t someone you could trust on a weekly basis. James finished the 2018 season with 30 receptions, 423 yards, and two touchdowns. With Antonio Brown headed to Oakland and James to Detroit, those two alone totaled 208 targets.
As someone who just finished as a TE1, McDonald has a great opportunity ahead of him and could easily repeat this production. The Steelers offense is a whole new animal now that Brown and LeVeon Bell are no longer apart of it, but it still should be a pass-first offense led by Ben Roethlisberger who will throw plenty. McDonald is going fairly under the radar so far this off-season. He has TE1 upside and is a great one to target as a late-round guy if you’re punting the tight end position this year.
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