April will come soon enough and at that time we can begin exploring all the young blood flowing into the league courtesy of the NFL draft.Because we are focusing exclusively on offensive performers designed to infuse our fantasy football teams with an explosion of points, our discussion is relegated to quarterbacks, wide receivers, and running backs. Let’s get a jump on the competition with a view towards picking up future superstars who will be overlooked by all the rest when our own FFL draft arrives sometime in August or September.
Joe Burrow – Quarterback – LSU
Joe Burrow, Heisman Trophy Award and National Championship winner in his senior season with LSU, posted jaw-dropping numbers with the Tigers. Just wrap your mind around the following: 60 passing touchdowns to only six interceptions, five rushing touchdowns, 5671 passing yards, and a sizzling 76.3 percent completion rate. The stat line is historic and there is little doubt that Burrow will be wearing a Cincinnati Bengals’ uniform come September. More to the point, he will also be given a baptism by fire as it is believed that Cincinnati’s incumbent under center, Andy Dalton, will be shipped elsewhere as trade bait or released entirely, leaving Burrow to command the offense in his rookie season.
Obviously, Burrow will be a late-round FFL pick but how late is the question? Cincinnati will need to arm the rookie with weapons and provide an offensive line that will protect him. Keep tabs on the Cats and make note of their offensive free agency and draft signings. You may get a superstar on the cheap and if you’re in a legacy league, then you could lock that spot up with Burrow slinging dimes for years to come.
Tua Tagovailoa – Quarterback – Alabama
It’s easy to forget just how good Tua Tagovailoa was before he got injured. He was the consensus No. 1 overall pick before he suffered a devastating hip injury against Mississippi State in mid-November but now he’s likely to slip down the draft board and land somewhere in the vicinity of No. 5 to the Miami Dolphins or maybe No. 6 to the Los Angeles Chargers. Keep an eye on the Samoan Sensation and where he lands because he can be had as a late – or latest – round selection and pay immediate dividends if the right team drafts him.
First, he is listed as an inch taller and second he has more experience stretching the field and winning tussles against defenders for those long-contested strikes. Regardless of which top-tier talent goes first, what matters most is where they are going and who will be their batterymate. Keep an eye on Lamb and predicate your decision on which jersey he wears come the fall.
Jerry Jeudy – Wide Receiver – Alabama
Our crystal ball will be completely clear a few years from now when we compare the two best receivers in the 2020 draft, Lamb and Jeudy, but right now there is little separating the two.
Although Jeudy’s 2019 year-end stats are not quite as good as Lamb’s there are a few reasons for that. Tua Tagovailo's injury certainly played a part; Jeudy had just seven combined catches in the two games after Tua got injured. That left only a few weeks between the end of the regular season and the bowl game against the Michigan Wolverines to acquaint himself thoroughly with freshman QB Mac Jones when he caught six passes for a whopping 204 yards.
The 6’1” junior is freakishly athletic and is a bona fide speed merchant who is destined to make noise at the next level wherever he goes. While the rest of your league is focusing on retreads in the late rounds, look to the stars…the future stars of the NFL!
D’Andre Swift, Running Back – Georgia
If you’re searching for a running back to pack some punch into your lineup you could worse than D’Andre Swift, formerly of the Georgia Bulldogs. Understand that there are several solid rookie running backs in this year’s draft and it would be wise to compare where Swift, Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor, Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins, and Utah’s Zack Moss land when they hear their names called.
Even if Swift turns out to be the cream of this year’s crop, he won’t do us much good if he’s underutilized in a West Coast-style offense. But all things being equal, Swift is the most likely to excel when the games count for real in September.