Now that the first wave of free agency has passed and the NFL Draft has officially been put in the books, we have a near full layout of what NFL rosters are going to look like for the upcoming season. With that, we have a host of rookie content and freshly updated ranks for season-long and dynasty formats already up in our 2020 fantasy football content hub.
With the draft, a number of veteran players had their 2020 fantasy dynamics impacted for better or worse. Throughout the week, we are going to highlight some of the biggest winners and losers from the draft from each position.
Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
Sanders set a franchise rookie record with 1,327 yards from scrimmage in 2019, but did not play 50% of the team snaps in a game until Week 11. He averaged 18.5 touches for 95.4 yards per game over the final eight games of the season while playing 72% of the snaps. That includes two games against the Giants in which he dealt with dehydration (57% of the snaps) and left early due to injury (31%). The Eagles had a plethora of injuries to close the 2019 season, so it was unclear just how much the team was willing to go in on Sanders without tangible competition for lead opportunities.
The only rookie RBs in the last 30 years with:
• at least 1500 all purpose yards
• at least 4.5 YPC
• at least 7.5 YPA
• at least 200 return yards
Miles Sanders (2019)
Alvin Kamara (2017)
Adrian Peterson (2007) https://t.co/Z8vmsKT181
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) April 16, 2020
Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles
By not selecting a running back — the team did sign two undrafted free agents in Michael Warren and Adrian Killins — that also gives Boston Scott an inline to maintain the role he had to close the season playing next to Sanders. Scott totaled 61 touches for 350 yards and four touchdowns over the final four games of the regular season. His best moments came in the two games that Sanders was limited or exited early, but Scott has lower-end FLEX appeal playing an ancillary role in the offense while serving as the potential handcuff to Sanders.
Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals
With only a one-year commitment from Arizona in his pocket entering the draft, the Cardinals could have been a player in the early running back market. They did grab Eno Benjamin, but it was not until the seventh round at pick No. 222, insuring depth, but not the kind of capital that has led to any projectable involvement.
All we have ever wanted is for a team to actually commit to Drake for a full season. We’ve yet to see it happen, but we are one step closer at least for 2020. In the 34 career games in which Drake has played 50% of his team snaps, he has averaged 14.5 PPR points per game. That mark would have been a sturdy RB18 a year ago. In the 30 career games in which he has reached double-digit touches, he has averaged 16.1 points per game, a mark that would have been RB11 a year ago. Drake averaged 18.9 touches for 101.8 yards per game over his eight games after joining Arizona while playing 79.3% of the offensive snaps.
Todd Gurley, Atlanta Falcons
After Gurley inked just a one-year deal with the Falcons after his release from the Rams, Atlanta still appeared poised to add a running back highly in this draft as insurance for Gurley. Instead, they bypassed the position altogether, even taking a punter with one of their draft picks. Behind Gurley, Atlanta still only has Brian Hill, Qadree Ollison, and Ito Smith.
Gurley had just 49 passing game targets in 2019 after 81 and 87 over the two years prior. He averaged just 3.3 targets per game after 5.8 per game in each of the 2018 and Atlanta gave their running backs 113 targets in the passing game a year ago, with Devonta Freeman accounting for 70 total and 5.0 per game. There is still a question on Gurley’s arthritic knee and if he can regain the form he had, but the Atlanta with the current state of the Atlanta depth chart behind him, we should absolutely find out.
Matt Breida, Miami Dolphins
No team got less production from their backfield in 2019 than the Dolphins. Miami backs collectively ranked dead last in touches (22.9) and yards from scrimmage (89.4) per game while averaging 3.9 yards per touch and scoring five total touchdowns. Sending a fifth round pick the 49ers in exchange for Breida, they have a 1-2 punch with Jordan Howard as a power back and Breida as the roadrunner.
An explosive player, Breida has averaged 5.5 yards per touch over his first three years in the league. His biggest hang-up has been getting a full-allotment of touches. Last season he got completely lost in the shuffle after a mid-season injury. Over his opening nine games, Breida averaged 24.8 snaps, 13.8 touches and 72.4 yards from scrimmage per game. Once he returned to the lineup in Week 14, Raheem Mostert had exploded and Breida barely got any burn, playing just 32 offensive snaps total over the final four regular season games and playing just 13 snaps in the three playoff games for San Francisco.
At 5’10” and 190 pounds, Breida has been given limited scoring opportunities over his early career. He has just six rushing touchdowns, with four of those coming from 30-yards out or further. He likely still will have a problem getting those scoring touches playing alongside Howard, but in leaving San Francisco for Miami, Breida goes from a Hail Mary play at the position to at least a FLEX option.
Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks
With Carson entering the final season of his rookie contract and suffering his third significant injury in as many seasons, he appeared to be on thin ice heading into the draft. Tack on that Penny suffered a torn ACL in Week 14 last season and Seattle looked be in prime position to potentially invest in one of the top running backs in this class.
They did select a running back (taking Deejay Dallas in the fourth round at No. 144 overall) but after they had already taken four other players in the draft. Dallas also could not leapfrog Travis Homer while at Miami, a player who rounded out the Seattle backfield a year ago. Both Carson and Penny still carry injury concerns, but with both expected to be on track to return for the start of the season, Seattle went with a depth selection at the position than a true rival.