In fantasy football leagues, rookie drafts are happening right now. Luckily, we have raking rookies at FPC. Before you make your selections, here is Dynasty Rookie Rankings – Kyle Part 2.
For details about the lineup and scoring settings, here is Part 1. You will also find the top 12 ranked players.
13. RB – Zack Moss – Buffalo Bills
During my initial RB film evaluation, Zack Moss ranked as the RB #6. After a less-than-staller combine, he fell a few spots. However, the running backs between Moss and the top 5, went undrafted. Therefore, post-NFL Draft, Moss regains the six spot.
Going to Buffalo, Moss’s ceiling will no doubt be limited by the presence of Devin Singletary. It will likely be difficult for the rookie to get on the field of passing downs as Singletary saw 41 targets in only 12 games last season.
However, for his 180 touches, Singletary only received 2 rushing attempts from inside the 5-yard line, and 4 total Red Zone targets. The Bills have a need for a short-yardage and goal-line back. If Moss could secure that role as a rookie, he could have some high-scoring, yet inconsistent weeks in fantasy football. Still, I prefer to target rookie with a clear path to year one production in order to maintain or even elevate their dynasty value. While Buffalo was not the most coveted of RB landing spots, Moss could nonetheless get an opportunity there.
14. RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Speaking of excellent landing spots, Ke’Shawn Vaughn ended up in a place that increased his value. I had him ranked at #14 in pure film evaluations. While his burst and footwork were great, he much worse elusiveness and contact balance ratings than the top 6 running backs already mentioned.
The strongest aspect in Vaughn’s game is arguably his pass-catching ability. His type of 3-down skill set is something that Tampa Bay has been lacking. While Ronald Jones is a decent runner, he is limited as a pass-catcher. And with all of Dare Ogunbowale‘s passing proficiency, he only has 11 career carries in the NFL. Vaughn gives the Buccaneers a running back whose presence on the field does not telegraph the type of play to be run.
What raises his stock most is the draft capital invested by the Buccaneers. With all of their needs in the secondary and on the offensive line, Tampa Bay decided to use a 3rd-round pick on Vaughn. There is likely a plan to use him this year. However, this looks like a full-blown RB by committee, at least in 2020. That is why Vaughn comes in after Zack Moss.
15. WR – Michael Pittman – Indianapolis Colts
16. WR – Denzel Mims – New York Jets
These next two wide receivers are incredibly difficult to separate. Both Michael Pittman and Denzel Mims tested similarly in athletic metrics. This lead to each of them going in the 2nd round of the NFL Draft. In that regard, the only difference in combined numbers was that Mims placed in the 90th percentile burst score. In those tests, which include the broad and vertical jump, Pittman came in at the 58th percentile. Some will look towards the differences in 40-yard dash time as significant (4.38 to 4.52 in favor of Mims). However, when adjusted for weight, both placed above the 90th percentile.
As for the NFL teams that selected these two receivers, well, they could not be more opposite. The Colts have a plethora of receivers with a veteran quarterback who has perhaps only one season with the team. Meanwhile, the Jets are in need of talented targets for their young franchise signal-caller. On the surface, Mims has the opportunity to be a top target right out of the gate in New York. However, the coaching situation would seem to favor Pittman. Frank Reich did lead Indianapolis to the playoffs recently. In theory, he should not be on the hot seat as much as Adam Gase who has found little success with the Jets.
On one hand, we have Mims who may be likelier to have a better rookie season, but also less long-term stability. Meanwhile, Pittman might not break out as quickly, but he could eventually surpass T.Y. Hilton as the Colts top receiver. By a slim margin, I go with Pittman over Mims. In this wide receiver range, personal preference may end up being the ultimate deciding factor.
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17. WR – Bryan Edwards – Las Vegas Raiders
Speaking of preferences, Bryan Edwards has been one of my favorite players in this class for some time. On tape, he appears to be a well-rounded prospect who can succeed in a variety of ways. Edwards can line up all over the field, can make contested catches, but also does demonstrate some separation skills.
Furthermore, there are certain metrics where Edwards is simply excellent. Specifically, how young he was when he became a prominent receiving threat in college. Edwards was 17 when he produced at least 20% of his school, yards and touchdowns. Most wide receivers are 19 or 20 when they achieve that type of feat. In this class, the next closest to Edwards’ 17.8 breakout age is Tee Higgins at 18.6 and he is ranked inside my top 10.
It is likely that Edwards would have gone before the middle of the 3rd-round in the NFL Draft if not for injury concerns. However, the Raiders’ decision to select Edwards in the 3rd tells me that they are not so concerned with injuries. And if they are, then they believe that Edwards’ potential upside makes him worth it. Either way, his draft capital is a good sign that Edwards will be involved as a rookie in some capacity. If nothing else, Las Vegas has an offense starved for playmakers. That bodes well for Edwards’ chances to receive targets.
18. WR – Brandon Aiyuk – San Francisco 49ers
Brandon Aiyuk is the only wide receiver from the 1st-round of the NFL Draft who made it out of the 1st-round in my dynasty rookie rankings. As I referenced in Part 1 of my rankings, the deep threat style receivers drop a little in my rankings. Personally, I prefer the week-to-week consistency of a possession-type slot receiver. Right off the bat, the 49ers are not the most fantasy friendly for wide receivers. By design, San Francisco is a run-heavy team with a strong defensive identity. This can make it difficult for any receiver to see a consistent target share outside of perhaps George Kittle.
Aiyuk could play a variety of roles for the 49ers such as a field stretcher because of his speed. He could also potentially be an underneath target whose after the catch ability will be key. While Aiyuk’s talent is apparent, I worry that the unpredictable nature of his offensive role could lead to some frustrating and difficult Start/Sit decisions on a week-to-week basis. It is for that reason that Aiyuk falls outside of my top 15 dynasty rookies.
19. RB – A.J. Dillon – Green Bay Packers
At this point in rookie drafts, security is no longer insured. The reaming pool of players all have a difficult path to fantasy production. Certainly, consistent and predictable production to where they can be trusted as starters in fantasy football lineups. Therefore, upside becomes more of a priority than consistency.
Enter D.J. Dillon who, perhaps unexpectedly, entered the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. As a player, polarizing appears appropriate as an adjective. I had Dillon ranked as my rookie RB # 7 during my film evaluations with top 5 scores for footwork, balance, and burst. However, even after an excellent combine, there are lingering questions about his lateral movement and elusiveness.
The Packers backfield situation is crowded in year one. However, both Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams are entering the final years of their respective rookie contacts. That is not to say that Dillon will ever be an unquestioned workhorse. But, as early as next season, he could see himself as a lead-back in a high-scoring situation with a consistently good offensive line. Again, at this point in rookie drafts, there is no better upside.
20. WR – Laviska Shenault – Jacksonville Jaguars
I have similar concerns for Laviska Shenault as I do for Brandon Aiyuk. Arguably Shinault’s best trait is his versatility. While the route running could use refinement, he is a threat with the ball in his hands and can produce in a variety of ways. That certainly works in his favor as defenses may have a hard time getting a grasp of Shinault. However, it could be equally as difficult for fantasy football managers to predict when his most productive weeks will be.
Looking back on the factors around both Denzel Mims and Michael Pittman, there were certain situations that equaled themselves out. However, Shinault gets the worst of both worlds. Like the Jets, the Jaguars like do not have a lot of patience remaining for their head coach. One bad season and Shinault will need to prove himself to another coaching staff. While that could go well, there is always a risk.
Furthermore, unlike the Jets, the Jaguars do not have a lot invested in their current quarterback. Any chemistry Shinault gains with Gardner Minshew this season could be all for nothing by next year. Still, Jacksonville spent a 2nd round pick to select Shinault. In the late 2nd round of a rookie draft, you can as well.
21. WR – Chase Claypool – Pittsburgh Steelers
Because the Steelers traded away their 1st-round pick, Chase Claypool was actually the team’s initial draft selection. Pittsburgh has a strong recent history of drafting and developing wide receivers. Claypool will need some time to develop as he is a raw route runner. However, athletic talent is very apparent.
Three Sigman Athlete has an athletic measuring system called “Z-score” where 0.0 is equal to an average NFL athlete. Only two wide receivers in the class had a higher Z-score than Claypool’s 2.0. Athletically, Claypool has the upside to be a top target for an NFL team. All that he is truly missing is technical refinement.
22. QB – Tua Tagovailoa – Miami Dolphins
In my opinion, there are two quarterbacks who are ready to be NFL starters from day one. In Part 1 of my rookie rankings, I wrote about Joe Burrow. Well, Tua Tagovailoa is the other one. His mental processing and accuracy are pro-caliber. As long as he remains healthy, Tagovailoa should enjoy a long NFL career.
That is the key with Tagovailoa after all. Without a season-ending hip injury in 2019, he may have actually been the #1 overall selection in the NFL draft. While still going top 5, there are concerns about how the hip injury will affect his mobility. On tape, Tagovailoa was excellent at moving in the pocket to avoid pass-rushers, as well as running for first-downs when needed. At this point, it is unclear if Tagovailoa’s mobility will be limited. If so, then he loses some fantasy football upside as a runner. Still, I would not want to let him escape the 2nd round of a 1QB rookie draft.
23. RB – Joshua Kelley – Los Angles Chargers
At this point in rookie rankings, I am looking towards paths to production. In terms of getting on the field right away, Joshua Kelley has a great chance. However, he will inevitably be splitting playing time with Austin Ekeler. The Chargers employed a pass-heavy approach specifically with their running backs. Ekeler and Melvin Gordon combined for 134 receptions on 163 targets in 2019. Assuming that Ekeler doesn’t absorb all of those receptions himself, Kelley has enough of a pass-catching skill set to see some targets. Mostly, Kelley needs to beat Justin Jackson for the early-down and goal-line role. Even as a 2nd fiddle to Ekeler, Kelley could have a productive rookie season.
24. RB – Darrynton Evans – Tennesse Titans
One more running back who may have even a clearer path to work than Joshua Kelley. Currently, the Titans only have Derrick Henry standing in front of rookie Darrynton Evans. Now, in my rookie RB film analysis, Evans ranked rather low among his peers. Specifically, footwork and contact balance were areas of concern. However, Evans is an excellent pass-catcher out of the backfield. This season, Tennessee is in need of a 3rd-down back. So even if I am not a fan of Evans, I have to respect the draft capital invested by the Titans. Furthermore, with Henry set to play on the franchise tag, his future with the Titans is cloudy. While Evans will likely never have a workhorse role, he is in line to see significant touches right away.
25. WR – Devin Duvernay – Baltimore Ravens
Rounding out the top 25, we have Ravens wide receiver, Devin Duvernay. However, there are some analytical concerns regarding Duvernay. Specifically, he was 22 years old when he first achieved 20% of his college team’s yards and touchdowns. That is older than almost every drafted wide receiver in this class. It is perhaps fitting that he is going to a fairly young receiving corps. Duvernay will likely compete against Miles Boykin, a rookie from last year. Given the draft capital used the Ravens, it is clear that they have some role in store for Duvernay. This far in rookie rankings, that is as much as one can hope for.
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