QB List Way Too Early Mock Draft: Ryan Kruse’s Picks
Seeing as it’s January and everybody is waiting for the Super Bowl, there wasn’t much readily available fantasy football research to pore through. I instead chose to let my recency bias take hold and gauge players’ stock based upon their 2019 seasons and my hazy memory from the past 16 weeks.
Round 1, Pick 7: Aaron Jones (RB, Green Bay Packers)
Picking around this point in the draft can get a bit iffy. The best running backs have already gone off the board and you’re beginning to wonder if that tier-one wide receiver will pan out this year. Fortunately, Aaron Jones was still on the board and this Packers homer just couldn’t pass him up. Taking Jones (2019’s second-highest scoring running back) with the seventh overall pick seems like a no-brainer to me. Even so, in the first round, there are still some downsides that must be considered. For instance, Jones had five games in 2019 with eight or fewer fantasy points.
Round 2, Pick 18: Chris Carson (RB, Seattle Seahawks)
Chris Carson wasn’t exactly the juggernaut many expected him to be in 2019 but he still finished as the overall RB12 in PPR leagues. In 2019, Seattle didn’t run the ball as much as they had the year prior. Be that as it may, the Seahawks still ranked 6th in the league in rushing play percentage. There should still be plenty of opportunity for running backs in Seattle, and it seems Carson will be the go-to guy (assuming he bounces back well from his injury).
Round 3, Pick 27: Julian Edelman (WR, New England Patriots)
I’ll admit I was a little wary taking the 33-year-old muscle squirrel as my WR1. Edelman isn’t the sexiest pick, but he still finished the season ranked seventh among PPR wide receivers. A large determining factor going into a player’s draft stock is how well they performed the year before. Seeing as we’re only a month into 2020, last year’s performances will be our best current benchmarks. Draft stock will rise and wane as we get more news over the offseason. At the time of this writing, we can’t even be certain Tom Brady will be throwing balls to Edelman next year.
Round 4, Pick 38: Cooper Kupp (WR, L.A. Rams)
I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy with this pick. I knew I needed to take a wide receiver here but I wasn’t very high on many of the options. I had my eye on D.J. Moore but he was swooped up just before my pick. (Damn you, Erik!) Cooper didn’t have the best season (at least by Kupp standards) but, believe it or not, the guy still finished with 270.5 PPR points last year (fourth among wide receivers). If he’s my WR2 in 2020, I’m hoping Kupp is much more consistent. In 2019, he had five games of 22 fantasy points or more. On the other hand, he had five games where he scored 11 points or less.
Round 5, Pick 47: Mark Andrews (TE, Baltimore Ravens)
This will likely be a pretty unpopular pick but I just didn’t have much excitement for the other available players on the board in round 5. I would have considered Marlon Mack if he fell a bit further and James Conner felt like too big of a question mark heading into 2020. If I’m going to reach for a top-tier player, it’s going to be for either a tight end or a quarterback (and never both). Be that as it may, I likely could have waited for a round or two and pounced on Andrews or Waller at that point. The difference between the TE1 and TE5 in 2019 was only 47.1 points. If you want your guy, you may need to sacrifice a slightly higher pick to avoid the tight end wasteland.
Round 6, Pick 58: Calvin Ridley (WR, Atlanta Falcons)
Ridley was a solid pick in round six (if I do say so myself). He finished the 2019 season just outside overall WR2 territory behind guys like Odell Beckham Jr. and Stefon Diggs. OBJ and Diggs went in the third and fourth rounds respectively so I’ll happily take Ridley in the sixth. He had three games with more than 20 fantasy points and, for the most part, Ridley was as consistent as they come before his injury in Week 14. Calvin will be entering his third NFL season in 2020, a perfect time for young wide receivers to take the next step up.
Round 7, Pick 67: Duke Johnson (RB, Houston Texans)
Okay, so this pick was a shot in the dark. My QB List colleagues are very savvy drafters and I should have known running back talent would go quickly. That said, Duke Johnson isn’t a terrible pick in the seventh so long as you’re league is in a full-PPR format. Johnson was pretty consistent through the air last year and seemed to have more catches per game as the season went on. This is the way-too-early 2020 mock though, in a few months Duke could be on a different team and this pick could look very foolish (or brilliant).
Round 8, Pick 78: Will Fuller (WR, Houston Texans)
I’ll be honest with you guys, I was busy working during this portion of our slow mock draft and made a pretty rookie mistake. It’s alright though, that’s why we do mock drafts in January like the fantasy football degenerates we are. I’m the type of guy who usually likes to have solid running back depth. Realistically, I could have just picked Lamar Miller here and at least been comfortable in knowing I had the Texans’ backfield locked down.
Round 9, Pick 87: Jameis Winston (QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
I’m happy with this pick. As far as we currently know, Winston should stay in Tampa for at least another year and there’s no reason he can’t put up similar numbers in 2020. I’m sure plenty are expecting a regression towards the mean here but I expect Jameis continues his gunslinger ways while he’s working with Arians. Winston finished with the third-most fantasy points among quarterbacks in 2019 and he was the seventh QB off the board in our mock. I think that’s criminal, or maybe that’s just my Tampa Bay bias kicking in.
Round 10, Pick 98: Rashaad Penny (RB, Seattle Seahawks)
Like I said before, I love having insurance for my running backs. Not all running backs have a solid handcuff behind them but I believe Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny are an exception to the rule. I think both players succumbing to injuries last year was a fluke. That sort of thing doesn’t happen often. I would gladly stack both of the Seattle running backs again in 2020.
Round 11, Pick 107: David Njoku (TE, Cleveland Browns)
I was expecting most of my colleagues to go for some high-upside guys in these later rounds. With that in mind, I think nabbing Njoku in the 11th is a steal, especially if he’s your backup tight end. I could theoretically rely on Andrews while giving Njoku a few weeks to pan out. David clearly had an awful year in 2019 but the guy was hurt and never on the same page with Kitchens. Njoku should get a fresh look in 2020 and I think he’s got just as much upside as any other late-round pick.
Round 12, Pick 118: DeSean Jackson (WR, Philadelphia Eagles)
I need to give it a rest with the 33-year-old past-their-prime receivers but I just couldn’t help myself with this pick. Jackson only played 65 offensive snaps in 2019 due to a season-ending abdominal tear that required surgery. The good news is he scored over 35 fantasy points in week one! I think there’s a reason the Eagles gave D-Jax that contract before the 2019 season. I think a big part of Doug Pederson’s game plan was to have a speedster capable of burning the defense at any time. I doubt that plan changes too drastically in 2020. I think Jackson could surprise a lot of people this year.
Round 13, Pick 127: Baker Mayfield (QB, Cleveland Browns)
Maybe I’m just buying low on all these Browns players after everyone is hungover from last year’s Cleveland hysteria. Call me crazy, but I think Baker is a pretty good late-round pick so long as he isn’t your QB1. The guy’s still got talent and I don’t mind keeping him on the bench for a few weeks to see how Mayfield looks in his third year.
Round 14, Pick 138: Mohamed Sanu (WR, New England Patriots)
If this were a real league, I would likely drop Sanu before Week 1 to pick up a defense. In the last six games of 2019, Sanu averaged just 4.18 points per game. Discovering that stat made me wish I had just picked a boring old defense instead.
Round 15, Pick 147: Josh Lambo (K, Jacksonville Jaguars)
Why Lambo? For the memes, of course. Not to mention, he was one made field goal away from finishing in the top five among fantasy kickers.
(Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire)