2020 FANTASY FOOTBALL DRAFT GUIDE

First time drafting? Have had a series of bad drafts? Looking for a new strategy to make everyone fear you team? Or maybe just looking to change things up? Look no further! In this following article we will break down our drafting strategy that has made us successful for the last five years! 

Few key words to know for a first year fantasy football player.

  • ADP: Average Draft Position
  • Sleeper or Dark Horse: Players with a late round ADP who have a good chance of finishing above their ADP. 
  • RB: Running Back
  • TE: Tight ends
  • WR: Wide receivers 
  • D/ST: Defense/ special team
  • Flex: Either a WR, RB or TE
  • Superflex: Either a QB, WR, RB, or TE
  • FPPG- Fantasy Points Per Game

Note: Rankings, sleepers and players to avoid are all linked throughout the strategy to provide you with the most optimal level of success.

Round 1: Draft a Running back. If you don’t know which RBs to target take a look at our RB rankings here.  It’s simple, there are 32 teams in the NFL and each team has either one workhorse back or they are going with the committee approach. After looking into every team, there are truly only about 16 backs that have the sole role of being the workhorse on their team. Of those 16 backs about 10 to 12 of those are proven in both, the run and the pass game. Depending on how many people are in your draft (most leagues are 8-14) these running backs will be high in demand during round 1. The exceptions to drafting an RB is if you are targeting Michael Thomas towards the mid-first round or drafting Devante Adams with picks between 12-14 in round 1. This is because these receivers have proven to be consistent WR1s who put up points weekly against even the best corners in the NFL. 

Round 2: If you have an early second round pick (first 3), draft as if you have a late first so use the same rules as above, choosing a running back or one of the receivers mentioned. As you get to the mid-second round (next 4) you should start looking at Julio Jones or Tyreek Hill as the WRs to draft. Other than them, you should continue to target an RB based on the rankings or their ADP. We push our new drafters to go with the RB-RB strategy, taking a running back in round 1 and round 2. During the late-second round target RBs because by this time there are only about 2-4 of those “sole role RBs” left. 

Round 3: This round you can go either RB or WR, however, if you drafted one RB and one WR we strongly urge you to draft a RB here. This is because there are 2 consistent WRs per team compared to 1 RB as previously mentioned so there will be chances later to target a WR. Now if you went with RB-RB then here is where you’ll draft your first WR. If you don’t know which WRs to target look at our rankings here and go off on who is available. Workhorse (this means they are the sole backs on their team and will average more than 15 carries a game) running backs to target in this round include but aren’t limited to David Johnson, James Conner, Nick Chubb and Todd Gurley (respectively). One trend that we have been seeing is drafting a tight end here but it isn’t a huge priority since there are many TEs to target later. 

Round 4 thru Round 6: Fill up on WRs and RBs here. Good place to draft a rookie RB that is due for a big season, if you don’t know much about rookie RBs click here. Also check out our tweets (here and here) on why to avoid Colts RB, Jonathan Taylor. I have seen people very high on him and drafting him at his current ADP which we believe is way too high. Towards rounds 5 and 6 it is also worth looking at a TE as well. TE rankings available here

Round 6 thru 8: This is where we recommend looking to target a QB. Don’t know which QBs to target? Click here for our QB rankings. There is an excess of quality fantasy quarterbacks that can be drafted in this range. In these rounds, look to target a dual threat QB like; Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Kyler Murray, Carson Wentz or Josh Allen (Note: I did not mention Cam Newton or Tyrod Taylor because they have extremely late ADPs). If all these QBs are gone when it gets to your pick, do not panic, draft a flex player here. There are many other sleeper QBs that you will be able to target in the later rounds. During rounds 7 or 8 if you are drafting a flex ADP isn’t as important, and you should go for the high-upside players you feel confident in! This is also a good place to start looking at some rookie WRs (click here to see which ones to pursue). Also these rounds are a good place to target a sleeper TE if you don’t already have one. Click here to see our sleeper TEs, be vary of their ADP however, you might be able to get one of these TEs way later. 

Round 9 to Round 10: These rounds have led us to a few victories over the years and here is why; we call it “handcuff season”. In these crucial rounds you should look to draft a handcuff RB to one of the major workhorse backs. Handcuff RBs are the backup running backs to starters like Ezekiel Elliot and Dalvin Cook who don’t see much time on the field unless the starter goes down. If the starter does however get traded or unfortunately suffers an injury this handcuff RB automatically becomes a first round pick that you got in the 10th round! Don’t know which RBs are good handcuffs? Go for Chase Edmunds (AZ), Tony Pollard (DAL), or Alexander Mattison (MIN)!

Late rounds: Here you target players that are low risk high reward at the running back and WR position. Click here for our WR sleepers and here for our RB sleepers. You might even target a QB if you haven’t grabbed one yet, Mathew Stafford and Jared Goff can give you great value out of this position. We advise holding off on kickers and defenses because of how unpredictable they are on a year-to-year basis. Our normal strategy is to draft some players who are doing great in training camp and see if they can make their way into a starting spot. If they don’t cut them before week 1, go for a kicker and defense. Jerick McKinnon (SF) is a good example of one of these players (explained in our Sleeper RB article).

Last Round: This where you can target a defense if you don’t want to worry about any picking one up before the season. Click here to see which defenses to target and which ones to avoid. For kickers, it’s simple unless your league settings force you to draft a kicker, do not draft one. Kickers are too hard to rank as no one knows which offense will be high scoring in terms of field goals and touchdowns combined. So what we advise is to pick up a kicker closer to when the season starts (literally the day before) by dropping a player who has been underperforming at training camp. To pick a kicker do it based on an easy matchup for week 1. After about week 3 you will see a trend of a team that’s getting to the red zone but struggling to score yet also keeping the games close and that is the kicker you want on your roster. In 2018 that was the Niners kicker, Phill Dawson, in 2019 it was Josh Lambo for the Jaguars and Zane Gonzalez for the Cardinals. 

This concludes our strategies for your fantasy football drafts. As the season goes on and you are wondering if you should take a certain trade, our DMs are open (both instagram and twitter)! Also follow us or subscribe to our mailing list to get season updates on sits and starts for the week, as well as waiver wire targets. Finally just remember Fantasy Football is a fun way to stay engaged with the NFL so don’t stress too much and just enjoy football! 

Defense/ST Fantasy OUTLOOK for 2020:

Every year there is that one defense that surprises everyone and ends up being a league winner. In 2019, that was the Patriots D/ST who averaged 11.8 Fantasy ppg. It’s unlikely that another team in 2020 will do that well because the Patriots had an absurdly easy schedule last year that helped their already-strong defense succeed. In this article our analysts will list teams that are the most likely and the teams that are least likely along with some sleeper defenses to target late in the draft. 

This is list is based on:

  • Strength of schedule 
  • Division 
  • Last year rankings
  • FA and post draft additions 

As always if there are any questions about our decisions leave a comment!

Defenses primed for regression:

Hamza + Eric + Javier (same consensus by all analysts)
1. Niners D/ST: Loss of Buckner.Dee Ford, Nick Bosa, K’Wuan Williams dealing with soft tissue injuries.Had a superbowl run so the team has had less rest time. There is a trend that the best defense from the previous always experiences a slight regression. (Ex: Bears 2018-2019). Also is in one of the toughest divisions in football (NFC west). 
2. Patriots D/ST: Many key defensive players opted out due to COVID. Dolphins and Bills got stronger offensively (divisional teams). Also one of the toughest schedules for 2020. 

Defenses to avoid:

HamzaEricJavier
1. Bears D/ST: A struggling offense combined with a tough division puts the Bears defense in a bad position. Lost HaHa Clinton-Dix in the offseason.NE D/ST: Being drafted at number 6 amongst all defenses is way too high for the reasons stated above. Rams D/ST: The Rams have two of the best defensive players in football with Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. These two helped them finish top 5 last year with 146 points an average of 9.1 points. However, their week 1 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys will prove to be tough after the great additions the Cowboys have made this offseason. You are better off looking elsewhere.
2. Broncos D/ST: 12th hardest schedule for 2020 according to NFL.com. Offense hasn’t found their groove yet. Same division as Chiefs and chargers. Loss of Chris Harris Jr. and Derek Wolfe. Texans D/ST: Loss of DJ Reader, Jonathan Joseph, Mingo and Tashaun Gibson. In 2019 they ranked 19th overall as a defense after ranking 11th in 2018.Play the Chiefs week 1.Same division as Colts and Titans.Tampa Bay D/ST: The Buccaneers were able to finish in the top 10 last season by having the 5th highest turnovers in the league. Tom Brady’s arrival will also put the defense in better game scripts. However, they get a nightmare week 1 matchup against the New Orleans Saints. They are not worth drafting and will be better off as a waiver wire pickup if available. 

Defenses to target:

HamzaEricJavier
1. Vikings D/ST: Free agency additions- Michael Pierce, Trae Waynes, Anthony Zettel. Also drafted CB Jeff Gladney at pick 31 in the first round. Cowboys D/ST: The Cowboys have relatively easy matchups against the NFC East opponents. Finishing last year at 17, the Cowboys have added Dontari Poe, Everson Griffen, and Aldon Smith. Their front seven is greatly improved and should be able to force turnovers with ease.Bills D/ST: Talented defense and mediocre division. Offense will put them in favorable game scripts leading to opposing teams having to air it out. AFC east QBs they will face six times a year: Newton/Stidham, Darnold, Fitzpatrick/ Tua.
2. Colts D/ST: Added Deforest Buckner, Sheldon Day, Xavier Rhodes in free agency with Juston Houston, Darius Leonord, Malik Hooker and Kenny MooreChargers D/ST: Finishing last season at 7, the Chargers added top CB Chris Harris Jr. and DT Linval Joseph. While they do face the Chiefs twice a year, they should be considered otherwise weekly starters.Colts D/ST: Easy schedule and great front seven for those sack points.
3. Saints D/ST: 9th easiest schedule. Ended 9th in 2019 in fantasy football at 8.4fppg and managed to keep most of the defense. Ravens D/ST: Safe pick as the Ravens have been the second best in the league since 2018. They have added rookie Patrick Queen, Malik Harrison and Justin Madubuike. Chargers D/ST: Formidable defense that added Chris Harris and Linval Joseph in free agency, then drafted Kenneth Murray. 

Sleeper Wide Receivers to target late in your drafts

  1. Anthony Miller

ADP: 12.10

Team: Bears 

The Bears have the easiest schedule in the NFL with Allen Robinson as their WR 1 (ADP of 3.10). The only other receiving threat for the Bears is Anthony Miller with the exit of TE Trey Burton. The QB position for the Bears is still up in the air, although it seems Mitchel Trubisky will start and Nick Foles will back him up. After ending as QB19 in 2018, Trubisky had an abysmal season and ended as QB28 in 2019. His low production only allowed Allen Robinson to produce in 2019. However, in 2020 Trubisky has the easiest schedule for a QB, has a top ten defense and more importantly is playing for his starting job. Even if Nick Foles takes over, expect Miller’s production to stay high. In 2017 during his astounding playoff run, Nick Foles had Nelson Agholor in the slot who averaged 12 yards per reception. Anthony Miller also plays slot receiver, and should be in line for a healthy amount of targets if Foles takes over. Anthony Miller has also improved dramatically since his rookie season. From 2018 to 2019 Miller’s drop percentage went from 7.4% to 3.5% and his receptions increased from 33 to 52 in 2019 even with Trubisky’s slump. We saw glimpses of what Anthony Miller could do in a few games in 2019, specifically week 12 against Detroit where he got 9 catches for 140 yards on 13 targets and week 14 against Green Bay where he got 9 catches for 118 yards on 15 targets. There was a trend, from weeks 9 through 14 (before his shoulder injury) where Anthony Miller averaged 6.6 receptions, 10.4 targets and 86.2 yards per average and got his only 2 touchdowns on the season during that stretch. If he can maintain anywhere close to this production this season, Anthony Miller could end up being the sneaky pick that might even lead you to a victory this season! 

  1. DeSean Jackson

ADP: 11.10

Team: Eagles 

DeSean Jackson’s 2019 season was cut short due to a core muscle surgery that kept him out basically all season. In the one game that Jackson played in he got 8 catches for 154 yards and 2 touchdowns. Clearly Carson Wentz felt an instant connection with Jackson. The Eagles are desperate for a healthy wide receiver for Wentz as their 2019 receiver core was torn apart by injuries. Moreover the Eagles recently drafted rookie Jalen Raegor (GeekSports analyst Eric will talk more on Raegor), and are expecting Alshon Jeffery to return from injury. However even with two solid receivers, there will be plenty of targets to go around and Jackson will likely face cornerback 2s and 3s since Jeffery and Zach Ertz will get most of the looks by opposing defenses. The last time Jackson had a 1000 yard season was in 2016 but that was also the last time Jackson had a top tier QB in Kirk Cousins who ranked as QB6 in 2018 . From 2017- 2018 Jackson had Jameis Winston under center who clearly struggled as he was QB16 in 2017 and QB26 in 2018. Jackson was vocal about his displeasure with the Buc’s system and left for the Eagles in hopes of being more involved in the offense. 2020 might be the first time in years that Jackson will play a full season with a top tier QB and the sky’s the limit for Jackson. Jackson’s ADP of the eleventh round might be a massive steal if he can stay healthy, offering a valuable role in what should be a much improved offense. 

  1. Allen Lazard 

ADP: 14.05

Team: Packers

Allen Lazard is an obvious sleeper for 2020. The Packers have one receiver in Devante Adams (who is top 5 at his position). The Packers made no effort to sign or draft receivers during the offseason and lost Geronimo Allison and Jimmy Graham. The Packers also have the second easiest schedule for receivers and quarterbacks, which should give Lazard favorable opportunities when Adams is doubled. Aaron Rodgers has proved time and time again to be a productive top tier quarterback. Rodgers averages around 4000 passing yards a season. Assuming Adams reaches ~1400 yards, that leaves about 2000-2500 yards for Aaron Jones, Marques Valdez-Scantling, Jace Sternberger and Allen Lazard. Last season, Lazard got his first start in week 6 and since then has put up 35 receptions on 52 targets for 447 yards and 3 touchdowns. Lazard had to work his way up to WR2 on the Packers after he started at the bottom of the depth chart. Matt Lefluer, Aaron Rodger and Devante Adams all mentioned Allen Lazard when asked about the receiver position for the Packers. Matt Lefluer also has said Allen Lazard is “coming into his own” and mentioned him many other times during the offseason. Also it was reported on August 25th that Lazard had a great day at camp, catching multiple passes and showing a real connection with Rodgers. At his current ADP, Lazard isn’t someone many people are looking at but could be someone who could be a weekly starter on your team!

  1. Preston Williams

ADP: 12.09

Team: Dolphins

The hype on the Dolphins has recently been skyrocketing as Tua Tagovailoa hopes to play this upcoming season. With Tua under center for the Dolphins can we finally expect a fantasy relevant Dolphins player? Preston Williams in his only 7 starts in 2019 had 60 targets for 32 receptions 428 yards and three touchdowns! These stats were also with Ryan Fitzpatrick, who will likely start in the beginning of the season. With Fitzpatrick and possibly Tua under center, Williams production could increase. While Preston Williams is coming off an ACL injury that took him out for the majority of the 2019 season, reports from the Dolphins camp say Williams looks completely healed from his November surgery. Preston is in line to be the WR2 option across from Devante Parker at the beginning of week 1. The concern with Williams is that the Dolphins have one of the toughest receiver schedules in the league. Notable cornerback matchups include Stephon Gilmore, Richard Sherman, Tre’davious White, Chris Harris Jr., and Jalen Ramsey. However, these cornerbacks are likely to shadow Devante Parker who finally broke out late in 2019. This will leave Preston Williams with easier cornerback matchups. The Dolphins have also lost WRs Allen Hurns and Albert Wilson as they have opted out due to COVID. With a weaker defense and a huge amount of missing targets, Williams could play an important role in the Dolphin’s catch-up endeavors, which will likely happen more often rather than not. Preston Williams is the least talked about second year receiver (Deebo Samuel, DK Metcalf, Hollywood Brown, AJ Brown) who might end up being the most productive from the group. 

2020 Sleeper Runningbacks

In this article, Eric examines three options for sleeper runningbacks for the 2020 season.

There’s no doubt that the running back has quickly become the most valued position in fantasy football, with 14 out of the first 20 picks in PPR leagues being starting running backs. Being able to find a “sleeper” running back outside of these first 14 runningbacks can prove to be an invaluable asset for depth or for trade purposes. In particular, there are three quality sleeper running backs I am attempting to target late in my drafts. 

I think it’s important to understand why so many people are attempting to draft so many RBs so early. Last year, in 2019 PPR leagues, the “premium” RBs (Aaron Jones, Dalvin Cook, Ezekiel Elliot, Austin Ekeler, Alvin Kamara, Saquon Barkley, Derrick Henry) averaged a little under 20 PPG (McCaffery averaged 30 which blows my mind). Mark Ingram and Nick Chubb were next up with approximately 16 PPG, which is nearly a 20% decrease in points. This leads you to the second tier of running backs (Miles Sanders, Josh Jacobs, Joe Mixon, Le’veon Bell, Todd Gurley, etc), who were all around 14 PPG. Drafting one of those premium backs gives you a 30% point advantage over a tier 2 starter, which ends around RB 20. Wide receivers and quarterbacks have a way more stable core. For receivers, we don’t see a 30% fall off from the premium receivers until you exit the top 30.  Quarterbacks have a quicker fall off, but most standard leagues only draft one quarterback so there are more than enough solid fantasy options. 

The top RB 1 options(McCaffery, Zeke, Cook, Barkley, etc) are talented running backs who have the sole control of their backfield. Finding a runningback of their talent as a sleeper is always difficult, however finding options who are in position to take the bulk of snaps is not. One of the most important things I look at is the opportunity for success. This is why I believe David Johnson can finally return to his 2016 form, as he is the primary option for a Texans offense that will need to generate offense without DeAndre Hopkins. It is also why I believe David Montgomery will be able to out-perform his draft position by a large amount as the sole option on the Chicago Bears. Jerick McKinnon also has a chance to become a huge contributor to one of the leagues top rushing offenses. 

David Johnson: Currently being drafted at RB 20 (according to FantasyFootballCalculator), David Johnson has a legitimate chance at finishing in the top-10 RBs. Finishing as RB1 in 2016 and RB10 in 2018, injuries have prevented him from succeeding in 2017 and 2019. I feel like most fantasy owners have been burned by him at least once in the past few years (I know I have), but I believe he is worth one more shot. Bell, Fournette, Carson, Gordon, and Gurley are all being drafted slightly ahead of David Johnson. However, unlike Carson and Gordon, Johnson represents the clear-cut starting RB in his backfield. Bell is forced to rush behind a nearly brand-new offensive line who get 14 padded practices to gain chemistry and face one of the hardest schedules in football. Fournette’s breakout season last year was fueled by his high volume of targets and receptions. However, the signing of new OC Jay Gruden’s favorite third down back, Chris Thompson, doesn’t bode well for his pass volume. 

David Johnson comes to a team that just provided Carlos Hyde a 1,000 yard season behind a run-blocking offensive line that ranked slightly above average with the addition of Laremy Tunsil (per Football Outsiders). On the Cardinal’s offensive line that was ranked one spot below the Texans, Johnson was able to reach RB 7 through 6 weeks before his injury in 2019. He showed he could be a reliable pass catcher after his 2017 wrist injury, and continued to show his explosive running until he went down with an injury. By the time he recovered, HC Kliff Klingsbury was focused on seeing what the Cardinals had with RB Kenyan Drake, and benched Johnson for the season. Bill O’Brian made a career-deciding trade when he sent Hopkins to the Cardinals in exchange for David Johnson and draft picks. If David Johnson fails, Texans fans will be calling for O’Brian’s head. It is in his best interest to set Johnson up for success, and by trading that much, I feel like that is his intention. If David Johnson can avoid freak injuries, I believe he will easily surpass his RB 20 ADP and should give you that “premium” RB point advantage. 

David Montgomery: Montgomery has an ADP of 42, putting him at RB 23. I completely understand if you want no part of the Bear’s offense (except for Allen Robinson of course). Trubisky essentially became a national joke with his terrible 2019 season. David Montgomery, who was drafted as a top-30 pick last year, largely disappointed with his RB 25 finish. The Bear’s offensive line was a large part of his struggle. Projected to finish as a top-10 unit, the line had the 28th worst run blocking metrics in the NFL (per Football Outsiders). David Montgomery was in the bottom 30 for yards before contact, as the line struggled to communicate and make the right blocks. The Bears offensive line made multiple improvements, signing two former top-50 picks and drafting a couple depth pieces. If they can exceed their atrocious finish last season, Montgomery should see a huge increase in rush yards.

There are many positives for Montgomery other than an improved line. In 2019, he gained 44% of his yards after contact. Montgomery, who was one of the best tackle-breakers in all of NCAA history, was 6th in the NFL with 28 broken tackles. Now, his rehab doctor reported he dropped 4% body fat and gained one pound, which means he put on a huge amount of muscle in the offseason. His new-found strength should prove a huge asset in the red zone as well. In fact, Montgomery led the NFL by taking 85% of his team’s red zone carries, the highest in the NFL. If Trubisky can fix some of his struggles (which Chicago beat writers are saying he has), Montgomery should see way more scoring opportunities to improve his 6 touchdowns in 2019. While Montgomery may not have the proven ceiling of David Johnson, he is the only lead back left on the draft board past the third round. A prolific college runner, Montgomery has the chance to explode and give you a massive advantage in your league. He faces a league average rushing strength of schedule (per FantasyPros). At the worst, he retains his RB 25 spot from last season, and you get what you drafted. But if you are able to grab a WR or two before this pick, I think he offers a safe floor with a high ceiling.

Jerick Mckinnon: McKinnon hasn’t been fantasy relevant since his Vikings days three years ago, but you wanted a sleeper right? With an ADP outside of the top-170, he is likely going undrafted in nearly all leagues. The 49ers seemed to have found their lead back in Raheem Mostert, but I wouldn’t be so sure. Remember, two seasons ago, Kyle Shanahan signed McKinnon and made him a top-5 paid back in the league. When he tore his ACL in the last practice of the preseason, Shanahan said he was worried because his whole playbook was designed around McKinnon. One of the highest scoring offenses in the league with a lead back sounds like fantasy football gold. It’s why people are so enticed by Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The 49ers beat reporters are saying McKinnon looks great in camp, and still appears to have his game-breaking speed and agility. He has been taking multiple passes and it appears like he will play a swiss army knife role in Shanahan’s offense this year, lining up all over the field. 

For essentially a free pick, you get a handcuff with possible stand-alone value in an offense that dominated with the run last season. Mostert has struggled with injuries in the past and Tevin Coleman was wildly inefficient last year. If Jerick McKinnon looks like what Shanahan paid so much for years ago, I wouldn’t be surprised if he finishes in the top-30. We saw what Shanahan could do with UDFA Matt Brieda just based on his speed. If McKinnon is given similar opportunities, he should pull off big plays left and right. After not playing for two seasons and taking heavy heat from 49ers fans left and right, I wouldn’t be surprised if McKinnon plays with a chip on his shoulder this year.

With running backs all being drafted so early, it is difficult to find a supposed “sleeper”. I believe that David Johnson and David Montgomery will both outperform their ADP by a wide margin, and provide extreme value in one of fantasy football’s most desired positions. While McKinnon may not amount to anything this season, he has the potential to be the lead back for the 49ers. He is the one late dart throw I am taking in many of my leagues just to hold onto, solely because of what I perceive his ceiling to be. Of course, many others may disagree, and if you do let us know on Twitter! 

RUNNING BACK CLASS OF 2020…AN UNSOLVABLE SERIES OF PUZZLES

The 2020 running back rookie class is a special one. This article will explore which rookie running backs are worth adding to your roster and which running backs to avoid. Without further ado lets get into this!

  1. Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Drafted: Round 1, pick 32

College: LSU

Team: Chiefs

Edwards-Helaire is the sole back for the Kansa City Chiefs since Damien Williams has opted out of the 2020 football season. His current ADP is 1.06 which I believe is slightly high as the Chiefs have a fairly tough running back schedule, ranked third toughest according to fantasypros. Also with Patrick Mahomes under center, the Chiefs will be passing a lot more than running. Even then I believe that Edwards-Helaire should be taken in the second round. There are many running backs who have already proven their worth available at CEHs ADP. However, If CEH does fall to the second round he could be a league winner. The Chiefs offensive line ranks 12th best in the whole league. The last time the Chiefs had a true workhorse back was in 2017, Kareem Hunt who ran for 1327 yards. Finally CEH was a valuable asset at LSU in the passing game due to his quickness and lateral speed.  He was also an average pass blocker. Edwards- Helaire is definitely worth targeting in the second round!

  1. Cam Akers

Drafted: round 2, No. 52 overall

College: Florida State 

Team: Los Angeles Rams 

Akers was drafted to replace Todd Gurley for the Rams. Currently he is on a committee with Darrell Henderson Jr. and Malcolm Brown. Les Snead, the general manager for the LA Rams said he wants a committee approach in the LA backfield. This is not ideal for fantasy purposes, however, I believe McVay will roll with the “hot hand” as the season progresses. In 2018, McVay acquired CJ Anderson right before the playoff run and Anderson quickly took the majority of the snap shares from Gruley before heading into the playoffs. I believe a similar scenario will play out with Akers and Henderson. Akers, the talented back from Florida State, should take the majority of the snaps as the season progresses. Again don’t focus on him being a rb1 in 2020 but yet a lowend rb2/rb3/flex option on a matchup basis. 

  1. D’Andre Swift

Drafted: Round 2, pick 35 overall

College: Georgia 

Team: Lions

Perhaps the most skilled running back on this list, D’Andre Swift finds himself trapped in the midst of the Lions committee. Swift was a beast in college: he averaged 6.6 yards per carry and 9.1 yards per reception, along with a great combine. He certainly has the talents for a lead back in the NFL. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, Swift was drafted to a backfield with fantasy heartbreaker Kerryon Johnson. Johnson has struggled the past two years, averaging 3.6 YPC in 2019 and missing 14 games in the past two seasons. While the Lions (and fantasy owners alike) were high on Kerryon Johnson, his recent inability to stay healthy and productive pushed the front office to draft Swift. With the return of Matthew Stafford, the Lions should see a massive increase in scoring and Swift should see ample opportunities for touchdowns. If Johnson goes down with an injury, it is very possible Swift takes over the backfield for good. This dark horse candidate could win leagues if he is given a chance. His ADP is 73 and that’s a perfect spot to claim him as a flex with decent upside.

  1. Jonathan Taylor

Drafted: Round 2, pick 41 overall

College: Wisconsin 

Team: Colts

Taylor in drafts is going late third, early fourth rounds and that is way too early. Yes, Taylor was a beast in college; he actually led Wisconsin for three straight years averaging 2000 yards a season and 6.7 yards a carry. And now he’s coming into a Colts offense who has the best Offensive line in the league so why will he not produce? Here is why the backfield for the Colts is way too crowded. Marlon Mack is coming off a 1000 yard season and he will continue to get carries and as of now Colts are starting him. It’s likely that Taylor will split the early down work with him. Third down work will mainly go to Hines who as Reich claims is a “role playing starter.” Even though Colts ran the ball 46% of the time in 2019 there still won’t be enough carries going Taylor’s way for him to produce as a third round pick. Taylor also has some very big weaknesses that will hinder his performance. He was a bad pass blocker, at best he could only cutblock. Which is why he wasn’t used in the pass game very often. Secondly, his hands were questionable during college; he had a 20% drop rate. Thirdly he has big fumbling problems he fumbled 17 times in 41 games. He is a talented back but in 2020 is not worth his ADP, if he is available after round 6 he is worth a draft and stash. 

  1. Ke’Shawn Vaughn

Drafted: Round 3, 76 overall

College: Vanderbilt

Team: Buccanears 

Vaughn is currently sharing the backfield with Ronald Jones and LeSean McCoy for the Bucs. His ADP is number 113 which in our opinion is a steal in the draft and here is why. Vaughn averaged 4.4 yards after contact in the SEC and he also was a very talented receiving back in his college days. If you look at Brady he loves his receiving backs, in New England, Brady had James White. Ronald Jones will come out as the starter for the Bucs and Vaugn will have a limited number of early downs carries and some third down work. This is because Jones has struggled pass blocking and Vaughn excels in that area. Vaughn was also drafted by Arians so it’s likely that Arians has a plan for him. Even with the recent addition of McCoy, Vaughn is a good late round pick to stash and see how the season progresses. If Vaughn can make the most of his carries he will gain the majority of the snaps and could come to be the biggest steal of the draft. Also the cherry on top is that the Bucs have a favorable schedule for running backs. 

  1. Zack Moss

Drafted: Round 3, pick 86 overall

College: Utah

Team: Bills 

Moss was drafted for a specific purpose for the Bills and that is to fill Frank Gore’s role. Gore had 166 carries for 599 yards in 2019 he also had 16 catches. But keep in mind that Gore was 36 years old last year and way past his prime. Zack Moss given a similar amount of looks should produce much more. Moss will also get tons of red zone carries as that was his strength in college. In college he had a 38% forced missed tackle rate. Moss also is a very talented pass catcher, he surpassed 25 catches two seasons at Utah. Moss does have many weaknesses especially in his speed but Singletary fills in that weakness. Together Moss and singletary make a great 1,2 punch. Moss’s ADP is currently 146 he’s even going undrafted in many drafts and that could end up being a steal if Singletary gets hurt or if Moss starts cutting into SIngletary’s work load. 

  1. JK Dobbins

Drafted: Round 2, pick 55 overall 

College: Ohio State

Team: Ravens

J.K. Dobbins was drafted into the already crowded Raven’s backfield. There is way too much talent in the running back room to fit another fantasy viable player. They have Mark Ingram starting who had a 1000 yard season in 2019 and was a machine in the red zone. In 2018, Gus Edwards started six games and averaged 12.5 yards a carry. He proved to be a capable backup to Ingram in case of injury and offers a good sub when Ingram comes out. Justice Hill hasn’t even gotten his chance to prove himself but the Raven’s coaching staff has expressed their love for him multiple times. Dobbins will be in the mix with these running backs and will get his chances. However, unless there is an injury to the backfield, it is hard to see Dobbins as a viable fantasy option in 2020.

Jimmy Garoppolo…a top 10 fantasy QB?

I have been hearing lots of negative opinions about Jimmy Garoppolo all offseason. I am here to tell you that these statements are all but factual and how Jimmy Garoppolo could finally gain the respect he deserves and become a fantasy worthy QB. 

In the beginning of the 2018 season, Jimmy Garoppolo suffered an ACL injury that kept him out from the remainder of the season. In 2019, when Jimmy Garoppolo returned, Shanahan wanted to ease him into the role and thus encouraged running the football. To his surprise the Niners running backs, Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert made the most of it and averaged 4.0 and 5.6 yards a carry respectively. The success of running the football allowed Garoppolo to limit his passes and protect his leg while the Niners won games. There were some games where Garoppolo was forced to pass, including weeks 9 and 11 against the Cardinals, week 14 against the Saints, and week 17 against the Seahawks. In those 4 games he averaged a QBR of 125.7, 344 pass yards, and 24.6 PPG. These games also came at the tail end of the season, where Garoppolo stated he became more comfortable throwing with his knee brace. In a recent interview, he explained his knee felt miles ahead of last year. With a healthier leg, a revamped offense, and a defense set for regression, Garoppolo has a chance at finishing as a top 10 fantasy QB in 2020.

  1. Kyle Shanahan

Kyle Shanahan is known around the league for his ingenuity and successful offenses. Shanahan was the OC for the Falcons in 2016, the year Matt Ryan won MVP. In 2016, Ryan threw for 4944 yards and averaged 9.3 yards a pass. After that season, Shanahan left the Falcons and Ryan fell off in his production. While Matt Ryan is a solid quarterback, Shanahan was able to elevate him to an MVP level. Shanahan traded for Garoppolo specifically and has been set on making him the franchise quarterback. Shanahan has designed his plays specifically for Garoppolo to succeed. Coming out of college, one of Garoppolo’s strengths was his quick release and ability to disguise the play action. In 2019 Jimmy Garoppolo ranked 9th in the league using play action passes with 10.1 YPA. The offense is also built around the hard-running Kittle and Deebo Samuels, who are known for their ability to gain YAC, further increasing the potential of huge passing plays. Shanahan’s scheme made Nick Mullens and CJ Beathard look like capable quarterbacks, and should set Jimmy up for success once more next season.

  1. Receiving Talent 

The Niners have arguably the best tight end in the league, George Kittle. Along with Kittle, the Niners receiver core is filled with young talent that includes Deebo Samuel (second year), Brandon Aiyuk (rookie) and Kendrick Bourne (fourth season). Along with the starters they have depth with Trent Taylor, Jalen Hurd and Dante Pettis. Jimmy Garoppolo wasn’t given great receiver talent in 2019 until the signing of Sanders late in the season when he started to break out. However, during this offseason Jimmy has been working continuously with Bourne and building up chemistry. Bourne had five touchdowns in 2019 and was the so-called “big receiver” for Garoppolo. Jalen Hurd had a great college career and a great preseason with the Niners in 2019 until his season-ending injury. Trent Taylor and Dante Pettis looked like the upcoming WR1s for the Niners in 2018 until Taylor was injured and Pettis was outed by Shanahan for “attitude issues”. With all these receivers returning healthy and the chemistry with Garoppolo being better than ever, expect their numbers to go up. The Niners also recently acquired Wes Welker as their receiver coach who was the Texans WR coach in 2018 and that year Deandre Hopkins hit career highs in receptions and yards. 

  1. Defense Primed for Regression 

The Niner’s incredible defense last year is what helped catapult them to the Super Bowl. However, as history has proven it is nearly impossible to be historically good year after year. With the trade of DT Deforest Buckner and the increasing age of Richard Sherman, the Niner’s defense has a couple weak areas. With the offensive powerhouses they face, it is very likely that the team is forced to pass more than the 28.2 attempts per game last year (2nd lowest in the NFL). If the Niners are forced to pass amongst the league average, they would increase their pass attempts by 28% per game. If Garoppolo maintained a 28% increase in PPG, he would have finished at QB 6 last year. Obviously predicting that dramatic of an increase in points is unlikely, but it is very safe to say the Niners will be forced to pass more than last season, increasing Jimmy’s fantasy value.

  1. Easy passing schedule 

This one is simple. According to PFF Jimmy Garoppolo has one of the most favorable schedules for a QB. In the first 5 games, Garoppolo goes against the Cardinals (28th best pass defense), Giants (29th), Eagles (24th) and Dolphins (30th). He should get off to a very hot start, which could also give him good trade value leading up to the deadline. At the very least you should draft Garoppolo with a late round pick in hopes of adding him to a trade package to a team with a struggling QB early on. 

  1. Shootout divisional games 

The NF-C West is the debatably the best division in the league. This division has the Niners, Seahawks, Rams and Cardinals, which all consist of top-12 offenses. I could see three teams making the playoffs from this division. This means that the six divisional games are going to be hard-fought, competitive shootouts. In 2019 Jimmy Garoppolo’s best games were against the Cardinals and Seahawks where he couldn’t rely on the run game to carry the offense. With the addition of DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals and the continued development of DK Metcalf on the Seahawks, the divisional games should be high scoring affairs, pushing Jimmy to a high fantasy finish.

With the combination of the Niner’s easy schedule, strong division, and Shanahan’s stacked offense, there are no obstacles to Garoppolo’s success. With a fully healed knee and his first year of starting complete, we can finally see his full potential. Whether you are looking for a cheap starting quarterback or a possible trade chip for the middle of the season, Jimmy is a solid option. 

Have a different opinion? Let us know in the comments!

Geeksports 2020 PPR WR Rankings

Here are our rankings for the 2020 season! These will be updated as the offseason continues! (Currently adjusted for Covid opt-outs, release of Guice)

If you have any questions as to our rankings let us know on Twitter! Check out our social media at the bottom of the page.

GeekSports 2020 PPR RB Rankings

Here are our rankings for the 2020 season! These will be updated as the offseason continues! (Currently adjusted for Covid opt-outs, Guice release, NE signing of Lamar Miller)

If you have any questions as to our rankings let us know on twitter! Check out our social media at the bottom of the page.

GeekSports 2020 Quarterback Rankings

Here are our rankings for the 2020 season! These will be updated as the offseason continues! (Currently adjusted for Covid opt-outs, release of Guice)

If you have any questions as to our rankings let us know on twitter! Check out our social media at the bottom of the page.