• Ben Matthews

Dynasty Rookie Sleepers Quick-snap: Devin Duvernay (2020 Fantasy Football)

The Baltimore Ravens stole Devin Duvernay late on Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft in just another example of a smart organisation making a smart decision. Duvernay is an intriguing prospect who snagged 106 balls for 1,386 yards and 9 touchdowns in his final year at Texas.

The former Longhorn should excel in the slot for Baltimore and provide additional consistency for a wide receiver room that needs support. The move to draft Duvernay will be one that will help elevate Lamar Jackson into an elite passer, comparable with the arms of Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes et al; the highest echelon of the NFL.

Last season, the Ravens did not have a true possession receiver. Mark Andrews was the go-to guy in the slot, for touchdown production and whenever Jackson was looking for easy 1st down conversions. Andrews was consistently able to exploit soft zones off play-action in opposing defenses behind linebackers who were fearful of the Jackson-led run game.

A reliable slot receiver is just what the doctor ordered and Duvernay could be the player who benefits from the Ravens' proclivity for short and deep area play-action passes. Having Duvernay on the field will allow the Ravens to use the rarely blocking Andrews as a decoy more often to keep defenses even more off-kilter.

In these situations, Duvernay could gobble up some short range teeders that would have been fed to Andrews in 2019. He has some of the best hands amongst his 2020 draft peers, but also relishes the physical side of the game, able to perform in heavy traffic and has the ability to play through contact thanks to his bowling ball frame.

As a former 100m track star (Texas high school champion), and NFL Combine 40-yard dash time of 4.39, Duvernay also has the explosive ability to glide downfield on deep bombs. He possesses the long speed that will prevent flailing linebackers and safeties staying with him on seam routes - another one of Jackson's favoured areas to throw.

In terms of competition, the number 2 receiving job is clearly up for grabs. Marquise Brown will start outside, and early projections hint that second year-pro, Miles Boykin will start opposite him. This will not effect Duvernay's usage.

As mentioned, it is in the slot where Duvernay will find immediate success. Willie Snead returns, but is in the twilight of his career and only had 339 yards receiving last season, displaying little yards-after-catch ability that Duvernay has in spades.

Seth Roberts and Hayden Hurst are both gone, along with their 74 targets, and Chris Moore is merely a complimentary piece in 4WR sets.

Fellow rookie James Proche could be a threat later in the season as he too displays excellent hands and is a fine fit in many ways that Duvernay is, but a lack of explosion and long speed should see Duvernay start the season with slot duties his to lose. Proche's competitive mentality will see him initially serve on special teams as a future stand out who could scrap his way to offensive snaps later in the season.

Overall, Devin Duvernay is someone who we will be after in all dynasty drafts as a WR5 with the potential for much more as the season progresses as his route tree matures. Low-risk, high upside. What more could you ask for?!

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