Because some of us have dynasty rookie drafts coming up very soon, today you’re getting a one-man mock of the 2020 class. Let’s assume a one-quarterback, half-PPR setup. These mock ranks have been scientifically formulated for maximum accuracy …
… (Actually, no. Almost every ranking here outside the first half-dozen should be considered a loosely held opinion. Thus, I will accept no harassment, heckling, or any sort of badgering from persons involved in my leagues if/when I deviate from these ranks.)
For me, the choice at the top is clear …
Round One: Clyde Edwards-Helaire leads run of RBs
1. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
2. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
3. D’Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions
4. J.K. Dobbins, RB, Baltimore Ravens
5. CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys
6. Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
7. Jerry Jeudy, WR, Denver Broncos
8. Henry Ruggs, WR, Las Vegas Raiders
9. Joe Burrow, QB, Cincinnati Bengals
10. Cam Akers, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Edwards-Helaire might just be the winningest draft-day winner in fantasy history. He’s a huge talent who happened to land in an offense that already seemed unstoppable. The Chiefs had few glaring needs, but the running back position was one of ‘em. CEH fits the team perfectly. He caught 55 balls for the national champs last season while gaining 1867 scrimmage yards, averaging 6.6 YPC, and finding the end-zone 17 times.
His highlights are so ridiculous they almost seem fake:
Edwards-Helaire is a dynamic player and ideal fit for Andy Reid’s offense. There wasn’t a more gifted receiving back in the 2020 draft class. For me, he’s a late second-rounder in redraft and the obvious 1.01 in dynasty rookie drafts. He’s gonna be great, immediately.
If you have Damien Williams-related workload concerns, please remember that when Williams himself was carrying us to fantasy titles over the final four games of 2018, he was only averaging 15 touches per week. We don’t actually need CEH to see 20-plus carries, not in KC’s Death Star offense.
For those who land the second pick in a rookie draft, the consolation prize is pretty decent. Taylor is a workhorse with legit track speed who averaged 2,058 rushing yards per season and 6.7 YPC as a collegiate back. He didn’t display the greatest hands while at Wisconsin, but there’s no questioning his playmaking ability. Taylor’s arrival obviously crushed Marlon Mack‘s fantasy appeal, though Nyheim Hines should remain the primary receiving option in Indy’s backfield. It seems kinda unfair that Taylor leaves one dominant O-line for another. His situation with the Colts is excellent.
Jefferson will rank ahead of Lamb on my board for redraft purposes because he has an immediate and unobstructed path to significant targets. Also, the guy caught 111 balls for LSU last season on 134 chances, which is obscene. He’s plenty skilled. I might be higher on Lamb than most; there’s no question his short-term situation is complicated. He’s clearly behind Cooper and Gallup in the Dallas receiving hierarchy at the moment. But Lamb spent the past two seasons humiliating defensive backs, and his outrageous highlights weren’t limited to games against the miserable defenses of the Big-12. He clowned everyone. All those DeAndre Hopkins comps feel right.
It’s rare that a QB drafted first overall walks into a situation as fantasy-friendly as Burrow’s setup in Cincinnati. He might very well emerge as a streamable option as a rookie. Burrow has a shot at a 4,000-yard season with, say, 26-28 touchdown passes, assuming good health. His weapons include A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon, and this first dude right here …
Round Two: Wide receivers emerge in volume
11. Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
12. Jalen Reagor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
13. Denzel Mims, WR, New York Jets
14. Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
15. Zack Moss, RB, Buffalo Bills
16. Michael Pittman, WR, Indianapolis Colts
17. Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Miami Dolphins
18. Brandon Aiyuk, WR, San Francisco 49ers
19. Tyler Johnson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
20. Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
If I’d chosen to arrange the rookies by tiers instead of using this fake-draft gimmick (as perhaps I should have but, hey, too late now), then everyone from Ruggs down through Pittman would be grouped together. Same tier, with no meaningful break between No. 10 and 11. This year’s receiver class is simply loaded.
Higgins, for example, is 6-foot-4 with terrific separation skills and two ridiculous seasons at Clemson on his resume. He produced in the biggest spots against elite collegiate defenses, and of course feasted on ACC opponents, too. Mims basically tested at superhero levels at the combine (4.38 speed, 38.5-inch vert, 6.7 three-cone) and he’s joining a team that had a desperate need for receiving talent. He might be further from becoming a finished product than several others in this class, but that isn’t likely to keep him on the sidelines for the Jets. He’s needed, urgently.
Moss could easily find himself in a 50/50 workload split with Devin Singletary, and the rookie’s share of the carries should involve a decent number of goal-to-go touches. At 220-plus pounds, Moss is a tough player to bring down. He was a broken-tackle machine at Utah, where he produced three straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons with double-digit touchdowns. Singletary’s value definitely took a hit when Moss came off the board in Round 3.
I might be the closest thing to a Big Ten West apologist you will ever encounter, so it should be no surprise to learn that I loved Tampa Bay’s draft. (Weirdly, four of the Bucs’ first five picks were from the West — and the fifth guy, Vaughn, spent two years at Illinois before transferring to Vanderbilt. Just … well, odd.) It will shock me if Tyler Johnson isn’t a very good pro. It was simply not possible to contain him at the college level; just have a look at his game log from last season. He toyed with the Big Ten all year, then wrecked Auburn’s secondary in the Outback Bowl (12-204-2). Johnson isn’t necessarily a speed demon, but he’s already a master route-runner — as good as any in his class — and he routinely wins with leverage. And his hands are freakish:
Johnson was PFF’s highest-graded receiver, for what it’s worth. Tampa’s receiving depth chart is stacked, obviously, so he’s really only on the radar for dynasty drafters.
Round Three: TEs make their mark
21. Justin Herbert, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
22. Laviska Shenault, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
23. Joshua Kelley, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
24. A.J. Dillon, RB, Green Bay Packers
25. K.J. Hamler, WR, Denver Broncos
26. Anthony McFarland, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
27. Cole Kmet, TE, Chicago Bears
28. Adam Trautman, TE, New Orleans Saints
29. Devin Duvernay, WR, Baltimore Ravens
30. Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington
Dillon is my favorite prospect from this group of ten, but, um … I have no clear idea what Green Bay was doing this draft season. Fun as he is, Dillon doesn’t address an obvious area of need for the Packers; he’s not a lock to have a meaningful role in the season ahead. That said, he’s a bruiser who averaged 125.2 rushing yards per game over three seasons at Boston College. He also ran a 4.53 40-yard dash at 250 pounds, which suggests he can motor when he gets up to speed. So he’s fun. But with Aaron Jones coming off a monster season, running back was not an obvious weak spot. If Dillon takes over in 2021, he’ll get interesting.
You can talk me into either Kmet or Trautman as the most interesting tight end beyond 2020. Trautman was fantastically productive at the FCS level, but he’s making a huge leap in quality of competition. He’s also likely to have a minimal role for the Saints initially, with Jared Cook and Josh Hill ahead of him and Taysom Hill poaching goal-line opportunities from everyone.
Round Four: Best of the rest
31. Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
32. Van Jefferson, WR, Los Angeles Rams
33. Lynn Bowden, RB, Las Vegas Raiders
34. Bryan Edwards, WR, Las Vegas Raiders
35. Jacob Eason, QB, Indianapolis Colts
36. DeeJay Dallas, RB, Seattle Seahawks
37. Jake Fromm, QB, Buffalo Bills
38. Jordan Love, QB, Green Bay Packers
39. K.J. Hill, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
40. Quintez Cephus, WR, Detroit Lions
K.J. Hill slipped all the way to Pick No. 220 overall, so it’s possible I’m way off with his rank. But he was a menace while at Ohio State, breaking the school’s career reception record (at a program with a pretty fair history). It’s tough to believe he won’t stick as a bankable slot receiver.
Hurts and Love are both kinda/sorta interesting prospects who landed in brutal spots for first-year value. Carson Wentz and Aaron Rodgers are entrenched, extended, and well-compensated; they aren’t stepping aside. The Eagles are no doubt dreaming up gadgety ways in which Hurts can impact winning immediately, so he could have at least a limited role in 2020. Love is coming off a messy year in the Mountain West (20 TDs, 17 INTs); he can probably benefit from a wait-and-watch season (or two).