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Draft Guide Preview

QBs & WRs The Rotoworld Staff Is Split On

by Hayden Winks
Updated On: August 11, 2020, 7:29 pm ET

In the Rotoworld Draft Guide, you’ll find the personal rankings of each of our staff writers. It only costs $3.99 per month to unlock, and you’ll get a lot more than rankings with a subscription -- player profiles, team previews, sleepers/busts, projections, and exclusive columns. Obviously I’m biased, but it’s a total deal. 

Today I’m going through some of the players that our writers are split on, beginning with quarterbacks and receivers now and then running backs and tight ends later in the week. It’s a good exercise to see which situations are most uncertain. For a lot of players on these lists, it’s a combination of injuries and changes of scenery that cause the most debate, but in the end, we’re talking about a difference of a half dozen or so spots in positional ranks so we’re really just splitting hairs at this point into our offseason research.

 

Patrick Mahomes

High: Patrick Daugherty (QB1), John Daigle (QB1), Hayden Winks (QB1)

Low: Josh Norris (QB2), Nick Mensio (QB2)

First off, Norris and Mensio aren’t actually “low” on Mahomes. Nobody is. It’s impossible, but this essentially is a debate between Mahomes and Lamar Jackson for the top quarterback spot. Lamar crushed Mahomes in fantasy points last season after setting the rushing record at quarterback and leading the NFL with 36 passing touchdowns, but more than half of the Rotoworld rankers believe in Mahomes’ floor (and ceiling) in 2020. I personally have them next to each other on my top-200 big board and am only drafting either quarterback if I have already drafted one of their teammates. For example, I’ll only draft Mahomes if I took Clyde Edwards-Helaire earlier, or Lamar if I’m within striking distance of Mark Andrews.
 

Ben Roethlisberger

High: Nick Mensio (QB10), Patrick Daugherty (QB12)

Low: Hayden Winks (QB17), John Daigle (QB16)

This disagreement is pretty straight forward. Is Big Ben healthy? I’m not sure either side can be confident one way or the other, at least until we see how he progresses throughout actual training camp practices. If reports are positive then, I’ll start sliding Roethlisberger a few spots up in my rankings because the last time we saw him healthy, he threw for 5,129 yards and 34 touchdowns. Granted that was with Antonio Brown in black and yellow. For the same reasons, the Rotoworld staff is equally as split on JuJu Smith-Schuster this season.

 

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Daniel Jones

High: Patrick Daugherty (QB14), John Daigle (QB14)

Low: Hayden Winks (QB19)

The skill-position talent surrounding Jones is insane with Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, and Darius Slayton, but the new coaching staff is a total wild card. Will OC Jason Garrett call the reserved offense he led in Dallas throughout the mid-2010s? Or did he learn modern approaches alongside Cowboys OC Kellen Moore last season? I’m betting on the offense turning to a slower-paced, more run heavy approach, and Daugherty and Daigle are buying these skill-position pieces masking my worries.

 

Baker Mayfield

High: Josh Norris (QB14), John Daigle (QB15)

Low: Hayden Winks (QB21), Patrick Daugherty (QB20)

All of us at Rotoworld admit that Mayfield was bad last season. What we can’t totally agree on is how much the new coaching staff and Odell Beckham’s expected health will help Mayfield in year three. Even as the lowest Mayfield ranker, I’m projecting him for notable gains in the efficiency department, largely because of new head coach Kevin Stefanski’s installment of a heavy play-action attack. What I’m concerned with is passing volume. Stefanski called an offense that was 31st in pass percentage last season, and I’m expecting the Browns to be somewhere in the 20s in that category this year. He’ll have to make big leaps to get into the high-end QB2 tier, but that’s well within the range of outcomes given the offensive talent around him.
 

Adam Thielen

High: Nick Mensio (WR5), Hayden Winks (WR7)

Low: John Daigle (WR13)

Thielen’s target projection is undoubtedly huge, potentially top-five in the entire league. Where the debate lies is within his 58-778-8 receiving line across his last 16 games. If Thielen is still aching due to the various injuries that compounded across the last two seasons, it will be hard for him to post WR1 numbers, but if he’s near full health, he has a clear path to high-end production. I’ll be shocked if Minnesota finishes 30th in pass attempts like they did in 2019, largely because it’s unlikely that they repeat as the sixth-ranked offense in percentage of snaps with a lead after losing Stefon Diggs and so many pieces on defense this offseason.

 

Kenny Golladay

High: Patrick Daugherty (WR6), John Daigle (WR6), Nick Mensio (WR7)

Low: Josh Norris (WR14), Hayden Winks (WR14)

Rotoworld has always been big fans of Golladay, and our overall rankings continue to show that. In the eight games with a healthy Matthew Stafford last season, the Lions Offense was absolutely cooking (25.5 points per game). Golladay was the WR9 over that stretch with Stafford checking in as the QB5 overall. Those numbers are within their range of outcomes, but I’m a little lower because of regression. Over that same stretch, Golladay was the WR17 in my expected fantasy points model that adjusts for value-adjusted usage. If we meet in the middle, Golladay will be a borderline WR1/2.
 

Marvin Jones

High: Nick Mensio (WR23), Hayden Winks (WR29)

Low: John Daigle (WR44), Patrick Daugherty (WR40)

Not only do we disagree on Golladay’s outlook, but Rotoworld also sees Jones’ 2020 projection differently, mostly because we disagree on target shares. Even as a Jones truther, I understand that Golladay is emerging while Jones is beginning to fade, but last year’s numbers with Stafford -- he was the WR11 through the first eight weeks of 2019 on WR27 usage -- are enough for me to bet on another WR3 season from Jones. Of course, the fact that Jones is 30 years old and has missed 10 games over the last two seasons are valid reasons to fade last year’s per-game production.

 

Robert Woods

High: Hayden Winks (WR11), Nick Mensio (WR12)

Low: Patrick Daugherty (WR21), Josh Norris (WR19)

There aren't injury issues nor change of scenery issues surrounding Woods, but he’s still a hotly debated commodity. That’s probably because of our views of Jared Goff and the identity of the Rams 2020 offense. Last year, we watched coach Sean McVay toy with two-TE sets (that would help Woods) but it’s impossible to be confident in projecting the Rams’ 21-personnel usage this season. Regardless, all five of us have Woods ranked above Cooper Kupp.

 

Tyler Lockett

High: Josh Norris (WR18), Hayden Winks (WR18)

Low: Patrick Daugherty (WR26), John Daigle (WR26)

Lockett’s uncertain outlook surrounds how he played in the second half of 2019. He spent time on the injury report with a leg injury and a bad case of the flu, which ultimately got DK Metcalf more looks down the stretch. Lockett’s chemistry with Russell Wilson is undeniable, but there’s debate whether or not Metcalf takes a bigger share of the pie in 2020. In fact, the Rotoworld writers are split two to three on ranking Lockett over Metcalf.

 

Henry Ruggs

High: Josh Norris (WR36), Hayden Winks (WR39)

Low: John Daigle (WR52), Nick Mensio (WR51), Patrick Daugherty (WR49)

This isn’t a surprise because Ruggs was the most polarizing receiver prospect of the 2020 draft season. His production isn’t typical of a first-round player, but Ruggs has 4.3 speed, insane college efficiency, and was competing against multiple first rounders for targets on his own offense. Ruggs is viewed as a deep threat by some because of his forty time, but Norris and I see a player who can win underneath. How (and how much) he’ll be utilized right away is the main debate within Rotoworld.

 

CeeDee Lamb

High: John Daigle (WR39), Hayden Winks (WR41)

Low: Patrick Daugherty (WR59), Nick Mensio (WR53), Josh Norris (WR52)

Figuring out how to project rookies in a pandemic-shortened offense is already something to be split on. Adding a first-round talent into a crowded, but explosive offense only adds to the debate. With Lamb, Daigle and I just want pieces of this Cowboys Offense, one that I project to be top-five in scoring and yardage this season. I’m uncertain if it will equate to consistent fantasy production, but I’m confident that Lamb has top-30 potential if he can earn more looks in the second half of 2020. Fading his WR4/5 price tag comes down to how you think targets are split between him, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Ezekiel Elliott, and Blake Jarwin. At least the Cowboys have the second-most available targets (190) from last season.