With the NFL Draft approaching, the Crew dishes their takes on ideal landing spots and identifies a unanimous #1 overall prospect.
Best Draft Value
Alex Edwards: Laviska Shenault Jr. (WR Colorado) Can typically be found somewhere in the second round of a rookie draft. He is a prospect who has the talent of a 1st rounder with his spectacular versatility. If he can just stay healthy your looking at finding a prospect similar to AJ Brown last year.
JetPack Galileo: Bryan Edwards (WR South Carolina). In the mid-late second round of rookie drafts, Edwards is the competitive, tough footballer who should outproduce his draft capital after missing most of the offseason activities that boost a prospect's stock. He has the ability to play an immediate role as a possession receiver and the upside to become a stud with his underrated athleticism and after the catch tenacity.
Matt Thornton: Laviska Shenault Jr. Usually available towards the end of the 2nd round in rookie mock drafts mainly due to the injury concerns surround him. But when on the field Shenault has proven to be an absolute animal. Powerful, explosive and versatile. Has tremendous upside.
Dr. Michael Risher: Brandon Aiyuk (WR Arizona State). If he lands in the proper offense, he can be similar to Deebo Samuel as a rookie. He is electric with the ball in his hands and I think he has plenty of upside in the NFL. Current value is late 2nd round and I love that value.
Shane Barrett: Tee Higgins (WR Clemson) has dropped out of the first round in some rookie drafts and that is a steal.
Alex Edwards: Jason Huntley (RB New Mexico State). A deep sleeper who most likely wont be drafted but fits the Austin Ekeler type. If he gets an opportunity, look out for him to show off his talent out of the backfield in the pass game.
FF Spotlight: Justin Herbert's game is quiet, composed and prepared. It worked in college and it will work in the pros. He has good size and I expect him to perform well at the next level. All eyes on Tua and Burrow allows him to do what he does best: be quiet, composed and prepared. I'm looking at him as a dynasty sleeper.
Matt Thornton: James Proche (WR Southern Methodist). Extremely underrated WR usually available in the later rounds of rookie drafts. Has arguably some of the best hands in this WR class with plenty of highlight reel catches after a highly productive college career at SMU.
Dr. Michael Risher: Spencer Tearz (WR Northern Illinois). Grades in high school kept him from a bigger school than NIU. Poor QB play and constantly changing coaches killed his production. He is a very good athlete with great hands and a solid understanding of the game. You probably haven't heard of him but you will.
Parker McDonald: Lynn Bowden Jr. (WR Kentucky). Evasive, fast, and strong with the ball in his hands. Smaller but not afraid to take on tacklers. Good at making tacklers miss at the next level and will make for a good slot receiver.
Shane Barrett: Chase Claypool (WR Notre Dame). I don't know how much longer he'll be a sleeper. He can continue to be a WR and succeed in the NFL. I'm looking forward to it.
Alex Edwards: Jonathan Taylor (RB Wisconsin). Tight race when it comes to traits but Taylor sets himself apart with his outstanding athletic profile and 3 years of consistent production.
Kev White: Jonathan Taylor. As I eluded to on the latest British Ballers Podcast, Taylor smashes in my RB model. He combines elite athleticism with superb durability & outstanding production from his time at Wisconsin. When attacking a Non-SF Rookie Draft you need to be thinking RB early - as they accrue value faster than any other position, deliver fantasy production immediately & are more predictable for fantasy success than rookie WRs. Taylor is the clear 1.01 - however should he fall in the draft & Swift or Dobbins land in the 1st round then it makes the decision extremely close.
Parker McDonald: Jonathan Taylor. Explosive speed with a punishing running style. His strength and vision will translate well at the NFL level. He could be the perfect building block for a team in need of a RB.
Favorite RB Landing Spot
Alex Edwards: Baltimore Ravens. Mark Ingram has reached the dreaded age of 30 which historically doesn't bode well for RBs. Gus Edwards and Justice Hill look to be only committee/3rd down impact backs. Plus Baltimore only got 362 receiving yards out of their RBs in 2019. Those combinations and Baltimore wanting to establish more talent around Lamar Jackson make Baltimore a great destination. A day 2 3-down back would be perfect here. He may have to share the backfield similar to how Alvin Kamara did with Ingram but I could see one of the top 5 RBs in this draft taking control of that RB room in the second half of the season and onward.
FF Spotlight: Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They have Ronald Jones who can carry the load initially and let a rookie develop in the first part of 2020. Even if the rookie RB starts right away there are so many weapons in that offense that will take pressure of the running game and will significantly reduce an overloaded defensive front. Side note, wherever Jonathan Taylor goes will be where the best landing spot is for any RB. That team will lean on him.
Matt Thornton: San Francisco 49ers. Would love to see what Shanahan could do in that offense with one of the top RBs in this class. They love to run the ball, and without a top tier RB currently on the depth chart, there should be plenty of opportunity for an incoming rookie.
Kev White: Kansas City Chiefs. A popular choice for premium rookie production, the Chiefs are an obvious selection for favourite RB landing spot. Andy Reid has helped facilitate top fantasy seasons in recent memory, from Brian Westbrook to LeSean McCoy to Jamaal Charles and most recently Kareem Hunt. Although Reid has never drafted a 1st round RB, he does tend to prioritise the day 2 RB (rounds 2-3). In this landing spot, the RB would be part of an elite offense tied to Pat Mahomes with only Damien Williams a real threat to backfield touches. Williams is already 28 years old and has never topped 150 touches in a season - I don’t see him being the lead back in Kansas beyond this season.
Dr. Michael Risher: Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The way Bruce Arians uses RBs is the most appealing part of this landing spot. The competition of Ronald Jones and Dare Ogunbowale is essentially nothing for one of the top RBs. Combine that with TB12's affinity to throw to RBs and you have all the makings for a PPR legend.
Favorite WR Landing Spot
Alex Edwards: Oakland Raiders. One of the few teams who is clearly without a WR1 going into the draft, Oakland fits as a team looking to snatch one of the top prospects in this talented WR class. A rookie WR will get plenty of opportunities to produce right off the bat and despite Derek Carr not being an elite QB, he still has thrown for over 4000 the last two years. The only true target threat a rookie WR would have to compete with is Darren Waller.
FF Spotlight: Green Bay has a great QB/WR tandem in Rodgers and Adams. Aaron Jones and Jamal Williams provide a solid rushing game. They have been trying to fill the WR2 role for some time and will be able to accommodate a developing rookie to fill that role. A rookie WR with blazing speed would stretch the field and open options for the whole offense.
Matt Thornton: Philadelphia Eagles. With Alshon Jeffery's best years behind him, and a paper thin depth chart, Philly is a great landing spot of an incoming rookie WR. Tied to one of the better NFL QBs in Carson Wentz, who was in the top 5 for passing attempts last season.
Kev White: Philadelphia Eagles. In 2019, Philly won the NFC East & made the playoffs, despite their starting WR core being the undrafted duo of Greg Ward Jr. and Deontay Burnett, plus rookie milk carton contender J.J. Arcega-Whiteside. With Philly fans wearing Nelson Agholor jerseys so they don’t ‘catch’ COVID, many will be happy to see him leave in free agency. Veteran WRs Alston Jeffery & DeSean Jackson are on their last legs - meaning the Eagles will invest high draft capital at the position. The Eagles are my favourite WR landing spot as there is clear opportunity as the #1 WR, tied to a top 8 dynasty QB in Wentz & a well run offense / franchise as a whole.
JetPack Galileo: San Francisco 49ers. Shanahan has mixed and matched RB and WR groupings to create baller offenses throughout his whole career, but when he gets hold of a stud, they have historically dominant seasons (see Josh Gordon, Julio Jones). With the 49ers holding the 13th and 31st overall picks, there's hope we'll get to see the pairing of a top tier talent with an elite playcaller.
Favorite QB Landing Spot
Alex Edwards: New England Patriots. The two headed monster of Brady and Belichick has come to an end, with Brady going to Tampa, but New England still has Belichick. They went 11-5 their season without Brady in 2008. Matt Cassel was their QB for that year and Belichick made him look like a starter. New England currently has no QBs on their roster that I see as a starter and have the greatest coach of all time. Get them a young talented QB that Belichick can groom and you have yourself a great landing spot.
FF Spotlight: LA Chargers all but have a "for sale" sign up on the QB position after Philip River's exit. My common theme for landing spots is for a player into an offense that has just one role to fill. Keenan Allen and Mike Williams will provide big targets for a young QB and Mike Williams is excellent with 50/50 balls. Then, to top things off, Ekeler will provide a built in safety valve for the short passing game and may become this rookie QB's best friend.
Kev White: LA Chargers. A team with this strong of a roster should not have finished 5-11 & be picking this high in the draft (#6) - meaning they’re well in range to hit on one of the top QBs. In the offseason, they have invested in their OL - with the additions of all-pro guard Trai Turner & Brian Bulaga. The Chargers already have exciting weapons in Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry & ‘take it to the house’ threat Austin Ekeler. The addition of a rookie QB would put them in position to challenge the Super Bowl Champion - Kansas City Chiefs. This landing spot is outstanding for a QB, with an offense & team ready to compete for the playoffs at a minimum.
Dr. Michael Risher: Cincinnati Bengals. This may be contrarian, but the weapons of Mixon, AJ Green, Tyler Boyd, John Ross....... Give me all of that. Here's to hopes that their O Line will be improved!
Favorite TE Landing Spot
Alex Edwards: Atlanta Falcons. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons have passed for over 4000 yards in 9 straight seasons. They also just lost their TE1 in Austin Hooper to free agency. They did go out and trade for Hayden Hurst but he hasn't done anything in his first two seasons to prove he is a starting TE.
FF Spotlight: Atlanta Falcons have seen Austin Hooper exit for the Browns and will leave a large void on this offense that is ready to be filled. Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Matt Ryan and Todd Gurley will do their parts to allow a TE to work on route running and pass blocking.
Matt Thornton: Washington Redskins. No more Jordan Reed, and only Jeremy Sprinkle and Logan Thomas in the way on the depth chart, could result in instant opportunity for an incoming rookie.
Parker McDonald: Da Bears. The Bears haven't had a decent tight end since Greg Olsen and Martellus Bennett and Trey Burton can't stay healthy. Jimmy Graham wasn't the answer in Green Bay and won't be the answer in Chicago.
Dr. Michael Risher: Carolina Panthers. We've been waiting for an Ian Thomas breakout and it has yet to happen. Teddy H20 doesn't like to challenge downfield, so having a reliable TE will be helpful for him and a good dynasty landing spot.