With players starting to funnel into training camp that means the season is now entering the just weeks away stage rather than the months away stage. So with that transition happening we as fantasy owners must also start to transition as well. As fantasy owners we must start getting into that draft mentality. We must start to compile what we have researched and break it down into the players we want to target in our upcoming drafts. Now if you have been following along here at The Elite Fantasy.com you will be light years ahead of your competition as we have highlighted many players you should target in the upcoming season, via our various articles and descriptive team fantasy guides. Now in this article I would like to talk about the new shiny toys that get many fantasy owners tripped up in redraft leagues, the rookies.
Every year fantasy owners are excited to be the first person to run up to the board and slap on that first rookie tag. I get the excitement with rookies their fresh and there is something appealing about the unknown. However, we must also remember a few things when drafting rookies at the different positions. One rookie tight ends are off limits for redraft 89% of the time. Why? This is the case because it is the toughest position to get acclimated to in the NFL, and very few find fantasy success in year one. The wide receiver position is the next toughest, followed by quarterback, and then the easiest transition to the pro level the running back. I will help you navigate these rookie waters in this article and highlight the rookies we need to know for redraft in 2020, as they offer some sort of value for our fantasy teams in year one. I will break them down in order of fantasy juice they offer for 2020, starting with the most juiced player.
Joe Burrow: It is blatantly obvious that Burrow comes in a top this list as he offers us by far the most potential fantasy points out of all rookies. He is coming off arguably the best season ever by a college QB and finds himself in the driver’s seat of what I expect to be a very exciting high upside offense to watch in 2020. Burrow offers significantly more upside then other typical rookie quarterbacks due to his talent and opportunity. In my opinion Burrow is the most NFL ready QB we have seen enter the league since Andrew Luck.
Jonathan Taylor: The next player I feel offers the most fantasy juice in year one of their career is Jonathan Taylor. Many have Taylor behind CEH, but I argue that is a mistake. Taylor finds himself in a backfield that sits behind the biggest, meanest, and best offensive line in the entire league. Taylor will have a field day running all over defenses on his way to a solid debut season on the ground. Yes, Mack will be there to take some touches away, and yes Hines is also there to steal catches, but the massive double digit touchdown upside as well as the yards he will likely gain on the ground will more than make up for those lost attempts. Taylor will win many teams fantasy titles in 2020.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire: Many people have him as the #1 rookie in redraft and dynasty leagues. I could see their side of that argument as he has everything Taylor has, except the size. CEH is only 5’8” and 205 pounds, but that smaller frame really doesn’t matter much in today’s NFL especially for fantasy. If you think back Christian McCaffrey had the same size concern and we see how that worked out. CEH can do it all well runner, pass catcher, and route runner. He should find success in this offense, however not right out of the gate like Taylor will. This is what keeps him below Taylor, as Williams will likely open the season as the guy in that backfield. Now down the stretch CEH will emerge as that league winner as I see him over taking the backfield by as early as mid season. Also, if Williams opts out of season CEH would leap frog Taylor, as he will instantly become a top 10 running back, and a early second round pick.
Cam Akers: Akers much like the first two backs will have to share the backfield, but also like the other two I see him quickly emerging as the guy in his backfield. The team didn’t spend a second rounder on him to share the majority of the work. Akers finds himself behind one of the league’s worst offensive lines, but he is equipped to handle it, as his Florida State line was equally as bad. Akers is a great runner who is dangerous in open space as a pass catcher. Akers offers great value in redraft this season, and we as owners should target him around the 6th round.
Michael Pittman Jr.: Some may be shocked to find Pittman as the top wide receiver but they shouldn’t be. Like I mentioned above the wide receiver position is tough to succeed at in year one. In addition to the normal struggles the wide outs must also deal with a different off season with this Covid-19 stuff which will hurt many. However, Pittman is equipped to deal with these setbacks and will see immediate opportunity as the Colts X receiver. I would not be surprised if he led all Colts receivers in targets, catches, and yards in 2020. He plays like Vincent Jackson who Phillip Rivers used to make beautiful fantasy music with, so I am very high on Pittman who you can get in the mid to late rounds of drafts.
Henry Ruggs III: Ruggs will have immediate success in this offense as the team’s wide receiver one. Many people view Ruggs as a vertical deep threat because of his speed. This isn’t who Ruggs is, now he will be used in that fashion at times, but Ruggs is more of a short to intermediate guy. Gruden selected him over all other receivers because of this skill set and fit with his west coast philosophy. Gruden will get him the ball quick and allow him to use his wiggle and speed to rip off big plays. Ruggs should offer plenty of fantasy upside every given week.
Jerry Jeudy: Jeudy was the most accomplished and polished route runner in this class, and quite frankly probably one of the best route runners we have seen enter the league in years. Jeudy has been comped to OBJ and AB which should tell you everything you need to know. The only downgrade for Jeudy is landing spot as he will likely slot in as the teams number two behind Sutton who was solid himself last season. Jeudy will be more like that Calvin Ridley type in year one. However, he is a better player than Sutton and more versatile so it wouldn’t surprise me if he became the number one on this team sooner rather than later.
D’Andre Swift: Like Jeudy, Swift finds himself on a bad team and situation. Swift is a three down back who is very talented, but will have to fight for work with two other backs. Swift is more talented than both Kerryon and Bo and the team has obviously had enough of the oft injured Kerryon. Bo could be that early yardage power back the team is looking for while Swift offer up that pass catching, change of pace back to start the season. It’s this limited run early in the season that has me down on Swift. However, if the Lions prove to be in win now mode he could emerge as an every down back later in the season which could offer fantasy scoring bonanza weeks.
Jalen Reagor: Is a deep speed threat that this team was missing in 2019 after Jackson went down after week one. I see Reagor being in line for a lot of work in year one, but temper expectations out of the gate as the missed off season work will hinder him a bit. However, I feel he and Carson Wentz’s connection will be a thing of beauty as both their skill sets complement each other beautifully.
CeeDee Lamb: CeeDee finds himself on a crowded offense with Cooper and Gallup. However, he also finds himself on a pass happy offense who was among the league’s best last season. Lamb won’t see the targets we were hoping for prior to the draft, as he lands on this offense which has a lot of mouths to feed. Regardless i feel he will see a lot of game action right out of the gate, which carries plenty of fantasy scoring potential for our teams.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn: Lands on an explosive offense which will now be powered by the goat himself Tom Brady. Vaughn will likely play behind Ronald Jones to start the season, as the team views him as the starter, as of now. Vaughn could emerge as that change of pace pass catching back, as we know the struggles RoJo has had in this department. If he does inherit this role we know the fantasy value that comes with it as Brady has made both Dion Lewis and James White nice fantasy assets in the past.
JK Dobbins: Is a premium hand cuff for sure in 2020. He will also eat into Ingram’s work load and could potentially emerge as the 1B rather quickly in this rushing attack. Dobbins would be a top 10 back if Ingram went down, as he is a very good three down back, who plays like Ingram. Dobbins in Dynasty is a must add, as he will likely emerge next season as this teams every down back.
Justin Jefferson: Enters a team with many vacated targets from the Diggs departure. He has just been placed on the Covid 19 reserve list so this is a bit concerning. Jefferson likely will be fine for the start of the season and projects to play out of the slot quite often until he adjusts to playing outside on the pro level. The opportunity he will see is enough to make him a viable rookie to look at this season in drafts.
Brandon Aiyuk: The Deebo injury will likely thrust him right into that wide receiver one spot for the team until Deebo returns. Aiyuk has a similar style to Deebo as he is a big run after the catch guy, who looks more like a running back when running with the ball. He is very talented and athletic. You couple those traits with a good offensive schemer like Kyle Shanahan and the upside is through the ceiling in year one for Aiyuk right out of the gate.
Zack Moss: Enters the running back picture in Buffalo as the guy who will fill that Frank Gore role. He will be the tough short yardage guy for this team. Moss likely will see the majority of the goal line work so he offers huge touchdown upside. This touchdown upside will be needed as Devin Singletary will see the majority of the work between the 20’s and in the passing attack, which limits Moss’s upside. However, the touchdown upside and the event that Singletary misses time due to injury, like we saw last season, Moss offers that three down back appeal.
Antonio Gibson: Gibson will get an opportunity in this offense. It is not crazy to think that Gibson could see weekly touches of 5-10 rushing opportunities and 5-6 targets in the passing attack. This type of usage coupled with his skill set and talent is worth a look in redraft. Also if Guice were to go down, AGAIN, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility River Boat Ron says screw it and uses Gibson close to an every down back to see what he has in the talented rookie he compared to CMC.
Denzel Mims: Mims is a fast, big bodied, athletic guy, and will be this teams deep threat on the outside. He will get plenty of opportunity right out of the gate opposite Perriman to offer some fantasy value for our teams.
Antonio Gandy-Golden: With Harmon going down with a torn ACL and Latimore being placed on the commissioners exempt list Gandy-Golden’s arrow in year one is pointing way up. Gandy-Golden will likely slot into that WR3 role for the Washington Football Team behind McLaurin and Sims, but should see plenty of looks in this very thin receiving corps. Gandy-Golden is big, fast, and very smart. So all of this adds up to Gandy-Golden being a sneaky good fantasy asset to grab as your last pick in drafts.
Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert: Can group these players together because each offer about the same value in redraft. Both will likely start the season as backups behind journeymen vets, but will emerge by mid-season to take over starting gigs. Herbert has a big arm and great ability as a runner which is fantasy scoring gold. This running ability will help off set the fact that he isn't pro ready just yet. Tua is very good at delivering well placed balls, but does have that injury concern that is very much a big concern.