The Super Bowl is less than two weeks away, and after that, the 2019 NFL season will be over. What will football fans do until September? Some may try out the XFL (assuming it doesn’t die like the AAF), others may turn their attention to basketball or other sports and some may even take a sports break (could not be me). For a select few, however, the end of 2019 means new beginnings in 2020. Not for their actual team, but for their fantasy rosters. They don’t have to think about everything that went wrong this past year, whether it was injuries or busted picks. They can start with a clean slate and a new roster. So, for those select and elite few, here is a 10-team, first-round mock draft for the 2020 fantasy football season.
Way Too Early 2020 Fantasy Football Mock Draft
1.01 – Christian McCaffrey, Running Back, Carolina Panthers
This is the easiest selection possible. CMC broke record after record in 2019, going for over 1,300 yards on the ground, over 1,000 through the air and added 19 touchdowns just for good measure. He led all players, including quarterbacks, in PPR scoring, with 471 points. For measure, the next best scorer was Lamar Jackson with 421 points. Obviously, regression will come for McCaffrey, but even when it does he will still be a sure-fire top-five player in 2020 due to his pass-catching upside and ridiculous volume
1.02 – Michael Thomas, Wide Receiver, New Orleans Saints
Speaking of ridiculous volume, Thomas broke the NFL record for catches in a single season, grabbing 149(!!) receptions. He went for over 1,700 yards and nine touchdowns as well. While many may want to take a running back at this point, I would take Thomas and run. He is the safest draft pick not named CMC as of this writing.
1.03 – Ezekiel Elliott, Running Back, Dallas Cowboys
ESPN fantasy analyst Mike Clay likes to say that the two most important things in fantasy football are talent and opportunity. Elliott has plenty of both. Some may have considered last year as a “down year” for Zeke, who still finished as RB3 in PPR scoring and went for 1,357 yards and 12 touchdowns. If that’s a down year, I really want to know what a good year looks like. Elliott will finish as a top-three fantasy running back yet again in 2020.
1.04 – Dalvin Cook, Running Back, Minnesota Vikings
Talk about a bounce-back year for Cook. After an injury-filled 2018, he lit up the stat sheet in 2019, scoring 13 touchdowns and rushing for over 1,100 yards. While the case could be made for someone like Saquon Barkley here, I will take the consistency of Cook instead of the boom-bust potential of Barkley.
1.05 – Saquon Barkley, Running Back, New York Giants
It was a disappointing season for Saquon owners in 2019, who finished as RB10. While finishing as a top-10 running back is nothing to complain about, a lot of that production came in the fantasy playoffs, a place where most teams with Barkley on the roster did not make. I expect a bounce-back campaign from him in 2020, however. With Daniel Jones another year more experienced, the Giants’ offense should improve as a whole. As long as he stays healthy, which Barkley struggled with in 2019, I expect fantasy experts to be debating Saquon as the top pick in the 2021 draft come this time next year.
1.06 – Alvin Kamara, Running Back, New Orleans Saints
Another “disappointment,” Kamara finished 2019 as RB9 despite being drafted as a top-four pick overall. His usage was curious to say the least, as Sean Peyton felt it necessary to feed Latavius Murray the ball almost as much as he did Mark Ingram in previous years. While that probably won’t go away, Kamara is still incredibly efficient, and his pass-catching ability earns him the right to be a top-six selection.
1.07 – Deandre Hopkins, Wide Receiver, Houston Texans
If you wanted to take another running back like Derrick Henry, Leonard Fournette or Aaron Jones here, I wouldn’t blame you. However, at some point talent wins out. Hopkins is one of the best receivers in the NFL and continues to see crazy usage. He has the best hands for anyone in the NFL not named Michael Thomas as well. The Texans’ offense is expected to be good yet again in 2020 and Hopkins will be the main reason why.
1.08 – Tyreek Hill, Wide Receiver, Kansas City Chiefs
I will keep this one short and sweet. He is faster than everybody else on the field, has great hands and plays with Patrick Mahomes. Next.
1.09 – Leonard Fournette, Running Back, Jacksonville Jaguars
Fournette is yet another disappointment in 2018 that came back in a huge way in 2019. Finishing as RB7 in PPR scoring, Fournette was the Jaguars’ entire offense this past season, and no one expects much to change. While the Jags did bring in Jay Gruden as offensive coordinator to open up the offense more, Fournette will still see 25+ touches a game, and his surprising involvement in the passing game puts him just above guys like Derrick Henry and Aaron Jones.
1.10 – Derrick Henry, Running Back, Tennessee Titans
This is of course contingent on if Henry is back in a Titans uniform next season, but assuming he is, fantasy owners should be foaming at the mouth for a chance to grab him at the end of round one. Henry is an absolute wrecking ball on the field, as he seems to gain at least five yards, somehow, on every play. Finally becoming the workhouse this season, Henry led the Titans to a playoff berth and wins over the Patriots and Ravens. He finished as RB5 in PPR and the only reason he is not higher on this list is lack of pass-catching ability, as he caught just 18 balls this past season.
Just Missed the Cut
Aaron Jones, Chris Godwin, Nick Chubb, Lamar Jackson