Dominick Petrillo @envisionff
2019 Fantasy Football Team Power Rankings
We always see rankings about which team is the best in the NFL. Whether it be on offense or defense or even overall. But no one seems to do a power ranking of teams when it is related to fantasy football prospects.
Obviously, this is much more important than real life power rankings, so they need to be given their fair due. Over this six-part Tunnel Vision Exclusive we are going to do just this for you. That’s right. It is going to give you the be all end all of fantasy power rankings. Ok, I may have oversold it a bit, but it is going to show who has the best fantasy relevant players that you should be looking at in drafts.
Of course, fantasy is an offensive game so this article will focus on offensive players but for those of you who still think defenses have a place in leagues, I will additionally add my D/ST rankings at the end of the article. Where they belong.
(Editorial Note: These rankings do not take into account any rookies who may have joined the team through the draft or as an undrafted free agent. Rookie rankings are very loosey goosey and we truly do not know how they will perform until they do so in the NFL and not college. Therefore, these rankings will only take into account players who have already spent time in the league.
Cleveland Browns: This will be a bit of a shock to some for sure. But the facts are there. Baker Mayfield is one of, if not the brightest star of all the young QB’s in the league besides Patrick Mahomes. He has a third-year tight end who could be ready to break out and a second year RB who will be a force in the running game in Nick Chubb. Not to mention what Kareem Hunt will bring to the backfield after he serves his eight-game suspension. Keeping him fresh for a postseason run. Add to this the best friend LSU duo of Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr. and the offense is stacked like Dolly Parton.
Besides being best friends off the field, Landry and Beckham will be best friends on it as well. Landry was a shell of himself in 2018 with no one on the other side of the field to take any pressure off him. Who better to do this than a top four if not the best wide receiver in the NFL? One who will grow with Landry and Mayfield as they all reach their primes. At only 26 years old, both Landry and Beckham will be a threat for many years to come alongside the 23-year old Mayfield as well as the rest of the extremely young Browns offense. Seriously, if you add up the age of Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham, I still don’t think they are as old as the great Frank Gore is. Well, it is close anyway.
Of all the stars assembled on this team, it is actually Odell Beckham Jr. who is the oldest of the group not turning 27 until halfway through this coming season. If he keeps his head on right, which will be helped a lot by his friendship with Jarvis Landry, this team will roll for many years, so they are going to reside at the top of these rankings, for me, until the time they don’t. The only issue with the potential is everyone knows about it. If you thought Beckham might slip to the late first round of fantasy drafts it is probably not happening now. Nick Chubb has also moved into the conversation for a late first or early second round pick in this offense.
While the rest of the weapons will not go quite as high, they will go high for their position. Expect to spend a fourth-round pick for Jarvis Landry and by the draft time, the price of Baker will be into the stratosphere close to Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers. If you are lucky, you might get him in the fifth or sixth round of drafts. The only player who may still prove to be a value is David Njoku. If you absolutely have to get a piece of the offense, you can probably get him in the double-digit rounds as the tight end 10 to 12. If you do this, he could be a great buy. But despite the cost, I would rather take Beckham, Chubb or Landry. And especially Mayfield if he should somehow fall to me.
Los Angeles Rams: The only reason they are not at the number one spot is a slight concern for Todd Gurley and his arthritic knee.
Jared Goff is a developing quarterback and is showing his true potential under Sean McVay and the post-Jeff Fisher offense. With Gurley behind him coming off a 17 touchdown season the run game is there. Should they have kept C.J. Anderson is going to be debated heavily, especially if the knee of Gurley starts getting worse but until it does you have one of the best running backs in the NFL.
To go along with the running game and the quarterback position you have the best trio of wide receivers in the league in Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp. Although Kupp is coming back from an ACL tear he is looking to be ready for the start of the season making this a slam dunk to produce fantasy points plenty.
Jared Goff is going to be a late-round selection with the potential to finish top five at season’s end. The terrific trio of receivers are all going to be taken before the sixth-round is finished and each of them has the ability to finish top-12 while all of them are likely to finish top-20 meaning they should all be drafted right where they are being drafted so don’t expect them to drop as the season gets closer.
Due to his injury, Kupp is likely to be the lowest drafted skill player, but due to his red zone dominance from the slot while on the field, he also has the highest upside of any of the receivers as well.
Todd Gurley has been the top overall running back in both of the past two fantasy seasons for most sites and while others have caught up to him, he is still an elite player and will not make it past the middle of the first round in any league. Therefore if you want him, I hope you were bad last season otherwise you will need to make a trade for him. And, well, just don’t do that.
New Orleans Saints: Would I rather have Alvin Kamara than Nick Chubb. Yes, for many seasons to come. But this is where the differences stop in favor of the Saints over the Browns. Drew Brees is a hall of fame quarterback and one of the best ever. But this will be the season of Baker. With all the weapons surrounding him, it just has to be. Drew Brees is going to get his 4,000 yards and 32 touchdowns, but this truly could be the floor for Mayfield. Michael Thomas is an elite receiver. On par with Odell Beckham Jr. but not better. David Njoku is a tight end who is young and has had production for his first two seasons whereas Jared cook is coming off a season in which he had over 800 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Both career highs.
When it comes to the rest of the receiving game it is a mystery as to how they will perform. Keith Kirkwood and Tre’quan Smith had their moments in 2018 but nothing which makes you think they are going to be as good as Jarvis Landry in year two. These limitations are the only reason they are ranked slightly below the Cleveland Browns in my ranks.
There are sure to be shootouts in the NFC South which is part of the reason I still have the Saints ranked ahead of others and they will still provide a plethora of fantasy goodness. You cannot go wrong if you take Michael Thomas in the late first round or if you draft Alvin Kamara top-five. But as far as others on the offense, it will be a long wait to hear their names clicked. Drew Brees should go in the eighth or ninth round although he may even go later than this in a lot of drafts. Jared Cook should finish the season higher than his draft selection, but he will still be picked in the area of tight end eight to 10. As for the rest of the offense in Kirkwood and Smith, look for them to either go as a last round flier pick or get placed on the Waiver wire for a mid-season pick up after they show themselves for a few weeks.
The only wild card in the equation is what to do with Latavius Murray. He is going to get work on the level of Mark Ingram making him more than a handcuff. If you have two solid starting running backs on your roster, he would make a wonderful third option for you. Currently going off the board at the end of the 10th round this number will rise through the offseason. As long as it doesn’t go any higher than the seventh or eighth round, he is still a buy. If he starts creeping higher you should stay away and after a few weeks where Kamara does show out early, pounce on a low trade for him and reap the goodness which will develop later in the season.
Kansas City Chiefs: If you want to know just how good the 2018 season was for Patrick Mahomes, I have a stat for you so listen up. You to Dave Gettleman. While only completing 23 more passes than Eli Manning, Patrick Mahomes had 29 more touchdown passes. This is what you get when you have a rocket armed young quarterback behind center who compiles 5,000 yards and 50 touchdown passes on his way to an MVP trophy in his first full season as a starter. So why then are the Chiefs so low in the rankings? Well, let’s take a look at the rest of the team for the answer.
With Mahomes leading the way and likely to come off the board as the first quarterback in the second or third round the offense seems to be in good hands. But around him is the issue. Kareem Hunt is no longer in the backfield. Damien Williams performed well in the latter half of the season, but he has yet to see it over a prolonged time from him, so we do not know what to expect for a full season in 2019. They brought in Carlos Hyde to try to push him, but this is Hyde’s fourth team in less than 12 months and last season was a bit of a disaster for him to say the least. This means that although the potential is there in the run game if Williams is as good as he played last season, it is far from certainty like we have with the teams above them in the rankings whom all have legitimate top 10 running backs.
When it comes to the receiving game, we have more issues. Yes, Travis Kelce will be taken probably within a few picks of his quarterback in the second or third round and will, in most cases, be the first tight end off the board, the rest of the group is a bit muddled. Tyreek Hill is a stud. But we don’t know now if he will even be there do to off-field possible transgressions. While we all hope the accusations are not true, until they are proven one way or the other, we have to be very hesitant. He is still going to be drafted again in the top two rounds, but he could be a player who like Le’Veon Bell last season sinks his owner before the season even starts if he does get suspended. On the other side of the field is Sammy Watkins. A talented receiver for sure, but one who also has had recurring foot issues including last season for the Chiefs after signing a $16 million a year contract. In case you were unaware, foot issues are not good for a receiver who makes his hay using speed to win matchups. I mean you never saw Usain Bolt win after a broken foot, right? If he is on the field, he could be great, but again, he has to remain on the field, and this is not likely to happen for 16 games.
What more is there to say about Kansas City. With Hill and Watkins likely to miss at least some time, Patrick Mahomes is not likely to repeat his magical season from 2018. Instead of 5,000 and 50 from him, he is more likely to get 4,500 and 35. These are still great numbers but as a second round pick, I would rather take a top-flight wide receiver or running back and wait until the 10th round and get the same production from Matt Ryan or Drew Brees.
All the Chiefs are going to be over drafted and if they all hit, they will be by far the number one fantasy team. But with regression likely from all of them, this is a more realistic projection.