Fantasy Football 2019: Mock Draft Strategy, Cheat Sheet Entering Preseason Week 1

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 6, 2019

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) runs a drill at the team's NFL football training facility in Berea, Ohio, Thursday, June 6, 2019. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Ron Schwane/Associated Press

Information overload is very much a real thing in 2019, but for fantasy football owners, there's no such thing as too much analysis.

Sure, not all of the intel will prove prescient, but knowing how the fantasy community feels about different players and strategies can be invaluable. Besides, expert info will typically shine light on rookies or sleepers you might not be too familiar with.

Consider this article another piece of the puzzle, as we lay out our top-40 cheat sheet of point-per-reception rankings before providing three strategic tips to help you maximize the mock-drafting process.


PPR Top-40 Cheat Sheet

1. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

2. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

3. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

4. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

5. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

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

7. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

8. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

9. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

10. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

11. Todd Gurley II, RB, Los Angeles Rams

12. Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

13. James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

14. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

15. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

16. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

17. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

18. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns

19. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

20. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

21. Antonio Brown, WR, Oakland Raiders

22. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

23. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

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

25. Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings

26. Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

27. Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

28. Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys

29. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

30. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

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

32. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

33. Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots

34. Brandin Cooks, WR, Los Angeles Rams

35. Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts

36. Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders

37. Damien Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs

38. Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings

39. Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots

40. Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Mock Draft Tips

Keep Your Selections Relatively Reasonable

Since mock drafts don't tie you to a team for an entire season, you have the opportunity to get creative with your approach.

What happens if you start with three straight running backs or three consecutive wideouts? What if you don't take a quarterback through 10 rounds, or what if you grab one during the first three? Do you sense any opportunity cost by drafting your kicker or defense a round ahead of everyone else?

These are all valuable questions to answer, but they only work if you keep your picks within the realm of realistic possibilities. Start drafting players multiple rounds before their average draft position says you need to, and now you've warped the draft board for everyone and given yourself a distorted view of players' perceived values.

Remember, you're not passing time in a mock draft: You're conducting research. Others are doing the same. So, do yourselves and them a favor by approaching this with different strategies you'd actually consider utilizing on your real draft day.


Run Multiple Mocks From Different Selection Spots

As simple as it is, draft position can have a monstrous impact on the construction of your club.

Your first pick isn't just (hopefully) your best player; he's also a massive step toward filling specific categories. Unless you're lucky enough to land a dual-threat rusher like Barkley, McCaffrey or Kamara, your first pick is likely to lean heavily toward rushing or receiving stats—not both.

That can dictate how you proceed, especially if you double (or triple) down at the position in subsequent rounds.

The average drafter with the first pick in a 12-team, PPR league is opening with Barkley and Melvin Gordon, per Fantasy Football Calculator. That's a strong foundation to build around—provided Gordon's holdout gets solved—but it will require you to hit on some lesser-known receivers. You'd also want to familiarize yourself with sleeper running backs, so you likely wouldn't address the position again until much later.

Every draft requires a certain degree of mid-draft scrambling, but you want to be as prepared as possible for any situation. So, if your draft order isn't set, try conducting mock drafts from different points on the board. That will help you form game plans for drafting at the top, bottom or middle of the first round.


Pay Close Attention to—But Don't Reach for—Quarterbacks

Waiting on quarterbacks is such a widely supported strategy that it almost feels cliched to recommend it.

But its popularity exists for a reason. Last season, eight of the nine players to clear 300 fantasy points were quarterbacks, per Fantasy Pros. Shift the cutoff to 275 points, and it's still 14 out of 17.

So, unless you're convinced Patrick Mahomes can somehow be even better than in 2018—5,097 passing yards and 50 touchdowns—you shouldn't even consider reaching for your quarterback.

That said, you'll want to identify the passers you'd be comfortable starting on a weekly (or near-weekly) basis and then pay attention to where those quarterbacks are coming off the board. The point of waiting for a passer is that a lot of good ones exist, and since that's the case, you'll be at a massive disadvantage if you're one of the teams that doesn't roster a solid option.

This position will probably produce your most fantasy points. Use mock drafts to help determine the best way to maximize quarterback value.