Dynasty fantasy football is not for the feint of heart. As with
the stock market, there are wild swings in the relative value of
players with various causes. It could be something a coach said
to the media about giving a running back fewer carries, or a free
agent signing of a receiver who might compete with your player for
targets. Values can shift on injuries or ineffectiveness in the
previous season, or for no apparent reason at all.
The ultimate swings in valuation come with each year’s
draft. The draft can take a player from a premium dynasty asset
to essentially worthless. A few years back, I really liked what
I saw out of running back Tre Mason in his rookie season - he
produced 913 yards from scrimmage and 5 touchdowns. He had also
been drafted in the third round, which is significant draft capital.
I traded talent and picks to get him right after the season ended.
Then in April, the Rams drafted Todd Gurley in the first round.
Mason seemed to be on the verge of a major breakout, and within
the first 10 picks of the draft, he was essentially a worthless
Most swings in valuation are not that extreme, but we see many
such impacts due to the draft every year. For the rest of this
article, I want to focus on the biggest winners coming out of
the Draft, and then the biggest losers. Some will be the rookies
themselves, who were drafted into perfect (or rough) spots. Others
will be veterans who were positively or negatively impacted by
the 2020 NFL Draft.
Taylor, Colts – Taylor could not have asked for a
better landing spot. The Colts are a young team with a great GM
in Chris Ballard. They are methodically building a well-balanced,
team that will begin competing in the AFC soon. They still need
their long-term answer at quarterback, but Taylor will get to
learn with Philip
Rivers and run behind and excellent offensive line. Opponents
will have a hard time stacking the box against him, with T.Y.
Campbell, and rookie Michael Pittman, Jr. at receiver. Marlon
Mack is still going to get some touches, but for dynasty Taylor
is in a perfect position.
Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs – Edwards-Helaire also landed
in the perfect spot for a player with his talents, getting the
opportunity to play with the best quarterback in the game and
within the brilliant offensive system of Andy Reid. Reid has a
history of using running backs like CEH heavily, relying on them
both to run the ball and catch the ball out of the backfield.
He even made Damien
Williams into a stud in their playoff run last season, and
CEH is a far superior talent. The Chiefs also boast a solid offensive
line and incredible weapons at receiver, which should open up
the run lanes. He is also a top-notch dynasty asset.
Sutton, Broncos – Many will see Sutton as a post-draft
loser, since the Broncos doubled up on rookie receivers in the
draft. They took both Jerry
Jeudy and KJ
Hamler, which should totally change and open up the offense.
It is certainly true that those receivers will receive significant
targets. But it’s also true that the Broncos had a complete lack
of upside at receiver outside of Sutton. Before the draft the
next receivers on the roster were DaeSean
Hamilton, who has been a disappointment so far, and Tim
Patrick, who is a role player at best. Now they will have
three legitimate NFL receivers once the rookies get up to speed,
but that will not take away from Sutton. He will remain the clear-cut
No. 1 receiver on the roster for the next few years, even with
Jeudy present. He has proven he has elite talent, but piling up
stats against double teams is very tough. After Emmanuel
Sanders was traded mid-season, Sutton averaged 18 fewer yards
per game and 1 fewer reception. Teams were keying on stopping
Sutton, and it had an impact. With the rookie receivers drawing
attention, Sutton should see softer coverage – and he should take
Prescott, Cowboys – Prescott isn’t signed to a long-term
deal yet, but assuming he stays with the Cowboys he hit the jackpot
in the Draft. I was certain the Raiders were going to take the
best wide receiver on the board when they picked 12th, but they
went with speedster Henry
Ruggs III instead. Ruggs may end up a good receiver for sure,
but he is no Ceedee Lamb. Lamb was, in my opinion, in a tier of
his own at his position in this draft. He is going to be a stud
receiver in the mold of DeAndre
Hopkins, and he fell into the Cowboys lap at pick No. 17 (Jeudy
also went ahead of him to the Broncos at No. 15). Prescott now
will have an even more ridiculous arsenal of talent around him,
Gallup, and Lamb. Prescott should jump further up the quarterback
rankings given the newest Cowboys’ addition.
Harry, Patriots – After a disappointing, injury-plagued
rookie season, Harry comes out a winner after the 2020 Draft as
well. He was the first receiver taken last season, but many thought
the Patriots might address receiver in the Draft after his poor
rookie season (and since Edelman is getting old). However, they
did not add any receivers, making Harry a prime candidate to have
a rebound season in his sophomore campaign. His usage should rise,
which could enable him to have a break-out season on 2020. Although
he is an intriguing dynasty target, keep in mind that Belichick
and his staff do not have a good history of developing wide receivers.
Singletary & RB Zack
Moss, Bills – Singletary seemed destined to get a
shot at being a bell cow for the run-heavy Bills entering the
draft, after Frank
Gore left town. The dynasty community though perhaps Singletary
would even get the goal-line work, making him potentially a top
running back. However, the Bills drafted Zack Moss in the third
round, and GM Brandon Beane spoke glowingly of his new RB. He
emphasized that he would be used around the goal line, and that
he profiles as an early-down back. It is unknown how the carries
will be divided, but it sounds like it might be a true split.
This is a huge blow to the dynasty value of Singletary, but it
also hurts Moss. Since he is joining a team with a great back
already on the roster, his upside is capped. Neither is likely
to become a high-end dynasty option.
Jones & RB AJ
Dillon, Packers – A similar story played out in Green
Bay, with the Packers selecting A.J. Dillon in the second round.
Dillon is a bit of an athletic freak, running 4.53 in the 40-yard
dash and recording a 41-inch vertical – at 247 pounds. He is a
bruiser and should get much of the goal line work. That, of course,
saps a lot of Aaron Jones’ dynasty value, since much of his great
2019 season was due to 16 rushing touchdowns. Dillon’s value is
capped as well, since he is fighting both Jones and Jamaal
Williams for touches in the offense. They may both be effective,
but both saw their potential in dynasty leagues fall significantly.
Henderson, Rams – Henderson looked like he might
have a chance to become a workhorse, or at least a dynamic piece
of the Rams backfield working alongside Malcolm
Brown. But it appears the Rams had something different in
mind; perhaps they did not like what they saw during Henderson’s
rookie season. Whatever the rationale, the Rams used a second-round
pick on Cam Akers,
an incredibly dynamic athlete out of Florida State. Akers has
the look of a feature, three-down back in the NFL, so Henderson’s
stock has rightly plummeted. If he can carve out a complementary
role next to Akers, perhaps as a change-of-pace option, that seems
to be the best outcome he can hope for.
Mack, Colts – Perhaps there was no bigger loser coming
out of the NFL Draft than Marlon Mack. He went from clear-cut
No. 1 back to an afterthought, after the Colts drafted Jonathan
Taylor. Many see Taylor as the best runner in the class, and
a much better fit for the Colts offense than Mack. Once Taylor
is up to speed, it seems likely that Mack will either be benched
completely or relegated to a third-down option. Even that is in
question, since Nyheim
Hines has been effective in that role. The only bright side
for Mack is that he’s in the final year of his contract, so he
could sign elsewhere next season and find a spot to lead the charge
Johnson, Lions – Johnson, like Mack, saw an excellent
young runner join his team. The Lions drafted D'Andre
Swift in the second round, also a consensus top running back
in this draft. Johnson dealt with injuries for two straight seasons,
and that seems to have caused the front office to lose some trust
in his ability to be their lead runner. Swift should take on a
big portion of the running back touches immediately, relegating
Johnson to a timeshare back without the upside he possessed prior
to the Draft.
Kevin Scott has been playing fantasy football for 20 years and
plays in over 30 leagues per season. He has made a profit in pay
leagues for 11 years running. You can follow him on Twitter @kevinscottff.