Dynasty League Rookie Mock Draft (2020 Fantasy Football)
With the 2020 NFL Combine in the books, early dynasty league rookie drafts and mock drafts are now in full swing. Dynasty leagues are year-round affairs, and they come in all shapes and sizes. Some leagues even hold their rookie drafts prior to the actual NFL Draft. This is done for different reasons, one of them being that it helps shift the weight toward rewarding research and skill, as opposed to luck based on your draft slot.
This time, instead of breaking down the first-round rookie prospects you have probably already heard a lot about, I will discuss each of my four selections from a four-round rookie mock draft for a 12-team, single quarterback league. This mock contributed to DLF’s March rookie ADP, the full results of which can be found here (subscription required). There were not many surprises in the first round, but things got interesting after sixth overall. Cam Akers has solidified himself as the first player to come off the board after the big five, but after that, it essentially comes down to a “dealer’s choice.” Let’s dig in.
Here is the first round:
Pick 1.09: Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – LSU)
I was absolutely shocked that Clyde Edwards-Helaire lasted until ninth overall in this mock draft. It’s entirely conceivable that he is considered a top-three pick by the time landing spots are determined, so nabbing CEH here could prove to be the steal of this draft. Edwards-Helaire’s dynasty stock has dropped in the eyes of some after he ran a 4.60 40 yard dash. However, he posted a strong 128.7 burst score courtesy of an elite level 39.5 inch vertical (tied for third in the class), and a solid 123-inch broad jump (tied for ninth in the class).
CEH is an elusive, explosive back with good vision, who, despite his 40 time, offers plenty of game speed. He was number one in the draft class, with 7.44 percent of his carries going for 20 or more yards (big play percentage). His height, running style, and every-down ability closely resemble the on-field play of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. If he lands on a depth chart where he can compete for the starting job, he could easily post Rice-like RB1 numbers. It will be interesting to see where he lands, but at this point in the draft, it was fairly obvious that no other player on the board outside of the quarterbacks offered as much upside.
Pick 2.09: A.J. Dillon (RB – Boston College)
A.J. Dillon left the NFL Draft community in shock and awe with his incredible performance at the 2020 NFL Combine. One of the major reasons people shied away from the Derrick Henry comparisons was because no one (besides Dillon himself) believed that he would prove to be as athletic as the Tennessee Titans free agent workhorse. But fast forward to the 2020 NFL Combine, and Dillon actually performed better in every drill that both backs participated in.
At the 2016 NFL Combine, Derrick Henry posted an unbelievable 4.54 40-yard dash at 247 lbs. He added an elite level 39 inch vertical and a 130-inch broad jump. He posted a 7.20 in the three-cone drill. Dillon was able to top all of those marks at a matching 247 lbs. He ran a 4.53 40-yard dash with an incredible 41 inch vertical, a 131-inch broad jump, and a 7.19 mark in the three-cone drill. Dillon also eased a lot of concerns regarding his hands, as he performed well in the receiving drills. He looked smooth hauling in the targets and was able to corral the passes in stride.
Dillon may be drafted to be a committee member, but he showed at the combine that he could indeed play on all three downs. He has “move the pile” power and great contact balance, and he would likely be in the first-round conversation as far as dynasty league rookie drafts are concerned if we already knew that he found himself a favorable landing spot.
Pick 3.09: DeeJay Dallas (RB – Miami)
DeeJay Dallas is one of my favorite players in this entire draft class, and I was quite shocked he lasted all the way until the 35th pick in this rookie mock draft. Dallas ran a 4.58 40-yard dash, a time that was well-received for his running style and skillset. He has noticeable burst on tape, displays great contact balance, and has excellent hands. Listed as a utility player or athlete as a freshman, Dallas was a high school quarterback that was recruited as a wide receiver. His ability to contribute on special teams adds to his versatility and is likely to help garner him serious consideration near the top of day three of the NFL Draft.
He may be drafted to be a committee member, but he has the depth chart based upside to emerge as a lead back as a rookie. He has some technical issues to work on, but DeeJay is arguably the top back in this draft class in pass protection. There is a strong likelihood that he will, at the very least, be viewed as an upside spot starter with an every-down skillset in the Alexander Mattison mold. His ability to contribute on all four downs could get him drafted much higher than expected, making him a name to watch for in the NFL Draft. For those of us who have one or more of our dynasty league rookie drafts prior to the actual NFL Draft, he is a name to target in the third round.
Pick 4.09: Van Jefferson (WR – Florida)
Van Jefferson is a separation artist. Though his college numbers do not jump at you, his tape is littered with numerous plays per game where he burned and gained eye-popping separation from the best corners in the SEC, including LSU’s Kristian Fulton and Derek Stingley. He continued to ply his wares during Senior Bowl week, but during combine medical checks, it was revealed that he had a foot fracture that required surgery, an injury that will possibly prevent him from working out for NFL teams before the NFL Draft.
His strong Senior Bowl week and his game film will keep him in the early day three mix, but the injury concerns have all but slowed his late day two momentum to a crawl. As pointed out in the visual card below, Jefferson already has route-running skills at a level sometimes never reached by NFL pros, a skill that will undoubtedly quickly endear himself to his coaches and quarterback. If he lands in a good offense with a good quarterback, Jefferson could become an 80+ reception per year star.
Raju Byfield is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Raju, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyContext.