Mike Fanelli | January 8th, 2019
The 2019 NFL season is still several months away but it’s never too early to get ready the fantasy season. With free agency, trades and the NFL draft still to come, many of these players’ fantasy value will change for the upcoming season. In a four-part series, I take a shot in the dark and rank the top quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends for 2019 redraft leagues.
Players are ranked with where they finished at their position last season in PPR and four-point passing touchdown scoring.
The Top 12:
- Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (1st): This shouldn’t be a surprise, Mahomes was the highest scoring player in fantasy in 2018 and it wasn’t even close. Mahomes scored 31.3 more fantasy points than Saquon Barkley; the second highest scoring player. Mahomes threw for 50 touchdowns this season, tied for second best in NFL history, and the Chiefs offense should be just as explosive next season.
- Aaron Rodgers, Packers (6th): Despite playing with a knee injury all season long and a lack of proven playmakers, Rodgers still finished as a top-six quarterback. Hopefully, the Packers attack the offseason aggressively and add at least two new weapons for Rodgers. If not for Patrick Mahomes’ historic season, Rodgers would likely still be the top quarterback drafted in 2019.
- Andrew Luck, Colts (5th): Remember when people were scared off by Luck’s shoulder? Yeah, those people were idiots. The only quarterback to throw for more touchdowns this season was Patrick Mahomes and clearly, Luck has a lot less firepower to throw to. However, the Colts are projected to have over $120 million dollars in cap space according to over the cap this offseason. Hopefully, they use some of that money on a number two wide receiver to pair with T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron.
- Deshaun Watson, Texans (4th): While Watson did regress from the hot pace he was on in 2017, he still had a great fantasy season (just as I predicted) in 2018. Watson scored at least 18 fantasy points in 11 games this season. The Texans will have some cap space to work with this offseason and if they can give Watson a half decent offensive line, he will be even better next season.
- Jared Goff, Rams (7th): Goff got off to a hot start this season then limped into the fantasy playoffs. However, with the best wide receiver trio in the league and the best running back, Goff has all the weapons needed to be a top-five quarterback in 2019. While the Rams don’t have a lot of cap space or draft picks to improve the team this offseason, another year under Sean McVay will only make Goff better in 2019.
- Carson Wentz, Eagles (23rd): I’m calling it right here, right now; Wentz will be next year’s version of Andrew Luck. Everyone was crazy about Wentz prior to his ACL injury and a year later everyone has jumped ship. Once Wentz has put another offseason behind the ACL injury, he will rebound to his 2017 season form. Wentz is also my favorite sneaky dynasty startup pick at quarterback.
- Matt Ryan, Falcons (2nd): Ryan might have been one of my biggest blunders entering the 2018 season. I never saw Ryan finishing as a top-five quarterback, let alone a top two guy. However, Julio Jones had one of the best seasons of his career, Calvin Ridley looks like a good number two wide receiver and Austin Hooper really stepped up his game in 2018. The only downside to Ryan in 2019 is the Falcons’ defense should be healthier next season, limiting Ryan’s shootout games.
- Drew Brees, Saints (8th): The fantasy playoffs were really tough for Brees’ owners as he averaged just 12.3 fantasy points per game. Brees was hot to start the season but cooled off down the stretch, throwing just three touchdowns over his last four games of the season. The offseason will be interesting for the Saints as Mark Ingram is a free agent and at 29 years old, they may decide it’s time to move on. As long as he has Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, Brees is a top 10 quarterback.
- Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (3rd): Any idea who lead the league in passing attempts, completions and passing yards? Not Patrick Mahomes, but Big Ben. No Le’Veon Bell forced the Steelers to be the highest passing team in the league. Bell won’t be a Steeler in 2019 and unless Antonio Brown is traded, Roethlisberger is a lock to finish as a top 10 quarterback next season.
- Philip Rivers, Chargers (11th): Old man Rivers has never been an elite fantasy quarterback, but he has consistently been a low-end QB1 year in and year out. Rivers has finished as a top 12 quarterback in five of the last six seasons (the one exception was the year Keenan Allen tore his ACL in week one). While Rivers just recently turned 37 years old, I will still be happy to draft him in the later rounds in 2019.
- Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (N/A): This might be the first big surprise on the list. Garoppolo wasn’t playing that great prior to tearing his ACL in week three; averaging just 16 points per game. However, I expect the 49ers to be aggressive this offseason and add pieces around Garoppolo. The 49ers can get out of Garoppolo’s contract after the 2019 season, adding a little more pressure on him to show he’s worth that big deal.
- Tom Brady, Patriots (14th): To me, Brady is clearly the G.O.A.T but I’m very concerned about his fantasy value for 2019. On top of him struggling during the back third of the season every year, the Patriots haven’t given the soon to be 42-year-old quarterback enough weapons. Rob Gronkowski may retire after the season and Julian Edelman isn’t a number one wide receiver. Brady needs some new weapons or he will drop out of my top 15 quarterbacks for next season.
- Russell Wilson, Seahawks (9th): In 2017, Wilson was the top scoring quarterback in a year where several quarterbacks got hurt. Then this season he finished as the QB9 as the Seahawks found a running game led by Chris Carson. Wilson scored 76.6 fantasy points using his legs in 2017 compared to just 37.6 in 2018. I think the Seahawks will stay committed to the running game in 2019, keeping Wilson out of my QB1 range.
- Kirk Cousins, Vikings (12th): So that big contract Cousins got didn’t pay off; surprise surprise. What is surprising is despite having two wide receivers finish in the top 10, Cousins had as many games under 17 fantasy points as he did over 17 fantasy points. Assuming Mike Zimmer gets an offensive coordinator he likes, the Vikings should focus more on the running game in 2019. The Vikings wide receivers make Cousins an appealing option on paper but he’s hard to trust week in and week out.
- Cam Newton, Panthers (13th): Does anyone trust Newton with his shoulder issue? I don’t. Sure, his rushing ability makes him an appealing option but knowing that he can’t keep taking that kind of beating, I think the Panthers will limit his rushing attempts next season. D.J. Moore played well in the back half of the season but the Panthers lack an elite number one wide receiver. If Newton looks healthy in training camp and the preseason, he will move up in my rankings, but for now, I don’t want to draft him.
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