Fantasy Football Mock Draft Strategies: Zero WR (2020)
Mock drafts are a crucial part of your offseason preparations. They help you follow trends in players’ average draft positions (ADP) and where they sit in our expert consensus rankings (ECR).
They also allow you to experiment with different draft strategies. You can punt running backs (Zero RB), wide receivers (Zero WR), quarterbacks, or tight ends. While you won’t be able to rely on many late-round or streaming options at running back or wide receiver, you can employ a draft strategy where you do that at quarterback or tight end.
Punting a position helps you secure an advantage at other positions, and with the depth at wide receiver this year, it’s a good one to avoid until the fourth, fifth, or sixth round.
This year, FantasyPros is debuting a tool to help you stick to that strategy in your mocks. Just start up a draft, click the gear next to “Summary,” and choose your plan from the drop-down list. In this article, I’ll try out our Zero WR option for a 12-team PPR league with rosters of 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 WR/RB/TE, and 7 BN. The client assigned me the fifth spot, which I don’t like but don’t hate.
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1.05 Alvin Kamara (RB – NO)
This pick was a no-brainer. I’m stunned that Joe Mixon went before Kamara here, as the Saints running back has a ton of PPR-based upside. He’ll return to his featured role in New Orleans with a full offseason to get healthy, and I’m projecting him to finish as a high-end RB1.
Players also considered: None.
2.08 Travis Kelce (TE – KC)
I was a lot more conflicted about this selection. I intended to go RB/RB/RB in this mock, but I did not like my options at running back here. Josh Jacobs was the best one available, but he doesn’t get the passing-game work necessary to succeed in PPR. Jacobs finished as the RB21 in 2019, and he was the RB15 in PPG. I’d much rather lock-in my TE1. Kelce is a safe bet to finish top-three at the position, and while he won’t be a top-15 player overall, I’m comfortable taking him because of positional scarcity.
Players also considered: Josh Jacobs.
3.05 Patrick Mahomes (QB – KC)
Oh, God. Reaching on a quarterback is the cardinal sin of fantasy football, and it’s even harder to justify taking one when I’ve already got a tight end. That said, I strongly dislike my other options here. I would’ve been okay with Todd Gurley, but he went the pick before mine, and I’m not that excited about Gordon or Carson relative to Mahomes. The Kansas City quarterback won people championships in 2018, and I’d rather bet on him returning to form than taking a running back who could lose his job.
Players also considered: Melvin Gordon, Chris Carson.
4.08 Le’Veon Bell (RB – NYJ)
I desperately needed an RB2 here, and I’m satisfied with Bell. Yes, he’s stuck with Adam Gase in New York, but the Jets have a financial incentive to keep him on the field. He’ll see enough passing-game work to give him PPR value, proven by his RB16 finish last year. Bell scored at least 15 points in seven of his 15 games last year, and he scored at least 10 in all but two. That’s some solid floor for my RB2 — let’s just hope Gase doesn’t put him in a committee with Frank Gore.
Players also considered: David Johnson.
5.05 David Johnson (RB – HOU)
I’m excited to land Johnson as my RB3/Flex. Yes, he’s gotten older, but he’s had the offseason to get healthy, and the Texans will want to get the most out of his loaded contract. Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson totaled 14 scores and almost 2,000 yards last year, and even if David has to split time with Duke, he should still produce well for me at flex.
Players also considered: None.
6.08 Julian Edelman (WR – NE)
I managed to not take a single wide receiver until the sixth round. Last year, Edelman finished as the WR7 in PPR, so getting him this late feels criminal. Sure, we don’t know exactly who his quarterback will be, but I’m a lot more confident in pulling the trigger now that Cam Newton is in town. Edelman is the unquestioned top dog in New England, and he’ll get enough volume to be a weekly platoon option in my lineup. I also liked A.J. Green here, but there’s too much injury risk for him to be my WR1.
Players also considered: A.J. Green.
7.05 Tyler Boyd (WR – CIN)
So Green didn’t fall, but I got the next best thing: Tyler Boyd. I’m not a huge fan of the Pittsburgh product, but his WR18 finish last year (and WR17 finish in 2018) make him a nice pick in the seventh. He may have to compete with Tee Higgins and a healthy A.J. Green, but the Bengals lost Tyler Eifert, and first-year quarterbacks often depend on short-yardage options. Boyd played more than half of his snaps in the slot last year, so I expect him to become Joe Burrow’s security blanket.
Players also considered: Michael Gallup.
8.08 Jamison Crowder (WR – NYJ)
Crowder is the next man up for my wide receiver platoon. He finished as the PPR WR26 last year — in between Odell Beckham Jr. and Calvin Ridley — and the Jets have given us every reason to believe he’ll do so again. With Robby Anderson gone and replaced with perimeter guys like Denzel Mims and Breshad Perriman, the slot star should continue to see a high volume of targets from Sam Darnold. I also considered taking a running back here, but I opted to complete my starting lineup instead.
Players also considered: Cam Akers, Raheem Mostert.
9.05 Emmanuel Sanders (WR – NO)
With my lineup filled, I took Sanders to be my first backup receiver, and I’m comfortable rotating him into my lineup based on his opponent. He impressed in 2019, finishing as the WR30 despite getting both injured and traded mid-season. I expect the 33-year-old to get plenty of short-yardage looks from Drew Brees, so he’s a volume-based pick for me in the ninth.
Players also considered: Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Ronald Jones II.
10.08 Sony Michel (RB – NE)
This pick is unconventional at best, stupid at worst. Michel isn’t a good running back in PPR formats, but landing him in Round 10 makes that forgivable. The Patriots fed him the ball 247 times last year, and no member of his backfield seems capable of stealing his early-down work. Michel’s 12-to-18 carries per game make him a low-ceiling, high-floor RB4.
Players also considered: Phillip Lindsay.
11.05 Latavius Murray (RB – NO)
I invested a ton of draft capital into Alvin Kamara, and Bell as my RB2, I feel obligated to sink even more into my star running back. While I don’t see Murray as much more than Kamara’s handcuff, he has proven that he can play well behind New Orleans’ offensive line — he finished as the RB2 in Week 7 and as the RB3 in Week 8. It’s not often you can replace your RB1 with his handcuff and still expect RB1 numbers, but you can with Murray.
Players also considered: Tevin Coleman.
12.08 Sammy Watkins (WR – KC)
I’ve stacked Chiefs and Saints in this draft. Why? It’s important to find running backs and quarterbacks on high-powered offenses, and while that matters less for wide receivers, it does play a role. The Chiefs restructured Watkins’ contract for 2020, so I’m confident that they won’t move on from him before the season starts. Watkins isn’t a consistent receiving option, but you can expect a few big games from him every year, and he’s an excellent play for when the Chiefs take on a soft secondary.
Players also considered: Zack Moss.
13.05 Antonio Gibson (RB – WAS)
I’ve been looking for a high-upside guy at running back these past few rounds, and I finally pulled the trigger by taking rookie Antonio Gibson. Gibson is an analytics darling, and he’s got a chance to run away with the starting job in camp. Yes, Washington has Adrian Peterson, Derrius Guice, Bryce Love, and Peyton Barber on their roster, but they haven’t fully committed to any of them. You can’t find another non-handcuff running back with this much upside this late in the draft, so I’m happy about landing Gibson here.
Players also considered: Jared Goff, Ben Roethlisberger, Ryan Tannehill.
14.08 Jared Goff (QB – LAR)
I wanted either a QB2 or a TE2, so I’m happy to get Jared Goff here. Barring an injury to Mahomes, I will only need to start Goff in Week 10 when he takes on a mediocre Seattle secondary in Los Angeles.
Players also considered: Ryan Tannehill.
15.05 Denzel Mims (WR – NYJ)
I wanted to take a high-upside receiver with my last pick. Mims will compete with Perriman for Robby Anderson’s role in New York, and the athletic freak could be better than both of them. Anderson scored 10-plus fantasy points in four games last year, so it’ll just be a question of finding the right weeks to start Mims.
Players also considered: Steven Sims.
I earned a 93/100. I’m happy with second place, as the top team had the first pick and took Christian McCaffrey, so I don’t feel too badly about not beating them.
The client ranks me first at quarterback and tight end, fourth at flex, fifth at running back, and last at wide receiver. Go figure. Boyd ranks as the worst WR1 among all rosters, while Edelman ranks ninth at WR2 and Crowder 11th at WR3. Since I didn’t pick a single receiver until Round 6, I think it could be a lot worse.
Wide receiver is one of the easiest positions to punt in fantasy football. While you shouldn’t pigeonhole yourself into a draft strategy, going Zero WR can pay dividends if the cards fall correctly.
Complete early mock drafts using our free draft simulator >>
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Isaiah Sirois is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Isaiah, check out his archive and follow him @is_sirois.