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Fantasy Football Reactions to SI's 2020 NFL Mock Draft 12.0

A half-dozen fantasy-relevant players went in the first round of Sports Illustrated's latest mock draft. Let's breakdown the fantasy value of those players if they land with the teams they were mocked to.

Sports Illustrated's Kevin Hanson released his latest mock draft on Thursday, which you can find here. Please check that out before continuing below. 

Let's step into a hypothetical world for a moment—we might be allowed to go outside in that one—and imagine that the actual 2020 NFL Draft plays out exactly like Hanson's mock. What would that mean for fantasy football managers?

Let's examine the potential fantasy value of the top non-QBs off the board in Round 1 of SI's latest mock draft:

WR Jerry Jeudy to Las Vegas Raiders (1.12)

Jeudy is a great pick for the Raiders as the first offensive skill position player off the board. They need a true No. 1 WR after the failed Antonio Brown experiment. There are other mouths to feed in Las Vegas (Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow, Darren Waller) and the Raiders ranked at or below league average in pass attempts over the last two seasons, but Jeudy should still play a significant role right away. 

I will caution here, and this applies elsewhere in this article, that rookie wide receivers tend to take more time to develop into impact players than running backs. Slow starts are likely, so be patient. Jeudy would be my No. 1 ranked Raiders WR and Top 40 overall, just outside of WR3 territory. I'd love him to be my top bench receiver who could really emerge in the back half of the season, but he'll get pushed up draft boards. Williams stays in WR4 territory, with Renfrow as a strong WR5. 

READ MORE: Meet Jerry Jeudy -- SI Daily Cover

WR CeeDee Lamb to San Francisco 49ers (1.13)

The 49ers add a much-needed complement to Deebo Samuel, replacing Emmanuel Sanders. It's not a coincidence that Samuel truly began to shine when Sanders was brought into the mix, so the addition of Lamb keeps Samuel solidly in WR3 territory. Lamb is more of a mid-to-low-end WR4. Only the Titans threw fewer passes than the 49ers last season, and there's no reason to expect anything other than a run-heavy offense. Lamb will be a bigger benefit to the 49ers than fantasy teams in 2020, but is still worth having near the top of your bench. 

READ MORE: When Will CeeDee Lamb Be Selected?

WR Henry Ruggs III to Philadelphia Eagles (1.15 via trade)

This is the most intriguing receiver selection for fantasy purposes. Anyone who witnessed the walking-wounded Eagles scratch and claw their way to the NFC East title late last season knows how much they need healthy offensive weapons. Ruggs' game-breaking speed can be a huge asset fo Carson Wentz. Given the injury histories of Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson, Ruggs may be forced into a huge role earlier than Philadelphia hopes. If Greg Ward could be fantasy-relevant due to injury in this offense, imagine what Ruggs could do. Draft him as a WR4 with the upside to be a WR2 if the Eagles are plagued with injuries again.

WR Justin Jefferson to Minnesota Vikings (1.22)

This selection has a huge impact on Adam Thielen. While Jefferson can play outside, his best role is in the slot. Thielen was at his productive peak when playing in the slot a couple seasons ago, but didn't line up there anywhere near as often in 2019. This selection means more of the same for Thielen in 2020. Looking strictly at Weeks 1-6 for Thielen prior to his injury, he was the No. 14 WR in average fantasy points per game. That's where I'd have him in this scenario, a high-end WR2. Joining yet another run-heavy team on this list, Jefferson is a borderline Top 50 WR whose Year 1 value may depend more on the health of Thielen than anything. 

WR Denzel Mims to Green Bay Packers (1.30)

The search for a legit No. 2 pass-catching option for Aaron Rodgers continues with the addition of Mims. Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling had the opportunity to step up last season and failed. Mims has to develop chemistry with Rodgers, but he's a strong blocker and that should keep him on the field a lot. It could take awhile for Mims to be productive, so he's more of a speculative WR5 for me.  

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RB D'Andre Swift to Kansas City Chiefs (1.32)

The first running back comes off the board with the final pick of the first round. This is the ideal landing spot because there’s a clear need for a complement to Damien Williams. This would still be a timeshare, but the per-snap fantasy production for Swift would be higher in Kansas City than any other team. He'll play on certain series, early downs, as an injury fill-in, etc. I can see Swift being taken around where Miles Sanders went in fantasy drafts last year (early Round 4) in this scenario. He'll be ranked as a mid-level RB2.

Round 2 Notables:

RB Jonathan Taylor (Chargers): This is a great addition for Los Angeles, but this may be a trap for fantasy managers. Austin Ekeler will still be the most productive back and Justin Jackson shouldn't be ignored, but Taylor even being 60% as productive as Melvin Gordon was last season is worthwhile. Stick him on your bench or as your second flex and hope for the best. 

RB J.K. Dobbins (Buccaneers): I'm in wait-and-see mode here. While there is a clear path to some significant playing time in Tampa Bay, I'm not sure Dobbins is the best fit while Ronald Jones is still in the mix. Like Taylor, Dobbins is still worth grabbing as a high-upside bench/second flex option.

WR Michael Pittman Jr. (Ravens): This is notable for how it helps Lamar Jackson maintain his QB1 spot more than anything. Pittman is probably a WR6-7 at best, but the more weapons you can add around Jackson the better.


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