Burning Questions for the 2019 NFL Draft (Fantasy Football)
Unless you’re deep into the Alliance of American Football, the week since the NFL left us has been rough. To fill that void, it’s time to start looking three months ahead to the NFL Draft. It’s never too early to mock quarterbacks to the Patriots and debate whether a running back should go in the first round.
There’s plenty of things to keep an eye on for fantasy, too. Here are three burning questions that owners should pay attention to heading into draft season.
How many quarterbacks will go in the first round?
A quarterback doesn’t have to be drafted in the first round to become a fantasy option. (Russell Wilson, anyone?) But it does indicate how soon a team may be ready to use a new signal-caller. For example, Washington could draft someone with Alex Smith’s status for 2019 up in the air.
The same goes for other teams who may be looking at a change. The Dolphins have a new head coach coming in and seem to be waffling on Ryan Tannehill. The Broncos appear heavily interested in Drew Lock, and Jon Gruden is liable to do anything with the Raiders.
As of right now, Kyler Murray would be the only rookie quarterback I’d potentially want in fantasy. But how the first round shakes out in regards to quarterbacks will have wide-ranging consequences. I’d expect any Dolphins receiver to take a step back with a rookie compared to the long-serving Tannehill. An improved quarterback situation in Washington could boost its offense as a whole, and Denver’s young offense could get even younger.
It’s anyone’s guess how this will all play out in late April, but teams’ decisions on whether they draft a quarterback early will have fantasy owners buzzing.
Where will D.K. Metcalf land?
Metcalf is by far my favorite receiver in the draft. He has the speed and size to be an immediate down-field threat for any team, and his ability to play the ball reminds me of Josh Gordon’s earlier years in Cleveland.
His landing spot will have major fantasy consequences. If he ends up on, say, the Browns, where they have an established starting quarterback and a new head coach who has shown the ability to unlock Baker Mayfield’s abilities, Metcalf could make an immediate fantasy impact.
Other potential, tantalizing mid-first-round landing spots include the Ravens, Steelers (pending Antonio Brown’s future), and Texans. However, if he were to go earlier to someone like the Dolphins or Panthers, I’d be concerned about his situation.
The combine will also be key for Metcalf. He missed most of 2018 with a neck injury, so he could fall if anything shows up on his physical.
Will anyone care about running backs?
As C.J. Anderson showed us in the playoffs, the running back position is pretty much a crapshoot.
The same went for last year’s draft. Some teams who drafted running backs early (Nick Chubb to the Browns, Sony Michel to the Patriots) used their rookies heavily. But others, such as Rashaad Penny in Seattle and Ronald Jones in Tampa Bay, showed that production means far more than draft position.
In this year’s draft, Josh Jacobs is the only running back I could see going in the first round. Yet it’d require a team to reach, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he fell to the late second round. This draft could paint a picture of how NFL teams feel about the position.
At the end of the day, does it really matter? Phillip Lindsay showed that even an undrafted rookie can come in and take hold of a job.
I’ll be very interested to see where running backs are drafted and if they land on teams that will utilize them in a major way. Before the season even started, I wrote that Penny could be overshadowed in a crowded Seahawks backfield. If you’re looking for a running back in any dynasty league (especially those that have rookie drafts), it’ll be important to monitor draft positioning.
Jon Munshaw is a correspondent at FantasyPros. For more from Jon, check out his archive.