Fantasy Football 2020: Top-50 PPR Rankings and Mock Draft Selection Strategy

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 11, 2020

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook runs after a catch during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Carson, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

For all the statistical deep dives and film study that might go into your fantasy football predraft process, nothing prepares you for the real thing better than a mock draft.

It's most obviously beneficial in terms of valuing players and determining precise draft costs, but the advantages run deeper than that. For instance, since you aren't married to the roster beyond the mock, it can be a time to experiment with different strategies and see what works best for you.

That's the route we're taking here; we used the FantasyPros mock draft simulator to form rosters with two different strategic approaches. We'll break down the results below, after laying out our top-50 rankings for point-per-reception leagues.


Top-50 PPR Rankings

1. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

2. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

3. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

4. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

5. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

6. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

7. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

8. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals

9. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

10. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

11. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

12. Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

13. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

14. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

15. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

16. Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys

17. Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

18. Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders

19. Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens

20. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

21. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

22. Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions

23. Melvin Gordon, RB, Denver Broncos

24. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

25. Todd Gurley, RB, Atlanta Falcons

26. David Johnson, RB, Houston Texans

27. Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

28. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

29. Kenyan Drake, RB, Arizona Cardinals

30. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

31. A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans

32. Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos

33. Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings

34. Le'Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets

35. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

36. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns

37. D.J. Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers

38. Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears

39. D.J. Chark, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

40. Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks

41. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

42. D'Andre Swift, RB, Detroit Lions

43. Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks

44. Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills

45. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

46. Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts

47. DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks

48. James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

49. Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

50. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers


Mock Draft Selection Strategies

Starting with 2 Running Backs

Drafting out of the fifth slot in a 12-team PPR league, I wanted to target the running back spot with my first two selections. It's the shallowest of the marquee positions, so the thought is to grab a pair of top talents there, then rely on the depth of the other spots to adequately fill out the roster.

This mock opened with Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Michael Thomas and Ezekiel Elliott. That meant Dalvin Cook, my fourth-ranked player, was still on the board at No. 5. So, Cook was the choice and built my starting lineup as follows.

  • QB: Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
  • RB: Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
  • RB: Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders
  • WR: Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys
  • WR: Courtland Sutton, Denver Broncos
  • WR: T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
  • TE: Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers
  • D/ST: New Orleans Saints
  • K: Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens

While Cook is the centerpiece, Josh Jacobs could steal that title by season's end. Despite fighting a nagging shoulder injury, Jacobs managed 1,136 scrimmage yards and seven scores as a rookie. The Raiders upgraded their defense this offseason, so they could be looking to play more clock-controlled battles, which should up Jacobs' usage. He'll also benefit from the arrival of new offensive threats, like rookie speedster Henry Ruggs III.

Wide receiver took up the third, fourth and fifth picks, and the position looks as strong as it could be for not addressing it in the first two rounds. Amari Cooper should provide reliable elite production, and I like the balance of Courtland Sutton's upside with T.Y. Hilton's relative safety.

I probably waited too long at quarterback, but maybe a motivated Aaron Rodgers could become a fantasy monster again. Plus, waiting at that spot allowed me to dip back into the running back ranks to grab David Johnson in the sixth round. That should give me at least two good-to-great options every week, as the Texans' huge investment in Johnson suggests they're about to let him run wild.


Opening With Wide Receiver, Quarterback, Wide Receiver

After mocking an RB-heavy roster, why not flip the script and take the passing game for a spin?

I snagged the seventh pick this time, which dropped Davante Adams right in my lap. Since the Green Bay Packers inexplicably ignored the wide receiver spot this offseason (no offense, Devin Funchess), Adams should again be the (heavily) favored target for a future Hall of Fame quarterback.

Last season, Adams caught 83 passes for 997 yards and five scores. Those don't seem like blow-you-away numbers, but once you factor in he only played 12 games, this is clearly top-shelf production. It was his fourth straight season with at least 117 targets, and in the three previous years, those opportunities turned into 35 total touchdown receptions.

With an elite wideout in hand, I wanted to see how my roster would look after spending my second-round pick on my QB1. So, I grabbed Lamar Jackson with the 18th selection. That's only one spot ahead of where I have him ranked, so the value was fine. And if he looks like he did last season (3,127 passing yards with 36 touchdowns, 1,260 rushing yards with seven more scores), this might be grand larceny.

I wanted one more passing weapon at the top, so JuJu Smith-Schuster was a third-rounder. By the draft's end, this is how the starting lineup looked:

  • QB: Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
  • RB: Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks
  • RB: Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
  • WR: Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
  • WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
  • WR: Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys
  • TE: Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints
  • D/ST: New England Patriots
  • K: Matt Prater, Detroit Lions

This puts a lot of pressure on Chris Carson and Jonathan Taylor to perform.

Carson battled some fumbling issues last season and still wound up with 1,230 rushing yards and seven rushing scores. Taylor won the last two Doak Walker Awards as the best back in college football. Obviously, he still has to compete with Marlon Mack for touches, but the Colts traded up for Taylor. If they give the rookie a big role, he could do major damage behind that offensive line.

Plus, the first two bench spots (after the Michael Gallup selection, which I love), went right back to the running back position with D'Andre Swift and Kareem Hunt. Carson might be the only rusher in a fully featured role, but Hunt will be involved in what should be an improved Browns offense, and both Taylor and Swift could work their way into huge opportunities.

I'm not sure I prefer one lineup over the other, which is perhaps the best reminder that there are many ways to build a formidable fantasy roster.