This is my second one-man mock exercise of 2020 and the first after the NFL Draft. I put myself in the draft chairs and minds of every owner in an advance look at the next season. With the return of play in some other sports, we can look ahead with hope to the first few rounds of a summer draft here.
The four rounds of this early one-man mock are based on a 12-team, full PPR format. We have added a fourth round for the first time. I have considered roster structure for each spot when I make the choices. The format is based on the standard four points for a TD pass and helps you build the shell of your starting lineup.
The picks and flow here are based on my own personal rankings and the flow of the draft itself. This is not how you will see many drafts play out, as it’s tied to my preferences and ratings. I will take some players earlier than the consensus, and some others later than what you might consistently see. If I am in any one of the 12 positions to leap earlier for a player I really like, I am going to be more aggressive on where he is taken. If I am lower than the herd on a player, I will let him slip further than he may go in many drafts. Either type of move is a signal to you who I may believe is underrated or overrated.
- Christian McCaffrey, RB, CAR: No shock here. McCaffrey scored over 150 points more than the second-most productive player at the most important position in fantasy football. He is the ultimate model of versatility and durability. If the Panthers offense improves under a new regime, McCaffrey will be at the center of the progress.
- Saquon Barkley, RB, NYG: We have not seen his best season yet. The upside is massive and the Giants are only going to get better on offense. Barkley can challenge C-Mac for top scoring honors at RB.
- Ezekiel Elliott, RB, DAL: There are only three true RBs who will get the majority of the touches for their teams while being safe bets to perform at superstar levels, and this is the last one left. Elliott could see his receptions go down a bit in 2020, but he scored 15 times last year and can certainly rush for over 1,300 yards again.
- Alvin Kamara, RB, NO: He is a major candidate for a rebound season, as it was apparent he was not healthy in 2019. Kamara at his best is incredibly efficient as both a runner and receiver. He only scored six times last year and will definitely double that number this year and should surpass it.
- Derrick Henry, RB, TEN: I will overlook the lack of receiving ability because the rushing numbers are going to be so strong and will compensate enough for the low catch totals. He is the most unstoppable runner in the game and still finished top-five last year without any notable receiving contributions. Last season was his first as a true feature back, so I am not concerned about wear and tear either.
- Lamar Jackson, QB, BAL: No one else will recommend this and most will tell you that he is going to regress and you should always wait on a QB. I firmly believe this is the only QB you should take this early because you are getting strong RB-like rushing production from Jackson. He is the only player at QB that can provide that type of output. If you wait at the position you miss out on the most unique player in fantasy football. Even if Jackson regresses, he will outperform all other QBs in rushing by a significant distance.
- Michael Thomas, WR, NO: At this point in the first round, there are three very safe superstar WRs, much like the three preferred RBs at the beginning of the draft. Thomas leads an impressive trio of top-level wideouts who give you peace of mind, which is so rare to come by in fantasy football.
- Davante Adams, WR, GB: The Packers did nothing to address the WR position outside of Adams, so expect him to be heavily targeted again in 2020. According to Playerprofiler.com, Adams was third in the NFL in target share last year, and fourth in Hog Rate (the rate of passing game utilization on a per play basis).
- DeAndre Hopkins, WR, ARI: There may be a minor adjustment to a new QB, but Kyler Murray has the tools and promise to help Hopkins remain a clear and outstanding WR1. If you do not want to take Jackson at No. 6 you can go for Thomas, Adams, or Hopkins as very safe top-shelf choices.
- Joe Mixon, RB, CIN: RBs are always in high demand, so I am fine with others wanting to take Mixon over the top three WRs. I prefer the wideouts because they are the best players at their position and overall to me after the first five RBs and Jackson are gone.
- Dalvin Cook, RB, MIN: Many others will take him earlier in the round, but his injury history dictates he will always have at least minor health concerns. Cook is obviously the ultimate risk/reward choice. I am more comfortable with him in the late part of the first round so I can get another anchor type of player a few choices later.
- Tyreek Hill, WR, KC: If both Hill and Mahomes stay healthy this season, the statistical returns may be breathtaking. He has more upside than any other player at his position.
- Josh Jacobs, RB, LV: He showed a lot of promise in Year One and Jacobs will break out in 2020 if he avoids injuries this season. Look for Jacobs to establish himself as the crux of an evolving young offense.
- Julio Jones, WR, ATL: If he scored more often, Jones would be the first WR off the board. Still, he can explode in any given week to boost your team to a win. Don’t be concerned about his age yet, as that should not be an issue for another year or two.
- Nick Chubb, RB, CLE: Do not overrate the Kareem Hunt factor. Chubb rushed for 100 yards four times in seven games after Hunt returned from his suspension last season.
- Melvin Gordon III, RB, DEN: Others will let him slip further, but you should not. He will be the unquestioned featured back for a progressing offense and will return to back-end RB1 territory.
- Kenyan Drake, RB, ARI: The path has been cleared for Drake to show he can be a featured back for the first time in his career. He rushed for 643 yards and eight TDs in half a season with Arizona last year.
- Austin Ekeler, RB, LAC: We could see Joshua Kelley take over a healthy amount of carries, but Ekeler is entrenched as the best pure receiving RB in the league. Significant additional rushing volume is not needed for another standout season.
- Miles Sanders, RB, PHI: He appears set to assume the lead RB role for Philadelphia. Sanders can be exciting and he is versatile. But he must become a more authoritative and consistent inside and short-yardage runner.
- Travis Kelce, TE, KC: He produces on the levels of many top wideouts. Only eight WRs scored more fantasy points than Kelce last year. You are getting WR1 production here at the thinnest position in fantasy football.
- Kenny Golladay, WR, DET: Led the league in TD receptions and was sixth in yardage last year despite playing half a schedule with backup QBs. He deserves WR1 consideration.
- Chris Godwin, WR, TB: Yardage totals could drop a bit this year as the Buccaneers will likely establish a less wide open, but more efficient passing game. But he is still worth a WR1 or high-end WR2 choice.
- Leonard Fournette, RB, JAC: No matter where he plays, Fournette should remain a featured RB with a significant workload. He finally stayed healthy last season and finished as a fantasy RB7. May score more often and catch fewer passes.
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, KC: The instant upside and potential have been well documented already. There are already statements from Brett Veach about how Damien Williams will remain the starter, and those should not affect the rookie’s stock at all. Savvy fantasy players know not to put much stock in such public statements.
- Amari Cooper, WR, DAL: Could be more consistent as other Dallas pass-catchers command more defensive attention.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, PIT: Playing in a contract year, and Ben Roethlisberger is back.
- George Kittle, TE, SF: Had a quiet postseason last year, but should bounce back quickly.
- Keenan Allen, WR, LAC: Consistency was an issue in 2019. If you can get him as a WR2, though, you have to be happy.
- Mike Evans, WR, TB: As we indicated with Godwin, Tampa Bay may not be quite the gunslinging team they were with Jameis Winston. But Evans will still perform at a high-end WR2 level.
- Odell Beckham Jr., WR, CLE: Still has the upside of a WR1 for a WR2 price tag.
- Adam Thielen, WR. MIN: Now the unquestioned WR1 in Minnesota with the departure of Stefon Diggs.
- DeVante Parker, WR, MIA: The breakthrough was real last year. Parker changed his dietary and conditioning approaches and the results were true.
- Cam Akers, RB, LAR: Clear path to a lead RB role as a rookie, and a promising RB2 choice.
- Cooper Kupp, WR, LAR: Had career highs of 94 catches and 10 TDs last year and remains Jared Goff’s favorite target.
- Tyler Lockett, WR, SEA: He has caught 18 TD passes in the last two seasons and may see less defensive attention as DK Metcalf rises.
- Aaron Jones, RB, GB: Appeal took an obvious hit with the drafting of AJ Dillon, but competition could drive Jones to have another strong season.
- Stefon Diggs, WR, BUF: Bills finally have a real No. 1 WR and Diggs will rebound in terms of reception totals.
- Jonathan Taylor, RB, IND: He is being overdrafted in some yearly leagues, but will be eased into the lead role over time.
- T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND: Set to regain better form, especially if Philip Rivers can have a good first year with the Colts.
- D.J. Moore, WR, CAR: Solid WR2 pick as Teddy Bridgewater returns the Panthers passing game to respectability. May score more than last year.
- D’Andre Swift, RB, DET: Should finally solve Detroit’s RB issues but may have to share some touches when Kerryon Johnson is healthy.
- Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB, TB: The Buccaneers need to establish a respectable ground game, so Vaughn will get an opportunity to prove he can handle a significant role.
- Le’Veon Bell, RB, NYJ: Should still get a heavy workload and could perform better than last year if the offense improves around him.
- Chris Carson, RB, SEA: Was fifth in the NFL in rushing yards last year, so worth the risky pick as long as you build good RB depth behind Carson.
- Patrick Mahomes, QB, KC: He will go earlier in many drafts, but filling out starting RB and WR slots is more important to me once Jackson is off the board early.
- Allen Robinson II, WR, CHI: Excelled despite multiple issues around him last year, and a safe WR2 pick.
- Courtland Sutton, WR, DEN: The No. 1 WR in an offense rightfully stirring much buzz.
- DK Metcalf, WR, SEA: Had a breakthrough performance in the NFC Wild Card Game and there is a lot of upside in Year Two.
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