With the 2020 season quickly approaching, the NFL scheduled the official Opt Out date to Thursday, August 6th at 4pm. The NFL allowed every player to make the choice to play under their normal contract, or receive a stipend to sit out for the 2020 season. Today I will be talking about the biggest names to sit out the upcoming season, and how it impacts the people around them.
First I’m going to talk about Devin Funches and how his absence impacts the Green Bay Packers. Funches was signed this past off season to come in and be the number two WR behind Devante Adams. While it was only a 1 year contract, the Packers now have vacated targets, but more importantly, one less Redzone target.
In my opinion, this impacts two players positively, but for different reasons. Running Back Aaron Jones gets more interesting because there is simply one less target for the Redzone. Jones made his living with 16 rushing touchdowns and another 3 receiving. There is definitely going to be a regression in total touchdowns this year, but as the 14th running back to be taken off the board with an ADP of 2.08, Jones is consistently creeping up my big board.
For the WR group in Green Bay, this news doesn’t impact my view on Davante Adams at all. He’s my #2 Wideout behind Micheal Thomas and will put up big numbers as long as he stays healthy. The man who I feel gains the most from no Funches is Allen Lazard. Lazard is a 6’5 undrafted free agent, who we saw have some success last year. According to Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus, “Lazard led all Packers receivers in targeted passer rating last season at 117.9”. Rodgers is a gunslinger, and if he and Lazard can get on the same page, I see some big games in the future. Lazard is someone I’d target within the last two rounds of a 12 person draft.
The Miami Dolphins also have two of their Wideouts opting out for the 2020 season. Both Albert Wilson and Allen Hurns are sitting out the upcoming year. This means that we will see more targets to both Devante Parker and Preston Williams. Both Parker and Williams are tremendously talented, but their fantasy production will be based on who is Quarterbacking the Dolphins. My gut feeling is that Ryan Fitzmagic will start the year while Tua finishes the end of a disappointing season. I truly hope that Brian Flores will ride out Fitzpatrick for the entire season and let Tua get healthy. I see more production for both Wideouts if the veteran is behind center. I like Parker around the seventh round to add solid depth, and Preston is a question mark that I most likely will not be touching unless he drops to the last few rounds.
And finally, it's time to talk about the New England Patriots. It feels like almost half their team won’t be in attendance for the upcoming year. The full list is; Matt LaCosse-TE, Marqise Lee-WR, Patrick Chung-S, Dont'a Hightower-LB, Brandon Bolden-RB, Marcus Cannon-OT, Danny Vitale-FB, Najee Toran-OL. Losing your starting Safety, Linebacker, Tackle and Fullback is never a good sign.
All this tells me is that this offense will be a completely different beast than what we saw last year. The Patriots had the best defense in the entire league last year, and that will most likely change. I’m not in love with Cam this year, as I have him as my QB 16. That’s not saying Cam won’t have his weeks, but he won’t be a week to week starter. But the Pats are going to need to score more than 21 points a game this year to be competitive. Although i'm not enthralled with the skill positions for New England, there will be points scored. I’ll be looking at where Edleman goes in drafts as a potential value. This may be one of the years that a breakout player comes from the waiver wire in New England with the lack of star power on their roster now. I've never been one to bet against Bill Belichick, and I’m not going to start now.