Fantasy Football’s Biggest Winners Through 1st Two Days of 2020 NFL Draft
We have four rounds to go in the NFL Draft and many rookies will still be brought in, likely to compete with many of these Day 1 and 2 winners. However, Day 3 and late-round NFL Draft additions rarely make an impact, especially right away for fantasy. Here are seven entrenched starters that walked away as huge fantasy football winners after the first three rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft:
Editor’s Note: For more on the 2020 rookie class, check out all of our 2020 NFL Draft content and listen to the Fantasy Footballers podcast for this week’s Rookie Preview show where the Footballers breakdown each position.
Adams ranked second in the league in targets per game (10.6), tied for third in receptions per game (6.9), and fifth in receiving yards per game (83.1) last season. Green Bay continues to have a glaring need at WR yet decided to address backup QB and RB with two of their three Day 1 and 2 picks instead. Adams will only be 27 years old for the majority of the 2020 season and continues to be the clear-cut alpha in an Aaron Rodgers‘ led passing attack. Another huge fantasy season incoming.
Melvin Gordon‘s 18.1 opportunities per game in 2019 tied for the 15th most in the NFL. With Gordon now in Denver, it would’ve been extremely understandable to see the Chargers bring in a day 1 or 2 RB to pair with Austin Ekeler. Yet, they didn’t. Ekeler’s unique dual-threat skillset is perfect for today’s NFL and his talent should now converge with legitimate opportunity.
Of course, the increased opportunity could be neutralized by a downgraded supporting cast that goes from Philip Rivers to Tyrod Taylor/Justin Herbert. But opportunity is king and Ekeler has already proven he can produce regardless. Ekeler ranked 30th in the league in opportunities per game (15) last season yet ranked 12th in total yards per game (96.9). He’s a fantastic pass-catcher who was able to pad his total yards per game stat by posting 62.1 receiving yards per game, which ranked 35th best in the entire league, not just at RB. Ekeler is set up remarkably well for 2020 success.
Players are “injury prone” in the NFL…until they aren’t. James Conner will only be 25 years old this season and has little tread on his NFL tires. Conner is only entering his fourth season and essentially only his third year as “The Guy.” And even though Ben Roethlisberger is now 38 years old and coming off an injury, he’s still a massive upgrade for the entire offense compared to what we had to witness last season. That’s big for Conner, whose still playing for the same Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator that gave him 22 opportunities per game in Big Ben’s last healthy season.
Seattle is always one to keep an eye on when monitoring which RBs get taken at the top of the draft, especially this year with both Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny dealing with major offseason injuries. Yet, they didn’t take one and that’s huge news for Chris Carson.
Carson did fracture his hip in Week 17 so we’ll have to pay particularly close attention to his rehab but reports are favorable he’ll be available for Week 1. Playing in an RB friendly system, Carson ranked tied for seventh in the league in opportunities per game (21.7), sixth in rushing yards per game (82), 10th in total yards per game (99.7), and also scored nine TDs last year. He’ll only be 26 years old during the 2020 season and gets to play with one of the best Quarterbacks (Russell Wilson) of all time.
Dak already led a Cowboys offense in 2019 that ranked first in yards per game, sixth in points per game, second in passing yards per game, and second in Offensive DVOA. I absolutely love what Dallas did on Thursday night aggressively upgrading their strength rather than small-mindedly specifically drafting for need.
CeeDee Lamb looks like an incredible prospect. Finding success at an early age has proven to be a solid indicator for future success and Lamb posted 46 receptions for 807 yards and seven TDs as a true freshman back in 2017. Lamb is electric, elusive, and has good hands in traffic.
Adding Lamb to a WR room that already has Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup is just silly. Blake Jarwin looks prime for a fourth-year breakout at TE as well. Dak is in the discussion to be the overall QB1 in 2020.
Newly acquired Philip Rivers provides an exciting upgrade at the QB position in Indy. Rivers is now 38 years old, which is a concern. Still, he’s thrown for over 4,000 yards in 11 of his last 12 seasons whereas 2019 starter, Jacoby Brissett, has never crossed the 4,000-yard threshold.
Eric Ebron is now a Pittsburgh Steeler and the Colts didn’t address the TE position, in an already weak TE class, on either day one or two. That leaves Mr. Reliable Jack Doyle as a huge winner here with only the recently inked Trey Burton and Mo Alie-Cox as TE competition. Doyle actually ranked tied for first on the Colts in targets last season (72) with Zach Pascal and his role should be even better in 2020 with Ebron’s 4.7 targets per game up for grabs.
Doyle will be 30 years old in 2020 and the Colts can easily get out of his contract after this season if they want to so this very well could be his last relevant fantasy season ever. Take advantage while you still can. Doyle Rules!
I have no idea if Drew Lock is good since we know mental processing and decision making are such vital components of playing the QB position. What I can say is Lock has the physical tools to succeed if he can put it all together and John Elway is giving him every resource possible to do it.
Lock will continue to work on building chemistry with Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant. Sutton is a total stud and alpha WR1 that just turned 124 targets into 72 catches for 1,112 yards and six TDs in his second season playing with Joe Flacco, Brandon Allen, and Drew Lock. And Noah Fant is a promising 2019 first-round TE whose athleticism is off the charts.
On top of that, Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler were just added to the fold in the first and second rounds, respectively. Hamler adds speed and the ability to take the top off to the offense. And then there’s Jeudy, my pre-draft WR1 in this historic WR draft class. Jeudy is an extremely talented and polished WR whose precision as a route runner will pair deliciously well with Sutton’s game. We’re about to find out extremely quickly whether Drew Lock can play or not.