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Early Look Ahead to the 2019 Fantasy Football Season

2019 Look Ahead
Nick Chubb Photo Credit : Erik Drost

Week 17 in the NFL Season is the worst time of the year for season-long Fantasy Football. It is the furthest point from drafts and action that matters. So what better way than to navigate the doldrums than to look ahead to 2019!

Fantasy Football in 2018 saw a stud group of elite running backs solidify themselves as the new upper tier in the game. However, I would not say that the position in general is back to a deep spot. I have five running backs at the top of my look ahead rankings, but just two more in the next 11 spots.

In fact, I only have 19 total running backs in my look ahead at the Top 50. I think in our look ahead to 2019, we have to realize that in 2018, Damian Williams, Jaylen Samuels, C.J. Anderson and Elijah McGuire were the ones leading teams to championships. Every year key running backs get hurt and the difference between them and wide receivers is there is usually an obvious, guaranteed guy that’s taking over. I think the single-RB theory will be the prevalent strategy for those at the top of drafts as we look ahead to 2019.

Obviously this is not written in stone. Between the draft, free agency, injuries in the playoffs/offseason, coaching changes, etc., this list will be a living, breathing document. For that reason, I am focusing on the look ahead at just the Top 25 overall players,  but giving my best 50.

These look ahead rankings are based on normal Points Per Reception scoring with the standard 1QB/2RB/2WR/1FLEX/1TE roster setup.  All statistics are through Week 16.

2019 Look Ahead Fantasy Football Rankings

  1. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

Unless he sits AND Barkely goes off this week, McCaffrey has the RB1 overall locked up. In PPR formats it is a no-brainer to me after then Panther caught 106 passes this season for 845 yards. His receiving stats alone would make him the WR13. The scary thing to think about is that Cam Newton was hampered by a shoulder injury all year that held this offense back.

  1. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

Yeah, give me the rookie over Gurley at the two spot. Saquon will probably never have the touchdown opportunities that Gurley gets, but he has caught 28 more passes this year. I could definitely see him reaching the century mark as check-down-Eli gets a year older.

  1. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

At some point we do have to factor in how much he truly does not care about your Fantasy team. Twice he gave up touchdowns to shorten the game and then was cleared to play in Week 16 yet was inactive. He is still without a doubt a top pick but there are some concerns hence the drop to third.

  1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

The league’s leading rusher also had the fifth most catches at the position. Zeke would be the top pick in most years but it just goes to show you the strength at the top of the running back position right now. If Travis Frederick can come back healthy then I can see bumping Zeke up to the Top 2.

  1. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

Kamara picked up right where he left on from his rookie season. People said his touchdown rate was unsustainable and while it did drop, he still found pay-dirt 18 times on just 275 touches. For reference, Elliott has only scored nine times on 381 touches.

  1. Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

I suspect that there will be a groundswell to put one of the next four receivers as the top player at the position next season. I think that is just asinine. Brown has had a “down” year, yet he is ninth in yards, fifth in receptions, second in points and first in touchdowns at the position. He is still the safest pick in the draft.

  1. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

Nuk has somehow had a quiet season in which he is second in the NFL in receiving yards and third in receiving touchdowns. He now has at least 96 catches for 1,378 yards and 11 touchdowns in three of the last four season. (Go look at the quarterbacks in the other year, woof.)

  1. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

Adams has simply been crushing it this season as the WR1. He has at least 100 yards or a touchdown in every game but one, and that week he had eight catches for 81 yards. The reason I have him behind the top two receivers still is that I think Green Bay upgrades their pass catchers in the off season, while the other two groups are set.

  1. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

Thomas is a little more boom-or-bust than the first three guys. He had three games in which he did not score more than nine Fantasy Points. The first three wide-outs had just one of those games between the three of them.

  1. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

If you think this is too high then consider this: if you extrapolate just Chubb’s starts over the whole season, he would be RB6 right now. This also all happened with a rookie quarterback, a head coaching change, and him not being completely integrated in the passing game yet. His floor is a Top-10 running back, but his ceiling is in the elite group already mentioned.

    1. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

    2. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

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These two guys put up elite statistics this year and it was only Pat Mahomes’ first as the starter. While I don’t expect him to get better, I feel like this is the range that he will produce. If you think this is too high for a tight end, realize that Kelce is the 13th-highest FLEX player overall. The value-based drafting in me sees that he has out-scored the TE12 by almost 160 Fantasy Points, while the receivers and running backs available are about 100 points better than replacement.

  1. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

He is finally finding the end zone and leading the league in receiving yards. However, I think he has a much lower floor than the previous receivers due to his weirdly low touchdown percentage and always being nicked up.

  1. Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Thielen came back down to earth later in the season. After going six straight weeks with more than 20 Fantasy Points, he has just a single outing with that many in the last seven games. His floor is still extremely high though, and certainly worthy of a high second-round pick.

  1. James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Of every player mentioned so far, Conner’s stock is the most volatile. I think I have him near his ceiling right here, but I am curious as to how Pittsburgh handles its backfield going forward with how good Jaylen Samuels looked.

  1. Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

Ertz is right there with Kelce and is definitely worth a Round 2 pick. I drop him a few spots because I suddenly don’t like the quarterback situation in Philly. As in, are they sure that Wentz is the better option for the team than Foles?

  1. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

Even on a dreadfully crappy team and missing two games, Mixon is still RB10 right now.

  1. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

Johnson has been labeled a “bust” this year… but is RB9. His rushing numbers are atrocious with just two games over 71 yards. However I do think the Cardinals will be better next year in general and DJ showed his floor is still an RB1.

  1. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants

This is strictly quarterback situation. If the Giants can somehow upgrade the position, then OBJ can go back above Hill.

  1. Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys

I was more unsure of where to put Cooper than anyone else in the Top 30. His numbers as a Cowboy would put him right around WR5 overall. However, he has disappeared the past couple of games due to Dak Prescott’s inability to be good at throwing a football.

  1. Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

I am probably lower than Gordon than the majority of experts. I just see a guy who will miss at least a few games almost every year in a backfield that looks like it will be split more due to Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson showing their abilities.

  1. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

All hail Pat, thrower of rockets. I was in an industry mock draft and was mocked myself for taking Kelce in the fourth round and Pat later. I was told, “this isn’t college and he won’t be good this year.” Sometimes it feels really good to be right. #WreckEm

  1. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

JuJu has three games with more than 30 Fantasy Points and four games with less than eleven. *shoulder shrug emoji*

  1. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

Cook is averaging nearly 20 PPR Points a game since coming back healthy. In every game he started and finished, he put up at least 12 Fantasy Points. I am already seeing a world in which he is the steal of the draft next year in the late third or early fourth round with this look ahead.

  1. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

  2. Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions

I’ll tell you what, I really want to switch these two around. I love Golladay’s trajectory.

  1. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

Finally, Jones is freed as the lead back!

  1. LeVeon Bell, RB, Free Agent

Complete TBD on where he ends up. Honestly, I don’t see a situation in which he breaks into the Top 20 though.

  1. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

  2. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

The two biggest “if they stay healthy” guys in my Top 50.

  1. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

My preseason “bust” prediction might seem wrong, just think about how he has as many 20-point games in the last 12 games as he did in his first three.

  1. Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings

  2. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions

  3. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

  4. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

All three of these guys are the epitome of why Single-RB will be the best way to go. I would not want any one of these three as my RB1, and I would much rather have the pass-catchers just after due to the variance in these backs.

  1. Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams

  2. Brandin Cooks, WR, Los Angeles Rams

  3. Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears

Fun fact: Tarik Cohen will end the year as an RB1 in 12-team leagues. Jordan Howard will be an RB3.

  1. Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks

  2. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

  3. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos

  4. Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts

  5. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks

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    Baldwin has showed how good he can still be when healthy. He will be a steal again next season.

  6. Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns

  7. Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots

  8. Eric Ebron, TE, Indianapolis Colts

  9. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals

  10. Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots

  11. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

  12. Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts

The gap between Mahomes and these two is a chasm at this point.


Thanks for reading my look ahead to the 2019 Fantasy Football draft! Good luck with your DFS in the playoffs!

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Michael Tomlin

Michael Tomlin is an ESPY-nominated, former college football player who stays associated with the game through Fantasy Sports. He has been writing his personal blog, Dirkland.blogspot.com, for three years and it focuses on Fantasy Sports, as well as handicapping. He was born and raised in the DFW Metroplex, and he follows all of the Dallas teams, along with Texas Tech athletics and Manchester City F.C.
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