Fantasy Football World Championship High Stakes Expert Draft Review - Pump the Brakes on Tyler Higbee
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With high-stakes fantasy drafts already in full swing, let’s start to get a sense of where some of the best fantasy players in the world are going with their top picks in 2020.
The league below is a 12-team PPR league from the Fantasy Football World Championships. The draft took place on July 22nd.
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FAVORITE PICK: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs RB (RB15, 3.01)
While the news of Damien Williams’ opt-out came after this draft, Edwards-Helaire now gets catapulted into legit RB6-8 value as the lead back in the best offense in the league. My opinion of CEH has changed over the last several weeks after initially writing that he was being over-drafted based on the hype. He’s a perfect fit for this offense, especially now that he will likely see featured-back status.
LEAST FAVORITE PICK: Tyler Higbee, Rams TE (TE6, 9.01)
Higbee put up monster numbers the moment Gerald Everett was done for the season. He produced when he was called upon, but I can’t envision much of that progress carrying over through 2020. Higbee was also the No. 6 tight end off the board, ahead of options like Evan Engram, Austin Hooper, and Hayden Hurst. I have Higbee as my TE6, which feels like a reach for “their guy.”
TOP SLEEPER: Chris Thompson, Jaguars RB (RB78, 20.12)
FAVORITE PICK: Saquon Barkley, Giants RB (RB2, 1.02)
Is it a cop-out answer? Maybe. I have Barkley as my number one pick in 2020 fantasy drafts, so anything past 1.01 is a steal for me.
Both Barkley and Christian McCaffrey state an excellent case to be the top back and player chosen overall in 2020. I ultimately feel more secure in Barkley’s role with this offense, along with the belief that his workload will increase compared to the worry of McCaffrey seeing fewer touches.
LEAST FAVORITE PICK: Darren Waller, Raiders TE (TE5, 6.11)
I don’t have an issue with Waller at his value. TE5 makes plenty of sense considering his 2019 campaign and how he’ll likely lead the Raiders in receptions. The next tight end didn’t come off the board until nearly three rounds later. Waller could have been had Round 7 or 8, rather than late in the sixth.
TOP SLEEPER: N’Keal Harry (WR57, 11.02)
FAVORITE PICK: David Montgomery, Bears RB (RB23, 5.03)
Montgomery should bounce back since the Bears have committed to using their third-round pick from a season ago effectively. Montgomery was charted by Pro Football Focus as one of their highest scouted players ever when it came to breaking tackles, so now they just need to get him more opportunities to break through. Also, to snag a three-down back in the fifth round is an exceptional value.
LEAST FAVORITE PICK: Mike Williams, Chargers WR (WR46, 8.10)
I know 2020 has been weird, but are we just expecting Tyrod Taylor to chuck it deep downfield, and Williams has another monster air-yard season? I’m certainly not. He’s still a terrific talent, but the QB willing to sling it is gone, and I prefer receivers like Preston Williams, Henry Ruggs and Mecole Hardman who all remained on the board.
TOP SLEEPER: K.J. Hamler, Broncos WR
FAVORITE PICK: J.K Dobbins, Ravens RB (RB29, 6.9)
Dobbins could be a league winner if anything happens to Mark Ingram. Only two running backs in the NFL, Derrick Henry, and Ezekiel Elliott had more carries than Dobbins did in his final season at Ohio State.
LEAST FAVORITE PICK: Kenny Golladay, Lions WR (WR7, 2.9)
I get the love for Golladay. Matthew Stafford was on pace to lead the NFL in touchdown passes a season ago until he got hurt. Still, with D.J. Moore and Terry McLaurin as the next two picks for Team 4, I would have jumped on the opportunity to grab Travis Kelce as the top TE off the board, or taken a chance on Clyde Edwards-Helaire (note that Damien Williams had not yet opted out when this draft was made).
TOP SLEEPER: Steven Sims Jr, Washington Football Team WR
FAVORITE PICK: Evan Engram, Giants TE (TE7, 9.5)
Engram, when healthy is the best pass-catcher on the New York Giants, and with Daniel Jones set to take a major jump in Year 2, I think he’ll benefit the most of all the pass-catchers in New York’s new offense under Jason Garrett.
LEAST FAVORITE PICK: Odell Beckham Jr, Browns WR (WR12, 3.5)
I think Beckham will bounce back in 2020, and I understand the upside play. But Godfather’s first three picks were WRs at a position that’s filled with enormous value. I would have preferred George Kittle or James Conner for a little more positional versatility. With Jonathan Taylor and Damien Williams as my two starting running backs, I’m already playing from a disadvantage.
TOP SLEEPER: Justin Jackson, Chargers RB
FAVORITE PICK: Derrius Guice, Washington Football Team RB (RB33, 7.6)
Guice is my 2020 breakout player of the year. I love the value in the seventh round for an RB that should earn the bulk of the work right away as a runner and pass-catcher. The injuries are always a concern, but several metrics indicate that if he can stay on the field, he can put up elite numbers.
LEAST FAVORITE PICK: DeVante Parker, Dolphins WR (WR26, 5.6)
Coincidentally, Parker is my 2020 bust of the year. So much of his success came with Preston Williams out of the lineup and Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing him the ball. In 2020, both elements are likely to change, and I’m more likely to believe Parker’s breakout year may be a one-hit wonder.
TOP SLEEPER: Blake Jarwin, Cowboys TE (TE25, 19.6)
FAVORITE PICK: George Kittle, 49ers TE (TE2, 3.7)
I have Kittle as my TE1 this year with a 49ers offense projected to take more downfield chances in 2020. To be able to secure him in the middle-to-late part of the third round is a terrific steal.
LEAST FAVORITE PICK: DeSean Jackson, Eagles WR (WR59, 11.7)
This is semantics more than anything. I’m not sure how much more D-Jax has left in the tank after missing the final 13 games. With Marquise Goodwin opting out, I think that keeps his job security in place, but I thought Jackson was a prime cut candidate before Training Camp began.
TOP SLEEPER: Parris Campbell, Colts WR (WR63, 12.6)
FAVORITE PICK: DeShaun Watson, Texans QB (QB6, 9.8)
The loss of DeAndre Hopkins is a killer, but Watson continues to put up top-five numbers at the position and will likely have to use his legs, even more, to extend drives and make plays. He has the 30th most difficult schedule for QBs this year, likely presenting more opportunities to have to score late in games.
LEAST FAVORITE PICK: Chris Carson, Seahawks RB (RB20, 4.5)
I want nothing to do with the Seattle backfield this year. Carson is the lead back, but can’t hang onto the football. They signed Carlos Hyde, Rashaad Penny is still lurking around, and they drafted another running back in the fourth round in DeeJay Dallas. I’m good.
TOP SLEEPER: O.J. Howard, Bucs TE (TE24, 18.5)
FAVORITE PICK: Mike Gesicki, Dolphins TE (TE13, 11.9)
The super athletic Fins’ tight end is a likely breakout candidate in 2020. Ryan Fitzpatrick made him a featured part of the offense in the second half of the season, and once Miami makes the switch to Tua Tagovailoa, Giseki should get peppered with targets in the middle of the field. Miami also just had starting slot wide receiver Albert Wilson opt-out for 2020.
LEAST FAVORITE PICK: Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals WR (WR69, 13.9)
I honestly love this team, and Fitzgerald is only the play because I had to choose someone. With DeAndre Hopkins arriving along with a full season of Kenyan Drake and perhaps the speedy Andy Isabella, I just don’t see much volume for him any longer. Insanely productive and terrific career, but I’m not sure what more Fitz brings this year. Again, it’s WR69, so it doesn’t mean much.
TOP SLEEPER: Jace Sternberger, Packers TE (TE27, 20.4)
FAVORITE PICK: Miles Sanders, Eagles RB (RB12, 2.3)
Sanders has top-six upside as the lead back in Philadelphia, who most models after Christian McCaffrey’s style of game more than almost anyone. With the Eagles having no wide receivers to speak of not named Jalen Reagor, Sanders will get three-down work and a ton of volume in the short passing game. He’s a first-round stud that got drafted in the second—nicely done.
LEAST FAVORITE PICK: Cam Akers, Rams RB (RB26, 5.10)
I know the fantasy world is super high on Akers, but LA seems to have made it clear that they’re not just handing him the job. At the moment, it’s still a three-headed monster with Darrell Henderson and Malcolm Brown hanging around. I would have preferred Kareem Hunt and J.K. Dobbins, who remained on the board at that point.
TOP SLEEPER: Ryquell Armstead (RB66, 15.10)
FAVORITE PICK: James Conner, Steelers RB (RB18, 3.11)
James Conner is in a contract year with competition breathing down his neck in Anthony McFarland, and I suppose Benny Snell. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has stressed the benefits of a three-down back, and Conner will have every opportunity to hold onto the job. He was on pace to finish as the RB9 in PPR the first half of the season before getting injured.
LEAST FAVORITE PICK: Rob Gronkowski, Bucs TE (TE9, 9.11)
Injuries have devastated Gronk over the last several years. Maybe some time away can help temporarily, but Gronk’s not going to last through the entirety of the season. Plus, Brady has two top-tier weapons to throw to, so while Gronk may be an all-time favorite, I wouldn’t rely on much from him this year.
TOP SLEEPER: Josh Reynolds, Rams WR (WR71, 14.2)
FAVORITE PICK: Jared Goff, Rams QB (QB19, 16.1)
DraftKings Sportsbook has Goff as one of the top three projected passers in passing yards this year. With their defense outside of Aaron Donald likely to struggle, Goff and Co. will likely have to chuck it around downfield to remain in contention. Not every week will be pretty, and there may be a few interceptions along the way, but 300 yards will regularly come for the former number one overall pick.
LEAST FAVORITE PICK: Austin Ekeler, Chargers RB (RB9, 1.12)
He’s Shawn Childs’ Bust of the Year, and the quarterback providing him all the great passing opportunities is no longer there. Nuff’ said.
TOP SLEEPER: A.J. Dillon, Packers RB (RB51, 12.1)