Happy Independence Day weekend everyone! While you spend these next few days soaking up all the freedom you can get, let’s dive back into some breakout players that owners should be watching closely in fantasy drafts this summer.
First, a quick DISCLAIMER: These picks are made base on PPR Fantasy Football scoring formats and are players who I believe are ready to take a big leap in their new offensive situations in 2019.
As the term “breakout” would imply, players who have reached a 1,000 rushing-yard season (at least once) in their career have been eliminated from consideration.
Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions
This pick should come as a surprise to no one. After entering the league last season as a second-round pick for the Detroit Lions, Kerryon Johnson piqued the interest of fantasy owners by flashing his multi-tool skill set time and time again. This year, he’s got a shot to be a PPR gold mine in his sophomore campaign.
At the age of just 21 years old, Johnson’s rookie year was cut short after suffering a knee injury in Week 11, ending his 2018 season .
Johnson was as good as advertised before the injury, albeit in limited fashion (played just 51 percent of snaps in 2018). On-pace to top over 1,300 total scrimmage yards, the former Auburn Tiger was putting-up borderline RB1 numbers. His 13.9 fantasy points per game, over the course of an entire season, would have had him finish as fantasy’s overall RB10 right behind Joe Mixon.
As a player who caught 32 passes last season at an 85 percent clip, Johnson provides exceptional value in PPR formats coming into 2019.
As the rest of the league reconstructs their offense to a pass-heavy approach, new Lions’ OC Darrell Bevell plans to do just the opposite in Detroit. When addressing the media in late-May, Bevell made it clear that he plans to pound the rock.
"“We’ll always be about running the football,” Bevell said. “We want to be a tough, hard-nosed, physical football team. We want to be able to exert our will on our opponents.”"
Although the team brought in veteran RB C.J. Anderson this off-season on a one-year deal to fill the LeGarrette Blount role, Johnson still has a clear path to workhorse volume. That’ll be even more so the case if cut/trade candidate Theo Riddick isn’t clogging up touches in Detroit’s backfield.
Currently ESPN’s RB20 for this year, Johnson’s ADP of 3.10 (per Fantasy Football Calculator) puts owners in great spot to grab a potential top-10 back.