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10-Team Dynasty Rookie Mock (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Raju Byfield | @FantasyContext | Featured Writer
May 24, 2020

J.K. Dobbins is a talented running back who was a consensus top-three running back prior to the 2020 NFL Draft.

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Rookie draft season is here. When devising strategies and cheat sheets for your dynasty league rookie drafts it is important to identify how close (or how far) your team is from contending. If you are ready to contend immediately you may want to place a premium on rookies who are projected to be immediate contributors. Conversely, if you ascertain that you are a year or two away from contending it becomes important not to discount rookies who may not have a true breakout right away due to depth chart considerations. With that in mind I went into this Draft Simulator rookie mock draft under the premise that my dynasty squad is undergoing a retooling process that may take a season or two to become a true contender. This understanding will potentially drive my selections, with long term dynasty value taking precedence to players who may be able to help right away. This rookie mock is a single QB, 10 team draft that spans five rounds. 

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1.06 – J.K. Dobbins (RB – BAL)
J.K. Dobbins is a talented running back who was a consensus top-three running back prior to the 2020 NFL Draft. Clyde Edwards-Helaire landing with Kansas City knocked Dobbins down to fourth in ECR, but he remains the same explosive running back who had so many excited pre-draft. Landing in a backfield with Mark Ingram and Lamar Jackson is not an ideal scenario for his immediate value, but he should quickly assume number two duties in a committee that saw Gus Edwards rack up 140 touches in 2019. Dobbins should push for 180 or more touches as a rookie due to his superior receiving ability versus what Edwards has to offer. Mark Ingram will remain the lead back, but Dobbins may take on the lead back role in 2021 before Ingram departs in the 2022 offseason. Dobbins will open the season as an RB3, but barring another high impact addition to the backfield, he should push his way into the RB1 conversation by 2022.

2.06 – Laviska Shenault Jr. (WR – JAX)
Wide receiver, running back, F Tight end, Wildcat QB. While Laviska Shenault Jr. is a wide receiver by trade, his new coaching staff understands the versatile skill set he brings to the table. He is already the team’s best receiver, and may also be their best option for carries around the goal line. Laviska was a versatile weapon for the Colorado Buffaloes, according to Sports Info Solutions, over his final two college seasons he lined up as a quarterback 29 times, as a running back 47 times, as a tight end 62 times, as a slot receiver 303 times, and out wide 488 times. He appears to be a fantastic fit for Gardner Minshew‘s playing style, as Shenault is a yards after the catch expert who can turn Minshew’s short passes into long gains. He figures to be one of the team’s favorite options on third down as he can run the ball or catch the short pass and add some YAC to pick up the first down. 

While calling Laviska Shenault this year’s A.J. Brown may be a little misleading, he may be this year’s D.K. Metcalf, a consensus first-round talent who fell in the draft due to injury and combine testing concerns. However, like Brown he lands on a team with poor quarterback play, something that is holding him back from being a consensus first-round rookie pick regardless of format. Much like with Brown, Shenault will either have a Pro Bowl level Gardner Minshew or a new quarterback like Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Trey Lance, Sam Howell, or Kedon Slovis within the next two years. Granted, much like with Ryan Tannehill there could be a veteran quarterback who comes in to torpedo those plans, but even that quarterback would have to have flashed high-level upside for the Jaguars to pass on all five of those quarterbacks over the next two NFL Drafts. Pass on Shenault after 10th overall at your own peril. 

3.06 – A.J. Dillon (RB – GB)
As mentioned above, I am looking for home runs in this rookie draft as opposed to a higher floor, immediate contributor options I may normally seek out. Devin Duvernay would usually be my pick here, but with A.J. Dillon still on the board, I took the gamble that he may still be available in the fourth round (due to this being a 10 team league). Dillon will likely not be able to provide a serious return on investment until 2022, but signing up for shares now, especially in the third round is a shrewd strategy. Dillon may act as the Brandon Jacobs to Aaron Jones’ Tiki Barber as a rookie, something that should have all Jones owners on notice. Jones had an amazing 44 red zone touches in 2019, and he converted them into a league-leading 19 touchdowns. Backfield mate Jamaal Williams had 20 red zone touches. A.J. Dillon should see more than the 20 Williams saw this past season, and as such will likely be cutting into Jones’ touches and touchdowns. 

Dillon has better hands than his raw numbers suggest, something that was readily apparent on tape, but that he also proved at the 2020 NFL Combine. Head coach Matt LaFleur is trying to build his own Tennessee North version of the Titans seemingly unstoppable power running game, something he helped install while serving as their offensive coordinator. Dillon has high-end RB2 upside once he starts seeing 12+ touches per game, but should still be able to provide flex2 or at the very least bye week filler level value in a red zone specialist type of role as a rookie. Bigger than many NFL linebackers, one could put together a highlight tape based purely on Dillon crushing would-be defenders in pass protection. He is going to get on the field and earn the trust of Aaron Rodgers quicker than many may think. He is an excellent addition at 26th overall. 

4.06 – Eno Benjamin (RB – ARI)
The question before us today is this: Is Kenyan Drake really more talented than Eno Benjamin, or even Chase Edmonds for that matter? Edmonds had his moment in the sun last season before succumbing to injury, and Eno Benjamin was bandied about as a potential starter prior to the NFL Draft and has the tape to match. Kenyan Drake was exceptional for a two-game stretch with the Arizona Cardinals, but everyone seems to simply be ignoring the fact that he ran for less than four yards per carry in his other six games with Arizona. There is a reason he did not get rewarded with a long term deal or have the franchise tag placed on him, and instead received the transition tag. 

Drake showed that he has obvious NFL talent, but much of his success could be attributed to playing with Kyler Murray in a system that is conducive to his skill set. The only problem being that the system is also very conducive to the skillsets of both Benjamin and Edmonds. Drake will undoubtedly open the season on top of the depth chart, as head coaches do not usually hand starting jobs to seventh-round picks, but it could be Benjamin leading the committee by the end of his rookie season. He has great hands and provides enough as a runner to be a 15-18 touch per game lead back. He has enough size, but with the 6’1, 211 lbs Drake on the team, we can be sure that Benjamin will not be worn down with a featured back amount of touches. 

Benjamin is more of a future prospect who dynasty owners should be looking to stash on their benches or taxi squads than someone who should be relied upon for consistent rookie production. However, he could enter the RB2/RB3 conversation by the end of his rookie season and should stay there barring the Cardinals adding a high impact rookie or free agent in the 2021 offseason. Benjamin is someone to target if you are looking to address your running back depth in the third or fourth rounds of your rookie drafts. 

5.06 – James Proche (WR – BAL)
James Proche is a talented wide receiver who tied Justin Jefferson for first in the nation with 111 receptions. His 15 touchdowns ranked him fourth in the nation, and his 8.2 receptions per game placed him second. Due to being less landing spot dependent to unlock his upside, I actually had Proche ranked above new teammate Devin Duvernay prior to the NFL Draft. Proche did a lot of his damage from the slot in college (over 60 receptions and eight touchdowns in 2019), but also proved that he had the route running and contested-catch skills to consistently win on the outside. He is going to have to learn how to win consistently against the physical press corners the NFL has to offer, especially when he takes snaps on the outside, but is someone who should start contributing to the Ravens’ success as a rookie. 

Proche has WR2 skills, but may be relegated to a WR3 production level due to the presence of Marquise Brown, Devin Duvernay, and Miles Boykin. Though the talent is legit (he would have WR2 value and be a starter on Green Bay), Lamar Jackson is going to have to become a more prolific passer in terms of volume if Proche is to amass WR3 or flex worthy fantasy value as the Ravens third or fourth receiver. If the Ravens get creative and run both Duvernay and Proche out of the slot on the majority of their snaps however, the sky will be the limit for both slot receivers. The fifth round is a great spot to gamble on Proche’s talent, especially when one considers the lack of appeal of the other options left on the board. James Proche at 46th overall could prove to be a major steal.

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Raju Byfield is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Raju, check out his archive and follow him @FantasyContext.

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