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Various players are getting franchise tagged, free agency starts in less than a week, and the NFL Draft is quickly upon us. With that, it’s the perfect time to give way too early fantasy football rankings. This list is compiled based on standard league formats, and only features returning players.
- Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs: The reigning MVP is only going into his 3rd year, and his 2nd as a starter. He finished as QB1 in 2018, and it wasn’t close. With 50 passing touchdowns, Mahomes was 11 ahead of the next-closest option.
- Aaron Rodgers – Green Bay Packers: No one denies the talent of Aaron Rodgers, as he has been excellent throughout his career. Rodgers finished as QB4 last season, which is viewed as a down year for him. The biggest note of Rodgers is that he doesn’t turn the ball over, with only 2 interceptions last season.
- Drew Brees – New Orleans Saints: Drew Brees was a strong MVP candidate last season up until Patrick Mahomes ran away with the award. He also holds five 5,000-yard passing seasons, and could easily do it again. Brees finished as QB7 in 2018, but that’s due to the fact that their run game was efficient.
- Andrew Luck – Indianapolis Colts: Last season was Andrew Luck’s first full season in quite some time, and he proved how good he was yet again. He finished as QB6 and had the second-most passing touchdowns in the league. The Colts have the most cap space of any team and will build on that offense, making Luck even more desirable.
- Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans: In his second year, Watson managed to bring his completion percentage up by 7%. In addition, he was the only QB with over 4,000 yards passing and 500 yards rushing. As a dual threat, Watson offers more in terms of fantasy production than most.
- Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks: Russell Wilson might be the best scrambling QB in the league. He finished joint 3rd for most passing touchdowns in 2018. Since 2012, Wilson has finished inside the top 10 QBs every season with the exception of one, where he finished 11th.
- Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons: The Atlanta Falcons had a down year in 2018, but in terms of fantasy production, Matt Ryan did not. He finished as QB3, with nearly 5,000 yards passing and tied for the 3rd-most passing touchdowns.
- Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers: Losing Antonio Brown could be a hit for Ben Roethlisberger, but with Juju Smith-Schuster having a breakout year in 2018, the worry remains minimal. With that aside, Big Ben is still one of the best fantasy option available at QB. He led the league in passing last year and finished in the top 5 for passing touchdowns.
- Jared Goff – Los Angeles Rams: Enough can’t be said about how Sean McVay’s offense has transformed Jared Goff into a top 10 QB. Goff finished as QB9 in his 3rd year. With a healthy offense, Goff should be able to take the reigns and produce.
- Baker Mayfield – Cleveland Browns: This might be the biggest shock, but Baker Mayfield came in last season and balled out. Mayfield only featured in 14 games and had Hue Jackson as his coach for a portion of that. Despite that, Mayfield finished as QB17. The Browns are more than likely going to build on that offense, which is going to elevate Mayfield to top 10 status in no time.
- Ezekiel Elliot – Dallas Cowboys: In his career, Ezekiel Elliot has averaged over 100 rushing yards per game. Every season he has played a full season, Elliot has been the NFL rushing leader. Next season will be more of the same, especially as that defense gets better. He finished as RB5 last season and will improve on that to becoming RB1.
- Saquon Barkley – New York Giants: Everyone expected Saquon Barkley to come in and take the league by storm, and he did that and more. Barkley totaled over 2,000 scrimmage yards and 15 TD in 2018. He finished as RB2 in fantasy and was only a rookie.
- Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams: Todd Gurley has totaled 40 TD over the last 2 seasons. He was an MVP candidate not too long ago and will find that form again in 2019. This past season, Gurley finished as RB1.
- Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers: Christian McCaffrey had over 1,000 yards rushing and nearly 900 yards receiving in 2018. He was RB3 last season and should be within the top five again this year.
- Alvin Kamara – New Orleans Saints: Through his career, Alvin Kamara averages 5.1 yards per carry. Not only that, but he’s exceptional at receiving out of the backfield. With Mark Ingram more than likely on his way out, Kamara will get the bulk of the load in 2019.
- Melvin Gordon – Los Angeles Chargers: Melvin Gordon is coming off of his 3rd consecutive season with 1,300+ scrimmage yards and 12+ TD. He averaged 5.1 yards per carry last season and looks to replicate these stats again.
- Le’Veon Bell – FA: We are not sure where Le’Veon Bell is going to end up, but wherever it may be, he will make an instant impact. Each of his last qualified seasons, Bell has averaged over 1,900+ scrimmage yards and 10+ TD.
- Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Mixon is coming into his 3rd year and is part of a great running back class with the likes of Alvin Kamara and Christian McCaffrey. In his 14 games played (13 started), Mixon has had nearly 1,500 scrimmage yards and 9 TD.
- David Johnson – Arizona Cardinals: I’m sure those with short-term memory forget how productive David Johnson can be. In 2016, Johnson produced 2,000+ scrimmage yards and 20 TD. In 2018, his production slipped to 1,300+ scrimmage yards and 10 TD, which is still efficient.
- James Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers: James Conner came in and took over for Le’Veon Bell for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018. Last season, Conner ranked as RB7 and finished with 1,470 total scrimmage yards and 13 TD.
- DeAndre Hopkins – Houston Texans: DeAndre Hopkins has the best hands in the NFL, and now has a quality QB throwing to him in Deshaun Watson. In 2018, Hopkins totaled 1,572 receiving yards and 11 TD. He may have only been WR4, but he was less than 15 points away from earning WR2 status.
- Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons: Julio Jones offers one of the best combinations in terms of size and speed at the WR position. He led the NFL in receiving a year ago with 1,677 receiving yards, and finished with 8 TD as well.
- Davante Adams – Green Bay Packers: Davante Adams finished last season with 1,386 receiving yards and 13 TD. He finished as WR2 and didn’t even feature in his last regular season game. On top of that, Adams finished each game with either 80+ receiving yards or a touchdown.
- Tyreek Hill – Kansas City Chiefs: Last season, Tyreek Hill had 1,630 total scrimmage yards and 13 TD. He finished as WR3 this past season, but there will be alternative skill players on the Kansas City Chiefs who may steal targets from him.
- Antonio Brown – Oakland Raiders: Putting Antonio Brown on this list is tricky, as he transitions over to the Oakland Raiders. Last season, Brown produced 1,297 receiving yards and a league-high 15 TD. With a new franchise at hand, it will be interesting to see whether Brown can maintain his consistency.
- Odell Beckham Jr. – New York Giants: Odell Beckham Jr. holds one of the biggest personalities in the league, but he’s got the skill to back it up. He only featured in 12 games last season, but finished with over 1,000 receiving yards 6 TD. Even only featuring in 12 games, Beckham Jr. was WR14.
- Juju Smith-Schuster – Pittsburgh Steelers: JujuSmith-Shuster is a young and upcoming receiver. In his second year, he totaled 1,426 receiving yards and 7 TD. Without Brown on the roster, Smith-Schuster is a WR1 for any fantasy lineup.
- Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints: Last season, Michael Thomas saw his numbers incline. Perhaps one of the most significant numbers was the fact that his catch percentage was at 85%; the highest of his career. With a total of 1,405 receiving yards and 9 TD, he should manage WR8 status in 2019.
- Adam Thielen – Minnesota Vikings: Adam Thielen had one of the best starts for a receiver in NFL history, recording 8 consecutive 100+ receiving yard performances. Unfortunately in the second half, Thielen only had 1 such game.
- Mike Evans – Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tampa Bay had an interesting situation at QB last season, but nonetheless, Mike Evans remained a consistent performer. He tallied 1,524 receiving yards and 8 TD, which saw him finish as WR10.
- Travis Kelce – Kansas City Chiefs: The Kansas City Chiefs have one of the most exciting offenses in the NFL, and Travis Kelce is at the heart of that. He is coming off his most productive year, with 1,336 receiving yards and 10 TD.
- Zach Ertz – Philadelphia Eagles: Last season was Zach Ertz’s first season that he eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark. He proved to be the #1 option in what should be a solid Philadelphia Eagles offense. He also offers himself as a threat in the red zone, coming off his second straight season with 8 TD.
- George Kittle – San Fransisco 49ers: George Kittle came virtually out of nowhere, because when QB Jimmy Garoppolo went down, many wrote off the San Francisco 49ers. Kittle was a reliable option, finishing with over 1,300 receiving yards and 5 TD.
- Eric Ebron – Indianapolis Colts: Eric Ebron saw new life in Indianapolis. With the return of Andrew Luck, Ebron is a real fantasy threat. He finished last season with an incredible 14 TD; the most among TE’s.
- Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots: Everyone knows how great Rob Gronkowski is, but now it’s a question of whether he is healthy enough to play 16 games in 2019. Despite injuries, Gronkowski finished as TE10.
- David Njoku – Cleveland Browns: David Njoku offers himself as an exciting potential option for Baker Mayfield in 2019. He had 639 receiving yards and 4 TD in 2018, finishing as TE11.
- Jared Cook – FA: The Oakland Raiders didn’t have many bright spots last season, but Jared Cook was one of them. As a veteran, Cook saw his first Pro Bowl entrance under Jon Gruden. He had 896 receiving yards and 6 TD, and can provide himself as a fantasy asset in most leagues, regardless of where he plays.
- Evan Engram – New York Giants: Evan Engram only featured in 11 games this past season, but saw his yards per reception and catch percentage increase from the year prior. Engram still was able to manage 577 yards and 3 TD, finishing in the top half among fantasy TE’s.
- O.J. Howard – Tampa Bay Buccaneers: O.J. Howard was a contributor for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense before getting injured. He played in only 10 games and had 565 receiving yards and 5 TD.
- Delanie Walker – Tennessee Titans: Delanie Walker is a veteran coming off of an injury, so there is concern. However, in his last full season, Walker put up 800 receiving yards and 4 TD. Since 2012, Walker has been a flash for various fantasy lineups.
Featured Image source: Julio Cortez (AP)
All stats based on fantasy.nfl.com & pro-football-reference.com