The eighth pick is a difficult spot in 2020 drafts, where a decision needs to be made about a non-elite running back or potentially one of the top wide receivers. For me, that decision largely comes down to whether Miles Sanders is still on the board. If he's there, I'm taking him. If he's not, I'll probably go wide receiver.
That's because Sanders is one of my favorite breakout picks of 2020. He posted a strong receiving line in his rookie season, catching multiple passes in 15 of 17 games including the playoffs. The only games where he didn't have multiple receptions were Weeks 1 and 4. From Week 5 on, he caught at least three balls in every game except one.
That's a major indication of big PPR upside, as is the strong offense he's tied to. Concerns about a committee may prove well-founded, but Doug Pederson hasn't used a back like he used Sanders down the stretch in 2019, so I'm willing to take him at his word this offseason, and he's consistently said Sanders will continue to be the guy.
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. 8 overall:
- 1.08 Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles
- 2.05 D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers
- 3.08 Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers
- 4.05 Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens
- 5.08 Ronald Jones, RB, Buccaneers
- 6.05 Michael Gallup, WR, Cowboys
- 7.08 Christian Kirk, WR, Cardinals
- 8.05 Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington
- 9.08 Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers
- 10.05 Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons
- 11.08 AJ Dillon, RB, Packers
- 12.05 Ke'Shawn Vaughn, RB, Buccaneers
- 13.08 Curtis Samuel, WR, Panthers
- 14.05 Carlos Hyde, RB, Seahawks
- 15.08 Rex Burkhead, RB, Patriots
The structure you see here is my most common approach to drafts, particularly as it pertains to being light on running back early. Running back is the most opportunity-based position in Fantasy, and this year especially with so many mid-round picks changing teams and rookies joining uncertain backfields, I'm not sold on the workload projections that drive so much of running back ADP.
That's a big reason my strategy this year is dependent on several early receivers, but I won't shy away from grabbing a potential star running back in the first round. After Sanders, each of Moore, Evans, Gallup, and Kirk should start for me, and that's a really strong quartet in my rankings with both Moore and Evans in the top 10 and Gallup and Kirk as upside mid-rounders I'm happy to have in my WR3 and Flex spots.
Then Mark Andrews gives me a legitimate difference-maker at tight end, and I also like Matt Ryan as my QB7 who I got later on. Outside my RB2 spot, this should be a highly competitive starting lineup. The big question becomes whether I can fill the RB2 spot with some of the upside picks I made at that position late.
Jones has been getting rave reviews this offseason, and even as his Average Draft Position is skyrocketing, I'm not sure it's responded enough. Though there are legitimate concerns about his passing downs role, Jones faces little competition for early-down work from 32-year-old LeSean McCoy and rookie Ke'Shawn Vaughn, who has fallen behind in the limited offseason due to landing on the COVID list.
Jones has gotten a bad rap through two years, and was the youngest rookie in his class who has only just turned 23 this August. He's still plenty young — even younger than Vaughn, the rookie — and has reportedly had an excellent offseason after a solid second season where he put up over 1,000 yards and six scores. I expect Jones to be a solid RB2 for this roster and he's one of the few running backs I consider in the middle rounds of drafts, which I've referred to as the.
I expect Moore to be a star this year, and he's my WR5 in PPR leagues. Moore is another player whose 2019 is going under the radar, and if he hadn't suffered a calf injury six snaps into Week 16, he likely would be going a round higher. Through 14 games, the decorated college producer and former first-round pick was on pace for a second season very comparable to Michael Thomas's second year, except Moore was two years younger and not playing with Drew Brees, not even close.
So why might I regret picking him? Because I took him well before ADP. I bypassed some good running backs, and also considered George Kittle here, but if Moore isn't the difference-maker I expect him to be, I'll probably most simply regret the other potentially elite receivers I could have taken, like Chris Godwin and DeAndre Hopkins.
Gibson is the ultimate wild card in 2020. A fantastic athlete, Gibson is almost a spitting image of my top back in the class, Jonathan Taylor. But he also totaled just 77 offensive touches in two years at Memphis, mostly as a wide receiver. While that should help him try to earn some targets, the question for his rookie year is whether he has any shot at early down work out of the backfield. Veterans Adrian Peterson and Peyton Barber could make that difficult, and intriguing injury reclamation project Bryce Love is also far more decorated as a rusher. I have high hopes for Gibson, but there are scenarios where he could be close to a complete zero in his first season, and that would be hard on this roster that needs him to be a solid No. 3 RB.
So which Fantasy football busts should you completely avoid? And which running back going off the board early should you fade? Visit SportsLine now to get cheat sheets from the model that called Baker Mayfield's disappointing season, and find out.