While you may need a few rookies on your team—in addition to some breakout sleepers to push it over the edge—the basis of any good fantasy football season is a successful first-round pick.
A first-round miss isn't going to necessarily tank your team, but it will definitely make your path to the top much harder (take it from someone who picked up Le'Veon Bell in the first round last year).
Most people pick up a wide receiver or running back with their first pick; however, every once in a while a quarterback may be worth picking up as soon as you can. Whatever player you pick up early, they will serve as the building block that keeps your team together. You need reliable, consistent production from them.
There's always the chance of injury or some other circumstance that may take your first-round pick out of the season early, but that can't be predicted. All you can do is study up and make a good selection.
Here's a ranking of the top-10 players in each fantasy position, along with analysis of the top quarterback, wide receiver and running back.
Top Player Rankings
1. Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
2. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
3. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
5. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
6. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
7. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
8. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons
9. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
10. Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals
1. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
2. Ezekiel Elliot, Dallas Cowboys
3. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
4. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
5. James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers
6. David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals
7. Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals
8. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
9. Le'Veon Bell, New York Jets
10. Kerryon Johnson, Detroit Lions
1. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
2. Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons
3. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers
5. Tyreek Hill, Kansas City Chiefs
6. Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns
7. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
8. Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9. Antonio Brown, Oakland Raiders
10. Keenan Allen, Los Angeles Chargers
1. Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs
2. Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
3. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers
4. O.J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
5. Evan Engram, New York Giants
6. Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers
7. Jared Cook, New Orleans Saints
8. Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts
9. Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers
10. Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins
1. Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots
2. Greg Zuerlein, Los Angeles Rams
3. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens
4. Will Lutz, New Orleans Saints
5. Harrison Butker, Kansas City Chiefs
6. Ka'imi Fairbairn, Houton Texans
7. Jake Elliott, Philadelphia Eagles
8. Robbie Gould, San Francisco 49ers
9. Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts
10. Mason Crosby, Green Bay Packers
QB Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
This shouldn't be surprising, as Kansas City's Patrick Mahomes sits atop almost every preseason fantasy football quarterback ranking.
Mahomes is coming off an incredible breakout season, so the pressure is on for his third year in the NFL. The reigning NFL MVP became just the third player to throw 50 touchdown passes in a single season and the youngest MVP since Dan Marino.
His 417.1 fantasy points in 2018 were the second-most in a single season ever recorded.
Along with 50 touchdowns, Mahomes threw just 12 interceptions on 5,097 passing yards. He added 272 rushing yards, running for two touchdowns.
With a weapon down the field in Tyreek Hill along with no clear-cut running back this season—Kareem Hunt is with the Cleveland Browns now—the season bodes well for fantasy holders who draft Mahomes.
RB Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
Most rankings have Ezekiel Elliott as the first running back to go in fantasy drafts this year.
Maybe it's because Le'Veon Bell has given me trust issues after last year, but with the Cowboys not having come to a deal with Elliott yet on his contract, the safe option has to be Saquon Barkley here.
Barkley was the running back with the second-most points last year with 295, behind Todd Gurley's 313.
New York still has an inconsistent quarterback. It seems that Eli Manning will secure the starting position, while backup Daniel Jones continues to prove his worth. Manning struggled last year, though, giving Barkley a lot of big-point opportunities.
Manning also no longer has Odell Beckham Jr. down the field, which is another opportunity that Barkley has to get the ball.
If Elliott agrees to terms with Dallas, he should be the first running back to go, if not—at the very least—a competitor with Barkley for the top spot. However, if Elliott is still holding out as the fantasy draft comes around, Barkley becomes the safe option here.
WR DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
The wide receiver field is as deep as ever, which is clear when you have a player like Antonio Brown coming in at the bottom of the top 10.
There are plenty of first-pick worthy receivers this year, with Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, Julio Jones, JuJu Smith-Schuster and DeAndre Hopkins all sure to put up big points for their teams this year.
However, my pick here is Hopkins. Entering his seventh year, Hopkins is coming off his second consecutive monster year. In 2018, he had 1,572 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, while the year before he has 1,378 yards and 13 touchdowns.
The wideout had the fourth-most fantasy points for receivers last year with 219, behind Hill, Brown and Adams. Brown, Adams and Hopkins were all within a point of one another, while Hill led the way with 247 points.
Either way, you can't go wrong in the receiver position.
Team and League Names
Once you're done building your team, it's time to focus on your team name. And if you're the league manager, you also have to try and be creative with your league name.
Here are some options for both.
Kenyan, Do You Love Me? – If you're a Kenyan-Drake fan.
Hit the Saquon – For all you Giants fans out there who need something to hold onto this season.
Mack-in My Way Downtown – Just makin' your way to your league's championship game.
Rolls Royce – If you're all about the flashy and strong combo.
Running Miles Around You – The rookie out of Philly has lots of buzz around him.
The Long Shot – You may not be happy with your draft, but at least you're honest about it.
Josh Jacobs Jingleheimer Schmidt – This one's obscure but funny nonetheless.
Alvin on a Prayer – Another option for someone not super optimistic about their fantasy team.
Too Many Cooks – There are just too many studs in your league, there's not enough room for you all.
Nobody Likes Us But Us – If your league is full of a bunch of obnoxious fantasy players, this is the name for you.
A League of Our Own – Who doesn't love a classic? Even if it is about another sport.
Having a Ball – Just having a grand old time playing some fantasy football.
Touchdown for What? – Your league is no stranger to scoring touchdowns.
Just a Bunch of Football Nerds – This one doesn't need much explaining.
Remember the Titans – This may not make much sense as a league name; I just really love this movie.
All We Do Is Win – You may all be great at fantasy, but there is only one winner at the end of it all.