As I sit here at my kitchen table, a cup of “Market Pantry” green tea to my right(yes, that’s right, I don’t drink coffee…. straight tea guy!), I reflect on my return to A2D Radio. You see, it wasn’t that long ago where I could have been considered one of the “originals” to A2D, partnering with its fearless leader(and that is no joke), Mr. Tom Arnone, to create a platform for people who aspired to work in the sports broadcasting/journalism realm. Let’s face it, I’m sure we all know how difficult it is just to even get a foot in the door to all of the television/radio stations we listen and watch each day. But this is 2020. With the evolving world of live stream, podcasts, and social media, there are many ways to get started and get active. And that’s how A2D was born, nearly five years ago. However, life can sometimes alter your plans, and I needed to make a change. To make the long story short, I continued to follow along with A2D and saw the organic transformation to what it has become today. It is important in life to never burn any bridges and that is what brought me back to A2D Radio; albeit in a different realm. And what is that?….
Well, what you will get if you follow these pulitzer prize-worthy pieces(yeah… sure, Nick!), is the Fantasy Football content you have been searching for, specifically its “Dynasty” format. Now, for those of you who may be new players to Fantasy Football, I’ll give you a quick hit training about this awesome format:
There’s what’s called a “startup” draft – and this is done between now and August, depending on your league’s preference. It usually consists of anywhere between 20-30 rounds, and you can choose to include the new crop of rookies entering the NFL in 2020, or have a separate draft, excluding the rooks, and have a “rookie” draft later in the summer. Once you pick this team, this now becomes your team for however long you decide to stay in your respective league. There is no re-drafting a different team next summer. You better your team through trades, waiver wire “gems”, and, the most important of all, drafting. Think of it as, in virtual matters, you’re the general manager of this team; building a roster for a chance to compete in the fall to win a championship. Because that’s what it is all about – winning a championship.
And that’s because in dynasty…. there is no offseason! Alright, now, enough of me rambling. Let’s get to the goods.
Risers – Running Backs
Cam Akers – Hopefully, those questions were put to rest if Akers was a good player on a bad team. Because he’s more than that. With the right landing spot in the draft come April 23rd, Akers will have the chance to be the most productive running back in year 1. He reminded me of Dalvin Cook(coincidentally), in how smooth he ran his drills and his 40-yard dash time of 4.47 seconds shows that he can take it to the house at any time. Even if he lands on a team with an established veteran in front of him, with his talent/measurables, he will find a way to contribute to your fantasy team. He’s too good not to.
AJ Dillon – Perhaps the running back in this class who helped himself the most was this guy. Out of Boston College, there were questions about his speed and if he was just a “plodder.” 4.53 speed should hopefully put those to rest. Dillon showed some elusiveness during his on-field drills, and I couldn’t help but think of the second coming of Derrick Henry with his 247 pound frame. His weakness in the pass drills certainly showed, but he showed that he is not totally inept in catching passes out of the backfield. Unlike Akers, his landing spot will matter. Most likely, he will go to a team that wants a power/goal line back to take the load off. However, if he does land in the right situation(Tennesse Titans, anyone?), we could be looking at Derrick Henry-lite.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire – In a later article, I will have a one that strictly pounds the table for “my guys” and you can expect CEH to be on there. Now, the only negative about his combine interview was his 4.6 40 yard dash, but, according to plugged-in reporters of the NFL amongst coaches and team personnel, this was expected. It also appears it hasn’t hurt his draft stock a ton. For what he lacked in speed, he made up for in pass catching prowess and elusiveness in on-field drills. If you watched any of his tape so far, it supported what you saw last week. Edwards-Helaire solidified his day 2 draft stock, which will put him firmly in the middle of round one rookie drafts this summer. There are rumors that a lot of RB-needy teams have already met with CEH after the combine. Keep an eye on where he lands in April.
Darrynton Evans – 4.41 speed for a small school kid from Appalachian State is bound to get the attention of NFL evaluators. Evans had himself a day last Friday. Not only did he kill his 40 time, but he also showed off his play speed in the on-field drills. This young man made himself money last week. Like CEH, pay attention to where he lands, as he almost certainly improved his draft stock to a potential day 2 pick.
Other winners: Joshua Kelley, Anthony McFarland
Henry Ruggs – Coming into the combine, many thought Ruggs would break John Ross’s 40 yard dash of 4.22 at the 2017 combine. He fell .05 seconds off of that mark, but still, 4.27 speed will catch the eyes of NFL decision makers all day long. Even though he didn’t do any on-field drills, Ruggs solidified his stock as a top-15 draft pick.
Justin Jefferson – The questions about Jefferson’s top end speed were answered on February 28th. 4.43 speed for a wide receiver, with his ability to line up, both on the outside and in the slot has skyrocketed Jefferson into a top 25 pick on day one and firmly planted himself into the middle of rookie drafts. If he goes to a team(such as the Eagles), who desperately need receiver help in April, he’ll have a chance to immediately contribute, in which his dynasty stock will soar to great lengths, a la AJ Brown.
Chase Claypool – This is the wide receiver version of AJ Dillon, as the one man who helped himself the most at the combine. Claypool’s size at 6’4, 238 is a gift from god, but to pair that with 4.42 speed is impressive. Claypool also showed that he can run every route and has good hands, helping himself even more during on-field drills. Claypool made himself some money last week and should be considered a top 12 wide receiver prospect in your rookie drafts.
Denzel Mims – The former Baylor Bear continued his rise during draft season. It first started with the senior bowl, where Mims dominated the competition. It continued last week, when Mims ran a 4.38 forty and showed his smooth route running and solid hands. He has taken his draft stock to new heights, fortifying the potential of a late day one pick. If he does not go there though, he won’t last much longer on day two.
Other winners: Michael Pittman, Donovan Peoples-Jones
Jk Dobbins – He could have at least run the 40 yard dash to show off his speed, right? Nope. Instead, Dobbins sat on his butt and watched. Now, Dobbins’ draft stock will most likely rise again, once he completes his pro-day. But for now, it wouldn’t surprise me if NFL personnel men have him ranked as the fifth best running back in this class.
Zack Moss – A time of 4.73 in the forty is all but certain to cause your draft stock to plummet. And that’s what happened with Moss. He may have helped himself by showing off his pass catching skills, but he most likely lowered his draft positioning to that of day three; which would mean he most likely will have to have a lot of things go right for him in order to contribute to your dynasty teams in 2020.
Jalen Reagor – Reagor was expected to compete with Henry Ruggs as the fastest man in the combine. The only problem is, there wasn’t any competition. Reagor ran a 4.47 forty, which is still really good, but not what most were expecting compared to all the hype surrounding it. Instead, Reagor probably lowered his draft stock to a day 2 pick, which has DK Metcalf – type value written all over it if he falls that far.
Tee Higgins – Like Dobbins, Higgins did absolutely nothing at the combine. Unlike Dobbins, Higgins actually told us why – because he needed to “rest.” I’m going to bet that’s never a good excuse to have for the biggest interview of your life as a potential professional football player. Despite his lack of testing, the tape will tell all to NFL eyes. Higgins can be right back into the first round conversation if he nails his pro-day, which I expect him to. If he doesn’t, well then, this will be another steal for a team who drafts him in round two.
Laviska Shenault – As I stated before with Chase Claypool, you cannot teach size. And Shenault has that at 6’2 227. The only problem is, his injury history surfaced again, as he was not able to compete in on-field drills after running a 4.58 forty. Many teams will be turned off by the amount of injuries Shenault has had during his college career, but there will be one team at least who will be willing to take chance, depending on their situation. If he goes to a team such as the 49ers, he may have a shot to enter into the late-first round conversation of rookie drafts. Basically, he’d be a bigger Deebo Samuel. And just imagine the role Kyle Shanahan would carve out for him each week?
Other Fallers: Brandon Aiyuk, Quintz Cephus, Antonio Gandy-Golden(strictly because of that 4.6 forty)
In conclusion, a lot of things are going to change between now and the weekend of April 23rd – 25th. Draft stock will rise and fall for each of these players mentioned in this article and others who weren’t. The biggest thing to keep an eye on is where they all fall in the draft. After that, you can start to plot who you want/think you can get in July/August. And hopefully, those decisions and draft capital you invest in will pay off in 2020 and beyond.