12-Team PPR Mock Draft: Late Pick (2020 Fantasy Football)
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 nine spot. I last chose this spot in my first mock published back on May 3. 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 am just as interested to see what’s changed over the past two months as you are.
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.
1.09 Joe Mixon (RB – CIN)
There does seem to be some consistency in who I get in the first round. Just like in May, I went with Joe Mixon here. When I think about all the possible ways the first round of a fantasy football draft can play out, there are seldom few that result in me not taking a running back. Elite running backs are increasingly rare commodities as more teams transition towards committee backfields. Joe Mixon touched the ball at least 23 times in his final five games last season. He is one of the few true three-down workhorses remaining. He’s only 24 years old and is on an offense that should be much improved this season with the addition of Joe Burrow and the return of Jonah Williams.
Mixon led all running backs in evaded tackles in 2019 despite running behind one of the worst offensive lines that constantly saw him take hits behind the line of scrimmage. With the true difference-making wide receiver dying a slow death, I want to anchor my team with an elite running back. That opportunity is usually reserved for those fortunate enough to pick in the front half. I jump at it here. For what it’s worth, Mixon would be my pick beginning as early as the 1.05.
2.04 Josh Jacobs (RB – LV)
Here is where the changes begin. This was Chris Godwin back in May. Now, I didn’t even consider Godwin. It was between Jacobs and Nick Chubb. I could go either way on this. Both are extremely safe and somewhat game script dependent to reach their weekly ceilings. With that being said, most running backs’ weekly ceilings are impacted by game script. The Raiders have one of the league’s best offensive lines and we know Jacobs is locked into early-down work and goal-line touches. He wasn’t used much in the passing game last season and while I don’t see that changing much, he’s competing with Jalen Richard and rookie Lynn Bowden whereas Chubb is competing with “would be an elite RB1 if not for Chubb” Kareem Hunt. That tipped the scales for me here, but I do think the Browns will be a better team so this could change over the next few weeks.
3.09 Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB – KC)
There are almost 10 wide receivers I’d gladly take here. There’s just one running back that stands above the rest. Just like I said in May, I still don’t see any scenario where Clyde Edwards-Helaire makes it to the late third round by the time draft season rolls around, but I want to make it clear that he’s a tremendous value at that spot. CEH was the only running back taken in the first round. That’s a message from the Chiefs that they plan to make him their primary back. A 60% opportunity share makes him an RB1 on the league’s best offense. Damien Williams is going to play, but this idea that CEH has to “beat out” Williams is just nonsense. The Chiefs didn’t spend a first-round pick on a running back to put him behind a former UDFA entering his age 28 season that has never touched the ball more than 141 times in a season.
I fully expect Williams to “start” early in the season and perhaps he will out-touch him for a couple of weeks, but make no mistake about it, this will be the CEH show sooner rather than later.
4.04 D.J. Chark (WR – JAX)
I was hoping this would be Robert Woods, but he went before it got back to me. A month ago, I wouldn’t have made this pick. Now, I am completely sold on D.J. Chark. I want him everywhere. I took him over A.J. Brown, Courtland Sutton, and Tyler Lockett. I’m not sure I would’ve done that a month ago. It might have been one of those situations where I wanted Chark, but not before those other three guys were off the board.
Chark has over 90th percentile speed and burst. He’s a true alpha WR1 with no threat to that status. He saw 117 targets last year and dropped exactly zero of them. He’s entering his age 24 season and is fresh off a 1,000-yard season where he wasn’t all the efficient. With improved quarterback play stemming from a full offseason of Gardner Minshew as the locked-in starter and Chark’s natural progression, his second-year breakout is going to result in a third-year explosion.
5.09 D.K. Metcalf (WR – SEA)
Continuing with the theme of taking wide receivers with two initials in lieu of a first name, I followed up a D.J. with a D.K. The only event that would force me to pull back on my belief that DK Metcalf is the Seahawks’ WR1 is if they sign Antonio Brown. For now, I’m operating under the assumption they will not.
My opinions on players have changed over the past two months. One that hasn’t is having Metcalf ranked ahead of Tyler Lockett this season. Metcalf played 87.2% of the snaps as a rookie. That number should push 100% as a sophomore. Perhaps under-appreciated, Metcalf had double-digit fantasy points in 10 games last season. Even if the Seahawks are the same backward offense, Metcalf is going to improve. And what if they actually let Russell Wilson throw?
6.04 Jarvis Landry (WR – CLE)
This is definitely a pick I would not have made even a few weeks ago. As my opinions solidify throughout the summer, they force other opinions to form. An example of this is my belief that Odell Beckham is no longer that good. That naturally comes with a belief in Jarvis Landry.
Landry certainly isn’t my typical type of player. I prefer upside. Landry doesn’t really have that. I don’t often target floor-based guys. However, each of my first five picks has upside. Most importantly, the two wide receivers I selected are entering their third and second years respectively. Landry is the perfect WR3 complement to Chark and Metcalf. He’s entering his seventh NFL season. He’s still just 28 years old. He’s seen at least 131 targets every season except for his rookie year and his 16 game target counts in two Cleveland seasons were 149 and 138. Landry hasn’t missed a game in his career. He’s a lock for at least 80 catches and 1,000 yards.
7.09 Derrius Guice (RB – WAS)
One thing I committed to doing differently in this draft was to not draft players that have literally a 0% chance of being available at a particular point in real drafts. For that reason, I passed on Kareem Hunt and Cam Akers here. Just note that I’m aggressively targeting Hunt in drafts where I don’t start with three running backs as early as the fourth round and that I wouldn’t let Akers make it out of the fifth round if I needed a running back.
This pick was very difficult. With three running backs and wide receivers each, I could have gone in any direction. This would be a good spot to pivot to quarterback or tight end if someone jumped out at me. Unfortunately, there was no one. That swung me back to taking the best player available. With Hunt and Akers not in consideration, I reluctantly took Derrius Guice.
I have no confidence in Guice to stay healthy or Washington to be a competent football team, but despite a large amount of competition in that backfield, it’s quantity over quality. Guice is clearly the best back on the team and if he stays healthy, he has a great shot at being at least a low-end RB2. As my RB4, that’s what I want – upside.
8.04 Tarik Cohen (RB – CHI)
I know I need wide receivers. I know I need a quarterback and a tight end. There just isn’t any player that jumps out at me at those positions. Whatever quarterback/receiver/tight end I take now is no better than the ones I could take in subsequent rounds. That led me to take what will be my fifth and final running back, Tarik Cohen.
Similar to the Odell Beckham/Jarvis Landry logic is the David Montgomery/Tarik Cohen logic. It is no secret that I’ve always been down on Montgomery. I wanted no part of him as a rookie because of his awful prospect profile combined with the sub-optimal landing spot. He spent his entire rookie season proving what I already knew – that he is not talented enough to play in the NFL. If I believe Montgomery is going to be completely useless in 2020, then naturally I must believe in Cohen. Time to put up or shut up.
Cohen’s splash weeks were hard to predict in 2018 and he didn’t really have any in 2019. His best finish was 18.4 points. There’s a reason for optimism in 2020, especially as my RB5. Cohen saw 104 targets last season and outside of Allen Robinson, there’s not much in the way of competition. Nick Foles is an upgrade on Mitch Trubisky and the Bears as an offense should be better. If I’m correct in my belief that Montgomery will continue to disappoint, he will cede more snaps to the quicker, more dynamic Cohen.
9.09 Matthew Stafford (QB – DET)
Now the decisions begin. Do I lock up my clear preference at quarterback or my clear preference at wide receiver? I went with Matthew Stafford because I’m more confident that I’m right about Stafford being a QB1 than I am about Preston Williams returning healthy from a midseason ACL tear to reclaim his spot as the Dolphins’ WR1.
If I could guarantee Stafford in the ninth round of every draft I do, I would sign for it right now. While Stafford’s eight games played don’t qualify for the minimum 10 I use when discussing where a player finished in fantasy points per game, his eight games would have made him the overall QB4 in 2019. He was incredible when he played. Why is he being drafted on the QB1/2 border in 2020? I don’t know, but I hope my league mates don’t figure out what a value he is.
10.04 Preston Williams (WR – MIA)
He made it back so Preston Williams it is. As my WR4, he should at least be a WR4 as long as he’s healthy. His only target competition is DeVante Parker, who was firmly behind him prior to his injury and Mike Gesicki. Plenty to go around for a talented player.
11.09 Curtis Samuel (WR – CAR)
I can’t stop! I’ll never give up on you Curtis Samuel! The wide receiver that led the league in the most unrealized air yards in 2019 now has more target competition, but better quarterback play. He also comes at a substantially cheaper price than the seventh or eighth round pick he cost last season. Samuel is the perfect WR5 pick because he’s all upside. Either the Panthers use him properly and you know you’ve got a steal or it’s more of the same, Robby Anderson steals his spot in two-receiver sets, and you can drop him by Week 3.
12.04 Dallas Goedert (TE – PHI)
I am once again making an executive decision to pass on Hayden Hurst as my tight end given the 0% chance he will ever be available in the double-digit rounds. Hurst’s ADP is in the seventh round. For that reason, I went with Dallas Goedert.
To be perfectly honest, between Goedert, Mike Gesicki, and Jonnu Smith, I could have gone in any direction. All of them have solidified roles and tremendous upside. Goedert may be the backup to Zach Ertz, but the Eagles run enough two tight end sets and Goedert is an elite red-zone weapon. There’s also the matter of Goedert being an elite talent and a locked-in top-five tight end if Ertz were to get hurt. I will chase the ceiling.
13.09 Jonnu Smith (TE – TEN)
I like doubling up on one of the onesie positions. Given how long I wanted to take Goedert, it only made sense to go with a second tight end. Jonnu Smith has the role all to himself this year and looks poised for a TE1 season.
QB: Matthew Stafford
RB: Joe Mixon, Josh Jacobs, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Derrius Guice, Tarik Cohen
WR: D.J. Chark, D.K. Metcalf, Jarvis Landry, Preston Williams, Curtis Samuel
TE: Dallas Goedert, Jonnu Smith
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