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Joe Burrow Rookie Profile and Fantasy Football Outlook

Joe Burrow is the presumed first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. Burrow to the Bengals is all but a done deal and Washington might as well be on the clock with the second pick. Burrow posted the best season ever for a college quarterback. He isn’t an athletic specimen but he does have the tools to evade defenders, make off-script plays, and scramble for bonus yardage relative to a stationary passer.

A blip on Burrow’s profile is his late Breakout Age. He did not get the chance to start a whole campaign until his age-21 season. Losing the starting gig at Ohio State to a sub-NFL passer in J.T. Barrett is either an indictment of Burrow’s skills or a crime by Urban Meyer and his coaching staff. Burrow’s late-career explosion at LSU points to the latter. Most successful pro passers start early in their college careers and graduate seamlessly to the NFL. Burrow took a different path but his production and assumed draft capital outweigh the concerns.

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Antonio Gibson Rookie Profile and Fantasy Football Outlook

Antonio Gibson was a JUCO transfer to Memphis and didn’t have a definite role until his second and final year in college. He only caught six passes in 2018, but he exploded in 2019, averaging 19.3 yards per reception on 38 catches. Not to be outdone by his receiving chops, Gibson’s rushing efficiency was otherworldly as well. According to the Data Analysis Tool, his 11.2 (99th-percentile among qualified running backs) yards per carry are the second-most for a running back prospect in the database.

Gibson’s path to fantasy success isn’t clear, but we know he’s going to be efficient in every facet of the game he’s used in. His success will come down to how creative the team that drafts him is. A smart NFL team will feature him as a position-less weapon and let fantasy sites worry about what position he plays. Everything he’s done indicates that, whatever position he plays, his ceiling is sky-high. The only problem now is getting him to one of the league’s few intelligent teams.

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Which Incumbents Benefited Most from Free Agency?

Strapped for cash, the Los Angeles Rams cut Todd Gurley after signing him to a mega-deal two seasons ago. Through repeated roster mismanagement, the team sits with just over $13 million in available cap space and only six selections in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft, none until pick No. 52. With little competition on the roster and a small chance they add a running back of consequence, Darrell Henderson is a major offseason winner heading into 2020.

Blooming late in his rookie season, Miles Sanders showed he could shoulder a full workload after Jordan Howard suffered a multi-week shoulder injury. With Howard signing in Miami, Sanders again should receive a full workload in Philadelphia’s backfield. While he ceded work to Boston Scott, he still averaged 23.3 touches per game from Week 12 on. When looking at the entire NFL, only four running backs averaged more touches over that timeframe.

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Javon Leake Rookie Profile and Fantasy Football Outlook

On the surface, Javon Leake does not come off as a particularly intriguing prospect at the running back position. He peaked at 736 rushing yards and never led Maryland in carries during his three years as a Terrapin. Given the competition he faced, there is a reasonable argument that Leake was destined to hold a low College Dominator. He never dipped below 7.2 (94th-percentile among qualified running backs) yards per carry, so he was making the most of what little work Maryland afforded him.

Although Leake’s straight-line speed was underwhelming, his high yards per carry mark and extensive use as a kick returner point to reasonable athletic prowess. His 804 kick return yards were fifth in the NCAA last season. He scored on three kickoffs during his time at Maryland. With a 120.3 (60th-percentile) Burst Score, his ability to hit top-speed was on full display as a return man. He may have a role at the NFL level, but that role doesn’t overlap with fantasy viability.

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CeeDee Lamb Rookie Profile and Fantasy Football Outlook

CeeDee Lamb improved every year at Oklahoma while playing with three different, albeit Heisman-caliber, quarterbacks. His sophomore year production gave him a 19.4 (81st-percentile among qualified wide receivers) Breakout Age. A dominant junior year saw him end his Sooner tenure with a 38.1-percent (77th-percentile) College Dominator Rating. More impressively, Lamb lined up primarily on the outside as opposed to the slot, which separates him from the other top tier receivers in this draft class.

It’s hard to find much wrong with Lamb’s prospect profile unless you’re reaching. Film grinders will point to his contact balance, ball-tracking skills and strength at the catch point as his big strengths. The numbers guys will cite his elite age-adjusted college production as part of a stacked supporting cast and the fact that he improved each year. Jerry Jeudy and Jalen Reagor are impressive, but they can’t hold a candle to the true alpha dog of this class.

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Anthony McFarland Rookie Profile and Fantasy Football Outlook

Anthony McFarland bulked up ahead of the NFL Combine and bolstered his draft stock by blazing a 4.44-second 40-yard dash, earning him 107.0 (85th-percentile among qualified running backs) Speed Score. His marks in these key predictive metric categories offer a glimpse into his potential at the NFL level, but his below-average College Dominator Rating and pedestrian College Target Share raise red flags.

Anthony McFarland runs with power and offers a three-down skill set but lacks the explosiveness that his peers possess, evidenced by his 108.2 (8th-percentile) Burst Score. He faces an uphill battle to solidify himself as an NFL workhorse but it’s still within his range of outcomes. However, finding a niche as a receiving specialist or acting as a satellite/breather back are more likely outcomes.

RotoUnderworld Radio – Sonic Truth Dynasty Podcast: Christian Kirk side eye smile

John Brown’s value is falling as Adam Thielen is rising due to the Law of the Conservation of Targets. It’s go time for Kenyan Drake in Arizona.

Acquire David Johnson for DeAndre Hopkins was a colossal blunder by Bill O’Brien. Darrell Henderson is not ready to be workhorse back in the NFL.

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D’Andre Swift Rookie Profile and Fantasy Football Outlook

D’Andre Swift weighed in at 212-pounds at the Combine, which is more than enough for a feature back in today’s NFL. While his 5-8 height screams “satellite back” on the surface, his 32.2 (87th-percentile among qualified running backs) Body Mass Index shows he’s built sturdy and compact. That build will let him handle a significant workload at the NFL level with his low pad level.

Swift’s 10.1-percent (75th-percentile) College Target Share indicates that he’s the real deal in the passing game. That makes him the prototypical dynamic chess piece out of the backfield that NFL teams feature in their offenses. No matter where he lands, he should be a contributor right away. He has the size, speed, and skills to make a splash in any backfield, meaning his value will only increase in Year 1.

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Jonathan Taylor Rookie Profile and Fantasy Football Outlook

While it’s easy to take the greatness of elite talents for granted, it’s our duty as fantasy football players to genuflect at the feet of Jonathan Taylor. He’s one of only five Power-5 conference runners since 2000 to rush for 2,000 yards, catch 20 passes and score 20 touchdowns in a single season. One of the best running back prospects to ever come out of college football, Taylor is as can’t-miss a prospect as we’ve seen over the last several years.

Taylor combined his elite athleticism with a 41.8-percent (93rd-percentile among qualified running backs) College Dominator Rating at a Power-5 school. As enticing as CeeDee Lamb, Jalen Reagor and Jerry Jeudy are as wide receiver prospects, it would be a mistake to pick a wide receiver in rookie drafts before a top-four runner from this class. Should you be fortunate enough to draw the 1.01, you know what to do.