Early Pick Mock Draft (2019 Fantasy Football)
As draft day approaches for many leagues, pre-draft luck can swing the fortunes of a team before the season even kicks off. However, it’s decided, draft order plays a tremendous factor in the overall outlook of a season and an undesirable draft slot can leave a team in a hole right out of the gate.
Being towards the front end of the draft is naturally preferable as it opens up a bevy of elite options right at the outset. For the purposes of this exercise, I went with the No. 2 overall pick and maintained the same strategy that I would if I were first or last, adjust to what is happening in the draft rather than staying steadfast to rankings and a specific strategy.
With the second-overall pick, I knew that I was likely going to have the choice of either Saquon Barkley or Christian McCaffrey. After Barkley went off the board, I swooped up McCaffrey and was on my way with one of the best players in fantasy football.
As my second pick approached, I was looking to grab a high-level receiver to pair with McCaffrey, as I knew that he would stand as a solid foundation for my RBs. I decided to go with Mike Evans or Antonio Brown due to the latter’s recent off the field antics and the general uncertainty surrounding him. I may have been open to choosing Brown a round or two later, but he posed far too much risk for me in the second.
My third-round choice took a little bit more thought, as the option of going for an RB was appealing. I knew that by my fourth-round pick I was likely to have missed out on the second/third tier of RBs like Marlon Mack and Kerryon Johnson, but ultimately I felt Keenan Allen was a tremendous option as a WR2.
I wanted to address the RB position with my fourth pick even though a decent amount of value remained at WR. In retrospect, I might have been open to choosing an RB with my third pick after seeing the WRs available in the fourth, but even with hindsight, I’m not sure that the value was there. I chose to grab Mark Ingram over Sony Michel, a decision that was made in large part due to Ingram’s durability and his upside in the run-first, run-second, and probably run-third nature of Baltimore’s offense this year.
With my fifth pick, I had a bit of a conundrum. In a vacuum, Chris Godwin is probably the easy choice over Cooper Kupp, but I didn’t want to put myself in the position of being too reliant on Tampa Bay’s WRs. Kupp should once again get a ton of targets in the Los Angeles offense despite there being a lot of mouths to feed.
Throughout the next few rounds, I tried to mix upside with reliability so that I would have a well-balanced bench. I think Christian Kirk could be a breakout player in the Cardinals new offense and Lamar Miller should serve as a relatively consistent RB2/Flex option throughout the season. Royce Freeman, Curtis Samuel, Anthony Miller, and Damien Harris all have high ceilings considering their draft position and at that point in the draft I felt that swinging for the fences is generally the right call.
As the draft was winding down, I didn’t necessarily plan on taking Vance McDonald but in the 12th round, he felt like great value. In the 13th and 14th, I finally opted to address my QB situation and applied the same general logic to each pick. Both Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen have a built-in floor with their rushing ability and both played very well — fantasy-wise — throughout the last third of the season. It’s unquestionably a bit of a risky play to rely on two second-year players, but I felt the potential reward outweighed the risk.
After selecting a kicker and a defense the draft concluded and I was quite pleased with my team. A core of McCaffrey/Evans/Allen/Ingram will be tough to compete against and my FLEX spot will be a nice rotation of consistency and upside.