2020 Rookie Check Up

Author: Chris Wolf (@CKWolf21)

As Dynasty players, we are obsessed with potential. We measure it in college performance, breakout age, workout measurables, draft stock and finally – usage. Let’s take a quick look at where some notable rookies have progressed from draft to training camp(ish) to actual gameday usage. Their stats through two weeks are listed below their names.

Joe Burrow – QB – CIN ($9.05M)

  • 509 Pass Yards
  • 3 TDs
  • 1 INT
  • 65 Rush Yards
  • 1 TD

Burrow has been running for his life behind a seemingly annual disappointment of an offensive line. A lesser rookie QB may have fared much worse with what he’s had to work with, but Burrow is an elite competitor. His pocket presence is miles ahead of where most rookies would be, and he has thus far proven that he has the ability to place the ball into tight windows of coverage.

His 97 attempts through two weeks is absolutely insane but their ground game’s ineptitude has led to Burrow putting the games on his back. He and A.J. Green look like they are worlds apart right now in the chemistry department, but he has shown a solid rapport with Tyler Boyd and his tight ends.

Justin Herbert – QB – LAC ($6.64M)

  • 311 Pass Yards
  • 1 TD
  • 1 INT
  • 18 Rush Yards
  • 1 TD

Herbert did not get into the game week 1 but we were able to get a glimpse of his talent this past Sunday. It was one of the strangest Sunday’s in recent memory so why not throw a rookie QB in against the reigning Super Bowl champs on a moment’s notice? The Chargers “leaned” on their impressive run game, but they did not shy away from calling the promising rookie’s number when they needed him.

His 33 pass attempts resulted in 22 completions, 1 passing score and an ill-advised INT that was thrown across his body. It was a solid debut for the big-armed rookie that hasn’t even taken reps with the first team offense.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire – RB – KC ($2.7M)

  • 176 Rush Yards
  • 1 TD
  • 6 Receptions
  • 32 Yards

CEH put on an absolute show on opening night against the Texans rushing 25 times for 138 yards and one TD. He usage shifted towards the receiving game in week two against the Chargers aggressive front. He saw 8 targets in week 2 compared to just 2 in week one. This was a likely mixture of Darrel Williams exiting the game and Mahomes playing mostly hurry-up in the second half. He will see better days on the ground but probably after next week when they clash with the Ravens.

Jonathan Taylor – RB – IND ($1.96M)

  • 123 Rush Yards
  • 1 TD
  • 8 Receptions
  • 76 Receiving Yards

Taylor was immediately put to test when Marlon Mack went down early in week one. He didn’t find much room to run against an underrated Jacksonville front seven, but he was able to secure all 6 of his targets for 67 yards. Week 2’s performance with 28 touches showed that he is the every down back that he was billed to be. He completely dominated the touches over Nyheim Hines (28-1) and he is locked into the RB1 situation for the rest of the season.

James Robinson – RB – JAX ($763K)

  • 164 Rush Yards
  • 1 TD
  • 4 Receptions
  • 46 Receiving Yards

Of course, we knew that at this point, James Robinson would have more rushing yards than Jonathan Taylor. With back to back games of exactly 16 carries each, Robinson has been given the workhorse role in this new look Jaguars offense. With 35 total touches through two weeks, he provides the usage you are looking for on your Dynasty Owner team to be a competent RB2 or Flex. The only true concern is game script going forward since the Jags figure to be playing catch up quite a bit in 2020.

J.K. Dobbins – RB – BAL ($1.4M)

  • 70 Rush Yards
  • 2 TDs
  • 1 Reception
  • 13 Receiving Yards

This one is a bit maddening. It would be scary if the Ravens unleashed Dobbins but this three headed monster that they have as a backfield rotation will truly limit his potential until he’s needed to take over a game. In week 1 he scored twice on seven touches. In week 2 he ran for 48 yards on only two carries and caught his only target for 13 yards. You can only hope that Baltimore is keeping their prized rookie fresh for the long haul but man, the possibilities in this offense.

Jerry Jeudy – WR- DEN ($3.79M)

  • 8 Receptions
  • 15 Targets
  • 118 Yards
  • 0 TDs

Jeudy has recorded 4 receptions in each of his first two games and has seen a team-high 15 targets. The targets should remain the same with Courtland Sutton now being out for the season. With Jeff Driskel stepping in for Drew Lock (shoulder), Jeudy’s usage did not take a hit. He and Noah Fant are destined to be the go-to recipients when the Broncos have to throw the ball. In this run-first offense, expectations should be tempered for Jeudy, but he is now the unquestioned WR1 on his team.

CeeDee Lamb – WR – DAL ($3.5M)

  • 11 Receptions
  • 15 Targets
  • 165 Yards
  • 0 TDs

Lamb looks like a true #1 receiver on a team that already has two #1 receivers. His physicality and body control are just ridiculous for someone at this stage of their professional career. His 9.7 yards after catch in week two demonstrates just how physical the former Oklahoma Sooner really is. He will maintain his role in the slot and his snaps are sure to keep increasing due to the loss of Blake Jarwin from week 1. You can safely play him as a solid flex option in this high-powered offense.

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2020 Wide Receivers Draft Class – Day One Picks

Author: Milos Ljubic

As I mentioned in the previous article, I will write about this year wide receivers draft class. In today’s article, I talk about day one draft picks, and in the next one, I will cover day the two picks.

The Las Vegas Raiders were the first team that takes WR on this year’s draft. From the 12th position, they selected Henry Ruggs. Ruggs was expected to be among the top three WR in the class, but this was a little surprise. The Raiders had an above-average offense this past season. They were 9th in the passing attack and 13th in the rushing attack. Derek Carr is a solid starter, but Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock didn’t ensure who is their starting QB would be for the future.

Carr will begin this season as a starter, but now the team has a backup option in Marcus Mariota. Josh Jacobs was great as a rookie, and there isn’t any reason not to repeat the good games in the next. TE Darren Waller played on a Pro Bowl level last season and will be the first passing option in next also. Despite the 9th passing attack, the Riders didn’t have any WRs with more than 50 catches and 650 yards. Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow are very good for the 2nd and 3rd WR on the depth chart. In free agency, the Raiders signed Jason Witten and Nelson Agholor, and they will take some amount of snaps. What can we expect from Henry Ruggs? The Raiders are planning Ruggs to play WR no. 1 in this attack and to play a similar role as Tyreek Hill in KC. When we compare Ruggs with the 2014 class, three players from the first-round draft were no. 1 WRs for their teams and Ruggs is to be considered worse than all of them. Ruggs will play for an annual salary of $4,167,907. On day two of the NFL draft day, the Raiders selected one more WR, but about him in the next article.

The Denver Broncos were the second team to draft a WR in the draft. The Broncos defense was average this past season, while the offense was below average, especially their passing offense. That’s the main reason why they took a WR in the first two spots. (Also, in the third round, they added a Center to improve the offensive line). Jerry Jeudy was drafted from position no. 15. He was expected to be one of the first two choices at the WR position, so this wasn’t surprising. The Broncos offense is the youngest in the entire NFL. They don’t have a player older than 27 starting in the lineup. The biggest question for the next season will be the QB. John Elway has a lot of confidence in Drew Lock. He is in his second year and will be a starter without any reliable veteran on the bench. Their offense will be the run first. Three RBs, Phillip Lindsay, newcomer Melvin Gordon, and Royce Freeman, in their careers, they have, 1000, 850, and 500 yards per year, respectively. They will play a lot of snaps with two RBs in the field. WR no. 1, Courtland Sutton, had over 1100 yards last season. Jerry Jeudy is coming as a replacement for Emmanuel Sanders. Before he was traded last season, Sanders was on pace for 850 yards. Expectations are that Jeudy will be near that numbers. Jeudy’s annual salary will be $3,798,244. The second Broncos’ WR choice will be featured in the next article.

CeeDee Lamb was considered as the best WR prospects on this draft. Falling to the 17th position was unexpected, but Jerry Jones has no doubts about a pick in that situation. The Dallas Cowboys had a great attack game through the air last season. Only the Buccaneers were better. Dak Prescott threw for nearly 5,000 yards. Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, both had 1,000 caught yards. They lost Randall Cobb and Jason Witten in the free agency, and the only big addition is Lamb. Dallas’s playing style won’t be changed despite head coach changes. The biggest question, probably in the entire NFL at this moment, is a situation about Prescott’s new contract. Prescott was tagged, but there are problems with the contract extension. If Prescott plays next season for the Cowboys, this easily can be a WRs trio with 1,000 yards. Lamb’s annual salary will be $3,502,503 for the next four years.

The fourth WR in a draft, from the 21st position, was Jalen Reagor, selected by the Philadelphia Eagles. Reagor wasn’t among the top 5 prospects by all pre-draft predictions. He was in the top 10 usually, but closer to 10 than to 5. Why did the Eagles take him? DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery are the duos of very good WRs but from the wrong side of the ’30s. But they weren’t too healthy last year. They finished the season with WRs from the practice squad. The second TE Dallas Goedert played over 70% of snaps, and personnel with two TEs may be a concern for the number of snaps which will Reagor take. If the Eagles play more with 3 WRs, Jalen Reagor will have a similar role as Brandin Cooks had in the Saints in his rookie career. He is expected to bring the speed in this a bit older offense and will play from the slot usually. The Eagles currently have future cap problems. They are projected to be 50M dollars over the cap for the next season, and Jackson and Jeffery will be the first cap casualties after the season. Reagor’s annual salary is very friendly for the next four years at an annual salary of $3,317,669 with a lot of upside potential.

The Minnesota Vikings didn’t skip on Justin Jefferson, and they picked him right after the Eagles picked up Reagor. The Vikings were an average team last year in terms of statistics on both sides of the ball. They were great at the run game, but they had problems with the O-line and Passing game. They also had problems with the cap, and because of that, they sent the only reliable receiver from last season, Stefon Diggs, to the Buffalo. The first-round pick from this transaction was used to select Jefferson. Jefferson will be the second WR, next to Adam Thielen, who missed the middle part of the last season due to injury. The Vikings are usually playing 12 or 21 personnel, and that is one interesting fact for Dynasty Owner’s.

The San Francisco 49ers selected the last WR on day one of the draft, Brandon Aiyuk. He was drafted from the 25th position. They gave two picks to the Vikings, to move up for 6 positions, one pick in the fourth round, and the second one in the fifth round. The 49ers were great last year. They lost in the Super Bowl, as all we know, but they were the second-best defense in the league, just behind the New England Patriots. Their run game was also second in the league, behind the Baltimore Ravens. The game plan for this year will be the same. They will primarily be a run-oriented team. Besides that, the first option through the air will be George Kittle. The main formation will be with two RBs in the field, and Kyle Juszczyk will be the only fullback who is still a starter in the NFL. Brandon Aiyuk will be WR no. 2 next to Deebo Samuel, and he will have about 500 caught yards by projections.

Milos Ljubic is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner

Follow us on Twitter: @LjubicMilos and @Dynasty_Owner

The Aftermath of the First Virtual NFL Draft

Author: Chris Wolf

The first virtual draft is a wrap. It went over with minimal glitches and I want to say we were pleasantly surprised by the in-home reactions and view into NFL front offices (or basements). We all know that the NFL is a copycat league and it has never been more evident as what we saw this past weekend. Several teams chased the KC all-speed model and a few crafted their drafts after the Ravens and 49’ers run heavy schemes.

On the surface, there were winners and losers on draft weekend. At first glance, the Ravens, Cowboys and Vikings appeared to come away with an impressive rookie haul. Then we have the Green Bay Packers. You have to think that the double schalaking they received from San Francisco last year led them to draft components of a run heavy strategy.

Only time will tell how the rookie projects will assimilate to their new teams but, we can have fun projecting their success in their new landing spots. Speaking only of skilled positions related to our Dynasty Owner leagues, let’s get a bird’s eye view of some of the newest crop of NFL players that may help your team in 2020-2021.

* 2020 ​estimated​ cap charges according to overthecap.com are in parenthesis after their names*

Pick 1.01 Joe Burrow ($6,580,000) CIN ​- Andy Dalton’s recent release carves the path for this Heisman winner to start day 1. Needless to say, he should be an early to mid first round pick for your dynasty team.

Henry Ruggs III, Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb ​- Draft ‘em. All three are 1st round dynasty rookie values.

Pick 1.21 Jalen Reagor ($2,412,850) PHI –​ Great fit for a great offense. He could see immediate playing time if the Eagles move on from either Alshon Jeffery or Desean Jackson.

Pick 1.22 Justin Jefferson ($2,385,965) MIN –​ This NFL ready rookie steps into a great starting opportunity with the Vikings. He’ll most likely be the first rookie wide receiver taken redraft leagues and he’s a sure-fire first round pick in dynasty drafts.

Pick 1.32 Clyde Edwards-Helaire ($1,967,559) KC –​ The top running back selected in the NFL’s best offense. This should be your 1.01 or 1.02 in Rookie Drafts. Don’t overthink this.

Pick 2.1 Tee Higgins ($1,579,410) CIN -​ In a crowded wide receiver room, it would take moving AJ Green for Higgins to attempt to have any 2020 value. This may be a draft and stash pick for you this year.

Pick 2.2 Michael Pittman Jr ($1,565,970) IND -​ The Colt’s pulled off a very impressive draft to plug the holes in their offense. They collectively gushed over Pittman Jr liking him to Vincent Jackson. He should step in as an immediate starter opposite the aging T.Y. Hilton.

Pick 2.3 D’Andre Swift ($1,552,530) DET -​ It’s really hard to trust the Detroit Lions rushing attack but Swift is a rare athlete that may be able to thrive in any environment. They used an early 2nd round pick on him and he should see plenty of touches year 1.

Pick 2.9 Jonathan Taylor ($1,423,480) IND – This is unfair. The best pure runner in the draft is going to the team with the best overall offensive line. He’ll most likely be the 1.02 selection in your rookie draft.

Pick 2.17 Chase Claypool ($1,203,000) PIT – There are many varying opinions on this athletic freak. The one thing we do know is, he can allow JuJu to work back into the slot where he excelled in 2017 and 2018. Take note that Claypool is a big bodied receiver that the Steelers used their first pick on.

Pick 2.20 Cam Akers ($1,122,371) LAR – ESPN’s Todd McShay considers Akers the “most underrated running back in the class”. He’s a complete back with outstanding speed that could benefit from a hopefully improved L.A. Rams Offense. He’s used to running behind bad offensive lines so he should feel right at home here.

Pick 2.23 J.K. Dobbins ($1,041,716) BAL – The Ravens want to dominate the ground game to open their improved passing attack. They went out to draft one of the best in this year’s class to compliment the NFL’s MVP. He has the opportunity to be a dominant player in this offense.

Pick 2.27 Denzel Mims ($987,945) NYJ – Mims has the opportunity for a high volume role in his first year. 100 or more targets is not an unreasonable projection.

Pick 3.12 Ke’Shawn Vaughn ($864,720) TB – 7.9 ypc behind a sub-par offensive line at Vanderbilt. He offers good balance and vision to a stacked offense led by Tom Brady.

Pick 3.17 Bryan Edwards ($853,174) LVR – A much needed weapon for Derek Carr. What he lacks in top-end speed, he makes up for with his instinctive route running. Could compete for heavy targets early.

Pick 3.22 Zack Moss ($838,605) BUF – Already assigned the Frank Gore role by coaches in the Bills offense. This could lead to plenty of goal line work for an up and coming offense. Injuries are a concern for this dynamic back.

Pick 3.29 Darrynton Evans ($829,416) TEN – Evans is a home run threat that should find a niche as a complimentary back in a run-first offense. More of a compliment than a handcuff to Derek Henry.

Pick 4.18 Anthony McFarland ($790,608) PIT – His arrival breathes much needed life into the Steeler’s running back room. He’s a tough runner with good hands that could have an opportunity at some point in year one. 8-10 touches per game is a reasonable assumption.

Pick 4.36 Antonio Gandy-Golden ($733,600) WSH – A long strider with good hands will compete for snaps with sophomore Kelvin Harmon opposite rookie standout Terry McLaurin.

Pick 5.16 Tyler Johnson ($688,600) TB – A great value in round 5 of a loaded WR class. He’s a polished route runner that could push Scotty Miller and Justin Watson for the 3rd WR role in Tampa.

Pick 6.8 Donovan Peoples-Jones ($656,650) CLE – It’s not often that you find a year one contributor in later rounds but Peoples-Jones may surprise people this year. He’s talented enough to push for a role in 3 WR sets in what projects to be a much improved offense.

Other rookies such as Laviska Shenault Jr, Brandon Aiyuk, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, and KJ Hamler are good players who may find first year value but they are in a bit murkier situations. The goal is to win every year and slot players for future roles behind those with clearer projected outcomes.

The rookies included on this list have the possibility of making an impact on their teams during their rookie campaign and all should be viewed as top 20 players at their respective positions. Draft them with confidence and hopefully a few will contribute to your team sooner than later.

Chris Wolf is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner.

Follow us on Twitter: @Dynasty_Owner