The 2020 NFL Draft, Christmas for football fans, and a shining beacon upon our currently troubled waters has nearly arrived. Why not fantasize about some best case scenarios?
The NFL Draft is fun. Somehow the act of announcing names has become must-see TV. For many, the draft is the premiere event on the league calendar (yours truly among them.) If the draft has a problem, however, it’s that fans are generally only interested in the selections of their own teams. For dynasty players, that can be changed. The following is an exercise in optimism, the best possible future for dynasty players. Let’s look at the best possible landing spots for 2020 NFL Draft prospects. At least, the best realistic landing spots for top dynasty prospects. This exercise won’t cover all NFL Draft landing spots, especially after the first couple rounds. Keep in mind, this isn’t a mock draft.
With the 1st Pick, the Cincinnati Bengals Select Joe Burrow
Even in our fantasy world, it’s probably best to get on board with this pick. Joe Burrow is going to be a Cincinnati Bengal, in all likelihood. That said, Cincinnati really isn’t that bad of a landing spot. At a minimum it’s better than Miami. For one, the Bengals get two important players back in A.J. Green and Jonah Williams. While the Bengals won’t have a great offensive line, Williams should improve it significantly. Green, along with Tyler Boyd, John Ross, and Auden Tate, will give Burrow a very talented receiving corps, with a diverse set of skills.
With the 2nd Pick, the Los Angeles Chargers Select Tua Tagovailoa
The first, and (spoiler alert) only trade of this exercise. FoxBet lists the Dolphins as the favorites to land Tua at -150. However, it believes the junior team in the City of Angels is a possible landing spot for the lefty as well, at +185. This selection, not only puts Tua in a spot with a terrific array of weapons, but saves the fantasy value of those weapons as well. Tyrod Taylor is a serviceable QB, but he’ll likely turn many would -be pass attempts into scrambles. Tagovailoa won’t scramble nearly as much.
With the 5th Pick, the Miami Dolphins Select Justin Herbert
Assuming, the top 3 signal callers go to the Bengals, Chargers, and Dolphins, that means Herbert is headed to Miami in this universe. Sorry, Justin. It’s not all bad though, while Miami is largely devoid of talent at the moment, they have a truly astonishing amount of draft capital in the next two years. Depending on rookies, supporting a rookie is less than ideal, but if Miami can hit on only 50 percent of its picks, the roster will be fundamentally reshaped.
With the 11th Pick, the New York Jets Select CeeDee Lamb
CeeDee Lamb faces the threat of several unappealing landing spots. On the surface, the Jets may seem unappealing as well. However, Lamb would quickly be an absolute target magnet in the vacant Jets receiving lineup. The Jets threw 59.9% of the time in 2019, whereas the 49ers (another possible landing spot) threw only 48.6% of the time. Sam Darnold hasn’t exactly set the league on fire, but he’s shown flashes and can always improve in only his 3rd year. The Jets may also get a coaching upgrade in the likely event that Adam Gase fails in 2020.
With the 12th Pick, the Oak-I Mean-Las Vegas Raiders Select Jerry Jeudy
Lamb and Jeudy go back-to-back in this universe, and give the Raiders the slot-flanker they hoped for in Antonio Brown a year ago. Derek Carr is a competent QB, if nothing else, and Jeudy can carve himself out a significant target share in a hurry, should he land with the desert’s newest team. Read more about Lamb and Jeudy here.
With the 15th Pick, the Denver Broncos Select Henry Ruggs
Even at his higher end range of outcomes, Ruggs probably isn’t a 150 target guy. What he can be, is a 100-115 target guy with high efficiency. That can eventually happen if he lands with the ascending Drew Lock, known for his deep ball. Not to say that Ruggs is strictly limited to nine routes, but long touchdowns will be his primary path to pleasing fantasy managers. Ruggs also wouldn’t cannibalize Courtland Sutton nearly as much as Lamb or Jeudy would.
With the 21st Pick, the Philadelphia Eagles Select Denzel Mims
With quality quarterback play, and a fairly empty receiving corps, the Eagles are the peak landing spot for receivers in this particular draft. Denzel Mims, the only real stereotypical X-receiver in this early portion of the draft, is the winner of this particular lottery.
With the 26th Pick, the Miami Dolphins Select Jalen Reagor
Staying put in this universe, the Miami Dolphins retain all their draft picks and use this one to select the former TCU deep threat. Reagor will catch passes from the gunslinging Ryan Fitzpatrick until Justin Herbert takes over. Should Devante Parker fail to retain the form of his surprising breakout, Reagor could move into an alpha receiver role down the road.
With the 30th Pick, the Green Bay Packers Select Justin Jefferson
Aaron Rodgers deserves a better receiving corps. Justin Jefferson is a start. Will he ever pass up Davante Adams in targets? Nah, but he doesn’t necessarily need to. Justin Jefferson can be the Tyler Boyd to Davante Adam’s A.J. Green.
With the 32nd Pick, the Kansas City Chiefs Select D’Andre Swift
All dynasty players have been dreaming about the Chiefs selecting a RB, and Swift is the current favorite to be the first back selected. Swift’s receiving ability meshes perfectly with Mahomes and the Kansas City offense. Swift’s small stature leaves some question about whether he’ll be viewed as a feature back. He may well be, but even if not, Kansas City is more than capable of supporting an Alvin Kamara-esque satellite back plus. Read more about Swift here.
With the 34th Pick, the Indianapolis Colts Select Tee Higgins
Zach Pascal showed some promise, but the Colts still aren’t obviously set at X-receiver. Higgins can fill that role and he’ll benefit from Indy’s recent QB upgrade.
With the 40th Pick, the Houston Texans Select Chase Claypool
For pure comedy, Bill O’Brien continues to fail and essentially trades Deandre Hopkins for the right to overpay a washed up David Johnson and the most overrated WR in an otherwise fantastic class. At least the vast majority of people are finally on board the “Bill O’Brien sucks, actually” bandwagon. It’s been a long time coming. #FreeDeshaunWatson
With the 42nd Pick, the Jacksonville Jaguars Select Brandon Aiyuk
The Jaguars have been linked to receivers. They pass on Lamb and Jeudy in the first to land Aiyuk here. In Aiyuk, they land not only a talented WR, but someone whose skills compliment D.J. Chark‘s exceptionally well.
With the 49th Pick, the Pittsburgh Steelers Select Jonathan Taylor
The Steelers may actually be looking to upgrade their RB position, and the great Jonathan Taylor would certainly achieve that. James Conner and Jaylen Samuels have some ability, but Taylor would make short work of them and earn a feature role. Sorry James Conner, you still have one of the best stories in football. Read more about Taylor here.
With the 52nd Pick, the Los Angeles Rams Select Clyde Edwards-Helaire
The worst case scenario for Edwards-Helaire is landing on a team like Tennessee (who is interested.) Tennessee obviously has a feature back and would deploy Edwards-Helaire as strictly a satellite back. With the Rams, Edwards-Helaire could carve out a heftier workload.
With the 55th Pick, the Baltimore Ravens Select Laviska Shenault Jr.
Technically, Shenault is hurt by the Ravens lack of passing attempts. That said, on some level, football should be fun. Laviska playing alongside Lamar Jackson would be fun, to say the least. This landing spot would be akin to A.J. Brown‘s a year ago. Albeit, with substantially better QB play, and a much more creative offense. Football fans should put this atop their wish-list of NFL Draft landing spots.
With the 62nd Pick, the Green Bay Packers Select K.J. Hamler
With this selection we will no longer be subject to the painful experience of Aaron Rodgers suffering through poor receiver play. At least in theory (rookies aren’t always good.) The Packers are no strangers to doubling (or even tripling) up on a position, and they need this. In fact, the NFL needs this. Luckily, this is the perfect draft for stocking up on the WR position.
With the 64th Pick, the Seattle Seahawks Select J.K. Dobbins
Once again, the round is concluded with an RB selection. This time, the landing spot is less intuitive, but both Seahawks backs are in the process of recovering from injuries. And, it’s not like both haven’t disappointed on some level. Chris Carson has a fumbling problem, while Rashaad Penny has been used sparingly as a receiver. Not to mention, any first round pick who fails to crack the starting lineup by year two has disappointed on some level. The faster, more explosive Dobbins should be able to earn a respectable enough role in time. Plus, he’ll benefit from elite QB play, always a nice thing to have. Read more about Dobbins here.
With the 76th Pick, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Select Cam Akers
At this stage, we’re almost out of RB landing spots in our dream NFL Draft. Tom Brady‘s new team, however, might be the best landing spot in the entire draft outside of Kansas City, for RBs. Staying in the state of Florida, Akers would have no problem forcing his way into a large role for Tampa. Spoiler Alert! He’s way better than Ronald Jones. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, to those invested in Rojo for dynasty.
With the 107th Pick, the Cincinnati Bengals Select Bryan Edwards
Good morning, Bryan Edwards broke out in the SEC at age 17. That is all.
— FF_Kyle (@DynastyFF_KyleM) April 9, 2020
Do you remember what you were doing at 17? Because Bryan Edwards was busy being productive in college football’s best conference. For this reason, Edwards is one of the most tantalizing prospects in the draft. In Cincinnati, he could eventually replace A.J. Green and benefit from the Bengals selecting Joe Burrow and a couple offensive linemen earlier in the draft.
With the 118th Pick, the Denver Broncos Select Lynn Bowden Jr.
Like the Packers, the Broncos double up on WRs in this exercise. Bowden played as an option-esque QB in his final season at Kentucky, because of this he’s often mislabeled as a gadget player. That’s incorrect, Bowden was a productive WR before he was a QB. Bowden was moved, not because he’s a bad WR, but because he’s #goodatfootball. Kentucky believed their best chance at winning SEC games was getting the ball to Bowden as much as possible. That’s almost as impressive as the breakout age of Bryan Edwards.
With the [Insert 3rd or 4th Round Pick,] [Insert Team] Selects Antonio Gibson, Running back
With Gibson it’s not so much about which team he lands on, but how that team views him. Gibson is a so-so WR prospect, but his combination of size (6’0, 227,) speed (4.39 40,) and receiving skills make him arguably the highest upside RB in the class. Hopefully, he actually enters the league as an RB.
That’s All Folk
That wraps up this dream NFL Draft and the landing spots for top prospects along with it. The actual draft will disappoint somehow, but as always, it will be a sight to behold. That said, if I can get a quick word in with the fantasy gods, please make at least a couple of these landing spots happen. Happy NFL Draft everyone!
Please follow me on twitter @CodyJParker, because maybe you think Chase Claypool is good actually. You’re wrong, but I’d love to hear from you nonetheless.