With the preseason beginning and many fantasy drafts planned for the next few weekends, it’s time to prep for your 2019 Fantasy Football team. Here is my advice/predictions as it relates to running backs and wide receivers:
- Saquon – With a name like Saquon, you can reach Cher status and just go by one name, and since he’s the #1 running back in fantasy, he deserves to be singled out. There is no better bet this year than Saquon, who will be the first player taken in the majority of Drafts, and he deserves the selection. His production last year as a rookie was phenomenal, they’ll lean just as heavily on him this season, and you should take him if you’re lucky enough to draft first.
- Holding Out – Le’Veon Bell refused to go to camp last season, he sat out all year, he was rewarded with one season’s less wear on his body and an enormous FA contract, so why wouldn’t more running backs follow in his footsteps? This year, it’s apparently Zeke & Melvin, who will hold out for more money, and really harm their teams in the meanwhile. For fantasy purposes, I wouldn’t draft Elliott or Gordon unless we receive some good news and they sign; I had Bell last year, and I was not a happy camper.
- Middle of the Pack – There is a great group of young RBs right in the middle of the pack that could be incredible assets this year, so grab one or two and thank me later. Especially for the value, because they aren’t super high up the list, these guys will be killer picks if they work out the way they’re capable of. Nick Chubb, Damien Williams, Aaron Jones, Josh Jacobs; this is a value group, because they all have great potential and they won’t cost you an arm & a leg.
- New Teams – Then there’s a group that have new teams to play for, so their value is questionable, and I wouldn’t pick them as more than backups. Mark Ingram (Bal), Jordan Howard (Phi), Tevin Coleman (SF), Latavius Murray (NO); it’s anyone’s guess how these dudes will do, but they have potential to be impact players on their teams, as well as part of your fantasy squad. If Jerick McKinnon is hurt again, I like Coleman’s chances to shine; he showed promise behind Devonta Freeman in Atlanta.
- Deep Dives – If you want to take a bigger chance, go down the list and nab some backs who won’t be on many radars and just might prove to be diamonds in the rough. Austin Ekeler if Melvin Gordon holds out, Peyton Barber if Tampa’s offense can wake up, Duke Johnson if he catches Watson’s eye in Houston; if you’re willing to roll the dice in a later round one of these guys might just come up a winner, just don’t reach too early because there will be safer bets available.
- Nuk – If you’re lucky enough to get DeAndre Hopkins and DeSean Watson on your team, I think you’ve got a winning pair that might take you all the way to the championship. Hopkins is by far the best receiver in the league, and also most likely the top fantasy wideout as well. He is incredible, off the charts, so good, and could catapult you toward a trophy. I also think he works even better as a companion piece to Watson, so try to get ’em both if you can; you won’t regret it.
- The Chefs – Last year it was a surprise, but this year don’t be caught without players from Kansas City, because that team scores. Mahomes & Kelce & whatever running back they throw in there (Damien Williams) we know about, but don’t forget about Tyreek Hill, as much as his off-the-field problems might turn you away. This is fantasy football, I try to keep that stuff separate, I’m just picking statistics, and if other owners are willing to let Hill slide that’s just a bonus for you, because he’s the KC WR that you should have.
- Pair Up – I’m a big believer in pairing a QB with the WR; I understand that having too many players from one team on your fantasy team can lead to let downs if that one team has a bad day, but I don’t think one QB/WR combo is too much; if your QB has a bad day you’re in for trouble anyway. So pick one of these top duos: Mahomes/Hill, Watson/Hopkins, Rodgers/Adams, Luck/Hilton, Ryan/Jones, Ben/JuJu, Brees/Thomas, Mayfield/Beckham, even Dak/Cooper or Cousins/Diggs
- Ramrod – The good thing about getting a top wideout is that, when you play a team with your WR’s QB, you have them blocked, like playing a team with Watson you know he’s gonna throw to your Hopkins, so you don’t have as much to worry about. The opposite is true about the Rams; they have three receivers who all rank the same, and not high, so you have no idea which one will score and block a team who trots out Goff. That’s a good reason to get Goff, and a good reason not to get any LA WRs, at least not as top starters.
- Avoidance – And now for some team’s receivers to avoid, for various reasons. Lions WRs aren’t great enough and don’t get the ball enough, especially with the emergence of Kerryon Johnson. Bengals WRs are just too inconsistent because so is the team, and AJ is hurt anyway, but I wouldn’t trust Boyd either. Same for the Pats, who will run more than they ever have before, with Gronk gone and Brady aging. Ten, NYG, Jax, SF, Sea, Den; just not enough passing offense to warrant high WR picks, so steer clear until later rounds.