Owner / Lead Fantasy Scribbler
Over the next our weeks I will be rolling out my Baker’s Dozen series of articles for your pleasure. Starting this week with quarterbacks, I will continue over coming weeks with the top Running backs, wide receivers and tight ends going into the 2019 fantasy season.
This is simply the Fantasyhotread.com way too early 2019 consensus rankings. I have polled the writers and other owners and based upon the responses I got, these are the players we feel most confident in going into the next season. I decided to do 13 at each position just because I wanted to call it Baker’s dozen and well a baker’s dozen is 13. Simple. The players will be listed in the order of the consensus with my personal ranking in parenthesis.
Patrick Mahomes (1)- I will be the first to admit I was skeptical about how successful Mahomes would be coming into the season as the newly appointed starter in Kansas City. I will also be the first to admit I was completely wrong. Not only was he the consensus number one in our rankings, but he was also number one in everyone’s rankings including mine.
With 3,924 yards passing 41 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 12 games, Mahomes is starting his career like he is already a seasoned pro. This not only bodes well for the Chiefs future but more importantly for our fantasy teams. He looks to be the clear leader among a group of young quarterbacks which are set to take over from the likes of Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers in coming years. While his career 66.6% completions is a little devilish his 66.9% completions this season is very nice and should only continue to improve as he becomes even more comfortable with the offense. I know. Scary to imagine him getting better.
No quarterback and I mean none should be drafted in the first round of fantasy drafts but, it will be done by many people in 2019 just to make sure Patrick Mahomes is their guy for the season.
Aaron Rodgers (2)- Our consensus number two quarterback is the man who is the standard bearer for all fantasy quarterbacks over the past decade. Having a bit of a down season in 2018, no one is happier to see Mike McCarthy leave Green Bay than Rodgers.
Rodgers is still the best quarterback in the NFL as he has proven it year over year and with a change at head coach, he seems to be the only player on this list with a chance to keep Patrick Mahomes from being the number one next season.
With weapons like Devante Adams, MVS and finally Aaron Jones the Packers should move past this dreadful season and return to the playoffs behind Rodgers in 2019.
It sounds funny to say Aaron Rodgers is a bargain in the fourth round, but when you see Mahomes going in the first or second round you will agree.
Russell Wilson (4)- Making his normal late-season charge this season may have put Wilson back into the minds of our rankers for this poll. Had he continued to play as shotty as he was the first half of the season his third-place ranking would have likely been closer to six or seven.
Despite Doug Baldwin looking like trash this season and Rashaad Penny being a so far bust at the running back position, Wilson has the Seahawks firmly in the playoff hunt in what was supposed to be a down season.
With the running game finally clicking under offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, it is not coming down to miraculous play by Wilson to keep the offense afloat meaning he can return to actually being a true quarterback and stay healthy through the entire season.
Although an elite quarterback for fantasy in recent seasons, Wilson still does not get the draft love of some of the bigger names and he could be someone you can get a little later in drafts who could provide top three upside at a draft price of quarterback seven or eight.
Drew Brees (5)- As a Saints fan Brees is for sure my favorite name on this list. In 2018, he is having an incredible season when you realize he is 39 years of age and playing with a defense which does not help matters by actually stopping teams.
With 30 touchdowns and only three interceptions, while throwing for 3,262 yards and a 75.5 completion percentage, Brees is having his best season ever making it a possibility that the all-time leader in pass yardage may finally win his first MVP award. And Hopefully his second Super Bowl.
Michael Thomas, Mark Ingram, and Alvin Kamara are making Brees’s golden years in the NFL something special and they should continue this in 2019 behind what is one of the best offensive lines in the league. While Ingram is not a shoo-in to be back as he will be a free agent, he should be, and if not, the Saints will surely get a back to replace him. Possibly T.J. Yeldon or Tevin Coleman.
No matter what happens with Ingram, Brees is going to have another monster season in 2019 unless he falls off the Peyton Manning cliff and this does not look likely to happen as he has not had the injury history of a late-career Manning did.
Andrew Luck (3)- After almost two years away from the game we all wanted to see how and if Luck could return to form this season. While the start was slow, he has proven over the last half of the season he is back to his former self.
Finally having a good offensive line to keep him upright, Luck is able to use T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron to the fullest advantage and can you believe the Colts actually have a viable running game? I know, no one thought it was possible but behind Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines, it has happened.
Looking ahead to 2019, the Colts look to be a real contender in the AFC South as the Jaguars seem to have taken their expected step back and the Titans are again doing Titan things. The leader of this resurgence under the tutorship of Frank Reich is Andrew Luck and this is why I personally have him as the quarterback three going into next season. Two spots higher than the consensus.
Cam Newton (6)- I am not the biggest Cam Newton fan. This is a fully honest admission to say despite my dislike for him, he is clearly one of the top quarterbacks in fantasy and is ranked as such. His rushing ability, which could start slowing down over the next few seasons, makes up for his lack of passing touchdown upside.
Christian McCaffery and D.J. Moore are young and talented and should provide Cam with options in the offense when the scheme breaks down and he has to find someone.
The only true worry for this ranking is his tendency to rely on the tight end position which may not have Greg Olsen in its next season as the injuries continue to pile up for him. If Ian Thomas can take over the role, the team will be fine, but if he does not pan out and the tight end position is not effective, Newton’s ranking could go right down with it.
Deshaun Watson (7)- Last season’s darling before his injury, Watson has come back this season to lead the Texans to a possible division title and if things fall right, maybe a first-round playoff bye in the AFC.
The running game of Lamar Miller has been surprisingly solid and although injuries have taken their toll on the passing game, DeAndre Hopkins is still a top-five receiver in the NFL and can hide a lot of deficiencies.
The true talent on the Texans team is the defense which allows the pressure on the offense to be minimal and thus is letting Watson grow within the system and build his own confidence as the season goes on.
If Will Fuller ever gets healthy for more than a two-game stretch and KeKe Cote turns into the slot receiver they are hoping he does, this team could be dangerous for years to come and could be a team poised to take over the AFC along with the Chiefs after the departures of Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger.
Jared Goff (NR)- I don’t hate Jared Goff despite the fact I was the only person not to have him ranked in the top 13. This may turn out to be a mistake as the Rams are a machine on offense. With the Chiefs and Saints being the only offenses on an equal footing with the Rams points are going to be easy to come by for Goff but it may also be a situation in which his running game is so good, he does not need to stay at such a high level to maintain it. The Defense, for all of its great players, is getting flattened this season and going into 2019 the Rams may have to do something to help them. Like running the ball even more and slowing down the pace of play.
Neither of these things bode well for the quarterback and with the injury to Cooper Kupp, we don’t know when he will be ready to return. Josh Reynolds has filled in solidly and Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods are both studs this season, but the likelihood of a slight regression leads to the ranking seen here.
Much like with Russell Wilson, Jared Goff is probably going to be a quarterback whom you can get as the ninth or tenth quarterback in your drafts and like Wilson has potential to finish top three if all things come up Los Angeles again in 2019.
Philip Rivers (8)- Consummately underappreciated but always effective, Rivers is the only quarterback this season with at least two touchdown passes in every game. With Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon being top five players at their position and Hunter Henry coming back healthy, Rivers will have a full cast of offensive weapons to go with a defense who, despite having a down season this year is talented and should be better with Joey Bosa playing the entire season.
If Tyrel Williams and Mike Williams can keep producing and even produce more than this season, Rivers will easily remain in the top 10 of quarterbacks for fantasy teams and will be a solid week to week play allowing you to worry about other positions on your roster knowing he is not going to screw you at the position.
Ben Roethlisberger (13)- Big Ben looks finally like he is going to play all 16 games this season. If we were sure this would be the case next season, he might even be higher in the ranks but as we know this is a rare occurrence. Like seeing Le’Veon Bell in the city of Pittsburgh after this season.
Antonio Brown is still the top receiver in the steel city and in the NFL, but JuJu Smith-Shuster is an emerging star and is quickly catching up to Brown as a favorite target for Ben.
James Conner has shown this season he has the ability to replace Bell. Not only in the run game but also surprisingly in the passing game which means the offense will not have to change next season. We know the home and road splits for Roethlisberger are staggering, but we also know that any week could be a week in which he throws for 500 yards and six touchdowns.
The only real worry with Ben, other than injuries, is his Brett Favre need for drama which leads to his claims of retirement every offseason. One day for sure it will happen, we just have to hope this isn’t the season his fantasy becomes reality.
Kirk Cousins (12)- In the first season in Minnesota the team is having a down season record wise but a solid season on the offensive side of the ball. Adam Thielen is showing himself to be the number one receiver after a string of seven games of over 100 receiving yards and a touchdown and the fact Stefan Diggs still cannot stay on the field consistently.
Getting Delvin Cook back to full health next season will be a boon for cousins and the Vikings as the will look to get back to the championship game in 2019.
If the defense remains at the high level it has attained over the past two seasons, Kirk Cousins will return to his Washington form of 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. A pace he is not far of from this season in what is widely considered a relatively mediocre season.
After his so-called mediocre season, he will for sure drop in drafts and might even be able to be had in the last round before defense and kickers are drafted depending on your league mates.
Mitchell Trubisky (NR)- after having only seven touchdowns and seven interceptions in 12 games as a rookie, Trubisky has 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season despite playing in only 10 of the Bears 12 games due to a shoulder injury. While the interception number is a little concerning, the 20 touchdowns show real growth in his game under new head coach Matt Nagy. His 2,469 pass yards is also more than he had in two more games last season as Tarik Cohen has become the running back to own in Chicago allowing Trubisky to use a running back who has hands. A trait not found in Jordan Howard who is the epitome of a two-down back.
With the defense looking to return to the monsters of the midway days, Mitchell Trubisky will flourish in the windy city and unlike most of the others on this list. He might not even be in consideration for a draft pick. Meaning a possible waiver wire steal after the draft.
Carson Wentz (9)- This season he was the fourth or fifth player in a lot of rankings. Now he has dropped all the way to number 13. What a difference a year makes. Despite missing two games rehabbing from his ACL tear suffered against the Rams last season, Wentz is still having a solid season. His weapons are lacking due to injury this season and the only real reliable cog in the line up is Zach Ertz who has already set the Eagles single-season record for tight end catches and is on pace to break the same mark for NFL tight ends. Alshon Jeffery has been a disappointment and the running game is in shambles with the injury to Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles keeping them out of the lineup. Josh Adams has finally separated himself from the pack, but it is too little too late it seems to save Wentz’s ranking in this poll.
Next year should be much better. Both for Philadelphia and Wentz and Wentz would be my pick for the quarterback on this list most likely to be most under-ranked after next season.