In this draft strategy and analysis, I do my best to help you navigate through who to pick and who to avoid in your fantasy drafts. This analysis itself is based off of the ADPs (average draft positions) of a Twelve Team, PPR, serpentine draft from the time of writing and is not based on SkullKing Football’s consensus rankings. ADPs are going to change every week based on the latest hype, news, injuries, and more. That being said, the theory behind this analysis and strategy will remain.
In this ten team draft strategy, we are going to look at who to pick whether you are picking early (Picks 1-4), middle (Picks 5-8), or late (Picks 9-12) in each round. One thing to remember as you read through this strategy is that if you have an early pick in round one, you will have the late pick in round two, alternating back and forth round-by-round.
One more note before we get into the analysis, there are always going to be players that drop below their draft position to later rounds. There will also be players that get picked way above their average draft position. These things can throw you off if you let them. Which players rise and fall in drafts will be completely dependent on the league, scoring format, and the people you are drafting with. Just remember, if a player gets taken really early, another may be falling to you.
Here is the typical lineup you would be drafting for:
Lets get to it!
Any of these four RBs has the workload and opportunity to finish as the top overall RB in fantasy for 2019. All for could be argued as the best #1 overall pick.
Depending on what position you like drafting first, the two WRs above are both 1st round pick worthy due to their high level of consistent production year after year. David Johnson has a new coach with an offensive philosophy that is more in line with DJ’s playing style. Even with a bad o-line and OC in 2018, he still finished as a top 10 RB in both Standard and PPR. Le’Veon Bell is now with a different team with a (likely) much worse offensive line after taking an entire year off. I don’t know if I can take the chance on him quite this early in the draft.
This is where “ZeroRB” enthusiasts are likely to skip past the RBs available and move on to the WRs that are being typically drafted in RD 2 of 10 team leagues. Melvin Gordon is a solid end of Rd 1 pick but has yet to finish a season or be available for the fantasy playoffs in 3 seasons. We also all saw the baffling non-use of Todd Gurley down the stretch of the NFL season and playoffs. Both Bell and Gurley* are on my ‘wait and see if they are still available mid-late Rd 2’ list. Let someone else deal with those headaches. *If you do decide to take Gurley, be sure to use a late round pick on Darrell Henderson, as he will be the primary backup/handcuff to Gurley this season. You cannot go wrong with either Michael Thomas or Julio Jones at WR. Both are high volume pass catchers that rack up lots of yards. Julio tends to fall behind in TDs compared to other elite WRs, but his reception and yard totals tend to make up for the lack of TD production.
Round One Avoids: Le’Veon Bell, Todd Gurley
James Conner showed to be a fantastic RB last season, out pacing some of Le’Veon’s totals with the Steelers. The only thing to watch for with Conner is injury with his workload. Both Odell Beckham and JuJu Smith-Schuster are fantastic talents at WR but are in different situations compared to the past couple seasons. Odell has a new team and QB with the Browns, while JuJu is now the WR1 in Pittsburgh with Antonio Brown being traded to Oakland. The talent of both should have them finishing the year as top 10 WRs, barring injury. Joe Mixon has dealt with a little bit of the injury bug in his first couple seasons. However, his talent is undeniable and is the top RB option for the Bengals.
Travis Kelce finished with enough points, even as a TE, to rank as the WR8 in PPR in 2018. With the loss of Kareem Hunt and the questions surrounding Tyreek Hill’s availability for the 2019 season, Mahomes may need to lean on his start TE even more. Even with that production, I would prefer to take Kelce in the early 3rd Rd instead of mid second so as to not miss out on some of the WR/RB talent still available, but would not blame you for taking him here. Antonio Brown is now with a new QB, offense, and OC. Derek Carr has shown to be able to sling the rock around, but not consistently. Even Brown, as an elite talent, is 30, and there are plenty of question marks with the new team. Dalvin Cook has some questions around him with Cook and his slow ACL recovery last season and the inconsistency of the Vikings’ use of the run game. Mike Evans will be in another pass-happy offense that will benefit him greatly in 2019.
Nick Chubb has Kareem Hunt coming off suspension in week 9. I still like Chubb more and am not as concerned with Hunt as many analysts are. Adam Thielen’s numbers in 2018 were not sustainable even for himself. Though I love his talent, he will drop off this season with the Vikings’ desire to commit to the run game. Damien Williams performed admirably after Hunt’s dismissal. KC did not do anything to replace Williams as the lead back in KC other than sign some UDFA players to fight for positions on the roster. The one concern for Williams is that he has never been the lead back for a full season, so possible durability issues could come up. Devonta Freeman is a good value pick here with the Falcons taking TWO offensive linemen in the first round of the NFL Draft this season. This should not only help Freeman in the run game, but also in the pass game as they should provide more protection for Matt Ryan as well.
Round Two Avoids: Dalvin Cook, Antonio Brown, Adam Thielen
Like Kelce, Zach Ertz would have finished WR10 if TEs were rolled into WR scoring. As stated earlier, I tend to be tentative about drafting TEs so early and would prefer Kelce at this point in the draft. While getting a Top 3 TE at this point can be an advantage in smaller, 8 to 10 team leagues where all the teams are loaded with talent, drafting a TE too early in 12 team leagues or larger can make it harder to collect high end talent at other positions in your draft.TY Hilton has had consistent fantasy finishes with a healthy Andrew Luck as his QB. With added weapons to the Colts’ offense, Hilton could get himself loose for an even better season in 2019. Keenan Allen is Philip Rivers’ favorite target. Though 2018 started out slow for Allen, his production took off at the end of the season and he finished as the WR11 in PPR. Leonard Fournette has had leg injury issues multiple years in a row, some off the field issues that should not have been an issue, and a suspension for fighting.
Marlon Mack is another player who, like Damien Williams of KC, has not had anyone added to their backfield who could be considered as serious competition for the starting role. Patrick Mahomes fits into my avoid/wait on category. Mahomes is without Kareem Hunt, Chris Conley, and possibly Tyreek Hill. Add to that the historical year that the second year QB had in 2018 – the case for regression grows by the day. George Kittle had a breakout season in 2018 and would have finished as a WR18 in PPR if you add TEs to WR production. The Niners suffered from many injuries all over the field and Kittle was about the only one who stayed healthy. If none of the young talent can step up this season, expect SF to lean on Kittle again. Amari Cooper was the WR6 from weeks 9-16 in 2018 once he was traded to the Cowboys and should have a great full year in Dallas.
Rookie RBs can be hard to predict. Though Josh Jacobs is likely to be the workhorse for the Raiders this year, I am not willing to spend this early a pick on that much uncertainty. AJ Green has had to deal with injuries much of the last three seasons. If Green is your second or third WR, picking him here could be a solid pick, but I would rather wait on him a little longer to see if he slips in the draft. I am not ready to believe in Derrick Henry yet. The Titans have said they want to really lean on Henry this season. He had a 1,000 yd season in 2018 with 12 TDs, but 400yd and 6 TDs came in weeks 14 and 15. That is too much inconsistency for me to want to draft him. Once Adam Thielen’s historic streak was over, Stefon Diggs outscored Thielen over the last 8 weeks of the fantasy season – and you can draft him a round later!
Round Three Avoids: Patrick Mahomes, Adam Thielen, Leonard Fournette, Derrick Henry, AJ Green
Aaron Jones has a new HC/OC, so his role may change in the offense. However, if he can get the production he had in weeks 9-16 of 2018 where he was the RB8 in PPR (all while only having 4 carries in week 15 and missing all of week 16 due to injury), he will be a steal in this year’s fantasy drafts. This is a perfect spot to draft Julian Edelman as he will be your WR3/4 if you went with a ZeroRB style draft, or your WR2 if you drafted a little more evenly. He will continue to gobble up targets and receptions as Brady’s security blanket. This is too early to be drafting a Patriot RB, no matter which player it is. There is too much inconsistency in how Bill Belichick game plans for teams to risk taking Sony Michel this early. Forget the fact that the Patriots also drafted Damien Harris out of Alabama in the draft this past April. While Kerryon Johnson played well in his limited work, he missed 6 games due to injury and the Detroit brass has already said they don’t see Johnson as a feature RB. To prove that point, they signed CJ Anderson from the Rams.
Brandin Cooks was a top 20 WR in 2018 and in an offense that plays 3 WR sets on 95% or more of their plays, count on Cooks to have another solid year of production. Mark Ingram has switched teams and will be 30 by the end of the 2019 season. Not a great combo for a RB. That being said, he is now with the Ravens and arguably is their most dynamic (and most experienced) RB. I would probably wait on Ingram and let someone else take the risk for now. Phillip Lindsay showed great playmaking ability throughout his rookie campaign, but he is coming off a broken wrist from late in 2018. As long as he is healthy, he should be a solid RB2 for your fantasy team. David Montgomery will be this season’s Offensive Rookie of the year. BOOK IT. I would draft him before Josh Jacobs who is going a full round ahead of him. Montgomery is dynamic, a hard runner, and tough to bring down. Bears’ HC Matt Nagy has already compared him to Kareem Hunt in his playing style.
Kenny G has the ability to finish as a top 10 WR. Coming into his third season, he should be ready for an even bigger role in the Lions’ offense. This is the absolute earliest I would take a QB. In 10 team leagues, having a stud QB can help separate you from the pack (just ask Mahomes owners in 2018) You can still wait for a couple other studs in the next couple rounds, but if Andrew Luck is who you want, you better grab him now. Robert Woods finished as the WR9 in PPR last season and was the most consistent of the Rams’ WRs. It is a steal getting him this late. Cooper Kupp is coming off a torn ACL from mid season in 2018, but has been Jared Goff’s security blanket when in trouble. As long as Kupp is healthy, this is a great spot to pick up a WR who was on pace for an 80/1100/12 line.
Round Four Avoids: Sony Michel, Kerryon Johnson, Mark Ingram
Chris Carson could be in for another big year with the Seahawks’ insistence on the ground-and-pound offense. However, he has a tendency to get nicked up and has second year RB Rashaad Penny breathing down his neck for touches. Sammy Watkins could be one of the main benefactors if Tyreek Hill misses time in 2019. That said, he is constantly fighting injury and has yet to play a full season since he was a rookie in 2014. Calvin RIdley finished just behind Landry in fantasy points in 2018 thanks mostly to his 10 TDs. There was a lot of inconsistency from Ridley as he only had 5 games with 5 or more catches and had 6 of his 10 TDs in weeks 2-4. Look for more consistency out of the 2nd year player as he has the ability to be a top 15 WR. Aaron Rodgers (barring injury) is always going to be one of the top 5 Fantasy QBs because of his ability to extend plays, run, throw lots of TDs and NOT throw INTS. Rodgers is a solid pick at this point in the draft.
There is a lot of hype around Chris Godwin for 2019. New HC Bruce Arians has already said Godwin could catch 100 passes this season and with Humphries and Jackson switching teams, the opportunity is there. Kenyon Drake finished as RB14 in PPR for 2018 but was 30 points behind RB13 Tarik Cohen. There are questions as to how the new HC and OC are going to want to run the Dolphins. While Drake is talented, there are too many questions for me to want to take that risk at this point in the draft. Jarvis Landry may not be asked to catch 100 passes anymore, but his ability as a slot guy keeps him fantasy relevant as a WR2/3 in PPR. Tarik Cohen has lost a bit of draft stock after the Bears drafted David Montgomery (mentioned in Rd 5). Even with the addition of Montgomery, I find it hard to believe Matt Nagy will forget about Cohen’s dynamic abilities and will still involve him plenty on offense.
Tyler Lockett will be asked to step into Doug Baldwin’s slot receiver role in the Seattle offense. With a bit of a breakout year in 2018, this next season could be even better for Lockett. James White had a great fantasy season in 2018 and was pretty consistent before Sony Michel came back from injury. White is going to have some great games receiving, but when those games happen will be hit or miss. I would wait a couple more rounds to see if he is available later. Deshaun Watson, when healthy, is one of the top 5 fantasy QBs. He has phenomenal WRs and has the ability to gain yards with his feet. Get him in Round 7 and you won’t regret it. Mike Williams has the opportunity for a breakout year with Tyrell Williams moving on to Oakland. Keenan Allen is still the main man, but Williams could provide WR2/3 numbers.
Round Five Avoids: Sammy Watkins, Kenyon Drake, James White
Eric Ebron had an awakening joining the Colts this past season. If you are wanting a highly productive TE without the need to stream every week, Ebron is one of the last guys in this draft I would be going after. Darius Guice is coming off an ACL tear from the preseason in 2018. Though the Redskins claim his recovery is going well, they still have Adrian Peterson and drafted Bryce Love. Guice has a history of leg injuries even from college. He may be worth a risk as we get later in the draft, but for now, I am avoiding this backfield situation. OJ Howard was turning into a beast on offense before his season was cut short with a foot injury. If he stays healthy all of 2019, he could finish as a top 5 TE. Tyler Boyd had a bit of a breakout season in 2018 finishing as WR15 in PPR. His best games came when AJ Green was healthy to pull the top CB in coverage. He should be a solid WR3 with lots of upside for 2019.
DJ Moore finished as the WR43 in 2018, but was the WR24 from Weeks 10-16 and only had one game in that span with less than 7 targets. Look for Moore to have an expanded role in his sophomore season as the WR1 for (a healthy, hopefully) Cam Newton. Miles Sanders has the ability to be the top RB in the Eagles offense. He is a dynamic runner but has fumbling issues. If he can take care of his butter fingers and show the coaches his capabilities, this could be a draft steal. Evan Engram has a chance at returning to his rookie form now that Odell Beckham is gone. He is not my favorite choice of the remaining TEs, but he has the opportunity to put up solid numbers in the Giants’ offense without a real WR threat to speak of. There are so many things going Baker Mayfield’s way in terms of player personnel for the Browns. Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham at WR, an emerging TE in David Njoku, and a group of RBs that include Nick Chubb, Kareem Hunt, and Duke Johnson. That being said, I am not ready to claim Mayfield as the 5th best QB in fantasy drafts. I would rather take Watson, Brees, or Ryan in later rounds.
Hunter Henry should finally be completely healthy for the 2019 season. With Philip Rivers’ tendency to throw to his TEs a lot, Henry has a good outlook to be a top 10 TE in fantasy this season. Matt Ryan is the ultimate Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde in terms of his fantasy production. Since 2012, he has finished QB6, QB15, QB7, QB19, QB2, QB15, and QB3. With an emphasis on upgrading the line in the draft, Ryan should get the protection he needs to get the ball to the many weapons he has on offense and break the back and forth trend in his fantasy production. Alshon Jeffrey is getting older and having a harder time every year staying healthy. Last season, he played in 12 games and finished as the WR29. He is late round depth for rosters now in hopes he can have some returns to glory. Until we know more about his legal situation, Tyreek Hill is an avoid. If he comes through it all unscathed with no league suspension, he is a late 2nd round to early 3rd round pick.
Round Six Avoids: Darius Guice, Baker Mayfield, Tyreek Hill
Lamar Miller faces a lot of inconsistency in the amount of work he gets from week to week. If you want to take a chance on him this late in the draft go ahead, but with D’onta Foreman coming up behind Miller, I will look elsewhere for RB depth. Tevin Coleman is now with his former OC in San Francisco. While he could prove to eventually be “The Guy” for the Niners, there are currently too many bodies in that RB room to have any clue as to who will get how much work. Until we find out more about the RB roles in San Francisco, I am avoiding this backfield. Jared Cook seems to be flying under the TE radar right now. He finished as the TE5 in 2018 on a team with a much less talented QB and offense in general. Cook is the 8th TE off the board in 10 team leagues and should definitely bring back more than his draft value this season. For a man whose career should be close to ending due to his age, Drew Brees continues to perform. As the QB7 in 2018, he may have slowed a little, but much of that has to do with the great running game the Saints have developed with Alvin Kamara.
Allen Robinson finished as WR38 in 2018. He had great seasons in Jacksonville early in his career when the Jags were needing to chuck the ball all over the yard to play catch up. Allen is now on a ball control Bears team that doesn’t need to lean on their QB and WRs in that way. Robby Anderson has shown glimpses of stellar play here and there but cannot seem to string together many back-to-back performances. He is a possible breakout candidate though as the best WR for the Jets in 2019. Darrell Henderson is in a great spot to have some fantasy relevance. After all of the confusion at the end of 2018 with Todd Gurley taking so much time to come back from injury and even splitting time with CJ Anderson once he was healthy, Henderson could find himself getting a lot of playing time in an offense that can put up points in a hurry. Henderson is a great handcuff to Gurley owners as well as players looking to stash future contributors. Vance McDonald may have some big games here and there, but the consistency will not be what you hope for. At this point in the draft, there really are not any TEs that I want on my fantasy team. The Steelers have never been able to consistently get a TE involved in the offense, even when Heath Miller was their long time starter.
Russell Wilson “suffered” from being in an offense that ran more than it passed. With his fewest pass attempts since 2013 Wilson set personal bests in TDs (35), INTs (7), Passer Rating (110.9), and 40+ yd passes (13). He finished as the QB8 and only 2.4 points per game behind QB2 Ben Roethlisberger who threw the ball almost 250 times more (427 to 675). Wilson should be a top 10 QB again. Kareem Hunt could be a good investment if you are willing to wait for 8 weeks to use him. I still believe Nick Chubb is the RB to own in Cleveland, EVEN AFTER Hunt returns. This is a great spot to take a chance on Will Fuller. When he is healthy, he is a deep threat that Watson leans on a lot (sometimes more than Hopkins). This is a good time to take a flier on him. David Njoku finished as the TE9 in PPR for 2018 but there was a lot of inconsistency in his production. With the addition of Odell Beckham to the offense in Cleveland, there may be fewer targets for Njoku.
Round Seven Avoids: Kareem Hunt, Tevin Coleman, Lamar Miller, Allen Robinson
Carson Wentz had a magical season in 2017 before tearing his ACL. He has had difficulty not only replicating that kind of consistent play but also staying healthy and on the field. If you have waited until now to draft a QB, I would rather have a couple of the players a little bit later. N’Keal Harry could have one of the better seasons of the rookie WRs in 2019. With Josh Gordon stepping away from football again and Rob Gronkowski retiring, Harry provides the big-body receiving target Brady needs. Latavius Murray signed with the Saints to take over the vacated spot left my Mark Ingram leaving in free agency. He is okay as a backup but still inconsistent. I would rather draft someone who has a better chance to be explosive in 2019. Rashaad Penny will have a much larger role in the Seahawks’ offense in 2019. During his rookie campaign, Penny got injured in preseason and missed some valuable time to learn the offense and also put on some extra weight. By mid-season, Penny had passed Mike Davis as the team’s #2 RB and broke off many explosive plays. With Carson’s hard nosed running style and tendency to need a week or two to rest injuries, Penny could have a breakout season and take over the lead running role.
Dante Pettis showed the playmaking ability toward the end of the season that made him an early round pick for the Niners in 2018. The additions of Hurd and Samuel create competition for playing time, but Pettis could still find fantasy relevance. Jordan Howard is done in Chicago. With diminishing numbers every year since his rookie season, Howards is starting to look like another Alfred Morris type of player. Howard is worth a pick at this point in the draft on the chance he grabs the lead RB role for the Eagles, but is still late enough in the draft to be willing to drop quickly if he is not producing. DK Metcalf has a lot of questions around him, even with his crazy measurables. He will likely be a great deep threat and even a redzone target for Russell Wilson, however rookie WRs rarely have consistent fantasy production. I would wait to see if he drops a round or two. Mecole Hardman’s value will be tied to Tyreek Hill’s availability for the 2019 season. If Hill gets suspended, Hardman could step into Hill’s role as he is a similar style of player. The rookie may not put up the same kind of numbers as Hill, but could provide plenty of fantasy value.
Unless your league gives massive amounts of points for DSTs you do not need to draft a defense until the last couple rounds. If your league has standard defensive scoring, you can stream defenses all year long. Golden Tate no longer has a QB that knows him, his routes, and his timing. With Tate now in New York and Eli Manning as his QB, it is very difficult to know what kind of production Tate could have in 2019. Jerrick McKinnon is coming off an ACL injury that cost him the entire 2018 season. While McKinnon has shown explosiveness in the past, there are too many people for the Niners right now to make a determination as to who will actually have fantasy relevance in 2019. Royce Freeman received a lot of hype in 2018 but was overshadowed by the breakout year of Phillip Lindsay. With Freeman getting a lot of the work in OTAs while Lindsay recovers from a surgically repaired wrist, Freeman could be set up for a sleeper type of season in 2019. There are question marks around both RBs with the Broncos hiring a new HC & OC, trading for a new QB, and installing a new offense
Round Eight Avoids: Carson Wentz, Chicago DST, DK Metcalf, Jerrick McKinnon
Jared Goff was the QB9 which may feel like a low position with how explosive the Rams’ offense was in 2018. The Rams haven’t lost any weapons for the 2019 season (unless Gurley loses his explosiveness), so look for Goff to put up similar numbers and possibly even improve in 2019 with another year under Sean McVay. There has been a bit of hype around Ronald Jones from the Tampa Bay camp this offseason after a forgettable rookie season. Depending on how my team looks coming into this point in the draft (and how much more news comes out about Jones as we get closer to the season), I may take a flyer on the sophomore RB with a new HC and OC in 2019. Geronimo Allison was on pace for a 76/1156/8 line after the first 4 games of 2018 (that pace would have finished the season as WR13 in PPR) before injury derailed his season. Allison is still young enough to be able to come back from injury and as the WR2 behind Davante Adams, he can provide decent fantasy value if healthy. LeSean McCoy has had trouble the last few years staying healthy enough to play and have fantasy relevance. At this point in his career, he is one to leave on the draft board and look for younger talent to take a chance on.
With Odell Beckham getting traded to the Browns, the Giants gave Sterling Shepard a contract extension and will look to make him their top WR. At this point in the draft, getting the top WR on a team can be beneficial as a backup, even when their QB is Eli Manning. Christian Kirk could benefit from the addition of Kyler Murray to the Cardinals’ offense as Kirk and Murray played together at Texas A&M before Murray transferred to Oklahoma. However, Kirk is coming off a season ending broken foot. He may be worth a flyer this late in the draft as the WR Murray may have the most comfort with. Very few rookie QBs have been extremely productive in fantasy football. While Kyler Murray possesses unmistakable talent and Kliff Kingsbury is installing a “high-flying” offense in Arizona, there are still a number of concerns about Murray and his ability at the NFL level. Emmanuel Sanders is still the best WR in Denver, but he is 32 years old and coming off of a torn achilles tendon. Age and injury are enough to have me avoid Sanders in 2019.
As I stated before, as far as defenses go, you do not need to pick a defense this early. Corey Davis has his value somewhat tied to the health of Marcus Mariota. While Davis finished as the WR26 in PPR for 2018, you have to wonder how much better he could finish with a QB that can stay healthy and on the field. Davis is a WR3/4 in 10 team leagues. Carlos Hyde can be productive when given a lead role with 20+ carries in a game. However, he is the backup to Damien Williams in KC and does not do much in the pass game. I could see one of the undrafted rookies passing for the Chiefs move past him on the depth chart by the time the season starts. Austin Ekeler is a solid player to have in deeper leagues as a ZeroRB target to get later in drafts. In a 12 man league, he is probably going to sit on your bench all season unless Melvin Gordon misses time, but he could provide value as a Bye Week fill in as well.
Larry Fitzgerald had a pretty big drop off in production in 2018 from the previous three years. A lot of that can be attributed to the poor QB play they were getting from Rosen due to a porous offensive line. Fitz still has some game left in him. If you can grab him this late, he is worth the pick. There are still a lot of questions surrounding Cam Newton and his shoulder. When he is healthy, Cam can be a top 5 QB in fantasy. If questions about his shoulder are still not answered by the time of your draft, pass on Cam. Courtland Sutton had an okay rookie season in Denver, but down the stretch of weeks 14-17, was being out targeted by fellow WR DaeSean Hamilton 38-25. With Keenum gone and Flacco now slinging the rock, we have to wait and see who the new QB likes to target more. Austin Hooper finished the 2018 season as the TE6 for PPR. His production does have its highs and lows, but this is a great value pick at this point in the draft.
Marvin Jones was becoming Matthew Stafford’s top target in 2018 once Golden Tate was traded to the Eagles. Unfortunately, Jones has been battling with injuries his entire career which has made it difficult to trust his production. With a new OC in Detroit, I would be willing to take a gamble on Jones this late in the draft, hoping he could produce without having to depend on him.Jameis Winston is on a lot of peoples’ list to have a breakout year in 2019. Combined with Ryan Fitzpatrick, the TB QBs were the overall top fantasy QB in 2018. Though he can be prone to mistakes, look for Winston to surprise and possibly put up Top 10 QB numbers in fantasy under new HC Bruce Arians. The Jags Defense is again a pass. Keep collecting field talent and sleepers and stream DSTs during the season. Ito Smith could provide a solid RB2/3 in the Falcons’ offense behind Devonta Freeman with Tevin Coleman now in San Francisco. Now that he has a year in Steve Sarkesian’s offense, he may be ready to take on a bigger role, especially with the injury history of Freeman in front of him.
Jaylen Samuels performed well after Conner went down in Pittsburgh and was the RB11 in PPR Wks 14-16. He is just a handcuff at this point with the Steelers’ history of only using one workhorse RB. Devin Singletary is behind McCoy and Gore in Buffalo. It is possible he could get playing time if aging veterans falter. Plus, McCoy has been having an increasingly difficult time staying healthy. Dede Westbrook has some sleeper potential with a new QB at the helm for the Jaguars. He had a lot of inconsistency in 2018 due to poor QB play but still finished as the WR28 in PPR. He is worth the late round pick. Philip Rivers seems to have a reputation as a top level QB in fantasy but always seems to finish right around QB10-12. He can be a solid fantasy contributor but due to his lack of running and the use of the run game for the Chargers, Rivers’ upside is somewhat limited. I would rather have picked a QB a little earlier in a 10 team draft.
One more young WR who could be in the right position for a breakout season is James Washington. Although he did not get a ton of work in 2018 with only a 16/217/1 line in 14 games for Pittsburgh, he could become a much larger contributor to the offense with Antonio Brown now traded to the Raiders. I am still waiting on defense and will not pick the Chargers DST yet. Tom Brady has been a staple in fantasy football for years. The past couple years have seen a drop off in his fantasy production. Brady does not have the arm that he used to, the Patriots’ offense has involved a lot more short passes that it had in previous seasons, and the Patriots have been running the ball a lot more. The biggest difference in the past few years, though, is that other teams are passing more and other QBs are scoring more fantasy points because of it. In spite of all this, Brady still has the weapons to be a consistent fantasy contributor. While he’s not going to put up the gaudy numbers he has in the past, he still has the ability to finish as a Top 12 QB. If you have waited to grab a QB, go ahead and take Brady now. Keke Coutee is a dynamic PPR player when healthy, but his injuries and struggle to stay healthy may cause him to go undrafted.
Once again, I am waiting on Defenses until I have to pick one. Big Ben finished as the QB2 in 2018 thanks to heaving the rock around 675 times. I don’t believe it is in the best interest of the Steelers to have Roethlisberger throwing the ball that much again in 2019, especially with their stable of RBs. Let us not forget that Ben is, on average, about 10 fantasy points worse on the road than he is at home. That is not the consistency you want from your QB. TJ Hockenson is a phenomenal talent at TE. That being said, it is a rarity for rookie TEs to become fantasy relevant. While I like Hockenson as a dynasty pick, I would rather use a pick on TE a little earlier in the draft. Nyheim Hines was a very effective PPR RB in the weeks that Marlon Mack missed early in the 2018 season. Once Mack was healthy though, Hines’ production disappeared.
D’Onta Foreman is coming into camp fully healthy in 2019 after playing in only one game last season due to a torn achilles late in 2017. Lamar Miller has been just good enough to barely be a top 25 RB in fantasy. If given the chance and if he can stay healthy, Foreman could put up the same kind of numbers that Miller has lately. Parris Campbell has been getting some hype in Colts camp. His HC and OC, who were in San Diego in 2013, want to use him in the same ways Keenan Allen was utilized in his rookie year when he finished with 71/1046/8. He could be a late round gem in 2019. I think Tyrell Williams is being overlooked in fantasy drafts this season. Though his only 1,000 yd receiving season was in 2016 when Keenan Allen tore his ACL in week one, Williams could be a solid WR opposite Antonio Brown in Oakland. He is best at running deep routes, but if given enough target-share, he could come close to another 1,000 yd season. Jimmy Garoppolo is another player coming off an ACL tear. He showed a ton of promise at the end of 2017, leading the Niners to 5 straight wins to end the season. If Garoppolo can stay healthy, he could put up solid numbers in Kyle Shanahan’s offense.
Depending on the scoring settings for your league, this could be a good time to go ahead and draft a defense. Baltimore is typically a solid defense to own in fantasy. DeSean Jackson is a weekly boom-or-bust candidate as far as fantasy football is concerned. He started off HOT in 2018 with a solid deep-ball connection with gun-slinger Ryan Fitzpatrick in Tampa Bay. There is some current hype that he and Carson Wentz are having great success in OTAs to this point. He could be a guy to take a shot on and try to trade if he starts off with a bang. Peyton Barber ended up being the starting RB in Tampa in 2018 but looks like he has been passed over for Ronald Jones with the new coaching staff in town. If you want a RB prospect at this point in the draft, go with someone who has a better chance of being able to take advantage of a starting opportunity. Devin Funchess could provide a redzone role for Luck as he is another big body like Ebron and Doyle. He has had some issues with drops throughout his career (including in college) and has lacked consistency. Maybe a move to Indy will provide a better QB situation, which might help to improve his fantasy value.
Adrian Peterson benefited from Darius Guice going down in the preseason with a season ending ACL tear and finished as the RB17 in PPR. With Guice back and the Redskins drafting Bryce Love, Peterson may have a difficult time replicating his 2018 production. Once Josh Allen was healthy, he was the third best QB from weeks 12-16 in QB points per game (behind Mahomes and Watson) thanks mostly to his running ability. If the second year QB can stay healthy all season, he has the ability and potential to finish near the top 10 in QB fantasy points. Daesean Hamilton out targeted fellow rookie WR Courtland Sutton 38-25 in weeks 14-17 of the 2018 season. Even with a new QB, HC, and OC, Hamilton is worth a late round flier as a possible sleeper pick, especially in PPR formats. Cleveland seems to have invested a little more this offseason in its offense than defense. At this point in the draft, if one of the better defenses has not fallen to you, wait until the last possible second to take a defense and stream them throughout the season.
Dion Lewis may get forgotten in the new Titans’ offense that is supposed to rely on Derrick Henry to carry the load. Lewis has better pass catching ability and could help Mariota on passing downs, but all talk out of Nashville is that this is going to be run with the Henry train. I think Lewis could still be worth a stash as I am not as big of a believer in Henry and his ability to be consistent. Curtis Samuel could possibly be a beneficiary of Devin Funchess no longer being with Carolina, but he will still be fighting for targets with McCaffrey, Moore, and Olsen. Kirk Cousins finished as the QB12 in 2018, but the Vikings are supposedly moving to a more run-centric offense. This may not provide as many opportunities for Cousins to throw the ball around to his talented receivers. However, it could also open opportunities for Diggs, Thielen, Rudolph and Smith to get open more often for big gains. At this point in Delanie Walker’s career, he is a streaming option only in fantasy. While he will still be used in the Titan’s offense as Mariota’s security blanket, the veteran TE will be 35 by the time the season starts with his best years behind him.
*At this point in the draft, you are looking for a possible sleeper who could jump out and have a surprise year. ADP does not really matter at this point since you are looking for handcuffs and potential sleepers. Below are some players I will be keeping my eye on later on in drafts as potential sleeper picks.
Anthony Miller – Miller led CHI in TD receptions in 2018 and could breakout with Yds & Recs in second year
CJ Anderson – The Lions have stated Kerryon is not 3 down guy, so Anderson could have a big role in new offensive scheme
Justice Hill – Hill is in a run heavy scheme in Baltimore with veterans who are either soon to be 30 years old (Ingram), a strictly downhill runner (Edwards), or a versatile player that seems so injury prone they can’t stay on the field (Dixon)
Alexander Mattison – The Vikings want to be run heavy. Cook already has torn an ACL and Mattison could find himself in a good position for lots of playing time.
Noah Fant – Though rookie TEs like Fant rarely provide consistent fantasy production, new Broncos QB Flacco likes depending on his TEs as security blankets in the pass game.
Matt LaCosse – LaCosse now finds himself at the top of the Patriots’ depth chart at TE with the suspension of Watson and release of Seferian-Jenkins.
Ryquell Armstead – A dynamic pass catcher out of the backfield, Armstead takes over the Yeldon role in the Jaguars’ offense. Fournette’s susceptibility to injury could provide extra opportunities.
Lamar Jackson – Jackson’s running ability helped him to QB9 numbers from weeks 11-16 in 2018.
DeVante Parker – Could the new coaching staff finally allow Parker to show his talent on a consistent basis? Indications so far in preseason workouts say, “Maybe”
Darwin Thompson – Damien Williams has never been a full time starting RB for a full season. Thompson has the opportunity to be a fantasy sleeper if Williams falters or gets injured.
Rounds 14 & 15
Typically, you would choose your defense and kicker in the last two rounds. DO NOT FEEL TIED TO THAT IDEA, unless your league requires you have every roster position filled in the draft (If that is the case, you need to leave that league. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life!). If you are not bound by league rules to pick a defense and kicker, keep picking potential sleepers. There is always potential for injuries and such that would open doors for unexpected players to have more prominent roles. David Johnson (2015), Alvin Kamara (2017), Patrick Mahomes (2018), and Deshaun Watson (2017) are just a few players who have possibly been undrafted or were taken as late round sleepers over the past few years. All of them turned out to be huge fantasy players in those seasons.
With standard kicking and DST scoring, there is no need to pick those positions until you absolutely have to and then stream those positions throughout the rest of the season.