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2020 fantasy football draft guide

2020 fantasy football is at hand, and draft time is upon us. We’ve put together a strategy guide to help you get ready. We’ve got position rankings, potential sleepers and busts, rookies and second-year players to watch, and even some best ball strategy.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes shakes hands with Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson after the Chiefs defeated the Ravens 27-24 in overtime to win the game at Arrowhead Stadium on December 09, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The 2020 NFL season is just around the corner, with the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans squaring off to open the season on Thursday, September 10th. That means the time has come for fantasy football drafts. The bulk of drafts occur over the final three weeks leading up to the season, which is just about upon us!

This year is a different one due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There were no in-person workouts in the spring offseason programs. After extensive negotiations, the NFL players and owners came to terms on training camp and season details that includes zero postseason games for the first time in modern NFL history. That coupled with more limited media access makes roster assessments a little more difficult, and likely will influence some of our fantasy football draft strategy and decision-making. Add in players opting out due to Covid-19 and being temporarily placed on Covid-19 IR and everything is a little bit different.

All that being said, there is plenty to work with as we start our drafts, and so it is time for our annual fantasy football draft preview guide. We’ve got position rankings we’ll be updating over the remaining weeks leading up to the season. We’ve got players who could emerge as sleepers and those we think you should fade as potential busts. We break down rookies and second year players and how they might impacted fantasy football. And we even dip into best ball, a growing form of fantasy football.

Printable standard, PPR drafting tiers

Positional rankings

The biggest impact on our fantasy football position rankings between July 27th and August 3rd was the impact of Covid-19 opt-outs. The most significant opt-out was Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams, which boosts Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s value. We’ll adjust position rankings as we learn more from training camp, particularly with any short- or long-term injuries.

Overall: Sep 4 | Aug 28 | Aug 21 | Aug 3 | Jul 27
Quarterbacks: Sep 4 | Aug 28 | Aug 21 | Aug 3 | Jul 27
Running Backs: Sep 4 | Aug 28 | Aug 21 | Aug 3 | Jul 27
Wide Receivers: Sep 4 | Aug 28 | Aug 21 | Aug 3 | Jul 27
Tight Ends: Sep 4 | Aug 28 | Aug 21 | Aug 3 | Jul 27

Full PPR

Overall: Sep 4 | Aug 28 | Aug 21
Running Backs: Sep 4 | Aug 28 | Aug 21
Wide Receivers: Sep 4 | Aug 28 | Aug 21
Tight ends: Sep 4 | Aug 28 | Aug 21

Pat Mayo Week 1 rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Sleepers

”Sleepers” can be an overused word, particularly in this age of information overload. However, every year there are players who outperform their average draft position, and the occasional deeper sleeper that is a big waiver wire pick-up.

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

One sleeper per SB Nation NFL team site

Deep sleepers

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Fades

We’re not big fans of the term “bust” and so we’re instead looking at this as players to avoid. Many of them will provide plenty of fantasy football value, but for where they’re being drafted, you’re better looking elsewhere.

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

One fade per SB Nation NFL team site

Values

These aren’t quite sleepers, but rather guys that we like just a little more than some might in light of average draft position.

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Rookies

Joe Burrow was the big offensive skill position name in the 2020 NFL Draft, but numerous others will have a bigger fantasy football impact in 2020. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the clear No. 1 rookie for fantasy given Damien Williams’ opt-out, but Antonio Gibson’s value has increased with Washington releasing Derrius Guice. Although Burrow is lower on the fantasy ladder, he is still of note given the impact he will have on A.J. Green and Joe Mixon.

Overall
Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Top rookie per SB Nation NFL team site

Second year breakout candidates

Kyler Murray impressed in his rookie year, and was joined in Offensive Rookie of the year balloting by Josh Jacobs, A.J. Brown, and Miles Sanders. But even the best rookies have room for improvement. We run through each position to see who could break out in 2020.

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Biggest offseason transactions

It was a quarterback merry-go-round this past offseason, topped by Tom Brady leaving New England to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Cam Newton potentially replacing him with the Patriots. But there were big offseason moves at all four position groups. We break down what they mean for 2020 fantasy football.

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Returning injured players

Big names missed extensive time in 2019, with Ben Roethlisberger, Matthew Stafford, and T.Y. Hilton among the most significant. They will shape drafts in the coming weeks, but what kind of discount might you find coming off time lost to injury?

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Additional content

Top 10 Backup Quarterbacks
Running Back Handcuffs
2021 free agents to watch
Covid-19 IR list
Covid-19 opt-outs

Best Ball Strategy

Intro

Intro to strategy
How to play DraftKings Best Ball contests

Draft targets

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
12-team draft breakdown

Biggest fantasy camp battle

Bills: Devin Singletary vs. Zack Moss
Dolphins: Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Tua Tagovailoa
Jets: Denzel Mims vs. Breshad Perriman
Patriots: Cam Newton vs. Jarrett Stidham

Bengals: Tee Higgins vs. John Ross
Browns: Nick Chubb vs. Kareem Hunt
Ravens: Mark Ingram vs. JK Dobbins
Steelers: Eric Ebron vs. Vance McDonald

Colts: Michael Pittman Jr. vs. Zach Pascal vs. Parris Campbell
Jaguars: Laviska Shenault vs. Chris Conley vs. Dede Westbrook
Texans: Kenny Stills vs. Randall Cobb
Titans: Jonnu Smith vs. Anthony Firkser

Broncos: Phillip Lindsay vs. Melvin Gordon
Chargers: Tyrod Taylor vs. Justin Herbert
Chiefs: Damien Williams vs. Clyde Edwards-Helaire — RESOLVED
Raiders: Hunter Renfrow vs. Bryan Edwards

Cowboys: Michael Gallup vs. CeeDee Lamb
Eagles: Jalen Reagor vs. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside
Giants: Sterling Shepard vs. Darius Slayton vs. Golden Tate
Washington: Adrian Peterson vs. Antonio Gibson

Bears: Mitchell Trubisky vs. Nick Foles
Lions: Kerryon Johnson vs. D’Andre Swift
Packers: Devin Funchess vs. Allen Lazard — RESOLVED
Vikings: Irv Smith Jr. vs. Kyle Rudolph

Buccaneers: Ronald Jones vs. Ke’Shawn Vaughn
Falcons: Russell Gage vs. Christian Blake
Panthers: Robby Anderson vs. Curtis Samuel
Saints: Tre’Quan Smith vs. the field

49ers: Raheem Mostert vs. Tevin Coleman
Cardinals: Hakeem Butler vs. KeeSean Johnson vs. Andy Isabella
Rams: Cam Akers vs. Darrell Henderson vs. Malcolm Brown
Seahawks: Chris Carson vs. Carlos Hyde vs. Rashaad Penny