12-Team Superflex Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft (2020 Fantasy Football)
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This mock was a 12-team, Superflex rookie draft that spanned five rounds. I was randomly assigned the fourth overall pick, and I started out hoping that Tua Tagovailoa would slide to me. This was one of the more interesting rookie mock drafts I have done in our draft simulator all offseason. Let’s take a look at my selections and the final overall draft board.
1.04 – Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC)
At this point in the offseason, you’ve probably heard enough about Edwards-Helaire to consider yourself an expert. Don’t fret, as you’re not alone. One of the most debated rookie running backs in the draft class, CEH shot up from being the number four of five back on many dynasty managers’ cheat sheets to the number one overall slot for some.
Landing him here at 1.04 is a bit of a surprise, but it’s more in line with what happens in some cutthroat Superflex rookie draft rooms than one may realize. CEH, despite his obvious talent and first-round pedigree, has some detractors, but there are also those who simply prefer Jonathan Taylor or one of the elite quarterbacks in the first three picks of Superflex rookie drafts.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire should eventually take on a role mirroring a workhorse, but he may always have someone like Damien Williams to siphon touches. That said, there is a reason Patrick Mahomes specifically requested CEH, as his explosive versatility and contact balance is a perfect fit for an offense who has been looking for a featured back since Kareem Hunt’s dismissal from the team.
Edwards-Helaire appears to have immediate RB1 upside, and he’s being drafted as such in some startup drafts. At 1.04, he is a tremendous bargain, and could already represent the steal of the draft. Almost assured to be in the first-round conversation as soon as 2021, Clyde Edwards-Helaire was an easy pick when I was on the clock.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire forced 85 missed tackles in 2019😳pic.twitter.com/uNBB2emdmz
— PFF College (@PFF_College) June 20, 2020
2.04 – Ke’Shawn Vaughn (RB – TB)
Landing Ke’Shawn Vaughn at 2.04 in this rookie mock draft was totally unexpected. Tee Higgins and Laviska Shenault were both on the board staring me in the face, but passing on Vaughn this late was impossible. Vaughn impressed at both Illinois and Vanderbilt, but he still suffers from a lack of hype in the dynasty community. It’s fair to wonder if Vaughn made a mistake in returning to school, as he was much better in his redshirt junior season than he was in his senior season.
He put up 1,244 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on 7.9 yards per carry as a junior. As a senior, despite 41 more rushing attempts, he posted 1,028 rushing yards, nine touchdowns, and 5.4 yards per carry. That said, he was able to improve dramatically as a receiver in both numbers and in skill. He caught 13 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns in 2018, and he improved that to 28 receptions for 270 yards and a touchdown in 2019. Bruce Arians himself said one of the things that impressed him the most about Vaughn was his ability to stay on the field and play a near every-down role when it came to pass protection, something that will endear him to both the coaching staff and Tom Brady.
Vaughn has very little in front of him in terms of players to pass on the depth chart, as he’ll only have to beat out the intriguing, but ineffective Ronald Jones and pass-catching back Dare Ogunbowale. His path to 250-plus touches as a rookie is clearer than any other running back’s in this class.
However, while Vaughn is the most replaceable of the rookie running backs projected to land starting jobs to open the 2020 season, he also plays for the team with the least amount of running back talent. This is something to keep in mind, as fantasy managers who take the plunge on Vaughn may only have him as a starter for one or two seasons. There are a number of running backs projected to declare for the 2021, 2022, and 2023 NFL Drafts, and if they’re picked up by Tampa Bay, they could force a committee or beat out Vaughn.
That said, running backs come at a premium in fantasy, and landing a starting running back — even one that may only provide a season or two of RB2 value — is still worth the gamble. Jordan Love would have been a consideration here if he was still on the board, but since he was drafted in the first round, taking Vaughn fits the best player available approach we’re implementing in this draft.
As mentioned, Vaughn appears to have immediate RB2 value, especially in dynasty leagues. He has enough talent to convince Bruce Arians that he’s worth holding onto as a starter, and he should quickly establish himself as the lead back in the inevitable committee set to form in Tampa Bay. He should have some RB1 weeks as long as he gets starting-level snaps, but he’s still more of a low-end RB2 with matchup-based RB1 upside. His pass protection skills and ability to contribute on every down should get him on the field early and often in the Tom Brady era.
RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn (Illinois/Vanderbilt, 5’ 10”, 214 lbs). Stats: (46 games) 572 Rushes, 3296 Rush Yards, 5.8 Avg, 30 Rush TD, 66 Receptions, 648 Rec Yard, 9.8 Avg, 3 Rec TD, 638 Plays, 3944 Scrimmage Yards, 6.2 Avg & 33 Scrim TD. #KeShawnVaughn #4EDraft2020 pic.twitter.com/rfkN8KqtUP
— 49er_Edits (@49er_edits) March 6, 2020
3.04 – Bryan Edwards (WR – LV)
A rookie wide receiver that the analytics community absolutely drools over, Edwards is an extremely exciting wide receiver from the University of South Carolina. He broke out as a mere 18-year-old, and he continued to shine despite sharing the field with Deebo Samuel. The Las Vegas Raiders viewed Edwards as a first-round talent, and they were more than excited that he dropped to the third round due to both the depth of the class and his injury concerns.
Edwards never surpassed 846 receiving yards in any of his college seasons, but as you may know, raw stats don’t always provide a complete picture of any particular prospect. He accounted for 21.3 percent of the Gamecocks’ offense as an 18-year-old freshman (also known as receiving yard market share), and he accounted for 28.4 percent as a 19-year-old sophomore. He took a step back in favor of Deebo Samuel as a junior when he accounted for 23.9 percent of the team receiving yards, but he followed up on that by posting an incredible 30.59 percent market share as a senior.
Edwards is an exciting receiver who can win on all three levels. He has proven to be an excellent downfield option who can make highlight-reel catches look commonplace. He is a no-nonsense route runner, who thanks to incredible body control, can win 50-50 battles at will. Battle-tested due to playing in the SEC, Edwards has some exciting tape, especially against 2020 second-round pick Trevon Diggs.
While Edwards may start slow in his rookie season, he profiles as more a truer number one receiver than Henry Ruggs. He may be stuck behind Tyrell Williams, Nelson Agholor, and Hunter Renfrow to open the season, but I have little doubt that he’ll pass Agholor in short order. Renfrow is more of a slot only type of player, and Tyrell Williams is more of a field-stretching, situational deep threat than a player a team with legit playoff aspirations should rely on as their first or second option. This could lead to Edwards playing his way into number-two duties by the Raiders’ Week 6 bye.
In dynasty leagues, he already has WR3-level value. He won’t produce at that level as a rookie, but he is projected to be a near every-down player by 2021 (barring an impact addition at receiver). While Ruggs will serve as the big-play threat, Edwards may serve as more of a possession, volume-type receiver for the Raiders. Of course, his value could be shot if Marcus Mariota somehow makes it under center, but even then, he may be the volume receiver. The most exciting part about Edwards’ upside is that unless Derek Carr or Mariota impress this season, the Raiders could add a blue-chip quarterback within the next two seasons, something that could boost Edwards to WR2 value range. I thought about Devin Duvernay here, but Edwards is too good of a value to pass up in the third round.
South Carolina WR Bryan Edwards might've had the best catch of 2019😳pic.twitter.com/h74OjqDcE7
— PFF College (@PFF_College) May 21, 2020
4.04 – Jalen Hurts (QB – PHI)
A surprise selection by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Jalen Hurts is a talented dual-threat quarterback who exploded in his final season after transferring to Oklahoma. He showed some early promise as a freshman, but he was viewed as more a pure running quarterback who may never pan out in the NFL. He would end up losing his job to the more talented Tua Tagovailoa in 2018, something that may have been the best thing to happen in terms of his NFL prospects, as he was able to join a team and system that had produced consecutive first overall picks at quarterback.
As good as Jalen Hurts was at Oklahoma (he was a Heisman finalist), many NFL teams still did not view him as someone ready to make immediate starts in the NFL. He put up 3,851 passing yards, 32 touchdowns, and eight interceptions on an eye-popping 11.3 yards per attempt. His deep ball looked vastly improved, but that may have very well been the CeeDee Lamb effect. As a runner, Hurts also took a step forward. After 955 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns as a freshman, and 855 rushing yards and eight touchdowns as a sophomore, Hurts put up a scintillating 1,254 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns as a senior. He received a lot of starting buzz in the draft analyst community thanks to Lamar Jackson, but it was always clear that he was at least two years away from being able to become a starter in the NFL.
He is a terrific talent, but he will need to improve his on-field processing. He understands route concepts, and whatever offense is thrown at him, but he is going to need to improve his reads and progressions before he can take the next step in his career. He will have an excellent quarterback to sit and learn behind, and he presents saliva-inducing upside should he ever get tapped to fill in for Wentz. It would be a mild surprise if the Eagles didn’t create a package or two for Hurts, similar to what the Ravens did for Lamar in his rookie season.
With that said, outside of injury, Hurts appears to be blocked up until at least 2024, but it’s important to note that the Eagles have an out in Carson Wentz’s contract following the 2021 season. While it’s highly doubtful they use it, Jalen Hurts on a rookie contract may force an actual discussion in the Eagles front office. Hurts is more of a flier type, but he’s well worth the 4.04 in a Superflex league. He commonly goes as early as the third, so this is a great value, especially after missing out on Tua Tagovailoa at fourth overall. Jacob Eason went at the start of the fourth, so drafting Hurts here was an easy decision. If Hurts ever ends up making starts, he will have weekly QB1 upside due to his legs. He is an extremely low-risk proposition at this point in the draft, and he’s worth the roster or taxi squad spot as we watch the Eagles situation unfold.
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) April 12, 2020
5.04 – Joe Reed (WR – LAC)
A talented wide receiver who may also see some snaps at running back for the Los Angeles Chargers, fifth-round pick Joe Reed may already be more talented than any receiver on the roster not named Keenan Allen or Mike Williams. Called a “multi-purpose threat” by head coach Anthony Lynn, and a “chess piece on offense” by Derwin James, the expectations are high for the four-down contributor.
As a receiver, he provides a speed element to an offense with two bigger and slightly slower starting receivers. His usage as a senior predominantly on shorter routes led to 77 receptions, but it resulted in just 8.8 yards per reception. His explosiveness was on better display as a junior when he caught 25 balls and averaged 18.6 yards per reception. He has done some work as a runner, and at his size (he is 25 pounds heavier than Austin Ekeler), he is sure to get some work in the running game for the Chargers. An exceptional return man who will be active on game days if for no other reason other than to return kicks, Reed will truly elevate Los Angeles’ special teams unit.
Reed is an excellent fit for Tyrod Taylor. He has the speed and separation skills to be consistently targeted by Taylor in what will likely be a quick-strike or tuck-and-run offense. He is also a good fit for Justin Herbert, as he can play a more versatile Percy Harvin-type of role on offense where he can dominate short, at, or behind the line of scrimmage, or he can play the role of a deep threat. Though he ran a 4.47 at the 2020 NFL Combine, Reed said on Good Morning Football that he timed in the low 4.4’s while training, a time that’s more indicative of his game speed.
His upside with Tyrod Taylor may be a bit capped due to Taylor being a replacement-level quarterback, so in drafting Reed, you are likely looking to the 2021 season and beyond. He could become a WR3-level contributor if the Chargers go three-wide as their base set, but due to his ability to contribute in the run game, he still provides flex upside even if he sees only 60 percent of the snaps. James Proche is who I would usually target at this point in the draft, but pivoting to Reed may pay huge dividends.
Versatility is what makes Joe Reed stand out over some of the other receivers.
Reed returned 5 kicks for TDs in addition to these highlights. pic.twitter.com/Astf8BAkm4
— Average Conference Content (@ACContent__) April 14, 2020