2019 Fantasy Football Positional Overview
Welcome to my 2019 fantasy football positional overview! Who else is ready to see friends they haven’t seen since last years draft, or have something to brag about after you beat your coworker after a week of smack talk? And while teams are starting to prepare for their first preseason game, it’s time for us to start our own preparations for the upcoming season. Who will be this year’s James Conner? Can Patrick Mahomes replicate his 2018 numbers? Will Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon report to their respective teams? How will each position pan out this year? I’ll release rankings for each position and go into top players at each position more in depth, but this is more of a general overview of each position and how I would approach each position in the draft.
Quarterback – As deep as ever
A few different QBs have fell out of the elite or weekly starter range among their counterparts last year, but more entered that conversation than had left. Cam Newton and Carson Wentz are right on the outside of this range looking in, and based on how he played in the regular season, Tom Brady isn’t on this list anymore. I’m not saying that by the end of the year that these guys can’t be regular fantasy starters again, but going into the season, they aren’t.
Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield, and Jared Goff made the jump and became will enter the year as weekly starters. Deshaun Watson proved that his rookie year wasn’t a fluke, and Andrew Luck reemerged after missing the last two years.
There are four QBs this year that are ahead of the rest (Mahomes, Luck, Aaron Rodgers, and Watson) that I would take ahead of everyone else. In a vacuum, I’d take Mahomes in the fourth round, and the other three in the fifth round. But at that point, they will most likely be gone. So, like most years, I’m gonna wait on my QB this year (barring the next tier of QBs falling). I’ll build up my running back and wide receiver core and get a Phillip Rivers or Ben Roethlisberger in the later rounds.
Running back – Load up early and often
The running back position is in much worse shape now than it was at the end of last year. That can be attributed to Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon hold outs, Kareem Hunt signing in Cleveland, and Todd Gurley still having question marks around his health and work load for this year.
In a perfect world, I’d get a top four pick, so I could take one of the big four running backs. Those four are Elliott (for now, let’s see how his holdout plays out), Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, and Alvin Kamara. That’s the order I have them in, but I won’t object if anyone has a different order. After those four, the next handful of running backs all have question marks surrounding them, but have enough upside to end up as an RB one by the end of the year.
Running back is the most important position in fantasy. It’s the scarcest position, and having an average running back core will hurt you more than if you have an average receiving core or quarterback or tight end. Fantasy success often starts and ends with the running back position. Put yourself in a good position and focus on building up your running back core early on in the draft.
Wide receiver – Interchangeable
Like the last few years, after the first 20 or so receivers, you can put the next 40 or so receivers in any order. Outside of the elite options at the position, nearly all the receivers have the same ceiling and floor as each other. One week, they could break off a long TD and end up as a WR one for the week, but then the following week only get a few targets and end up being an average flex long shot that didn’t pan out.
Some of the elite options at receiver are either on a new team or have a new situation. Odell Beckham Jr. finally has a competent quarterback throwing him the ball now in the form of Baker Mayfield. Antonio Brown’s relationship with the Steelers reached an impasse and he got shipped out west to Oakland were he’ll now try to resurrect Derek Carr’s career. And speaking of the Steelers, JuJu Smith-Schuster is now the main guy in Pittsburgh after putting up solid numbers as the second option for the last two years.
While I mentioned earlier that you should load up on running backs, don’t forget about your receiving core. If you can, get an elite receiver and another who can be a serviceable #2. Then load up on guys who you could start for a week if they have a favorable matchup.
Tight end – Weekly gamble
Tight end has always been a tough position. More so than any other, you need a TD to be worth the start, outside of the small handful of elite tight ends. They only get a handful of catches each week, and thus only produce a handful of yards (unless they break off a long reception).
But tight end isn’t a total wasteland. There are a few options that can be difference makers each week. While Gronk did retire, Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz are still around–49ers tight end George Kittle emerged as an elite option a season ago. And not to mention, Hunter Henry will be back after missing all of last season. Those four will give you a weekly advantage at TE over anyone else (well, anyone not names Kelce or Ertz or Kittle or Henry).
Kelce and Ertz will probably go somewhere in the third or fourth rounds in most leagues. Depending on what you already have or what’s available, taking one of those two that high might not be a bad idea. Nearly every other tight end needs a TD to be worth the start, so locking up an elite tight end versus your second receiver or running back could be worth it.