Dynasty Rookie Draft Picks to Target (2020 Fantasy Football)
With dynasty league rookie draft season already underway, it’s time to examine which rookie draft picks could be worth targeting. This is a loaded draft class that’s going to have potential rookie starters or sophomore starters available all the way to the fourth round, and in some cases, the fifth round.
The running back market is a little drier than expected due to the decisions of Travis Etienne, Chuba Hubbard, Najee Harris, and Kylin Hill to return for their 2020 college seasons, but the wide receiver crop is still deep and talented. Knowing which picks to target and which players may still be available can help greatly when weighing potential offers either to or from your team. Let’s dig in.
The first overall pick is the one to trade for if you don’t want to miss out on your top target. While Jonathan Taylor is the current 1.01 based on ADP, D’Andre Swift, Jerry Jeudy, and CeeDee Lamb are also going number one overall in some dynasty rookie drafts. It’s going to take a king’s ransom to acquire this pick, so be prepared to surrender a significant asset — or assets. If you have an early first-round pick to work with, trading up is the ideal scenario. A pick plus a player or multiple picks will likely make the cost easier to stomach
Pick 1.03 is a hot commodity in both single QB and superflex leagues. In most superflex leagues, Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa are expected to go one and two. This makes pick 1.03 the landing spot for the non-quarterback “1.01.” If you’re comfortable with your quarterbacks, this is a pick to consider.
In single QB leagues. 1.03 is a favorite trade down spot for owners who are ambivalent as to which running back they select at the top of the first round. At this point in the dynasty offseason, when the NFL Draft has yet to take place, there is little to separate Jonathan Taylor, D’Andre Swift, and J.K. Dobbins aside from subjective preference based on film and analytics. Trading down to 1.03 means the decision gets made for you, and you can pick up an extra asset or assets along the way.
This pick is also a favorite target for those who are looking to grab Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb. The most common result in dynasty rookie drafts that take place before the NFL Draft is Jonathan Taylor, and D’Andre Swift usually goes in the top two. After that, all bets are off. J.K. Dobbins’ current ADP is 3.70, while Jerry Jeudy’s ADP is 3.80. And of course, there will be drafts where CeeDee Lamb (ADP 4.00) goes at 1.03 or earlier. With that in mind, 1.03 should be the target of those who are hoping to land Jeudy, Lamb, or even J.K. Dobbins.
Pick 1.05 is a common target for trade downs, trade-ups, and outright pick acquisitions (no pick traded to the team with 1.05). At this point of the offseason, there’s a general consensus of who the top-five rookie dynasty assets are: Jonathan Taylor, D’Andre Swift, J.K. Dobbins, Jerry Jeudy, and CeeDee Lamb. For evidence of this, compare fifth-ranked Lamb’s ADP of 4.00 to the sixth-ranked guy, Cam Akers, whose ADP is 5.90.
Targeting the 1.05 means that you can trade for the pick at a much lower price and possibly land the player you would have drafted at pick 1.03, pick 1.04, or earlier. If you have a strong preference in your personal rankings, pay attention to that and acquire a pick that will allow you to land whoever is in your SS tier or S tier. Trading for the 1.05 means you have no true preference and would be happy with whoever is still on the board. This is also a pick to target if you want to ensure that you land Cam Akers, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, or Jalen Reagor.
Pick 1.07 is a popular target for players targeting Clyde Edwards-Helaire or a receiver like Jalen Reagor, Tee Higgins, Justin Jefferson, Henry Ruggs, Denzel Mims, or Laviska Shenault. While you can net most of these players after the 1.07 in most drafts, this pick assures that you do not leave your dynasty rookie drafts without your target. Every draft room is different, and after Cam Akers is off the board, it’s essentially dealer’s choice as to who will be selected next.
It’s true that the second round will not be as exciting as many had hoped prior to when draft-eligible prospects decided whether or not to declare for the 2020 NFL Draft. Losing first-round talents like Travis Etienne, Najee Harris, Chuba Hubbard, Kylin Hill, Tylan Wallace, Devonta Smith, and even Tamorrion Terry means that second-round picks hold less value for some fantasy owners. Look to take advantage of that. There’s still a plethora of exciting wide receiver options, multiple potential future dynasty QB1s, and a couple running backs to target in the second round.
The second round of my most recent dynasty rookie draft went Laviska Shenault Jr., Zack Moss, Henry Ruggs, A.J. Dillon, Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa, Brandon Aiyuk, Anthony McFarland, Eno Benjamin, Antonio Gandy-Golden, Lamical Perine, and Cole Kmet. Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Denzel Mims are two other players who are commonly available in the second round.
Draft day trades for these picks may be preferable, however, as you can see who is still on the board and decrease the risk of your most coveted targets getting taken. With that said, prices frequently increase once rookie drafts are underway. Keep this in mind when deciding when you want to get a deal done.
Pick 3.01, or another early third-round pick, could prove to be the pick to trade for if you are interested in getting in on — or starting — the tight end run. Albert Okwuegbunam is currently the first tight end off the board based on ADP, but draft rooms have seen Cole Kmet, Hunter Bryant, and Adam Trautman all take turns being the first at their position off the board. The 3.01 could also lead to a steal if one of your second-round receiver targets like Antonio Gandy-Golden, Bryan Edwards, Tyler Johnson, or Michael Pittman slip out of round two.
The 3.01 is also a pick to consider if you’re interested in acquiring one of the second-tier quarterbacks in Justin Herbert or Jordan Love. Both signal-callers have QB1 upside. They are expected to have to redshirt their rookie seasons, however, and this has depressed their perceived value somewhat.
These are the picks to target if you’re interested in the rookie sleepers. While ADP is all over the place after the start of the third round, there will likely be some very interesting players available at this point in each of your dynasty league rookie drafts. Players like DeeJay Dallas and Van Jefferson are my favorite targets here, but keep your eyes open, as there are bound to be other players that you view as potential third-round talents that slip into the fourth round.
In my most recent dynasty rookie draft, I was able to land Tyler Johnson at 4.01. Last season I was able to land Preston Williams at this turn. Other players that could potentially still be available and be of interest include Jordan Love, Jalen Hurts, Antonio Gibson, Michael Warren, Joshua Kelley, Chase Claypool, Devin Duvernay, James Proche, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and KJ Hamler. The cost should not be prohibitive, so if you have the trade capital that you’re willing to part with, aim to acquire as many fourth-round picks as possible.