Fantasy Football 2020: 1st-Round Mock Draft, Projections and Top Team Names

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 23, 2020

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins makes a catch as receivers run drills during an NFL football workout Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Not long remains until the first full Sunday of the 2020 NFL regular season Sept. 13, which also means you should be deep in the heart of planning your fantasy team.

Even though drafts have been going on for some time, now is right around the point when it makes the most sense to start building your team. Any sooner runs the risk of losing a potential key contributor to a season-ending injury when teams opened practice.

Of course, drafting this year is also going to be different. No preseason games and limited practice time means it's harder to pinpoint potential breakout stars. One common refrain leading up to the start of the season is that teams with continuity from 2019 will likely be better off this season.

That theory should also apply to the fantasy world. Even though there are intriguing rookie stars, like No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow, there could be more inherent risk in betting on a player like that to succeed in 2020.

Here's all the information you need to get you prepared for fantasy drafts.


2020 1st-Round Fantasy Mock Draft (Standard Scoring)

1. Christian McCaffrey, RB (Carolina Panthers)

2. Saquon Barkley, RB (New York Giants)

3. Ezekiel Elliott, RB (Dallas Cowboys)

4. Dalvin Cook, RB (Minnesota Vikings)

5. Derrick Henry, RB (Tennessee Titans)

6. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB (Kansas City Chiefs)

7. Michael Thomas, WR (New Orleans Saints)

8. Nick Chubb, RB (Cleveland Browns)

9. Davante Adams, WR (Green Bay Packers)

10. Joe Mixon, RB (Cincinnati Bengals)

11. Lamar Jackson, QB (Baltimore Ravens)

12. Julio Jones, WR (Atlanta Falcons)


2020 1st-Round Mock Draft (PPR Scoring)

1. Christian McCaffrey, RB (Carolina Panthers)

2. Saquon Barkley, RB (New York Giants)

3. Ezekiel Elliott, RB (Dallas Cowboys)

4. Alvin Kamara, RB (New Orleans Saints)

5. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB (Kansas City Chiefs)

6. Michael Thomas, WR (New Orleans Saints)

7. Dalvin Cook, RB (Minnesota Vikings)

8. Nick Chubb, RB (Cleveland Browns)

9. Davante Adams, WR (Green Bay Packers)

10. Julio Jones, WR (Atlanta Falcons)

11. Austin Ekeler, RB (Los Angeles Chargers)

12. Derrick Henry, RB (Tennessee Titans)


Best 2020 Fantasy Team Names

Judge Jeudy

Jake Fromm State Farm

Tua Legit to Quit

It Takes Tua to Tango

The Gronkaneers

Halley's Kmet

The Greatest Show on Paper

Joe Exotic

You Mad, Burrow?

Fresh Prince of Helaire

Baskin Dobbins



Player to Avoid: DeAndre Hopkins, WR (Arizona Cardinals)

Before diving into why DeAndre Hopkins is being overrated in fantasy this season, it's important to note that he's still a great wide receiver and should succeed in Kliff Kingsbury's offense. This isn't saying never to draft him; just keep a close on eye on how high he goes. 

The four-time Pro Bowler is being overrated in fantasy drafts for reasons that probably have more to do with the lopsided nature of his trade from the Houston Texans to the Arizona Cardinals than rational thinking.

According to Fantasy Pros, Hopkins is being drafted as high as No. 11 overall and has an average draft position of 20.2.

He averaged 159 targets, 97 receptions, 1,300 yards and nine touchdowns over the past six seasons with the Houston Texans. If those were the numbers to expect from Hopkins, his high draft position would be justified.

The Ringer's fantasy draft guide cited some reasons to be concerned that Hopkins won't immediately live up to his lofty expectations in Arizona: "Receivers on a new team have consistently underperformed their ADP in the past, and the learning curve for [Kyler] Murray and Hopkins will be even steeper because of the NFL's potentially truncated offseason. There's also no way to predict how targets will be distributed in Kingsbury's offense."

One thing to keep in mind when looking at Hopkins is that Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk both had more than 100 targets in 2019. Running back Kenyan Drake, who only played eight games for the Cardinals, had 35 targets.

Hopkins got so many targets with the Texans because he was the only dependable receiver. Will Fuller is a better receiver than Kirk or Fitzgerald at this point, but he's missed at least five games for Houston in each of the past three seasons.

It doesn't help Hopkins' case that wide receiver is such a loaded position this year that you will be better off letting someone else select him early in the second round when players like Kenny Golladay, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Adam Thielen will presumably be available in the third and fourth rounds.


Breakout Rookie: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB (Kansas City Chiefs)

This is almost unfair because it's so obvious.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire likely would have been an early-round fantasy selection anyway, but Damien Williams' decision to opt out makes the 21-year-old the No. 1 running back in the Kansas City Chiefs offense.

According to Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and general manager Brett Veach, their decision to select Edwards-Helaire with the 32nd pick in the 2020 NFL draft was done in part at the request of quarterback Patrick Mahomes:

Braiden Turner @bturner23

Patrick Mahomes told Veach & Andy he wanted them to draft Clyde🔥🔥🔥 https://t.co/woedJxVXaH

Even without seeing how Edwards-Helaire will fit in as a rookie, Reid's history with running backs suggests big things are in store for the LSU alumnus:

Scott Barrett @ScottBarrettDFB

Andy Reid's RB1 has finished top-8 in 13 of the past 16 seasons (81%), averaging 18.9 FPG 18.9 FPG would have ranked 7th-best last year https://t.co/mqKoWx2XaJ

Last season, Williams finished with 711 yards from scrimmage and seven total touchdowns on 141 touches in just 11 games. He also split carries with LeSean McCoy, who is now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Kansas City's offense is going to score a lot of points. Williams and McCoy combined for 58 catches on 71 targets in 2019. Edwards-Helaire caught 55 passes from Burrow at LSU last year. He's a terrific pass-catcher and elusive runner.

All of the pieces are in place for Edwards-Helaire to be a top-10 fantasy player as a rookie.


Mid-Round Sleeper: Emmanuel Sanders, WR (New Orleans Saints)

One of the few shortcomings for the New Orleans Saints offense in recent years has been the No. 2 wide receiver.

It hasn't been a problem for the team because Michael Thomas is so good as Drew Brees' favorite target and Alvin Kamara is a versatile playmaker out of the backfield.

But the Saints did seem to recognize this offseason the need for a second player who can line up on the outside to ease some of the burden on Thomas. Ted Ginn Jr. ranked second among New Orleans wideouts last year with 56 targets, 30 receptions and 421 yards.

Emmanuel Sanders, who signed a two-year deal with the Saints in March, is a significant upgrade on the field opposite Thomas.

Coming off a ruptured Achilles last year, Sanders posted a solid 66 receptions, 869 yards and five touchdowns on 97 targets between the Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers.

Sports Illustrated's Jamie Eisner is expecting Sanders to be a WR3 for the Saints in 2020: "He can play outside or in the slot and should serve as a solid short-to-mid-yardage option for Brees. Thomas and Cook should scoop up the majority of the goal-to-go targets, but Sanders does usually find his way into the end zone a handful of times per season (he's averaging 5.7 TDs per 16-game pace in his career)."

There should be plenty of opportunities for Sanders to catch a lot of passes. Despite missing five games because of injury last season, Brees averaged 34.4 passes per game.

Per Fantasy Pros, Sanders' average draft position is 113.4, behind former 49ers teammate Deebo Samuel (108.4).

Samuel is uncertain to play at the start of the season because of a broken foot. Based on the offense he's playing in and the consistent level of production he's had throughout his career, there's no reason Sanders should be going as low as he is right now.