2020 Fantasy Football Offseason: Rookie-only mock draft exit survey highlights Jerry Jeudy, Joe Burrow value
Why did these CBS drafters select these rookies where they did in our all-rookie draft for 2020?
When it comes to Fantasy value, talent isn't everything; where you are playing matters as much as anything else. We saw that in stark detail in 2020, as early-rounders like JuJu Smith-Schuster, T.Y. Hilton and Joe Mixon were held back by bad quarterback play, poor offensive lines, coaching or some combination of all three. There's no question all three could have been elite Fantasy options in a better circumstance, but their talent just wasn't enough to overcome the context around them.
That is to say, the story about the Fantasy value of this year's rookie class won't really start being written until after the NFL Draft later this month. We'll get a much clearer picture of which of this year's prized rookies will be in position to make a significant impact for Fantasy once we know where they'll be playing.
But some Fantasy leagues don't want to wait until then. Some Fantasy leagues do their rookie drafts before the actual NFL does its own, forcing owners to put even more of an emphasis on a prospect's talent, hoping they'll land in the right spot to take advantage of it.
We did our Sony Michel looked like as sure a bet as any young running back to be a Fantasy difference-maker. Now, he's suddenly stuck on a roster seriously lacking in talent. Life moves pretty fast …, and it's not just helpful for those of you with drafts happening before the NFL holds its own. It's also useful to know how our team views a player's talent level divorced from a team context. In a Dynasty league, it's even more useful to try to identify the most talented players, because NFL rosters and coaching staffs change so much. Two years ago,
Jamey Eisenberg, and we're going to be doing a new feature for our mock drafts moving forward where we ask the participants key questions about their picks after the draft. Here's our exit survey from our rookie-only mock draft:
Andrew Baumhor, CBS Sports HQ Producer: You took Jerry Jeudy at No. 2 overall. Where are you hoping he lands after grabbing him that high?
"I'm hoping he falls to the 49ers at the 13th pick. With Kyle Shanahan's rushing attack and Jimmy Garoppolo more experienced in his system, I think there will be plenty of opportunities for Jeudy. I envision a nice one-two punch for years to come with Jeudy and Deebo Samuel in San Francisco."
Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer: Were you surprised to see Henry Ruggs there at 10? How high would you take him?
"Honestly, I wasn't really that surprised. There's been a lot of interesting data about prospects who don't get a lot of catches in college and how they fare in the pros. I think Ruggs is a tremendously talented athlete, but he was not an every down player at Alabama. Now, you can still be really good and not be an every-down player at Alabama -- if he had played anywhere else, he would've been an every down player for sure. But because there is some trepidation about how Ruggs may fare in the NFL, seeing him fall past sixth overall is not that surprising."
Adam Aizer, Fantasy Football Today host: Joe Burrow fell to you with the first pick of the second round. Is that the right spot for him, or did you feel like you got a steal?
"I think early Round 2 is a fine spot for Joe Burrow, not quite a steal. This is a loaded NFL draft for wide receivers, and the elite running backs are enticing as well, so I think Burrow at 13th overall is just fine. Having said that, I'm pretty pumped to have gotten him! I'm looking forward to the next 10 years."
Will Brinson, Senior NFL Writer: I liked your Brandon Aiyuk pick at 2.04. What are your expectations for him?
"Obviously, it's scheme and team dependent here, but if the right NFL offensive coordinator gets his hands on Aiyuk, I think this could be a steal both in real life and in Fantasy rookie drafts. Aiyuk is shifty for his size, he is explosive when he gets the ball in space and could be lethal in the screen game and in short yardage catch-and-go situations. He spent most of the year catching passes from a true freshman in Jayden Daniels, so we might not have seen his true ceiling in 2019."
Heath Cummings, Senior Fantasy Writer: You snagged Harrison Bryant as the No. 2 tight end off the board. Do you expect him to contribute in year one?
"I don't think it's fair to project too much from any rookie tight end, but in the right situation I could see him being a solid No. 2 tight end. He has the size and maturity as a four-year player. He also earned a target share over 18% each of the past two seasons, which is a big number for a college tight end."
Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer: Do you see Cam Akers as the kind of back who can be a Fantasy impact player from Day 1? What's his ideal landing spot?
"I love Akers, and I expect him to be one of the top running backs in this class -- if not the best. Now, he's not better than Jonathan Taylor, D'Andre Swift or J.K. Dobbins coming into the NFL Draft, but if he lands with Miami, Tampa Bay or any team where he could be a featured option from Day 1, then he could be the top rookie running back in 2020."
R.J. White, NFL Draft Editor: You took Eno Benjamin and Darrynton Evans as potential pass-catching backs in 2nd and 3rd. Do you think they'll have roles right away, or is this more of a Darrell Henderson situation?
"Love both guys in PPR as they could certainly have immediate roles, depending on where they end up. I also think there's some lead back upside with the pair as well. That's more of a long-term hope if they land in good situations and hit their ceilings, but even as is they should carve out a role as good depth pieces in a PPR."
Ryan Wilson, Senior NFL Draft Writer: Quartney Davis didn't put up huge numbers in college, but still decided to skip his final season of eligibility to enter the draft. What kind of player are you getting at 3.12?
"Quartney Davis can line up anywhere but played primarily in the slot. He's quick off the line of scrimmage, smooth in his routes and has reliable hands. He didn't run a great 40 at the combine, but he plays much faster than that when you watch him, and his ability to snatch the ball in stride makes him a YAC machine. A lot of his production came on short and intermediate passes, and he can be a reliable middle-of-the-field option at the next level."
Which players are poised for breakouts, which sleepers do you need to jump on, and which busts should you avoid at all costs in your Fantasy football league? Visit SportsLine now to get early rankings, plus see which WR is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.
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