Best Fantasy Football Draft Picks to Roster in 2020
Your fantasy football draft is surely different than mine. League size, scoring, what spot you draft from, roster settings – you name it. There are hundreds of ways for leagues to be different.
No matter the way to separate fantasy football leagues, however, most of the top options to draft remain the same.
Whether you’re looking for the right stud early, the hidden gem in the middle of your draft, or that sneaky sleeper while wrapping things up, there are 20 essential picks for your 2020 fantasy football draft.
I’ll walk you through each portion of your draft and highlight who those players are, when you can select them, and why you can’t leave your draft without them.
Note: All fantasy football ADP data references 12-team PPR leagues at FantasyFootballCalculator.com.
Early Round Picks to Target
- Christian McCaffrey (1st overall)
- Patrick Mahomes (First quarterback)
- Julio Jones (First Wide Receiver)
- Travis Kelce (First Tight End)
How you draft is going to depend on how your league is put together. However, if you own the #1 pick, there won’t be many scenarios that tell you why you shouldn’t draft Christian McCaffrey.
I actually detailed some logic in the previous link as far as not taking C-Mac, but that was a classic case of playing devil’s advocate. You certainly want to think over every big pick in fantasy drafts, and the #1 understandably deserves an argument both ways.
But don’t get cute at the first spot. McCaffrey is a PPR god, he is a true feature back in a league with very few of them, and he’s the reigning #1 fantasy football player in the league.
RBs to average 20+ PPR points per game 2010-2019:— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) August 30, 2020
Christian McCaffrey – 22.6
Saquon Barkley – 21.7
Ezekiel Elliott – 20.9
Alvin Kamara – 20.5
Le'Veon Bell – 20.4 pic.twitter.com/54pSUbuV5J
You know you’re worth it when you beat out Lamar Jackson by almost 60 fantasy points, and with positive changes in Carolina, McCaffrey could (gulp) honestly be even better in 2020.
Not everyone is forced to ask who you should take first in fantasy football drafts, so your next agenda is probably going to be taking the next best player available, or at least trying to get the best player at a different position.
As you go through the rest of round one and into round two, I’d place Mahomes, Jones, and Kelce in my player queue.
Lamar Jackson is the more physically gifted quarterback, but Mahomes has the more sustainable game, and way better weapons in Kansas City. Kelce is one of them, and he has perhaps the most locked in role of any fantasy football tight end anywhere.
Michael Thomas is the top wide receiver for most, but the arrival of Emmanuel Sanders and natural regression drop him slightly for me. I prefer to take someone else in round one and land Jones early in round two.
Thomas finished an insane 100 fantasy points ahead of Jones in 2019, but Jones was still the third best fantasy receiver in the NFL. That is saying something for a dude who only scored six touchdowns and missed one game.
Jones may not be the top fantasy receiver necessarily, but he’s very close, and he certainly can be the best overall option at this position. I like the idea of getting a top-three guy in round two, and a stud running back over MT in round one.
Mid-Round Gems to Draft
- Kyler Murray (Round 6)
- Tom Brady (Round 8)
- Antonio Gibson (Round 7)
- Leonard Fournette (Round 8)
- Will Fuller (Round 6)
- Tyler Boyd (Round 7)
- Evan Engram (Round 7)
- Tyler Higbee (Round 8)
As you get into the middle rounds of your fantasy football draft, you’ll want to know which players offer the most upside for their price.
Kyler Murray and Tom Brady both fit the profile going into 2020, although they’re very different players.
Murray already flashed his dynamic ability as a rookie last year, and it helped him finish 8th among quarterbacks in 2019. Just imagine how high his ceiling is now that he has Kenyan Drake for an entire year, as well as DeAndre Hopkins.
Simply told, the kid is on the verge of greatness.
Going back through Kyler Murray's rookie tape, it's hard not to smile. There are so many plays where he's *this* close to something spectacular. I cannot wait to watch that team this year.— Robert Mays (@robertmays) September 3, 2020
Tom Brady doesn’t possess Murray’s rushing ability, but he may have just as much upside. The 43-year old could obviously regress at any time, but he still somehow finished 12th among fantasy passers despite having nobody to throw to last year.
In Tampa Bay now, Brady has an impressive arsenal that – while it may not necessarily lead to winning – should allow for big numbers.
There could be value to target at running back, although recent moves will surely see the ADP spike for both Antonio Gibson and Leonard Fournette.
Gibson is a good athlete who has vaulted up Washington’s running back depth chart, with the recent release of Adrian Peterson cementing his status.
The Washington Football Team has released Adrian Peterson pic.twitter.com/vyC3Qol1ez— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 4, 2020
Fournette is now with Brady in Tampa Bay following a release by Jacksonville. Nobody knows for sure what these guys will do, but as likely mid-round darts, they need to be on your radar.
Wide receiver is ridiculously deep this year, but there are still some mid-round options to target, rather than just waiting until the end of your draft. A healthy Will Fuller could be a fantasy monster, and is worth plucking off of draft boards in round six.
I also don’t understand Tyler Boyd’s ADP. He was a beast without A.J. Green in 2019, and still figures to be a prominent fixture for Joe Burrow. You should probably go out of your way to land one (or both) of these guys in fantasy drafts.
Of course, you can also nab some value at tight end.
Evan Engram has been a reliable fantasy producer when healthy. New York is pretty crowded at wide receiver, but he remains the main man at tight end for Big Blue. Engram was fantasy’s 18th best tight end in 2019 – in eight games. Let that sink in.
There’s also Tyler Higbee, who blew up down the stretch last year, and was so hot that he managed to crack the top-10 at his position. Full seasons from these guys could see round-seven value morph into top-three value.
Top Fantasy Sleeper Picks
- Joe Burrow (Round 12)
- Drew Lock (Round 14)
- Ryquell Armstead (Round 11)
- Darrel Williams (Round 13)
- Breshad Perriman (Round 14)
- Bryan Edwards (Round 14)
- T.J. Hockenson (Lions)
- Jonnu Smith (Titans)
After you get your studs and figure out the top mid-round picks in fantasy football, you can start eyeing the top 2020 fantasy football sleepers.
Who those guys are has changed greatly since we last broke things down, but some names still stand in as viable punts late in drafts.
At quarterback, I love Burrow and Lock. Both of these guys are legit gamers with very good weapons around them. They’re also mobile enough to keep plays alive and do a little dame on the run.
Burrow and Lock both come with understandable risk, but Burrow is coming off a college season for the ages, and Lock flashes insane upside down the stretch last year.
Our own Michael Wynn took a look at the best 2020 NFL player props bets, and the Over for Burrow’s passing yardage made the list. Still want to bet against this kid? I sure don’t.
You can find nice value at running back, too, with guys like Ryquell Armstead and Darrel Williams potentially being late-round fantasy football gems.
They at least qualify as viable fantasy sleepers, as Armstead could be in for a big workload with Fournette out of town, and Williams may be one injury away from a monster role in KC.
At receiver, there’s loads of elite fantasy value, as well. Bryan Edwards may be stepping into a huge role now that Tyrell Williams is on the shelf.
If took Tyrell Williams being placed on IR for you to get hyped about Bryan Edwards then you haven't been paying attention.— Liz Loza (@LizLoza_FF) September 1, 2020
Edwards is a risky pick in theory, but you’re not really going to feel it when you get him in round 14. Don’t sleep on Breshad Perriman, either. The first-year Jets receiver has the speed to burn defenses, and it looks like he’ll be one of Sam Darnold’s top targets in 2020.
Two sleeper tight ends to consider in 2020 are Hockenson and Smith. Both of these guys are elite athletes who can make big plays and stretch the field, and they’ll also be in for key roles in their team’s passing attacks.
There is so much to think about when preparing for fantasy football drafts each year. Things tend to be fairly self-explanatory early in drafts, though.
It’s once you get to the middle and late rounds of fantasy drafts, that things get difficult if you haven’t put in the time to gauge value and ADP.
This post should serve as a quick-hitting fallback plan if you’re short on time, as you absolutely want to target these 20 essential picks for your 2020 fantasy football draft.
Done with your draft? Consider taking it to the daily scene by checking out our favorite NFL DFS picks, sleepers, and lineups below.