The most important thing in the 1st Round of your fantasy draft is getting the best player available. More than any other round, your earliest pick represents your best chance to get a player that will carry your team all season long. If you are drafting towards the backend of Round 1 in your draft, questions can start to arise about which player represents the most value for your team. The latest episode of The Fantasy Footballers Podcast has you covered as the guys broke down their overall top-10 players for 2019.
If you’re ready for more than just a top-10 list, it’s time to get your Ultimate Draft Kit. The Ballers have given you everything you need to prepare for your draft and now it’s available as a mobile app!
10. Todd Gurley – RB – Los Angeles Rams
While Gurley carries plenty of risk, the production cannot be ignored. He has been the #1 fantasy RB for the last 2 seasons and his 2018 was the 10th best PPR season in history. Fear has dropped his ADP to the 2nd Round, and that continues to go down, he could prove to be the steal of your draft. While Gurley may not see the volume this season that he has in the past, his efficiency should balance that out. While questions surround Gurley for 2019, the biggest question will likely be: When are you willing to draft him?
9. David Johnson – RB – Arizona Cardinals
Johnson let down many a fantasy owner last year. While he finished as the RB10, it was an ugly season overall. His current ADP is as the overall 5th pick, so there is no discount for his 2018 performance. The Cardinals will have an entirely new offense in 2019, which has to be better for DJ than what Mike McCoy ran out there in 2018. Essentially, Johnson is being drafted as a potential #1 overall RB and he should see the volume needed to achieve that goal. DJ is one of the best pass-catching RBs in football, and Kliff Kingsbury‘s offense should be very pass-heavy.
8. Davante Adams – WR – Green Bay Packers
Adams might represent the least risky pick of the entire 1st Round. Volume is not going to be an issue, he was heavily targeted in 2018 and Aaron Rodgers has already said he wants to get him the ball more. Matt Harmon’s Reception Perception profile, also found in the UDK, shows that no player has improved over their career better than Adams. He is the #1 WR for one of the best QBs in the NFL and is going to be a great fantasy player again in 2019.
7. Julio Jones – WR – Atlanta Falcons
Julio has not finished worse than the WR8 in the last five years. Jones is going at the very back of Round 1 in fantasy drafts right now and has definite WR1 overall potential. The only inconsistency in Jones’ game is TDs. In 2018, he only scored eight TDs on 170 targets due to a very slow start. The second half of the season went far better and that finish is what propels Julio up the ranks. Jones is a virtual lock to be at the top of the league in yards and receptions.
6. DeAndre Hopkins – WR – Houston Texans
Hopkins has been the #1 or #2 fantasy WR in each of the last two seasons. Part of that success is that he has led the league in target share in each of the last two seasons. Hopkins is the most known commodity in the world of fantasy WRs, he does what he does and does it very well. His ceiling is very clearly WR1 but his floor may only be the WR3 so you can feel very safe adding Hopkins to your roster but his success means that you will need to have a top-ten pick to have any chance at landing him.
5. Melvin Gordon – RB – Los Angeles Chargers
Gordon has finished the last three seasons as a top-7 fantasy RB in each year but has only played all 16 games one time over that span. When he is on the field, he is one of the best fantasy RBs but his injury history makes him risky. He gets the workload and finds the endzone as good as any runner in the league. Gordon has scored 38 total TDs over the last three seasons and did not “bust” in any game that he started in 2018. Gordon is a true workhorse, great on the ground, great as a receiver, and should have another solid fantasy season in 2019.
4. Alvin Kamara – RB – New Orleans Saints
SUPER KAMARIO! Kamara is a guy that does not need a lot of carries to be a fantasy monster. Last season, an RB target in the passing game proved to be 1.88x more valuable than an RB carry and Kamara is a Drew Brees favorite in the passing game. Kamara finished with 883 rushing yards and 709 yards receiving on 81 receptions. The Saints replaced Mark Ingram with Latavius Murray, which could lead to more touches for Kamara and an even better 2019.
3. Christian McCaffrey – RB -Carolina Panthers
Last year, McCaffrey was the #1 receiving RB in the NFL. He was targeted 124 times and reeled in 107 balls, the 8th most in the league, regardless of position. He still carried the ball over 200 times last season and finished with over 1,000 rushing yards. He runs well, catches well, and has no threats on the depth chart: he is game-script proof and will always be on the field. CMC is a PPR demigod.
2. Ezekiel Elliott – RB – Dallas Cowboys
It was recently announced that Zeke would not be disciplined for yet another offseason digression so he is safe…for now. No RB in the league touched the ball as much as Elliott last season. He led the league in carries with 304, the only RB to register 300 carries in 2018. He led the league in rushing yards with 1,435, over 100 more than 2nd place. He also reeled in 77 balls and added another 567 yards on the ground. That’s over 2,000 yards for those keeping track at home. Elliott may be the best RB in the league, fantasy or otherwise.
1. Saquon Barkley – RB – New York Giants
The only other player to register 2,000+ scrimmage yards last year was rookie sensation, Saquon Barkley. Some may try to fade him due to how bad the Giants offense is…but they were bad last year too and that certainly did not slow him down. Now, Barkley did score five fewer points per game last season when Odell Beckham did not play, and Beckham is now in Cleveland. The fact remains: Saquon was the most elusive back in the league last year. He was a threat to score from anywhere on the field. He had multiple games with 50+ yard runs and will need to maintain that production to pay dividends in fantasy. Barkley is by far the best weapon the Giants have and volume will not be an issue.