Fantasy football best players to pick

The 192: Christian McCaffrey the clear top pick for 2020 fantasy football drafts

During the offseason, 2,880 human beings (32 teams x 90 players) can be rostered by an NFL team. Once Week 1 rolls around, that number is cut down to 1,760 (32 x 55). The ESPN Fantasy player database includes nearly 2,500 players.

You can’t be expected to know all of those players, which is why “The 192” is here to make your life easier.

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Why 192? Fantasy leagues come in all shapes in sizes, but many have settled into the vicinity of 12 teams and 16 roster spots. “The 192” is a list of the 192 players who should be drafted (and thus rostered) in a 12-team, 16-round, PPR league with relatively standard scoring and lineup settings. The players are technically listed in the order they should be drafted, though it’s important to remember that drafts are fluid and your decisions should be altered based on what’s left on the board and your previous selections.

What if you’re in an eight-team league? Or a 16-teamer? The 192 can still help you win, but you’ll certainly need to make tweaks in the mid-to-late rounds. For example, in a smaller league, you may want to wait even longer at quarterback because the position is so deep. In deeper leagues, running backs and tight ends should be more of a priority as those positions lack depth and could leave you with a weak spot if you wait until late.

The 192 should serve as a simple guide to help you maximize the value of your starting lineup while making the best possible decision each and every round.

McCaffrey outscored the next-closest running back by 156 fantasy points last season. He’s a strong bet to see a decrease in production in 2020, but he can afford one and still easily pace the position.

The only way you’re not taking McCaffrey first overall is if you’re fading running backs and rolling with the record holder for most receptions in a single season. Thomas outscored the next-closest wide receiver by 99 fantasy points last season.

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At this point, there’s little reason to believe any of these backs won’t be clear workhorse backs for their incumbent team in 2020. Kamara may seem surprising here, but note that, despite struggling to find the end zone, he was fantasy’s No. 5 back after returning from injury in Week 10 last season.

The first/second-round turn looks like a great spot to attack the wide receiver position. Adams handled a career-high target share and was fantasy’s No. 2 wide receiver during the 12 weeks he was active last season. Will Jones remain elite in his age-31 campaign? Hopkins, Godwin and Evans will be working with a new quarterback, but won’t be short on targets.

Jones is a near-lock for touchdown regression, but Green Bay’s lead back is good enough to sustain RB1 production. Ekeler is currently positioned for a massive role in Los Angeles. Henry’s limited receiving role knocks him down a few pegs. Fournette was top-three at running back in touches and yards last season and will be a strong bet for touchdown regression to the mean (3 TDs, 9.3 OTD).

Kelce will attempt to pace all tight ends in fantasy points for the fifth consecutive season. Kittle should be off the board a few picks later. This is also a nice spot to find a solid running back.

The most-intriguing average draft position of 2020 will be that of Jackson. I was aggressively on the “fade Patrick Mahomes at his Round 2 ADP” bandwagon last season (and certainly subscribe to the “wait at quarterback” philosophy), but Jackson isn’t Mahomes. Consider: if you adjust Jackson’s unsustainable passing touchdown rate from 9.0% to league average 4.8%, he drops from 36 to 19.2 passing TDs. That’s 67.2 fewer fantasy points and yet he’d still be fantasy’s No. 1 quarterback by 28 points. Even if his numbers come down (a reasonable expectation), Jackson’s rushing prowess is enough to make him worth a pick in the second or third round of fantasy drafts.

This next tier of wide receivers is fairly deep and honestly could go much deeper depending on where you’re comfortable cutting it off.

31. Miles Sanders, PHI, RB14
32. Damien Williams, KC, RB15
33. Zach Ertz, PHI, TE3
34. Patrick Mahomes, KC, QB2

The Chiefs spending a Day 2 draft pick on a running back is the only thing that will keep Williams out of the top-15 discussion this season. This is early for a quarterback, but a healthy Mahomes can pay off a Round 3 selection.

This will be a great spot to attack your No. 2 wide receiver slot with seasoned vets like Allen, Hilton and Woods, as well as second-year standouts McLaurin, Samuel and Brown. Andrew and Waller are also viable options if you go the tight end route.

This tier covers a bulk of your RB2 options. Gurley, Bell, Johnson, Gordon and Conner were considered RB1 options as recently as one year ago, but three are playing on new teams and all will be riskier selections this time around.

Those who decide to fade Jackson in the early rounds will tell you the better strategy is to find the next Mahomes or Jackson. Of course, they’ll also tell you that the player who best fits that description is Murray. It’s so obvious that I think the hype will show up in his ADP much like it did with Baker Mayfield last season. Murray has already shown he can deliver QB1 numbers (he was QB8 last season) and offers a high floor because of his legs (93-544-4 rushing line). I like Murray as a breakout candidate, but he simply might not come at the discount we’re all hoping for.

The middle rounds offer up a chunk of our best WR3 and flex options, as well as a few breakout targets. There is some serious WR talent available here, which shows the absurd depth at the position (and it doesn’t even include a strong batch of incoming rookies).

This is a great area to attack quarterback if you waited at the position. Following offseason movement, there’s currently a fairly large gap between the No. 9 and No. 10 tight end, but Hooper, Hockenson and Doyle are quality fringe TE1 options.

At this point, you’re working on adding quality options to your bench, whether it’s flex options like Tate and Cooks or upside fliers like Williams, Harry and Hardman.

Looking for a breakout candidate at tight end? These are a bulk of your best options, though Goedert will need an Ertz injury in order to realize his top-end upside.

With all eyes on Jackson, Mahomes and Murray, Daniel Jones (No. 1 in passing touchdowns and No. 6 in fantasy points during his 12 starts) could emerge as one of the best values at the position.

This tier isn’t very exciting, but it’s certainly flush with borderline flex options.

140. Jared Goff, LAR, QB17
141. Jimmy Garoppolo, SF, QB18
142. Baker Mayfield, CLE, QB19
143. Kirk Cousins, MIN, QB20

You probably won’t want to start these fellas early on, but a bench spot is warranted in most formats.

144. Alexander Mattison, MIN, RB45
145. Tony Pollard, DAL, RB46
146. Nyheim Hines, IND, RB47
147. Dare Ogunbowale, TB, RB48
148. Jaylen Samuels, PIT, RB49
149. Devonta Freeman, FA, RB50
150. Carlos Hyde, FA, RB51

Mattison (Cook) and Pollard (Elliott) are two of the most valuable handcuffs in fantasy. Hines, Ogunbowale and Samuels are sneaky PPR fliers. The values of Freeman and Hyde will be determined based on landing spot.

These are currently your best options when eyeing depth for your bench, though many of these names will be replaced by rookies come draft weekend.

169. Steelers D/ST, PIT, DST1
170. Bills D/ST, BUF, DST2
171. 49ers D/ST, SF, DST3
172. Patriots D/ST, NE, DST4
173. Ravens D/ST, BAL, DST5
174. Colts D/ST, IND, DST6
175. Bears D/ST, CHI, DST7
176. Broncos D/ST, DEN, DST8
177. Vikings D/ST, MIN, DST9
178. Jets D/ST, NYJ, DST10
179. Saints D/ST, NO, DST11
180. Buccaneers D/ST, TB, DST12
181. Wil Lutz, NO, K1
182. Justin Tucker, BAL, K2
183. Harrison Butker, KC, K3
184. Matt Prater, DET, K4
185. Greg Zuerlein, FA, K5
186. Robbie Gould, SF, K6
187. Matt Gay, TB, K7
188. Kai Forbath, DAL, K8
189. Chris Boswell, PIT, K9
190. Zane Gonzalez, ARI, K10
191. Jake Elliott, PHI, K11
192. Jason Myers, SEA, K12

Did you learn nothing from the Jaguars D/ST two years ago? What about the Bears D/ST last offseason? Wait until the final two rounds to select your defense and kicker.

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