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Fantasy Football 2019: Mock Draft Strategy, Dynasty and Keeper Cheatsheet

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 15, 2019

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) looks for a receiver during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Cincinnati Bengals in Kansas City, Mo., Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Ed Zurga/Associated Press

Fantasy football owners have an abundance of draft-preparation tools at their disposal.

While it's helpful to know things like consensus rankings and average draft positions, nothing better prepares you for draft day than a mock version of the real thing.

You're drafting with other owners and up against the clock, just like you will be when putting your official team together. It's the only way to truly ready yourself for all of the unpredictability that can happen during the annual talent grab.

We'll discuss different mock draft strategies after laying out our top-40 dynasty rankings below.

                 

PPR Top-40 Dynasty Cheat Sheet

1. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants

2. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

3. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

4. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

5. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys

6. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers

7. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns

8. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints

9. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

10. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

11. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

12. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns

13. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons

14. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

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

16. Todd Gurley II, RB, Los Angeles Rams

17. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

18. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

19. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs

20. Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys

21. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers

22. Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings

23. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers

24. Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders

25. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

26. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions

27. James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

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

29. David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears

30. Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers

31. Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions

32. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers

33. Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings

34. Antonio Brown, WR, Oakland Raiders

35. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

36. Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles

37. D.J. Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers

38. Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots

39. Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans

40. Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns

                     

Mock Draft Tips

Develop Tiers for Skill Positions

Unless wholly developed by analytical measures, player rankings are subjective takes. While they paint a decent picture of perceived values, don't quibble in the minor differences. If you believe Antonio Brown is more like the 26th-best player for dynasty leagues than the 34th, you're free to grab him where you see fit.

But where rankings and mock drafts often provide the most value is establishing tiers at the position groups.

For instance, our rankings see an elite quartet at running back with Barkley, McCaffrey, Kamara and Elliott. After a minor break, there's the really good group of Mixon, Chubb, Johnson, Bell and Cook. The less-comfortable dice rolls exist a little further down the board.

You should build these groups at all the skill spots and know which tier you need a player from.

Maybe you have to have an elite running back, but you're fine with second- or third-tier options at wideout and tight end. Whatever the case, pay close attention to where these tiers start and stop, specifically when it comes to mock drafts. Ideally, you extract maximum value by taking the player at the bottom of a tier, but don't wait too long or you'll miss the tier entirely.

                       

Use Positional Designations as Tiebreakers

While some experts have preferred ways of opening a draft and you may too (say, running back first and then two wide receivers), others try to stick as close as possible to the best-player available option.

This isn't an argument for either side—the best method is often dependent on your draft room—but rather a reminder to familiarize yourself with each position's middle class and find where you're most comfortable splurging.

If you think receivers are deeper than running backs, you might have to target the latter first. If you think waiting on a quarterback is foolish when Patrick Mahomes or Baker Mayfield is on the board, that's fine, but remember your fellow owners are probably hitting different positions first. Should you start, say, quarterback and tight end in the first two rounds, you better have a small army of sleeper backs and receivers at the ready.

Again, we're not saying go with position over another. We are saying consider the depth at each position and, if necessary, use that as a way of separating similarly valued players at different spots.

                 

Learn Going Rates for Rookie Class

Youth and potential are gold mines in dynasty leagues. Depending on your league format, you might be keeping your dynasty picks for a long time, so you'll want players with lasting power and the possibility of future stardom.

But, as you can probably guess, that puts a premium on high-profile youngsters.

Given the potentially transformative talents of Kyler Murray, Arizona's new dual-threat quarterback will fly off the dynasty-league shelves. However, since that position doesn't always deliver instant success, those more concerned with the 2019 campaign may prioritize Josh Jacobs, David Montgomery or N'Keal Harry.

If you're in a startup dynasty league, the rankings above will help guide you through it. But if you covet a player not included (like Murray or fellow rookie passers Daniel Jones or Dwayne Haskins), keep researching and mock-drafting to get a firm grasp of their likely cost.