12-Team PPR Mock Draft: Early Pick (2020 Fantasy Football)
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Throughout the offseason, you will see plenty of mock drafts analyzed on this site. While the primary value of mock drafts isn’t realized until August, there is still something to be gained from conducting them at various times leading up to draft season. My first mock was in early May. A late April/early May mock draft can give you an idea of what players you are targeting while providing you with a baseline to measure price change over the coming months. My second mock was in mid-June. That’s when things start to come more into focus. ADPs are still very much in flux, but there shouldn’t be any massive changes between the middle of June and draft season barring injuries.
Now that we’ve entered July, we are full steam ahead towards draft season. For this mock draft using our free mock draft simulator, I decided to go with the two spot again. I make my picks and write my thoughts in real-time when doing these mocks so that I can truly capture what I’m thinking in the moment. I’m not sure how much my thought process has changed over the past couple of weeks, but we’re about to find out.
This is for a 12-team, PPR league with one QB, three WRs, two RBs, one TE, and one flex. I removed kickers and defenses because there just isn’t any value in including them. In my June mock from the two spot, I went triple running back to start. I am entering this mock with the mindset of not doing that again as we can compare the two teams and see what worked better, but ultimately I am going to make the best pick I can in every round so if the teams end up being the same, so be it.
1.02 Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG)
In my June mock, I mentioned Ezekiel Elliott as a possibility here. That’s changed for me. This is Saquon Barkley all the way. Barkley is my pick to finish 2020 as the overall RB1. The Giants’ offensive situation is better this year than it was last year. They’ve improved the offensive line, and we can’t forget that Barkley is a generational talent and just 23 years old.
2.11 Josh Jacobs (RB – LV)
I’m very torn on how I feel about Josh Jacobs. One week I’ll be all in, and the next, I’ll be like, “ehh.” Jacobs’ 64.6% opportunity share as a rookie is very encouraging, but I’m just not sure whether we can project it to rise at all. The Raiders added a lot of talent to the offense in Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards, and Lynn Bowden. Jacobs is also a non-factor in the passing game. That’s not to say he can’t be a proficient receiver; he just isn’t used that way, and there isn’t a single shred of evidence to suggest that will change. With that said, Jacobs is running behind one of the best offensive lines in the league and has the goal-line carries locked down. If the game script doesn’t get away from him, he will return value here.
3.02 Mike Evans (WR – TB)
No tripling up on running back this time. Let me provide you with an exhaustive list of all the seasons in Mike Evans’ career where he failed to record 1,000 receiving yards: none. Tom Brady was 10th in pass attempt distance and 15th in deep ball attempts despite not having a receiver equipped to catch those passes. Evans is still just 27 years old, and what he loses in volume, he should make up for in efficiency, as Brady’s passes will certainly be more accurate than Jameis Winston’s. Evans is as safe as they come.
4.11 Robert Woods (WR – LAR)
When I saw the available players here, I had to decide whether to take the top wide receiver on my board, Robert Woods, or one of the only two running backs left I really wanted, Le’Veon Bell and Jonathan Taylor, who are right next to each other in my rankings. If I pass on the running back and the 4.12 and 5.01 are both of them, I would be very upset. But I really wanted Woods because he’s the Rams’ actual WR1, not Cooper Kupp.
5.02 Jonathan Taylor (RB – IND)
I was kind of hoping one of the running backs I wanted would get taken so the decision would be made for me. If I knew Chris Carson was completely healthy, I’d take him here. Since I don’t, I’m choosing between Le’Veon Bell’s safety and Jonathan Taylor’s upside. I just can’t see a world where Taylor doesn’t quickly vanquish Marlon Mack. The Colts are better than the Jets in just about every aspect of football, but most importantly, they’re better in the trenches. Bell will catch more passes than Taylor, but Taylor will have more rushing yards and more touchdowns.
6.11 Kyler Murray (QB – ARI)
I am committed to waiting on a quarterback this season, but let’s see what happens when I take one relatively early. Kyler Murray has a Lamar Jackson ceiling and now has DeAndre Hopkins to throw the ball to. The Cardinals will be better in their second year with Murray and Kliff Kingsbury. Also factoring into this decision was my lack of need at running back and the fact that the wide receivers remaining are all relatively even in my book.
7.02 Kareem Hunt (RB – CLE)
I still need a WR3, but I know the caliber of receivers I’m getting next round is largely the same as the ones I could take now. Kareem Hunt is already an RB2 with elite RB1 league-winning upside if something happens to Nick Chubb.
8.11 Anthony Miller (WR – CHI)
Who is Nick Foles throwing to when it’s not Allen Robinson? It’s either Tarik Cohen or Anthony Miller. The latter is locked into the WR2 role opposite Robinson and will certainly improve upon his 15% target share. Miller is the ideal WR3 target.
9.02 Rob Gronkowski (TE – TB)
I’ll bite. Rob Gronkowski is going to be the healthiest he’s been since his rookie year. What does he actually have left in the tank at age 31 after a year away from football? I don’t know. But it’s the ninth round, and Gronk is the greatest tight end of all time. 31 is far from old for a tight end. Who else has the ceiling Gronk has not just at the tight end position, but overall?
10.11 Phillip Lindsay (RB – DEN)
Melvin Gordon is just not that good. I don’t know why Denver signed him. I do know that Phillip Lindsay is not going to just go away. He is also a Gordon injury away from being an every-week RB2. I’ll take that shot in the 10th round.
11.02 Preston Williams (WR – MIA)
I’m not enamored with wide receivers coming off midseason ACL tears, but how quickly everyone forgets that Preston Williams, not DeVante Parker, was Miami’s WR1 before he got hurt. If Williams is healthy, and we have no reason to think he won’t be, this is a guy who had an 85% snap share and was on the rise when he got hurt. Williams’ best game was his last.
12.11 Jonnu Smith (TE – TEN)
Heading into my final two picks, I wanted to take a fifth wide receiver and a second tight end. With no real preference at wide receiver, I went with the tight end first. Jonnu Smith is as good of a breakout hopeful as anyone, but I wouldn’t scoff at someone who wanted to go with Mike Gesicki or Ian Thomas.
13.02 Parris Campbell (WR – IND)
As it turned out, the only pick that was identical to my last mock was Saquon Barkley. I went with Parris Campbell here because, over the past couple weeks, I’ve decided that Campbell is a better bet to break out than he’s getting credit for. He should have the inside track to the WR2 job opposite T.Y. Hilton, and while I like Hilton a lot, he’s been banged-up and is now on the wrong side of 30.
QB: Kyler Murray
RB: Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, Jonathan Taylor, Kareem Hunt, Phillip Lindsay
WR: Mike Evans, Robert Woods, Anthony Miller, Preston Williams, Parris Campbell
TE: Rob Gronkowski, Jonnu Smith