Every season there are a few players we expect to have above average seasons, but a new season also brings new players who have the potential to breakout and become stars in their own right. In this series, I will cover a few players who are candidates to be IDP fantasy football breakouts for their teams this year.
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, S, New Orleans Saints
The landscape of fantasy football has changed quite a bit this off-season. When players move onto other franchises, it opens the door for guys on the depth chart behind them to possibly get more playing time and become a starter. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (CGJ) is one of those players. As we saw this past week, Vonn Bell has left New Orleans and moved on to play for the Cincinnati Bengals. This, in all reality, would confuse most of us IDP fanatics. The Bengals already have two decent safeties on their defense with Shawn Williams and Jessie Bates III. They were both top-15 options this past season. In the end, this was a smart football move for the Bengals.
Smart football moves aren’t necessarily always good for fantasy. Vonn Bell still has DB2 value. With him in the mix though, the fantasy value of all three players drop. It’s hard knowing week to week who’s going to be getting the tackles and making the plays out of the three of them. I figure Bell will be playing more of the veteran fill-in role. In my opinion, I believe Williams will be your more constant player on the team. I still don’t know if I’d trust any of the three until we see how the season starts to play out. The Bengals defense isn’t likely to see as much time on the field as they did in 2019 since they should have a more capable offense. Fewer snaps, less chances to make plays and score points.
Everything is a little less fuzzy for the Saints however. Marcus Williams is slotted in as their other starting safety and that’s a position he’s likely to continue to own. So, CGJ is the next man up when it comes to filling the vacant safety spot for the Saints. Making him a strong candidate to become a breakout candidate. He started 7 games last year. Out of those 7 games he started, I’d say he was an impact performer 5 times. He played 52% of the snaps and finished the season with a combined 38 solo tackles and 11 tackle assists. I think his biggest plays were his tackle for losses though. He ended up with 6 on the season, along with 4 QB hits. Gardner-Johnson showed an ability to get in the backfield when he lined up to blitz.
He also played well in coverage while on the field and had 8 passes defended and 1 interception. Unfortunately, he did finish without recording a sack. But, he did force a fumble and recover it as well. I know that he has major potential to be a top-15 option at the position this season. In week 15 against the Titans, CGJ played 100% of the defensive snaps. He finished that game with 5 solo tackles, 3 tackle assists, 1 tackle for loss. This is the game where he had the forced fumble and recovery. That’s the type of performance I’m sure we will see more off coming in 2020.
He should see a major boost in his snap counts and I think he’s certainly a guy we all should be watching when the season begins. He’s a late round draft target with huge upside. I’d say he could be thrown into the Tier 2-3 range. As long as he stays healthy the rest of the off-season I believe you could throw him into your DB2 spot and see instant results. He always plays with a high motor and likes to make hits on the ball carrier. Wherever the ball goes, CGJ isn’t always far behind. I’m excited to see what this guy can do this year.
As always, I wish all of you the best. I hope everyone is staying indoors as much as possible and keeping themselves and their families safe.
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