Fantasy Football PPR Mock Draft: Early Pick (2020)
With NFL training camps finally set to open, the fantasy draft season is officially upon us. Over the next month, millions of people will partake in their respective fantasy drafts and you don’t want to be the person who shows up unprepared.
The best way to prepare for a real draft is to do a bunch of mock drafts and today while using the FantasyPros mock draft simulator, I did a 12 team, PPR mock draft. I chose the 3rd overall pick so for anyone out there picking early in your draft, this one’s for you.
Before I dive into each individual pick, I’m going to give you a quick breakdown of the strategy I used in this mock.
First and foremost, when it comes to your fantasy football draft, never get absolutely locked in on one strategy. You never know how your draft may unfold and if you lock yourself into one strategy, it could leave you high and dry if things don’t go your way. Always be prepared to pivot!
Now onto my strategy for this early pick PPR draft. When playing in a PPR league, logic dictates that wide receivers would increase in value while running backs decrease.
While that is somewhat true, when picking inside the top five, the smartest and safest thing you can do is lock up your RB1 for the season. Once you’ve done that, you can then target some great wide receivers in rounds two through four.
Once I reached the 5th round, I had already drafted two running backs and two wide receivers giving me a plethora of options to go with. I stuck with that balanced strategy throughout most of the rest of the draft which is something I strongly urge you to do. Having a balanced roster is key to making a serious run at a fantasy championship.
Lastly, this wouldn’t be a mock draft article if I didn’t say this, wait on quarterback! I understand the desire to reach for guys like Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes but quarterback is the deepest position in fantasy and using one of your first picks on one can hamper your team all year long.
Now, onto the picks!
Round 1, Pick 3: Ezekiel Elliott (RB – DAL)
With Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley already off the board, going with Elliott was a no-brainer. Last year he finished 3rd overall at running back averaging over 16 fantasy points a game. Even with a new pass-happy head coach and the addition of CeeDee Lamb, Elliot is still going to be fed the football, especially near the goal-line
Round 2, Pick 22: Kenny Golladay (WR – DET)
Even while playing on an awful team and with three different quarterbacks in 2019, Kenny Golladay still managed to finish 9th overall at wide receiver. Now he gets Matthew Stafford back and is just about to enter his prime. A lot of people are sleeping on Golladay in 2020 and for your sake, I hope you’re not one of them.
Round 3, Pick 27: Mike Evans (WR – TB)
I struggled between Golladay and Evans in the 2nd round so seeing Evans fall to the 3rd had me thrilled. With Jameis Winston as his quarterback, Evans was known to be somewhat streaky. He’ll give you 25 fantasy points one week and three the next. I don’t see that happening with Tom Brady under center. Brady may not have the arm to hit Evans deep every week, but I still expect to see a dominant and more importantly, consistent, Mike Evans.
Round 4, Pick 46: James Conner (RB – PIT)
It seems like people have forgotten that just last year, James Conner was being drafted in the 1st or early 2nd round. Now, he’s falling into the 4th and 5th round and I see that as a massive steal. Even with Ben Roethlisberger hurt and the Steelers offense essentially non-existent, Conner still averaged over 14 fantasy points per game. Now, with Big Ben slated to return, this Steelers offense could be dangerous once again, and adding their starting back in the 4th could end up being a league-winner.
Round 5, Pick 51: T.Y. Hilton (WR – IND)
Last year while catching passes from Jacoby Brissett, Hilton averaged over 10 fantasy points per game. Now with Philip Rivers in town, that number should only go up. Rivers may no longer have the arm to get Hilton a ton of deep targets, but he’s going to turn to Hilton the way he did towards Keenan Allen and we all know how that worked out. If you can get 80% of Allen’s production out of Hilton in the 5th round, you’re in good shape.
Round 6, Pick 70: Jonathan Taylor (RB – IND)
This pick had me a bit nervous after just drafting Hilton’s, but I felt like Taylor’s upside was just too high to pass us. There may not have been a better pure rusher in all of college football last year than Taylor. During his final season at Wisconsin, Taylor rushed for 2,003 yards, 21 touchdowns and averaged 6.3 yards per carry, he’s the real deal. It may take a couple of weeks to get acclimated, but as soon as he starts seeing consistent touches, he’s going to be a fantasy star.
Round 7, Pick 75: Raheem Mostert (RB – SF)
Once named the starter last year, Mostert became a man on a mission. Over the final six games of the 2019 season, Mostert scored seven touchdowns – and then he capped that off by scoring five more in the playoffs! Anyone using the zero RB strategy should especially be targeting him. His ADP of 63rd overall is criminally low. The 49ers backfield will always be a bit of a headache, but they have their lead back now and his name is Raheem Mostert.
Round 8, Pick 94: Brandin Cooks (WR – HOU)
This was definitely the most boom or bust pick of my draft. Cooks has a long history of concussions, and once again, he finds himself on a new team. On the plus side, that new team’s quarterback is Deshaun Watson. With Watson’s cannon of an arm and his ability to extend plays, Cooks could thrive in the Texans offense. The injury risk is real with Cooks – but so is the upside. If he can stay healthy and get on the same page as Watson, we could see the most lethal Brandin Cooks since New Orleans.
Round 9, Pick 99: Hunter Henry (TE – LAC)
With Philip Rivers as his quarterback, Hunter Henry was one of the most reliable tight ends in all of football. Now, with the combination of Tyrod Taylor and rookie Justin Herbert, we’re in uncharted waters. That being said, the uncertainty is baked into his ADP as last year he was going in the 5th or 6th round and today, I drafted him in the 9th. You can’t expect the same production we saw out of him with Rivers, but he is still an uber-talented tight end who will get his targets, especially in the red-zone.
Round 10, Pick 118: Marlon Mack (RB – IND)
Once I drafted Jonathan Taylor, I knew I’d be targeting Mack, and getting him in the 10th is a terrific value. One of these two backs will lead what should be a fantasy productive offense. I believe in the long run it will be Taylor, but you won’t find many handcuffs better than Marlon Mack.
Round 11, Pick 123: Aaron Rodgers (QB – GB)
Here’s a perfect example as to why you should always wait on drafting a quarterback. Getting Aaron Rodgers in the 11th round is an absolute steal. It seems like everyone has forgotten that just two years ago, playing on a fractured knee, Rodgers finished as QB6. Even in 2019 in what was considered a down year, he finished as QB10. Bottom line, if it’s the 11th round and Aaron Rodgers is sitting on the board, you jump at that pick every single time.
Round 12, Pick 142: Tony Pollard (RB – DAL)
At this point in the draft, you’re looking for upside and handcuffs. With Zeke being my first pick, I knew getting Pollard would be a priority, and getting him in the 12th is just a plus. Pollard showed legitimate flashes last year during the preseason and could even have some stand-alone value.
Round 13, Pick 147: Allen Lazard (WR – GB)
I’ve been saying it all offseason and I’ll say it again – Allen Lazard is being drafted way too late. Last year in limited opportunities, Lazard showed that he can be a force on the Packers offense. Perhaps what’s most important is the fact that he has gained the trust of his Hall of Fame quarterback, Aaron Rodgers. Last year when targeting Lazard, Rodgers had a 115.6 passer rating, that’s nearly 17 points higher than when targeting star wideout Davante Adams. Do yourself a favor and grab Lazard at the end of your drafts, you won’t regret it.