Rookie Draft Guide
April 27, 2020
2on1 x The Undroppables
It's finally here, our favorite time of year, the one anniversary that none of us ever forget as it annually marks the beginning of a new year, a new opportunity for greatness, and the forgotten disappointment of years past, the Dynasty Rookie Draft! With the NFL Draft completed in it's first ever online live format, that is a story in it's own right, it signals the start of rookie draft season for dynasty fantasy football. The one time each year that every dynasty player gets to add new blood to their roster, and where we all find out if trading proven assets the previous year for future first round draft picks actually pays off for trade addicts everywhere.
This Rookie Draft Guide will help you land the next workhorse back, or perennial Pro Bowl WR, or late round stash, or help you decide between players like Bryan Edwards or Tyler Johnson. The rookie draft is the one opportunity to flip your rebuild into a contender, and with this Draft Guide we'll help you do just that. Prepared by 5 analysts from the 2on1 Crew and The Undroppables squad, this collaboration brings you in-depth analysis on each of the top 50 prospects from Fantasy Pros consensus rankings from the following analysts: Tommy Mo (@2on1FFB), Dan (@AWLsabermetrics), Fantasy Stoner (@fantasyFBstoner), Randal Kennedy (@FF_Terminator), and Chalk (@101Chalk). Reach out to any of us on Twitter for comments, questions, or recommendations on who to draft at specific draft spots. Good luck in your upcoming rookie drafts!
*Click the arrow to expand the analysis for each player
Strength - Taylor was born to play RB. He’s built perfectly for the position in the NFL and he does everything you want out of a RB. He’s another workhorse back to come out of Wisconsin who can run and catch, all while making you miss and running you over. He’s a downhill runner that explodes through the line of scrimmage, and leaves defenders in the dust. JT can do it all.
Weakness - Some will knock him for the low tread left on his tires due to a heavy workload in college. He was not a focal point of the passing game until his final year. He also has fumbled quite a lot in his college career, 41 games 18 fumbles (15 lost), which equates to 1 fumble every 2.2 games, or approximately 1 fumble every 50 carries.
Production - Insane amount of production in his 3 years at Wisconsin, amassing over 6,100 rushing yards, off an average of 300 carries per year, and 55 TDs.
Metrics - JT is a freak athlete with a speed score in the 99th percentile due in part to his 4.39 40-yard dash at the Combine. All the other important metrics are in the top 30% for rookie prospects: YPC (77th), Target Share (76th), SPARQ-x (77th), Burst (71st).
Landing Spot - Drafted 41st overall in the 2nd round by the Indianapolis Colts, a solid landing spot as far as offensive line and scheme fit, but with Marlon Mack still in the mix the road to overtaking the RB1 spot on the team is not laid out like a red carpet. JT may see more field time toward the end of the 2020 season, like Miles Sanders in 2019, and he could easily be the guy by the 2021 campaign.
Draft Position - He’s my arguable 1.01 in most scoring formats, except for SuperFlex, and even for SF I would consider taking him over Burrow and Tua if I was set at QB. In a startup draft that includes rookies, I would consider taking him within the first 5 rounds.
Pro Comparison: Ezekiel Elliott
Strength - Look no further than his last name, which means happening swiftly or promptly. Not only does he possess superior quickness, but his balance and footwork might be unmatched in this draft. Solid vision & patience. Extremely versatile. He runs fantastic routes and does not seem to know how to drop a pass. Severely underrated as a pass-blocker as well.
Weakness - Ball security could be an issue for him. He lost the ball a ton for a guy who was splitting touches. His quickness does not necessarily correlate to breakaway speed. Also not sure that he is made to be a workhorse back in the NFL.
Production - As a freshman in 2017, was Georgia’s Co-Offensive Newcomer of the Year. Swift led the team in rushing in 2018 despite starting only a handful of games. Has had 2 straight 1000-yard seasons, averaging over 6 yards a carry and finding the endzone 21 total times (25 in his career). Put up alpha stats in a timeshare.
Metrics - Swift is built like a tank, with a BMI over 32, which generally equates to more productivity and durability. He also ranks near the top of all rookie prospects in regards to: 40-Yard Dash 4.48 (83rd), Speed Score 105.3 (80th), YPC 6.2 (77th), Target Share 10.1% (75th), & Burst Score 120.9 (62nd).
Landing Spot - Swift landed in one of the few spots that were ripe for an addition to the backfield, Detroit. Kerryon Johnson has been injured each of the last two seasons, leaving more questions than answers at the RB position. Enter Swift, a guy who made a name for himself at Georgia competing with NFL caliber guys like Nick Chubb & Sony Michel for playing time. He is a 3-down back that compliments Kerryon Johnson well, but is light-years ahead in talent.
Draft Spot - Swift should be one of the top 5 players off the board in your rookie drafts, Superflex or not, as he is clearly one of the top 2-3 backs in this draft. Though if he ends up in the right offense, he could arguably be the first back off the board. In startups that include rookies, he has been going in rounds 3-4, but that is a bit soon for me at the moment
Pro Comparison: Ray Rice
Strengths - Jeudy is one of those guys you honestly don’t need to write much about. He is fast, runs a great route tree, and checks about every box you would want in expecting an elite pro career for the next several years. He is someone that should be an immediate play-maker in year one. His crazy athleticism, high level production, real life, and analytics metrics are all top notch, he is a universally praised talent- and he should be.
Weaknesses - There aren't a ton of things to really get into, more than just being nitpicky. His size is a little slender which may negate some middle of the field work, but I don’t expect that to really take away from his overall production capabilities in the NFL. Another issue isn’t necessarily a weakness, but something to keep an eye out for; his start/stop ability. Jeudy can absolutely stop on a dime- it is insane. But, the way in which he really leans into his knee bend (the cool kids call it valgus I guess), makes him feel like an ACL tear waiting to happen. Lastly, some may give him a slight knock for “attention” drops- but those are always something that I think can be easily worked out in the NFL.
Production - Like I mentioned above in the strengths, the dude just flat out killed it in his Sophomore and Junior seasons at Alabama. In 2018, he went for 1,135 yards on 68 receptions for 14(!) touchdowns, and in 2019 he went for another cool 1,163 yards on 77 receptions for 10 touchdowns. The Alabama offense has no shortage of playmakers, and he was able to command a 20-25% target share as the elite option in that offense.
Metrics - Jeudy is film fast and clock fast, coming in at a 4.45 second 40-yard dash (80th percentile), and had a Break-Out Age (BOA) of 19.4 years old (82nd percentile). Unfortunately, we don’t have a full combine workout, but he also measured in with a broad jump of 120”, a vertical of 35”, and a 20 yard shuffle of 4.53 seconds. He has a solid catch radius with an arm size of 32 ⅛”, and a hand size 9 ½”.
Landing Spot - It all depends on how you feel about Drew Lock. Personally, I am not sold at the moment, but Jeudy is an elite talent, so even if Lock isn’t a top end QB, he should still be an immediate impact player. Having Fant, Sutton, and MelGo may take away volume from Jeudy, but it could also help open up the field for big plays.
Draft Spot - There is still a back-and-forth between who is the WR1 of the class, Lamb or Jeudy. I think that is fair debate and frankly just speaks to how damn good this WR class is. Though it wasn’t a perfect spot just for outside competition reasons, I still have Jeudy as a top 2 option for rookie WR. He is an early mid-round pick in 1QB drafts, and probably a little more to the back half for SF leagues solely because the landing spots for rookie running backs may legitimately have the first 6-8 picks be Burrow, Tua, then a slew of running backs all in a row.
Pro Comparison - Santonio Holmes
Strengths - Lamb has exceptional ball tracking skills and superb body control and strong hands to win at the catch point with consistency. Given these attributes, he is an incredible contested catch receiver with the ability to seamlessly catch back shoulder and comeback passes. After the catch, Lamb is hard to tackle with elusiveness, contact balance and awareness in the open field. His elite footwork and purposeful timing allows him to get in and out of breaks with ease, although his routes need to be crisper. The former Oklahoma star has a competitive edge but has played without urgency at times, especially in zone coverage reads.
Weaknesses - Lamb will need to bulk up with his slight frame at 6’2”. The Sooner also lacks the elite top end speed and acceleration for an outside WR who can take the top off of a defense, as evidenced by his average Combine metrics. Lamb is also not a route technician, seemingly guilty of lazy steps in his breaks.
Production - Lamb’s best season was his final year at Oklahoma when he caught 62 passes on 94 targets (66% catch rate), 1,327 receiving yards and 14 TDs. Lamb commanded a 24.7% target share as the lead WR on his team. In his breakout sophomore year (age 19, 81st percentile), Lamb had over 1,100 yards with 11 TDs and a 82.3% catch rate. An elite three-year performer, Lamb posted a 38.1% dominator rating (77th percentile) and 21.4 yards per reception (96th percentile). In addition, Lamb contributed on special teams, averaging over 200 total yards on returns during his last two seasons.
Metrics - Lamb had a lackluster Combine with a 4.50 40 (67th), speed score in the 63rd percentile and burst score in the 47th percentile. This was a disappointing outcome and an unexpected mark on an otherwise impressive pre-draft profile.
Landing Spot - In a surprising day 1 twist, the Cowboys took Lamb with the 17th overall pick. This is not an ideal landing spot for the rookie receiver as Dallas has a plethora of weapons at the position including a recently extended Amari Cooper. Lamb looks to slot in as a starter in three receiver sets but any upside in year one will be limited. This also potentially hurts the fantasy outlooks for Cooper and Michael Gallup in 2020 as there will be many mouths to feed.
Draft Spot - CeeDee Lamb is my WR1 and 5th overall prospect in this vaunted 2020 class. Because of his slight frame and lack of long speed, Lamb projects as an outside Z-receiver but he has the rare talent and skill set to be a team’s lead WR. Similarly to his pro comparison, Davante Adams, Lamb may need a couple of years to develop into a dominant chess piece.
Pro Comparison - Davante Adams
Strengths - The zone blocking scheme that Ohio State employed really fit Dobbins skill set. One of only three FBS running backs to eclipse 2,000 yards from scrimmage. He's very patient and allows his blocks to develop. He presses the line of scrimmage with excellent pace and foot cadence reminiscent of Le'Veon Bell. Dobbins displays excellent vision and runs through contact, and he played through pain without ever missing a game at Ohio State.
Weaknesses - His route running leaves something to be desired. Most of his production out of the backfield came from manufactured space. Good but not elite speed.
Production - Elite producer during all three years at OSU with a college best 2,003 yards in his junior year. Also caught at least 20 passes in every season.
Metrics - Dobbins opted out of physical testing at the Combine.
Landing Spot - Landing in Baltimore with the 55th pick in the 2nd Round. That's good draft capital for the rookie, but not necessarily the best landing spot for immediate production with Mark Ingram still taking the lead role, and two young guys to compete with in Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, who both rotated for carries last year. Still, Dobbins has the potential to beat out the competition and take over as the lead dog once Ingram is done.
Draft Spot - Mid first round draft pick in non-SF leagues. Value is pushed back to later first round pick in SF leagues.
Pro Comparison - Marshawn Lynch
Strengths - Great build and frame for workhorse role and finishes strong with contact. Elusive and explosive in the open-field with speed, quick burst, strong cuts and footwork. Willing and decent blocker in pass protection. Natural game breaking abilities gives Akers one of the highest ceilings out of all 2020 RB prospects.
Weaknesses - Biggest question mark is ball security which could spell trouble in the NFL. Not a bad pass catcher but hands could use work. Also projects as a potential committee/COP back although he has the size and skill set for a 3-down role.
Production - Ran for over 1,000 yards in 2 of his 3 college seasons, including two seasons with over 20 receptions. Posted a 39.8% college dominator in the ACC, averaging 5 yards per carry and commanding a 10.4% target share as a RB.
Metrics - Blew up the Combine with a 4.47 40-yard dash with superb speed (89th) and burst (66th) scores.
Landing Spot - Akers find himself with day 2 draft capital, landing on a Rams team that jettisoned Todd Gurley. Although the Rams drafted Darrell Henderson last year, he was a disappointment and could not see significant playing time. Akers has the skills and talent to take over as the lead back in Los Angeles sooner rather than later and projects as a mid to low end RB2 as a rookie with serious upside.
Draft Spot - Akers is my RB2 in this class, sitting right behind Jonathan Taylor. A solid producer behind a putrid offensive line, Akers checks off all of the boxes for a RB prospect, including college production and metrics. In 1QB formats, Akers is my 1.02. In Superflex, I’m gladly smashing Akers at 1.04 behind Tua, Burrow and JT.
Pro Comparison - Kareem Hunt
Strengths - I have taken to referring to CEH as “Mighty Mouse.” Standing at 5’7”, his size is visibly small on the field at times- but I don’t mean that in a negative way; the dude can absolutely ball out. Though he may not stand tall, he is thiccc, and is impressively shifty for being as built as he is. He makes sharp cuts, and was used extensively in the passing game this past season, which bodes well for future NFL use. He may not project as a bellcow 3-down back due to his size, but he shows a safe floor in PPR leagues due to his pass-catching ability, and his running ability just adds to future fantasy production as well.
Weaknesses - For his size, he is ~ok~ in regards to pass-protection, but time will tell how well he adjusts to dealing with NFL size and strength in this area. Another possible issue for Mighty Mouse is though he has extremely impressive burst and can get to top speed very quickly, he only ran a 4.60- 40 yard dash, so his top-end speed may limit long breakaway plays at the next level. Due to his stature he has a slightly smaller catch radius than others, but again he showed the ability to be a playmaker receiving out of the backfield so that might not be a major concern.
Production - Clyde was really a single year starter, which in some eyes could be a redflag, but in others it presents itself as showing ability, without a ton of miles used up. MM absolutely crushed last season going for 1,414 yards on 215 att (6.6 avg) for 16 touchdowns. That alone is a very appetizing stat line, now you add in his receiving work of 55 catches for 453 yards and 1 touchdown, and you start to see the dual-threat impact he can have for an offense. For what it is worth, his Sophomore year wasn’t a dud however. He still ran for 658 yards on 146 attempts (4.5yd average) for 7 touchdowns, and caught 11 balls for 96 yards (8.7yd average). In programs like LSU I don’t always tend to hold it against guys if they don’t walk in and immediately take over- the teams are some of the best in the country, they have to take the spots of other 4 and 5 star recruits that are in their same class, nevermind the guys above them too.
Metrics - As I mentioned above, a potential shortcoming, pun actually not intended, is his flat out speed. Clyde clocked a 4.60- 40yd dash at the combine, which for running backs really is at the upper tier that you want. What does negate that a bit, is his ability to get up to that speed quickly, which he does extremely well, coming in with a Burst score of 128.7, good for 89th percentile scoring. Only 15 reps on the bench at the Combine is also a potential worry in the pass-blocking department already being a smaller guy. He did however showcase a vertical of 39.5” and a broad jump of 123.0 inches- illustrating just how strong his legs really are. Another positive note is that for a probable primary pass-catcher, he measured in with a hand size of 9 ⅝” which helps his catch radius for slightly smaller arms, and holding onto the ball in general.
Landing Spot - Mighty Mouse to Kansas City!!! Hard to think of a better possible landing spot. This very much puts him squarely in the RB1 consideration in regards to rookie drafts. This is an absolutely perfect spot for CEH to go to. If you have an early, and by that I mean top 2 in 1QB, and top 4 in SF, 2020 rookie pick, be very happy this happened and you have a chance to capitalize.
Draft Spot - Clyde has really moved up people’s boards over the last few months and I see him typically between the RB2-RB5 depending on the ranker. I think Jonathan Taylor is still the best overall running back of the class, but the landing spot the Edwards-Helaire just found himself in, is absolutely perfect. MM is going to be a top 2 to 4 pick in all formats, if you have one of those, good luck.
Pro Comparison - Doug Martin
Strengths - Prototypical big slot receiver. His athletic ability is second to none. Displays excellent body control and the ability to make tough adjustments in the air. Has excellent ball skills and routinely snagged balls outside of his frame. Played all over the formation at LSU but really took off once placed in the slot. Led the FBS with 111 receptions.
Weaknesses - Can be jammed up at the line which leads to wonky releases. Needs to better utilize his hands to clear jams. His downfield footwork can get sloppy and produce long steps into and out of breaks which hinders his ability to separate.
Production - 1,500 receiving yards, 111 receptions and 18 TDs in his junior year. 30% college dominator and broke out at age 19.
Metrics - 4.4 40 with 80th percentile speed and burst scores.
Landing Spot - One of the best landing spots for WRs in this draft class. Jefferson will have the opportunity to slot in as the team's WR2 right away opposite a turning 30 year old Adam Thielen. He's not exactly a direct replacement for Stefon Diggs but I don't think the Vikings will be missing their newly departured star WR anymore.
Draft Spot - Jefferson is a mid 1st round draft pick in rookie drafts as a top 5 WR. The opportunity and skill set is too good to let pass to the late 1st round picks.
Pro Comparison - Tyler Boyd
Strength - Tremendously explosive playmaker, who is not only a vertical threat in the passing game, he is built like Deebo Samuel and can be used in the run game as well. Maybe the strongest receiver in the draft as he can squat over 600 pounds and benches almost 400. Does an outstanding job of going up to get the ball at the high point and can make the tough catch. Excellent punt returner.
Weakness - Sometimes loses focus, which leads to too many dropped passes. Has a very limited route tree, though this is becoming less and less of a weakness as the years progress. For a strong WR, he is a terrible downfield blocker.
Production - After flashing in 2007 for over 600 scrimmage yards and 8 TDs, Reagor put up over 1,000 yards and 11 total TDs in 2018. Sadly, his quarterback play was worse than erratic this past season and his numbers suffered. That said, he still averaged over 14 yards a reception and scored 5 times.
Metrics - Reagor is a smooth playmaker, who did what he could this past season with less than average QB play. That explains his less than stellar YPR ranking 14.5 (47th). Other Metrics: SPARQ-x 114.1 (78th) and Burst Score 140.4 (99th), which should not be unexpected. Breakout age 18.7 (95th) is phenom level.
Landing Spot - There may not have been a better spot for Reagor to land than in Philadelphia. Not only do they have a dire need for a playmaker at the wide receiver position, but they have an offensive-minded coach who will actually be able to utilize all of Reagor’s talents. There is no reason to believe he will not be penciled in as a starter immediately.
Draft Spot - Jalen of House Reagor is a late first/early second round pick in SF rookie drafts. The right situation could push him higher in the 1st round. In results of recent startups that include rookies, he has gone anywhere from rounds 7-10, being taken over some established, and still relatively young, veterans, which might be a bit of a reach, but post-draft will probably be about right.
Pro Comparison: Santonio Holmes
Strengths - He consistently makes the tough catch. Over the top, down and away, deep up the seam, no matter where the ball is thrown Higgins will most likely catch it. He was a favorite target of Trevor Lawrence because he was reliable especially when it came to the 50/50 ball. With an 81-inch wingspan and big hands, he snatches the ball out of the air and away from his body.
Weaknesses - He has good but not blazing speed, gaining separation from his size and quickness as opposed to pulling away from defenders at full gait. Not aggressive in run blocking, but doesn’t necessarily shy away from contact. Can sometimes drop the easy pass.
Production - Higgins had an impressive final two years of his college career playing alongside Trevor Lawrence. He averaged over 1,000 receiving yards, 16.2% target share, 71.6% catch rate, and 12.5 Touchdowns in his final two years. His TD numbers led the ACC in his final two years.
Metrics - The most impressive metric for Tee Higgins is his Breakout Age (BOA) of 18.6 which places him in the 96th percentile. While he didn’t clock an overly impressive 40-yard dash time of 4.54 seconds, he has a speed score in the 73rd percentile (101.3) and his college YPR is in the 93rd percentile (19.8).
Landing Spot - The Bengals took Higgins with the first pick in the 2nd Round (33rd overall) to pair with their new QB Joe Burrow. Higgins will get opportunities in this offense, but will compete for targets with Boyd, Green, and Ross. However, once he can carve out a decent percentage of the team’s target share, this is a great fit for Higgins and he will be a great grab for the long run of dynasty leagues. Once A.J. Green retires or is shipped out he’ll be a very nice compliment opposite Boyd on the outside.
Draft Spot - In non SF leagues Higgins has an ADP of a late first round pick and for WR-needy teams that seems about right to me. In SF leagues he can slip into the start of the 2nd round. Both situations leave the opportunity for Higgins to be a steal in rookie drafts, like A.J. Brown was last year.
Pro Comparison - A.J. Green