Top Late-Round Targets in Dynasty Rookie Drafts (2020 Fantasy Football)
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It’s obvious that NFL Draft capital plays a large role in determining a rookie’s future production. It’s why so many of the first-, second-, and third-round picks are scooped up early in dynasty rookie drafts. However, there are those late-round NFL Draft picks that turn into late-round dynasty rookie draft gems. Today, we’re helping you identify those top late-round dynasty rookie draft targets.
Q: Which player outside the top 50 has the best shot at being an asset in dynasty leagues?
James Robinson (RB – JAC)
Robinson is ranked 64th overall in the Expert Consensus Rankings (ECR), but I am trying to grab him at the end of rookie drafts everywhere. Robinson is close to workhorse size at five-foot-nine and 219 lbs., and he has a strong prospect profile, which is a rare combination in the fifth round of a rookie draft. Robinson played four seasons at Illinois State, breaking out in his sophomore season, which is really the lone red flag on his profile besides going undrafted. Robinson tested well atheltically, with a 92nd-percentile Burst Score and a 69th-percentile Agility Score. His worst test was a 4.64-second 40-yard dash, giving him a 43rd-percentile Speed Score. On the production front, Robinson accounted for nearly half of ISU’s total offensive output in his senior season, racking up 1,917 rushing yards and 18 total touchdowns. Robinson also closed out his college career with 21 catches as a junior and 16 catches as a senior, so the workhorse role remains in his range of outcomes. With the Jaguars clearly poised to move on from Leonard Fournette in 2021, Robinson is one of the highest-upside dart throws available.
– Mark Leipold (@LeipoldNFL)
James Proche (WR – BAL)
While everyone has their sights set on Devin Duvernay, Baltimore’s first selection at wide receiver, I think that their second wideout drafted could be a breakout candidate, and he’s going undrafted in many leagues. Proche is incredible at tracking the football and making the tough catches, ranking second in the nation in terms of contested catches. He is also an incredible red-zone threat, having tied Justin Jefferson for the third-most red zone receptions last season according to PFF. Over his past two collegiate seasons, Proche averaged 102 catches for 1,212 yards and 13.5 touchdowns per season. Since the Ravens do not have many wide receiving options outside of Marquise Brown, Proche could carve out a role as the No. 2 wideout in Greg Roman’s offense. While the defense is focused on the run, Proche will benefit from single coverage and use his extended catch radius to make big plays. Proche could be a late-round asset that will cause many dynasty owners to wonder how they missed out on him during their rookie drafts.
– Dan Ambrosino (@AmbrosinoNFL)
Joe Reed (WR – LAC)
Joe Reed was selected in the fifth round (151st overall) by the Chargers and is currently 57th among all rookies in ECR. The 22-year-old hauled in 77 catches for 679 yards on 116 targets in his senior year for Virginia last year. Reed will help out with special teams, as he averaged 33 yards a return and took two touchdowns to the house. Reed may be a special teams standout, but his physical traits (six-foot, 224 pounds with a 38.0-inch vertical) and reliable hands suggest he will get a strong look at playing time at wide reciever. He is projected fourth on Chargers’ receiver depth chart, and he would have to beat Andre Patton for the WR3 role. If he can develop a rapport with rookie quarterback Justin Herbert, his role in the Chargers’ offense would only grow in the near future. Reed didn’t get a lot of buzz in the draft, but his explosvie potential and great hands make him a perfect stash candidate in dynasty leagues.
– Brad Camara (@beerad30)
Isaiah Coulter (WR – HOU)
The Houston Texans have one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL in Deshaun Watson, but they do not have a great group of wide receivers. Will Fuller has shown flashes of brilliance, but he has not been able to stay healthy. Brandin Cooks suffered two concussions in 25 days last year, and he is a concussion away from having to retire from the NFL. Randall Cobb turns 30 years old this year, and he has not had a 1,000-yard season since 2014. Kenny Stills is 28 years old, and he has never had a 1,000-yard season. It seems unlikely that this is going to be the wide receiver corps that the Texans roll with for the next three-to-five years, which gives a young rookie a chance to emerge with a role in this offense. Coutler had 72 receptions for 1,039 yards and eight touchdowns as a true junior at Rhode Island last year. He ran a 4.45-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, which is impressive, given his six-foot-two and 198-pound frame. With how good the quarterback situation is in Houston — and how weak the wide receiver depth chart is — Coulter is a guy outside the top-50 with a great chance to emerge as a dynasty asset. It seems likely that the injury-prone receivers ahead of him will have injury issues at some pont this season, and if Coulter seizes his opportunity, he could carve out a nice role in their offense both during this season and for years to come.
– Derek Lofland (@DerekLofland)
John Hightower (WR – PHI)
The Philadelphia Eagles left the 2020 NFL Draft with an arsenal of track-star-turned wide receivers, one of them being Boise State standout John Hightower. In just two seasons playing for the Broncos, the six-foot-two, 190-pound junior college transfer accumulated 1,447 yards and 14 scores on 82 receptions, averaging 17.6 yards per catch. While his production in college doesn’t jump off the page, Hightower proved himself at the Combine with very strong athletic testing across the board. He ran a 4.43 40-yard dash, had a vertical leap of 38″, and clocked 4.21 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle, putting him alongside other elite wide receiver prospects. With a skillset and measurables similar to Robby Anderson and Will Fuller, Hightower landed in the perfect spot to showcase his ability as a guy who can take the top off a defense. In 2019, Carson Wentz was in the top-six quarterbacks in the number of deep ball attempts (69) and in the top seven for catchable pass percentage (58%) for those deep balls. Even though Hightower finds himself amongst a crowded group of receivers in Philadelphia that includes fellow draftees Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins, he should get an opportunity right away as a return-man and a rotational field stretcher. Additionally, veteran receivers Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Marquise Goodwin all have an injury history and aren’t getting any younger, so Hightower could see an opportunity for more snaps sooner rather than later. As a guy ranked outside the top-50 rookies heading in 2020, I’ll take my chances on Hightower to be a fantasy asset in rookie dynasty leagues.
– Adam Koffler (@AdamKoffler)
James Proche would be the player I would normally talk about here (I have him significantly higher than anyone else in the ECR), but since I have touched on my love for him in a number of mock drafts, I will instead focus on another player I currently have ranked higher than anyone else in the ECR; John Hightower. I actually have him 39th overall due to what looks like a clear path to playing time as early as 2021. As a rookie, he may be reduced to a rotational role behind Jalen Reagor, Alshon Jeffrey, and DeSean Jackson, but with Jackson a release candidate after this season, and Jeffrey perpetually on the trade block, Hightower has an opportunity to earn a significant role in the 2021 version of the Eagles’ offense. He has good speed and size, and he could eventually fill the role of deep threat while Jalen Reagor focuses more on being a playmaker on all four levels. If Hightower ascends to the number two or three receiver role by 2021, he should be able to produce as a boom or bust WR3/WR4. He is a terrific value who is commonly available in the fifth round of rookie drafts.
– Raju Byfield (@FantasyContext)