X

Fantasy Football Draft Strategy 2020: Latest Mock Draft and Cheat-Sheet Tips

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2020

New York Giants' Saquon Barkley runs the ball during practice at the NFL football team's training camp in East Rutherford, N.J., Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. The Giants open their season against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 14. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

With less than a month to go until the start of the 2020 NFL regular season, fantasy football owners are flying somewhat blindly as they formulate a plan of attack ahead of their draft.

There's little insight to glean from the preseason when it comes to the elite stars. The top players either don't see the field or are clearly going through the motions while they prepare for more meaningful games.

The difficulty comes further down draft boards, where projecting a player's potential value isn't so straightforward. How much will rookies be impacted, for example? Perhaps the lack of a traditional preseason and fewer in-person workouts than usual could lead to a longer adjustment period for veterans on new teams.

Nailing the draft isn't easy in a normal year, and the unique circumstances for 2020 only add to the variability.

Here's a two-round mock in standard 12-team non-point-per-reception leagues.

        

Fantasy Mock Draft (Non-PPR Format)

1.1. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

1.2. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

1.3. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

1.4. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

1.5. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

1.6. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

1.7. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

1.8. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

1.9. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals

1.10. Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

1.11. Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders

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

2.1. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

2.2. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

2.3. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

2.4. Kenyan Drake, RB, Arizona Cardinals

2.5. Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

2.6. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

2.7. Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks

2.8. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

2.9. Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2.10. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

2.11. Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions

2.12. DJ Moore WR, Carolina Panthers

Given the general emphasis on the passing game, it's tempting to reach for Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes in the first or second rounds.

Last year, Jackson finished with the second-most fantasy points (415.68) behind Carolina Panthers star Christian McCaffrey (471.20), while Mahomes was 14th (287.04) after missing two games because of injury.

One reason not to reach for the Baltimore Ravens quarterback is that you're basically banking on another record-breaking season. Jackson threw for a league-high 36 touchdowns while running for more yards (1,206) than any quarterback in history over a full season.

NFL @NFL

Lamar Jackson’s 10 BEST PLAYS from his MVP season! @lj_era8 📺: #NFLHonors | 8pm ET on FOX https://t.co/6pA2O6jP5R

Mahomes represents a somewhat safer bet despite not possessing Jackson's mobility. When he threw for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns in 2018, he posted the most fantasy points (417.08) at any position.

Maybe you think another 5,000-yard, 50-touchdown year is in store.

It's important to remember why running backs—and receivers to a lesser extent—are still such a prized commodity, though.

The gap between Jackson and Tom Brady, the 12th-highest-scoring QB, was 152.0 points. Although that's a sizable amount, consider 238.6 points separated McCaffrey from the 12th-best performer at running back, Chris Carson.

Failing to land an elite fantasy running back makes it hard to win your league. This might sound rote since it's perhaps the most repeated advice—along with waiting on a kicker until the final round—but target an RB in the first round, especially if you're near the top of the selection order.

In snake drafts, loading up on running backs in the first and second rounds is a solid approach because you can still get good value around pick No. 15 or 16. Once you start falling toward the back half of the second round, a wide receiver would be a better option.

Michael Thomas (374.60) was an outlier thanks to his record 149 receptions. Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, Cooper Kupp, DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, Julian Edelman and Allen Robinson all eclipsed 250 fantasy points.

That would be a nice return for a second-round selection in 12-team leagues.

           

Fantasy scoring courtesy of NFL.com