2019 Fantasy Football Mock Draft- Updated: Tuesday, February 5th
With Super Bowl LIII and the 2018 NFL season behind us, it's time to look ahead to the 2019 NFL season and how the early rounds of a fantasy football draft could play out.
Before you're drafting teams for real, there is obviously plenty that will impact the fantasy outlooks of players -- NFL free agency in March, the NFL Draft in April, injuries and/or holdouts over the offseason, etc.
Taking that into consideration, I thought it'd be fun to run through a back-of-the-napkin exercise to map out how the first three rounds of a mock draft would play out if I were the GM for all 12 teams.
[Note: This mock draft uses half-point per reception scoring.]
Round 11.01 - Team 1: Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Despite insisting that he's healthy, there is no chance that Gurley wasn't limited by his knee given his inexplicably-low usage when the games mattered most. That said, he is as good as it gets when healthy. Only 24 years old (turns 25 in August), the versatile back is the focal point of one of the league's most explosive and innovative offenses. Leading the NFL in rushing scores in each of the past two seasons, Gurley has scored 40 total touchdowns -- 30 rushing and 10 receiving -- and racked up 3,924 yards from scrimmage since 2017.
1.02 - Team 2: Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
The second pick in the (real) 2018 NFL Draft, Barkley is the second pick here but there isn't much of a dropoff, if any, from Gurley. In 2018, the rookie led the NFL in YFS (2,028), scored 15 total touchdowns and had a team-high 91 receptions. That said, what gives Gurley the edge over Barkley is the overall offensive potency. With Eli Manning under center in 2018, the Giants were middle of the pack -- 17th in total offense and 16th in scoring offense.
- MORE: Will the Giants draft a QB in 2019 NFL Draft
1.03 - Team 3: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Not only does Elliott have two rushing titles in three seasons, but he has led the NFL in rushing yards per game every year since being a top-four selection by the Cowboys in 2016. Not only has he averaged 21.7 carries per game in his young career, he was much more involved as a receiver in 2018 -- 77 receptions on 95 targets.
1.04 - Team 4: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
If this were a full PPR mock (as opposed to half-PPR scoring), he would be at least one spot higher than this. Breaking Matt Forte's single-season receptions record for a running back, McCaffrey followed up his 80-catch rookie campaign with 107 receptions in 2018. In 2018, he nearly reached the 2,000-YFS mark (1,965) and scored 13 total touchdowns.
1.05 - Team 5: Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints
The second-year back saw a significant bump in workload from his rookie season, but he was much more involved in the first four weeks (with Mark Ingram suspended) than the final 12 weeks. Kamara averaged 22.75 touches per game (Weeks 1 to 4) vs. 16.73 (Weeks 5 to 17). In full-PPR scoring formats, he was actually the weekly RB1 in three of the first four weeks of the season. With Ingram set to become an unrestricted free agent, Kamara has legitimate RB1 upside, especially if Ingram signs elsewhere.
1.06 - Team 6: Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
Setting a career high in yards per carry (5.1), Gordon also extended his streak with 12-plus touchdowns to three seasons. That's the good news. The bad news is that MG3 has now missed multiple games in three of his four NFL seasons. It would make sense for this team to pair Gordon with Austin Ekeler, who has stand-alone value even when MG3 is healthy.
1.07 - Team 7: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
Posting career highs in receptions (115) and yards (1,572), Hopkins now has at least 95 catches, 1,375 yards and double-digit touchdowns in three of the past four years including both seasons with Deshaun Watson under center. While Nuk is a safer bet than any of the next tier of running backs, I'd still be tempted to draft my next-ranked running back here given the scarcity of workhorse running backs.
1.08 - Team 8: James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Filling in more than admirably for Le'Veon Bell, Conner is a bonafide first-rounder in 2019 fantasy drafts depending on how the Steelers address the position in free agency and the NFL Draft. Less productive and missing some time in the second half of the season, he was as good as it gets in the first eight games. With four games of 100-plus rushing yards and multiple touchdowns, Conner accounted for 1,085 YFS, 38 receptions and 10 touchdowns in the first eight games of the season.
1.09 - Team 9: Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Mixon has missed multiple games in both of his seasons, but he rushed for 1,168 yards (4.9 YPC) and eight touchdowns in his second season. Mixon added 43/296/1 receiving as well. Mixon closed the season strong with 100-plus rushing yards in three of four games.
1.10 - Team 10: Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
The obvious concern with Jones is the lack of touchdowns -- eight or fewer every year except 2012. Given his combination of size and speed and the overall production of the offense, however, that shouldn't be the case and the good news is it wasn't down the stretch -- all eight of his touchdowns came in the final nine games. With a career-best 10 100-yard games, Jones had 113 catches for 1,677 yards and now has 1,400-plus yards in five consecutive seasons.
1.11 - Team 11: Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
Many may take Adams (or Michael Thomas, or Antonio Brown, or Odell Beckham) ahead of Jones and an argument could be made for all of them as the next receiver off the board here as well. Unlike Jones, Adams is a red zone machine with double-digit scores in each of the past three seasons and he set career highs across the board last year -- 111 receptions, 1,386 yards and 13 touchdowns. And it has never a bad thing to be the clear-cut No. 1 receiver in an Aaron Rodgers-led offense.
1.12 - Team 12: Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
Thomas has built upon his production each season -- 92/1,137/9 (2016), 104/1,245/5 (2017) and 125/1,405/9 (2018). Even though he ranked 11th in targets (147), his 125 catches led the league (Zach Ertz was second with 116). While he's yet to score double-digit touchdowns in any season, the good news is that only Hopkins (15) had more targets than Thomas (14) from inside the 10-yard line last season.
ROUND 22.01 - Team 12: Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers(?)
Sitting out all of 2018, it's unclear where Bell will play in 2019. Presumably, it won't be in Pittsburgh, however. Perhaps the rest will do him well after coming off a 406-touch season in 2017, but availability concerns are real as he has now missed three-plus games in four of six seasons due to injury, suspension or sitting out. Averaging 2,063 YFS, 11 TDs and 81 catches per 16 games over his career, Bell has the potential to be the top-scoring fantasy running back even if he lands in a situation with a less-talented line and less-potent offense.
2.02 - Team 11: David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
In 2016, Johnson racked up a league-high 2,118 YFS and 20 TDs. That feels like so long ago. DJ has the skill set to be a 1,000/1,000 guy, which has been his goal in each of the past two seasons, but the Cardinals had the league's worst offense in 2018. Assuming that the offense is better (it can't be much worse) in 2019, Johnson could outperform this draft slot.
2.03 - Team 10: Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Perhaps this is too aggressive of a spot for Cook after a disappointing season returning from his torn ACL. On a positive note, he'll be another year removed from the injury and he closed the season by exceeding 100 scrimmage yards in two of his final three games with the exception being against the Bears stingy defense. And adding Gary Kubiak to the offensive staff could bode well for Cook's 2019 production.
2.04 - Team 9: Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers (?)
Even if Brown "hasn't close the door on returning," it seems more likely than not that he plays his 2019 home games somewhere other than Pittsburgh. Brown has a string of six consecutive 100/1,200 seasons and he has scored double-digit touchdowns in four of the past five seasons including a league-high 15 receiving scores in 2018.
2.05 - Team 8: Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants
There's no denying the talent, but OBJ has now missed at least four games in three of his first five NFL seasons. Even though Eli Manning is clearly on decline, Beckham still managed 100 yards and/or a touchdown in eight of his 12 games in 2018.
2.06 - Team 7: Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns
If this mock awarded no points per reception, Chubb would be selected several spots higher than this. Before Carlos Hyde was traded to Jacksonville, Hyde was under-utilized but he had 18-plus carries in seven of the final 10 games of the season. Over that same 10-game stretch, however, Chubb averaged just two catches per game.
2.07 - Team 6: Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs had the top-scoring fantasy QB (Patrick Mahomes), WR (Hill) and TE (Travis Kelce). So, in other words, the explosive wideout could certainly outperform his draft slot even if his MVP-winning quarterback doesn't throw 50 touchdowns again. A big play waiting to happen, Hill was the top-scoring fantasy wide receiver in five different weeks.
2.08 - Team 5: Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
Holding the single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end for a very short time, Kelce had one of the best seasons for a tight end ever with 103 catches for 1,336 yards and 10 touchdowns. At a position as top-heavy as tight end with three elite options, you could argue that this is too low for Kelce.
2.09 - Team 4: Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Improving in each of the past three seasons, Thielen set career highs across the board -- 113 catches for 1,373 yards and nine touchdowns. Dominant in the fantasy regular season (Weeks 1 to 13), Thielen had 100-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 11 of 12 games. Disappointing owners in the fantasy playoffs, however, Thielen totaled 15 catches for just 207 scoreless yards in the final four games of the season.
2.10 - Team 3: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
If Brown plays elsewhere in 2019, Smith-Schuster could certainly benefit from more targets although it also helps that AB takes much of the defensive attention away from him. Nearly doubling his receptions in his second season, Smith-Schuster finished with 111 catches for 1,426 yards and seven touchdowns.
2.11 - Team 2: Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys
The change of scenery couldn't have worked much better for Cooper. Reaching the 1,000-yard mark for the third time in his young career, Cooper had some massive games -- 8/180/2 (Week 12) and 10/217/3 (Week 14) -- for the Cowboys. The weekly upside is sky high and there should be more consistency with a full offseason to develop chemistry with Dak Prescott.
2.12 - Team 1: Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
Solid but not spectacular, Allen has now played consecutive full seasons even though his production dipped to 97/1,196/6 from 102/1,393/6. Assuming another year of good health, fantasy owners can expect consistent weekly production even if the upside isn't as high as most of the other receivers taken in the first two rounds of this mock.
ROUND 33.01 - Team 1: Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers
The discrepancy between talent and workload amongst Green Bay's running backs had often frustrated fantasy owners over the past two seasons. Injuries and suspensions have limited Jones to just 12 games in each of his first two seasons, but he's a legit top-10 back when he's on the field. Not only has Jones averaged 5.5 yards per carry in both seasons, but he's scored 13 touchdowns on just shy of 250 total career touches.
3.02 - Team 2: Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Can Fournette put a disappointing 2018 behind him? Reportedly, Fournette has "clear[ed] the air" with Tom Coughlin & Co., but would it be a surprise if he's on a different roster in September? Durability was a concern with Fournette as a prospect and he's now played just 21 games over two NFL seasons. That said, I'd certainly be willing to roll the dice early in Round 3.
3.03 - Team 3: A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
Off to a great start (45/687/6 through Week 8), Green played less than one half the rest of the season (Week 13). Green (toe) should be ready for the start of the season and if he can stay healthy, he's a bargain as the WR12 in this mock. That said, Green has missed at least three games of three of the past five seasons.
3.04 - Team 4: Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
Feast or famine. Henry's fantasy owners got virtually nothing through Week 13 -- season high to that point was 58 rushing yards. If they made the playoffs, how many of his fantasy owners started him in Week 14 (17/238/4 rushing vs. the Jags)? The good news is he followed up that monster performance with 33/170/2 (in Week 15) and 21/84/1 (Week 16), respectively. Which version of Henry will we get in 2019?
3.05 - Team 5: Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Despite rotating between Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick, Evans and the Bucs offense still put up prolific numbers. The 6-foot-5 wideout had 85-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 11 of 16 games in 2018. Evans has now begun his career with five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and he always has double-digit touchdown upside.
3.06 - Team 6: Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots
Missing three regular-season games, Michel had a handful of big games (four) with 100-plus rushing yards and a score or two through December. In the playoffs, however, he was at his most productive with 24/129/3, 29/113/2 and 18/94/1, respectively. If his health cooperates, Michel should be able to parly his postseason success into expanded 2019 output.
3.07 - Team 7: Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
Admittedly, this is probably too low for Ertz and it's unlikely that he slips this far. Not only he extend his 70/800 streak to four seasons, but Ertz shattered his previous career highs with 116 catches and 1,163 yards while tying his touchdown career high (eight).
3.08 - Team 8: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
The return of a healthy Andrew Luck, 2018 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, helped Hilton edge out his previous career high in YPG (90.7). In the previous season that Luck played (2016), Hilton led the league in receiving yards (1,448).
3.09 - Team 9: Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos
As expected, a rookie (albeit a different one than most expected) led the Broncos backfield in rushing and fantasy production. Lindsay became the first-ever UDFA running back to earn a Pro Bowl appearance as a rookie. Over 15 games, Lindsay rushed for 1,037 yards (5.4 YPC), added 35 catches for 241 yards and scored a total of 10 touchdowns.
3.10 - Team 10: Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions
With the traits to be a dominant receiver, Golladay started the season strong -- 27/428/3 in his first five games of the season. Posted a 1,000-yard season as a sophomore, 2019 should be even better for the 6-foot-4 wideout.
3.11 - Team 11: Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts
Playing only one game through Week 5, Mack rushed for 908 yards (4.7 YPC) and nine touchdowns including five over the final four games of the season. Assuming the Colts don't add a free agent like Le'Veon Bell, who has his eyes on the Colts, Mack is solid RB2 heading into 2019.
3.12 - Team 12: Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Diggs set a career high in receptions (102), yards (1,021) and touchdowns (nine). Missing multiple games in each of his first three seasons, perhaps it was even more important that he also set a career high in games (15).
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