2020 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Overall Drafting Strategy and Cheat Sheet

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2020

Carolina Panthers' Christian McCaffrey (22 runs during the second half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

When preparing for a season-long fantasy football league, managers typically use training camp news, preseason statistics and mock drafts to determine potential prospect value. In 2020, however, there is no preseason, and training camp access has been limited.

Therefore, it's more important than ever to evaluate mock drafts and to see where players are likely to be targeted. While this won't tell managers which players are going to have successful seasons, it can help tell them when is too early or too late to pull the trigger.

Here we'll examine the first round of a mock draft—conducted using FantasyPros' Mock Draft Simulator—dive into some tried-and-true draft strategies and examine a cheat sheet for fantasy's top positions.


2020 Fantasy Mock Draft

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. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

6. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

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

8. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

9. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

10. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

11. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

12. Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers


When kicking off your draft, it's wise to target players who rarely come off the field. This is why every-down running backs Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley are likely go one and two in most fantasy formats.

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is another high-volume player who is worth targeting early though managers should be prepared to see backup Tony Pollard continue cutting into Elliott's workload.

New Orleans Saints back Alvin Kamara isn't quite an every-down back, but his elite receiving volume makes him a must-grab in points-per-reception (PPR) formats. Kamara has exactly 81 receptions in each of his pro seasons.

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler, who topped 1,500 combined rushing and receiving yards last season, is another high-volume receiving back similar to Kamara. Now that Melvin Gordon III is with the Denver Broncos, Ekeler could see an even bigger workload and could be a steal near the end of Round 1.

Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire could also prove to be a Round 1 steal. He isn't guaranteed to have an every-down role, but he seems to be trending in that direction.

"Am I going to say he's perfect? No. He's not perfect, but I've enjoyed watching the progress that he has made each and every day," head coach Andy Reid said, per Charles Goldman of Chiefs Wire.

While running backs are typically the centerpieces of strong fantasy rosters, high-volume receivers like Michael Thomas, Julio Jones and Davante Adams can be central players as well—especially in PPR formats. There's often value to be found in Rounds 2 and 3 by targeting No. 1 receivers from the second tier—guys like Kenny Golladay and Robert Woods should be on your radar here.

Tight ends Travis Kelce and George Kittle—and to a lesser extent, Darren Waller, Zach Ertz and Mark Andrews—can be valued as wideouts because that's the role they play in their respective offenses. Kelce and Kittle are both worth targeting in Round 2, while the other three are viable Round 3 targets.

If you are not grabbing one of the Big 5, it's worth waiting until the middle of the draft to grab a tight end. Starting-caliber tight ends will be available in Round 8 or later—Austin Hooper, for example, has an average draft position of 98, according to FantasyPros.

Quarterback is another position that can typically be waited on. Lamar Jackson and Patrick Mahomes are both going to go early—possibly as high as Round 2—but high-end starters like Matt Ryan and Drew Brees will usually be available several rounds later.

The most important thing to keep in mind on draft day, though, is to be flexible. While there are some basic guidelines that can help you along the way, an unexpected positional run or a few surprise reaches can throw even the most carefully constructed plans out the window.


2020 Fantasy Cheat Sheet


1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs

2. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens

3. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

4. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

5. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans

6. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals

7. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

8. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

9. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills

10. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles


Running Backs

1. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers

2. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

3. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys

4. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints

5. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans

6. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns

7. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs

8. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings

9. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

10. Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders

11. Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

12. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers

13. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers

14. Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks

15. Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals


Wide Receivers

1. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints

2. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons

3. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers

4. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs

5. Kenny Golladay, Detroit Lions

6. Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

7. DeAndre Hopkins, Arizona Cardinals

8. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

9. A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans

10. DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

11. Adam Thielen, Minnesota Vikings

12. Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns

13. Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys

14. DJ Moore, Carolina Panthers

15. Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears


Tight Ends

1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs

2. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers

3. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles

4. Mark Andrews, Baltimore Ravens

5. Darren Waller, Las Vegas Raiders

6. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers

7. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams

8. Evan Engram, New York giants

9. Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints

10. Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns