2020 Wide Receivers Draft Class – Day Two Picks

Author: Milos Ljubic

As mentioned in the title, this will be an article about wide receivers selected on day two of this year’s draft.

The very first WR selected on day two was Tee Higgins by the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bengals were the worst team last season by the record. They were a little better by statistics, but that is minor. In this season they will enter with new QB Joe Burrow. RBs, WRs, and TEs will be the same as the previous year. The biggest difference is A.J. Green, who is franchise tagged, and everyone in the organization expects he will remain healthy throughout the season. He missed a season and a half due to injury. Green and Tyler Boyd will be starting duo of WR’s for the Bengals. The last season Boyd had over 1,000 yards caught. Higgins is expected to be 3rd WR on the Bengals depth chart, but he will have strong competitors. Auden Tate, Alex Erickson, and John Ross, all of them having over 500 caught yards last season, and they will try to repeat that success. That won’t be an easy job for a rookie probably. His salary for the next four years will be $2,171,696 per year.

Michael Pittman Jr. was the second player selected on day two of the draft. He was picked up by the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts were an average team last season with a great offensive line. They selected an RB in the second round, so they further improve their RBs’ depth. The worst part of the team was attacking through the air. The Colts signed Philip Rivers to be QB for the next year. The Colts will have over 20 interceptions next year, probably, but they will also have near 4,000 passing yards. How will those yards be distributed? The undrafted Zach Pascal was the most productive Colts’ WR last season. T.Y. Hilton will be WR no.1. There are some concerns about Hilton however. He has eight seasons behind him, and he was having problems with injuries this past season. Parris Campbell, second-rounder from the previous draft, was having problems with injuries almost the whole season. He played less than 20% of the Colts snaps. If everything goes regularly, Pittman is expected to be WR no.2 and to catch over 600 yards. His annual salary will be $2,153,212.

The Jacksonville Jaguars were the third team that selected WR on day two of the draft. From the 42nd position, the Jaguars selected Laviska Shenault. By all projections, Jacksonville will be the worst team in NFL this season. The Jaguars weren’t bad last year. In fact, they were average on offense and below average on defense, but now they are in rebuilding mode. They will have a similar attack, but their defense will be worse than last year, sure. What we can expect from Shenault? The Jaguars traded Nick Foles to the Bears, but there are a lot of doubts in Gardner Minshew as a capable QB who will run one team. The four best WRs will be back, and as I already said, they are solid. Laviska Shenault will be 3rd WR probably, in a team that was projected for tanking. His annual salary will be $1,924,017 for the next four years.

K.J. Hamler was selected from the 46th position by the Denver Broncos. I wrote in a previous article about the Broncos. Hamler will be the third WR in a run-first team, and unlike Shenault, he can’t move nither up nither down on a depth chart. His salary will be $1,784,282 per year.

The Pittsburgh Steelers from the 49th position selected Chase Claypool. The Steelers were one of the best defenses last year, but post-Le’Veon Bell-Antonio Brown Steelers aren’t even close to what they should be on offense. In fact, they were awful last year. The only good part of the offense was O-line. We don’t know what to expect from Big Ben as he missed almost the whole season last year. Their receiving corps isn’t so bad, but it isn’t great either. They have three solid young WRs on the depth chart and all of them are still on rookie deals. That is the main reason why receiving corps were 31st last season and is projected to have two WRs among first 16, and third as a 38th WR on fantasy draft. What can we expect from Chase Claypool? With his big body, he brings strength to the Steelers. Three mentioned WRs are all below 220 pounds. And only JuJu is barely over 6 feet high. If we compare Claypool with the 2014 draft class, we can say that he is very similar to Kelvin Benjamin. He is projected to be the 4th WR on the depth chart, but in these circumstances, he can easily be the best Steelers’ WR next season. His annual salary will be $1,654,156.

Los Angeles Rams selected Van Jefferson from the 57th position. What can we expect from the Rams this season? They had been built in the win-now mode in the previous two seasons. They lost in the Super Bowl a year ago, and they missed playoffs last season, as the 7th team in the conference. Their division is getting stronger now. We can say that they are in some light variant of a rebuild. In this team, Jefferson is projected to be 4th WR on the depth chart, and no-one expects from him, to make big numbers in a season in front of us. His annual salary will be $1,402,784.

Denzel Mims was the last WR selected in the second round of the draft. The New York Jets picked up Mims from the 59th position. The Jets had above-average defense last season, but their offense was in dead-last. From last season’s WR corps, they only kept Jamison Crowder and he is expected to be their best WR. Crowder will take the most number of snaps, from the slot. The outside WRs will be Mims and newcomer Breshad Perriman. Perriman is a former first-rounder, who is on his way to avoid the bust tag. What we can expect from the Jets and Mims? The good thing is that the AFC East will be soft, but the Jets are projected to be the worst team in the division, again. Those facts are actually not so bad for one rookie WR. The Jets invested the first-round pick in a left tackle, and Sam Darnold is probably the best passing QB in the division, as weird as it may sound. They also expect Le’Veon Bell to play a much better this season than last season. They don’t have some reliable TEs on the roster, and that means more targets for Mims. He will play the next four seasons for $1,358,425 per year.

Two wide receivers were selected in the third round of the draft. Bryan Edwards was picked up from the 81st position. We already discussed the situation in the Raiders. Expectations are low for Edwards to be a big impact in his rookie season. His salary will be $1,065,358 per year.

The last WR selected on day three of the draft was Devin Duvernay. The Baltimore Ravens picked up him from the 92nd position. The Ravens are run-first team, with great defense, and they further improved in both of those segments. Besides that, they have a very good TEs group. Duvernay is projected to be the 4th WR on the depth chart with an annual salary will be $1,064,084.

Milos Ljubic is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner

Follow us on Twitter: @LjubicMilos and @Dynasty_Owner

Rookie Roulette – Gambling on the Rookies That Can Make an Immediate Impact

Author: Chris Wolf

Rookies are fun to debate for several reasons. There is the unknown, the uncertainty and the hope that it all works out for those that took a chance. More now than ever, we just don’t know what we’ll get with the incoming NFL rookie class. We can look back to the 2011 lockout for the last major abnormality in the NFL operations schedule.

That year’s rookie class recounts the confusing times where a player could not sign with his team after the draft, there were no UDFA’s, and a player was not allowed to be contacted by their team due to the union’s dispute.

Von Miller, 2011’s no.2 overall pick had this to say following the lockout ”Today feels like a holiday to me! Thank God for football.”

Thank God for football is right. We have been starving for anything football related during these tough times. We watched the 2020 “virtual draft” become the highest rated draft ever. We saw 6.8 million viewers tune in for two football legends playing the gentleman’s game in the rain, while cracking jokes and splitting pants. But the anticipation of this year’s season will be something special.

The stakes of this year’s off-season medical lockout are much higher than any contractual dispute, but the results may prove similar to 2011. There was an abnormal amount of early season injuries and just ugly, ugly play in the first few weeks. With the absence of rookie mini camps, no direct contact with their teams and self-supervised conditioning programs; the 2020 rookie class is facing an incredible uphill battle. Some players are able to provide early return on fantasy value while others don’t have such a direct path. Below are some players to take a gamble on as well as some to pass on.

Chalk:

These players are early picks that should produce in the beginning of season

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB-KC)

An absolute perfect fit for one of the most desirable landing spots in all of fantasy football. He has all of the tools needed for his role in Andy Reid’s offense and has drawn comparisons to fantasy stud Brian Westbrook. Damien Williams will be “the starter” but CEH will mix in early and often contributing to both the ground and air game.

Jerry Jeudy (WR-DEN)

Jeudy is a purist of a route runner. He brings a dimension to Denver that Drew Lock was obviously missing last year. Jeudy will make Drew Lock a better fantasy asset in year two and could push for the team lead in targets based on his NFL ready skill set. Denver’s passing attack under Lock accounted for just 61.1% of their plays but there is room to grow with the addition of Jeudy and KJ Hamler.

Jonathan Taylor (RB-IND)

While CEH may be the best all-around at the running back position, Taylor is the best pure runner in this year’s draft. He is a bruiser that seeks out contact and has the privilege to play behind one of the best run blocking offensive lines in the game. There’s competition for backfield touches with Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines but, there is plenty to go around for the Colt’s running backs. Taylor could realistically push for 250+ touches and should be taken in the top 20 RB picks and top 2 in rookie drafts.

The Colt’s Jonathan Taylor is poised to lead the Indianapolis stable of running backs in 2020.

Gamble:

These players may produce early but will probably take a little time to get going in year one

Cam Akers (RB-LAR)

As I previously wrote about here, Akers is a really good running back that has had the misfortune of running behind bad offensive lines. The Florida State offensive line had gotten absolutely bullied the last two years while the Los Angeles Rams offensive line did not fare much better. Akers was the No.52 selection in 2020 and will be splitting snaps with long time backup Malcom Brown and 2019 third rounder Darrel Henderson. Those two players have their respective strengths, but Akers can absolutely do it all. It would not be a surprise for him to obtain 60% of the backfield touches by mid-season.

Joe Burrow (QB-CIN)

Joe Burrow was an NCAA star. Joe Burrow will be an NFL star. Since making a deal with the devil in his senior season, Burrow lit up college football by completing the best statistical season ever. He has loads of talent surrounding him and an offensive staff that will utilize his field vision and quick release. He does not have a strong arm but his placement and timing more than makes up for it. As with any rookie QB, he will need time to acclimate to NFL life. Expectations should be tempered in the early going but Burrow has the tools to push into the top 12 QB conversation exceedingly early in his career.

Justin Jefferson (WR-MIN)

The No.22 overall pick filled a huge need for the Vikings. He projects to step in as a year one starter opposite Adam Thielen and could immediately garner 100-115 targets. He is a polished route runner with fantastic straight-line speed, but he may need a little time to get going. Like Burrow, Jefferson enjoyed late collegiate career success and will probably parlay that into a strong NFL career. But like most rookies, he will need time to gel with his team, coaches and new surroundings. He is in position to have one of the better seasons of this year’s rookie WR’s; it just might take some time to get going.

Bad Beat:

These are fantastic players in not-so fantastic positions for 2020

D’Andre Swift (RB-DET)

Swift was one of my favorite running backs in this year’s draft. It just breaks my heart to see him land with a team that has had such bad luck with recent running backs. Rushing for over 1,000 yards in his final two seasons after playing behind Nick Chubb and Sony Michel at Georgia, Swift is a very capable runner and a fantastic receiver. I hope he shines in Detroit, but you really can’t love the situation for 2020.

Jalen Reagor (WR-PHI)

The Eagles ranked 29th in WR catches last year. Desean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery have missed a total of 26 games in the last two seasons. It appears that Reagor landed in a fantastic opportunity but probably not for this year. Philly was at the top of the league in lining up in 12 personnel while also possessing a strong group of pass catching backs. Since injuries are assumptive and not predictive, you really cannot see a clear path to touches in this offense. If they do not get everyone healthy (or trade/cut someone) and open up their downfield offense, then maybe the No.21 overall pick can produce this year. He is a much better overall receiver than people give him credit for but maybe we will not see it just yet.

Brandon Aiyuk (WR-SF)

The Super Bowl silver medalists wanted to come away with a solid overall receiver in the draft. They succeeded by drafting the Arizona State product. Aiyuk had very respectable 2019 numbers in his final collegiate season posting a 65/1,192/8 line with a 18.3 ypr. Pairing any wide receiver to a Kyle Shanahan offense is normally smart money. This year may be tough though for Aiyuk to see ample targets. With the emergence of Deebo Samuel, the presence of coaching staff favorite Kendrick Bourne and the return of Jalen Hurd it may be a tough 2020 for Aiyuk. Oh yeah, there’s also all world tight end George Kittle and the league’s No.2 rushing attack to compete with as well. Aiyuk could very well push for the No.3 job this year but his production is sure to be limited early.

There’s roughly 70 days until the first preseason game. The much needed start to watching live football will be here before we know it. That goes for the 2020 rookies as well. With facilities beginning to open up and the players finally going to meet their coaches and teammates, the first year players will finally get a chance to experience what they’ve been waiting for their whole lives….to be on your fantasy football team.

Chris Wolf is a freelance writer for Dynasty Owner

Follow us on Twitter: @CKWolf21 and @Dynasty_Owner