Early Fantasy Football Rankings + Sleepers for 2019

Dec 31, 2018

Todd Gurley is already looking like the clear-cut favorite choice among fantasy experts for 2019 drafts

The 2018 regular season has concluded and it’s time to welcome 2019! We have now arrived in the fantasy offseason after a weekend of critical NFL action in which we witnessed the Eagles steamroll their way to the No. 6 seed in the NFC, the Ravens hold off Baker Mayfield to win the AFC North division crown, and the Colts take care of business to sneak into the big dance as the AFC’s sixth seed. If your NFL team is in the tourney or if your fantasy team took home the ultimate prize, then congratulations!

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With the new year here, now is a great time to shift gears towards next season and get a sneak peek at 2019’s best fantasy options. With that in mind, our most accurate experts have come together to rank their top 10 players for next season’s drafts. Their rankings were combined into a consensus and our featured pundits also took the time to discuss their top picks and select a very early sleeper.

Featured Pros:
Kevin Hanson – EDSFootball
Sean Koerner – The Action Network
Jake Ciely – The Athletic
Andy Holloway – The Fantasy Footballers
Pat Fitzmaurice – The Football Girl

2019 Top 10 Players (PPR)

Consensus Rank Player Position Team Best Rank Worst Rank
1. Todd Gurley RB LAR 1 2
2. Saquon Barkley RB NYG 1 3
3. Christian McCaffrey RB CAR 2 4
4. Ezekiel Elliott RB DAL 3 4
5. Alvin Kamara RB NO 5 10
6. Melvin Gordon RB LAC 5 N/R
T–7. DeAndre Hopkins WR HOU 6 N/R
T–7. Davante Adams WR GB 7 N/R
T–9. Le’Veon Bell RB FA 5 N/R
T–9. James Conner RB PIT 7 N/R

Also receiving top-10 votes: A. Brown (#11), M. Thomas (#T–12), N. Chubb (#T–12), J. Jones (#T–12)

2019 Fantasy Football Draft Advice

Each expert answered two questions about the players they like next season. Here are their suggestions for who you should target.

Q1. Why is the player you ranked at #1 the best fantasy option in 2019?

Todd Gurley (RB – LAR) 
“Leading the NFL in rushing touchdowns in back-to-back seasons, Gurley has scored 40 total touchdowns and racked up nearly 4,000 YFS in 29 games over the past two seasons. Only 24 years old (turns 25 in August), Gurley is the focal point of one of the league’s most explosive and innovative offenses. The debate for No. 1 is a little closer in PPR formats, but there is no safer pick than Gurley and he has just as much upside as anyone else below him in my early rankings.”
– Kevin Hanson (EDSFootball)

“I probably don’t need to convince anyone into thinking Todd Gurley is an excellent player for fantasy football. I will say that heading into 2018 I considered Gurley the #1 overall pick and it wasn’t even close. This far out, I’m thinking that the top three backs (Gurley, Barkley, Elliott) will be fairly interchangeable making the #1 draft position a bit less valuable in 2019.”
– Sean Koerner (The Action Network)

“He’s the most complete player on the most complete offense in football. A trustworthy head coach and track record of greatness secure Todd Gurley at #1 heading into 2019.”
– Andy Holloway (The Fantasy Footballers)

Saquon Barkley (RB – NYG)
“Barkley ranked third among RBs and WRs in PPR fantasy points per game, 2.2 points per game behind Gurley and 1.4 behind Christian McCaffrey. Barkley did it as a rookie playing with a washed-up quarterback and a below average offensive line. I love that he established such a high baseline under such suboptimal circumstances. If the supporting cast improves even a little, Barkley’s 2019 numbers could be sublime.”
– Pat Fitzmaurice (The Football Girl)

Other Top Options
“Seeing as how I expect everyone to have Gurley #1, I’ll talk about a few others that could push for it. If Le’Veon Bell ends up with the Colts, look out, as that offensive line has gone from one of the worst to one of the best. McCaffrey is a threat of course, as are Barkley and Ezekiel Elliott, but don’t ignore Nick Chubb. If the Browns realize that Chubb is a solid pass-catcher and use him more in that area, Chubb was once argued as an equal or even better talent to Gurley, and averaged nearly 20 FPPG in PPR over the final seven games. Side note, DeAndre Hopkins JUST missed the first round. You could argue him over Antonio Brown if you like.”
– Jake Ciely (The Athletic)

Q2. Who is your top sleeper candidate for drafts next for season?

Derrius Guice (RB – WAS)
“Assuming Guice returns 100% from his ACL injury, we’re talking about a running back with RB1 talent. As with Dalvin Cook, the risk is going to be that it takes half of the season to return to peak performance, but he has a head start to be ready and rolling by training camp. Guice is arguably a better talent than Leonard Fournette, who has already shown that LSU running backs are often better pass catchers than most realize because the school still runs an offense from 2002.”
– Jake Ciely (The Athletic)

Christian Kirk (WR – ARI) 
“While “sleepers” now could be impacted significantly by what happens in free agency (March) and the NFL Draft (April), Kirk will likely fit my definition of sleeper (a player available at pick 100+ that I like) next summer. Before the foot injury cut his season short, he established excellent rapport with fellow rookie quarterback Josh Rosen. From Weeks 3 to 13, Kirk averaged 3.8 catches for 55.9 yards (pace of nearly 900 yards) and 0.3 touchdowns in the league’s most anemic offense. Assuming the offense and Rosen are better in 2019, it wouldn’t surprise me if Kirk posted a 1,200-yard season as a sophomore.”
– Kevin Hanson (EDSFootball)

Robert Foster (WR – BUF)
“Foster ended his rookie season on a tear. The UDFA had 90+ receiving yards in four of six games from Weeks 10-16. Initially, he was a situational deep threat, but after the Bills moved on from Kelvin Benjamin his route tree became much more balanced and he became one of Josh Allen’s favorite weapons. I can see the two building on their chemistry in the offseason and on their success as rookies in their sophomore season. Foster may be overlooked heading into drafts next year, but could be a sneaky WR3 that can be taken much later.”
– Sean Koerner (The Action Network)

Dede Westbrook (WR – JAC) 
“I believe Le’Veon Bell and Sony Michel will both be undervalued relative to their talent and opportunities in 2019, so look for both to surprise relative to their draft value. When it comes to a deep sleeper for next year, look at Westbrook and whether Jacksonville can remedy the QB position with someone like Matthew Stafford or Joe Flacco next season. Westbrook is a talented player that can break a big play and could be primed for a second-year leap.”
– Andy Holloway (The Fantasy Footballers)

Breshad Perriman (WR – CLE) 
“Well, if we’re talking TRUE sleepers — guys likely to be well off the radar in August — I’m actually sort of intrigued by Perriman. He’s looked terrific with the Browns this year, albeit in a peripheral role. A lot of people have written him off, but injuries derailed him early in his career. The exceptional athleticism is still there, and he’s only 25. Perriman is about to become a free agent, and his landing spot will be important, but he’s worth your attention.”
– Pat Fitzmaurice (The Football Girl)

Thanks to 2018’s most accurate experts for sharing their advice! For more of the experts’ insight, be sure to follow each pundit on Twitter (click their names above) and visit their respective sites. Happy New Year to everyone!

What's your take? Leave a comment

1Saquon Barkley (NYG)RB
2Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)RB
3Christian McCaffrey (CAR)RB
4Alvin Kamara (NO)RB
5Melvin Gordon (LAC)RB
6David Johnson (ARI)RB
7DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)WR
8Davante Adams (GB)WR
9Le'Veon Bell (NYJ)RB
10Joe Mixon (CIN)RB
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11Julio Jones (ATL)WR
12James Conner (PIT)RB
13Odell Beckham Jr. (CLE)WR
14Travis Kelce (KC)TE
15Michael Thomas (NO)WR
16JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT)WR
17Todd Gurley (LAR)RB
18Nick Chubb (CLE)RB
19Dalvin Cook (MIN)RB
20Mike Evans (TB)WR
21Antonio Brown (OAK)WR
22George Kittle (SF)TE
23T.Y. Hilton (IND)WR
24Keenan Allen (LAC)WR
25A.J. Green (CIN)WR
26Marlon Mack (IND)RB
27Amari Cooper (DAL)WR
28Leonard Fournette (JAC)RB
29Derrick Henry (TEN)RB
30Damien Williams (KC)RB
1Mike Trout (LAA)CF,DH
2Christian Yelich (MIL)LF,CF
3Mookie Betts (BOS)CF,RF
4Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
5Cody Bellinger (LAD)1B,CF
6Trevor Story (COL)SS
7Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
8J.D. Martinez (BOS)LF,RF
9Ronald Acuna Jr. (ATL)LF,CF
10Alex Bregman (HOU)3B,SS
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11Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
12Javier Baez (CHC)2B,3B
13Trea Turner (WSH)SS
14Justin Verlander (HOU)SP
15Adalberto Mondesi (KC)2B,SS
16Gerrit Cole (HOU)SP
17Chris Sale (BOS)SP
18Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B
19Jacob deGrom (NYM)SP
20Blake Snell (TB)SP
21Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
22Kris Bryant (CHC)3B,RF
23Anthony Rendon (WSH)3B
24Paul Goldschmidt (STL)1B
25Anthony Rizzo (CHC)1B
26Whit Merrifield (KC)1B,2B
27Rhys Hoskins (PHI)1B,LF
28Bryce Harper (PHI)CF,RF
29Juan Soto (WSH)LF
30Manny Machado (SD)3B,SS
1Anthony Davis (LAL)PF,C
2James Harden (HOU)PG,SG
3Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)SF,PF
4Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)C
5Kevin Durant (GSW)SF,PF
6LeBron James (LAL)SF,PF
7Stephen Curry (GSW)PG,SG
8Nikola Jokic (DEN)PF,C
9Damian Lillard (POR)PG
10Russell Westbrook (OKC)PG
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11Victor Oladipo (IND)PG,SG
12Paul George (OKC)SG,SF
13Joel Embiid (PHI)PF,C
14Kawhi Leonard (TOR)SG,SF
15Chris Paul (HOU)PG
16Jimmy Butler (PHI)SG,SF
17Kemba Walker (CHA)PG
18Kyrie Irving (BOS)PG,SG
19Ben Simmons (PHI)PG,SF
20Jrue Holiday (NOR)PG,SG
21Rudy Gobert (UTH)C
22Andre Drummond (DET)PF,C
23John Wall (WAS)PG
24Kyle Lowry (TOR)PG
25Khris Middleton (MIL)SG,SF
26Donovan Mitchell (UTH)PG,SG
27Bradley Beal (WAS)SG
28Kevin Love (CLE)PF,C
29Draymond Green (GSW)PF,C
30LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS)PF,C
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