With the 2020 NFL Draft about three weeks away, it is time to look at some players that would be affected by the addition of an incoming player.
RB Damien Williams, Kansas City Chiefs
After a great final three games in 2018 (322 combined yards with four TDs and 14 catches) with success in the first round of the playoffs (154 combined yards with one TD and five catches), Williams looked primed to fill the void created by the loss of Kareem Hunt ahead of the 2019 season.
Injuries and inconsistency led to short stats (557 combined yards with five TDs and 26 catches on 125 touches) over his ten contests played over the first 15 games of last year. Williams flashed in Week 16 (154 combined yards with two TDs and four catches) while adding six touchdowns, 11 catches, and 290 combined yards in the three games in Kansas City’s Super Bowl title run.
In the end, the Chiefs' RBs rushed for 1,343 yards, and five TDs on 318 carries in 2019 plus 89 catches for 648 yards and four TDs on 111 targets. Kansas City scored 50 touchdowns last year, which was 22 fewer than their great offensive year in 2018. That season their RBs combined for 2,502 yards with 26 TDs and 82 catches on 408 touches.
In essence, the Chiefs’ RB had 407 touches last year and 408 in 2018, but they gained 511 fewer yards and scored 17 fewer touchdowns. The loss of Hunt was a significant factor in the regression of Kansas City’s RB production.
In the early draft season, Williams has an ADP of 47 as the 23rd RB drafted. I understand the relative optimism. The Chiefs should be aggressive trying to solidify their lead RB position in 2020 as their franchise looked poised to be a top Super Bowl contender for the next decade or so. The new incoming running back has a chance to be a top ten player in 2020 if the Chiefs invest one of their first two draft selections (1.32 and 2.31) on the position.
WR Jamison Crowder, New York Jets
Last year Crowder set career-highs in catches (78) and targets (122), which led to 26th ranking at WR in PPR leagues. He's long had the skill set to be a high volume catch wide receiver, but Crowder generally underperforms his ADP (average draft position).
The Jets moved on from WR Robby Anderson while replacing him with WR Breshad Perriman in free agency. Even with his success in 2019 and his expected direction, Crowder has an ADP of 113 in early April in the high-stakes drafts as the 40th first wide receiver drafted.
New York has 11th overall pick, and most touts have the Jets adding one of the top two wide receivers (CeeDee Lamb or Jerry Jeudy) in this year’s draft class.
I would look for Crowder to settle in at about a 70-catch guy with possession type value. I don’t expect him to push higher in fantasy drafts after seeing who ends up on the Jets’ roster after this season’s draft.
RB D'Andre Swift, Georgia Bulldogs
In the early draft season, Swift has an ADP of 32 with a low of 22 and a high fo 49. I get the attraction, but I view the soon-to-be former Georgia Bulldogs RB as a backup on an NFL team early in his career.
In Corey Parson's NFL mock draft, he has Swift going to Miami with the 18th pick. If this were the case, he would be a split role out of the gate with RB Jordan Howard, who would be the early favorite for goal-line carries with plenty of chances on early downs.
When doing my RB research for the 2020 NFL Draft, I had Swift as my third-rated running back to be drafted this year with upside as a pass catcher and some concern with his ability to stay healthy, especially if asked to carry a heavy workload.
So in this rare instance, Swift is a player who may lose fantasy value after the draft if he lands on the wrong roster based on his early fantasy draft pricing.
RB James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers
Last year, Conner was one of many busts in the first round of fantasy drafts. He entered his fourth year in the NFL with plenty of upside if Conner could stay healthy. Last year he played in ten games, which led to 715 combined yards with four TDs and 34 catches on 150 touches.
The Steelers’ offense was a shell of itself after losing QB Ben Roethlisberger in Week 2 for the season, and WR JuJu Smith-Schuster failed to live up to expectation while also battling some injuries.
Pittsburgh doesn’t have a first-round draft pick in 2020, but they may still look to add another running back in the second or third round with Conner entering the final year of his rookie contract.
Conner has an ADP of 38 in the early draft season as the 20th running back off the board.
Pittsburgh has a long history of having success with a top running back, and they would love to find someone to help rebuild their offense around in 2020.
I’m not dismissing Conner as a possible value at running back this year, but the door is open for him to face more competition for snaps if the NFL draft breaks in Pittsburgh favor at the running back position.
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Miami Dolphins
Last year Fitzpatrick pumped some life back into the Dolphins’ franchise while helping Devante Parker (72/1202/9) become fantasy relevant for the first time in his career. His window to start in 2020 may last about one hour into the 2020 NFL Draft if Miami does indeed select QB Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall selection.
Fitzpatrick has an ADP of 140 in the March drafts in the high-stakes market with Tagovailoa coming in with an ADP of 151.
I can’t expect Fitzpatrick to start in Week 1, which means he is undraftable in the fantasy space other than being a handcuff to the Dolphins’ new future quarterback.
With that said, if somehow the Chargers make a trade and snipe Miami at QB, Fitzpatrick may hold onto the starting job in September if he outplays the remaining quarterback options on the roster this summer.
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