Fantasy Football Picks 2020: 2-Round Mock Draft and Strategy Breakdown

Theo SalaunContributor IIIAugust 29, 2020

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook (33) runs against San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw (57) during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Santa Clara, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Most fantasy drafts have been delayed as long as possible to accommodate what is most certainly a nebulous offseason, but big days are on the horizon. Come draft day, the first two rounds will set the stage for roster construction and season performance.

The purpose here is to run through a mock draft for a 12-team, points-per-reception league and analyze the strategy behind the picks made. This helps exemplify how the first two rounds play out and dissects how to approach a certain draft position, which, in this scenario, was randomly selected to be No. 8.

Every draft is different and the most effective way to prepare for that uncertainty is to practice with mocks. While a tool like FantasyPros' Mock Draft Simulator is nice for weighing draft strategies against expert rankings, it inherently lacks the randomness of human decision-making. For our purposes, the tool used is Yahoo Fantasy's live mock draft, which enables you to draft against real people in real time.

Of course, every single draft is different, so this exercise is ultimately imperfect, but with a random selection and the randomness of drafting against other people, this should at least give a sense of how the early rounds of a draft can play out.


Two-Round Mock Draft

Round 1

Team 1: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

Team 2: Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

Team 3: Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

Team 4: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

Team 5: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

Team 6: Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

Team 7: Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

Team 8: Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

Team 9: Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Team 10: Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

Team 11: Kenyan Drake, RB, Arizona Cardinals

Team 12: Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs


Round 2

Team 12: George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

Team 11: Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

Team 10: Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Team 9: Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

Team 8: Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

Team 7: Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders

Team 6: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals

Team 5: Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

Team 4: Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Team 3: Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

Team 2: James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Team 1: Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions


Strategy Breakdown

This season, the first three selections are the easy ones, as you can't go wrong with any of the top backs. Selecting at No. 8 in PPR presents a conundrum, though, as Davante Adams is the clear second-best wide receiver available in fantasy drafts. Still, top backs pave the road to championships, and someone gambling on Derrick Henry allows Dalvin Cook to drop to us.

Unlike Henry, who needs positive game script to dominate, Cook is a traditional, three-down back who excels in every facet of the game. There's an injury concern, but it's vastly outweighed by his upside (although that may encourage an Alexander Mattison selection late in the draft). Adams is tremendous and should get a ton of volume, but he was still outscored in PPR fantasy points on a per-game basis by nine running backs last season—despite averaging 10.6 targets.

Additionally, while running backs swiftly thin out, there is great receiving upside in the middle (e.g. Terry McLaurin, Odell Beckham Jr.) and late (e.g. Henry Ruggs III, Christian Kirk) rounds. Those later sleepers make this second selection, four picks into the second round, particularly difficult as well.

Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

In a standard or even a half-point-per-reception league, Josh Jacobs would have been the easiest selection ever. But, with Cook rostered, top-five receiving talents like Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins are incredibly tempting. In this case, despite expecting Jacobs' volume to increase in his sophomore season, Jones is simply too dominant a player to ignore.

He is bound to have more volume than Hopkins, whose offense has more mouths to feed, and he provides a receiving cornerstone that permits flexibility for the rest of the draft. With these two locked in at fantasy's pivotal positions, we can then follow value for the following rounds instead of having two excellent backs and being forced into going receiver-heavy for our next selections.