Which Running Backs Will Lose Their Jobs in the NFL Draft?

After exceeding expectations in 2018, James Conner battled injuries throughout 2019. With injury concerns dating back to college, Conner has yet to play an entire 16-game season in the NFL. After tearing his MCL at Pittsburgh, he missed a pair of games with an ankle sprain in 2018. Last year, he missed six games with an AC Joint sprain and a thigh contusion. With durability limiting his effectiveness, the Steelers may opt for a complimentary back in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Looking at the stats alone, Leonard Fournette consistently produces like a league-average running back. In 2019, he posted a 16.7-percent (No. 46 among qualified running backs) Juke Rate and 1.40 (No. 24) Yards Created per Carry. He did show growth as a receiver in 2019 with 76 catches. However, he recorded seven (No. 3) drops and failed to haul in a single target beyond ten yards downfield. With the potential to move on from him this offseason, the Jaguars look like a potential investor in the running back position in this year’s draft.


Laviska Shenault Rookie Profile and Fantasy Football Outlook

Laviska Shenault’s prolific sophomore campaign gives him a 19.9 (66th-percentile among qualified wide receivers) Breakout Age. Sophomore seasons are important for wide receivers and have proved to be early indicators of NFL success for studs like A.J. Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Shenault put himself in Brown and Smith-Schuster’s company as a prospect by tallying 68 receptions and 1,011 receiving yards in only nine games.

Despite his injury issues, Shenault leaves Colorado with a 35.1-percent (68th-percentile) College Dominator Rating. Given his college production in the Pac-12 and his fire hydrant-like build, it makes sense that he would be Best Comparable to 2019 rookie breakout A.J. Brown. He’s currently a Top-15 asset in PlayerProfiler’s 2020 Rookie Rankings. If selected early on Day 2 of the NFL Draft, he’ll be a screaming value in the second round of 2020 dynasty rookie drafts.


Michael Pittman Rookie Profile and Fantasy Football Outlook

Michael Pittman was quietly one of the biggest winners at the NFL Combine. After weighing in at 6-4, 223-pounds, he ran a 4.52 (59th-percentile among qualified wide receivers) 40-yard-dash, translating to a 111.2 (93rd-percentile) Speed Score. He performed well in the agility and explosion drills, registering an 11.10 (66th-percentile) Agility Score and a 122.6 (58th-percentile) Burst Score. Players who look like him tend to become valuable fantasy assets.

Pittman is in position to be an immediate plug-and-play WR2/WR3 on an NFL depth chart. He has the full route tree in his arsenal and can play both X-receiver or as a big slot. There are some big red flags in his production profile, though. His late breakout and lack of a meaningful role in the USC offense until his junior and senior seasons is concerning, as is his lack of production after the catch. With that said, he’s still a top-10 WR in this class and a solid second-round selection in dynasty rookie drafts.

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Jordan Love Rookie Profile and Fantasy Outlook

Utah State’s Jordan Love is the most polarizing quarterback prospect in the 2020 NFL Draft Class. Standing 6-3 and weighing in at 224-pounds, he possesses the tantalizing size at quarterback which NFL GMs have traditionally loved. Unfortunately, in an age where front offices are incorporating analytics into their decision-making processes in unprecedented ways on and off the field, Love does not grade out as a blue-chip quarterback prospect. 

From a redraft perspective, Love’s 2020 impact depends entirely on his landing spot. Being drafted in his expected first round window places him in the realm of the third or fourth round in dynasty rookie drafts. His value will be contingent on whether or not his full athletic potential is realized on the field and not just during workouts. Expect spotty passing efficiency early in his career, but eye-popping weeks that keep his value steady throughout.


Gabriel Davis Rookie Profile and Fantasy Outlook

Gabriel Davis is the most under the radar wide receiver in the 2020 draft class. An early declare junior who started 38 games during his time at UCF, catching 152 passes for 2,552 yards and 23 touchdowns. His final season 17.2 yards per reception puts him in the 81st-percentile among qualified wide receivers and highlights that he’s not simply a possession receiver, but an explosive play-maker with the ball in hands at the next level.

Davis fits the profile of a wide receiver who is more than capable of delivering a surprise Top 24 finish in his career. His best comparable player is Zach Pascal, but being a slightly less agile Courtland Sutton is also in his range of outcomes. Currently, he has an ADP outside of the first five rounds according to Dynasty League Football’s rookie pick probability tool. Remember his name for your rookie drafts as a third round or later dart throw.


Mining for Cheap Wide Receiver Dynasty Breakouts – Part 3

Wide receiver production is the most difficult to find on waivers during the season. Those who held on to Tajae Sharpe in deeper leagues were rewarded with a potential multi-week, early-season starter in Minnesota. Players like he and Rashard Higgins, late-round picks who have managed to hang around the league for a few years, should be held on to through free agency in lieu of a less essential backup running back, quarterback or tight end.

Entering his fourth season, the likelihood of Kendrick Bourne’s breakout has grown increasingly elusive. Still, he is worth touting, performing well enough in the highlighted metrics and showing enough on the field this year. Emmanuel Sanders’ departure from San Francisco opens up increased Opportunity Share, and the team’s likely regression from its 31st-ranked early down pass rate in neutral game script opens up additional raw volume.


JaMycal Hasty Rookie Profile and Fantasy Football Outlook

JaMycal Hasty possesses certain qualities that make him an appealing prospect. For example, his receiving skill-set stands out. Hasty recorded at least 25 receptions and 100-plus receiving yards in three of his four seasons at Baylor. He also showcased his athleticism on special teams, returning 16 kicks for 233 yards and taking his lone punt return 33 yards to the house as a junior. This versatility makes him a more appealing NFL prospect.

Hasty projects to be a bit player with upside in the NFL. A satellite back who, in the right situation, can handle 10-12 carries a game in addition to catching passes out of the backfield. That would make him a viable fantasy football asset. Taking on a specialist role similar to James White falls within Hasty’s range of outcomes. However, that would be his ceiling/best-case scenario. He’s going undrafted in rookie drafts and startups, but is well worth a flyer.

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Jerry Jeudy Rookie Profile and Fantasy Football Outlook

Jerry Jeudy dominated the work in Alabama’s offense as a sophomore, seeing a 20.8-percent Target Share and posting 1,315 yards with 14 scores. That stellar season gave him a 19.4 (82nd-percentile among qualified wide receivers) Breakout Age and secured him the Biletnikoff Award, the highest honor for a wide receiver. He also averaged an impressive 19.3 yards per reception that season, showing he has the ability to stretch the field with his speed.

While Jeudy certainly didn’t hurt his stock at the NFL Combine, his performance was somewhat lackluster. He measured 6-1, 193-pounds for a slender 25.5 Body Mass Index. He also ran a modest 4.45 (80th-percentile) 40-yard dash when some people projected him to hit the 4.3’s. Those numbers make him look shockingly comparable to his former teammate Calvin Ridley, but Jeudy has a far better profile based on his overall production and Breakout Age.