With the NFL draft now completed, some rookies have seen themselves be drafted into situations that are less than ideal from a fantasy perspective. Let’s take a closer look at five players who might need to be avoided by fantasy owners for a while.
QB Jordan Love, Green Bay Packers
One of the biggest shocks of this year’s draft was when the Green Bay Packers traded up in the first round to draft Jordan Love. It’s not that Love is not a good player—he is—it's just that the Packers already have one of the top quarterbacks in the game in Aaron Rodgers. Is the drafting of Love a signal to Rodgers that his time is coming to an end in Green Bay? Even if this is true, Love is at least one to two years away from being ready to start. Thus, drafting Love makes some minor sense in dynasty formats, but he will have practically no value in redraft leagues unless Rodgers gets traded or is injured.
WR Tee Higgins, Cincinnati Bengals
I am a big Tee Higgins fan. I think he has excellent speed and good hands and can make an impact as a receiver in the NFL. The problem is that he was drafted by the Bengals, who have a logjam in front of him. As of right now, A.J. Green is the WR1, and Tyler Boyd is the WR2 for Cincinnati. John Ross is currently the WR3, but he has dealt with injuries for his entire career. This leaves Higgins as the de facto WR4 until the Bengals can clear a spot for him in their lineup. I expect that this will happen in 2021. For 2020, though, I would only draft Higgins if I owned Green and/or Boyd. One of my favorite things to do is to handcuff my wide receivers with their backups, especially if they have a high upside.
TE Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears
One of the biggest head-scratching free agent signings of this past off-season was the Chicago Bears signing tight end Jimmy Graham to a two-year, $16 million contract. Graham is way past his prime, but the Bears seem intent on using him as their primary receiving tight end. Cole Kmet was drafted in the second round of this year's draft, and the team has already said that it intends to use him as the primary blocking tight end in their offense. I can’t imagine how Kmet has more than two receptions per game if that many. It looks like he won’t get the chance to show what he can do on offense until Graham is no longer with the team.
Chase Claypool, WR/TE Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers have a knack for drafting wide receivers. From Antonio Brown to JuJu Smith-Schuster to Diontae Johnson, the Steelers always seem to identify a player who will be a good fit into their offense. This year the Steelers took Notre Dame's Chase Claypool in the second round. Claypool is a massive target at 6'4" and 240 lbs., and there is talk that he might be moved to tight end. For Claypool to have fantasy value in 2020, he is going to need to make that switch. The Steelers are incredibly deep at the receiver position, and the only way that Claypool might see the field is as a backup to starting tight end Vance McDonald. I don't want to dismiss Claypool entirely, as I think he is a talented prospect, who might end up competing with James Washington as the Steelers WR3, but I think fantasy owners need to wait and see more in practice before they go investing a draft pick on him.
QB Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles
Much like the Packers, the Eagles shocked the NFL world by drafting quarterback Jalen Hurts in the second round. The Eagles already have franchise quarterback Carson Wentz as their starter, which made Eagle fans wonder why the team needed to "waste" a second-round selection on Hurts. I think the word waste is a bit drastic here. Wentz has had a checkered injury history thus far in his short career, and Nate Sudfeld was not going to win the Eagles any championships as a backup. Drafting Hurts not only solidifies the quarterback position, but it also allows the team to use Hurts in a variety of packages, much like the Saints use Taysom Hill. What this means for fantasy owners is that Hurts' value is tied to Wentz, and sadly he has little stand-alone value of his own—for now. However, if given a chance to start, I predict significant success in Hurts’ future.
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