It is finally time to start rolling out my positional rankings over the next couple of weeks. We really started to kick things up at the beginning of June but nobody is really ready for drafts in June. June is foreplay. June for fantasy football is catching up with your favorite writers and you sit there and read as they babble on about players that they thought about during the Spring. You’re probably thinking, “that’s great and all but what NUMBER is this guy on your rankings sheet?” Oh so you don’t care about Pittsburgh’s offense, you just want to know when to draft J2S2.
So much has changed over the past month as I’ve began to look closely at situations for each player that we are going to draft this summer. I start looking closer at little tidbits that come out that actually have a huge impact on draft stock. Now that I’ve completed 5 best ball drafts and we’re winding down in the SFB9 galaxy, I have a really good idea when guys are going when it counts and it’s challenged me to make tough calls on some player vs. player decisions based on the little things.
I believe in tiered rankings and I think that most know that when it comes down to it, the number by the name on the printable draft sheet doesn’t follow your specific draft strategy. Best available after the crosses out names isn’t the answer. But, if you have three or four guys in a tier that you believe will put up similar numbers, you can wait for one of them to fall or generally have a better idea of your overall end game in drafts. So I am going to tier these players because everyone has value even if it’s not the player that you thought that you were going to target.
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Tier 1 – Mahomies left me all alone
I draft quarterbacks late most of the time but Patrick Mahomes is an entirely different species on the draft board. In 16 games last season, he scored 63 more fantasy points than the second highest scoring quarterback, Matt Ryan. While it’s not for me, if he goes in the 2nd or 3rd round, it’s justifiable. It sounds like Tyreek Hill is getting a slap on the wrist with the length of his suspension and even if he doesn’t Mahomes is good enough to score a lot with what he has around him.
Tier 2 – The Best Of The Rest
2. Andrew Luck
Andrew Luck had a hell of a season in 2018 and 6 months before the season we didn’t even know if he’d ever play again. He finished in the top 5 in touchdowns, passing yards, completions, and passing attempts in 2018. He finished as QB5 last year and when he’s healthy, QB5 seems like a floor.
Baker’s season was a tale of two halves. There was the half that Hue Jackson was coaching, which had good plays and very bad plays. The second half of the year, Baker Mayfield was a certified QB1 and now he has one of the best wide receivers in and league and Jarvis Landry in his second year with the team. I expect big things from Baker and Freddie Kitchens.
I don’t know what Aaron Rodgers is going to look like in a Matt LaFleur offense but I imagine that there will be more nuance than a Mike McCarthy offense. Aaron is still an incredible talent and it would be nearly impossible not to have him in the “best of the rest.”
Tier 3 – “All Hail ____ The Broken!”
5. Carson Wentz
Carson Wentz has all of the skills to be an MVP quarterback and the Eagles are putting their chips in the middle with their 4th year quarterback after Nick Foles left for Jacksonville. Wentz has to find a happy medium between making incredible plays and breaking his body. He plays the most rule-protected position in football so I am willing to bet on the upside and hope that he learns how to stay on the field.
He’s already psychologically questionable with a future cracked rib. Just kidding, there aren’t too many players in the NFL more determined than Watson. I still worry about the offensive line. I hope the best for him though, he’s fun to watch play.
Tier 4 – A Song Of Ice And Fire
7. Matt Ryan
One of my buddies and I created an expression while watching Matt Ryan go through his progressions after the snap. We call it “pooping the pocket.” I’ve already used two “-ssion” words in this blurb, so here’s one more. Regression.
8. Kyler Murray
This is a gamble, but I like quarterbacks that get points running the football. The Arizona offensive line isn’t great so there should be some scrambling opportunities. I think that Kliff Kingsbury’s offense is going to suit Kyler well.
Tier 5- Sleeping Well At Night
9. Cam Newton
Cam Newton’s shoulder made him about as useful as Eli Manning in the fantasy playoffs but he still managed to finish as a QB1 in 12-team leagues in 2018. Actually, I just checked the stats, Eli Manning actually had a much better run in weeks 14-16 since Cam’s season was over in week 16. Anyways, there is some nice talent developing around Cam in Carolina and hell, Greg Olsen might even play a few games this season.
10. Philip Rivers
Philip Rivers has to keep putting up 30 touchdown seasons so he can continue to put money away for college tuition. Philip is the most consistently disrespected quarterbacks in fantasy football, which is fine because he always comes at a discount. This offense is going to be humming once again in 2019.
Tier 5 – South In Your Mouth?
11. Jameis Winston
I can’t quite put Jameis Winston in the top 10 just because of the Bruce Arians effect. I like the upside a lot and I can almost guarantee there will be a lot of spike weeks. Tampa’s defense is still one of the most pathetic defenses I’ve ever seen on paper so there should be garbage points galore from this offense. This is about the time that I start targeting quarterbacks in fantasy drafts so I’m sure I’ll have a lot of Winston shares.
Tier 6 – No.
12. Drew Brees
If you were starting Drew Brees in the fantasy football playoffs, there’s a chance that you didn’t get very far. 2018 was the first time since 2006 that Brees didn’t throw for 4,000 yards for the season. Brees will have his good weeks but the days of him being a set it and forget it quarterback might be behind us.
13. Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson finished as the QB9 last season and this passing offense didn’t get anymore promising in the off-season. I think that Doug Baldwin’s retirement will deter Wilson’s stats and DK Metcalf will be a work in progress.
Tier 7 – Young Cats
14. Jared Goff
I don’t think that this offense is the same when Todd Gurley isn’t himself on the football field. We saw shades of this in the Super Bowl. There is also a chance that the league is going to start to figure out Sean McVay. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw some regression from Goff during the fantasy season.
15. Mitch Trubisky
Mitch Trubisky finished as the QB15 in 2018 and he got off to a bit of a slow start in the first few weeks and then he ran off three 300 yard passing games in a row. The QB1 potential is definitely there especially with Trubisky under Matt Nagy’s wing. It’s also nice that Trubisky can get you some rushing yards on some designed QB draws on 2nd, 3rd and short.
Part II will be out tomorrow