In the final part of my selection of the the best and worst picks in fantasy drafts by round, I’ve moved onto rounds seven through ten and have identified the player most likely to over-perform their ADP in 2020, the one who gives you that safe floor and the player most likely to be a draft bust.
Boom – Brandin Cooks, WR, Houston Texans
I am loving me some Brandin Cooks in drafts this year. He may have been the unsexy postscript to the DeAndre Hopkins trade, but he steps into a great situation in Houston as the automatic number one receiver. Still only 26 with five years experience in the league, Cooks has four 1,000 yard seasons with three different teams and though there are concussion concerns, he has only missed two games in the last four years. He’s coming off a down year where he fell to the Rams’ third choice option, but 2020 has him primed to see his highest ever targets, receptions and yards and will prove to be a bargain in the 7th round.
Safety First – Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots
Edelman is about as steady as it gets for a mid-round pick and even at 34 years old, he screams 90+ catches, 1,000 yards and 6 touchdowns. Even without his great pal Tom Terrific I don’t see Edelman’s numbers slowing down much this year, and whether it’s Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer (or Cam Newton) under center, having Edelman in the slot provides the perfect safety blanket.
Bust – Derrius Guice, RB, Washington
Take your pick why Guice screams draft bust. Back to back season ending knee injuries have to be the main worry for someone with just 42 carries as a pro. There’s also a huge amount of competition, with six other backs on the roster, including the evergreen Adrian Peterson and intriguing rookie Antonio Gibson. Throw in Washington’s predicted five-win season and an offensive line now officially without Trent Williams and they just aren’t going to be very good. I’m taking a wide berth.
Boom – Cam Akers, RB, Los Angeles Rams
There wasn’t a lot that stood out in Round 8 as potential boom picks so I’ve gone with the player in the best position to succeed. Despite fairly average college production, the Rams saw enough to take the former Seminole in Round 2 of this year’s draft. With Todd Gurley released, Akers steps in as the potential number one guy, as Darrell Henderson and Malcolm did almost nothing when spotting for Gurley last season. Up for grabs in the Rams’ offense is over 200 rushes and 60+ targets, and even if Akers does see a split workload, he’s still highly likely to over perform the backs with a similar ADP. Be bold and give Akers a chance in Round 8.
Safety First – Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions
Hardly a safety first option, Jones is being under drafted at present as despite the injuries that have curtailed his last two seasons, he still averages over 14 PPR points per game over the past three years, better than 20 receivers currently being drafted ahead of him. As the clear number two in the Lions offense, Jones should see over 100 targets for 65 catches and 1,000 yards, especially if Matthew Stafford plays at the same level he showed before his own injury last year. A really solid pick and a great weekly flex option.
Bust – Rob Gronkowski, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Now I believe Gronk can come back and be a really great addition to the Buccaneers’ offense, I just think his ‘real’ football play will outdo his fantasy relevance. He’s going to need to rely on touchdowns to do fantasy damage, and with several much younger tight ends poised for breakout seasons, Gronk as the TE9 just feels too rich, especially with a year out of the game.
Boom – Darius Slayton, WR, New York Giants
A nice little rookie year for Slayton, who took his chance when given the opportunity. The 5th round pick finished with 740 yards and strong 8 touchdown grabs on just 48 receptions, with three multiple touchdown games. Assuming he becomes a full-time starter in 2020, he could easily push for 100 catches and a 1,200+ yard season as he grows with Daniel Jones in both their second years. Throw in one of the worst looking defenses in the league and the Giants are highly likely to be throwing the ball more to stay in games, this only benefits Slayton, who averaged 15 yards per catch as a rookie.
Safety First – James White, RB, New England Patriots
We mentioned the safety blanket that is Julian Edelman as safety blanket in Round 7 and two rounds later you get something similar from his teammate. White has seen at least 70 targets in each of the last four seasons, and with Sony Michel’s foot surgery potentially landing him on the PUP list to start 2020, he could see an uptick in rushing attempts as well. Your perfect flex starter who guarantees you 12+ points every week. What more could you want in Round 9?
Bust – Matt Breida/Jordan Howard, RB, Miami Dolphins
These two are certainly an upgrade on the rushing talent the Dolphins rolled with last season, but are they any better set for success with the talent around them? The Dolphins invested four draft picks in offensive line players, including first rounder Austin Jackson but you’re asking a lot from a group of young players with little time to gel. Howard is probably the starter but Breida is the more explosive talent and I can see both of these guys being the lead back at some point. I want none of this backfield in 2020.
Boom – Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants
Jones was a fantasy surprise as a rookie, averaging 17.8 points per game and throwing for 24 touchdowns. In year two he’s likely to need to throw more, as the Giants continue to have one of the worst defenses in the league and will likely be chasing games. He does however have the weapons around him, with three talented receivers in Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton, true tight end upside in Evan Engram and the beast that is Saquon Barkley. I have Jones poised to break into the top 10 fantasy quarterbacks, so with him currently available as the QB15, there is plenty of value to be had.
Safety First – Latavius Murray, RB, New Orleans Saints
Not a sexy pick this one but a nice spot for an RB2 who carved out a nice role in his first year in New Orleans. Kamara fell off a bit and Murray got a solid number of touches per game. Murray saw 180 touches in the Saints’ offense in 2019, including 146 rushing attempts and even if we see Alvin Kamara return to form, Murray has an established floor that you can bank on in Round 10.
Bust – Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Hardman was nearly my boom player for Round 10, but when you consider all the mouths to feed in the Chiefs’ offense, someone is going to be left out. Hardman’s incredible speed means he will no doubt have some big games, but the lack of consistency means he’s off my fantasy radar, unless it’s in best ball formats. His true value is as a returner and that never bodes well for fantasy receivers. Let someone else waste their pick on Hardman this year.