One of the most fascinating things for year-round fantasy football enthusiasts is watching player values change before a game is even played. Some of the catalysts for that change in value are free agency acquisitions, trades, and of course the NFL draft. Below is a list of veteran players who may have directly benefited by the moves their teams made (or elected not to make) in the 2020 NFL draft:
Philadelphia didn’t draft a single RB in 2020. The depth chart behind Sanders consists of Boston Scott, Corey Clement, and Elijah Holyfield. In his rookie season, while fighting off injuries and a rotational backfield, Sanders still managed to total 229 touches including 63 passing targets. Though there is a decent probability he pushes for 275-300 touches in 2020, we need to keep in mind that head coach Doug Pederson has consistently deployed a committee approach in the past. Sanders’s mid 2nd round ADP prices in the risk of the committee. If he owned the backfield without question we would be talking about Miles Sanders as an overall top-eight fantasy player.
RosterWatch’s biggest post-draft veteran RB winner is Todd Gurley. The fantasy industry was close to certain that Atlanta would add a premium running back prospect in the 2020 draft. As we now know, they didn’t. The depth chart behind Gurley is filled with uninspiring talents like Brian Hill, Ito Smith, and Quadree Ollison. Todd Gurley’s one year contract along with Atlanta’s win-now mentality signals that the team is about to give Todd Gurley as much work as he can handle. RosterWatch co-founder, Byron Lambert, said: “It appears Todd Gurley emerged from the NFL draft stronger than we could have ever imagined.”
One of our favorite fantasy football strategies is to draft players that disappointed in the previous year but had a strong finish to that disappointing year. Joe Mixon fits this description to a T. Most fantasy owners who took Mixon in the second round of 2019 drafts did not make the playoffs, although he could have helped them at that point if they did. Joe Mixon averaged about 15 fantasy points per game over the final seven weeks of the season. The Bengals drafted pro-ready QB Joe Burrow, get star WR AJ Green back healthy to keep defenses honest and get 2019’s first-round pick, OT Jonah Williams, back from injury. It’s like Cinncinati gets an extra first-round offensive lineman this year. Furthering the case, The Bengals did not draft an RB in 2020. This all sets up well for Joe Mixon and is a strong back end of the first-round fantasy pick.
Honorable Mention Winners
Raheem Mostert: The 49ers traded Matt Brieda solidifying Mostert as a significant part of one of the better running games in the NFL.
James Conner: Many thought The Steelers would spend a second-round pick on an RB. They did draft RB Anthony McFarland, but the 4th round draft capital is more of an indictment on the depth at the position.
Jordan Howard: There was a widespread belief that Miami would add an RB with as much as first-round draft capital. Not only did they not do it in round one, but they also did not add an RB via the draft at all. They did trade a 5th round pick to acquire Matt Brieda. Jordan Howard’s skillset compliments Matt Brieda well. Jordan Howard looks locked into the short-yardage/goal-line role for the Dolphins and can be drafted in the 7th-8th round.