Identifying rising assets and capitalizing on them before the entire community is aware of them is a proven way to gain value, especially in IDP.
For this list, we tried to avoid obvious impact rookies like Nick Bosa or other first round studs. This list should help us navigate what was legit in 2019, and what is not going forward into 2020.
If someone told you at the start of 2019 that Barrett would be the season's sack leader, you would have assumed you had fallen into a bizarro universe where up is down, down is up, and nothing makes sense.
The former first rounder ended the season with 19-and-a-half sacks, leading the entire NFL (worth repeating!). Likely the best season of his career, not much will change for Barrett going into 2020. While he is a linebacker on most sites, he's going to be a solidly productive EDGE player going forward. I wouldn't expect 19 sacks yearly, but if he ends in the 8-12 sack range, he's had an extremely productive reversal of his career.
Hicks flirted with LB1 territory during his time with the Eagles, but never really reached that level, mostly due to injury. This year, he ends the season as the top linebacker and is solidly placed in that top group now that he's in Arizona.
The only caveat here is that Arizona’s defense played the most snaps of anyone. Hicks, in particular, played the most snaps of any player in football. This is a testament to his health and a signal of future regression. I fully expect him to be an LB1 going forward with the Cardinals but there is a small injury history attached to him, and there is little chance he plays anywhere close to 1,133 snaps again.
Slightly cheating with a rookie here, but Crosby came partially out of nowhere. Even the NFL didn't see him as a prime talent, the Raiders included.