Checking In On Young Players with Something to Prove in 2020 (Fantasy Football)
Prior to the draft, I highlighted eleven young players with a lot to prove in 2020 as they continue to try to make a name for themselves. With the NFL Draft behind us, let’s check back in on their fantasy value.
Darrell Henderson – Rams RB – Stock: Way Down
Henderson’s value was high entering the draft and had a chance to skyrocket if the Rams didn’t invest high draft capital into competition for him. Unfortunately, despite the Rams only making four total day one/two picks, they made Cam Akers their very first selection in the entire draft at 2.20. This destroys Henderson’s value.
Cam Akers is a solid prospect who turned 261 total touches into 1,369 total yards and 18 total TDs last season as a Junior at Florida State. He now boasts Round 2 draft capital from a team that had many other holes to fill and lands in a fantastic situation with a Rams offense that ranked seventh in yards per game and 11th in points per game last season.
Henderson’s opportunities should still grow in year two and he’ll likely carve out a role as a timeshare RB but we should confidently project Akers as the Rams’ lead RB in 2020.
Blake Jarwin – Cowboys TE – Stock: Slightly Down
The Cowboys didn’t draft a TE, which leaves Jarwin solely a top of the Cowboys’ TE depth chart. On the other hand, the first-round selection of WR CeeDee Lamb means there’s now significantly more competition for the 10.7 targets per game up for grabs from last year with Jason Witten and Randall Cobb both gone. Regardless, Jarwin is the projected starting TE for a Cowboys offense that ranked first in yards per game, sixth in points per game, second in passing yards per game, and second in Offensive DVOA in 2019. He’s a solid later round TE buy.
Parris Campbell – Colts WR – Stock: Down
Campbell’s injury-riddled rookie season didn’t allow him to become entrenched within the Colts’ WR depth chart and his value certainly took a hit during the draft as well. Indianapolis showed they saw WR as a need by bringing in Michael Pittman in the second round (2.2) and Dezmon Patmon in the sixth round (6.33). Patmon doesn’t move the needle but it’s at least noteworthy he’s 6’4″ and 225 pounds.
Pittman though, on the other hand, was one of my favorite WRs in the entire draft and apparently I wasn’t alone. Colts HC Frank Reich was quoted as saying, “I’m not sure this guy isn’t the best receiver in the class. That’s how strongly I felt.” He also added, “I think he can have a big impact in Year 1.”
Those quotes have me fired up. Pittman caught 101 passes for 1,275 yards and 11 TDs in his senior season last year and his tape just screams baller. Pittman is 6’4″ and 223 pounds and plays to his size by snatching the ball out of the air with ease. This is exactly the kind of player the Colts needed. I expect Pittman to start from day one and his game seems to fit perfectly with Philip Rivers‘ style as a QB.
Campbell will only be 23 years old this season and is still a valuable asset in dynasty. His redraft value isn’t completely dead either since he projects as the #3 WR in a top half of the league offense. Still, there’s no denying the draft wasn’t kind to him.
Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin – Ravens WRs – Stock: Down
Brown and Boykin are no longer locked and loaded as the clear-cut young WRs on the Ravens. Baltimore brought in Devin Duvernay in the third round (3.28) and James Proche in the sixth round (6.22).
Slot-WR projects as the ideal position in the NFL for both Duvernay and Proche. Thus, Willie Snead, who lined up in the slot on 78.8% of his snaps in 2019, is a lost cause at this point. However, he won’t be the only WR affected.
GM Eric DeCosta reported Duvernay reminded him of past Ravens Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, and Steve Smith. And I don’t disagree. Duvernay’s tape is super solid as his toughness and reliability pop off the screen. After turning 106 receptions into 1,386 yards and nine TDs as a senior last season, Duvernay projects as a starting WR from day one.
And then there’s Proche, who is better than his draft position would imply. Over the past two seasons at SMU, Proche caught 204 passes for 2,424 yards and 27 TDs. Proche’s hands are on full display on film as he makes some truly incredible contested catches. He also offers versatility, which will allow him to immediately compete for playing time.
This leads me to my favorite point within this entire article, I won’t be surprised at all if Proche beats out Boykin for playing time on the outside right away.
Steven Sims, Kelvin Harmon, and Trey Quinn – Redskins WRs – Stock: Down
Quinn was a seventh-round pick in 2018, Harmon was a sixth-round pick in 2019, and Sims went undrafted in 2019. All three were intriguing dynasty holds due to the Redskins’ wide-open WR depth chart but things certainly look a bit different after the draft. Washington brought in Antonio Gibson in the third round (3.2) and Antonio Gandy-Golden in the fourth round (4.36).
Although Gibson is being listed as an RB, he’s a hybrid player who projects to see significant targets right out of the gate. At 6’0″ and 228 pounds, Gibson ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and turned 38 receptions into 735 yards (19.3 yards per reception) in his senior season at Memphis. Meanwhile, Gandy-Golden is 6’4″ and 223 pounds and posted 1,000+ yards and 10 TDs three years in a row at Liberty.
These draft selections, in addition to Terry McLaurin‘s stranglehold on the #1 WR role, relegate Sims, Harmon, and Quinn to barely-relevant end of the roster dynasty stashes.
Jace Sternberger – Packers TE – Stock: Unaffected
Green Bay did draft TE Josiah Deguara in the third round (3.30). However, shockingly, they didn’t draft a single WR. S0 we’ll call it a wash.
Deguara is a fine prospect that was likely overdrafted. Green Bay clearly envisions a role for him right away but that doesn’t change the fact that Jimmy Graham‘s departure now leaves 3.8 targets per game from last season up for grabs at the position.
At 6’4″ and 251 pounds, Sternberger turned 48 receptions into 832 receiving yards and 10 TDs back in 2018 in his final season at Texas A&M. Sternberger profiles as the TE with more immediate upside and is an intriguing late-round TE target in 2020.
Dawson Knox – Bills TE – Stock: Unaffected
Knox was the Bills’ clear TE1 last season, ranking third on the team in targets (50), fourth in receptions (28), and third in receiving yards (388). The Bills made no significant TE additions during Free Agency or the draft. He has room to grow in his second season.
Josh Oliver – Jaguars TE – Stock: Unaffected
Jacksonville only drafted TE Tyler Davis in the sixth round (6.27) and his profile doesn’t move the needle. Thus, we really shouldn’t change our viewpoint of Jacksonville’s TE depth chart from before the draft at all.
Oliver was a 2019 third-round pick and has prototypical size for an NFL TE at 6’5″ and 249 pounds. He’s athletic for that size as he has 87th-percentile ranks in both the 40-yard dash and Speed Score metrics according to Player Profiler. The opportunity is there for Oliver to be Jacksonville’s TE1 in 2020.
Agreed Cameron! Hit on the Eagles situation in one of my other draft articles.
Hey Tim! That’s absolutely fair analysis. I focused a bit more this series on the competition at these players’ respective positions. But completely agree with you.
Forgot DeSean Jackson. Eagles picked up many speedsters in the draft including the trade for Marquise Goodwin.
Ben, Stefan Diggs will be a target hog in Buffalo. With Josh Allen’s TD-vulturing ways and limited pass attempts, I’m down on Dawson Knox.