Alvin Kamara is one of my favorite picks early in 2020 drafts, and I have him as the third overall pick in PPR leagues. Kamara's workload is exactly what I look for in a Fantasy back — he combines a strong receiving profile with touchdown-scoring upside. And this year, he's probably a bit undervalued after a series of injuries held him back a bit in 2019, and his touchdowns fell from 13 and 18 in his first two years to just six in 2020.
But Kamara has caught exactly 81 balls in all three seasons, and prior to his injury woes in 2019 he was on pace for his first 200-carry season. Things were a bit different with Latavius Murray taking over for Mark Ingram, and I'm betting that's what we'll see again in 2020, with Kamara hopefully able to stay healthy and clear that 200-carry benchmark for the first time. His receptions per game have risen each season, as well, and I think it more likely he finally clears 81 catches than he falls short of it. As long as his touchdowns bounce back, there's huge upside here.
As a reference point, all touchdowns in this league are worth six points, and we award one point for every 10 yards rushing and receiving and one point for every 25 yards passing. We also award one point for every reception. We feature a starting lineup of QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE and FLEX (RB/WR/TE).
Here's my team from No. 4 overall:
- 1.04 Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints
- 2.09 Chris Godwin, WR, Buccaneers
- 3.04 Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions
- 4.09 Jonathan Taylor, RB, Colts
- 5.04 Stefon Diggs, WR, Bills
- 6.09 Jarvis Landry, WR, Browns
- 7.04 Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals
- 8.09 Zack Moss, RB, Bills
- 9.04 Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs
- 10.09 DeAndre Washington, RB, Chiefs
- 11.04 N'Keal Harry, WR, Patriots
- 12.09 Benny Snell, RB, Steelers
- 13.04 Blake Jarwin, TE, Cowboys
- 14.09 T.J. Hockenson, TE, Lions
- 15.04 Ito Smith, RB, Falcons
The discussion every year is that wide receiver is deep. But in a PPR league where you start three and also have a Flex, it's worthwhile to target them early. First of all, while wide receiver injuries do happen, they tend to occur at lower rates than the running back and tight end positions. Secondly, for all the difficulty we have projecting everything that can happen in an NFL season, we're pretty good at doling out targets. That's at least in part because targets are earned, not given out. It's a skill to earn a target, and players who are good at it are typically pretty consistently good at it.
Thus, wide receivers make for safer bets in the early rounds, whereas running backs are the high-upside options whose workloads are more fragile and can disappear in an instant. In a league where we can start several wide receivers, I'm typically going to value the security of strong wide receiver options early.
That's why I went with four wide receivers in my five picks following Kamara, and even still I think a case could be made my wide receivers aren't particularly deep. While it's easy to continuously think there will be a solid wide receiver available in the next round, even when you grab several in the early going it feels like you can never have too many in a league that starts up to four.
Part of that is the tradeoff with taking an upside bet on a running back like Jonathan Taylor in the fourth round, but I just can't help myself with the Wisconsin back who I think will be a future star. He's dealing with plenty of competition, but he's a size/speed phenom behind a great offensive line on a team with a soft schedule. There should be plenty of running back opportunity in this offense, and if Taylor is a hit, he could be a league-winner down the stretch.
If not, I'll need some help from my late-round running backs, and this isn't the strongest group of them I've drafted this year, partly because I was picking some of my favorites on the two other teams I had in this draft. Moss should have a solid weekly role and could be my RB2 if Taylor's opportunity comes along slower than I hope, while Washington, Snell, and Smith all represent my favorite backup in a crowded depth chart.
I've become concerned about Hockenson's recent proclamation he's not back to 100% yet, but pairing him with Jarwin gives me a pair of tight ends I really like. And Murray's a rare quarterback I'll take reasonably early because, while his ceiling is sky high.
Hardman is the perfect WR5 in Fantasy leagues this year, and I can't stop taking him after the first 40 or so wide receiver are gone. Though he didn't play a big role last year, he was explosive as a 21-year-old, averaging 13.1 yards per target. If his snap share doesn't grow, he'll probably spend most weeks on my bench while I hope something changes.
But why wouldn't it grow? Young players who are as good as Hardman tend to carve out larger roles as time goes on, and if Hardman's big rookie year leads to a significant Year 2 increase in a loaded offense where defensive attention will be light and he'll be seeing targets from the best quarterback in football, he'd probably be worth something like a fourth- or fifth-round pick. I love chasing that type of upside on my bench.
Landry's always undervalued, and he always seems to outproduce his ADP. But given how I approached this draft, especially with Taylor as a questionable RB2, I probably could have gone a little heavier at RB in this range. And if either of my upside wide receiver picks Hardman or Harry hits big, Landry will probably wind up on my bench most weeks. Add in that there's some uncertainty about his health for the first time in his career — he's rehabbing hip surgery after never missing a game through six seasons — and there are a few scenarios where I could look back on this draft and wish I'd gone another way with this pick.
It's hard to overstate how good Taylor is as a prospect — he's a physical specimen who ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at 226 pounds for an absolutely elite Speed Score, and over his three-year college career he averaged more than 2,000 rushing yards per season and scored 50 rushing touchdowns. Much is made about a fumbling issue and a perceived lack of receiving ability, but Taylor's receiving tended to tick up when his rushing efficiency went down, which is to say Wisconsin probably didn't use him that way much because they didn't need to. And when they did use him in the passing game, he averaged 9.7 yards per reception and caught five touchdowns on 42 career catches.
Now he joins the Colts, who have PFF's top-graded offensive line entering 2020, a soft schedule, and a new quarterback in Philip Rivers who has frequently targeted his backs on all downs. This is a situation to target for running back production. And while there are a lot of mouths to feed, should Taylor wind up with a workhorse role at any point throughout 2020, he'd be an easy top-10 back for those weeks. Even without that big of a role, there's potential for Taylor to be an efficient runner who posts solid weekly outputs on 10-15 touches per game.
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