Fantasy Football

2020 Post-NFL Draft Winners and Losers

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This year, instead of an instant reaction, I took my time and gave it about a week for the dust to settle on all the deliberation and discussion before coming out with my Post-NFL Draft Winners and Losers.

First things first: the digital draft. I’ve seen enough people preface this comment by saying “This might be an unpopular opinion but…” that I won’t use that preface: I enjoyed this draft as much, if not more than usual NFL drafts. Outside of ESPN shoving tragic family storylines down our throats, it seemed to flow much better and the family reactions were great to see.

The pomp and circumstance obviously weren’t there, but it went well for something many people were doubting about. There were viral moments such as CeeDee Lamb showcasing his elite awareness and quick hands and Kliff Kingsbury establishing himself as the coolest coach in the NFL.

Needless to say, there were winners and losers (see: title of column) from the draft night. We’ll dive into some of the fantasy football-relevant ones below as we begin season-long draft prep.

2020 Post-NFL Draft Winners and Losers

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Winners

Cincinnati Bengals and Miami Dolphins

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While the Bengals’ selection of Joe Burrow was known basically since the beginning of 2020, it was still a question where Tua Tagovailoa would land. He ended up in Miami, where it seemed he was destined to be after Miami ran the #TankforTua campaign in early 2019.

Unlike the other two quarterbacks who went in the first round, Burrow and Tagovailoa are pro-ready and should start from Day 1. They should add some much-needed juice to their respective offenses with their accuracy and quick decision making. Every skill player on the Bengals and the Dolphins benefit from these quarterback picks.

Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys eschewed defensive need and took CeeDee Lamb who was surprisingly sliding down the draft board.

Lamb is a classic WR1 type receiver who (at Jerry Jones‘ demand) will don the legendary 88 for the Cowboys next year. With Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Lamb lining up out wide on every play, Prescott could duplicate and maybe even build on his QB3 finish in 2019.

Drew Lock, QB, Denver Broncos

Perhaps no young quarterback was helped by his front office as much as Drew Lock. Going into the draft, the Broncos had some young weapons in Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant, and the duo of Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay.

They loaded up even more in the draft, taking Jerry Jeudy at pick 15 and then doubling down on receiver by taking K.J. Hamler in the second round. The Broncos are clearly going to give Lock all the tools he needs to succeed. It remains to be seen if he will, but if he struggles, it won’t be due to a lack of weapons.

Philip Rivers, QB, Indianapolis Colts

Rivers’ move to the Colts this offseason was largely overshadowed by Tom Brady going to Tampa Bay. But Rivers actually turned in a decent 2019, finishing 4th in passing yards. His fantasy numbers were marred by 20 interceptions, but it was clear he was pressing in comeback situations.

In Indianapolis, not only will he experience better protection, the Colts added both Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman in the second round. Add that to an already solid core of T.Y. Hilton, Marlon Mack, and Trey Burton, and Rivers should find fringe QB1 success in 2020.

Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

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Sanders is the most obvious breakout candidate for 2020. The only thing that could have stopped him was the Eagles drafting a running back to complement or split touches with him. That didn’t happen so Sanders will enter the season with only Boston Scott pushing him for touches.

Even if the Eagles add veteran help, Sanders is a clear-cut RB1 now with no real concerns about his role as the bell cow in Philadelphia.

Todd Gurley, RB, Atlanta Falcons

Gurley will perhaps be the most polarizing player taken within the first two rounds of season-long drafts. On one hand, he’s two years removed from an MVP-caliber season. On the other, he looked like a completely different player last year and was unceremoniously cut by the Rams.

What can’t be argued though, is his clear path to volume and opportunity. The Falcons did not add a running back through the draft which leaves only mediocre players Brian Hill and Ito Smith behind Gurley.

Raheem Mostert, RB, San Francisco 49ers

Similar to Gurley, the Niners seemingly cleared a path for Mostert to dominate touches in this previously-crowded backfield. Not only did they not draft a running back, but they also traded Matt Breida to the Dolphins.

While Tevin Coleman and Jerrick McKinnon will still be involved, it seems like the Niners are moving forward with Mostert as their main back after his breakout performances towards the end of last season.


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Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Jefferson isn’t the most talented player in this loaded wide receiver class, but he will make the most impact as a rookie. He landed in a perfect situation in Minnesota, who will be 1) looking to replace Stefon Diggs‘ targets and 2) already familiar with a Jefferson-type player since they have Adam Thielen.

Not only will Jefferson get to continue rocking the purple and gold, but he will also be put in similar situations both in the slot and outside.

Losers

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

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Life truly does come full circle. Fifteen years after the Packers grabbed Rodgers with Brett Favre on the downside of his career, the Packers took Jordan Love as in the first round as Rodgers’ potential replacement.

Ignoring the pick itself, Rodgers comes out as a loser on this one because the Packers did not take a single receiver in the draft. You might think they’d want to help their aging star quarterback by making his life easier, but no. The Packers needed wide receiver help for Rodgers behind Devante Adams and they dropped the ball. 38(!) wide receivers were drafted and the Packers did not add a single one.

Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

It’s incredible that one of the best franchises in NFL history had such a poor draft that two of their best fantasy players end up on the “Losers” side of this column. Jones had all the makings of a clear RB1. He had volume, caught the ball well, and scored touchdowns on a high-powered offense.

Instead, the Packers took that away from us by drafting bruiser A.J. Dillon in the second round. With Jamaal Williams also in the mix, it’s fair to ask how much Jones will be used. He’s fallen out of the first round and maybe even out of the second.

Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions

The Lions selecting De’Andre Swift signals the end of the short-lived Kerryon Johnson era in Detroit. Swift is a workhorse back who will at worst split touches 50/50 with Johnson.

At best, he’ll take over the role immediately. Johnson has had an opportunity to solidify his spot in 2019, but disappointed with both performance and injury issues.

Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts

2020 was lining up to be Mack’s year to grab ahold of the job in Indianapolis, but management had other plans. They took workhorse back Jonathan Taylor in the second round, pushing Mack towards more of a change-of-pace role.

Taylor is a bell-cow back in the traditional sense. He will play the first two downs and a lot of third downs. Mack slides from a surefire RB2 to a questionable mid-to-late round pick with some upside.

Damien Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

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Williams was a draft-day bust during the regular season for the Chiefs but really came through in the playoffs — when fantasy players did not care. He is a big-time performer but not necessarily an incredible talent.

His role is now in serious jeopardy with the Chiefs’ addition of Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Edwards-Helaire was compared to Brian Westbrook by Andy Reid and should step into a huge role immediately. That would leave Williams in a complementary role at best and he should plummet down draft boards.

Mark Ingram, RB, Baltimore Ravens

Ingram was probably due for regression after an RB8 season at age 30. But the Ravens’ selection of J.K. Dobbins just fast-tracks that. The Ravens’ rushing attack fell apart in the playoffs with Ingram dealing with an injury.

So not only is Dobbins insurance for that scenario, but he’s so talented he will take carries away from Ingram anyways. I wouldn’t expect Ingram to hit 1,000 yards in 2020.

Darrell Henderson, RB, Los Angeles Rams

Well, that ended before it even started. Henderson was much-hyped in dynasty leagues as the eventual replacement for Todd Gurley. That was only increased when the Rams cut Gurley this offseason.

But they wasted no time picking up another running back to add to the mix, selecting Cam Akers at 52 overall. Akers is more of a prototypical lead back and will muddy up the Rams’ backfield. Henderson is no more than just a late-round flier until we hear more during training camp.

CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys

While the Lamb pick was fantastic for the Cowboys offense overall, he and Gallup will cannibalize each other’s fantasy value. Cooper should be safe, although he will still continue to boom-and-bust.

The offense will have its weeks where it can sustain good numbers for all three of them. Unfortunately, Lamb doesn’t have the consistent volume that he would have if he had landed with the Jets or Raiders.


Gallup was a breakout sophomore receiver who had the potential to excel with more targets in Dallas’ offense. But the addition of Lamb will limit those targets and I’d expect Gallup to take a backseat by the season’s end.


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About Kevin Huo

Kevin is a fantasy football writer for Fantasy Six Pack. He considers every angle - whether statistical or theoretical - when weighing his options and isn't afraid to be a contrarian. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMHuo

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