As draft season approaches, it's important to assess a player's value compared to their Average Draft Position (ADP). I'm going through division by division and picking my favorite player at each position once accounting for their ADP.
Ben Roethlisberger (ADP QB16, 129 Overall)
Runner Up Baker Mayfield (ADP QB15, 122 Overall)
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As someone who almost exclusively takes late-round quarterbacks, Ben Roethlisberger has become a significant target in my mock drafts. I primarily stream QBs, but Big Ben could prove himself a weekly starter. During 2017 and 2018, he showed he still had some juice, but with another year of age and a questionable elbow, he’s no guarantee. At his ADP, his week 1 matchup against the Giants should generate a solid start to the season.
About half a round before Ben, Baker Mayfield is being drafted. Baker’s 2018 was promising, while his 2019 was a dud. With Kevin Stefanski coming in, Baker will be learning a new system. Stefanski’s 1-2 personnel formation should help buy Baker some time in the pocket and allow him to get the ball downfield. He still has a high ceiling, but we’ve already seen he can disappoint.
Jarvis Landry (WR32, 76 Overall)
Runner Up Juju Smith-Schuster (WR14, 39 Overall)
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Jarvis Landry finished as the WR12 in PPR Formats in 2019. He’s now going outside the top 30 at the position. While I like him at his value, I have tempered my expectations for Landry in 2020. As I mentioned with Baker, Stefanski is bringing in the 1-2 personnel formation, which will move Landry outside. Landry has spent at least 59% of his time in the slot every season he’s played, and this could force Landry to run routes he doesn’t usually run. According to Matt Harmon’s reception perception, Landry excelled in the slant, screen, out, and post routes. He disappointed elsewhere. In 2020 he’ll be expected to expand that route tree if he’s lining up outside, which slightly concerns me.
The cost to draft Juju in 2020 isn’t cheap, but there simply aren’t many other WR options I like in this division. Marquise Brown has gotten some steam, but he’s going only two rounds later than Juju Smith-Schuster. JJSS is one of 6 or 7 WRs with the potential to finish as the WR1 overall. Pairing him with Ben Roethlisberger is something I’ve found myself doing in quite a few PPR mocks.
Mark Ingram (RB 28, 55 Overall)
Runner Up James Conner (RB20, 36 Overall)
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There are a ton of great Running Back options in the AFC North. Mark Ingram, in the 6th round, is just great value. When I’m drafting, I’m doing so for week 1, not for the playoffs.
Mark Ingram will start the season as the lead back in Baltimore, and finished as the RB8 in half PPR last season. Dobbins could steal some of Ingram’s work in the back-half of the season, but I still slightly prefer Ingram at ADP compared to Conner. Even when Dobbins comes in, Ingram could get goal-line work. Nobody expects RB1 numbers from Ingram, but 8 weeks of RB2 production is work a 6th round pick.
James Conner has a much higher ceiling in 2020 than Mark Ingram. He’s had trouble staying on the field, but Pittsburgh didn’t bring in a workhorse back this offseason. Adding Anthony McFarland as an auxiliary back will look pretty, but Conner is still the number 1 guy in Pittsburgh. At RB20, he has top 10 upside if he’s healthy.
Austin Hooper (TE13, 128 Overall)
Runner Up Mark Andrews (TE3, 49 Overall)
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The second-best Tight End in the AFC North is Austin Hooper. In 2020, Hooper should be on the field every down and run routes on most of them. During Hooper’s final year in Atlanta, Dirk Koetter worked hard to scheme Austin Hooper open in the middle of the field. While he shouldn’t get the same treatment in Cleveland, he should still finish as a top 12 Tight End. Cleveland is undoubtedly expecting it with the amount of money they paid him.
Mark Andrews is a nightmare for defenses. His efficiency is absurd. What he’s done on a limited snap share is even more absurd. With Hayden Hurst out, Andrews may see a mild increase in snaps. You have to pay up for him, but at the top of the 5th round, he could be worth it. Getting 2 great RB’s and 2 reliable WR’s to pair with Andrews sounds like a dream, but it could be a reality.