One of the biggest keys to successful roster construction is balance. It’s important to insure high ceiling players with solid floor options.
This go-around, however, I’m playing with potential. Behold, my All Breakouts Team.
All Breakouts Team:
QB: Kyler Murray
RB: Josh Jacobs
RB: Antonio Gibson
WR: Marquise Brown
WR: Bryan Edwards
TE: Mike Gesicki
Flex: Damien Harris
Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
The reigning AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, it could be argued that Murray has already broken out. Still, the doubters are equal parts plentiful and vocal. Fantasy’s seventh-most productive player at the position in 2019, Murray demonstrated legit dual-threat ability in his freshman effort. Averaging 5.8 YPC, the electric runner posted 544 rushing yards (34 yds/gm, QB2) and 4 rushing scores (QB4). His savvy as a passer also showed through, as he ripped off 26 money throws (QB3) and managed a true completion percentage above 70 percent. Perhaps more telling was the fact he completed 211 consecutive passes without an interception, all while throwing to a banged-up receiving corps and working behind a bottom-10 offensive line.
Heading into 2020, Murray’s already-high ceiling gets a boost with the addition of All-Pro talent DeAndre Hopkins. Murray also figures to benefit from the continuity provided by another year in Kliff Kingsbury’s creative and aggressive offensive scheme. Finally, Murray’s strength of schedule is absolute money. He’s the Yahoo Consensus QB5, a solid bet for over 4,000 passing yards, 500 rushing yards, and 30 total TDs.
Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders
Despite playing through a fractured shoulder since Week 7, Jacobs put together a solid rookie campaign (RB17, overall). In 2019, the Alabama product saw at least seven defenders in the box for over 53 percent of his carries. Additionally, he averaged an impressive 4.9 YPC when facing those stacked fronts. In 2020 he’ll reunite with his former college teammate Henry Ruggs, whose sub-4.3 speed will stretch the field and test the mettle of opposing DCs. Factor in the defensive attention needed to quell Bryan Edwards’ physicality and Darren Waller’s athleticism, and Jacobs’ light-front carry rate figures to spike.
While it would seem that an increased number of pass catchers — as well as the addition of 29-year-old receiving back Theo Riddick — could eat into Jacobs’ target share, John Gruden and Mike Mayock have both remained emphatic about the lead back’s expanded involvement in the passing game. Last year the 22-year-old drew a frustrating 2.2 looks per contest. Since then, however, the team has parted ways with DeAndre Washington, who gobbled up 40 looks.
As this offense adding the complementary pieces necessary to evolve and stay competitive within the AFC West, Jacobs’ evolution into every-down stud is well underway. FF: 1,680 scrimmage yards, 12 total TDs
Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Football Team
A three-sport athlete in high school, Gibson’s athletic profile is brimming with explosive upside. Grinding it out as a receiver in the JUCO ranks, Gibson arrived at Memphis in 2018 where he played both RB and WR. In his final year as a Tiger, the hybrid talent finished with 38 receptions (for 735 yards and 8 TDs) and 33 rushing attempts (for 369 yards and 4 TDs).
While he primarily lined up as a receiver in college, it’s expected that Gibson will contribute largely as a running back in Washington, especially given the abrupt departure of Derrius Guice. There’s no denying that Gibson is an electric player in possession of mind-bending elusiveness, contact balance, and big-play ability. After all, this is a talent who scored 14 touchdowns on only 77 offensive touches. Adrian Peterson and former Stanford standout Bryce Love figure to share the load, but Gibson’s versatility — which HC Ron Rivera recently compared to Christian McCaffrey’s — and fresh legs offer fantasy managers (and the Washington Football Team) more overall potential.
Gibson is a raw talent whose game is in need of reps, refinement, and patience, but his current competition is a 35-year-old or a fourth-round pick who has undergone numerous ACL post-surgical complications. Ultimately, Gibson has home-run potential and a coach that believes in him. That usually amounts to something … eventually.
Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens
The first WR selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, Brown was coming off of a Lisfranc injury at the start of his rookie campaign. Playing at less than 100 percent for the majority of the season, Hollywood’s production faded down the stretch, as he cleared 50 yards just once from Weeks 10-17. Still, he flashed almighty potential, reeling in four grabs over 40 yards and finding the end zone seven times on just 71 targets.
Reportedly back to full health after offseason surgery to remove a screw from his foot and up 23 pounds (to 180 from 157), Brown is set to showcase his immediate explosiveness and deep speed. If Mark Andrews is the Travis Kelce in this offense, then Brown is Tyreek Hill. Employing the role of field stretcher for the NFL’s highest-scoring team (64 total TDs in 2019), Brown is poised for a second-year breakout.
Overlooked due to recency bias, Hollywood is a player with top-20 potential (FF: 73-1,100-8) going outside the top-30 players at the position.
Bryan Edwards, WR, Las Vegas Raiders
On tape, what stands out the most about Edwards is his physicality. At 6-foot-3 and 212 pounds, he’s an imposing presence with solid game speed and strong hands. Utilizing terrific body control, he isn’t afraid to highpoint in traffic or box out DBs (just ask C.J. Henderson). There have been a few unfortunate focus drops, and he’s not the most agile dude on the field, but his ability to work all three levels of the defense makes him a venerable “X” or “big slot” receiver at the next level.
Similar in playing style to Brandon LaFell, Edwards is a productive and capable No. 2 that does the dirty work so that the star on the opposite side of the field can shine. It’s pretty obvious that the Raiders want that star to be their first-round selection, speedster Henry Ruggs. From a “one of these things is not like the other” standpoint, Edwards exists as a fantastic compliment to this offense, and also differentiates himself for fantasy purposes.
Even before Tyrell Williams was diagnosed with a torn labrum, Edwards was reportedly lighting it up in camp and developing quick chemistry with Derek Carr. Gruden has gone on the record about “fast-tracking” rookies, and, given this team’s receiving corps, there’s little reason to believe Edwards won’t climb his way up the depth chart. FF: 65-760-5
Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins
Consistently deployed out of the slot and utilized more as a receiver than a traditional tight end in 2019, Gesicki posted top-seven numbers in route participation (71.6%) and total targets (nearly six per game). That usage resulted in a 51-570-5 stat line and a top-11 fantasy finish. It also figures to stick as both Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns announced they were opting out of the 2020 season.
Considering the Dolphins used just one of their 11 draft picks to obtain a pass-catcher, Gesicki’s role in the offense and dominance as a deep threat (13 targets, TE3) should only grow. The 24-year-old’s obscene athleticism (97th percentile SPARQ) in tandem with the 176 vacated targets available in Miami makes him an ideal late-round target for fantasy managers choosing to wait on the position.
Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots
New England’s third-round pick from a year ago, Harris’ playing style may be more dependable than “extra,” but that’s on-brand for the Pats. Not only does he have the balance to stay upright and the power to push the pile, he’s also in possession of receiving chops, having been heavily used in the passing game at Alabama (22 grabs in 2018). With Sony Michel (foot) and Lamar Miller (knee) both absent from camp, Harris has been running with the ones and showing off his varied skill-set. James White continues to offer a solid floor to managers in PPR friendly leagues, but Harris has a real shot of emerging as the team’s RB1. Plus, his current 13th-round ADP carries zero risk.
How would you draft an All Breakouts Team? Let Liz know on social @LizLoza_FF.