2020 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Updated Predictions After Early Training Camps

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistAugust 4, 2020

2020 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Updated Predictions After Early Training Camps

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Winning a fantasy football championship in the 2020 NFL season will be trickier than ever. 

    The big question marks surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, unconventional training camps and the lack of a preseason layer atop the usual fantasy football hurdles. 

    But one thing remains true: It all starts with a good draft. 

    Modern times mean modern solutions, and fantasy owners have mock draft simulators at their disposal to help prepare. Below, we'll analyze a full 16-round mock draft based on simulations run on FantasyPros.

    Mocks were based on points-per-reception (PPR) scoring with rosters featuring one quarterback, two running backs, three wideouts, a tight end, a kicker, a defense/special teams, a flex (WR/RB/TE) and six bench players. 

Round 1

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    1.1 Christian McCaffrey, CAR, RB
    1.2 Saquon Barkley, NYG, RB
    1.3 Alvin Kamara, NO, RB
    1.4 Michael Thomas, NO, WR
    1.5 DeAndre Hopkins, ARI, WR
    1.6 Ezekiel Elliott, DAL, RB
    1.7 Dalvin Cook, MIN, RB
    1.8 Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC, RB
    1.9 Julio Jones, ATL, WR
    1.10 Derrick Henry, TEN, RB
    1.11 Joe Mixon, CIN, RB
    1.12 Davante Adams, GB, WR

    No shocker here: Running backs rule the day in Round 1. 

    Dual-threats like McCaffrey should always be the priority in the opening round, particularly in PPR formats. Kamara at No. 3 is a great value considering his 797 rushing yards, 533 receiving yards and six total touchdowns last year—all three of which were lower than his 2018 output—still equated to 248.52 points. 

    Top wideouts started to squeak into the picture, too. Thomas is always going to be a target hog in New Orleans, and it's smart to have high hopes for Hopkins now that he's with Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals. 

    With the top-heavy running backs out of the way at No. 12, Adams slotted in here. Again, a target hog with a good quarterback is hard to complain about in the opening round, and Adams has 117-plus targets four seasons in a row and finished as the WR6 in terms of fantasy points per game last year.

Round 2

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    2.1 Tyreek Hill, KC, WR
    2.2 Kenyan Drake, ARI, RB
    2.3 Chris Godwin, TB, WR
    2.4 Allen Robinson, CHI, WR
    2.5 Miles Sanders, PHI, RB
    2.6 Austin Ekeler, LAC, RB
    2.7 Mike Evans, TB, WR
    2.8 Patrick Mahomes, KC, QB
    2.9 Travis Kelce, KC, TE
    2.10 Kenny Golladay, DET, WR
    2.11 Aaron Jones, GB, RB
    2.12 Josh Jacobs, LV, RB

    Round 2 is where things will start to vary, but some basic PPR principles have persisted over the years.

    Doubling up on running backs is one strategy, especially if one or both will see a healthy percentage of their team's target share. Austin Ekeler, taken at No. 18 overall, had a career-high 92 receptions for 993 yards and eight touchdowns on 108 targets last year.

    Other managers aim to land at least one elite wideout in one of the two opening rounds. Now that Tom Brady is in Tampa Bay, landing Mike Evans at No. 19 overall could be great value.

    Mahomes was the first quarterback off the board at No. 20 overall, which might seem early. However, he put up 291.9 points last year and finished as the QB8 even though he missed two games. Although he fell short of Lamar Jackson last year (421.7 points), he put up similarly impressive numbers in 2018 (417.0 points).

Round 3

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    3.1 George Kittle, SF, TE
    3.2 Lamar Jackson, BAL, QB
    3.3 Amari Cooper, DAL, WR
    3.4 Odell Beckham Jr., CLE, WR
    3.5 Adam Thielen, MIN, WR
    3.6 Keenan Allen, LAC, WR
    3.7 Nick Chubb, CLE, RB
    3.8 JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT, WR
    3.9 Cooper Kupp, LAR, WR
    3.10 Zach Ertz, PHI, TE
    3.11 Mark Andrews, BAL, TE
    3.12 DJ Moore, CAR, WR

    Expect to see a run on the top tight ends in Round 3.

    With Kelce going at No. 21 overall, Kittle was the first pick of the third round here. The San Francisco 49ers star had fewer receiving yards (1,053) and receptions (85) than he did in 2018, yet he finished with 222.5 points, not far behind Kelce's 254.3. He was one of only five tight ends to top 200 PPR points last year and one of only nine with 150 points.

    Fresh off his MVP campaign, Jackson came off the board next. Even though he's likely to regress statistically in 2020, he should stay toward the top of the positional scoring leaderboard.

    In Round 3, owners who took risks with one of their first two picks should go with safer bets such as Chubb. Those who went all-in on backs could grab a sneaky wideout play like Moore, who has a new quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater and was targeted 135 times last year.

Round 4

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    4.1 A.J. Brown, TEN, WR
    4.2 Calvin Ridley, ATL, WR
    4.3 Todd Gurley, ATL, RB
    4.4 Robert Woods, LAR, WR
    4.5 Terry McLaurin, WAS, WR
    4.6 Courtland Sutton, DEN, WR
    4.7 Chris Carson, SEA, RB
    4.8 Tyler Lockett, SEA, WR
    4.9 DJ Chark Jr., JAC, WR
    4.10 Leonard Fournette, JAC, RB
    4.11 D.K. Metcalf, SEA, WR
    4.12 DeVante Parker, MIA, WR

    In a traditional year, Round 4 is probably where managers start grabbing the top quarterbacks. But fantasy football has to evolve alongside the real game. 

    In this draft, both Mahomes and Jackson are already off the board. Owners can instead lock up volume ground-based rushers like Fournette or a top-tier wideout candidate like Ridley, who isn't Matt Ryan's No. 1 target but still flirted with the 200-point mark last year on 93 targets. 

    Risks aren't out of the question, either, which puts Gurley in play here. He's coming off a disappointing season and is on a new team in Atlanta, yet the payoff would be huge if he's healthy in that Ryan-led offense. He's a much better gamble than crossing your fingers on a non-Mahomes or Jackson passer. 

Round 5

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    5.1 T.Y. Hilton, IND, WR
    5.2 Julian Edelman, NE, WR
    5.3 Stefon Diggs, BUF, WR
    5.4 Melvin Gordon, DEN, RB
    5.5 Le'Veon Bell, NYJ, RB
    5.6 Jarvis Landry, CLE, WR
    5.7 A.J. Green, CIN, WR
    5.8 Tyler Boyd, CIN, WR
    5.9 Cam Akers, LAR, RB
    5.10 Brandin Cooks, HOU, WR
    5.11 Marquise Brown, BAL, WR
    5.12 David Johnson, HOU, RB

    In Round 5, it's easy to focus on filling out needs by grabbing a quarterback or tight end. But at both of those positions, there's a dramatic dip in production after the top few players.

    Instead, gobble up productive second-tier guys like Boyd, who finished with 222.9 points and had 148 targets despite miserable quarterback play last year. Or take a running back gamble like Gordon, whose new surroundings in Denver could lead to a committee approach, yet his past elite production hints at him completely taking over the backfield.

    Filling out a running back or wideout need here is wise. But teams that already have two of each should take the best player available and wait until the value is right at other spots later in the draft.

Round 6

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    6.1 James Conner, PIT, RB
    6.2 Michael Gallup, DAL, WR
    6.3 Jonathan Taylor, IND, RB
    6.4 Mark Ingram II, BAL, RB
    6.5 Darren Waller, LV, TE
    6.6 Dak Prescott, DAL, QB
    6.7 Devin Singletary, BUF, RB
    6.8 Rob Gronkowski, TB, TE
    6.9 D'Andre Swift, DET, RB
    6.10 Evan Engram, NYG, TE
    6.11 David Montgomery, CHI, RB
    6.12 Will Fuller, HOU, WR 

    All bets are off starting in Round 6.

    If your first few rounds went well, you can start to look at the second tier of quarterbacks here. Prescott quietly finished second behind Jackson in scoring at the position last year, and the Dallas Cowboys added rookie CeeDee Lamb to his pass-catching corps this season.

    The same goes for the second tier of tight ends, too. Gronkowski is a big risk as he returns from his short-lived retirement. But he's also linking up with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay and should shake free for plenty of production as defenses focus on Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and others and others. 

    Waller is a superb value at this stage of the draft. He landed third in scoring behind Kelce and Kittle last year with 221 points on 117 targets, and getting that type of production at TE could push a manager over the edge on a weekly basis. 

Round 7

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    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    7.1 Diontae Johnson, PIT, WR
    7.2 Hayden Hurst, ATL, TE
    7.3 Marvin Jones Jr., DET, WR
    7.4 Russell Wilson, SEA, QB
    7.5 Kareem Hunt, CLE, RB
    7.6 Tyler Higbee, LAR, TE
    7.7 Deebo Samuel, SF, WR
    7.8 Deshaun Watson, HOU, QB
    7.9 Kyler Murray, ARI, QB
    7.10 Matt Ryan, ATL, QB
    7.11 Emmanuel Sanders, NO, WR
    7.12 Drew Brees, QB, NO

    In Round 7, positional need comes more into play. 

    That doesn't mean ignoring an amazing value. But for those without a passer, it's hard to complain about Russell Wilson, who finished fourth in fantasy scoring last season and should stay in the top five this year. 

    It's also time to look at potential committee dark horses like Hunt. Even if he's playing second fiddle to Nick Chubb, he has RB1 upside and standalone flex value.

    Consider potential breakout passers such as Murray, too. With new star wideout DeAndre Hopkins, a full 16 games of Kenyan Drake and a developing offensive approach, it wouldn't be shocking to see him finish as a top-five QB, which is the sort of value you should be targeting in these middle rounds. 

Round 8

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    Ben Margot/Associated Press

    8.1 Christian Kirk, ARI, WR
    8.2 Aaron Rodgers, GB, QB
    8.3 Sterling Shepard, NYG, WR
    8.4 Raheem Mostert, SF, RB
    8.5 John Brown, BUF, WR
    8.6 James White, NE, RB
    8.7 Tom Brady, TB, QB
    8.8 Henry Ruggs III, LV, WR
    8.9 Darius Slayton, NYG, WR
    8.10 Tarik Cohen, CHI, RB
    8.11 Anthony Miller, CHI, WR
    8.12 Josh Allen, BUF, QB

    The fact Rodgers and Allen are still on the board in Round 8 speaks volumes about the depth at QB this year.

    Rodgers finished 10th in scoring at his position last year even though star wideout Davante Adams missed four games. With a healthy Adams, Rodgers could soar up the fantasy leaderboard. Allen, meanwhile, finished sixth last year after throwing for 3,089 yards and 20 touchdowns and adding 510 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground.

    Round 8 is also a good time to take a high-upside flyer on a rookie like Henry Ruggs III. The speedster could quickly become Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr's favorite target.

Round 9

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    9.1 Ronald Jones II, TB, RB
    9.2 Jamison Crowder, NYJ, WR
    9.3 Carson Wentz, PHI, QB
    9.4 Matt Breida, MIA, RB
    9.5 Pittsburgh Steelers, PIT, DST
    9.6 Jerry Jeudy, DEN, WR
    9.7 Derrius Guice, WAS, RB
    9.8 Tevin Coleman, SF, RB
    9.9 Mike Williams, LAC, WR
    9.10 Jalen Reagor, PHI, WR
    9.11 J.K. Dobbins, BAL, RB
    9.12 CeeDee Lamb, DAL, WR

    Welcome to flex territory. And elite defenses territory.

    It's still a bit early to grab a defense, but like quarterback, the best D/ST will far outproduce the second or third spot. That seems to be the rationale with having the Pittsburgh Steelers this high up a year removed from a second-place finish with 20 interceptions and 54 sacks. 

    Otherwise, it's all about the flex plays. Injuries have derailed Guice through his first two NFL seasons, but he's flashed top-10 upside when healthy. He'd be a great gamble for anyone who goes all-in on wideouts early, as it's rare to get a potential workhorse this late in a draft.

    Round 9 is also a good time to gamble on rookies like Reagor and Lamb who have the potential to break into starting lineups and make immediate noise.

Round 10

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    10.1 Justin Jefferson, MIN, WR
    10.2 Marlon Mack, IND, RB
    10.3 Phillip Lindsay, DEN, RB
    10.4 Golden Tate, NYG, WR
    10.5 Jordan Howard, MIA, RB
    10.6 Sony Michel, NE, RB
    10.7 Kerryon Johnson, DET, RB
    10.8 Ke'Shawn Vaughn, TB, RB
    10.9 Zack Moss, BUF, RB
    10.10 Latavius Murray, NO, RB
    10.11 Antonio Gibson, WAS, RB
    10.12 Alexander Mattison, MIN, RB

    From Round 10 onward, it's time to hunt for sleepers.

    Howard put up 111.4 points on only 119 carries last season, and he has scored at least six touchdowns in each of his four NFL seasons. He won't contribute much in the passing game, but early-down thumpers with goal-line duties still have fantasy value.

    Round 10 is also the range for committee backs who could take over the workload, such as Mack. He'll be battling a high-profile rookie in Jonathan Taylor for touches in Indianapolis.

    This is also handcuff range. If Dalvin Cook is ever sidelined in Minnesota, Mattison will step in and feast.

Round 11

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    Reed Hoffmann/Associated Press

    11.1 San Francisco 49ers, SF, DST
    11.2 Michael Pittman Jr., IND, WR
    11.3 Robby Anderson, CAR, WR
    11.4 DeSean Jackson, PHI, WR
    11.5 Darrell Henderson, LAR, RB
    11.6 Breshad Perriman, NYJ, WR
    11.7 Hunter Henry, LAC, TE
    11.8 Mecole Hardman, KC, WR
    11.9 Boston Scott, PHI, RB
    11.10 Preston Williams, MIA, WR
    11.11 Baltimore Ravens, BAL, DST
    11.12 Jared Cook, NO, TE

    The floodgates begin to open on D/ST in Round 11.

    It's hard to complain about the Nick Bosa-led 49ers or a usual suspect like the Ravens. Both finished among the top five in scoring last year and boast the upside to lead all D/STs.

    Also keep in mind new faces in new places like Anderson, who will join DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel in the Carolina receiving corps. Taking an injury risk such as Henry and hoping for top-tier production is a fine gamble this late, too.

Round 12

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    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    12.1 Buffalo Bills, BUF, DST
    12.2 Sammy Watkins, KC, WR
    12.3 Duke Johnson, HOU, RB
    12.4 Mike Gesicki, MIA, TE
    12.5 Tony Pollard, DAL, RB
    12.6 N'Keal Harry, NE, WR
    12.7 Nyheim Hines, IND, RB
    12.8 Curtis Samuel, CAR, WR
    12.9 Chicago Bears, CHI, DST
    12.10 New England Patriots, NE, DST
    12.11 Darrynton Evans, TEN, RB
    12.12 Brandon Aiyuk, SF

    By Round 12, it's time to gamble. 

    Harry has yet to flash much with the New England Patriots. But he's still developing and will likely have Cam Newton under center this season. 

    The same goes for Gesicki, whom the Dolphins drafted with the No. 42 overall pick in 2018. He can line up in the slot and may get to play with exciting rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa at some point this year.

    Meanwhile, Samuel could get a bump with new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and offensive coordinator Joe Brady. He had 627 yards and six scores last year but has middle-round upside, making him an incredible value here. 

Round 13

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    Bryan Woolston/Associated Press

    13.1 Justin Jackson, LAC, RB
    13.2 Jonnu Smith, TEN, TE
    13.3 Dede Westbrook, JAC, WR
    13.4 Giovani Bernard, CIN, RB
    13.5 LeSean McCoy, TB, RB
    13.6 Austin Hooper, CLE, TE
    13.7 Alshon Jeffery, PHI, WR
    13.8 T.J. Hockenson, DET, TE
    13.9 Chris Thompson, JAC, RB
    13.10 Jack Doyle, IND, TE
    13.11 Chase Edmonds, ARI, RB
    13.12 A.J. Dillon, GB

    Round 13 brings more sleepers and gambles on potential breakouts. 

    As a rookie, Hockenson had 367 yards and two touchdowns on 32 receptions. He's a prime breakout candidate going into his sophomore season provided he and quarterback Matthew Stafford get removed from the reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of Week 1. 

    Hooper is another good example. He never put up huge numbers in Atlanta and projects to be behind Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry in Cleveland's pecking order. But the attention defenses have to throw at those two could make him a target monster as a safety valve for Baker Mayfield. 

Round 14

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    14.1 Jamaal Williams, GB, RB
    14.2 Noah Fant, DEN, TE
    14.3 Allen Lazard, GB, WR
    14.4 Dallas Goedert, PHI, TE
    14.5 James Washington, PIT, WR
    14.6 Hunter Renfrow, LV, WR
    14.7 Randall Cobb, HOU, WR
    14.8 Eric Ebron, PIT, TE
    14.9 Blake Jarwin, DAL, TE
    14.10 Greg Olsen, SEA, TE
    14.11 Antonio Gandy-Golden, WAS, WR
    14.12 Chris Herndon IV, NYJ

    Welcome to flier range. 

    Lazard is far from a household name, but he could end up getting more attention from Aaron Rodgers now that free-agent addition Devin Funchess has opted out of the season. 

    A bench option like Washington, a second-round pick in 2018, always presents some upside as well. He's coming off a 735-yard season despite largely catching passes from Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges.

Round 15

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    15.1 Denzel Mims, NYJ, WR
    15.2 Kansas City Chiefs, KC, DST
    15.3 Harrison Butker, KC, K
    15.4 Tee Higgins, CIN, WR
    15.5 Larry Fitzgerald, ARI, WR
    15.6 New Orleans Saints, NO, DST
    15.7 Justin Rohrwasser, NE, K
    15.8 Los Angeles Chargers, LAC, DST
    15.9 Los Angeles Rams, LAR, DST
    15.10 Denver Broncos, DEN, DST
    15.11 Parris Campbell, IND, WR
    15.12 Anthony McFarland Jr., PIT

    Round 15 is prime defense territory for owners who didn't scoop up some of the heavyweights earlier. 

    It's also a good range to invest in some rookies. Higgins could work his way into the Cincinnati Bengals' lineup quickly if the oft-injured A.J. Green can't go. 

    The New York Jets might deploy Mims as a deep threat for Sam Darnold, which could give him week-winning upside in the right matchups.

Round 16

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    16.1 Justin Tucker, BAL, K
    16.2 Wil Lutz, NO, K
    16.3 Greg Zuerlein, DAL, K
    16.4 Robbie Gould, SF, K
    16.5 Matt Prater, DET, K
    16.6 Minnesota Vikings, MIN, DST
    16.7 Matt Gay, TB, K
    16.8 Chris Boswell, PIT, K
    16.9 Zane Gonzalez, ARI, K
    16.10 Matthew Stafford, DET, QB
    16.11 Ka'imi Fairbairn, HOU, K
    16.12 Younghoe Koo, ATL

    The 16th round is all about kickers. 

    Reaching for a kicker before Round 16 is largely ill-advised. Today's pass-happy NFL means plenty of scoring chances for more kickers than will get selected in a fantasy draft. 

    As always, the approach is simple—grab a guy in a high-scoring offense and enjoy. Avoid kickers in camp competitions, too. 

       

    Scoring info courtesy of ESPN