Breaking Down the 2020 Role for Every Rookie

Ian Hartitz
Rotoworld

Seven rounds of the draft have come and gone. Now we have months to figure out what the hell just happened.

It's important to realize before we start just how rare it is for rookies to make large impacts in fantasy. 

There's next-to-no chance that your favorite prospect will be a top-producing rookie if they were drafted after the third round. Specifically, at least 80% of every position's top-rookie performers were drafted in the first three rounds since 2010:

  • QB: 83% of top-12 fantasy performers were top-three round picks

  • RB: 80% of top-24 performers

  • WR: 85% of top-24 performers

  • TE: 100% of top-12 performers

Further research shows that the most-successful rookie QBs have almost always been dual-threat talents, there have been twice as many top-performing RBs (26) than WRs (13) over the past decade, and just two TEs (Evan Engram and Rob Gronkowski) have emerged as great fantasy contributors during their debut season.

It's hard for anybody to post great fantasy production; especially rookies:

breh
breh

I already broke down what all this means for every team's veterans. Now we'll focus on the rookies.

What follows is a breakdown on every top-three round selection of skill-position players and what we should expect from their fantasy production in 2020.

Quarterback

The QB position has produced six rookies that finished their debut season as a top-12 fantasy performer. Among those, only Dak Prescott (Round 4) and Russell Wilson (Round 3) weren't first-round selections. The larger trends from this group were both being a Week 1 starter as well as the existence of a rushing floor, as each of Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin, Prescott, Wilson and Kyler Murray displayed fantasy-friendly rushing ability as rookies.

None of the four first-round QBs are necessarily statues in the pocket, but we also shouldn't expect them to provide anything resembling a high rushing floor:

Joe Burrow (1.01, Bengals): The presumed No. 1 overall pick allegedly ran the 40-yard dash in the 4.6-4.8 second range in high school. Either way, Burrow's exceptional ability to create something out of nothing, combined with a plenty-solid 243-767-12 rushing line in 25 games at LSU, paints the picture of a QB who's not afraid to use his legs. Burrow should be in the mid-range QB2 conversation considering he's poised to start 16 games in a sneaky-talented Bengals Offense.

Tua Tagovailoa (1.05, Dolphins): The Alabama QB never rushed for even 50 yards in a game, although his ability to improvise in the pocket has drawn comparisons to Russell Wilson for a reason. This plus athleticism is what makes Tua's hip injury so worrisome for his promising NFL future. Ryan Fitzpatrick led the Dolphins in rushing last season, but we shouldn't expect Tua to come close to accomplishing that feat in 2020. Let's hope the Dolphins' troublesome offensive line is improved before Tagovailoa finds his way under center.

Justin Herbert (1.06, Chargers): The Oregon QB boasts plus size (6-foot-6 and 236-pounds) as well as underrated speed (4.68-second 40-yard dash). He didn't make a habit of taking off in college, but did show potential with three rushing scores in the Ducks' Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin. Don't expect Herbert to make too much of a habit taking off on scrambles, although the talent to do so might be there. The Chargers Offense is talented enough to enable Herbert to put up some solid fantasy production sooner rather than later.

Jordan Love (1.26, Packers): The Utah State QB rocketed up draft boards reportedly in large part due to his ability to create plays off script. He's not an overwhelmingly talented athlete, but does possess a smoothness to his game that could lead to more production in a different offense. Obviously he won't find the field in 2020 without an injury or psychological breakdown from Aaron Rodgers.

Jalen Hurts (2.21, Eagles): This was the one rookie QB that had the potential to immediately slide in as a high-end fantasy product. Unfortunately, Hurts will in all likelihood need an injury to Carson Wentz in order to get anything resembling a full-time role under center. Hurts has the size (6-foot-1 and 222-pounds) to handle a legit rushing workload, enough speed (4.59-second 40-yard dash) to create big plays, and more proven production (career 614-3,274-43 rushing line) than any other QB in this class can claim. It doesn't really matter if Hurts isn't ready to function as a high-end passer. Historically QBs that have high-end rushing roles have simply been a cheat code in fantasy football. It's unlikely we see Hurts earn a starting role anytime soon, but don't be afraid to immediately start him in fantasy leagues of all shapes and sizes once he's under center. 15-of-22 (68%) of QBs with at least 100 rush attempts have finished as a top-six fantasy scorer since 2000. This type of workload would certainly be near Hurts' 16-game projection.

There were six more QBs drafted in rounds 4-7: Jets QB James Morgan (4.19), Jaguars QB Jake Luton (6.10), Titans QB Cole McDonald (7.10), Cowboys QB Ben DiNucci (7.17), Saints QB Tommy Stevens (7.26) and Vikings QB Nate Stanley (7.30). Don't expect any of them to see the field in 2020 unless multiple injuries occur on their respective depth charts.

Running back

I broke down the state of every backfield before the draft and determined the following teams possessed the most fantasy-friendly environments to foster a rookie RB (in no particular order):

  • Atlanta Falcons

  • Buffalo Bills

  • Detroit Lions

  • Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Kansas City Chiefs

  • Los Angeles Rams

  • Miami Dolphins

  • Philadelphia Eagles

  • Pittsburgh Steelers

  • San Francisco 49ers

  • Seattle Seahawks

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Just four of these 12 teams went on to draft a RB in the top-three rounds. Additionally, the Packers, Ravens, Titans, Raiders, Redskins and Colts selected a high-round back.

What a mess.

All in all there were 11 RBs drafted during the first two days of the draft. The majority appear to be on their way to joining a committee.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (1.32, Chiefs): Coach Andy Reid has already comped his new rookie RB to former Eagles' great Brian Westbrook, noting, "He can block for you. He can run routes. He’s got tremendous vision and lateral abilities with cuts and route running, all those things. He’s just a real good football player." Furthermore, CEH was also apparently Patrick Mahomes' preferred pick. Perhaps we see Damien Williams continue to see his share of touches, but CEH is the favorite to see the most pass-down work considering he caught more balls in 2019 than any other SEC RB over the last two decades. This is absolutely setting up to be the Edwards-Helaire show. Reid has produced a top-12 RB in PPR per game in 15-of-21 seasons as a head coach, and a top-five RB in 9-of-21 seasons. No rookie RB has a clearer path to a potential three-down role, and obviously this offense is stupid talented. CEH is definitively the RB1 of this rookie class.

Reid RB
Reid RB

D'Andre Swift (2.03, Lions): The Lions eventually gave Kerryon Johnson a featured role in each of the past two seasons ... only for him to suffer an IR-worthy injury in both. The presence of Swift swiftly puts a final nail in the #FreeKerryon coffin (sorry). This isn't to say Johnson won't be involved; expect a two-back committee at a minimum in Detroit. Still, Swift was drafted too high not to see double-digit touches per game himself. It also seems more likely than not that neither receives anything resembling a featured pass-game role with options like Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola and T.J. Hockenson secured atop Matthew Stafford's pecking order. I'm bullish on the Lions' chances at contending for a playoff spot in 2020 if Stafford can stay healthy, but it's unlikely we see either Swift or Johnson provide consistent fantasy production without an injury occurring – regardless of how deserving both are for a three-down role.

Jonathan Taylor (2.09, Colts): Clearly the Colts don't plan on keeping Marlon Mack on the roster after his contract runs out in 2021. Still, the rookie-year projection for Taylor is at least a little bit worrisome in a backfield that has proven plenty willing to embrace committees over the years. Mack posted a sub-50% snap rate in six consecutive games to end the season, as the Colts instead utilized a heavy dose of their backup RBs to complement their often-injured starter. Hines has earned some dark-horse appeal in this new-look offense that will feature Philip Rivers under center. He possesses an Austin Ekeler-esque skill-set thanks to his demonstrated ability to thrive as a true WR in the slot or out wide. Don't be surprised if Taylor is annoyingly deployed as an early-down committee back alongside Mack, while Hines soaks up plenty of work on pass downs. Ultimately, coach Frank Reich has never made a habit of featuring a single RB, but Taylor has the draft capital and collegiate production of a true workhorse. He's my post-draft rookie RB5.

Cam Akers (2.20, Rams): The Rams' backfield is suddenly awfully crowded with Akers joining 2019 third-round pick Darrell Henderson and long-time backup Malcolm Brown. It seems likely Henderson is out; he couldn't beat out Brown in 2020 and now isn't the top dog in the backfield in terms of draft capital. Week 6 of 2019 was the only game the Rams played in 2019 without Todd Gurley:

  • Brown: 11-40-0 rushing, 0-0-0 receiving, 67% snaps

  • Henderson: 6-39-0, 1-9-0, 33%

Nobody had more rushing touchdowns than Gurley from 2019-2020. Unfortunately, we have direct evidence that Brown is more than capable of holding off a highly-drafted rookie. It seems likely that Akers starts the season as the offense's No. 2 RB at a minimum. Note that the Rams' very-meh offensive line didn't get any better this offseason. Alas, Akers' potential to eventually get a coveted three-down role makes him my rookie RB4.

J.K. Dobbins (2.23, Ravens): The Ravens' league-best rushing offense wasn't in dire need of another RB. Overall, each of Lamar Jackson (No. 1), Gus Edwards (No. 3) and Mark Ingram (No. 7) ranked highly in yards per carry among 47 players with at least 100 rush attempts in 2019. This is life with a threat like Jackson under center; only the Cardinals averaged more yards before contact per rush. This will almost certainly be a committee situation, but the Ravens run the ball enough for both Ingram and Dobbins to maintain fantasy relevance. Assuming Dobbins can beat out Edwards (133 carries last season) and Justice Hill (66 touches), he's set up for double-digit combined carries and targets inside of last season's No. 1 scoring offense. He's my clear-cut rookie RB3.

AJ Dillon (2.30, Packers): There have been rumors about Aaron Jones holding out ahead of the 2020 season without a new deal. That would obviously change the pecking order of this backfield, but otherwise we shouldn't expect Dillon to see anything resembling a featured role until 2021. One of the prime concerns with Dillon as a prospect is the uncertainty regarding his ability to operate on pass downs, so at best we're looking at a committee role as an early-down back. Even an injury to Jones would seemingly elevate Jamaal Williams to the RB1 role. I'm bearish on the Packers as a whole entering 2020.

Antonio Gibson (3.02, Redskins): It's easy to love Gibson the player. He scored 14 touchdowns on just 77 touches in 2019, ripping off seven plays of 50-plus yards and breaking roughly a million tackles along the way. Gibson is viewed as a WR/RB hybrid, standing 6-foot-0 and weighing 228-pounds with the ability to run the 40 in 4.39 seconds. The problem is that The Athletic's Grant Paulsen reports the Redskins want to run more 21 personnel (two running backs, one tight end) with rookie Gibson and Derrius Guice or Adrian Peterson on the field at the same time. Unfortunately, the likes of Bryce Love, Peyton Barber, JD McKissic and Josh Ferguson could also compete for snaps in two-RB sets. Gibson clearly has the talent to thrive in the right role, but it's unclear that Washington has any plans to make that role a significant one in their below-average offense. Gibson's best chance at fantasy value in 2020 is to receive a WR fantasy designation, but a RB-esque role consisting of double-digit touches per game.

Ke'Shawn Vaughn (3.12, Buccaneers): Tom Brady got himself a running back. The Athletics' Dane Brugler spoke highly of Vaughn's third-down skills, noting, "Soft hands to make difficult catches away from his body ... willing and ready in pass protection, going low to chop down rushers." Meanwhile, the one question coach Bruce Arians had about RBs at the combine was, "Can they be a receiver? That separates guys from having to come off the field ... Edgerrin James never came off the Field ... Marshall Faulk never came off the field ... For me, I'm looking for that type of guy." Ronald Jones isn't awful, but the man didn't pull away from Peyton Barber for two seasons, and couldn't even beat out Dare Ogunbowale for pass-down work in 2019; don't expect Ron to give this third-round pick too much of a battle. There is a chance that the Bucs deploy another annoying committee to start the season, but Vaughn possesses too much big-play ability to sit on the bench for long. He's my post-draft rookie RB2.

Lynn Bowden (3.16, Raiders): It's unclear if the Raiders view Bowden as more of a RB or WR. Either way, the offense seems a bit too crowded to enable him to a ton of rookie-year production. Josh Jacobs is clearly the man in this backfield, so Bowden's best chance at snaps would seemingly be beating out Jalen Richard for some pass-down work. The WR room is even more crowded with the likes of Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow and first-round stud Henry Ruggs likely filling out three-WR sets. Throw in the potential for Darren Waller to again see triple-digit targets, and there just isn't much of a pathway for Bowden to receive a fantasy-friendly role in 2020.

Zack Moss (3.22, Bills): This offense was a quiet contender to add an early-down bruiser to complement Devin Singletary and Josh Allen. Last season Singletary emerged as a reliable three-down back and played at least 65% of the offense's snaps in every game that he wasn't either injured in, or was just returning from a layoff. He worked as the PPR RB18 during Weeks 7-16. Still, Josh Allen is one of the most-productive vultures in the league. Overall, only Todd Gurley (29), Derrick Henry (28), Aaron Jones (24), Christian McCaffrey (22), Alvin Kamara (19), Ezekiel Elliott (18) and Melvin Gordon (18) have more rushing scores than Allen (17) over the past two seasons. Allen and Gore combined for 29 rush attempts inside the 10-yard line last season; Singletary had three. What will ultimately decide Moss' fate as a rookie is whether or not the Bills plan on trying to build on his promising production as a receiver. Otherwise, it's tough to expect more than 10-to-12 carries per game with plenty of competition around the goal line.

Darrynton Evans (3.29, Titans): Unfortunately, it doesn't appear like Derrick Henry will receive a true three-down role. Still, the idea that he's a game-script dependent back is a bit exaggerated. Henry had at least 16 touches in every single contest despite at times losing snaps to Dion Lewis in negative game script situations  Evans flashed the ability to function as a true receiver in the slot during his time at Appalachia State, but there's simply a low-ceiling involved for anyone other than Henry and A.J. Brown in the Titans' run-first offense. The good news is that Evans appears to be locked in as Henry's handcuff, something that could produce a large fantasy role as early as 2021.

There were seven RBs drafted in rounds 4-7. Chargers RB Joshua Kelley (4.06) could feasibly compete with Justin Jackson for backup snaps ... Jets RB Lamical Perine (4.14) has enough receiving chops to steal snaps from Le'Veon Bell if coach Adam Gase continues to be obstinate ... Steelers RB Anthony McFarland (4.18) joins one of the most unstable-RB rooms in the league ... Seahawks RB DeeJay Dallas (4.38) doesn't have the most ridiculous path to a starting job considering Rashaad Penny (late-season torn ACL) could be banged up for a while and Chris Carson just can't hold onto the ball ... Lions RB Jason Huntley (5.27) joins a projected multi-back committee ... Cardinals RB Eno Benjamin (7.08) had some pre-draft hype, but ultimately will be fighting for nothing more than a roster spot come August ... Buccaneers RB Raymond Calais (7.31) is more likely to make an impact on special teams than offense in 2020.

Continue to the next page for breakdowns on rookie WRs and TEs.

Wide receiver

I broke down the state of every WR/TE group before the draft and determined the following teams possessed the most fantasy-friendly environments to foster a rookie WR (in no particular order):

  • Arizona Cardinals

  • Atlanta Falcons

  • Baltimore Ravens

  • Chicago Bears

  • Dallas Cowboys

  • Denver Broncos

  • Green Bay Packers

  • Indianapolis Colts

  • Las Vegas Raiders

  • Minnesota Vikings

  • New York Jets

  • Philadelphia Eagles

  • San Francisco 49ers

  • Washington Redskins

Nine of these 14 teams went on to draft a WR in the top-three rounds. Additionally, the Bengals, Jaguars, Steelers and Rams selected a high-round WR.

All in all there were 15 WRs drafted during the first two days of the draft.

Note that 2020 presents a unique challenge due to the COVID-19 outbreak. We're moving forward under the assumption that the season takes place, but at the very least it seems likely these rookie WRs won't get a chance to build chemistry with their QBs until late in the summer at the earliest. When in doubt, it's probably best to lower your year-one expectations for most rookie receivers.

Henry Ruggs (1.12, Raiders): It's easy to fall in love with Ruggs' ability to stretch the field with his sub-4.3 speed. He's also capable of providing plenty of after-the-catch goodness from slants and crossers. The former-Alabama WR will need to be better than ever at the latter skill-set in order to thrive with the Raiders, as Derek Carr simply has never made a habit of looking downfield. Overall, Carr has ranked 30th, 33rd, 16th, 29th, 21st and 26th in percentage of passes thrown 20-plus yards downfield since 2014 (PFF). Ruggs will almost assuredly take Zay Jones' spot in three-WR sets and help open up the underneath areas for the entire offense, but this fit is truly a concern. Ultimately, it does seem more than likely that Jon Gruden finds a way to get his apparent favorite WR as involved as possible. There isn't a rookie WR in this class that is guaranteed to walk into a No. 1 role, but the Raiders and Eagles stand out as the two offenses without a clear-cut No. 1 WR. Ruggs is my rookie WR1 due to this copious opportunity and more-proven production compared to the Eagles' first-round pick.

Jerry Jeudy (1.15, Broncos): It seems likely that Jeudy slides in as the Broncos' No. 2 WR behind Courtland Sutton. Still, second-round WR KJ Hamler should also be plenty involved, and TE Noah Fant showed out enough as a rookie to warrant a role as the offense's No. 2 pass-game option. The Broncos have done a great job surrounding rising second-year QB Drew Lock with speed; there are just a lot of mouths to feed at the moment. This is a great real-life problem, but it's not so great for our chances in figuring out this pecking order.

Lock's target distribution in five starts during Weeks 13-17:

There's no reason Jeudy can't be Lock's second-best friend behind only Sutton. Still, Jeudy is my rookie WR4 due to having more uncertainty in this offense than elsewhere both in terms of the pecking order and QB play.

CeeDee Lamb (1.17, Cowboys): Available targets reflect vacant opportunity for every team in terms of their 2019 targets minus those by players still on their roster in 2020. Only the Falcons (261) have more available targets than the Cowboys (190). Lamb might not have a clear path to No. 1, or even No. 2, WR duties, but the absence of both Randall Cobb (83 targets in 2019) and Jason Witten (83) opens up a fairly-major year-one role anyway. A number of analysts and teams alike considered Lamb the draft's top WR, and he possesses the ability to thrive in both the slot as well as out wide. The Cowboys became one of just 11 offenses since 1970 to average at least 6.5 yards per play last season – they look even better on paper ahead of 2020. Lamb is my rookie WR3 thanks to his high-end talent and projected solid, not great, role in the passing game.

Jalen Reagor (1.21, Eagles): Only Ruggs has a clearer path to life as their offense's No. 1 WR. Like Ruggs, Reagor will lose plenty of targets to the team's TE group, but there's perhaps an easier path up the WR depth chart if the Eagles ultimately get rid of Alshon Jeffery before the season. Concerns about Reagor's lack of efficiency in college are out-weighed by the reality that TCU QB Max Duggan was one of the most-inaccurate passers in all of college football. An offense run by Carson Wentz is superior to one run by Derek Carr ... but there's enough difference in collegiate production for me to lean towards the No. 12 overall pick. Ruggs scored 25 touchdowns on 100 touches in college; it took Reagor 183 touches to find his way into the end zone 24 times. Reagor is my rookie WR2

Justin Jefferson (1.22, Vikings): On the one hand, Jefferson has almost zero competition for targets outside of Adam ThielenBisi Johnson never cleared 45 yards in a game last season and Chad Beebe has just six career catches. On the other hand, Thielen appears fairly locked in as the offense's No. 1 pass-game target, and that role produced a rather putrid 94 targets from Stefon Diggs in 2019. The likelihood that Dalvin Cook, Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith stay plenty involved in the passing game means that even a No. 2 pass-game role in Minnesota might not lead to as many targets as a No. 3 role elsewhere. This offense will again flow through Cook in 2020, although Kirk Cousins has thrown for at least 25 touchdowns in five consecutive seasons. Jefferson has an underrated chance to lead the Vikings in receiving scores thanks to his big-play ability and potential to dominate from the slot.

Even if the overall target numbers likely won't be there, Jefferson my rookie WR5.

Brandon Aiyuk (1.25, 49ers): It's unlikely that this offense manages to consistently enable many receivers behind Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. The likes of Jalen Hurd, Marquise GoodwinKendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor and maybe Dante Pettis figure to challenge Aiyuk for snaps, potentially leading to a jumbled mess for the No. 2 and No. 3 WR spots. My money is on Aiyuk winning the No. 2 WR job from that group ... but even then we're talking about the clear-cut No. 3 pass-game option in one of the league's most run-heavy offense. Aiyuk will need to be every bit as good after the catch as he was in college for him to provide top-tier production as a rookie.

Tee Higgins (2.01, Bengals): Higgins joins an already-crowded passing game in Cincinnati:

  • A.J. Green has gained over 1,000 yards and scored at least six TDs in every season of his career that has consisted of more than 10 games.

  • Tyler Boyd has cleared the 1,000-yard mark in back-to-back seasons and has proven to be a force out of the slot.

  • John Ross posted electric 7-158-2 and 4-112-1 lines to start 2019 before (again) missing time due to injury.

  • Auden Tate made a slew of fantastic contested-catch snags throughout the year and finished second on the team in yards per target.

It remains to be seen if Higgins will be able to push for a starting spot in three-WR sets, or if he'll slid in as the No. 4 or No. 5 WR and serve as insurance in case of an injury. Expect flashes rather than prolonged stretches of solid production from Higgins in 2020.

Michael Pittman (2.02, Colts): Indy is currently projected to move forward with three-WR sets featuring T.Y. Hilton, Parris Campbell and Zach Pascal. The latter WR is probably the favorite to lose his job to Pittman, who possesses a fantasy-friendly combination of reliable hands and contested-catch ability. Pittman might not have blazing speed, but he does have size (6-foot-4 and 223-pounds) that is missing from this Colts Offense. Like Jefferson, Pittman has an underrated opportunity to lead his offense in receiving scores in 2020. Unlike Jefferson, Pittman has much more competition at the WR position in order to find a full-time role.

Laviska Shenault (2.10, Jaguars): Chris Conley is looking like the odd man out of three-WR sets if Shenault manages to win a starting role. Gardner Minshew threw at least 25 passes in 14 games last season. The following players had at least 20 targets:

Positive outlooks on Shenault point to his excellent ability with the ball in his hands after the catch. This type of big-play ability helped the likes of A.J. Brown and Deebo Samuel emerge as strong fantasy producers as rookies despite their meh target volume. Unfortunately, Shenault appears to have a ways to go in order to crack the starting lineup. Investing in a complementary receiver on one of the NFL's single-worst teams usually isn't good for business.

KJ Hamler (2.14, Broncos): Let's make one thing clear: Hamler can absolutely fly.

He's well positioned to slide into three-WR sets between Sutton and Jeudy. The question is whether or not Hamler is ready to gain a full-time role. Hamilton and Patrick could very well stay involved, and the Broncos' suddenly-deep TE and RB rooms could feasibly result in fewer formations featuring the offense's top-three WRs. Hamler will need to cure his butterfingers in order to seize a prominent early-season role, but even then he faces the possibility of emerging as nothing more than the No. 4 option in Drew Lock's pecking order.

Chase Claypool (2.17, Steelers): The 2019 Steelers went 8-8 despite suffering worst-case scenario QB play. Ben Roethlisberger threw for over 5,000 yards in 2018. Pittsburgh boasts anyone's idea of a top-five defense. This team is going to be good in 2020 if Big Ben can stay healthy. JuJu Smith-Schuster is solidified as the starting slot WR, while Diontae Johnson flashed enough as a rookie to seemingly lock down one of the outside jobs. This means Claypool's primary competition will likely be James Washington, who simply hasn't managed to consistently get on the same page with Roethlisberger during his short career. It seems most likely that JuJu and Johnson rise to the top of this passing game, but Claypool has a solid chance to emerge as a boom-or-bust No. 3 option in what figures to be a great offense *again* if Big Ben can stay healthy.

Van Jefferson (2.25, Rams): The absence of Brandin Cooks leads me to believe the base Rams Offense will consist of the following players:

We saw the Rams draft Henderson in the third round in 2019 and leave him on the bench for virtually the entire season. Jefferson is far from guaranteed to see the field early or late in the season, particularly if the Rams continue to embrace two-TE sets like they did during the second half of last season. His refined route-running ability could help him find a role in the slot opposite of Kupp when the Rams want to utilize four-WR formations, but don't expect enough volume in 2020 for Jefferson to make much consistent noise in fantasy.

Denzel Mims (2.27, Jets): Jamison Crowder's stranglehold on No. 1 WR duties isn't quite as tight as it was a week ago. Mims possesses a lot of same athletic traits as some of the league's best WRs (via Player Profiler):

  • 40-yard dash: 4.38 seconds (96th-percentile among WRs)

  • Speed Score: 115.6 (96th)

  • Burst Score: 131 (90th)

  • Agility Score: 11.09 (67th)

  • Catch Radius: 10.34 (96th)

  • College Dominator: 42.3% (86th)

Mims, like most young receivers, still needs to work on his overall route-running ability. Still, he's shown off the ability to win in broken-play situations, something that Sam Darnold has specialized in during the last two seasons. The absence of Robby Anderson leaves a massive hole on the outside; don't expect it to take long for Mims to earn a starting role. He has arguably the highest ceiling among all non-first-round WRs in this class.

Bryan Edwards (3.17, Raiders): It's simply tough to see exactly where Edwards fits in the Raiders' 2020 plans. Clearly Ruggs is in three-WR sets, while the likes of Tyrell Williams (three straight seasons with 10-plus yards per target) and Hunter Renfrow (11th in yards per route run as a rookie) aren't exactly pushovers. It seems unlikely Edwards earns a full-time role to start the season, and he'd almost assuredly be working behind Ruggs and Darren Waller in Derek Carr's pecking order even if a starting job comes easier than expected.

Devin Duvernay (3.28, Ravens): One key battle to watch throughout training camp will be between Duvernay and Willie Snead. The former Texas slot WR has a fun combination of speed (4.39-second 40-yard dash) and sure hands (only three drops on 128 targets in 2019), but obviously targets and playing time could be tough to come by in the league's most run-heavy offense. Ultimately, everything behind Mark Andrews is a bit of a mystery in this Ravens' passing game. Marquise Brown remains the most-likely WR to provide consistent fantasy value. Expect Duvernay to be a better real-life asset than fantasy star in 2020.

There were 20 WRs to be drafted in rounds 4-7. Bills WRs Gabriel Davis (4.22) and Isaiah Hodgins (6.28) enter an already-crowded receiver room in Buffalo ... Redskins WR Antonio Gandy-Golden (4.36) has an outside shot at earning a spot in starting three-WR sets ... Chargers WRs Joe Reed (5.05) and KJ Hill (7.06) are certainly upgrades over last season's No. 3 WR Andre Patton ... Buccaneers WR Tyler Johnson (5.16) possesses enough talent to feasibly beat out Justin Watson and Scott Miller for the No. 3 WR job in this crowded passing game ... Lions WR Quintez Cephus (5.21) will be the offense's No. 4 WR at best in 2020 ... Eagles WRs John Hightower (5.23) and Quez Watkins (6.21) each provide plenty of backup field-stretching ability ... Texans WR Isaiah Coulter (5.26) joins perhaps the most undefined, yet talented, WR room in the league ... Bears WR Darnell Mooney (5.28) could feasibly compete for a spot in three-WR sets if he can beat out Javon Wims ... Vikings WR K.J. Osborn (5.31) won't see enough volume even if he somehow gets the snaps in this run-first offense ... Browns WR Donovan Peoples-Jones (6.21) has the ability to win the No. 3 WR job, but this spot should serve as the No. 5 pass-game option at best in this crowded offense ... Ravens WR James Proche (6.22) provides additional depth on the outside ... Colts WR Dezmon Patmon (6.33) will be fighting for a No. 4 or No. 5 WR role in 2020 ... Seahawks WR Freddie Swain (6.35) joins a bunch of receivers competing behind Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf ... 49ers WR Jauan Jennings (7.03) deserves a longer look than most seventh-round prospects considering Kyle Shanahan's history of enabling low-drafted players ... Dolphins WR Malcolm Perry (7.32) shouldn't be anything more than a potential special teams contributor ... Broncos WR Tyrie Cleveland (7.38) is another news-speedy piece for Drew Lock in this suddenly-crowded passing game.

Tight end

Literally only Evan Engram and Rob Gronkowski have posted top-12 PPR seasons as a rookie among all TEs since 2010. Engram even needed Odell Beckham to miss 12 games to do so.

There were only five TEs drafted in the top-three rounds of the 2020 draft, and truthfully none of them seem to have a realistic chance to gain some semblance of immediate high-end fantasy value.

  • Figuring out the Patriots' passing game as a whole is a mess at the moment, so adding TE Devin Asiasi (3.27) and TE Dalton Keene (3.37) to the group just fuels more uncertainty to the fire.

  • Additionally, the Saints (Jared Cook) and Bears (Jimmy Graham) appear to already have veteran starters at the position, but that didn't stop them from drafting Adam Trautman (3.41) and Cole Kmet (2.11), respectively. Kmet is supposed to be an absolute stud, but he'll have plenty of competition for targets and snaps alike in 2020.

  • Finally, Packers TE Josiah Deguara appear to be a quasi-fullback and likely won't see anything more than a committee role at best.

There were an additional seven TEs drafted in rounds 4-7. None of them should be expected to see many, if any, targets in 2020.

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