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Fantasy Football 2019: Early Mock Draft After Top Free-Agency Deals

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2019

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley reacts during the first half of the NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018, in Philadelphia. The Eagles won 25-22. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Chris Szagola/Associated Press

Each year, free agency has a sizeable impact on the NFL landscape. Teams are strengthened and weakened by the moves made on the market, and many of these switches impact draft strategies as well.

Free agency also has a major impact on fantasy football. The changing of teams and schemes can dramatically alter a player's fantasy outlook. Of course, it's never too early to examine fantasy outlooks.

With the scouting combine and the first week of free agency in the rearview, we're in the middle of mock draft season. This makes it a perfect time for a fantasy mock, which you'll find here, along with a list of the top 50 players in PPR formats—based on consensus rankings from FantasyPros, and a look at some notable free-agency moves that will impact future fantasy outlooks.

This is a two-round snake mock that doesn't include incoming rookies.

        

2019 Fantasy Football Mock Draft

1.01 Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

1.02 Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

1.03 Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

1.04 Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

1.05 Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

1.06 DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

1.07 Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

1.08 Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns

1.09 Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

1.10 Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

1.11 James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

1.12 Antonio Brown, WR, Oakland Raiders

2.01 Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

2.02 Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

2.03 Le'Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets

2.04 Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

2.05 Davis Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

2.06 Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

2.07 Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

2.08 Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

2.09 Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2.10 JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

2.11 George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

2.12 T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

       

Fantasy Football Top 50

1. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

2. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

3. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams

4. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

5. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

6. Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

7. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

8. Devante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

9. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

10. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

11. James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

12. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

13. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns

14. Le'Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets

15. Antonio Brown, WR, Oakland Raiders

16. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

17. Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

18. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

19. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

20. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

21. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

22. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

23. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

24. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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

26. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

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

28. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

29. Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys

30. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

31. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

32. Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots

33. Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings

34. Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings

35. Brandin Cooks, WR, Los Angeles Rams

36. Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams

37. Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions

38. Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts

39. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

40. Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans

41. Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears

42. Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks

43. Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams

44. Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos

45. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

46. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions

47. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

48. Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts

49. Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots

50. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks

        

Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns

Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

The trade that sent star wideout Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants to the Cleveland Browns has dominated headlines, and rightfully so. Elite players almost never get traded just as they are entering their primes.

When examining Beckham's outlook, we need to consider the scenery change. He's going from having aging Eli Manning to young gunslinger Baker Mayfield at quarterback. He's also moving to a more wide-open offense under Freddie Kitchens that was explosive enough to even make Breshad Perriman a thing last year.

While Beckham will be competing with the likes of Jarvis Landry, David Njoku, Antonio Callaway and Duke Johnson for receptions, he isn't likely to see as much double coverage because of it.

"When has Beckham ever played in an offense like that?" Michael Beller of Sports Illustrated wrote. "And the best part for him? He'll still be at the center of everything."

Beckham should see a slight bump in overall production in 2019. Just keep in mind that Kitchens' offense doesn't force feed the ball to one receiver. Landry, for example, had 49 receptions in eight games under Todd Haley and just 32 in eight under the head coach.

Naturally, the move also affects Mayfield and Manning. Expect the former to be a weekly must-start as long as Beckham is healthy. The latter, meanwhile, goes from being a potential streamer and spot starter to pretty much unplayable.

         

Le'Veon Bell to the New York Jets

Winslow Townson/Associated Press

While the Beckham move was arguably the highlight of an active trade market, the New York Jets' signing of running back Le'Veon Bell was the marquee move of free agency itself.

If Bell can be close to the player he was in 2017—when he produced 1,946 combined rushing and receiving yards to go with 85 receptions and 11 touchdowns—he will again be fantasy royalty.

The question, of course, is how close can he come to that kind of production? He won't be working in an offense that also features Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown anymore. He'll be playing with second-year quarterback Sam Darnold and Robby Anderson. He'll see more defensive attention in New York.

As Jeff Ratcliffe of Pro Football Focus explained, the move to Adam Gase's offense could also hurt Bell's value:

"A three-down workload is likely for Bell, but it isn't fair to simply expect the same production as we saw in Pittsburgh. Gase's Dolphins ran the fewest offensive plays last season, with just 878. The Jets weren't far ahead at 971. Gase ran the ball on just over 42% of the time, which was nearly identical to the Jets' run/pass ratio."

Bell probably won't be the same fantasy star he was in 2017, but if he's sitting there at the bottom of Round 1 or early Round 2, you should feel confident in pulling the trigger.

We saw last season that Roethlisberger's fantasy numbers were just fine without Bell—the absence of Antonio Brown is another story—but the move should significantly impact Sam Darnold's. He's definitely rosterable and may even emerge as a reliable fantasy starter. 

        

Nick Foles to the Jacksonville Jaguars

Butch Dill/Associated Press

This is one of the more underrated free-agency moves as it relates to fantasy. While Nick Foles isn't going to suddenly be a must-draft quarterback now he's in Jacksonville, his arrival does have implications worth exploring.

The most obvious is a bump in value for running back Leonard Fournette. The former first-round pick struggled in 2018, both because of injuries and because of seeing regular eight-man fronts. The game plan for opposing defenses was to dare Blake Bortles to beat them, pretty much every single week.

This won't quite be the case with Foles, who has shown he can tear apart a defense that dares him.

The 30-year-old should also increase the value of pass-catchers like Dede Westbrook, Marquise Lee, D.J. Chark and recently added Chris Conley. None of these players are top-of-the-draft material, but when filling out your roster, don't forget to account for Foles.

The quarterback change also increased the value of the Jaguars defense, which was pretty much unplayable for much of last season. Jacksonville was handed several blowout losses because of its own offensive ineptitude and, late in the season, a lack of fight.

We aren't likely to see the same Jaguars defense that rocked fantasy in 2017, but the unit is now draftable.

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