Since I have already done an article on 7 Players to Not Draft in 2019 I figured that I should follow up with the guys that are currently some of my favorites for the upcoming season. These are players that I am planting my flag on for the 2019 season and ones that I am currently doing anything I can to get. This is my list and my list alone so let me know who are your fantasy favorites for the 2019 season and suggest who you think should be on this list. I will, of course, update this as the off-season goes on so that they are up to date for draft season. Lets dive in!
Josh Allen ADP QB16 Round 11 pick 1 My current Rank 11th overall
Josh Allen is one of my favorite late round targets when waiting on a QB. He came back better than ever for fantasy after his injury last season. He was a major threat with his legs and while he may not have been the most impressive while passing the ball last season there were reasons that can be pointed to that should not be much of an issue this season. To start things off he was a rookie adapting to the NFL who was a risk taker and that ended up in a lot of turnovers and drives ending quickly. He also had very little in the way of reliable pass catchers and had an offensive that needed some serious work. With that being said, I love him for a few reasons. He has received the pass catchers he so desperately needed due to the Bills offseason acquisitions. The team has added veteran slot WR Cole Beasley and deep threat John Brown through free agency to pair with the 2 WR’s that Allen connected with last season in WR’s Zay Jones and Rueben Foster. While it is hard to predict which of those WR’s have the best fantasy value themselves, all of these targets for Allen should help improve his pass numbers in his sophomore season. The team also added some TE help for him as they signed TE Tyler Kroft, kept Jason Croom, and added rookie Dawson Knox. Knox has received the most buzz as he is filling in for Kroft on the first team as he is dealing with foot injuries. All of these weapons could be enough to sway you into drafting Allen, but there is more! He also has a much improved offensive line as the Bills went out and signed and drafted multiple talents to compete for starting roles to help improve his length of time to stay in the pocket. All of these things and his draft price keep me firmly entrenched in his camp and I will carry his flag throughout the off-season.
Matt Ryan ADP of QB6 in Round 6 pick 10 My Rank 5th overall
While this one is a player that most already like I just have to plant my flag on Matt Ryan due to how much I love his situation in 2019. He had another top 5 finish at the position last season for fantasy and while he tends to bounce back and forth between top 5 finishes to finishing outside the top 10 I think this is the season he breaks that trend. He has his best crop of pass catchers that he has had in probably his entire career and he is also getting back starting RB Devonta Freeman who has been a very reliable pass catcher. The Falcons did not have a lot of turnover on the offensive side of the ball and will look to be a pass heavy offense once again heading into 2019. Perhaps the best thing going for him is his astounding 13 games that he will play inside of a dome. Ryan has always played much better in a dome and he will see most of the fantasy season playing inside of one. I am not the type to take a QB in the middle rounds, but with Ryan’s upside and potential consistency he has been hard to pass up going around round 7 this season.
Derrick Henry ADP of RB17 Round 3 pick 7 My Rank 11th overall
It is time for the Henry hype train to roll on once again! While he has been a hype candidate for years now I feel this is finally the year he will produce as an RB1 for fantasy purposes. The team finally gave him the workload he deserved toward the end of the season and he produced like most hoped that he would. The team has already come out and said they want to continue to feed him and build the offense around him and that to me will produce a top 12 RB by seasons end. While he was not involved heavily in the passing game last season and even with RB Dion Lewis still on the roster, I believe that he will threaten to touch the ball on an average of 18 to 20 times a game. He is a grinder who wears down defenses with a lot of rushing attempts so he can break off the big run late in contests. He will also see heavy goaline work and I believe that he will see around 30 receptions by season end bringing up his fantasy scoring floor. He could see well over 250 total carries and as the lead runner for the Titans I will grabbing Henry as my RB2 as much as possible.
Kalen Ballage ADP of RB57 Round 14 pick 2 My Rank 42nd overall
This one is based on my personal belief that Ballage will take over as the starting 2 down back for the Dolphins this season. In my opinion, teams just do not believe that Kenyan Drake can be the full workhorse that we the fantasy community think he can be. While that is yet to be proven this season with the new coaching staff, I am just done with losing a higher mid round pick on a guy that is inconsistent in fantasy scoring. Ballage however, is going as an extreme value late in drafts I am betting on the upside with him to be slotted in as the 2 down thumper for the Fins. The team did little to add to the RB core during the offseason and veteran Frank Gore is now off in Buffalo. With him gone there are now over 150 carries left for Drake and Ballage and I see Ballage taking a majority of that work while Drake mixes in on passing downs to capitalize on his explosiveness. That is not to say that I believe Ballage will not get any pass down work. I envision him taking over as the leader in the time share after a few weeks and I believe that his ceiling in fantasy is as a back end RB2 while his floor is as a weekly flex consideration. Take Ballage late and let him sit a few weeks until you have a solid depth piece on your roster.
Dante Pettis ADP of WR33 in Round 8 pick 1 My Rank 23rd overall
You knew this one was coming if you have followed any of my work this year. Dante Pettis is the WR that I will do my best to have on every single one of my teams in 2019. I believe that he is far and away the top WR on the team and I envision him as Jimmy Garoppolo’s number 2 target on the offense only behind stud TE George Kittle. I know of all of the hype behind rookie Deebo Samuels and that the roster still has Marquise Goodwin and Trent Taylor on it, but I feel that Pettis is on another level then those players. Pettis is a much more versatile WR that can line up all over the field and he give Garoppolo a solid reliable target to get the ball to. Garoppolo had a solid connection with him when on the field last season and while the sample size was small Pettis can easily build on that this offseason. With such little talent surrounding him I am betting on him to break out this year and feel he can max out as a WR2 by seasons end and you do not even have to pay that price to get him. Take him in the 8th as your WR3 or 4 and add the solid depth player you can slot into your lineup all season long.
Sammy Watkins ADP of WR22 in Round 5 pick 6 My Rank 16th overall
This one can obviously change if Tyreek Hill rejoins the team and avoids suspension, but I am betting the hammer will come down on Hill before the season kicks off. Sammy Watkins will look to get his chance to redeem himself after a few down seasons with the Rams and his current team in the Chiefs. Watkins will now slot in as the number 1 WR of 2018 MVP Patrick Mahomes. While he is not the same WR as Hill, Watkins will see a massive boost in targets and getting them from one of the best QB’s in the league can only equate to fantasy gold. I understand the hesitation, Watkins has had multiple health issues and has been disappointing over the past few seasons. With that said I cannot envision a below top 2 finish if he is Pat Mahomes WR1 for a good portion of the season. He will not just funnel targets to TE Travis Kelce and RB Damien Williams and while there are WR’s behind him they are not the same caliber of WR that Watkins is. If he can stay healthy then I believer there is top 12 potential for Watkins and he should easily finish as a WR2 by seasons end.
Dede Westbrook ADP of WR47 in Round 10 pick 9 My Rank 34th overall
Another WR that I have strong conviction of is Dede Westbrook of the Jaguars. He had a solid season with QB Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler last season and will be getting a clear upgrade with former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. The Jaguars have a solid core of WR’s with Westbrook, Marqise Lee, Keelen Cole, and the newly acquired Terrell Pryor, but I see Westbrook and the safest and best option for fantasy. Lee missed all of last season with injury and while Cole had solid games last year he disappeared at times. Westbrook is the best outside WR for the Jags and is the closest type of WR to former favorite of Nick Foles Alshon Jeffery. While Jeffery is 3 inches taller then Westbrook, he can be a solid possession WR for Foles and has solid ball skills when he has to throw it into coverage for him to catch. He can play inside as well and while Foles gets acclimated to the offense Westbrook can work on his timing with him while Lee is worked back into the offense slowly. I see a great upside to Westbrook especially at his current price and he can be a great flex option with the upside to finish as a back end WR2 if he becomes Foles top target.
Delanie Walker ADP of TE12 in round 11 pick 5 My Rank 10th overall
Walker is another player I have professed my love for in 2019. I do not fully understand the hate for the former fantasy stud, but I am going to plant my flag firmly on him finishing as a top 10 TE by seasons end. He has been one of Marcus Mariota’s favorite targets over his career and I fully believe that him missing last season played a major role in Mariota’s struggles. I do not want to dive to much into the numbers here, but click on his name to see the full outlook I did on him to see why I cannot envision a less than top 10 finish for the TE in 2019. He will be on many of my rosters this season especially with his low draft price so go get him if you are a late TE drafter like myself.
Greg Olsen ADP of TE14 in round 13 pick 3 My Rank 12th overall
Similarly to Walker, Olsen is another late rounder that I am totally fine with walking out of the draft with as my TE1. I understand the hesitation here a bit more as when Olsen was on the field last season he looked slow due to his foot injuries. With that said, I see the team taking it slow with him after his surgery and I believe they will have him up to full speed by the time the season starts. He has always been a favorite of Cam Newton and I see a steady workload as Newton comes back from shoulder surgery in the beginning of the season. He will be a favorite short yard target for Newton and if he is up to speed he can easily bounce back from his pervious disappointing performance. You can get him as one of your last picks so if he does not pan out early you can easily dump him and replace him so the risk low and the reward is a top 12 TE by season end.
I want to give you a few guys that I love that are more or less deep league considerations and guys to watch as the season progresses. Noah Fant is someone that I have talked about in the past and am very intrigued by. He is someone that I am grabbing if I totally punt the position and I am ok if he ends up being my starter in week 1. He is on a team that has desperately needed a pass catching TE for a while and with WR Emmanuel Sanders coming back from an Achilles injury the room for targets will be there early on in the season. I am by no means a big drafter of rookie TE’s, but Fant’s talent and situation line up nicely for fantasy success. Josh Oliver is another rookie TE that I like this year. He is more of a deep league option, but the Jags have needed a pass catcher for a long time as well and QB Nick Foles has been a friend to the TE position in the past. With good reviews already coming out of camp, watch Oliver early on to see if he develops a consistent connection with Foles. Finally, DeVante Parker. No I am not trolling you, I believe Parker could finally break out in 2019. All reports out of camp have been nothing but positive and while, yes, this has happened before I believe that he can be very successful with QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. As long as he wins the job Parker can produce with the WR friendly QB. I am not saying to draft in and play him immediately. What I am saying is watch for him on waivers in redraft, stash him on your bench in dynasty, and snag him with one of your last pick in best ball. He is a low risk high reward option.
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By Ryan Larrison, Contributor, Fantasy Football for the People