As some of you will already know, this week I set up my first ever dynasty league. Last week, we drafted the veterans. Today is all about the rookie draft, time to load up on more offence.
I went into the draft with three second round picks after trading out of the first round. Further wheeling and dealing left me with 13 rookie picks.
Let’s go through the players taken on offence.
2.02 – Zack Moss (RB), Buffalo Bills
I had a glaring need at running back going into the rookie draft. The initial pick was at 1.11. I believed that the top 5 running backs would all be off the board by that point. Turns out I was right. Picks 1.03 to 1.07 saw the top tier fly off the board.
Zack Moss was the best RB available at this pick. Had Ke’Shawn Vaughn not been picked, I would have selected him over Moss. However, in a trend that was to repeat itself three times in this rookie draft, he was selected with the pick immediately preceding mine.
Moss, aged just 22, ran for over 1,000 yards in his last three years at Utah. He averaged an impressive 6 yards per carry in 2019. He wasn’t utilised as a receiving back in college, with just 28 receptions in the 2019 season. In a PPR league, that’s going to hurt his value.
However, there is still an upside. Moss had drawn comparisons to Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch prior to joining the NFL. Gore’s departure from Buffalo leaves a need on the roster for a traditional power back. If Moss can punch power runs into the end zone, he’ll prove a worthwhile selection.
Gore had 166 carries in Sean McDermott’s offence in 2019. Devin Singletary was second with 151. Expect Singletary to take on more responsibility in his second year, but don’t discount Moss. He should be the guy to replace the outgoing legend in 2020 on short downs and in the red zone.
2.05 – Denzel Mims (WR), New York Jets
Much like the NFL Draft in April, Denzel Mims fell further than expected here. Six receivers were taken ahead of Mims. I’m not quite sure why. The former Baylor speedster is joining a needy franchise on offence. Sam Darnold can no longer rely on the chemistry he enjoyed with Robby Anderson after his move to Carolina.
Darnold relied on his slot receiver Jamieson Crowder in 2019. Injury to Quincy Enunwa meant that Darnold lacked a dependable partner on intermediate routes. Mims had over 1,000 receiving yards in 2019 and 12 touchdowns. He stands at 6′ 3″ and ran a 4.38 in the 40 yard dash at the Combine. The measurables are there to suggest he can succeed in the NFL.
Breshad Perriman provides a short term solution to the Jets receiver issues. GM Joe Douglas will be hoping that his second round pick in the NFL Draft will be a long term partner for his quarterback.
2.08 – Antonio Gibson (RB), Washington Redskins
I did flirt with the idea of taking Chase Young here after picking up two skill position players. However, with no running backs on my bench, I decided to pick in that position again, and hope Young fell to the third round.
Gibson is a hybrid player that will contribute to both the running and receiving game at Washington. The Redskins are stacked at the position currently, but Gibson projects as a future feature back for Washington in the future. Adrian Peterson continues to defy projections despite his age, but retirement beckons. Derrius Guice is a great player, but his struggles with injury are well known.
In his last year in the college game, Gibson had 14 touchdowns from just 77 touches. He was utilised as a slot receiver at Memphis, but is designated as an RB in the NFL. In a PPR league, every reception counts.
The key risk with Gibson is that his sample size is a small one. He rushed the ball just 33 times in 2019, and had 38 receptions. Despite this, averaging 19.3 yards per catch and 11.2 yards per carry is enough to get any fantasy GM excited.
Gibson may be a player whose numbers don’t jump out in his rookie year, but one who slowly proves his worth. He won’t be a solid starter this year, but should contribute enough to keep him out of a taxi squad.
3.01 – KJ Hamler (WR), Denver Broncos
This was supposed to be the pick where I took Chase Young and declared it the steal of the rookie draft. He went at pick 2.12. To say I was gutted was an understatement, and a sign that I should have taken him in the second round regardless of value. It is a lesson I won’t forget in the future.
Nevertheless, KJ Hamler is an exciting prospect at Denver. Slot receivers aren’t sexy enough to be taken in the early rounds, but can produce consistently in a PPR league.
The key problem with Hamler is his surrounding talent on offence. He will have to compete with Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy for receptions, where he will most likely be third in the pecking order. Although there are still question marks over Drew Lock, it could work in Hamler’s favour. Lock certainly has the arm strength to find his deep threat receiver, nervous quarterbacks throw safe passes. Expect Noah Fant and KJ Hamler to see plenty of the ball if Lock needs those short throws to build his confidence.
Hamler might spend most of his rookie year on special teams as a kick and punt returner. It might be tempting to place Hamler on your taxi squad, but it would be worth seeing how pre-season works out for him before making that decision.
4.02 – Jordan Love (QB), Green Bay Packers
For the third time in this rookie draft, “my guy” went the pick before my own. I was more than happy to take a risk by selecting Lynn Bowden Jnr at this spot. Bowden Jnr coming off the board left me with a difficult decision to make.
I went for Jordan Love, a first round pick for the Green Bay Packers in the 2020 NFL Draft. I know that Love won’t see much game time in 2020. For that reason, he will certainly be a taxi squad player this year.
What I’m banking on is Aaron Rodgers’ departure in the near future. The last time a first round QB sat for a year at a leading NFL franchise, things worked out ok. Now I’m not saying that Jordan Love is Patrick Mahomes. A lot of people have made that comparison, and I don’t necessarily find it useful.
However, Love could well be the starter on the Packers offence in years to come. Rodgers is one of the best to play the game, but he isn’t getting any younger. He has publicly spoken of his anger at the move, but he is a professional. Rodgers will know how much Brett Favre taught him in his formative years. It’s time he repaid the favour.
In the fourth round, there was simply too much potential to pass up on. I’m excited for how this might pan out in years 2 and 3 for Love and my team.
6.03 – James Robinson (RB), Jacksonville Jaguars
As you can see, the middle rounds were dominated by stacking up on defence. I was surprised to see Robinson fall this far, despite the fact that he was an UDFA.
Robinson joins a Jacksonville running back corps in flux. Leonard Fournette is clearly RB1, but his long term future in Florida is under question. Behind Fournette, there’s no clear backup.
Stories like Phillip Lindsay’s, where a guy goes from UDFA to leading a team’s rushing attack, are rare. Robinson had an unbelievable 2019 at Illinois State, rushing for 1,899 yards and 18 touchdowns. Like Lindsay, he is undersized. Robinson stands at 5′ 9″, Lindsay 5′ 8″. Both had impressive careers at lesser known schools.
Robinson is a low risk pick on offence here. After taking Zack Moss and Antonio Gibson, I’m happy to see what becomes of Robinson’s NFL career. Jacksonville’s lack of depth at the position means that Robinson will sit on the bench to start the year. He may end up in the taxi squad.
A kicker in the 9th?
That just leaves my last pick in the rookie draft (I used my 10th round pick as part of a trade).
With my needs on offence filled and nobody jumping out to me at this late stage, I took new Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship. Why? I’m not quite sure. I guess my attitude at the time was more “why not” than why.
I already had a kicker in Ka’imi Fairbairn. It wasn’t a position of need. But kickers are people too. I’m looking forward to seeing if Hot Rod can beat out Fairbairn for the starting job this year.
Keep your eyes out for IDP selections in the next installment of the Dynasty Virgin Diaries.
Tom Scott @downthemannyrd