By Alex Kurpeski
Edited by: Angel Maldonado
Fantasy Football at its core is an incredibly cyclical activity. Year after year we see rookie running backs and receivers rise from the ashes like armor-clad phoenix (phoenixes?) to light the fantasy football landscape on fire. We all know the biggest names from this year’s rookie class. Jerry Jeudy and CeeDee Lamb are perhaps the two best receivers drafted in the last five years, while RBs Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Jonathan Taylor, and J.K Dobbins should soon find themselves as the definitive RB1’s in their respective backfields. Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa may be well on their way to perennial top-10 fantasy finishes, assuming their respective teams can build around them properly, while fellow first-rounders Justin Herbert and Jordan Love possess the upside to become equally valuable fantasy assets some day. As impressive as the top half of this year’s rookie class may be, this series is not about those guys….
With 2020 being one of the most loaded classes in recent history, some day 2 and day 3 prospects have been forgotten about. Position by position, we’ll take a look at players that have a much higher ceiling than their draft pedigree indicates. Today, we start with Indianapolis Colts rookie Jacob Eason.
A pocket passer with the potential to be the ‘next Dak Prescott’
Former Washington University QB Jacob Eason was once thought of as an elite QB prospect, even as recently as this past fall. At 6’6 Eason is a very traditional pocket passer, with a rocket for an arm. A good, not-great 2019 campaign, along with the ascension of players like Joe Burrow led to Eason’s draft day tumble, with the former 5-star prospect waiting until round 4 to hear his name called. However, Eason landed in one of the best possible situations, with the Indianapolis Colts scooping him up as backup to geriatric signal-caller Philip Rivers.
An injury to Rivers could lead to an immediate starting opportunity for Eason, who behind one of the league’s best offensive lines may very well be a fantasy asset from the get-go (in this hypothetical scenario). Considering the Colts receiving core features a variety of diverse underneath targets (third-down back Nyheim Hines, jumbo-sized slot receiver Michael Pittman Jr, gadget player Parris Campbell, and veteran TEs Jack Doyle & Trey Burton just to name a few), Eason could have a very nice collection of checkdown options to work with. Considering Eason completed about 68% of his passes within 20 yards last season for the Huskies, it would appear as though he has the goods to move the chains as a passer effectively.
Yet Eason is more than just another ‘checkdown charlie’, as the former Gatorade Player of the Year was evaluated as one of the better deep passers in the 2019 season by PFF, with a 91.4 grade on deep throws (beyond 20 yards) a trait that should bode well with perennial high-end WR T.Y Hilton in the fold, one of the best deep threats in the game to this day. While his fellow draft class mates Justin Herbert and Jordan Love find themselves in similar developmental opportunities, Eason’s path to immediate success is much clearer and his price tag in rookie drafts (around the middle of the third round) could make him an absolute steal in dynasty formats.