The NFL Draft is a time of great hope and optimism for the future. While every team is ultimately doing their best to build a roster that will find and enjoy sustained success, the landing spots of draft prospects can significantly impact their fantasy football outlooks, regardless of their player profile and collegiate accolades. Here are some members of the 2020 rookie class that saw their fantasy stocks rise or fall simply based on the teams that selected them.
Rookies Fantasy Football Value Changes
Clyde Edwards-Helaire | RB | Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs were widely projected by experts and NFL betting sites to take a running back with their first-round pick. LSU’s Clyde Edwards-Helaire wound up as the selection, and the rookie saw his fantasy football stock immediately rise as a result.
Edwards-Helaire figures to team with veteran Damien Williams as the likely one-two punch in the Chiefs’ backfield. He ran for over 1,400 yards last season behind the sturdy LSU offensive line. He also flourished as a pass catcher, with 55 receptions. The opportunities he will see as a receiver make him a very intriguing option in PPR formats as well.
Jalen Reagor | WR | Philadelphia Eagles
The stock of former TCU wideout Jalen Reagor was trending up, heading into the NFL Draft, but many were still surprised to see him off the board as the 21st pick. Reagor joins an Eagles team that is in dire need of healthy wide receiver production. He is in position to be the top WR target for Carson Wentz right from the onset of the 2020 season. The 5’ 11” speedster had his most productive collegiate season in 2018, when he surpassed 1,000 yards receiving and corralled nine touchdown receptions. If he and Wentz formulate some chemistry quickly, look out!
Denzel Mims | WR | New York Jets
It was no secret that the Jets were hunting for a wide receiver in the NFL Draft to round out QB Sam Darnold’s complement of targets. The question was simply when they would pull the trigger. New York managed to trade back in Round 2 and still land the dynamic Denzel Mims.
The Baylor product amassed a 1,000-yard, 12-touchdown senior season. He will be a part of the Jets’ receiving corps that also includes free agent acquisition Breshad Perriman and holdover Jamison Crowder. Mims is particularly intriguing in dynasty formats, considering he may need a year or two to translate his talents from the Baylor spread offense to a pro system.
Joshua Kelley | RB | Los Angeles Chargers
It remains somewhat of a mystery as to just how the Chargers’ backfield will play out in the post-Melvin Gordon era. The team has stated that they are confident in Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson to handle the load, but the newly drafted Joshua Kelley may carve out a role as well.
Kelley easily surpassed the 1,000-yard mark in each of his two seasons at UCLA, scoring 12 touchdowns in each. At 5’ 11” and 219 lbs., Kelley projects a similar skillset to Jackson, as a between-the-tackles and goal line complement to Ekeler. He may wind up being the third stringer, but the lack of clarity around the situation should at least have the rookie on fantasy football owners’ radars for the time being.
CeeDee Lamb | WR | Dallas Cowboys
From a fantasy standpoint, CeeDee Lamb’s landing spot with the Dallas Cowboys could cut into his potential early in his career. Quarterback play isn’t an issue, as Dak Prescott has established himself as a top tier NFL starter, but the number of weapons that the Cowboys have amassed on offense sparks some cause for concern. In addition to the heavy usage demanded by running back Ezekiel Elliott, Prescott has established wideouts Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup along with tight end Blake Jarwin to throw to.
Lamb rounded out his Oklahoma career with a 1,300-yard, 14-touchdown season. His NFL future is very bright, but whether or not he is a fantasy contributor right away remains to be seen. Lamb also saw his odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year drop at many online sportsbooks after being taken by Dallas.
Chase Claypool | WR | Pittsburgh Steelers
Round 2 selection Chase Claypool finds himself joining a crowded receiver room in Pittsburgh. JuJu Smith-Schuster is the clear WR1 of a group that also includes Diontae Johnson and James Washington. Had Claypool gone to a more receiver-needy team, he likely would’ve been a major fantasy contributor right from the onset of his NFL career. Instead, owners must wait and see how the Steelers’ receiver pecking order shapes out.
If Claypool can earn the favor of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the rookie has the potential to produce in fantasy football immediately. The Notre Dame graduate had his best collegiate season as a senior in 2019, surpassing 1,000 yards receiving and scoring 13 touchdowns.
A.J. Dillon | RB | Green Bay Packers
No matter which team drafted Boston College product A.J. Dillon, you knew they would be getting one of the strongest, sturdiest running backs in the 2020 class. The Green Bay Packers made the selection late in Round 2. While the choice will certainly pay dividends for Green Bay at some point, Dillon’s immediate fantasy potential is in serious jeopardy.
The Packers already have Aaron Jones and bruiser Jamaal Williams on the roster. As a result, it is unclear as to how Dillon will fit into the team’s 2020 plans. After three straight 1,000-yard seasons (1,685 in 2019) in college, Dillon may have to wait for a fantasy-fulfilling opportunity at the NFL level.
Zack Moss | RB | Buffalo Bills
Running backs who are capable of production on every down are few and far between. Utah product Zack Moss is one of those backs, limited only by injuries in college. He still put together three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (1,416 in 2019) and scored double-digit touchdowns in all of them. Moss was selected by the rising Buffalo Bills in Round 3 of the draft, immediately leading to fantasy concerns over just how many touches he will garner.
Devin Singletary showed flashes of brilliance in his 2019 rookie season and is the presumptive lead back for Buffalo going forward. Despite having the talent to be an every-down player, Moss may be relegated to a secondary role early in his NFL career, hurting the 2020 fantasy football value for the rookie.
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