Fantasy Football 2020: Mobile Cheat Sheet, Mock Draft Strategy for Top PositionsAugust 9, 2020
It's August, and you know what that means: The clock is ticking for fantasy football drafts.
The opt-out deadline has passed, teams are uploading hype videos on social media and the smartest fantasy managers are toying with positional rankings. This is bound to be the least predictable season in NFL history so, more than ever, all rankings are subject to change—but that doesn't mean a foundation can't be laid today.
We'll examine a cheat sheet top 10 for each offensive position, followed by one bust and one sleeper to consider outside of the top 10. For context information, the basis for community consensus will be FantasyPros' 2020 rankings.
1. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
2. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
3. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
4. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
5. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
6. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
7. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
8. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
9. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions
10. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
Passing ability is incredibly important for football, but the entire offense's potential and a quarterback's legs make the difference in fantasy. That's why my rankings had Jackson and Allen well above ADP last season, and that's why Murray can hit QB3 this year.
In 2019, that gamble on a mobile QB paid off, as Action Jackson finished as QB1 and Allen finished as QB6. Murray, a rookie playing for a first-year head coach, still finished at QB7. Now, he's spent a full year with the team and added DeAndre Hopkins to his cadre of weapons—on an offense that already figures to be the fastest-paced in the NFL.
But you still shouldn't be reaching for a QB until the rest of your positions are filled out, as the position has a much narrower gulf in scoring than most of the others. That's why someone like Stafford, who is projected at QB11 but was an absolute gunslinger in 2019 before getting hurt, could provide tremendous value in the later rounds.
Sleeper: Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
While guys like Stafford, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers all have big upside and are available in the 10-13 range among quarterbacks, Joe Burrow's upside vastly surpasses his ADP of 16.
He just put up likely the greatest quarterbacking season in NCAA football history, with 5,671 passing yards, 60 passing touchdowns, 368 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. And although the Cincinnati Bengals were atrocious last season, he still has a chance to shine.
On the offensive line, Jonah Williams, Cincinnati's 2019 first-round pick, is healthy and ready to help improve some woes. In the receiving corps, A.J. Green has returned to health and the gigantic Tee Higgins was added in the 2020 draft. That group now has a ton of depth, with Tyler Boyd, Auden Tate and John Ross III all helping give Burrow a variety of weapons.
Potential Bust: Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
There's just not a lot to be excited about with this Pittsburgh Steelers offense. Sure, Ben Roethlisberger may be able to right the ship and provide some life, as he should be an upgrade over Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges.
But consensus rankings have him at QB15, ahead of guys like Baker Mayfield, Ryan Tannehill, Jared Goff and Burrow—all more exciting picks. Big Ben got to throw 62 passes across two games last season before going down to injury, and those amounted to 35 completions (a 56.5 percent completion rate) for 351 yards and one interception. A comeback isn't out of the question, but it ought to be proved on the fantasy waivers.
1. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
2. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
3. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
4. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
5. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
6. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs
7. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
8. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
9. Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals
10. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
The top three running backs occupy an easy tier of their own, but the rest are painful to rank. Guys like Josh Jacobs and Aaron Jones could well deserve a spot in the top 10, as could Joe Mixon and Austin Ekeler.
Ultimately, Henry is the first among the second tier because of his relative health over the years and remarkable rushing volume. Edwards-Helaire squeezes up the rankings for the same reason that Drake does (although the latter has better competition in his room): talent on a potent offense. Regardless, these and the aforementioned four are all legitimate scorers.
Past these 10, Jacobs, Jones, Mixon and Ekeler—the rankings get messy and unpredictable because of drops in predictable volume. So managers should aim to lock one of these down before rounding out their rosters.
Sleeper: Antonio Gibson, Washington Football Team
Derrius Guice has been released, and Antonio Gibson should rightfully fly up rankings. For now, he's still RB50, per ADP, and Adrian Peterson is timeless and incredible. Peterson's production wasn't just a product of volume last season; those big legs legitimately had some spice to them, and he made some younger gentlemen look foolish.
But Gibson is an electric dual threat, split time at wide receiver and running back in college and should be Washington's most prominent back by midseason.
On 38 receptions and 33 rushing attempts, he notched 1,104 yards and 12 touchdowns for Memphis. Washington figures to be playing from behind, so he will get his opportunities out of the backfield as a pass-catcher. Like Devin Singletary learning from Frank Gore, Gibson should glean some wisdom from the 35-year-old Peterson before gaining the majority of the touches.
Potential Bust: Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts
Jonathan Taylor was a better back in college than Gibson, but he's in a backfield with fewer voids to be filled. While he could, and likely should, earn the majority of touches by the year's end, he still has to contend with a talented runner in Marlon Mack and a talented receiver in Nyheim Hines.
Taylor is great, and an RB18 ADP is a testament to his potential and college game film. But respect ought to be paid to Mack's and Hines' talents. His volume stands on shakier ground than that of many of the other backs in his range.
1. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
2. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
3. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
4. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals
5. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions
6. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
7. Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears
8. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
9. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
10. A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans
Like running back, there's a clear tier split after the top guys here because of predictable volume. After Hopkins at No. 4, the rankings get confusing. A major question has to be whether Evans and Godwin can put up top-10 seasons on a more efficient but safer Brady-led offense.
It feels great to get Robinson in the top 10 though, and he deserves it. Back to health, the talented receiver saved the Bears offense game in and game out—at least, as much as one player could. He gets an edge over Hill because of the latter's dangerous floor.
Amari Cooper doesn't crack the top 10 because of Michael Gallup's emergence and the addition of CeeDee Lamb. The potential for fewer targets spells fewer fantasy points. Conversely, Terry McLaurin could crack WR1 territory this season as he's easily Washington's top option.
Sleeper: Henry Ruggs III, Las Vegas Raiders
An ADP of WR45 is silly for Henry Ruggs III. It may have been the most stacked draft class at his position in NFL history, and the Las Vegas Raiders still pulled him off the board first. Jon Gruden missed his chance to build his passing game around a smaller, finesse speedster in Antonio Brown, and it doesn't feel like a coincidence that Las Vegas chose Ruggs over the likes of Jerry Jeudy and Lamb.
And it's not worrying that offensive coordinator Greg Olson says he will start in the slot. Per NFL.com, Brown ran 8.7 routes per game from the slot in 2018 and totaled 306 yards and five touchdowns. Olson has already committed to moving Ruggs around, despite starting him in the slot, and this just grants him a faster road to comfort in the league.
Playing from the slot means easier coverage and quicker opportunities to get the ball. He very well may be the fastest player in the NFL, has already played 218 snaps in the slot over the past two seasons, per Pro Football Focus, and has more upside than anyone else being drafted in his range.
Potential Bust: T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis Colts
In this house, we love T.Y. Hilton. He is one of the NFL's most dynamic receivers with the capacity to drop jaws and snap ankles at any given moment. But after two consecutive seasons without a game missed, he played 14 games in 2018 and just 10 in 2019.
Those 10 came with a drop in targets too, as he recorded just 68—the first time he's had under 100 passes thrown his way in six seasons. But Jacoby Brissett has been replaced with Philip Rivers, so the passing volume should increase.
The problem is that Hilton has already suffered another hamstring injury, as the Colts placed him on their Active/Non-Football Injury list August 2. He is fantastic when on the field, and a WR24 ADP reflects that, but the injury concerns are real.
1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
2. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
3. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens
4. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
5. Darren Waller, Oakland Raiders
6. Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins
7. Hayden Hurst, Atlanta Falcons
8. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers
9. Evan Engram, New York Giants
10. Noah Fant, Denver Broncos
Fantasy football's sloppiest position. Every season, a late pick gets into the top five. And aside from Kelce and Kittle, the rest of the top scorers have generally been unpredictable from week to week.
High upside guys like Henry and Engram have injury issues while guys like Tyler Higbee, Rob Gronkowski and Austin Hooper have competition for snaps and targets. If you're comfortable with how your draft is looking, you can grab Kelce or Kittle in the earlier rounds, but it will probably be a better call to wait and gamble on upside later on.
Sleeper: Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins
Per ADP, Mike Gesicki is TE15. Last season, he finished at TE11 on the year and TE4 over the past five weeks. Over that span, he averaged 7.8 targets per game and pulled in four touchdowns.
He was a second-round pick in 2018 for a reason, and that potential proved reasonable over the latter part of this past season. On a Miami Dolphins team that is likely to be playing from behind in most games, Gesicki could be one of this season's biggest late-round gifts.
Potential Bust: Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It doesn't feel right, as Gronk is iconic and Hall of Fame-bound. But come on. His ADP is TE8, but he hasn't played football for a year, is 31 and looked like a shell of his former self in the last season he played football. And to complicate things even further, he's in a talented room, with O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate competing for snaps while Evans, Godwin and even the recently added LeSean McCoy all compete for targets.
We're all rooting for a year off to mean a new, healthy Gronk. But this ADP is wishful thinking.