2020 Dynasty Football Rookie Mock Draft – Round 2
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 dynasty 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. You can find our results for Round 1 here.
Here are our picks for the third round of the dynasty rookie 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 Rookie Draft – Round 2
2.01 – Ron – Tee Higgins
Higgins was the first player selected in Round 2 of both the NFL Draft as well as this dynasty rookie draft, with the latter obviously being the more prestigious of the two. The Clemson standout is one of my favorite rookies. His pro-ready 6’4, 215 lb. frame allowed him to score 27 touchdowns in college and instantly makes him a red zone threat for new Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.
He draws comparisons to A.J. Green, so getting to study his role behind Green in 2020 should aid his development at the pro level. Additionally, Higgins played all three receiver positions in college, so that should allow Cincinnati to move him around the formation. There may not be a ton of production from Higgins as a rookie, but his long-term outlook is bullish.
2.02 – Meng – Justin Jefferson
Jefferson fell behind Pittman and Higgins in our mock, but he could conceivably be the most productive rookie wide receiver in 2020, perhaps even over Reagor. With Stefon Diggs traded to Buffalo, there is ample opportunity for the rookie out of LSU to immediately step into the no. 2 wide receiver role behind Adam Thielen. With his 4.43 speed, Jefferson will likely be the Vikings’ primary deep threat in addition to being a reliable receiver on short and intermediate routes.
Though he mostly played out of the slot in his final college season, Jefferson is a versatile receiver who can play on the outside as well, allowing the Vikings to utilize him interchangeably and in tandem with Thielen. Although target volume in a run-heavy Minnesota offense is a concern, Jefferson offers fantasy WR3 potential with WR2 upside in the late first round or early second round of rookie drafts.
2.03 – Ron – Zack Moss
Moss has football in his blood, with both cousins Santana Moss and Sinorice Moss starring at Miami and ultimately being drafted by the NFL. The Utah product set himself apart by being a violent bruiser out of the backfield, which slots him in perfectly as a complement alongside speedster Devin Singletary in Buffalo.
There is also potential for Moss to eventually assert himself as the lead back, as he’s a competent pass-catcher as well, having tallied 66 receptions during his college career. And even if Moss remains primarily an early-down back, he still boasts fantasy potential in dynasty formats.
2.04 – Meng – A.J. Dillon
Many are discounting Dillon due to the Packers’ draft being widely-scoffed at by the fantasy and NFL community. However, the fact is that Green Bay invested significant draft capital in Dillon, selecting him late in the second round of the NFL Draft. Though Dillon’s short-term outlook bears little upside with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams atop the depth chart, his long-term potential remains high, as both Jones and Williams will be unrestricted free agents after the 2020 season.
Additionally, head coach Matt LaFleur revamped the Packers’ offense last year to place a renewed emphasis on the run game. While the Titans ranked just 22nd in offensive DVOA during LaFleur’s one season as their offensive coordinator in 2018, their rushing offense ranked 11th in the league that year with Derrick Henry recording his first 1,000-yard season and scoring 12 rushing touchdowns. Dillon is a powerful runner with a large frame akin to Henry, and though lack of short-term opportunity has frequently pushed Dillon’s ADP to the back half of the second round or later, he has RB2 potential or more as soon as 2021.
2.05 – Ron – Laviska Shenault
Shenault checks all of the boxes physically as a big play-maker, measuring in at 6’1 and 227 lbs. with 4.5 speed. However, while I love Shenault’s potential and physical gifts, it may take him a bit longer to live up to expectations.
The rookie receiver will have a steep learning curve to pick up the pro game, as there is plenty more competition for him on the Jaguars’ depth chart than there was at Colorado. He also will line up with Gardner Minshew under center, and the jury is still out on whether Minshew can be the franchise quarterback in Jacksonville long-term. Shenault’s versatility is a plus, but he is more of a long-term prospect who could be scary good if he figures it all out.
2.06 – Meng – Denzel Mims
Even though Mims was primarily a deep threat during his college career at Baylor, he showed well in multiple areas during his Senior Bowl performance, both as a route-runner and as a dominating contested-catch receiver. With no clear established no. 1 wide receiver currently on the Jets’ depth chart, it wouldn’t be shocking if Mims reached close to 100 targets as a rookie in 2020.
The biggest concern with Mims is whether Adam Gase can effectively utilize his skill set. From an athletic standpoint, Mims compares favorably to DeVante Parker, who languished under Gase’s tenure in Miami. The hope is that the Jets will utilize recent free agent addition Breshad Perriman more on vertical routes and allow Mims to develop into a more complete receiver, but Mims’s early development, or lack thereof, could be impactful.
2.07 – Ron – Tua Tagovailoa
Tagovailoa has the highest ceiling of any rookie drafted in 2020. His ability to be a dual-threat signal-caller makes him an enticing project, but the main concern is his injury history, which had NFL general managers questioning his durability. Miami selected Tagovailoa as the second quarterback off the board, and so too he is the second quarterback taken in our rookie mock draft.
The supporting cast in Miami is less than ideal at this point, but it’s encouraging that they used four picks in the 2020 NFL Draft, including two in the first 39 players off the board, on offensive linemen to protect their investment in Tagovailoa. The Dolphins also have two 2021 first-round picks that could be used to further bolster the line or to add offensive skill position players. Tagovailoa will likely wrest the starting job away from Ryan Fitzpatrick at some point in Year One and will be given every opportunity to become a star. I think that he can seize his opportunity and become a quality NFL and fantasy quarterback.
2.08 – Meng – Antonio Gibson
Washington’s running back room is currently crowded with former second-round pick Derrius Guice and veteran Adrian Peterson there, but that could quickly change. Though Peterson has defied expectations despite his advanced age, it’s hard to envision him being a long-term obstacle at 35 years old and on the final year of his contract. And though Guice is a talented prospect, a slew of knee injuries has derailed his NFL career up until now, having played just five regular season games in two years. Gibson has a chance to contribute by mid-season and perhaps be the starter heading into 2021.
At 6’0, 228 lbs. and running a 4.39 40-yard dash, Gibson could even handle a workhorse role. As a prospect, Gibson’s elite athleticism largely flew under the radar due to him testing at the NFL Combine as a wide receiver. Had he tested as a running back instead, Gibson’s workout metrics would’ve profiled similarly to those of Jonathan Taylor. However, Scott Turner, Washington’s offensive coordinator “envisions Gibson as… a ‘true running back’ while also being split out as a slot receiver”. Hybrid players like Gibson are difficult to project in the NFL, but not many second-round rookie picks have the kind of upside that he does.
2.09 – Ron – Brandon Aiyuk
Aiyuk was a JUCO transfer who shined in his final season at Arizona State under coach Herm Edwards, though he remains a bit rough around the edges when it comes to fully grasping the wide receiver position.
Sharpening his route-running skills will be a priority in developing into a more complete receiver, but despite being a bit raw, the 49ers’ coaching staff should be able to immediately take advantage of his yards after the catch ability and put him in spots to succeed. Aiyuk is another promising prospect in a deep wide receiver class.
2.10 – Meng – Joshua Kelley
Austin Ekeler remains the lead back in Los Angeles, but Kelley is a physical runner who will complement Ekeler in taking on part of Melvin Gordon‘s former role in this offense. That said, the Chargers will conceivably work in Kelley alongside Justin Jackson as change of pace options for Ekeler, who isn’t built for a true workhorse role. And while Ekeler is unlikely to cede much passing-down work barring injury, Kelley is an adequate receiver as well who could fill in on some passing plays.
Though Kelley is unlikely to be a significant fantasy factor behind Ekeler, he could develop scoring upside if he sees more goal-line usage as the season progresses. His weekly fantasy ceiling may be capped as a touchdown-dependent flex as a role player in this offense. But in the event that Ekeler were to miss time, Kelley would have some RB2 upside with him and Jackson probably splitting the workload.
2.11 – Ron – Justin Herbert
Herbert was the third quarterback off the board in our dynasty rookie draft, and like many scouts, Meng and I have different outlooks for this rookie quarterback. I think he starts in Year One sooner rather than later (we don’t really buy that Tyrod Taylor is the answer, do we?), and the talent around Herbert in Los Angeles can prop him up and make him a productive fantasy starter even as a rookie.
In the long run, while Herbert looks the part and can do a lot of things well, I don’t necessarily expect him to become an elite quarterback who will be able to elevate his surrounding talent. I think Herbert will have a successful career, but for fantasy purposes, he’s likely more of a QB2 with fringe QB1 upside. He will need a solid supporting offensive cast around him, but luckily the Chargers were a great landing spot with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Hunter Henry there to help support Herbert’s development.
2.12 – Meng – Chase Claypool
As we near the third round of rookie drafts, none of these rookies have safe floors, and all have plenty of bust potential, so this is the range to embrace risk and focus on targeting players with the most upside. Claypool represents just that; he’s an athletic marvel, having run a 4.42 40-yard dash even measuring in at 6’4 and 238 lbs. And though Claypool enters a crowded wide receiver room with JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and James Washington all flashing at times, there are already rumblings that the Steelers may not re-sign Smith-Schuster once his rookie contract is up following the 2020 season.
While many speculated that Claypool could be converted to a tight end in the NFL, Pittsburgh views him as a true wide receiver, and it’s not hard to see why. The Steelers hit on another big-bodied, contested catch receiver in Martavis Bryant back in 2014. He ultimately didn’t pan out due to off-field reasons, but Bryant was a dynamic weapon for Ben Roethlisberger when he was on the field. Even nearing 40 years of age, if Roethlisberger can create even 80 percent of the magical connection that he had with Bryant with Claypool, then the rookie possesses a high-end WR2 fantasy ceiling in 2021 and beyond.
What’s your take on this dynasty rookie draft? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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