Quarantine Day 36:
I’ve been watching that new show Devs on FX starring Nick Offerman aka Ron Swanson. As the great Ron Swanson once said, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Don’t show a man to fish, feed yourself. He’s a grown man and fishing’s not that hard.” Fishing for rookies isn’t hard either. There’s a bunch of talented ones and, as Devs has shown us, there’s infinite realities. So all these rookies must pan out as superstars in some reality or another. Nobody really knows which reality we’re in or who’s actually going to be good. We’re all just casting lines and pretending we know what we’re doing. Also, ranking these guys before the NFL draft is like fishing without bait. But I’m hungry and the grocery store shelves are getting picked over. Anyway, here’s my top 10 rookies for 2020 PPR dynasty football:
Name | Age on 9/1/20 | Height | Weight | Position | College
1. Jonathan Taylor | 21 | 5’10” | 226 lbs | RB | Wisconsin
This Taylor solo tier may ruffle some feathers out of the gate. There’s plenty of people who prefer Swift or Dobbins over the kid from Home Improvement. Some critics cite JT’s ball security issues and others point to his high volume usage at Wisconsin where he handled 900+ carries over the last three seasons. On the plus side, he held up for 900+ carries over the last three seasons! Taylor also dazzled at the combine flashing his 4.39 forty speed and more than acceptable hands in the passing drills. I expect Taylor to be the first back off the NFL draft board and think there’s a good chance he works his way into the top tier of elite fantasy backs.
2. D’Andre Swift | 21 | 5’8″ | 212 lbs | RB | Georgia
I’ll admit, pre-combine I had Swift ahead of Taylor. Maybe I’m over-weighing the value of the combine but Taylor really stood out. Some guys are just born to shine when the lights are brightest. As for D’Andre, I wouldn’t be the first to say he’s appropriately named: Swift. Great hands, nice balance, cuts and quickness. He’s quicker than he is fast, but he still posted a 4.48 forty time. Swift’s ability to excel in the pass game gives him a high fantasy floor, but like Taylor, some question his ball security.
3. J.K. Dobbins | 21 | 5’10” | 216 lbs | RB | Ohio State
Truth is I won’t be surprised if any or all of these top three RBs end up as first round fantasy picks in the next year or two. Dobbins chose not to workout at the combine, so it’s not exactly an apples to apples comparison with Taylor and Swift. It seemed like Dobbins broke huge touchdown runs on a weekly basis last year but he also had some massive holes to run thru. That’s not to say that Taylor and Swift didn’t have tons of running room too, but it was a little more apparent on Dobbins’ film. Dobbinses sounds like an evil character hybrid from Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. Anyway, he has what it takes to be a bellcow and we can’t ignore the huge fantasy upside.
4. Jerry Jeudy | 21 | 6’1″ | 193 lbs |WR | Alabama
I’ve flip flopped on Jeudy vs. Lamb to the point where they’ve become more or less a coin flip for me as we head into the NFL draft. Judge Jeudy brings impeccable route running and footwork to the courtroom. He’s versatile enough to line up on the outside or in the slot and has nice speed as shown by his 4.45 combine forty time. Expect him off the board in the first half of the first round of the NFL draft next week, and the first half of your dynasty rookie draft too.
5. CeeDee Lamb | 22 | 6’2″ | 198 lbs | WR | Oklahoma
If you want Lamb over Jeudy I won’t protest. There’s plenty of parallels, not only physically, but also in their versatility and high level route running. Lamb ran a slightly slower forty (4.50) but he’s a legit deep threat and a physical force once he has the ball in his hands. Either or both of Jeudy and Lamb could quickly turn into top 10 dynasty receivers.
6. Denzel Mims | 22 | 6’3″ | 216 lbs | WR | Baylor
I doubt you’ll see Mims ranked higher than this anywhere else. It’s all about upside with Denzel. You wanna go to endzone or you wanna go home? Sorry, bad Training Day reference. Anyway, Mims could do no wrong at the combine, dazzling scouts in every drill including his 4.38 forty. What he lacks in versatility he makes up for in elite deep threat potential. There’s a chance NFL teams are looking at Mims as a first round option now. Touchdowns galore could be in his future.
7. Cam Akers | 21 | 5’10” | 217 lbs | RB | Florida State
I had Akers as my #4 overall rookie before the flurry of March NFL moves. With Houston paying up for David Johnson, Atlanta bringing Gurley in and even Miami signing Jordan Howard, the enticing landing spots for this year’s running back class have been narrowed significantly. He may end up taking a little patience or he may hit the jackpot in Tampa. Akers did shine at the combine and he’s a natural athlete who played quarterback in high school. I do see RB1 upside in this physical runner with versatile receiving ability. Plus he’s a quality blocker which will boost him up NFL draft boards and give teams a reason to keep him on the field.
8. Justin Jefferson | 21 | 6’1″ | 202 lbs | WR | Louisiana State
Like Mims, J-Jeff shined at the combined with a 4.43 forty, possibly vaulting himself up into the first round. And like Jeudy and Lamb, Jefferson has the versatility to play on the inside or the outside, but doesn’t quite bring the same high-level route running ability as the other two. Still, Jefferson should be movin’ on up your draft board.
9. A.J. Dillon | 22 | 6’0″ | 247 lbs | RB | Boston College
Ohhhhhhh those legs! Like tree trunks straight from the redwood forests. Dillon is a freight train coming down the tracks, better clear the way. We’re back to drinking the upside kool-aid here. Depending on landing spot, Dillon will likely take some patience on your dynasty squad, but I have little doubt that he can excel at the next level. He stunned folks with his 4.53 forty time and the hands aren’t bad either. Think elite power back potential along the lines of a LeGarrette Blount, Jerome Bettis or Derrick Henry.
10. Clyde-Edwards Helaire | 21 | 5’7″ | 207 lbs | Louisiana State
CEH has a low center of balance, bowling ball type running style which reminds me of Maurice Jones-Drew. He combines balance, strength and power in this style plus has good hands too. He does leave something to be desired in pass protection and I also have mild character concerns since he killed a guy his freshman year in “self-defense.” I put self-defense in quotes because there isn’t much information surrounding the event and his father was in police enforcement. It may be nothing, but still not the best look and worth keeping in the back of our minds.