Fantasy Football 2020: 1st-Round Mock Draft Tips and Latest Consensus RankingsAugust 28, 2020
Several things go into a successful fantasy season. Managers have to find value late in the draft, manage weekly roster changes, work the waiver wire and navigate any injuries or statistical slumps as the season progresses.
However, the journey to fantasy glory begins at the top of drafts, where the foundations of rosters are built. Managers have to find cornerstone players at the top, and more importantly, they have to avoid potential draft busts.
There's nothing worse than seeing your No. 1 pick sitting on the bench week in and week out.
To help identify the best players to target early, we're going to examine the consensus top 25 rankings from FantasyPros. We'll also dig into a mock draft run with FantasyPros' Mock Draft Simulator and offer up some strategies for the early rounds.
Consensus Top 25, Standard
1. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
2. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
3. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
4. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
5. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints
6. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
7. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns
8. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
9. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
10. Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders
11. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
12. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
13. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
14. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
15. Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
16. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers
17. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
18. Kenyan Drake, RB, Arizona Cardinals
19. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers
20. Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
21. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
22. Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions
23. Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
24. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
25. Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks
First-Round Mock and Draft Strategy
1.01: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
1.02: Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
1.03: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
1.04: Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
1.05: Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
1.06: Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints
1.07: Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
1.08: Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
1.09: Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
1.10: Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns
1.11: Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
1.12: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
Avoiding a complete bust in Round 1 is critical to fantasy success. This is the round in which you should be able to land an elite player and a guy who only comes out of the starting lineup during the bye week. Missing out on such a player can put you behind the pack early.
For example, anyone who drafted New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell in the first round last year was "rewarded" with just 789 rushing yards, 461 receiving yards and four touchdowns. While those aren't disastrous numbers, there were likely weeks when starting Bell just wasn't an enticing option.
The good news is that there aren't any top-tier fantasy prospects dealing with potential holdouts this season. Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon were both relative risks in 2019 because of them.
There was briefly talk of Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook holding out for a new deal, though that drama appears to be on hold for the regular season.
Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero
Contract talks broke off Tuesday between the #Vikings and star RB Dalvin Cook, sources tell me and @RapSheet. Talks could restart later, of course. But for now, Cook has said he's focused on Week 1 as he enters last year of his rookie deal, with franchise tag looming in 2021.
This doesn't mean, however, that Cook is a completely safe first-round prospect. The Florida State product has an extensive injury history and has missed 18 games over the last three seasons. He has just one year of elite fantasy production and lost offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski in the offseason.
Cook is arguably the second-riskiest pick in the first round of his mock.
The riskiest selection here, though, is that of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. While it's advisable to go with the flow of your draft and move away from a position where a run is causing a lack of value, the first round is too early for a quarterback.
While elite running backs and, to a lesser extent, elite receivers will disappear quickly, high-end quarterbacks can usually be had in the middle rounds. Russell Wilson, for example, went in Round 6 of this mock.
Ideally, you should look to land two elite skill players in the first two rounds—running backs and/or receivers, though tight ends Travis Kelce and George Kittle can be valued as No. 1 receivers. You should try to grab at least one running back in the first two rounds because every-down backs are few and far between.
Kansas City Chiefs rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire has the potential to be an every-down back and a fantasy stud this season.
"They can put him all over the field," Hall of Famer Terrell Davis said on NFL Network's Total Access (h/t Robbie Weinstein of 247Sports). "He can be in a wide set. He can run multiple routes. He's not just a back like myself that you throw out there and I'm just eye candy out there. He's actually running real routes. He can do some damage."
Edwards-Helaire didn't go in the first round of this simulated draft (he went 13th), but he's going to be a popular target in most real-world fantasy drafts. If you're looking to take a chance on Edwards-Helaire, be prepared to pick him up in Round 1.
While Edwards-Helaire is not a "sure thing" like Christian McCaffrey or Saquon Barkley, his projected workload makes him a potential steal even at the end of the first round.