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Fantasy football considerations for the best UDFA signings

We take a look at PFF’s top offensive UDFAs after the 2020 NFL Draft and the fantasy football implications of their signings.

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Washington Huskies tight end Hunter Bryant stiff arms Oregon State Beavers defensive back Isaiah Dunn after catching a pass during the second half at Reser Stadium. Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

The close of the 2020 NFL Draft opened the door to the chaos that is undrafted free agency. Any draft-eligible player not selected during the 255 picks of the seven-round draft is free to sign with any team that is interested. In the hours following the draft, it’s a free-for-all of players and teams trying to connect.

On Saturday night, we took a look at some of the best UDFAs hitting the market. Most of the big names have found a home and will compete for some kind of opportunity whenever in-person work begins. Teams will have rookie minicamps in a virtual setting, but there is no word yet on when teams will return to their facilities.

On Monday, Pro Football Focus took a look at the top 15 UDFAs based on their pre-draft rankings and discussed their landing spots. I thought we’d take an initial look at the offensive skill position players and consider their chances of making an impact in fantasy football in 2020. Most UDFAs will not make a roster, but for this analysis, we’ll assume each player makes the roster.

1. Hunter Bryant, TE, Lions

The Lions tight end depth chart currently includes Jesse James, T.J. Hockenson, Isaac Nauta, and Matt Sokol. The Lions spent the eighth overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft on Hockenson, and while he was a bit of a disappointment as a rookie, the team won’t be giving up on him anytime soon. Bryant’s rookie value is if James and/or Hockenson get hurt and some snaps open up. He’s worth keeping on your radar as a midseason waiver wire add. Long term, if Hockenson amounts to something, Bryant could become an intriguing running mate as a pass catcher.

2. Anthony Gordon, QB, Seahawks

Gordon joins Russell Wilson as the only quarterbacks on Seattle’s roster. They’ll likely sign a veteran to compete as well. Even if Wilson got hurt, Gordon has limited value this season. However, in two QB leagues, he’ll be worth keeping an eye on if he claims the backup job behind Wilson.

5. Josh Love, QB, Rams

Love will compete with John Wolford for the backup role behind Jared Goff. The Rams starter took a step backward last season, but not enough to put his job in danger. Of course, another step back from Goff in 2020 and that job suddenly gets interesting. Love probably won’t beat out Wolford, but if he does, two-QB leagues should have him on their waiver wire radar.

6. J.J. Taylor, RB, Patriots

The Patriots running back depth chart currently includes Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Brandon Bolden, Damien Harris, and Dan Vitale. Michel and White are locked into solid roles, but other than that, it’s a wide open competition. New England spent a third round pick on Harris last year, so don’t be surprised if he gets a decent-sized opportunity. However, Patriots history even when players are healthy is that anybody on the depth chart can pop off at any time. Taylor will be worth an add in dynasty leagues, and is worth keeping on your radar in other leagues following drafts.

11. Jared Pinkney, TE, Falcons

The Falcons lost Austin Hooper to free agency and then traded for Hayden Hurst in a deal with the Ravens. He leads a depth chart that includes Khari Lee, Jaeden Graham, and Carson Meier. Pinkney’s draft stock plummeted, but PFF likes his combination of size and route-running ability. Last year, Hurst caught 30 passes for 349 yards and two touchdowns. He is a former first round pick who was beaten out by Mark Andrews in a big way. Hurst is the upside guy of the group, but don’t sleep on Pinkney.