Hunter Skoczylas (@HunterSkoczylas)
As the second round came to an end in the 2020 NFL draft, thirteen skill position players were drafted and added to your fantasy football pools for next season. Not all players will fit well with the teams they were drafted to while others could make an instant impact in fantasy.
Which players have the best shot to make a fantasy impact on their new teams? Here’s a reaction and fantasy outlook on the skill position players taken in the second round of the draft.
Tee Higgins was one of those potential first-round picks that slipped to the second round. Not for long though considering he was taken first on day 2 of the draft. Higgins is huge at 6’4” which makes for both a deep-ball and red zone threat. Cincinnati has given Joe Burrow quite the arsenal now in A.J Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross III, and now Tee Higgins. This is bad news for Higgins’ value though because a deep wide receiver room means more points for others and less for him. If Higgins can break out of the group as the WR1 this season, then there’d be some consideration. He has upside to be a WR2 if Burrow performs, but to be safe, he’ll be a WR3.
Yet another vertical threat off the board in Michael Pittman Jr. Pittman Jr is a beast, plain and simple. He runs with pure strength and toughness and usually wins the 50/50 throws. He’s a superb run-blocker as well which helps tremendously for Frank Reich’s run-first offense. Indianapolis’ starting quarterback for 2020 is going to be 38 year old Philip Rivers so this automatically hurts Pittman Jr’s value off the bat. However, T.Y Hilton’s been banged up a lot the last few years so Pittman should be the clear WR1 in Indy and should put up solid numbers based on talent and strength. He should have a solid rookie season and go in the mid-late rounds and has upside to be a WR2 if Frank Reich has Rivers throw it up to him every red zone opportunity.
D’Andre Swift managed to fall to the second round leading to the Lions to get an absolute steal. Swift is small at 5’8”, 212 pounds but he has the traits of a pro running back. He runs with power and has great cutting ability to sneak through holes. The most impressive thing about Swift is his decision-making and overall patience when waiting for holes to open up. The Lions have a solid back in Kerryon Johnson already, but Swift should have a good shot to take over that starting role. He has the upside to produce RB1 numbers, but while splitting carries, Johnson looks to take some of his fantasy points away.
The Colts might be one of the best teams that Jonathan Taylor could have landed at because of their great offensive line. Taylor was an absolute workhorse at Wisconsin as he ran for over 1500 yards in all four seasons with them. Taylor is 5’10”, 226 pounds and ran an astounding 4.39 forty time at the combine this year. In a run-heavy offense coached by Frank Reich, Taylor will excel at the NFL level. He’ll be competing with Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines for snaps, but once comfortable, he should take over the starting role. He has upside to be a RB1 his rookie year, but like Swift and Johnson, Mack will be taking a lot of Taylor’s carries.
Jacksonville keeps trying to give Minshew more options, adding Laviska Shenault Jr. to the wide receiver room of D.J Chark Jr, Chris Conley, and Dede Westbrook. Injuries have taken a toll on Shenault Jr. though as he missed tons of playing time over his last two years at Colorado and also picked up an injury during the combine. He has a good combination of size and speed at 6’1” clocking a 4.58 40 yard dash time. He’ll likely be eased into a bigger role due to his injury history so we can expect WR3 numbers with upside to be a WR2. Once he’s fully healthy, he should take WR1 on the Jags offense.
Drafting Cole Kmet made him the tenth (10th!!!) tight end on the Chicago Bears offense. Kmet stands at 6’6”, 262 pounds and ran a 4.7 in the forty yard dash at the combine this year. Kmet has the size and great hands to be a solid pro tight end. He was by far the best tight end available in this year’s draft class, but the Bears certainly didn’t need to make it up to ten tight ends on the roster at one time. Kmet has upside to be the starter immediately in 2020, but will have to improve on his blocking skills to be an all-around tight end. If Mitch Trubisky has a better season in 2020, Kmet could be a TE2 but considering Trubisky’s struggles and the sheer amount of tight ends in Chicago, he’ll likely be putting up TE3 numbers.
K.J Hamler is going to be the next Tavon Austin, just hopefully more production. He’s 5’9”, 178 pounds and has 4.40 speed. I sense a jet sweep or two in Denver’s 2020 playbook with this guy. He’s explosive and his run after catch is exciting to watch. Denver has a solid group in the wide receiver room featuring Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and now K.J Hamler. Hamler looks to be the WR3 as of now and likely be used in the slot. Hamler is surrounded by two other talents so the share of catches might not go in his favor but has upside to be a WR2 in Denver’s scary offense.
Claypool going to Pittsburgh just adds to Big Ben’s arsenal already including Juju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, and James Washington. Smith-Schuster and Claypool will certainly be one of the top young receiving duos in the league come the 2020 season. Chase Claypool stands at 6’4”, 238 pounds and ran a 4.42 at the combine. His combination of size, strength, and speed makes it hard for corners to guard him 1-on-1. Aside from the passing game, Claypool is an exceptional run blocker due to his strength. With Big Ben back in 2020, his two main targets will be Juju Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool. Claypool will be a WR2 and if the Pittsburgh offense looks the same as before with Big Ben at center, he has the upside to be a WR1 his rookie year.
Cam Akers is a small, compact running back that could excel at the professional level. He clocked a 4.47 at the combine but can speed up once in the open field. He’s more of a pass-catching back than anything, but he runs low to the ground making it hard for defenders to bring him down. Losing Todd Gurley this offseason definitely stung a bit, but Akers should replace his role nicely. He ran behind a sub-par offensive line at Florida State and still found solid production, so he should be a RB2 in fantasy football on the Rams.
Adding J.K Dobbins to the Baltimore backfield that already had Mark Ingram makes for a strong one-two punch in that offense. Dobbins was one of three running backs to reach 2000 rushing yards in 2019, and was in talks of the Heisman race at one point. He can take workhorse responsibilities if needed and has great tackle-breaking ability, but needs to work on his vision and decision-making to fully excel in the NFL. Since he’ll be splitting carries with Ingram, he won’t be seeing workhorse numbers but in an electric Ravens offense, has upside to be a RB2 in fantasy his rookie year.
Considering the Rams traded away Brandin Cooks this offseason to the Houston Texans, grabbing a solid receiver with explosiveness in Van Jefferson was a good move. The Rams receiver room includes Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Josh Reynolds already so Jefferson can be in WR3/WR4 range on the offense. He excels in the slot position because of his quick footwork to keep cornerbacks off-balance and has very strong hands. He won’t be much of a fantasy target because the Rams two go-to receivers are Kupp and Woods, but he has upside to be a WR3 on your fantasy team.
Denzel Mims is exactly what the Jets and Sam Darnold were missing on offense. Darnold hasn’t had a true number one receiver yet in his career, and Mims could be that guy. He’s 6’3”, has strong hands, and ran a 4.38 forty time at the combine. He joins Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman in the wide receiver room now, leaving the WR1 wide open. Darnold is a talented quarterback but has had mediocre protection and no targets for the past few seasons, so this season should be quite different for the Jets and their progression. Mims should be a WR2 in fantasy football come next season, but has serious upside to be a WR1 if Darnold shows up and the offense can put up points.
A.J Dillon is the purest form of a pure-power running back. He’s 6’0”, 247 pounds of pure strength. He wore out defenses when he played for Boston College because he can handle a heavy workload. However, in Green Bay, he will not be maintaining as heavy a workload as he did in college because of Aaron Jones. It’s hard to see Dillon ever becoming the RB1 on GB’s offense due to how elite Aaron Jones has been the past few seasons. He’ll likely be used for short yardage gains and to lessen the workload overall for Jones. He has upside to be a RB3 in fantasy due to the chance of receiving easy goal-line carries and upping his overall snap count.