The first week of the 2020 NFL season is officially upon us. On Thursday, the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans will do battle in the season opener. This means that real, meaningful football is finally here.
This also means that if you haven't yet kicked off your fantasy football draft, time is running out. If you haven't started preparing for your fantasy draft, it's time for a cram session.
One way to prep for a season-long draft is to run through some simulated mocks. This won't tell you who to draft, but it will provide a better idea of where players are being valued. This can help prevent overdrafting, or worse yet, missing out on a prospect entirely.
Here, we'll run through a four-round simulated draft—run with FantasyPros' Mock Draft Simulator—and go through some of the most notable picks and trends.
2020 Four-Round Fantasy Mock Draft, PPR
1. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
2. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
3. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints
4. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
5. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
6. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
7. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
8. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals
9. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
10. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
11. Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
12. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns
1. Josh Jacobs, RB, Las Vegas Raiders
2. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
3. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
4. Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears
5. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
6. Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
7. Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
8. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
9. Todd Gurley, RB, Atlanta Falcons
10. Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings
11. Kenyan Drake, RB, Arizona Cardinals
12. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers
1. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers
2. Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons
3. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
4. David Johnson, RB, Houston Texans
5. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
6. Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions
7. D.J. Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers
8. Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
9. James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
10. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
11. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns
12. Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys
1. Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
2. Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams
3. Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens
4. Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Football Team
5. Leonard Fournette, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
6. Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks
7. Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams
8. Le'Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets
9. Mark Ingram, RB, Baltimore Ravens
10. Melvin Gordon III, RB, Denver Broncos
11. DK Chark Jr., WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
12.A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans
01.09: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
This pick is a prime example of how mock drafts can help managers determine player value. While Kansas City Chiefs rookie back Clyde Edwards-Helaire has gained a fair bit of training-camp buzz, managers still might not know that he's been trending as a first-round selection.
This is because of a combination of factors, one of which being Damien Williams' decision to opt out of the 2020 season. With Williams out, Edwards-Helaire should be close to an every-down back. This potentially sets him up for some elite fantasy production.
A couple of years ago, Kareem Hunt was a rookie every-down back for the Chiefs—and he helped win a lot of fantasy titles. In 2017, he racked up 1,327 rushing yards, 455 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns.
This is the sort of production managers seem to expect out of Edwards-Helaire this season, which is why he's highly unlikely to last until Round 2 in most drafts.
02.05: Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
We're going to point out the selection of Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce because the middle of Round 2 might be viewed as early for a tight end. However, Kelce and San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle should be valued as wide receivers who happen to fit into the TE fantasy slot.
Not only do Kelce and Kittle fill the No. 1 receiver role in their respective offenses, but they have also produced WR1 numbers in fantasy. Last season, for example, Kelce finished with 97 catches, 1,229 yards and five touchdowns. Kittle finished the 2018 season with 88 catches, 1,377 yards and five scores.
There's a second tier of tight ends after Kittle and Kelce, and it's comprised of Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews and Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller.
While this second tier can provide value, don't make the mistake of drafting a guy like Andrews in Round 2 simply because Kelce and Kittle come off the board. Those two are outliers and should not kick off a run at the position.
03.05: Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
A similar statement can be made about quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Baltimore Ravens signal-caller Lamar Jackson. These two are likely to come off the board by Round 3 or Round 4 at the very latest. However, this doesn't mean that they should start a run at the position.
Jackson is especially enticing in fantasy because of his rushing potential—he had over 1,200 yards on the ground last season. I've seen him go as early as Round 1 in some mock draft simulations. Mahomes is arguably the most talented quarterback in the league today and is also going to come off the board early.
If you decide to pull the trigger on either of these two to kick off the quarterback drafting, great. However, it's not worth using a third-round pick on another quarterback just because they come off the board. There are too many quarterback options and two few truly elite players at other positions to be using a three on a QB.
For example, Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is trending as an eighth-round pick (ADP of 99), according to FantasyPros. He was on pace for 4,998 passing yards and 38 touchdowns last season before injury cut his season to eight games.
04.09: Mark Ingram, RB, Baltimore Ravens
We're going to point out Ravens running back Mark Ingram here because managers should be wary of the presence of rookie J.K. Dobbins. The Ohio State running back might just cut significantly into Ingram's workload this season.
"He's definitely going to have probably a significant role," head coach John Harbaugh said of Dobbins, per Ryan Mink of the team's official website.
The point here is that it's vital to be up-to-date on projected roles ahead of the draft. While there's no guarantee that Ingram won't match the 1,000-plus rushing yards and 10 rushing touchdowns he had in 2019, he's going to be sharing a crowded backfield—one that will also see plenty of designed runs for Jackson.
Ingram is a starter, but he's being valued as a low fourth-round selection because of his situation. Drafting him highly simply because he is at the top of the depth chart would be a mistake.