If you are an offensive player taken in the first round of the NFL draft, you expect to contribute in your first NFL season. Any new offensive player who has secured snaps due to their draft status will force a reshuffling around the new player. Projecting that reshuffle is an important step in evaluating the fantasy football landscape for the 2020 season.
Drew Lock, QB, Broncos
The Broncos already added Jerry Jeudy in the first round and in the second round they add another great route running receiver in KJ Hamler. Those two along with Courtland Sutton and tight end Noah Fant, make for the beginnings of a formidable group and Lock looked up for the task in the last few games of 2019.
Philip Rivers, QB, Colts
Rivers isn’t going to throw the ball out of the stadium so the Colts needed to find a receiver he can target short and mid-range. That receiver is Michael Pittman. He is a big, polished route runner with good hands, who should catch a bunch of passes in the NFL. Rivers will gravitate toward his abilities, especially in the end zone.
James Conner, RB, Steelers
Rumor had it that the Steelers were in the market for a running back replacement, but through three rounds and a lot of good running backs, Conner still stands as the Steelers starter. Conner’s ability isn’t in question, but his health has been. It looks like the team feels comfortable with his health and with Ben Roethlisberger back, Conner will have tremendous upside in 2020.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Colts
Jonathan Taylor is a starting running back machine and after the Colts traded up in the second round to get him, there’s little doubt he is the favorite to start in 2020. As long as he’s starting, he’s in a great situation for touches and scoring opportunities behind a good offensive line.
Jordan Howard, RB, Dolphins
The draft isn’t over yet, but the Dolphins didn’t take a running back through three rounds and the players you would consider as no-doubt starters are gone. That currently leaves Howard as the lead back behind a bunch of young offensive line draft picks and an offense led by Tua Tagovailoa.
Kerryon Johnson, RB, Lions
Coach Matt Patricia wants multiple running backs to work with and he went for one early, grabbing D’Andre Swift with the 35th pick. Johnson should remain the lead back in 2020 but Swift should quickly become the third-down back, limiting Johnson’s fantasy upside.
Aaron Jones, RB, Packers
Jones was a touchdown beast last season, but coach Matt LeFleur has said he’d like three good running backs to have available and drafting A.J. Dillon with the 62nd pick shows that he means it. Dillon will join Jones and Jamaal Williams and is good enough to get work his rookie year. Jones is still the No. 1, but it doesn’t look like he’ll ever be a true every-down back in Green Bay.
Marlon Mack, RB, Colts
Mack looks to be the odd man out in Indianapolis now that Jonathan Taylor is in town. Taylor has the draft capital and pedigree to move ahead of him from Day 1 and I expect he will. Mack should move into a backup role is they don’t end up trading him.
Darrell Henderson, RB, Rams
After dumping Todd Gurley this offseason, the Rams took Cam Akers with the 52nd pick. Akers isn’t the slam dunk No. 1 back for the Rams, so there will be competition and maybe a committee between Malcolm Brown, Henderson and Akers. Henderson and Akers would make the most sense as an RB duo and have good upside together, but will hurt each other’s fantasy value.
Devin Singletary, RB, Bills
Singletary has a ton of upside and should remain the starter, but the acquisition of Zack Moss will hurt. Singletary already loses rushing touchdowns to Josh Allen and now he’ll likely lose some to Moss along with some inside runs. He’s still a fantasy asset, but Singletary takes a hit.
Ronald Jones, RB, Buccaneers
Ke’Shawn Vaughn is a Buccaneer now and that means Jones will need to compete for touches with the rookie. The offense isn’t exactly a fantasy goldmine for running backs as it is, so Jones has an uphill battle this season.