Fantasy Football Standard Mock Draft: Early Pick (2020)
We are officially less than a month away from the start of the NFL season! That means the fantasy draft season is really starting to heat up. The best way anyone can prepare for a draft is to do as many mocks as possible. It may seem repetitive, but putting yourself in multiple different scenarios will ensure that you’re ready for draft night.
So, with that in mind, I did a 12-team standard-scoring mock draft using FantasyPros’ mock draft simulator. I was randomly assigned the second overall pick, so for anyone drafting inside the top five, pay extra attention.
Before I break down each individual pick, I’m first going to give you a quick look into the strategy I used for this mock.
First and foremost, don’t completely lock in on one strategy. You never know how your draft may unfold, and if you overcommit, it may come back to bite you — always be prepared to pivot!
When it comes to standard scoring, there is no position more valuable than running back. While you obviously can’t completely ignore wide receiver and tight end, the foundation of your team should be built around the running back position.
With that in mind, I started my draft by selecting a running back with each of my first two picks. Now that I’ve solidified my running back group, I turn my attention to the remaining wide receiver’s drafting three consecutively from rounds three through five.
At this point, with two strong backs along with a trio of high upside wide receivers, many would look to add a tight end or even a quarterback in this area of the draft – I strongly advise against that.
I’ve always been a big believer in waiting on quarterbacks, and that isn’t changing anytime soon. Last year, Ryan Tannehill finished as QB21 and averaged over 19 fantasy points per game. You can get quality starters in the double-digit rounds at quarterback, don’t use a second-round pick on one.
When it comes to tight end, I believe this year’s group is the strongest and deepest we’ve seen in years. Unless you’re going after George Kittle or Travis Kelce, I’d wait until the later rounds to target some young, high-upside guys like Hayden Hurst and T.J. Hockenson.
Enough strategy talk, let’s get to the picks.
Round 1, Pick 2: Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG)
Regardless of format, Saquon Barkley is as elite as it gets at the running back position, and he could be in store for a massive 2020 season in an underrated Giants offense. With Daniel Jones now entering his sophomore season, expect the Giants to remain competitive in games, giving Barkley more chances to carry the rock. Another added bonus of playing in a good offense? More scoring opportunities. I expect major improvements from this Giants offense, and Barkley is going to be at the center of it.
Round 2, Pick 23: Aaron Jones (RB – GB)
For several reasons, Aaron Jones is being looked at as one of the biggest regression candidates of the 2020 season. Last year, he scored an incredible 19 touchdowns, which is nearly impossible to repeat. Also, the Packers used a second-round pick on running back A.J. Dillon, and he should compete with him for touches. But what does regression really mean for Jones? You can take away seven touchdowns from Jones’ total in 2019, and he’d still finish as the RB6. He may not repeat his RB2 finish in 2020, but he is a steal at the end of Round 2.
Round 3, Pick 26: Amari Cooper (WR – DAL)
Ever since being traded to the Cowboys, Amari Cooper has been a fantasy goldmine — he finished the 2019 season as WR7 in standard-scoring leagues. I think Cooper can match or even improve on his numbers from last season now that Mike McCarthy is in town. We saw what McCarthy did for his wide receivers in Green Bay, and I expect similar results in Dallas. The addition of CeeDee Lamb is something to note, but Cooper has been and will remain the WR1 on this Cowboys offense.
Round 4, Pick 47: Cooper Kupp (WR – LAR)
When healthy, Kupp is one of the safest players in all of fantasy football. He’s targeted in the short game, on deep shots, and most importantly, in the red zone. Last year, he finished with 10 scores, and that was with Brandin Cooks still on the roster. Now, Cooks is in Houston, which gives Kupp a great shot to finish as a top-10 wide receiver for the second consecutive season.
Round 5, Pick 50: D.K. Metcalf (WR – SEA)
Metcalf enters year two in Seattle with a real shot at a breakout season. He has all the tools to be an elite receiver — he just needs to see the volume now. As a rookie, he earned 100 targets while veteran Tyler Lockett saw 110, proving that there is a real competition for WR1 status in Seattle Now, with a full season under his belt, I’m putting my money on Metcalf to finish the season as the better wide receiver.
Round 6, Pick 71: D’Andre Swift (RB – DET)
Swift enters the NFL as one of the most electrifying rookies out of this year’s draft class, regardless of position. Over his final two years at Georgia, Swift totaled 2,267 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns to go along with another 513 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns. He has all the tools you’re looking for in a running back, and as long as the Lions don’t completely screw it up (fingers crossed), Swift could finish as a strong RB2.
Round 7, Pick 74: Stefon Diggs (WR – BUF)
The transition from Kirk Cousins to Josh Allen may take a couple of weeks to get used to, but if Diggs and Allen build a strong connection, the sky’s the limit for Diggs. We all know how strong of an arm Allen has, and we also know that Diggs makes his money on the deep shot, which makes this a very interesting pairing. That said, I have Diggs as my WR4 for a reason — I wouldn’t want to have to rely on him on a weekly basis. He’ll have some boom weeks but also a handful of busts.
Round 8, Pick 95: Kerryon Johnson (RB – DET)
Normally, I’d consider drafting a handcuff in Round 8 as a bit of a reach, but considering the uncertainty surrounding the league right now, I strongly recommend cuffing your top backs. In this specific case, I decided to lock up the entire Lions backfield. When healthy, we’ve seen what Johnson can do, but if he goes down again, Swift will skyrocket up the rankings.
Round 9, Pick 98: 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, he’ll be catching passes from either one of Tyrod Taylor or rookie Justin Herbert. While that should lower his production, that assumption has already been baked into his ADP, and it’s making him a strong value in Round 9. You shouldn’t expect the same production we saw out of him with Rivers, but he is still an extremely talented tight end who will get his chances, especially in the red zone.
Round 10, Pick 119: Antonio Gibson (RB – WAS)
Gibson was a highly talked about prospect heading into the draft as he transitioned from wide receiver to running back. That said, don’t let labels fool you, Gibson can and will catch the football. With Derrius Guice no longer on the team and Adrian Peterson now old enough to be a grandfather, Gibson has a legitimate shot at being fantasy relevant in 2020. I like him a lot more in PPR, but at his current ADP, I’d be happy with him in any format.
Round 11, Pick 122: Tom Brady (QB – TB)
As I mentioned earlier, I always wait on drafting a quarterback, and getting Tom Brady in Round 11 is a perfect example of why. Even while aging and playing in an offense with very little talent, Brady still finished as QB12. Now, he enters one of the most lethal offenses in football with two top-10 wide receivers at his disposal as well as his old buddy, Rob Gronkowski, at tight end. Brady’s days of finishing as a top-three quarterback may be over, but he still has enough left in the tank to be productive in this Bucs of offense.
Round 12, Pick 143: Justin Jackson (RB – LAC)
With Melvin Gordon now in Denver, Justin Jackson should enter 2020 as the RB2 for the Chargers. That’s a pretty good spot to be in, considering that Austin Ekeler will do most of his damage through the air. If Jackson can solidify a role for himself on early downs and near the goal-line, he’ll outperform his current ADP with ease.
Round 13, Pick 146: N’Keal Harry (WR – NE)
With my final position-player pick, I always like to look for upside, and that’s something that I think Harry has. He put together a quiet rookie season due to injury, but he’s at full health again, and he should be a starting outside receiver for the Patriots. Even with Julian Edelman there, Harry still has a shot at a breakout sophomore season. This is a new Patriots offense without Tom Brady — not every single target will go to the slot. If Harry builds an early connection with Cam Newton, he could finish as a solid WR3/flex option.
Round 14, Pick 164: New Orleans Saints (DST)
Final Draft Board
Beyond our fantasy football content, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Trade Analyzer – which allows you to instantly find out if a trade offer benefits you or your opponent – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team, and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.