2019 Fantasy Football Mock Draft: Predictions Heading into Preseason Week 4
With three weeks of NFL preseason action wrapped up, we're starting to get a better idea of what NFL teams will look like in 2019. There are still some major question marks, to be sure (where the heck are Melvin Gordon and Ezekiel Elliott?), but with final roster cuts looming August 31, many of the biggest questions have been answered.
This is great news for fantasy enthusiasts fortunate enough to be drafting late in the preseason. You now have information that wasn't available a few short weeks ago. For example, Saturday night brought the surprise retirement of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and news that Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller had likely torn his ACL.
Yes, life comes at you fast.
How have these developments changed the fantasy landscape since our last full fantasy mock? Let's take a look.
Once again, you'll find a complete 16-round mock based on the average draft positions (ADP) from a series of eight draft simulations run on FantasyPros. We're using points-per-reception (PPR) scoring and drafting teams comprised of a quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, a tight end, a kicker, a defense/special teams, a flex (WR/TE/RB) and six bench slots.
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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. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
6. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
7. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
8. Le'Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets
9. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
10. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
11. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
12. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns
Draft simulations are still pumping out the usual suspects in Round 1. Every-down backs like Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey still top the pick order, and elite receivers like DeAndre Hopkins and Julio Jones are still in the mix.
The biggest change from the last rendering of simulations is that Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson consistently fell out of the first round. This is likely a reflection of Johnson's subpar performances over the first two weeks of the preseason—he averaged just 1.7 yards per carry.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has dropped a couple of spots, but it does feel like he and the Cowboys will reach an agreement sooner than later. According to ESPN's Ed Werder, Dallas has offered a contract that would make Elliott the second-highest-paid running back in the league.
1. James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
2. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
3. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
4. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns
5. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
6. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
7. Antonio Brown, WR, Oakland Raiders
8. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
9. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
10. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
11. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Kansas City Chiefs
12. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
While Johnson's slow start to the preseason is cause for concern, he may prove to be a valuable pick at the top of Round 2. He's still an every-down back—precisely the type of player you want to target here—and he could be in store for quite the workload in 2019.
"He's going to be [Kyler] Murray's sidecar an awful lot," Peter King of NBC Sports wrote. "... Keep in mind that [Kliff] Kingsbury's last team for a full season at [Texas] Tech averaged 35 rushes a game. Johnson will not go hungry, in the running or passing game."
In fantasy, a heavy workload can be even more valuable than big-play potential. Even if you're not enamored with a guy like Johnson or Minnesota Vikings back Dalvin Cook, they're worth a pick here if you believe they will see 20-30 touches per game.
1. Damien Williams, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
2. George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers
3. Melvin Gordon, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
4. Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys
5. Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia Eagles
6. Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers
7. Brandin Cooks, WR, Los Angeles Rams
8. Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
9. Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons
10. Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings
11. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions
12. Stefon Diggs, WR, Minnesota Vikings
You should have at least one premier pass-catcher and one running back by the end of Round 3. There's nothing wrong with doubling up on receivers or backs in the first two rounds. However, grabbing three pass-catchers or three running backs in a row can leave you severely lacking at an important position later on.
This is especially true if your initial pick comes early in the order. If you hold the first pick in the third round, you're going to have the last pick in Round 4. That makes for a long wait without either a runner or a receiver on your roster.
When targeting pass-catchers, view elite tight ends Travis Kelce, George Kittle and Zach Ertz as you would a No. 1 receiver. They basically fill that role in their respective offenses, and production is far more important than position early in the draft.
1. Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts
2. Julian Edelman, WR, New England Patriots
3. Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders
4. Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions
5. Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
6. Chris Godwin, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
7. Austin Ekeler, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
8. A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
9. Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams
10. Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks
11. O.J. Howard, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
12. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
If you didn't jump all over Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes earlier in the draft, you can start considering signal-callers in Round 4. Passers like Deshaun Watson and Aaron Rodgers are still elite and do not represent a huge step down from Mahomes anyway.
If there hasn't been a run on quarterbacks to this point, however, it's often better to continue waiting on the position. There are still starting running backs like Marlon Mack and Josh Jacobs available here, along with No. 1 receivers like Kenny Golladay and Tyler Lockett.
If you're not going with a quarterback early, you should try to land two running backs and two pass-catchers by the end of the fourth round.
1. Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams
2. Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
3. Allen Robinson, WR, Chicago Bears
4. Alshon Jeffery, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
5. Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks
6. Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
7. DJ Moore, WR, Carolina Panthers
8. David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears
9. Calvin Ridley, WR, Atlanta Falcons
10. Jarvis Landry, WR, Cleveland Browns
11. Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals
12. Evan Engram, TE, New York Giants
The fifth round is where you want to start taking fliers on players considered to be sleepers. Sure, you may be able to land a sleeper pick a round or two later, but waiting could easily cause you to miss the mark.
Eagles running back Miles Sanders is a player you don't want to miss out on. While Philadelphia drafted him in the second round to be its future at the position, Sanders should be in line for a heavy workload right from the start.
Sanders will likely split time with the likes of Jordan Howard, Corey Clement and Josh Adams. With his burst and vision, however, it will be difficult to justify keeping Sanders off the field.
"Forget the future," Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia wrote. "The Eagles need to play Miles Sanders a ton this year."
Another sleeper to target here is Cincinnati Bengals wideout Tyler Boyd. While Boyd isn't a sleeper in the traditional sense—he had a 1,000-yard season last year—he could blow up in a big way. With No. 1 wideout A.J. Green expected to miss regular-season games, Boyd should be Cincinnati's top target early in 2019.
1. Mike Williams, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
2. Will Fuller V, WR, Houston Texans
3. Robby Anderson, WR, New York Jets
4. Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans
5. Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants
6. Sammy Watkins, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
7. Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
8. Mark Ingram, RB, Baltimore Ravens
9. Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
10. Curtis Samuel, WR, Carolina Panthers
11. Josh Gordon, WR, New England Patriots
12. Dante Pettis, WR, San Francisco 49ers
You should continue your sleeper watch in Round 6, where several potential No. 1 receivers are lurking. Corey Davis already has that role with the Tennessee Titans. Sterling Shepard is expected to fill it for the New York Giants. While Keenan Allen is still the top target for the Los Angeles Chargers, 2017 first-round pick Mike Williams could be headed toward taking the mantle.
This is a great place to gamble on New England Patriots receiver Josh Gordon, too. Gordon has been conditionally reinstated by the NFL and could quickly become Tom Brady's top target.
"He was just scratching the surface when he stepped away late last year," NFL Network's Nate Burleson said on Good Morning Football. "... Josh has the ability to make this the most dangerous group of targets Brady has ever had."
1. Dede Westbrook, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
2. Tevin Coleman, RB, San Francisco 49ers
3. Hunter Henry, TE, Los Angeles Chargers
4. Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions
5. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals
6. Jared Cook, TE, New Orleans Saints
7. Jameis Winston, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
8. Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver Broncos
9. Baker Mayfield, QB, Cleveland Browns
10. Vance McDonald, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers
11. James White, RB, New England Patriots
12. Sony Michel, RB, New England Patriots
If you didn't land a premier tight end at the top of the draft, Round 7 is where you should start considering taking one. Several quality second-tier options, like Jared Cook and Vance McDonald, should be available here.
The same is true at the quarterback spot. You're likely still looking at the second tier of signal-callers in Round 7, and you can definitely grab a high-end starter here. If you did take a tight end and a quarterback already, it's time to focus on filling your flex slot and bench.
Keep an eye out for high-end complementary backs here, and value their roles based on your scoring format. If you're in a standard league, a hard runner like Sony Michel is going to be the smart choice. If you're playing PPR, a receiving back like James White becomes the smart pickup.
1. Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
2. Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos
3. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Green Bay Packers
4. Chicago Bears D/ST
5. Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Denver Broncos
6. Duke Johnson Jr., RB, Houston Texans
7. Geronimo Allison, WR, Green Bay Packers
8. Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks
9. Kenyan Drake, RB, Miami Dolphins
10. Rashaad Penny, RB, Seattle Seahawks
11. Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys
12. Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears
It's not advisable to take a defense in the top half of your fantasy draft. If you insist on reaching for a D/ST, though, the Chicago Bears are the team to target. Chicago allowed a league-low 17.7 points per game while also racking up 50 sacks and 27 interceptions.
You're still in prime position to grab a quality signal-caller here, so if you haven't taken a quarterback yet, go ahead and grab Russell Wilson.
Wilson is a tremendous choice in any league that awards points for quarterback rushing yards. He's also a quality signal-caller in leagues that heavily weight touchdown passes, as he had 35 of them last season. If you're looking for a reliable signal-caller regardless of format, you could do much worse than Wilson.
1. James Washington, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Latavius Murray, RB, New Orleans Saints
3. Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints
4. Derrius Guice, RB, Washington Redskins
5. Jordan Howard, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
6. Matt Breida, RB, San Francisco 49ers
7. Royce Freeman, RB, Denver Broncos
8. Donte Moncrief, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
9. Golden Tate, WR, New York Giants
10. Darrell Henderson, RB, Los Angeles Rams
11. Dion Lewis, RB, Tennessee Titans
12. N'Keal Harry, WR, New England Patriots
You should be working on your bench by Round 9, but don't take just any player here. Look for players who could break out at some point in 2019. That point doesn't have to come early, though. A midseason breakout is perfect timing for a fantasy playoff push.
Pittsburgh Steelers wideout James Washington is just the player. He's been incredible so far this preseason—he's averaged a whopping 20.3 yards per reception through two games—and could be headed toward the No. 2 receiver job in Pittsburgh.
Seattle Seahawks running back Rashaad Penny is another breakout candidate. The 2018 first-round pick will start the season behind Chris Carson on the depth chart, but he could see more playing time as the season progresses.
1. Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore Ravens
2. Anthony Miller, WR, Chicago Bears
3. Eric Ebron, TE, Indianapolis Colts
4. DeSean Jackson, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
5. DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks
6. Keke Coutee, WR, Houston Texans
7. Tyrell Williams, WR, Oakland Raiders
8. Ronald Jones II, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9. Jamison Crowder, WR, New York Jets
10. Devin Funchess, WR, Indianapolis Colts
11. Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
12. Kareem Hunt, RB, Cleveland Browns
Keep throwing darts at potential breakout players in Round 10. There's nothing wrong with nabbing an established receiver like DeSean Jackson, but players with upside like DK Metcalf and Tyrell Williams have more potential to become legitimate fantasy stars.
Metcalf has the skill set of a future No. 1 receiver, while Williams—who racked up 653 yards and five scores in 2018—is in line for a bigger role as the Oakland Raiders' No. 2 wideout.
"He's very underrated, but he can do it all," Raiders cornerback Daryl Worley said of Williams, per Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Oh, and if you still haven't taken a quarterback, go ahead and pull the trigger on Baltimore Ravens signal-caller Lamar Jackson.
The Ravens have been working to refine Jackson as a passer this offseason. However, he's proved during the preseason that he's still more than capable of producing electrifying plays with his legs.
1. LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills
2. John Brown, WR, Buffalo Bills
3. Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills
4. Jacksonville Jaguars D/ST
5. David Njoku, TE, Cleveland Browns
6. Austin Hooper, TE, Atlanta Falcons
7. Los Angeles Rams D/ST
8. Jaylen Samuels, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
9. Kalen Ballage, RB, Miami Dolphins
10. Adrian Peterson, RB, Washington Redskins
11. Nyheim Hines, RB, Indianapolis Colts
12. Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
If you haven't drafted a tight end yet, now is a great time to do so. Guys like David Njoku, Austin Hooper and Delanie Walker may still be available in Round 11, and they're players residing in that vast second tier of fantasy tight ends.
Don't draft two tight ends just because there's still value at the position, though. The tight end spot isn't important enough to warrant keeping a backup, and tight ends do not belong in your flex. The exception here is if you drafted an elite tight end in the first couple of rounds and want to have a little insurance.
Otherwise, draft your starting tight end, stick with him, and use the waiver wire for the bye week.
1. Peyton Barber, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
2. Adam Humphries, WR, Tennessee Titans
3. Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
4. Delanie Walker, TE, Tennessee Titans
5. Parris Campbell, WR, Indianapolis Colts
6. Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts
7. Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots
8. Carlos Hyde, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
9. Mohamed Sanu, WR, Atlanta Falcons
10. Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers
11. Dak Prescott, QB, Dallas Cowboys
12. Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins
Round 12 is the perfect place to start targeting rookies who don't already appear headed for a No. 1 role. Indianapolis Colts wideout Parris Campbell, for example, could emerge as a big-play threat later in the season and, therefore, has sleeper value.
Likewise, Patriots running back Damien Harris has the potential to break out as a member of New England's backfield committee. Neither is likely to be worth a start early in the season, so these are flier picks. This is the point in the draft where you can and should gamble on fliers, though.
1. Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers
2. Trey Burton, TE, Chicago Bears
3. Jalen Richard, RB, Oakland Raiders
4. Kyle Rudolph, TE, Minnesota Vikings
5. Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams
6. Jamaal Williams, RB, Green Bay Packers
7. Philip Rivers, QB, Los Angeles Chargers
8. T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions
9. Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore Ravens
10. Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots
11. Mitchell Trubisky, QB, Chicago Bears
12. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Players who consistently came up in Round 13 indicate precisely why it's silly to reach for a tight end or a quarterback in the early rounds of your fantasy draft.
While players like Kyle Rudolph and T.J. Hockenson aren't likely to match the production of elite tight ends Ertz, Kittle and Kelce, they are starting-caliber players for the position.
Likewise, quarterbacks Jared Goff and Philip Rivers aren't considered among the fantasy elite. However, they are signal-callers you can start and feel good about each and every week.
1. Jerick McKinnon, RB, San Francisco 49ers
2. DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Denver Broncos
3. Baltimore Ravens D/ST
4. Justin Jackson, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
5. Justice Hill, RB, Baltimore Ravens
6. Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas Cowboys
7. Kenny Stills, WR, Miami Dolphins
8. Hakeem Butler, WR, Arizona Cardinals
9. Buffalo Bills D/ST
10. Darwin Thompson, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
11. Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
12. Minnesota Vikings D/ST
Let's be clear. If a running back like Justin Jackson, Darwin Thompson or Justice Hill is sitting there in Round 14, you need to pull the trigger. While these players are considered sleepers, they seem to be moving up their respective depth charts during the preseason.
Thompson, in particular, appears to be headed for a significant role regardless of his team's situation. According to The Athletic's Nate Taylor, Thompson has already claimed the No. 2 job in Kansas City and has split time with Damien Williams in the first-team offense in practices.
Jackson, meanwhile, looks set to be a big piece of the Chargers' rushing attack for as long as Gordon stays away from the team. Justice Hill's future is a little murkier, but he could emerge as Baltimore's speedy complement to Mark Ingram.
1. Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens
2. Houston Texans D/ST
3. Marquise Goodwin, WR, San Francisco 49ers
4. Jimmy Graham, TE, Green Bay Packers
5. Ito Smith, RB, Atlanta Falcons
6. Cleveland Browns D/ST
7. Los Angeles Chargers D/ST
8. Greg Zuerlein, K, Los Angeles Rams
9. Justin Tucker, K, Baltimore Ravens
10. Cole Beasley, WR, Dallas Cowboys
11. Indianapolis Colts D/ST
12. Denver Broncos D/ST
There's nothing wrong with reaching a bit for an elite defense. If you haven't done so before the second-to-last round, however, fill your D/ST slot here.
Under no circumstances should you draft a kicker before your defense. A weak defense is a bigger fantasy liability and much harder to replace via the waiver wire.
Don't draft two defenses, either. If you've landed a good one, you're only going to need a fill-in for a single week. You should be able to find a reasonable one-week option based on matchups alone. Look for the worst offenses playing during your D/ST bye, and scoop up a defense playing against one of them.
1. Will Lutz, K, New Orleans Saints
2. Harrison Butker, K, Kansas City Chiefs
3. Stephen Gostkowski, K, New England Patriots
4. New England Patriots D/ST
5. Ka'imi Fairbairn, K, Houston Texans
6. Jake Elliott, K, Philadelphia Eagles
7. Robbie Gould, K, San Francisco 49ers
8. Mason Crosby, K, Green Bay Packers
9. Matt Prater, K, Detroit Lions
10. Brett Maher, K, Dallas Cowboys
11. Matt Gay, K, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
12. Adam Vinatieri, K, Indianapolis Colts
The final round is almost always where you should take your kicker. The only exception to this rule is when you're picking at the bottom of the second-to-last round and will, therefore, pick early here. It can be worth leapfrogging a couple of other managers to get the kicker you want in that scenario because you'll still have one last pick to use on a potential sleeper.
Otherwise, wait until your last pick to grab a specialist. These are the least valuable players on your roster, and they're the easiest to replace via the waiver wire.