Friday, April 17, 2020

2020 NFL Draft - Fantasy Team Needs

Back in January, I wrote an article with offseason predictions for all 32 NFL teams.  Most of these wild predictions were incorrect, but a few of them actually came true as free agency unfolded.  Here are the few guesses I actually got right:

The Titans signed Tannehill to a long term deal and tagged Derrick Henry
The Falcons released Devonta Freeman
The Ravens slapped the franchise tag on Matt Judon
The Seahawks signed free agent Phillip Dorsett
Logan Thomas actually signed with my Redskins (read the offseason article if you want to know more as to why that makes me so happy!)

The big one that I got right (at least so far) and which probably has the most impact to fantasy is the following: The Arizona Cardinals trade DJ, re-sign Kenyan Drake, draft Jonathan Taylor.

2020 NFL Draft: The 10 Biggest Rumors Right Now | ComplexThe first two have mostly happened (Drake got the transition tag), but if the Cardinals somehow get the best running back in this draft, that would be quite interesting.  It would also mean Drake's fantasy value will have been a serious roller coaster ride this offseason.  But that's what I want to get into with this article.  I'm going to use fun colors again to highlight every team, mention all of the draft picks they have (I'll just use overall pick numbers), and talk about one or two positions to keep an eye on ahead of the NFL Draft for each squad.  This will be a long article, so I'll highlight a name and/or sentence in BOLD for each team so you can skip/skim more easily.  I know a lot of people just care about their own team when it comes to the real NFL draft (hey kind of like fantasy too).

Enough talk. Let's get to it!

AFC East

Buffalo Bills: 54, 86, 128, 167, 188, 207, 239
The Bills traded away their first round pick for Stefon Diggs, so they won't make a selection until the middle of the 2nd.  I can't imagine they'll use either their 2nd or 3rd round picks on a running back, but they'll get one at some point in this draft.  With Frank Gore gone, I fully expect the Bills to add a big running back to complement Devin Singletary, and I'm thinking it'll be a between-the-tackles guy like AJ Dillon.  If it is someone like Dillon, I'll pay closer attention when my fantasy drafts roll around.

Miami Dolphins: 5, 18, 26, 39, 56, 70, 141, 153, 154, 173, 185, 227, 246, 251
As of right now, the Dolphins have the most picks in this year's draft with a whopping 14!  But I think by the time the draft is over, they will have traded some of those picks to move up and get guys they really want.  In fact, I have a feeling a couple of picks could go to a team like Detroit to make sure they get Tua.  The main position to keep an eye on (other than QB) is of course the running back.  Miami signed Jordan Howard to a 2 year contract this offseason, but if they use a first or second rounder on Jonathan Taylor or D'Andre Swift, I'll be sure I have that RB fairly high in my rankings.

New England Patriots: 23, 87, 98, 100, 125, 172, 195, 204, 212, 213, 230, 241
Rumor: New York Jets taking a look at quarterback Jordan Love in ...The Patriots have a lot of picks in this draft, but the majority of them are Round 5 and later.  If we focus on their four picks in the top-100, the most interesting thing to me would be if they draft a quarterback.  I don't buy that they'll start the 2020 season with Brian Hoyer or Jarrett Stidham after Brady left for Tampa Bay.  Could they make a huge deal for Tua?  Could they get Jordan Love toward the end of the 1st round?  Could they make a draft day trade for Andy Dalton?  All of these are possibilities, so we'll see what happens at the QB position.  As much as I don't like the Patriots, I can't wait to see how this quarterback drama unfolds.

New York Jets: 11, 48, 68, 79, 120, 158, 191, 211
The Jets did their best to replace Robby Anderson with Breshad Perriman, and I don't think that's a terrible offseason move.  But they still have some work to be done at the WR position, and drafting CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy with the #11 overall pick would be a good decision in my opinion.  As far as the running back position, Adam Gase has made it abundantly clear he's not the biggest fan of Le'Veon Bell, so the Jets could also draft a running back in the 3rd with one of their two picks in that round.  I said this back in January, but depending on who is available when they pick there, maybe J.K. Dobbins could land in New York and push Bell a bit.  Or maybe they trade those two 3rd rounders to move up into the 2nd if they think Dobbins will go in that range.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens:
 28, 55, 60, 92, 106, 129, 134, 170, 225
The Ravens have 7 picks in the first 4 rounds, and they could absolutely draft an impact fantasy player with one of them.  I'd be shocked if the Ravens don't use one of their first 3 picks on a WR, and I'll venture a guess they'll draft more than one receiver this year.  I'd pay close attention especially to whichever receiver they select highest because he could have an instant impact in this high powered offense.

Cincinnati Bengals: 1, 33, 65, 107, 147, 180, 215
Joe Burrow is the guy at #1.  That much is clear.  But will the Bengals use their 2nd or 3rd rounder to replace Tyler Eifert?  That would actually be interesting to me for dynasty league, but it's hard to get excited by any of the tight ends in this draft for the 2020 season.  Joe Mixon looks like a potential holdout, so a late round running back could be interesting as well if that holdout actually turns into a Le'Veon Bell or Melvin Gordon situation.

Cleveland Browns: 10, 41, 74, 97, 115, 187, 244
The only scenario I could see a rookie having an instant fantasy impact in Cleveland is if Jarvis Landry struggles to return from his hip injury.  It's possible the Browns draft a receiver for depth regardless, and if Landry has trouble getting back on the field, that WR could have a role to start the season.

Pittsburgh Steelers: 49, 102, 124, 135, 198, 232
3 reasons the Steelers should not give James Conner a contract ...This is a team without a 1st round pick in 2020 due to the trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick, and I could see them using their 2nd rounder to improve an already stacked defense.  But if they use that #49 overall pick on a running back, I'll do a double take.  And even if they use a mid round pick on the RB position, it'll be worth paying attention.  James Conner is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and I haven't heard anything about the Steelers potentially extending him.  So depending on how they view their current RB group, it would be very interesting if they added a rookie to the mix.

AFC South

Houston Texans:
 40, 90, 111, 171, 240, 248, 250
The Texans have been busy this offseason, and I'm sure they think David Johnson will be the workhorse for tem.  But he hasn't been able to stay healthy of late, so I'd argue a running back in the middle of this draft makes sense for Houston.  They clearly don't trust Duke Johnson to anything more than passing down work, so a rookie could come in here and end up taking over if David Johnson can't stay on the field.

Indianapolis Colts: 34, 44, 75, 122, 160, 193, 197
This Colts-Eagles Trade for TY Hilton Would Save Philly's Wide ...The Colts signed Philip Rivers to a one year contract, so if they make a play for someone like Justin Herbert or Jordan Love, consider me intrigued...for 2021.  As for this season, Indy is looking at a WR trio of T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal, and Parris Campbell.  Campbell's rookie year was marred by multiple injuries and Hilton missed 6 games last season after missing a couple the year before.  T.Y. is a speedster on the wrong side of 30, so I'd expect the Colts to draft a WR with one of their 7 picks.  This is a sneaky spot to get value if the right guy goes to Indianapolis.

Jacksonville Jaguars: 9, 20, 42, 73, 116, 137, 140, 157, 165, 189, 206, 223
The Jags appear to be in full tank/rebuild mode, and they have TWELVE picks in this draft.  Even though no one seems to be talking about them as a player in this, I wouldn't be surprised at all if they made a play on Tua.  But if they're looking to 2021 and beyond, I'd pay attention if they draft a running back like Cam Akers.  This is especially important if the Jags don't exercise Fournette's team fifth-year option on his contract.  He's about to enter year 4 of his deal, and if he's not guaranteed a $10ish million payday in 2021, I think he could be a holdout candidate this season.  This is of course total speculation on my part, but just pay attention if the Jags grab a running back and this Fournette contract saga turns into something...

Tennessee Titans: 29, 61, 93, 174, 224, 243
The Titans didn't re-sign Dion Lewis, so they need some depth behind Derrick Henry.  More specifically they could use a pass catching back in this draft, so the RB position could be a spot worth monitoring depending on who they add.  He just might be thrown right into getting 5-8 touches per game.

AFC West

Denver Broncos:
 15, 46, 77, 83, 95, 118, 178, 181, 237, 252, 254
Denver has 11 picks in this draft, and the #2 wide receiver on their depth chart is DaeSean Hamilton.  I think Elway absolutely takes a WR with the #15 selection, and he might not be done there.  They have three 3rd round picks, and I bet the Broncos will give Drew Lock another weapon from that round as well.  It's hard to say which receivers will end up in Denver, but whoever they get will have an opportunity to win a starting role and get 80-90 targets in his rookie campaign.

Kansas City Chiefs: 32, 63, 96, 138, 177
The defending champs will be returning 20 of 22 starters from their Super Bowl victory over the 49ers, so only having 5 picks in this draft isn't the worst thing in the world.  The Chiefs are fairly set at the WR position, and obviously no one is pushing Mahomes or Kelce for years to come.  That leaves the running back position, but they actually added DeAndre Washington through free agency.  I thought they'd draft "the next Kareem Hunt" last year, and now I'm very unsure if they'll draft another back with only the 5 picks.  I suppose if they do use a mid-round pick on someone like Zack Moss out of Utah, Andy Reid could turn him into a star.  It's something to keep an eye on at least because even a back in a timeshare in this offense could be an RB2.

Las Vegas Raiders: 12, 19, 80, 81, 91, 121, 159
H2H NFL Draft Pops: Jeudy vs. Lamb, Hurts vs. Fromm PicksWith Tyrell Williams as the de facto #1 in for this team, I really thought the Raiders would make a run on a guy like Robby Anderson this offseason.  Instead, they ended up with Nelson Agholor.  Yikes!  With 5 picks in the first 3 rounds, I anticipate one of those will be a WR.  And if it's someone like Jeudy or Lamb in Round 1, you have to consider them as a potential top-25 WR right away as a rookie.

Los Angeles Chargers: 6, 37, 71, 112, 151, 186, 220
Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon are gone, but Austin Ekeler, Hunter Henry, Keenan Allen, and Mike Williams remain.  So who will be throwing them the ball?  Tyrod Taylor?  I don't think so.  I think the Chargers will use their high draft pick on Justin Herbert, and that could actually make him fantasy relevant right away.  It could also have a negative impact on all of those pass catchers (except for maybe Ekeler).  The other thing I thought was interesting is how the Chargers didn't sign a veteran running back to replace Gordon this offseason.  I don't see them just rolling with Justin Jackson to compliment Ekeler, so look for them to use a pick in Rounds 3-5 on a RB.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys:
 17, 51, 82, 123, 164, 179, 231
With both Randall Cobb and Jason Witten gone, I could see the Cowboys adding a slot receiver to the mix in this draft.  I don't think it matters which round they take a guy like that as long as he's ready to contribute in that slot role.  And if it's in the second round and someone like Jalen Reagor out of TCU, then I'll pay even more attention.

New York Giants: 4, 36, 99, 110, 150, 183, 218, 238, 247, 255
I don't expect there will be much to talk about with any skill players the Giants might draft this year, but if they grab an offensive lineman at #4 overall an maybe a receiver later in the draft, it will only move Daniel Jones up my board.  I fully believe this is a guy you'll be able to draft in Round 9 or 10 and has top-5 potential.

Philadelphia Eagles: 21, 53, 103, 127, 145, 146, 168, 190
2020 NFL Draft Prospect – Justin Jefferson, WR LSU - Dynasty ...The Eagles used some draft capital on WR last year, but I think they'll have to do the same in 2020.  I could see them drafting a guy like Henry Ruggs or Justin Jefferson in the first round, and either guy could have an instant impact on this team and in fantasy.  If they wait until the 4th round to use one of their 3 picks in that round to take a WR, I'll certainly be less excited about that prospect.  But with a deep draft class, you never know...

Washington Redskins: 2, 66, 108, 142, 162, 216, 229
I think the Redskins might have 35 running backs on the roster (slight exaggeration), so I don't expect them to draft one this year.  But a wide receiver?  I mean, I feel like they have to.  Terry McLaurin had a great rookie season, but they have virtually no playmakers other than him in the receiving corps.  I'm hopeful they'll use a Round 2-4 pick on a receiver...

NFC North

Chicago Bears:
 43, 50, 163, 196, 200, 226, 233
The Bears have two 2nd round picks but no picks in the 1st, 3rd, or 4th rounds.  I have to think they use those second rounders on O-line and defense, so that makes it hard for me to envision any rookies with fantasy value for Chicago this year.  They signed Jimmy Graham this offseason to what might be one of the worst contracts to a tight end ever, but I could see them drafting a TE in the 5th or 6th round to try to develop (especially now that they've released Trey Burton).  I realize that's only relevant in a keeper or dynasty league, but it's at least something, right?

Detroit Lions: 3, 35, 67, 85, 109, 149, 166, 182, 235
With Stafford's health looking like a potential issue, I could see the Lions drafting a quarterback this year.  But I also don't see that having fantasy relevance any time soon, so I'll say running back is the most clear position of need that could impact fantasy.  In my first round mock, I had the Lions trading back with the Dolphins and getting another of their first round picks in the process.  It's a little crazy, but I thought maybe they land Jonathan Taylor with that newly acquired extra pick!  But even if they don't do that, I could see them using one of their first 4 picks on a RB.  Don't get me wrong.  Kerryon Johnson is a very talented running back, but he's had a hard time staying healthy early in his NFL career.  And if the Lions use some early draft capital on the position, don't discount it because you think Kerryon is clearly the guy.

Green Bay Packers: 30, 62, 94, 136, 175, 192, 208, 209, 236, 242
Stefon Diggs fuels trade talk with workout video: Here are five ...The Packers clearly need another reliable wide receiver other than Davante Adams, and I expect them to use one of their first three picks at the WR position.  Whoever that WR is, I'll likely move them up my rankings.  Green Bay could also draft a tight end, but unless he's also in the first three picks, I'll probably pass on him this year.

Minnesota Vikings: 22, 25, 58, 89, 105, 132, 155, 201, 205, 219, 249, 253
This team was pretty well set at their skill positions, and then they traded Stefon Diggs.  But they got a first rounder for him, so I'd look for them to use one of those top-25 picks on a WR.  If that happens, I'll be sending that guy well up my rankings because Cousins desperately needs someone to throw to other than Adam Thielen and his tight ends.  And yes they did add Tajae Sharpe to the receiver group, but I don't expect him to produce much.  Let's get a 1st round receiver who can have an instant fantasy impact please and thank you!

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons:
 16, 47, 78, 119, 143, 228
The Falcons let Austin Hooper walk in free agency, and they cut Devonta Freeman and his hefty contract.  They replaced Freeman with Todd Gurley and Hooper with Hayden Hurst.  So I wouldn't be too excited about anyone the Falcons draft this season, but keep in mind Gurley is only signed to a one year deal and that arthritic knee could be an issue.  So I'd actually expect Atlanta to draft a running back to complement Gurley in Round 4.  Depending on who that RB is, you might want to take look if you're in a dynasty league.  He could be the starting running back in 2021.

Carolina Panthers: 7, 38, 69, 113, 148. 152, 184, 221
Carolina seemingly solidified their quarterback position by signing Teddy Bridgewater this offseason, and they signed Robby Anderson to add to D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel in their receiving corps.  The RB position clearly isn't an issue with McCaffrey there, so I can't recommend paying much attention to anyone the Panthers draft on the offensive side of the ball as it relates to fantasy relevance this season.  It's possible a tight end could challenge Ian Thomas since Greg Olsen is out of the picture, but that feels like a stretch.

New Orleans Saints: 24, 88, 130, 169, 203
Much like the Chiefs, the Saints are built to win now.  While they only have 5 picks in this draft, they added Emmanuel Sanders this offseason and re-signed Brees.  After the Sanders signing, I'm not convinced the Saints will take a WR in this year's draft or not.  But looking at the running back position, New Orleans actually could part ways with Latavius Murray after the 2020 season without a ton of dead cap.  And up until last year's draft, the Saints had drafted a running back in every draft since 2014.  That tells me they're likely to add a RB in Rounds 3-5, and that guy could have an impact in dynasty/keeper leagues if Kamara or Murray isn't on the roster in 2021 and beyond.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 14, 45, 76, 117, 139, 161, 194
2020 could finally see the Bucs use Ronald Jones properly
With Tom Brady joining the Bucs, I expect them to draft an offensive lineman at #14.  After that, I'd be very interested to see if they draft a running with one of their next few picks.  Bruce Arians clearly didn't trust Ronald Jones last season, and Brady will certainly need someone he can trust as well.  I could see Tampa signing a veteran who might still be out there, but a rookie in the middle rounds could be very fantasy relevant and could definitely supplant Jones in the pecking order.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals:
 8, 72, 114, 131, 202, 222
I don't really expect the Cardinals to draft Jonathan Taylor, but I guess anything is possible.  They're not going to do it at #8 though, so they'd have to make a trade in order to make that happen.  I do, however, expect them to get another WR for their young quarterback to throw to.  Yes, they just traded for DeAndre Hopkins.  Yes, they have Christian Kirk.  But this has to be Larry Fitzgerald's last season, right?  In a deep receiver draft class, I could see Arizona taking one in Round 4.  And if they do, he'd be someone to keep an eye on for dynasty/keeper leagues, but likely not someone who will have a big impact this season.

Los Angeles Rams: 52, 57, 84, 104, 126, 199, 234
Malcolm Brown shows why Rams kept him from going to Detroit - Los ...Back in January, I talked about how one more concussion for Brandin Cooks could be his last in the NFL.  His concussion history is similar to that of a guy like Jordan Reed, so I thought the Rams would add a receiver on Day 2 or 3 of this year's draft.  Since then, the Texans sent their 2nd rounder this year for Cooks and a 2022 4th rounder, so this solidified my expectation that the Rams will draft a receiver this year.  If it's someone in the later rounds, it'll probably be hard to get excited about them for this season.  But with Cooks gone, that player could have some dynasty value with either Woods or Kupp likely not on the roster beyond 2021.  That's really looking ahead though, so let's back it up to now because I've buried the lead about Gurley now with the Falcons.  That leaves Malcolm Brown and Darrell Henderson as the likely 1-2 punch at the RB position.  If they don't add someone like Carlos Hyde in the next few days, then look for them to add a running back in this draft.  Even with a bad offensive line in LA, a running back from this draft class could be very interesting in 2020.

San Francisco 49ers: 13, 31, 156, 176, 210, 217, 245
Deebo Samuel is looking like a great pick in last year's draft, and with Emmanuel Sanders gone, maybe they go back to the WR well in this year's draft.  I originally thought they'd likely wait a while at WR, but after trading Bucker for the #13 pick, it's certainly possible they get one of the top receivers in this year's draft.  That would certainly be interesting, but even if the Niners take a guy in Round 5 or so, he could have a chance to play big snaps right away.

Seattle Seahawks: 27, 59, 64, 101, 133, 144, 214
After signing Phillip Dorsett this offseason, Seattle now has a WR trio of Lockett, Metcalf, and Dorsett.  Even if they draft a receiver this year, I wouldn't expect them to have much impact.  As for the running back position, I could definitely see them adding some depth there.  Chris Carson is the lead back but will be returning from a hip injury and is entering the final year of his rookie contract.  Rashad Penny will be returning from a torn ACL and likely won't be ready for the start of the season.  Penny is starting to really feel like a first round bust, and maybe the Seahawks use one of their second rounders if a guy like Clyde Edwards-Helaire falls down to the end of that round.  I think that would be an interesting fit in Seattle with J.D. McKissic now in Washington.

So that's every team.  I hope this is a decent primer for the NFL Draft.  I know I'm excited for something to watch that has to do with sports in 2020!


Sunday, April 12, 2020

2020 NFL Mock Draft - Round 1

Joe Burrow, Chase Young to participate in NFL draft - NFL.comLet's take a break from the real world for a minute and talk about the NFL draft because it obviously has a huge impact on fantasy.  I've predicted the first round of the draft below, and it includes three trades.  Why not have a little fun with it, right?  I've put notes next to each player, and I'll try to get an updated version out ahead of the draft.  But if not, this is probably it.  Or if I don't update my mock, maybe I'll get a quick article out about which positions to pay attention to for each team.  It all kind of depends on how this week goes because my wife is due with our second child, and we're in the home stretch.  As in, there should be a baby before there's an NFL draft.  So yeah, it's almost go time.  In the meantime, enjoy my mock NFL draft!


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