Dallas Cowboys: I’m going to assume the Cowboys and Ezekiel Elliott get something done before week 1. If you’re drafting before that happens, it might be a good idea to pivot to one of the other consensus top backs or Adams/Hopkins. If we get Elliott for a full season, he can be the #1 RB. Elliott is the focus of this offense, but Amari Cooper is almost just important. He was a little boom/bust last year with the Cowboys, but a whole off-season of working with Dak and the playbook should help smooth things out. I’m willing to snag Cooper in the 3rd round of drafts and expect low WR1 numbers, but he’ll look best as your WR2. Monitor his foot injury the next few weeks before drafting. Dak Prescott holds the offense together and should flirt with QB1 numbers again this year. He’s finished all 3 of his seasons as a QB1 and might have his best array of weapons yet. Target all three guys at ADP. After them, we’ll see complementary roles from Randall Cobb, Michael Gallup and Jason Witten. Cobb is super interesting because he should be an upgrade from Cole Beasley, a guy that Dak has had success with. I’m liking the ADP for Cobb has a late draft pick that could be consistent enough to perform as a WR3 this year. Gallup showed some nice stuff as a rookie, but is likely to be too inconsistent this year for our redraft leagues. He’s worth a dart in best ball leagues. Jason Wittens usage will be unknown, but I won’t be surprise if he flirts with TE1 numbers and provides a high floor of 8-10 points each week. The biggest upside player will be rookie RB Tony Pollard. If Zeke misses any games, Pollard will be an RB2 at worst. He’s worth a stash at the end of drafts. Target Cowboys.
New York Giants: We’ll make this quick. Draft Saquon Barkley. No questions there, even if the Giants are as bad as we think they’ll be. He’s likely the leading rusher and pass catcher on this team. The only other player worth a look at is Evan Engram at TE. Engram is set up for a career season with Beckham out of town. Golden Tate is out for the first four weeks on suspension. Sterling Shepard is recovering from a broken thumb but should be good to go Week 1. He might be worth a shot late in drafts, but I’m not really excited to own any piece of the Giants offense outside of Engram. Eli Manning is hard to watch and now has Daniel Jones waiting in the wings. Stay away.
Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles loaded up on offensive weapons in the draft, adding both RB Miles Sanders and WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside in the second round. Both of these guys are better dynasty picks than redraft picks for this year. They traded for Jordan Howard with the Bears, so he’ll be slated to start this year. He’ll likely be the primary 1st and 2nd down back, along with goal-line duties. Sanders is an exciting talent and will be mixed in to keep Howard fresh. There’s a chance Sanders can earn more work as the season goes on, but for now, Howard is the better target at ADP. The Eagles still have a handful of other backs that they’ll mix in for certain situations, including Darren Sproles, Corey Clement, and Josh Adams. Wendell Smallwood and Boston Scott are fighting to make the team, but this just goes to show how deep they are at RB. The usage will be frustrating for fantasy this year. I’m more intrigued at targeting the passing game in Philly. Carson Wentz has Alshon Jeffery, Zach Ertz, DeSean Jackson, Nelson Agholor, Dallas Goedert and JJ Arcega-Whiteside for targets. Did I mention that this team is DEEP? I’m loving Carson Wentz as my preferred QB target right now with all of these weapons, if you’re into mid round QBs. We can target Jeffery as our WR2/3 and even DeSean Jackson as our WR3, but the consistency might not be there. Ertz is being drafted at his ceiling, so I haven’t been taking him at all. His numbers are all expected to come down this year with all of the competition for targets, especially from 2nd year TE Dallas Goedert. Ertz will still finish as a top 5 TE. Just take the whole passing pie by drafting Wentz, and throw a dart at Goedert at the end of your drafts. If Ertz misses time, you got a league winner.
Washington Redskins: Can we just not? I understand the argument that every player has a value at some point in drafts and that you should not cross people off of your list, but I’m completely avoiding all Redskins this year. They have a 3-headed battle at quarterback and have holes on the offensive line. Adrian Peterson and Derrius Guice will be fighting each other for carries, making one of them valuable only if injury occurs. I don’t believe Guice has been cleared for contact, so he’s still out and missing time. Chris Thompson is still kicking around, catching passes. The WR group is less than exciting for fantasy. We’ll likely see Trey Quinn start in the slot and rack up short catches. Terry McLaurin is likely a starter outside right away and is a solid dynasty investment. Jordan Reed might be the only guy worth a look at ADP because of the nature of the TE position. He’s healthy and has had his first surgery-free off-season in a while now. Either way, the Redskins won’t be winning games and most likely won’t have any consistent assets for our fantasy teams in 2019.
Chicago Bears: The Bears 2019 offensive success will directly correlate with how well Mitchell Trubisky plays in his second year with Matt Nagy. With that said, Trubisky’s best friends will be his running backs Tarik Cohen and rookie David Montgomery. Montgomery is going to step into the Jordan Howard role, but will likely not get that full role to himself. They signed Mike Davis to be the #3. Montgomery could impress so much so that he simply takes the job and never looks back, but Davis is a sound back and can do all things well, especially pass catching and blocking. Cohen will maintain his pass catching role that helped him finish as the RB11 last year. I prefer Cohen’s value at ADP over Montgomery in PPR leagues, but I’m open to drafting Montgomery as your RB2. Mike Davis lingers as your final draft pick for an in case of emergency situation. In the passing game, a fully healthy Allen Robinson should take a step forward as the WR1. Trubisky is better throwing in the middle of the field than outside, so he’ll likely limit Robinson’s upside at mid to low WR2 range. Robinson looks best as your WR3/Flex. For his ADP range, we won’t find too many WR1s left. I might be more excited about second year WR Anthony Miller at ADP. He led the team in TDs last year and played through a few injuries as well. He works as a big slot and operates in the middle of the field the most. It wouldn’t surprise me if Miller closed the gap on Robinson and operates as the WR1B. The only other reliable asset in the passing game will be TE Trey Burton. He was hot and cold last year, but still finished as a TE1. Monitor Taylor Gabriel and Cordarrelle Patterson.
Detroit Lions: All of the buzz around Detroit points to a heavy running game focus. Theo Riddick was released a couple weeks ago, leaving a large amount of targets for Kerryon Johnson to soak up. Johnson flashed as a rookie and should now be viewed as an RB2 with RB1 upside. CJ Anderson is there to help keep Kerryon fresh, but I’m not worried about him cutting too much into his workload. Stafford loves throw to his backs, so Kerryon will be heavily featured here and will provide solid PPR floors. Because of this attention to the run game, we might be a bit disappointed with WRs Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones. Both are better off in best ball leagues than for redraft, due to inconsistent usage coming. Stafford is healthy this year and could perform as a QB2 for us in superflex leagues. I’m more nervous about Golladay at ADP than I am about Jones. Both can perform as WR3s this year, so Jones presents the better value. Danny Amendola could be useful in PPR leagues, but don’t count on him playing a full season or being reliable every week. Rookie TE TJ Hockenson has been the talk of camp and should be on the field a ton. He’s an excellent blocker and fantastic receiver, so he should easily produce the best rookie TE season this year. Not sure I’m comfortable with relying on him in redraft, but he could be your TE2. Kerryon Johnson is the only Lion I’m truly comfortable drafting right now.
Green Bay Packers: The 2019 Packers will be an interesting team to keep an eye on. Will they flourish under new head coach Matt LaFleur? Or suffer from the same lack of consistencies that they have these past couple years? I’m thinking Aaron Rodgers plays with a new chip on his shoulder and is on a mission to prove to everyone just how good he still is. He played with a busted knee last year, among the Mike McCarthy drama and with a group of young, inexperienced rookies at WR. Davante Adams was the only bright spot, and will continue to play at an Elite level this year. Draft him in the mid first round if you can. Adams missed the final game last year, so his numbers could have been even better, although he did finish 1st among WRs with 21.8pts per game. His consistency was second to none. Rodgers could spread the ball around a little more this year with Geronimo Allison back, 2nd year Marques Valdes-Scantling, and a healthy Jake Kumerow. These 3 complementary guys are all worth a shot at ADP, with Kumerow being a last round dart. Coach LaFleur will put more emphasis on the running game this year, pushing Aaron Jones into the spotlight. Jones led the league in yards per carry last year and racked up 9TDs in 12 games. He will be used more in the passing game and should have a solid weekly floor. The only question is Jones is his durability. He’s had multiple knee injuries throughout his career, making him somewhat of a risk at the end of the third round. Jamaal Williams is a solid backup and shows up well in pass protection. They drafted Dexter Williams in the 6th round out of Notre Dame, so continue to monitor him. Jimmy Graham is back at TE and is worth as shot as your TE2. He’s due for TD progression after scoring just 2 last year. For now, bank on the Rodgers to Adams connection. Rodgers is a Top 5 QB this year and can make MVS or Allison a WR3, and Aaron Jones is an RB2 with RB1 upside.
Minnesota Vikings: We’ll see the Vikings shift back to a running game focus this year with new OC Kevin Stafanski. This makes me most excited for Dalvin Cook. When healthy, Cook has shown top 5 upside, especially with his usage in the short passing game. Rookie Alexander Mattison is his backup and would be the handcuff to draft if you grab Cook. We’ll see more play action from the Vikings this year. WRs Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen both finished as WR1s last year, but I’m expecting them to regress a tad and be WR2s this year. Thielen has the higher price tag so I haven’t been drafting him, but I’m fine with Diggs at the end of round 3. Thielen will line up outside more this year, so we’ll see his reception totals come down for sure. We should expect Kirk Cousins’ numbers to come down as well. He’ll be a QB2 in superflex leagues. Cousins’ has been saying good things about TE Kyle Rudolph the past few weeks, so I’m open to Rudolph finishing as a top 10 TE again this year. He’s a better best ball target though. They drafted Irv Smith Jr for the future, but we’ll see him worked in throughout the year. This team will continue to run through Cooks, Diggs and Thielen, so target this trio, just reduce your expectations for the WRs a bit.
Atlanta Falcons: We can bank on Julio Jones at the end of round 1 to be your WR1. He’ll likely lead the league in receiving yards again. Devonta Freeman is viewed as injury prone, but it was really just last year that he missed significant time. There’s no more Tevin Coleman to steal receptions, so I’m actually really into snagging Freeman round 3 to be my RB2 with RB1 upside. He’s in a great offense with not much competition behind him. Freeman and Julio will be the centerpieces of the offense, so Calvin Ridley, Mohamed Sanu and Austin Hooper will be solid complementary pieces to target. We’ll see Ridley’s TDs come down most likely, but we should expect WR3 numbers with WR2 upside. He looks best as your WR3/Flex. Hooper should be a TE1 again this year on volume alone. He was inconsistent last year, so he’s probably a better best ball target. All of these weapons will help Matt Ryan flirt with another top 5 QB season. Target Falcons.
Carolina Panthers: Not much needs to be said about Christian McCaffrey, consensus top 4 pick. The more interesting players are WRs DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel. Moore has an ADP around round 5, while Samuel can be had after the 8/9th round. Samuel has been the best player not named McCaffrey in camp so far. He was actually playing at a similar level to Moore in the back half of last year as well. I’m open to both Moore and Samuel at ADP, Moore being a WR3 with WR2 upside, and Samuel being a WR3/Flex most weeks. Greg Olsen is back and says he’s as healthy as he’s ever been. People have been sleeping on him in drafts, making him a solid TE2 target with TE1 upside. All of these weapons will be reliant upon the health of Cam Newton. Newton had shoulder surgery this off-season and appears good to go for 2019. We might see him run less this year, but he was already running less last year. Newton is one of my favorite QBs to target around the 8/10th rounds. He played at an elite level up until his shoulder injury and has Top 5 upside for 2019 if he can stay healthy. The NFC South will be loaded offensively, so the Panthers will need to keep up with the Saints, Falcons and Bucs.
New Orleans Saints: Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas are the focal points of the offense, with Kamara being a top 5 pick while Thomas a late 1st/ early 2nd. The Saints are an elite offense, so if you can’t line up one of these guys at the top of the draft, we’ll want to target Latavius Murray and Jared Cook. Murray will take over the majority of the touches left behind by Mark Ingram. Ingram has performed as an RB2 in this role, so it’s reasonable to get excited about Murray as an RB2/Flex. We’ll want to start Murray in games where the Saints are expected to win by more than a touchdown. He’ll be more involved in the passing game for sure with this offense, so we could see Murray finish as a top 24 back this year. Jared Cook will be the next big target for Brees after Thomas and Kamara. Brees has had success with TEs in the past, so we should expect solid TE1 production from Cook, who’s coming off a career season with Oakland. After these four main pieces, I’m not sure we can trust Tre’Quan Smith or Ted Ginn in redraft leagues. Drew Brees has seen decline in pass attempts and yards in back to back seasons, so we might be better off leaving Brees out of our draft plans this year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jameis Winston has the keys to the Bucs offense again with new head coach Bruce Arians. Winston will rely heavily on WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries leave a ton of targets and production up for grabs, most of which will go towards Evans, Godwin and OJ Howard. Evans has top 5 upside, while Godwin looks primed for a WR2 season. Draft both at ADP. Howard has had trouble staying healthy but presents us with an elite option at the position in the 5th round or so. We’ll want a piece of the Bucs passing offense, so consider Evans, Godwin, Howard and Winston in your draft plans. The running game is not as exciting, but Peyton Barber is a solid back and looks like a value at ADP. People are excited about Ronald Jones, but I’ll need to see more before I buy. Tampa will be playing from behind again with that defense, making me most excited about this passing offense.
Arizona Cardinals: This 2019 Cardinals offense is set to feature David Johnson and Kyler Murray. Johnson is worth a top 5 pick this year in PPR leagues, and possibly even higher with the Ezekiel Elliott holdout. DJ was RB10 last year in what was considered a down year. His arrow is pointing way up this year, so expect to see a heavy does of Johnson in the passing game like we saw back in 2016. Don’t be surprised if he’s the RB1 this year. Kyler Murray is an exciting talent at QB. He has Top 5 upside at the position and is likely primed for a QB1 season. His extra fantasy points on the ground will likely help his fantasy floor and maintain consistency week to week. He got the ball out quickly in his first pre-season game, making me feel a little less worried about durability concerns. His primary pass-catchers will be David Johnson, Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald. Kirk costs a 6/7th round pick, while Fitzgerald can be had in the double digit rounds. I’m open to Kirk leading the team in receiving this year, but we can’t cast Larry aside. He’s a future Hall of Famer and will do his best to make sure his rookie quarterback knows he can trust him. I’m actually more excited about Fitzgerald at ADP, not only because he’s cheaper, but perhaps the young QB gets him more excited about football again. The Cardinals aren’t winning the Superbowl this year, but they will no doubt be fun to watch. Outside of this main core, I’m not sure we can trust any of the rookie WRs or Kevin White to consistently matter for our fantasy teams.
Los Angeles Rams: To Gurley, or not to Gurley? That is the question. When I finished my preliminary projections, I had Gurley at RB16 even with a decreased workload. I’m beginning to think he won’t be as limited as we think, meaning he still has RB1 easily within his range. Gurley looks best when paired with an RB/RB start, or could also work well if paired with Freeman/Kerryon in round 3. It seems like Darrell Henderson is farther behind than we were expecting. Besides Gurley, Jared Goff will rely on his trio of WRs in Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. All three look best as your WR3, but one or two of these guys will finish as a WR2. Kupp has the cheapest ADP and is a favorite of Goff’s in the redzone. Try to get one if you can, but keep in mind, Cooks and Woods were so good last year after Kupp went out. A healthy Kupp will limit their upside and could leave some weeks with holes. I’m most into Jared Goff as my QB1, just so I can avoid the headache of which WR I needed to draft. You can get all of the Rams WRs with Goff, and even Gurley’s receiving numbers too. Gerald Everett isn’t too bad either.
Seattle Seahawks: All aboard the Chris Carson train. The fantasy community has slowly woken up to how great Chris Carson is. He’s the lead dog on the second most run heavy team in the league. Mike Davis leaves behind 112 carries and 34 receptions. It’s reasonable to expect Carson to get even more than the 247 carries he got last year. One thing is for sure; he’ll be more involved in the passing game. 20 catches on 24 targets last year. His offensive coordinator threw out the number 50 targets as a possibility. He can be had in the 4th or 5th round. The next best player on this offense will be Tyler Lockett. Due for more volume while working in the slot, his TDs may come down, but his targets, receptions and yards are looking good to go up. Russell Wilson is the next best asset for fantasy and presents top 5 upside at the position. He’s thrown 69 TDs in the last two years combined, even though his pass attempts are among the lowest in the league. He’s hyper efficient and adds points with his legs. We should be excited to see what DK Metcalf can do for this offense, along with David Moore. Jaron Brown is a quality 4th receiver as well. Metcalf and Moore are better best ball picks, but I’m open to Metcalf real late in redraft leagues. Rashaad Penny is not to be forgotten either. We mentioned how much Seattle likes to run the ball, and the Mike Davis leaves behind 146 touches. Penny is an insurance policy for Carson and could be a league winner if anything were to happen.
San Francisco 49ers: George Kittle emerged last season as the next great young tight end. It’s pretty amazing to see the numbers he put up with CJ Beathard and Nick Mullens. Garoppolo can help him improve, but the overall receiving talent of the 49ers got better and may cut into his production. Kittle is likely a top 3 TE again this year, but I’m not sure I’m willing to draft him at his ceiling. The next best player for fantasy on this team will be Tevin Coleman. He is familiar with Kyle Shanahan’s offense and has finished as a top 24 running back in three straight years. You can get him in the 6th and sometimes 7th round of your draft as your RB2/3. Matt Breida will likely be involved in the running game as well, perhaps giving us a situation similar to what Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have been in. Breida may be the better runner, while Coleman is the best pass-catcher. Either way, I’m open to Breida having value as an RB2/Flex in plus matchups. If any of these guys go down, the other would be primed for an RB2 finish. Shanahan’s backs are very fantasy friendly, and both of these guys have cheap ADPs. The WR group is where it gets a little messy. There’s a lot of hype for 2nd year Dante Pettis, along with rookies Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd. Marquise Goodwin is also in the mix to start. Even Jordan Matthews has a chance to make some noise with Trent Taylor out. It might be a little frustrating to rely on any of these guys week to week, making me value Jimmy Garoppolo more than his weapons.