In every draft class there are fantasy football rookies you should draft, and rookies you shouldn’t draft. Year in and year out, managers in redraft leagues make the mistake of drafting rookies off the board who have the most name notoriety.
Players who polarize the news like Tua Tagovailoa or CeeDee Lamb might seem desirable during a draft, but even though they might become the biggest stars of their draft class, it doesn’t mean they will be the most productive rookies in fantasy in 2020.
In this article, I list the only rookies you should consider drafting to add consistent production to your team. I’ve also included a list of rookies who didn’t make the cut in 2020.
2020 FANTASY FOOTBALL ROOKIE DRAFT LIST:
Joe Burrow | Cincinnati Bengals | QB2/QB3
Joe Burrow is the only rookie quarterback worth drafting in 2020, and I wouldn’t recommend drafting him as your first quarterback of the board. He is the only rookie quarterback we can be sure will see the field in 2020, but don’t expect him to be Tom Brady (who everyone is comparing him to) in his first season for the Bengals.
Burrow does, however, have a great set of receivers and a strong backfield that could help him reach fringe QB1 potential in fantasy leagues this season. That’s the best case scenario, so be smart and draft him as a backup in 2020.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire | Kansas City Chiefs | RB1/RB2
Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s rookie season already looked very promising before running back mate Damien Willimas decided to opt out due to coronavirus.
As the main back in Kansas City’s offense, CEH should have a huge rookie season in 2020.
Jonathan Taylor | Indianapolis Colts | RB2/RB3
Jonathan Taylor might not become an RB1 in his rookie season sharing a backfield with Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines, but he has superstar talent and is running behind arguably the best offensive line in the NFL.
He won’t be an RB1 until the backfield clears out and he becomes more of a bell cow, but Taylor will be a solid play in 2020.
Cam Akers | Los Angeles Rams | RB2/RB3
Cam Akers was all the rage in fantasy conversations post NFL draft, but his stock has since declined due to head coach Sean McVay saying he will likely use a running back committee in 2020.
With that said, if Cam Akers is able to outshine the rest of the Rams backfield early on (which he should be able to do) McVay won’t shy away from giving him extra snaps and solidifying him as the RB1.
If that happens, Akers could bring championship trophies to a lot of fantasy managers in 2020.
D’Andre Swift | Detroit Lions | RB2/RB3
The Lions drafted D’Andre Swift with the intent to have him immediatley take over the RB1 position currently held by Kerryon Johnson.
Swift is a gifted back both on the ground and through the air and is joining a talented offense that won’t have defenses keying on him. He will plug in well as a second or third running back option in 2020.
Brandon Aiyuk | San Francisco 49ers | WR3/Sub
Brandon Aiyuk (eye-ook) has the best chance of any rookie wide receiver to breakout early in 2020 and solidify himself as a weekly fantasy option. The 49ers drafted Aiyuk to replace departing Emmanuel Sanders on the outside, opposite Deebo Samuel.
However, Samuel broke his foot this offseason and isn’t scheduled to be back by the season opener. This means that other than George Kittle, Aiyuk will be asked to step up early and make plays.
If he impresses, Kyle Shanahan will keep feeding Aiyuk even with the return of Samuel, who doesn’t pose as much of a deep threat as Aiyuk.
Denzel Mims | New York Jets | WR3/Sub
Denzel Mims is the most gifted wide receiver the Jets have on their roster. 6’3’’ and running a 4.38 40-yard dash, Mims will quickly make an impact on the offensive side of the ball for New York.
He will be pairing up with Breshad Perriman on the outside. Perriman has had very little fantasy impact in his NFL career thus far. Mims could be a great fantasy grab as he could produce consistently early on for the Jets.
Justin Jefferson | Minnesota Vikings | WR3/Sub
Justin Jefferson will be filling in for the absence of Stefon Diggs, but will be playing second fiddle to veteran Adam Thielen. And even though the Vikings don’t rely heavily on their pass game, Kirk Cousins is an efficient quarterback and Jefferson should carve out a nice target percentage as the number two receiver in Minnesota.
Jerry Jeudy | Denver Broncos | WR3/Sub
Like Justin Jefferson, Jerry Jeudy will also play behind a star receiver. Courtland Sutton stole the show in Denver in 2019, but Jeudy is expected to be the number two guy in a Pat Shurmur offense that will see an uptick in offensive productivity in 2020.
Many experts had Jeudy as the top receiver in the 2020 draft class. Similar to Juju Smith-Schuster in 2018, Jeudy has the potential to explode on the fantasy radar playing opposite a star receiver who will draw the best defensive coverage each week.
Jalen Reagor | Philadelphia Eagles | WR3/Sub
Jalen Reagor has joined an aging Philadelphia Eagles receiving corps led by DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery.
Although these veteran wideouts are solidified in their spots and will receive a healthy target share (if they stay injury-free), Reagor will have an opportunity to use his big-play explosiveness from the slot position.
If Reagor flashes his abilities early in the season, Carson Wentz will start looking to him often in both the short passing game and downfield.
Henry Ruggs III | Las Vegas Raiders | WR3/Sub
On paper, Henry Ruggs should be the next Tyreek Hill or better. His physical abilities all rank near the top of the 2020 draft class and he’s joining a Las Vegas Raiders receiving corps that’s less than stellar.
Lining up alongside him will be Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow, who are good receivers, but don’t have the star potential Ruggs possesses. With that said, many experts believe Ruggs lacks the natural pass catching and route running abilities an NFL receiver needs to possess in order to be successful.
Ruggs will get plenty of targets early. If he lives up to the hype, you won’t regret drafting him.
Do not draft any 2020 rookie tight ends in redraft leagues!
The best possible picks who will receive playing time are Chicago’s Cole Kmet and the New England duo of Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene. 2020 rookie tight ends may receive playing time, but it’s very unlikely any of them will have a season worthy of a fantasy roster spot (barring injury).
The tight-end position is one of the NFL’s toughest to learn, and with Covid-19 it will take the 2020 rookies even longer to adapt to playing in the league. on top of that, not one of them has a clear-cut number one role.
PLAYERS WHO DIDN’T MAKE THE CUT FOR 2020
Tua Tagovailoa | Miami Dolphins
There are a few good reasons why you shouldn’t draft Tua Tagovailoa. For starters, we don’t know when he will start for Miami, which is concerning for fantasy owners.
Secondly, he’s in an offense run by Chan Gailey that isn’t beneficial for fantasy quarterbacks. It’s a run-heavy, short pass offense that won’t have Tua throwing deep shots down the field. That’s if he even plays in 2020.
Yes, Tua is a polarizing player, but don’t let the weight of his name and college career get the best of your fantasy team in 2020.
Justin Herbert | Los Angeles Chargers
I’m certain Tua Tagovailoa will start before Justin Herbert, but in either case, we don’t know 100 percent when they will take over for their respective teams. And because of that, you don’t need to draft them in a redraft league with plenty of options at quarterback.
Justin Herbert’s fantasy situation is more friendly than Tua’s, so if you do end up drafting one of them in a later round or pick one of them up as a free agent later in the season, go with Herbert. He’s in an offensive system that’s passer-friendly with a lot of weapons in Austin Ekeler, Hunter Henry, Mike Williams, and Keenan Allen.
J.K. Dobbins| Baltimore Ravens
Hear me out! I’m not saying don’t draft J.K. Dobbins, but definitely wait until the later rounds. Dobbins will be playing in the shadow of Mark Ingram and joining a crowded Ravens backfield for the 2020 season.
He wasn’t drafted by Baltimore to take over immediately as “the guy.” They will work him in slower, especially with Covid-19 slowing the learning curve for rookies. Dobbins will provide consistent production, but nothing for fantasy owners to get excited about in redraft leagues. Don’t count on him breaking out in 2020.
Ke’Shawn Vaughn | Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Everyone was excited about Ke’Shawn Vaughn’s potential after the NFL draft, but it’s now looking like Ronald Jones and LeSean McCoy will hinder his path to fantasy success in 2020.
Vaughn won’t be a dependable running back week-to-week in redraft leagues. You won’t be losing out if you pass up on drafting him.
CeeDee Lamb | Dallas Cowboys
In my opinion, CeeDee Lamb is the best wide receiver in the 2020 draft.
With that said, there is too much firepower in Dallas right now for him to breakout in his rookie season. He will have games where he flashes his brilliance while sitting in the backseat to Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup for the majority of the season. Once Cooper or Gallup moves on from the Cowboys (likely Gallup), Lamb will become the star he is destined to be.
In 2020, you can pass on Lamb in redraft leagues as he’ll likely be drafted way ahead of where he should be taken in his current situation. Fantasy owners should be aware that Lamb is highly likely to be an inconsistent fantasy play throughout 2020.
Tee Higgins | Cincinnati Bengals
Like CeeDee Lamb, Tee Higgins will have to wait for the Bengals receiving corps to clear up before he can become a consistent fantasy threat.
He’ll be in a positional battle with John Ross, who is a very adequate starter for Cincinnati. On top of battling for his own position, Higgins will be outshined by A.J Green and Tyler Boyd who have proven abilities in the NFL.
Higgins is very unlikely to be any type of consistent in his rookie season.
Michael Pittman Jr. | Indianapolis Colts
I sound like a broken record, but Michael Pittman Jr. is another highly touted receiver who will have trouble finding consistency in 2020 due to the receiving corps already intact in Indianapolis. Pittman Jr. will be in a positional battle with Zach Pascal who was the Colts most dependable receiver in 2019 when T.Y. Hilton went down with an injury.
Even if he wins his positional battle with Pascal, he will still have trouble being a consistent fantasy option sharing targets with T.Y Hilton, Parris Campbell, and Jack Doyle (because Philip Rivers REALLY loves tight ends). Feel free to pass on Michael Pittman Jr. in 2020.
Remember, DO NOT draft any rookie tight-ends in 2020!
Now that you are aware of the top fantasy football rookies to draft in 2020, make sure to read up on the must-have fantasy sleepers you don’t want to miss out on in this season. And be sure to get our $5.00 2020 DRAFT KIT with expert rankings and 30 pages of research to help you win your league this season!