The last few weeks I have done 2020 rookie price checks on later round sleepers and disappointing early rounders. This week I figured I would tackle price checks on 1st rounders who have rewarded their early draft capital with immediate dividends. Most early 1sts were used on running backs this offseason but there has been no shortage of rookie wide receivers who have been plug and play starters for manager’s lineups. The price valuations are going to make some heads spin, but if you are making a play to acquire any of these rookies you better be prepared to spend. The buy/sell prices are loosely derived from DLF’s October ADP data.
With news that Le’Veon Bell is going to join Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the Chiefs backfield, CeeDee Lamb might be the most popular pick for the current 1.01 from this year’s rookie class. Lamb has been heavily targeted despite joining a loaded wide receiver room in Dallas. He has 50 targets through 6 weeks, with the next closest rookie at just 38 (Tee Higgins). Lamb sits as a top 20 wide receiver in fantasy and looks like a locked-in WR2 (WR3 at worst if Dalton sinks the ship). Lamb looks to have the potential to reach rarified air as one of the games’ elite in a few years and if he stays even close to his current pace you are looking at a top 15-20 asset this offseason.
Buy Price– Mike Evans
Sell Price– DK Metcalf
Showing shades of AJ Brown’s rookie year, Justin Jefferson has been a big play waiting to happen throughout the first 6 weeks of the season. Despite receiving 72% of the targets that Lamb has gotten thus far, Jefferson has slightly outscored him on the back of his 19.2 yards per catch. The Vikings have been a colossal disappointment this year and have given Jefferson plenty of work trying to play catch up in garbage time. Adam Thielen remains entrenched as Cousins number one target for the remainder of this year but Jefferson has replaced Stefon Diggs production in this offense almost seamlessly. If the Vikings continue to play most of the season from behind, Jefferson is going to eat as the offense’s big-play option.
Buy Price– Kenny Golladay
Sell Price– Calvin Ridley
After getting blanked in week 1, Higgins has seen his role increase every single week. From week 2 on, Higgins has averaged a very serviceable 14 PPG. He has done it with multiple touchdown games (week 3- 5/40/2) and with high yardage games (week 6- 6/125/0). The only thing Higgins has not shown thus far is the PPR skillset. Higgins is averaging less than 4 catches per game with a high of just 6 catches. His target numbers are 2nd only to Lamb, so I expect him to only grow in this area throughout the remainder of the season. Higgins appears to have a high floor for a rookie, having gone for double-digit PPR points in each of the last 4 weeks. If you drafted Higgins in the late 1st, congrats because he could easily be a top 30 asset come next offseason.
Buy Price– Julio Jones
Sell Price– AJ Brown
Edwards-Helaire has been rock steady through 6 weeks but has slightly underwhelmed compared to some of the offseason hype he was receiving. Once Damien Williams opted out of the season, CEH found his way into most people’s top 10 dynasty assets. He has not quite delivered on that sort of promise but by most metrics he has been a top 15 running back in the early going. One thing keeping Edwards-Helaire output grounded is how terrible he has been at the goal line. At one point CEH had 9 carries from inside the 10-yard line for a total of -1 yard and no touchdowns. It does not appear that CEH’s touchdown troubles are going to get better soon. The Chiefs brought in Le’Veon Bell after he was cut from the Jets. Presumably, Bell could come in and handle short-yardage and 3rd down pass protection, the two areas where CEH struggles the most. CEH will be a fine RB2 for teams this year, but that still falls a little short of his previously envisioned, lofty ceiling (creating a potentially great buy window).
Buy Price– Joe Mixon
Sell Price– Ezekiel Elliott
The other tier 1 running back from draft season, Jonathan Taylor was supposed to set the league on fire after Marlon Mack was lost for the season to an Achilles injury. He had a ready-made offensive line, a quarterback who peppered running backs with targets, and had just lost his only viable competition for carries. Over the last four weeks, Taylor is only averaging 15.5 touches per game and just 13.5 carries per game, having only topped 60 yards rushing one time. He has not been bad, but like CEH, he has not quite met his soaring expectations and seems to be an RB2 for now. The Colts have not added a Le’Veon caliber back to share touches with, so I like Taylor’s potential to grow into an RB1 as the season progresses.
Buy and Sell Price are the same as CEH (Buy for Mixon, Sell for Zeke)
For the Superflex fans…
The first overall pick of the 2020 rookie draft has looked better than his fantasy numbers would lead most to believe. Burrow was not handed the keys to a well-oiled machine, and while he has plenty of talent to throw to, he is also throwing from behind a dubious offensive line. One major factor limiting his fantasy potency so far is his lack of touchdowns. Burrow has thrown for only 6 touchdowns on the season which ties him for 25th in the NFL with Mitch Trubisky, Nick Foles, and Teddy Bridgewater. While that is not exactly elite company, touchdowns can be somewhat fluky and are more of an indicator of fantasy success than they are a good barometer to gauge a rookie QB’s acclimation to the NFL. Burrow has reached the 300-yard mark in 4 of 6 games, which is outstanding for his first 6 starts after an abbreviated offseason. Contrast that to the recently benched Dwayne Haskins who took 11 starts over two seasons to finally throw for a 300-yard game, and you start to see an image of a quarterback who belongs. This shows me Burrow is already an advanced playmaker capable of moving an offense and has the ceiling of a top 10 asset in SF leagues.
Buy Price– Aaron Rodgers
Sell Price– Russell Wilson
Herbert was supposed to spend most of this season watching and learning behind Tyrod Taylor. That all changed when a Chargers’ team doctor took the wind out of Taylor’s sails in a manner of speaking. Since then, Herbert has looked awesome while matching some of the games elite quarterbacks stride for stride. In his four games since becoming a starter, Herbert has averaged just under 300 yards passing and over two TDs per game. He has certainly had his moments of dangerous passes and bad reads but the early results appear to hint at the Chargers having found their heir apparent to Phil Rivers. Herbert looks like he was built in a lab to play quarterback in the NFL and given his size, arm talent, and mobility he holds just as much upside as the two quarterbacks drafted ahead of him.
Buy and Sell Price are the same as Burrow
That does it for this week’s 2020 Rookie Price Check. Feel free to give feedback on all of our content or, more specifically, how outrageously priced you find some of these rookie hits.