Despite the uncertainty as to when the NFL and the world for that matter will return to some semblance of normalcy dynasty football serves as a welcomed distraction for fantasy football enthusiasts. The 2020 NFL Draft has come and gone, signaling the start of Dynasty start-up and rookie draft season. Naturally there is a corresponding “draft fallout” and substantial changes to the Dynasty Stock Market. All of which preciptiating this “Dynasty Stock Market Watch” 2020 NFL Draft Fallout Wide Receiver edition.
The Las Vegas Raiders add more fire power!
- Round 1 – Pick 12 — Henry Ruggs Alabama — WR
- Round 3 – Pick 80 — Lynn Bowden Jr. Kentucky — RB/WR
- Round 3 – Pick 81 — Bryan Edwards South Carolina — WR
- UDFA — George Mariner Utah State — WR
What does it mean for Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow?
Both Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow have a leg up on the incoming rookie class. Jon Gruden’s offense (terminology/nuance) is notorious for its complexity. Williams is the highest paid and most decorated receiver on the roster and has proven to be a quality field stretcher in the NFL.
Hunter Renfrow’s assumed competition for reps in the slot is NOT rookie Lynn Bowden Jr. (listed as a running back); rather Nelson Agholor who signed a 1-year deal with the Raiders this offseason for just over the veteran’s minimum. Renfrow finished the 2019 season on a high note displaying his route-running polish and innate feel for the game. Renfrow developed sigificant chemistry with QB Derek Carr by season’s end and benefits most from Carr’s reluctance to push the football downfield.
The Las Vegas Raiders used three of their four picks among the first 81 selections on wide receivers; acquiescing to the neccessity of a more explosive passing game to keep pace in the AFC West. The first wide receiver selected in this year’s draft Henry Ruggs should have every opportunity to claim the Z receiver spot. Leaving Tyrell Williams to compete with the talented Bryan Edwards for X receiver snaps opposite Ruggs. Williams has flashed but been inconsistent and plagued by drops throughout his career. Furthermore, he has no guaranteed money on the books after the 2020 season.
While snaps as the Raider’s primary slot receiver may not be in jeopardy, target share is bound to be an issue for Hunter Renfrow. With at least three new mouths to feed in addition to Tyrell Wiliams and tight end Darren Waller, Renfrow could struggle to cement WR3 fantasy value week-to-week as well as his long term dynasty value.
No. 88 carries weight in Big D!
- Round 1 – Pick 17 — CeeDee Lamb Oklahoma – WR
- UDFA — Kendrick Rodgers Texas A&M — WR
- UDFA — Aaron Parker Rhode Island — WR
- UDFA — Stephen Guidry Mississippi State — WR
What does it mean for Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup?
Freshly minted with a 5-year $100 million contract and his strong rapport with Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper should continue to pace the Dallas Cowboys offense in targets. The soon to be 26-year-old has been named to the Pro Bowl in 4 of 5 professional seasons and set career highs in receiving yards (1189) and touchdowns (8) in his first full season in Dallas (2019). Still, Cooper is just now entering his prime.
Michael Gallup’s 1st-to-2nd year leap should serve as solace for dynasty owners despite the addition of CeeDee Lamb in this year’s draft. Injuries tempered Gallup’s rookie campaign, but in just 14 games (12 starts) in 2019, Gallup posted a 113/66/1107/6 line. Moreover, Dak Prescott failed to connect with Gallup, the Cowboys primary field stretcher for most of the year; but they managed to get on the same page during the 2nd half of 2019. More importantly, Gallup has demonstrated he can get open against man coverage; the proliferation of 3-WR sets and 166 vacated targets (Randall Cobb, Jason Witten) there are more than enough opportunites for Gallup, Cooper and Lamb.
NOTE: Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb were the top receivers in their respective draft classes (2018, 2020) in my opinion.
Amari Cooper’s week-to-week fantasy production tends to be of the boom or bust variety. A front-loaded contract with a built-in “out” for the Cowboys Organization ahead of the 2022 season leaves his long term dynasty value which appears to have peaked in Dallas (w/Prescott) in question. The addition of CeeDee Lamb seemingly diminshes Amari Cooper’s ceiling and begs further questioning of Cooper’s long-term prospects in what was an ideal situation in Dallas.
The arrival of CeeDee Lamb may push Michael Gallup down the Dallas pecking order for targets. Gallup will need to clean up some concentration drops and Dak Prescott will need to improve his deep ball accuracy if Gallup is to improve upon his 58.4% catch rate. Furthermore, half of Gallup’s touchdown production in 2019 (6) came in one game. Despite carrying considerable dynasty value prior to the 2020 NFL Draft, Lamb’s presence puts a relatively firm cap on Gallup’s ceiling.
The last time head coach Mike McCarthy patrolled an NFL sideline his offense had grown stale and unimaginative. Nothing came easy for the offense by way of design and/or scheme despite Aaron Rodgers being under-center. The expectation is that the Cowboys will deploy 11 personnel predominantly (49% in 2019); but the offense’s effectiveness in 2020 remains a question mark.
Reinforcements are on the way in Denver!
- Round 1 – Pick 15 — Jerry Jeudy Alabama — WR
- Round 2 – Pick 46 — K.J. Hamler Penn State — WR
- Round 7 – Pick 252 — Tyrie Cleveland Florida — WR
- UDFA — Kindall Hinton Wake Forest — WR
- UDFA — Zimari Manning Tarleton State — WR
What does it mean for Courtland Sutton?
Despite at times painful to watch quarterback play courtesy of Joe Flacco and Brandon Allen, Courtland Sutton still managed a breakout performance with a 124/72/1112/6 line. Rather than usurp opportunities, the additions of Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler to a bare cabinet of perimeter threats should in fact open things up more for Sutton in the foreseeable future shielding Sutton from rolled coverage. First time offensive coordinator Rick Scangarello struggled during his maiden season as an NFL play-caller and was summarily dismissed. New OC Pat Shurmur leaves something to be desired as a head coach; but has proven to be a competent offensive mind. Shurmur’s addition to the coaching staff and a full season of Drew Lock suggests Sutton’s 2019 output is replicable. It also leaves room for considerable upside beyond 2020.
Courtland Sutton enjoyed a monopoly on targets (124) in Denver last season with the next closest player receiving just over half that amount (Noah Fant – 66). A midseason trade of Emmanuel Sanders, a dearth of wide receiver options beyond Sutton, and the rookie learning curve suppressing Noah Fant’s involvement in the passing game may have artificially inflated Sutton’s performance.
The Denver Broncos invested considerable draft capital in Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler which will increase competition for targets. Furthermore, Jeudy is a more heralded prospect than Sutton ever was. Hamler is a very different type of receiver, but one can argue that he too was a more celebrated prospect than Sutton. Given Jeudy’s and Hamler’s respective talent, as well as a new offense in what will be a truncated offseason; Sutton is no lock to lead the Broncos in counting stats at the receiver position in 2020 or beyond.
Howie Roseman will NOT let (recent) history repeat itself!
- Round 1 – Pick 21 — Jalen Reagor TCU — WR
- Round 5 – Pick 168 — John Hightower Boise State — WR
- Round 6 – Pick 200 — Quez Watkins Southern Miss — WR
- UDFA — Manasseh Bailey Morgan State — WR
What does it mean for the DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery, and JJ Arcega-Whiteside?
When healthy DeSean Jackson remains a premiere deep threat in the NFL. While age and injury concerns cap Jackson’s long-term dynasty value, his production is not tied to volume of targets, which bodes well in a crowded receiver room. His “boom” potential can carry your dynasty team any given week.
The 2nd round draft capital (2019) invested in JJ Arcega-Whiteside suggests that he is in-fact part of the long-term plan in Philadelphia despite the draft selections of Reagor, Hightower and Watkins. While his rookie season was a disappointment; GM Howie Roseman and Arcega-Whiteside acknowledged that he dealt with injuries throughout 2019. Still, Acrega-Whiteside’s figures to replace Alshon Jeffery when econcomically feasible filling that void in size at wideout.
Reports suggest that Alshon Jeffery is expected to be a big part of the Eagles offensve going forward despite previous rumors suggesting otherwise. However, the reality is that Jeffery carries a substantial cap figure that makes him virtually impossible to trade. Releasing Jeffery would result in crippling dead cap space as well. Given his experience, cap figure, and a truncated off-season Jeffery’s roster spot appears secure. His fringe WR3 upside should remain intact.
DeSean Jackson (33) hasn’t played 16 games in a season since 2013; and has missed 22 of 48 contests over the last three seasons. His week-to-week floor is too volatile and the Eagles are unlikely to pay him the $11 million owed in 2021. JJ Arcega-Whiteside failed to capitalize on a grand opportunity during his rookie season given the attrition the Eagles suffered at the position last season. Only 10 catches despite playing 42% of the Eagles’ offense’s snaps. His inabiliity to create separation and handle physical press coverage conjures little confidence that he will hold off quality competition at the position.
Not unlike DeSean Jackson, Alshon Jeffery struggles to stay healthy. However, Jeffery has done precious little with his opportunities. Alshon has eclispsed the 850-yard mark only twice in his career and not since 2014 (in Chicago). Jeffery’s inconsistency and slim margin in target share likely cements his low floor and non-existent upside.
Diggs out, Jefferson in!
- Round 1 – Pick 22 — Justin Jefferson LSU — WR
- Round 5 – Pick 176 — K.J. Osborn Miami (FL) — WR
- UDFA — Quartney Davis Texas A&M — WR
What does it mean for Adam Thielen?
The only thing that can slow Adam Thielen down is health. After averaging more than nine targets a game in 2017 and 2018, Thielen averaged fewer than five targets per contest in an injury shortened 2019 season. Vikings receiving production was down across the board as the offense adjusted to a new scheme. However, a clean bill of health and a year under his belt in Gary Kubiak’s offense, Thielen should pace the Vikings’ in all receiving categories; pushing for WR1 numbers despite the addition of Justin Jefferson (Stefon Diggs in Buffalo). Being Kirk Cousins’ preferred target doesn’t hurt either.
Thielen will be 30 before the 2020 season begins and has peaked in terms of dynasty value. As the Minnesota Vikings continue to skew towards being a run-first, ball-control offense, Thielen’s opportunity and target share are unlikely to be robust enough to return WR1 value. With Justin Jefferson in the fold, Dalvin Cook’s involvement in the passing game and the anticipated uptick in targets for 2nd-year tight end Irv Smith Jr. it stands to reason that dynasty owners should move off of their Thielen shares. The peaks and valleys in Kirk Cousins’ performance doesn’t help either.
The Niners covet Aiyuk!
- Round 1 – Pick 25 — Brandon Aiyuk Arizona State — WR
- Round 7 – Pick 217 — Jauan Jennings Tennessee — WR
- UDFA — Chris Finke Notre Dame — WR
What does it mean for Deebo Samuel?
Deebo Samuel’s role in Kyle Shanahan’s offense should remain unchanged as Brandon Aiyuk assumes Emmanuel Sanders’ former role as the primary field stretcher or “Z” receiver. History has shown us that “X” receiver (Samuel) in Shanahan’s offense will dominate in terms of targets (see Andre Johnson, Pierre Garcon, and Julio Jones). Samuel’s healthy 7.4 targers per game in 11 starts as a rookie barely trailed tight end George Kittle at 7.6 per contest. Deebo gets an added boost as Shanahan will go out of his way to manufacture toches for the 2nd-year wideout. Expect Samuel to line up all over the formation and motioned to neutralize the opposition’s effort to slow him down.
Kyle Shanahan stated Brandon Aiyuk was the top wide receiver on the San Francisco 49ers’ board followed by CeeDee Lamb. The Niners willingness to trade up for Aiyuk further substantiates the fact that he was coveted in San Fran. Shanahan has gone on to praise Aiyuk for his versatility and ability to play the X, Z, or slot; not unlike Deebo Samuel who shares a similar skill-set. There is a growning belief that Aiyuk and Samuel will be used interchangeably which can result in week-to-week fantasy volatility. This situation has the makings of a classic better reality player than fantasy player given the circumstances.
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