Every year, fantasy football draft season brings a new crop of hyped-up prospects and popular sleeper picks. Some of them pan out, while others don't quite live up to expectations right away.
With that in mind, here are four players that could be in for breakout fantasy seasons despite not living up to previous hype thus far.
4. T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions
In Week 1 of the 2019 NFL season, it looked like T.J. Hockenson was going to live up to every bit of preseason hype he had received. The rookie first-round pick caught 6 passes for 131 yards and 1 touchdown in that game. He never reached those heights again, however, notching more than 4 receptions once and eclipsing 50 yards once in his final 11 games before his season was ended by an injury. He saw at least 6 targets on five occasions though, and his efficiency should get a huge boost with a full season of Matthew Stafford under center.
3. Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns
Expectations were sky-high for Baker Mayfield after the Cleveland Browns added Odell Beckham to the offense, but he didn't even live up to his rookie year production. The Browns added another weapon in Austin Hooper this offseason. They also, maybe more importantly, shored up the offensive line by adding Jack Conklin and drafting Jedrick Wills Jr. Mayfield now has one of the best supporting casts in the NFL, and if he's ever going to live up to the hype he's received, this will be the year.
2. Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Mecole Hardman failed to live up to the hype in his rookie season, but he's one of the top fantasy football breakout candidates for 2020. He was crazy efficient as a rookie, averaging 20.7 yards per reception and scoring 7 touchdowns (6 receiving, 1 punt return), but he also only saw 41 targets. With another year of experience and with Sammy Watkins having disappointed again in 2019, Hardman's role should only grow in 2020. An increased role in the league's best offense is a recipe for a big bump in production.
1. David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears
Despite being the presumed No. 1 RB for the Chicago Bears in 2019, it took David Montgomery some time to get going. He had 15-plus carries in just two of his first six games, averaging 38.5 yards on 11.8 rushes. From Week 8 through 17, however, Montgomery averaged 17.1 carries (plus 2.0 targets) per game. He still had efficiency issues, averaging 3.9 yards per carry, but that volume had him on a 16-game pace for 274 carries. For context, that would have ranked No. 7 in the NFL in 2019. Even in an inefficient offense, that kind of volume should translate to strong fantasy value.
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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.