Sunday Special: The 2020 Fantasy Football Elites

For the purposes of brevity and Mother’s Day (Happy Mother’s Day to all the queens out there), I’m not going to dive deep into each one of these players. Instead, let’s build an early reference point for your upcoming season.

Below are my first-tier fantasy players by position — quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end. Draft these ballers and reject the ensuing trade requests as you collect another Shiva Bowl Trophy.

And as always, remember these rules of thumb heading into your next campaign:

  1. You can’t win your draft in the first two rounds, but you can definitely lose it.
  2. Volume is king.


Because Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson are in a league of their own in both and fantasy and actual football, consider these top seven as categories 1A and 1B. If you drafted either of the 2018 or 2019 league MVPs, you likely came home with at least one fantasy trophy.

  1. Lamar Jackson, BAL
  2. Patrick Mahomes, KC
  3. Dak Prescott, DAL
  4. Kyler Murray, ARI
  5. Russell Wilson, SEA
  6. Deshaun Watson, HOU
  7. Josh Allen, BUF

With a year’s worth of experience and a new All-Pro receiver to throw the ball to, Kyler Murray carries league-winning upside into 2020. And don’t scratch your head about the Josh Allen inclusion. Stefon Diggs is the best receiver Allen will have played with, and his rushing prowess — 510 yards and 9 TDs in 2019 — gives him one of the highest floors amongst all quarterbacks.

Running Backs:

The gap between Christian McCaffrey and all other RBs wasn’t even close in 2019. His 471.2 points was about 150% of Aaron Jones’s 2nd-ranked performance. If you don’t take him first overall in 2020, you’re exposing a major lack of preparation.

Beyond CMC, the picture gets a bit murkier. I’ll release the second edition of my fantasy running back tiers as the season nears, but here’s who I’m circling as the top batch of 2020 backs.

  1. Christian McCaffrey, CAR
  2. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL
  3. Saquon Barkley, NYG
  4. Derrick Henry, TEN
  5. Dalvin Cook, MIN
  6. Alvin Kamara, NO
  7. Nick Chubb, CLE

2019 breakout stars Aaron Jones — a major touchdown-regression candidate (19 total) — and Austin Ekeler are both victims of their teams’ offseasons. Green Bay rookie AJ Dillon is expected to poach goal-line touches from Jones, while Tyrod Taylor and Justin Herbert don’t exactly scream “high-powered offense” for the Chargers. Are they worthy of selection in the top two rounds? Probably, but I can’t give them my full vote of confidence just yet.

My favorite boom candidates are Joe Mixon and Miles Sanders. I will regret including this.

Wide Receivers:

Quick reminder: Michael Thomas’s 149 catches broke Marvin Harrison’s 2002 record of 143 in a season. If I was drafting today, Thomas would be number two on my big board.

  1. Michael Thomas, NO
  2. Julio Jones, ATL
  3. Tyreek Hill, KC
  4. Davante Adams, GB
  5. DeAndre Hopkins, ARI
  6. Chris Godwin, TB
  7. Cooper Kupp, LAR

Because 2019 was such a strange year for receivers, take this list with a grain of salt. Allen Robinson clocked in at seventh overall with Mitch Trubisky throwing him the ball, while Mike Evans, Odell Beckham, and Davante Adams all failed to crack the top 10 (although Adams missed five games due to injury).

Keenan Allen, Tyler Lockett, Julian Edelman, Kenny Golladay, DeVante Parker, and Jarvis Landry are all worth mentioning. However, I don’t see the same upside.

Tight Ends:

Like the quarterbacks, Travis Kelce and George Kittle are in a tier of their own. Had Kittle not missed weeks 10 and 11 in 2019, Kelce’s 31.8 point margin of victory would look a bit smaller.

  1. Travis Kelce, KC
  2. George Kittle, SF
  3. Darren Waller, LV
  4. Zach Ertz, PHI
  5. Mark Andrews, BAL
  6. Austin Hooper, CLE

Dallas Goedert’s emergence gives me some pause over Zach Ertz. Mark Andrews’s 10 touchdown catches will be tough to replicate. And how will Austin Hooper fare in Kevin Stefanski’s offense? All things to consider.

Take Kelce or Kittle in the first couple rounds, or be prepared when the next group starts to come off the board. It’s really that simple.

A Podcast I Loved:

Michael Lewis – Inside the Mind of the Iconic Writer on The Tim Ferriss Show

Michael Lewis — author of MoneyBall, The Blind Side, The Big Short, and more — made an overdue appearance on arguably my favorite podcast — The Tim Ferriss Show. What I loved most about this episode was learning about Lewis’s early career as an investment banker for Salomon Brothers in London and his overall enthusiasm for life. If you’re not intrigued by Lewis, check out a different episode of this podcast. I have an absurdly long reading list, and probably 80+ percent of it consists of recommendations from Tim’s guests.

Twitter Account to Follow: @SneakerShouts

If you’re a sneakerhead or need a new pair of Ultraboosts (or both), this account is a must follow. They’re constantly dropping solid deals below $100. Upgrading your shoe game starts now.

If you enjoyed this edition of the Sunday Special, consider subscribing to the ATM: At The Minute Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. And lastly, any and all feedback is appreciated. Have a great week.




Published by Peter Mitchell

Oklahoma-raised, KC-based. I like covering NBA, NFL, and Fantasy Football, among other things.

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