Fantasy Football Mock Draft: How to Handle the No. 2 Overall Pick (2020)
The sky is the limit for D.J. Moore in an offense that could be a lot better than expected.
If you’re drafting second overall in your upcoming fantasy draft, then I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is you’re going to get one of the best players available, but the bad news is you most likely will miss out on the best player available, Christian McCaffrey.
But all is not lost. You can still assemble a strong roster even without CMC in your lineup. Using our Draft Wizard, I conducted a mock draft with the No. 2 pick in a 12-team standard league that starts one quarterback, two running backs, two receivers, one tight end, a FLEX, a kicker and a defense. Here’s what you can expect when picking second overall come draft day.
The pick: Ezekiel Elliott (RB – DAL)
One of the awesome features of our Draft Wizard is that it can make recommendations for you based on our Expert Consensus Rankings. In this case, 86% of our experts agreed that Saquon Barkley was the proper choice at No. 2 overall.
There are several reasons why I disagreed with them (it’s nothing personal, I swear!). I first took the format into account. Receptions mean much less in standard leagues, and that reduces the value studs like Barkley and Alvin Kamara bring as pass catchers.
I also view Elliott as the safest option over Barkley, Kamara, and Dalvin Cook. While much has been made of Dallas’ passing game, Zeke is still the best playmaker on that unit. Plus, the receiving trio of Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and rookie CeeDee Lamb will force defenses to lighten the box, which should offer Elliott plenty of running lanes. And I haven’t even mentioned that Elliott runs behind one of the league’s most reliable offensive lines, while Barkley’s blocking is still a major question.
Rounds 2 and 3
The picks: Aaron Jones (RB – GB) and D.J. Moore (WR- CAR)
Earlier in the month, I conducted a mock draft picking No. 1 overall, and by the time I was on the clock in Round 2, all of the top-8 wideouts were gone. It’s happened again here and I’m left with a hard decision.
The best receivers left were Amari Cooper, Odell Beckham Jr., A.J. Brown, Allen Robinson, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. None of those guys are Round 2 picks in my opinion. Unfortunately, the running back well has dried up too. Only Jones, Austin Ekeler, Todd Gurley, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire were left. Tight ends Travis Kelce and George Kittle were available too.
I’m much higher on Jones than many people, but taking him at the backend of Round 2 was uncomfortable. He’s a great talent and has top-12 upside, but I also recognize he likely won’t score 19 touchdowns again. However, I still think he’s a darn good back who will serve as an excellent RB2.
In Round 3, Kittle and all of the aforementioned receivers were still on the board. I don’t believe in drafting tight ends early and don’t feel great about any of these receivers. So I decided to take a chance on D.J. Moore, who is being undervalued as the WR15 in our ECR. Moore will benefit from an upgrade at quarterback and should thrive in new offensive coordinator Joe Brady’s offense.
I truly believe the sky is the limit for Moore in an offense that could be a lot better than expected if Teddy Bridgewater picks up from where he left off in New Orleans.
Rounds 4 and 5
The picks: Terry McLaurin (WR – WAS) and David Montgomery (RB – CHI)
When I saw McLaurin was still on the board, I couldn’t click the “Draft” button any faster. McLaurin is my bet to be this season’s breakout wide receiver. He’s a tremendous playmaker at all three levels and should benefit if his former college teammate, Dwayne Haskins, makes any progress in his second season.
McLaurin posted 919 yards and seven touchdowns on just 93 targets. I’m confident he has WR1 upside if he continues to develop and receivers a higher volume of targets.
I didn’t really love any of my options in Round 5. The options at tailback were David Johnson, Mark Ingram, Le’Veon Bell, and Montgomery. The wide receivers were even less appealing as DeVante Parker, T.Y. Hilton, Keenan Allen, Stefon Diggs, and A.J. Green were the top players left.
Ultimately, I sided with Montgomery because I think he has a bit more upside than any of the running backs available. While Tarik Cohen will be involved, Montgomery should get the lion’s share of the carries. Chicago didn’t do much to improve its offensive line in the offseason, but I have hope that the offense will improve if Nick Foles earns the starting job. I’ll take a shot on him as my RB3 and FLEX.
Rounds 6 and 7
The picks: Stefon Diggs (WR – BUF) and Marquise Brown (WR – BAL)
My sixth pick was easy. I was stunned that Diggs fell to me at the end of the round and the value was too good to pass up. While I’m worried he might be a bit too feast or famine with Josh Allen in Buffalo, he’s still one of the only WR1s left on the board. He’ll serve as a high upside WR3 and FLEX option.
I shot for the moon in Round 7 by nabbing Brown, who might be the definition of a high-risk, high-reward pick. I chose Brown over less exciting receivers like Tyler Boyd, Julian Edelman, Marvin Jones, and the oft-injured Will Fuller.
Brown needs to stay healthy and develop a more nuanced, well-rounded route tree. But it’s hard not to get excited about a potential connection between him and Lamar Jackson. As my WR4, why not?
Rounds 8 and 9
The picks: Aaron Rodgers (QB – GB) and Deebo Samuel (WR – SF)
This is where the draft really starts to get ugly. The three best players left on the board were Evan Engram, Hunter Henry, and Marvin Jones. In other words, two injury-prone tight ends and a low-ceiling receiver, yuck!
I’m the only team who hasn’t taken a quarterback yet, but that’s about to change. I went with Rodgers because I still think he’s a tremendous player. I don’t trust Green Bay’s coaching staff, but I don’t think they’re stupid enough to phase Rodgers out completely. Plus, Rodgers still finished as the QB10 in fantasy leagues as the Packers shifted to a run-oriented offense.
Those who took Rodgers early in drafts last year definitely have a right to feel burnt. But as the 12th quarterback off the board in Round 8, I’m willing to bet that some of Aaron Jones’ touchdown regression results in more touchdown passes for the future Hall of Famer.
Round 9 was difficult. The best running backs available were all unappealing. Kerryon Johnson might not be the starter by midseason. Latavius Murray and Alexander Mattison are merely handcuffs, not valuable RB4s. Darrell Henderson and Tarik Cohen don’t present much value in standard formats and it was too early to take Elliott’s handcuff, Tony Pollard.
I had no interest in drafting either Engram or Hunter, so I turned once again to a wide receiver. Taking Deebo Samuel even in Round 9 felt like an enormous risk given the uncertainty of his recovery timetable from a Jones fracture in his left foot. I likely won’t have him to start the season, and may not get him at full strength until midseason. But I’ll take a shot on his talent and opportunity paying off once he’s healthy.
Rounds 10 and 11
The picks: Hayden Hurst (TE – ATL) and Tony Pollard (RB – DAL)
In Round 10, I’ve finally convinced myself it’s time to nab a starting tight end. Fortunately, my favorite late target was still on the board. Hayden Hurst is a first-round talent who will benefit in Atlanta just like Austin Hooper did. Matt Ryan frequently checks down to his tight end if his primary targets are covered downfield. That helped Hooper become a top-7 tight end each of the last two seasons.
I typically don’t go out of my way to draft handcuffs, but Round 11 was the right time to take Tony Pollard. He only presents value in the event of an Elliott injury, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.
Rounds 12 and 13
The picks: Carlos Hyde (RB – SEA) and Jared Goff (QB – LAR)
I promise I didn’t wake up this morning with the intent to take Carlos Hyde in a mock draft. I don’t think anyone does anymore. Yet, did you know he’s coming off his first 1,000-yard season?
Now Hyde arrives in Seattle where he’ll share the backfield with Chris Carson, who has durability and ball security concerns, and Rashaad Penny, who will likely start the season on the PUP list after tearing his ACL last year. Hyde isn’t anything special, but he’s good enough to be productive if given the opportunity to start.
Goff is coming off of a disappointing 2019 season, but I think he’s being undervalued in drafts. He’s still a good quarterback who’s only 25 years old and still has Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, and Sean McVay in his corner. While they weren’t as potent last season, the Rams still ran almost 66 plays per game. With better protection, Goff has upside to finish as a top-1o quarterback. He makes for a good pair with Rodgers.
Rounds 14, 15, and 16
The picks: Henry Ruggs III (WR – LV), New England Patriots D/ST, and Younghoe Koo (K – ATL)
Why not fill out the bench with another high upside receiver? Ruggs’ speed is worth the flier alone. Many are concerned about Derek Carr‘s hesitancy to throw downfield, but Ruggs isn’t solely a vertical field stretcher. He can turn a 3-yard slant into a 70-yard touchdown on any given play.
While having an explosive defense is nice, I tend to look for reliability. Bill Belichick’s defense should be stout once again. As for kicker, I target dependable players on explosive offenses. Koo checks both boxes after converting 23 of his 26 field goal attempts in just eight games with Atlanta.
Final Roster and Draft Grade
The Draft Wizard gave me a respectable “B+” grade. According to its projections, I had the fourth-best team. It ranked me second at running back, ninth at wide receiver, 10th at tight end, and 12th at quarterback.
The Draft Wizard’s evaluation of my tight end and quarterbacks are unsurprising and unconcerning. However, I’m confident my group of receivers will outperform the Draft Wizard’s expectations. I’ve got stability in three workhorse tailbacks and should have a strong starting lineup if my bets on Moore and McLaurin pan out.
How do you think I did drafting out of the No. 2 slot? Let me know on Twitter @RealMattBarbato!
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Matt Barbato is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Matt, check out his archive and follow him @RealMattBarbato.
Fantasy Football Mock Draft: How to Handle the No. 2 Overall Pick (2020) The sky is the limit for D.J. Moore in an offense that could be a lot better than expected. If you’re drafting second
Fantasy Football Draft Strategy: Tips, advice for dominating your 2020 snake draft
When it comes to drafting a strong fantasy football team, you want to be well prepared to kill the snake . draft. Between the pick you get in the lottery, who’s all playing in your league and the depth of offensive skill talent in the NFL, many things are different from one year to the next, and all the tips and advice you’ve received regarding draft strategy in the past need to be reevaluated.
Of course, nothing should change the fact you should be in position to dominate the draft from the first round to the last. If you do the right amount of studying and practicing, you should come out with a winning team, no matter what.
You should also lean on all the help and resources available to you, from player rankings to more in-depth analysis pieces to Fantasy Pros’ fully customizable mock draft stimulator. Here’s one more: A comprehensive, step-by-step guide to how you can get to that desired domination:
2020 Fantasy Football Draft Strategy, Tips, and Advice
Start with a five-round plan of attack
The one thing you do know going into a 12-team fantasy football draft is that you will end up with five of the top 60 picks. Once you draw a selection between No. 1 and No. 12, it’s easy to think too much about that first pick and not about the other core four picks that follow in your snake drafts. In most leagues, these are the players who should consistently make up at least half of your weekly starters.
A no-brainer first-round pick of an RB1 or WR1 means little if you don’t back him up with a bevy of support. Participate in mock drafts with your pick and league specifics to know what combinations of talent you can get so when you’re on the clock for real, you know your best options and how to audible if a pick doesn’t fall as you expected.
This is the fantasy football version of your opening drive, and whoever scripts their first series the best usually ends up having the most success all season long.
Go early and often with running backs
Running backs are back in fantasy football, so we’ve heard. The truth is, they never went anywhere.
As catching the ball out of the backfield has become more vital in real life, there are more teams returning to versatile workhorses. Starting with the Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey and the Giants’ Saquon Barkley, there’s a special group of high-touch backs to go after first. Then it’s a mix of power guys, who are dependent on chunk runs and touchdowns, and change-of-pace types tailored for the passing game.
In your RB1-RB2 combination, you should have one dependable, often explosive back and one consistently complementary one. If you are required to start only two, you should draft five or six among your 17 total players. If you have a FLEX position, having up to seven backs is acceptable.
The key with your backups is diversifying your portfolio: Drafting those with well-defined roles for early in the season and those with massive upside for the second half. Later, make sure you try to land whatever insurance you can, handcuffing your top backs or even someone else’s, depending on the injury history of said backs.
There are a few durable rushers at the top, but there tends to be a lot of attrition tied to both fading veterans and injuries. Make sure you have enough hedged bets and lottery tickets when it’s time to scratch them.
Get at least one elite wide receiver
Did we mention it’s a passing league? Top-tier wideouts, such as Michael Thomas, Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill, are so good catching passes from top-level quarterbacks that they serve as surer things than most running backs. They carry more top-24 weight in PPR leagues, but they are also standard studs.
The key here is knowing your tiers across positions. With running back remaining a little deeper this year, you should take a receiver somewhere before the mid-third round. Should you start by picking No. 8 or No. 9 overall and then No. 16 or No. 17, it’s also OK to open WR-WR or even WR-TE with a combination starting of, say, Adams or HIll because that’s the better value play in relation to forcing a pick on a back.
If you begin with a good baseline of a tried-and-true gamebreaker or two at receiver, it takes the pressure off hitting on all the right high-upside sleepers later. There also is less attrition at the position with most of the top players being durable, so you want to tap into wideout before the fourth-round dropoff.
Know it’s OK to splurge at tight end
There are three tight ends in a class by themselves going into the 2020 season: Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and now, Mark Andrews. They are all going within the first 30 picks in most fantasy drafts, about a round and a half ahead of the Zach Ertz, Darren Waller and everyone else at the position.
Kelce is often going as high as the early second round, while Kittle and Andrews are going in the late second or early third round. In standard leagues, Kelce was the No. 12 highest-scoring wide receiver or tight end last season, while Kittle was No. 28, Waller was No. 31 and Andrews was No. 32. In PPR, Kelce was the No. 18 non-quarterback while Kittle was No. 35, Waller was No. 37, Ertz was No. 42 and No. 48.
Surrounding factors say Kelce, Kittle and Andrews should keep up their production in ’20, while Ertz and Waller might see a dropoff. The numbers then say they all are worth their ADPs. Because Kelce, Kittle and Andrews can produce like WR1s, they are luxuries worth landing if your pick falls right.
If don’t get one of the top three early, the old adage of waiting late also applies nicely this year. The position is deeper with tight ends, such as Falcons’ Hayden Hurst, Buccaneers’ Rob Gronkowski, and the Dolphins’ MIke Gesicki, proving late TE1 value.
Find the best values at quarterback
Lamar Jackson and Dak Prescott were the top two quarterbacks in fantasy football overall last season. Before 2019 drafts, they were ranked as borderline QB1s, around 11th to 15th in most places. Ahead of 2020, Jackson and Prescott now are ranked No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, behind Patrick Mahomes.
Expect someone in your league to jump on Mahomes and Jackson by the end of the second round. The quarterbacks right behind him in the rankings — Prescott, Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray and Deshaun Watson — are all going around the late fourth and fifth rounds. The goal is to target the quarterback who will best outperform his ADP, period. That’s really the aim at every position, but it’s more easily accomplished here.
When you take a QB early, it comes at the opportunity cost of passing on player at another position who has greater value in relation to others at his position. There’s no guarantee Mahomes and Jackson will be that much better than the next four, or Prescott, Wilson, Murray and Watson will outscore Josh Allen, Matt Ryan, Carson Wentz and everyone behind them.
Quarterback production tends to look very different from preseason projections. There are plenty of QBs ranked closer to or as QB2s that carry upside as solid QB1s. This year, familiar past high scorers, such as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Ben Roethlisberger, are excellent values outside the top 10.
Know why you’re taking a player
Sounds simple, right? Make sure you’ve heard of the guy you’re taking in each round. Have a general idea of his talent level and what his potential role can be — both on his real team and your fantasy team. Don’t go for some shaky veteran WR5 when you can take a more valuable young RB4 who’s an injury away from big touches. You’re not taking a player because you like his name or where he went to college. You’re making every pick count with the intent that he can help you win a championship.
Don’t be a slave to the rankings
While you do want to follow somewhat of a script early, be prepared to pivot and freelance a little once you see your early draft results develop. Are you happier about some positions more than others? If a player doesn’t excite you or can give you only limited help, don’t take him. Use your cheat sheet as more a rough outline than a stone tablet. Make sure your use your gut and make your draft your own. The one predictable thing about a fantasy draft is its unpredictability.
Don’t be influenced by other picks
This is an addendum to the previous tip. During your draft, there are bound to be position runs or drafters going straight down the list, filling out their starting lineups before getting backups. Every pick should be your own. Don’t base it on what everyone is doing because you think that’s what you should be doing.
Avoid getting too caught up in bye weeks
Other than the exception of making sure not to take two quarterbacks who are off during the same week — Wentz, Jared Goff, Baker Mayfield, and Joe Burrow all don’t play in Week 9 — you don’t need to pay much attention here.
Does it matter that Nick Chubb, Joe Mixon and Miles Sanders are all off in Week 9? If you can get two out of three early to have a loaded backfield, you would do it. Sure, you will have a tough go of it that week, but you will be in great shape the rest of the season.
First and foremost, the goal is to have as much productive talent as possible, then worry about minimizing availability conflicts. Things also can change so much at the non-QB positions that a seemingly solid bye-week fill-in on draft day is a waiver-wire afterthought come Week 6. Know your byes so you are prepared during and after the draft, but obsessing over them is waste of energy.
Embrace the stream with defenses
There’s always one defense that has a monster season. Last season it was the Patriots. The year before it was the Bears. In 2018, it was the Jaguars. But it’s hard for a defense to sustain a high level of playmaking (sacks, interceptions, TDs) in an offensive-minded league, especially if it faces a tougher set of matchups. In New England’s case, it lost a lot of pass-rushing pop in the offseason, won’t be playing with as many leads without Brady, and has a more difficult schedule.
Don’t spend a pre-10th-round pick trying to outsmart everyone at D/ST. You can get fortunate with the next Patriots, Bears or Jaguars, but wait everyone out to try to get that unit.
Look at the early part of the schedule to see who has the best matchups, and think about taking a second defense that can be of great service in subsequent weeks. That gets you ahead of the mad dash to get the D/ST everyone is recommending on the waiver wire. Most important, unless it’s evident you’re right on a team such as New England that can be a weekly play, treat the position as disposable and interchangeable.
Take kickers in the last round (if your league still uses them)
This position really should get the boot from fantasy football leagues for good. Besides, 2020 seems like an ideal year for that kind of cancellation. It’s lucky to win with your kicker and frustrating to lose because of your opponent’s kicker. We all know the best kickers are from the better offensive teams, making the weekly results random from that point. When you make your last pick, just go for someone accurate who can make a few long ones.
Get tips and draft strategy advice for how to prepare for and navigate your 2020 fantasy football snake drafts.