Day 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft is in the virtual books and there are plenty of fantasy implications to be gleaned from the first round. Here are my winners and losers from the first 32 picks.
Winner: Dak Prescott
When many people’s top receiving prospect falls into your laps at pick 17, you run to hand in that virtual card. CeeDee Lamb is an immediate upgrade over Randall Cobb and gives Dak a new young weapon to throw to. You can throw Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup into the losers column, as Lamb’s dynamism and comparisons to DeAndre Hopkins could mean they lose targets. However I believe this firmly cements Prescott as a top-5 fantasy quarterback for 2020 and beyond. Now just the simple matter of getting that contract done.
Loser: Deebo Samuel
The 49ers used their second first round pick to trade up from 31 to 25 to take Brandon Aiyuk, a player they are saying they would have been tempted to take at 13 had Javon Kinlaw already been drafted. Aiyuk seems to fit the do-everything mold that Kyle Shanahan likes to see from his offensive talent and selecting him in the first round will affect Samuel’s usage. Samuel currently has an early fourth round ADP, but with high draft capital being spent on a very similar player, I think we’ll see him start to slide and be thought about more as a WR2/Flex option in drafts as the season goes on.
Winner: Daniel Jones, Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold
No sexy picks here, but the Giants, Browns and Jets focussed on their young franchise quarterbacks and keeping them upright by drafting offensive tackles. Andrew Thomas (Giants), Jedrick Wills Jr. (Browns) and the man-mountain that is Mekhi Beckton (Jets) will all be day one starters for their teams and gives each of these quarterbacks an immediate upgrade in their fantasy outlook in 2020 and beyond.
Loser: Damien Williams
Riding high in Kansas City, the pick of Clyde Edwards-Helaire feels like a luxury pick that they could have used to bolster their defense but decided to load up again on the league’s most explosive offense. Damien Williams is far from a fantasy starter anyway despite his Super Bowl heroics, but CEH comes into the team as a better receiving back, and I expect him to easily eat into those touches in 2020. I don’t think this was the best landing spot for CEH either as he wont see the volume, but as a best-ball option or in leagues with deep starting rosters, he will carry more value than Williams.
Winners: Jerry Jeudy and Justin Jefferson
The double J’s! Love both these landing spots for these guys and I can easily see both ending up as the WR1 on both the Broncos and Vikings respectively by the end of the season. Jeudy is a class act, as you would expect from an Alabama receiver prospect, and will make an immediate impact in Denver. Courtland Sutton still holds solid WR2 value but I expect Jeudy to be the WR1 early on. Jefferson will slide easily into the hole left by the Stefon Diggs trade and compliment Adam Thielen for the Vikings. Both receivers give their respective quarterbacks a bump in their fantasy stock for next season.
Loser: Jordan Love
This on the face of it is one of those picks that in a few years could go down as an all-time bust. The comparisons to 2005 when Rodgers was drafted behind Brett Favre as an easy parallel to make but the situation is very different. Favre talked about retiring every summer so the Packers had to plan for the future. Rodgers has shown no such wavering and is in all likelihood furious that they didn’t draft him another weapon with the pick. Throw into the mix that Rodgers has a ton of dead money associated with any kind of trade/release over the next two years and you can’t see Love getting any game time while Rodgers is healthy. There’s nothing to see here from a fantasy perspective unless you stash him in dynasty and hope for an injury.
Winner: The Miami Dolphins
Let’s finish by giving the Fins some love. They stuck at pick 5 and got the guy they were aiming for all along in Tua Tagovailoa to be the new face of the franchise at quarterback, and if they get a healthy Tua, he could be the real deal they’ve been looking for since Dan Marino retired in 2000. They followed this up with some offensive line help in Austin Jackson with the 18th pick as they look to protect their prize asset and looking ahead to day two and if they can upgrade themselves at running back with either of their two second round picks then they’ll be flying as they look to rebuild the worst offense in the league from last season.