Fantasy football doesn’t make it out of the NFL Draft untouched, for better or worse. These are the winners and losers from the 2020 draft.
Teams can make or break their franchises when it comes to the NFL Draft. Whether or not a team hits or misses on prospects, especially early-round picks, can have huge ripple effects on the future of the organization. But at the same time, NFL Draft picks can also have a big impact on us regular people and our fantasy football rosters.
The fantasy football value of teams and players — not just draft prospects — can change a great deal after the annual April event bringing in the best 250+ players from college football. Some teams add protection they need on the offensive line, others add weapons and some add quarterbacks.
Of course, not all of the effects are positive. So that’s why we’re here. Let’s dive into the fantasy football winners and losers from the 2020 NFL Draft.
Winner: Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman stayed true to his infamous philosophy of drafting “hog maulies” and that should have a significant impact on Saquon Barkley’s fantasy football success in 2020.
Barkley is unquestionably one of the most dynamic playmakers in the league. However, the Giants offensive line was woeful last year. Big Blue used three of their first five picks to address those woes.
Andrew Thomas is a day one starter at the right tackle position. He was drafted because of the incredible strength and punch that he displayed while playing for Georgia. The Bulldogs had one of the top rushing attacks in the vaunted SEC last season and Thomas was a major reason why.
Former UConn swing tackle Matt Peart is more naturally suited to play left tackle given his height, arm length and athleticism. Peart will likely spend the 2020 season being groomed to replace Nate Solder, who has yet to live up to the expectations of his 2018 free-agent signing. But if Solder were to be released, Peart would likely see significant playing time.
Oregon offensive guard Shane Lemieux is a player that should really excite Barkley. Lemieux was widely considered to be one of the top interior linemen in the draft class, however, slipped to Round 5 due to a less than stellar performance at the NFL Combine.
He was a four-year starter at left guard for Oregon and is known for his trench warfare mentality. A much better run blocker than pass blocker, Lemieux looks the part of a day one starter who can open gaping holes for Barkley. With all that, there should be plenty more room for Barkley to work.
Loser: Damien Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
Damien Williams had a decent fantasy football run during his stint as the de facto starting running back for the Chiefs, including an MVP worthy performance in Super Bowl LIV. However, the Williams stock market officially crashed at pick No. 32 of the 2020 draft.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire was the only running back selected in the first round of the 2020 draft. His combination of elusiveness and receiving skills makes him the perfect back to be featured in an Andy Reid offense. There’s no sleeper alert to see here. He will likely be selected in the first round of your fantasy draft as well.