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2020 Dynasty Football Rookie Mock Draft – Round 1

There are sure to be a lot of variations in ADP past the top two picks in rookie drafts this year, as there are a great number of rookies with high potential in the 2020 class. With rookie draft season in full swing, fellow Fantrax dynasty football writer Ron and I decided to do a 2020 dynasty football rookie mock draft between the two of us.

Here are our picks for the first round of the dynasty football mock draft assuming a 12-team PPR, start one quarterback format, and we’ve provided short blurbs for each of our respective picks detailing our reasoning.

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2020 Dynasty Football Rookie Mock Draft

1.01 – Ron – Jonathan Taylor

At 1.01 in rookie drafts, it’s either Taylor or Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and neither pick is wrong. I have to admit, this was a bit of a homer pick being a Colts fan, but at the same time, there are so many other reasons I like him. Taylor comes from Wisconsin, a school that’s been known to produce quality pro running backs. He comes with 4.39 speed, and while I don’t expect being a home run hitter to be his calling card, he will continue to be a workhorse as he was when he tallied over 6,000 yards in college.

With Marlon Mack most likely not being back beyond 2020 for Indianapolis, Taylor will share backfield duties in his first pro season, but I anticipate that he will earn the majority of the carries sooner rather than later. In dynasty or keeper formats, once Mack leaves, you will have a three-down back that I expect to become a much better receiver as a pro.

1.02 – Meng – Clyde Edwards-Helaire

There are arguments to be made for both Taylor and Edwards-Helaire at 1.01, and I’d wager that many leagues will differ as to which running back gets selected first overall in their rookie drafts. In PPR formats though, I would’ve taken Edwards-Helaire at 1.01, so I was glad he fell to me at 1.02. While there are some concerns about his speed and overall athleticism, Edwards-Helaire is arguably the best pass-catching running back in this rookie class.

His pairing with an innovative Andy Reid and world-beater Patrick Mahomes quells these concerns, however, as the Chiefs will be sure to maximize Edwards-Helaire’s abilities to make dynamic plays in space. And though Damien Williams will likely remain involved in 2020, Reid’s comparison of the rookie to Brian Westbrook along with Kansas City selecting him in the first round are strong endorsements that Edwards-Helaire will receive the bulk of the workload in 2021 and beyond.

1.03 – Ron – Joe Burrow

Yes, I took Burrow at 1.03.  No, I wasn’t drinking.  Just what the hell was I thinking?  If you check out my first installment of the Dynasty Rookie Rundown, you’ll get the full story, but for now here are the Cliff’s Notes (are those still a thing?).  There is a ton to like about Burrow’s prospects as a pro QB.  He is the undisputed guy from day one.  There are some who argue that his supporting cast at LSU propped up his eye-popping stats, but while they helped, being the guy calling the signals has a lot to do with it as well.

Burrow also inherits a solid arsenal of weapons in Cincinnati and will have a defense that while improved, will still struggle.  This could lead to plenty of chances to chuck it around the yard. I believe his poise, confidence, and competitiveness will shine through, epecially competing in a division with Lamar Jackson and Baker Mayfield.  I was lucky enough to snag Jackson in my oldest keeper league last season, and it made me a true believer in just how big of a difference nabbing a great young signal caller can make.  In dynasty football leagues, Burrow can be a Pro Bowl quarterback in your starting lineup for the next decade. 

1.04 – Meng J.K. Dobbins

Personally, I’d eschew taking a quarterback so early in a one-quarterback format, but there’s no doubt that Burrow has immense upside. Dobbins fell to me at this pick, and I couldn’t be happier. While Mark Ingram limits Dobbins’s immediate upside, Baltimore could move on from Ingram after the 2020 season with just over $1 million in dead money. The Ravens also boasted the league’s best rushing offense in 2019 and should continue to be one of the most run-heavy offenses going forward.

Not only that, but Baltimore also specifically targeted Dobbins as a fit for their shotgun-heavy rushing attack. Last year, 94.5 percent of Ingram’s carries came from the shotgun formation, ranking first in the league. Likewise, Dobbins recorded the second-most rushing yards from shotgun last year in college. And finally, the ever-present threat of last season’s MVP Lamar Jackson keeping the ball on any given play is sure to open up holes for Dobbins as well.

1.05 – Ron – D’Andre Swift

I wouldn’t fault anyone for taking Swift as high as 1.01.  He’s a bit smaller than Taylor and a little slower, but with 73 catches in his three seasons at Georgia, Swift enters the league as a true three-down back.  While I am among those who are still a fan of Kerryon Johnson, Swift will be able to come in and win the job if he stays healthy.

The former Bulldog impressed as both a runner who can get it done between the tackles as well as a receiving back on third downs.  His addition to the Lions’ offense will give them a consistent weapon out of the backfield for Matthew Stafford.  

1.06 – Meng Jalen Reagor

Even though CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy are the popular picks to be the top rookie wide receiver, Reagor is an explosive athlete with immense opportunity. Although Reagor’s college production was unexceptional, poor quarterback play at TCU was a big factor. Reagor saw the fourth-highest rate of off-target passes among college wide receivers last year, with PFF deeming just 61.4 percent of his targets as catchable in 2019, which ranked 118th among 120 college wide receivers.

Now Reagor will be catching passes from Carson Wentz in Philadelphia, who recorded the fifth-most on-target throws in the league last season. Reagor arguably has similar long-term upside as Lamb and Jeudy, but with both incumbent Eagles wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson aging and oft-injured, Reagor will have far greater immediate opportunity.

1.07 – Ron – Jerry Jeudy

As an NFL general manager, if you needed help at wide receiver, this was the year for you.  It was rumored that Denver was looking to trade up for one, and luckily for John Elway, he was able to stay put and get one of the best in the draft.  Jeudy checks a lot of boxes, but speed and excellent route-running are his calling cards.  That said, he did have some drops in college, and Jeudy isn’t the biggest or most physical wide receiver.

However, what he lacks in size, Jeudy can more than make up for with his ability to work in the slot or outside.  Drew Lock under center scares me a bit, as we don’t know what he is just yet.  I love Jeudy in dynasty formats, but rookie first-round receivers rarely live up to the fantasy hype in Year One.  Hopefully, he won’t be a guy you need to count heavily on until he and Lock build chemistry.  Once that happens, NFL defensive backs will be getting “Jeudy-ed” on a weekly basis.

1.08 – Meng CeeDee Lamb

As discussed above, Jeudy and Lamb will likely struggle for target share in the short term. However, Dallas adding Lamb to a wide receiver room already full of talent is hardly an insurmountable obstacle. Though there are talks of Dak Prescott holding out for a long-term deal, it’s difficult to imagine the Cowboys failing to come to terms with their future franchise quarterback. Prescott’s presence bodes well for Lamb. Whereas Reagor will be catching passes from Wentz, who ranked fifth in on-target throws last year, Lamb’s quarterback led the NFL in on-target throws in 2019.

And even with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup commanding large target shares of their own, the departures of Randall Cobb and Jason Witten free up a combined 166 targets from last season. Lamb’s ceiling may be limited for his first couple of seasons, but one of Cooper or Gallup will likely be gone after the 2021 season. The rookie’s long-term prospects remain promising.

1.09 – Ron – Henry Ruggs

At 1.09 of our rookie mock draft, the second Alabama wide receiver came off the board. With 4.27 speed, Ruggs to the Raiders was a match made in heaven.  As I mentioned with his former college teammate Jeudy above, first-round wide receivers tend to struggle a bit during their rookie seasons.  I expect this to be the case here as well.

Ruggs’s speed will allow him to make some big plays, but he figures to be an inconsistent source of fantasy points each week.  Expect some big weeks with stat lines along the lines of three catches for 80 yards and a touchdown as well as other down weeks with stat lines closer to three catches for 25 yards and no scores.  When Ruggs develops further, those big games should occur more frequently with the floor increasing a bit as well, but until then, his rookie production is likely to be unsteady.

1.10 – Meng Ke’Shawn Vaughn

Being described as a player who will “do his job, not screw it up and little else” may sound like a negative, but for a running back who will be tasked with pass protecting for Tom Brady, he may be exactly what Bruce Arians wants. It’s uncertain how involved incumbent Ronald Jones will be in this backfield, but my guess is that it will depend on how quickly Vaughn develops and earns the trust of Brady and the coaching staff.

He’s hardly an elite prospect, but Vaughn doesn’t need to be the most dynamic play-maker when the Buccaneers have threats like Mike EvansChris GodwinRob Gronkowski, and O.J. Howard. I’ve outlined my case for the Buccaneers as legitimate Super Bowl contenders and Brady a potential MVP candidate in 2020 in this recent article. It’s only logical then that Vaughn carries league-winning fantasy upside if he earns the lead role based on my projections for Tampa Bay’s offense as a whole.

1.11 – Ron – Michael Pittman

Indianapolis was among the wide receiver-needy teams that benefited favorably from how the NFL Draft unfolded.  Pittman was one of the top options at the position on many teams’ draft boards, so the Colts taking him in the second round could end up being a steal.

While 4.5 speed at 6’4 and 225 lbs. is nothing to sneeze at, Pittman wasn’t drafted to be a burner.  His money will be made by being a physical presence that will move the chains and rack up targets.  Best of all, he should be a factor for the Colts right away, as he will slot in behind T.Y. Hilton with his main competition being Parris Campbell and Zach Pascal.  The USC product could be one of the more productive fantasy rookie pass-catchers in 2020, especially in PPR leagues.

1.12 – Meng Cam Akers

I have Akers and Vaughn ranked very closely, and the main reason I have Vaughn higher is due to Tampa Bay’s better offensive line and overall projected offensive efficiency. Sean McVay is an incredible offensive innovator, but even with him at the helm, the Rams finished just 20th in rushing efficiency last year as a result of their poor offensive line, which ranked 19th in run-blocking.

Even so, Akers has a high fantasy ceiling if he assumes a workhorse role in potentially replacing Todd Gurley. The primary concern is that Akers isn’t yet a polished receiving back, having dropped five of 35 catchable passes in 2019, so it’s plausible that McVay could use more of a committee backfield in 2020 with both Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown involved. If the Rams’ offense can return to their 2018 form though with Akers in the lead role, dynasty GMs will look back on Akers as a steal in the late first round of rookie drafts.

Have an issue with one of the picks in our 2020 Dynasty Football Mock Draft? Let Ron and Meng know about it in the comments below.

For more fantasy football content, follow me on Twitter @FFA_Meng. Also, check back for more, as we’ll be covering the dynasty football angle all offseason.

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