Looking back on the 2019 fantasy football season, there were plenty of busts and breakouts. The great folks over at CBS were actually able to determine the average draft position (or ADP) for every player for the 2019 NFL season. In the first installment of this series, I will be analyzing and grading every first-round pick’s season.
*These average draft positions are for standard 12-team 2019 leagues*
1. Saquon Barkley — B –
Barkley finished 2019 as RB10. All in all it wasn’t an awful year for the sophomore stud, but he clearly did not live up to expectations as the consensus #1 overall pick, mostly due to injuries. Saquon did pick things up at the end of the season just in time to win some lucky people their fantasy championships, but just over 1,000 rushing yards and eight touchdowns certainly qualifies as a disappointing season.
2. Alvin Kamara — B
You can repeat a lot of what I just said about Saquon Barkley for Kamara, who finished as RB9 this season. Kamara scored 12 less touchdowns and rushed for around 100 less yards than in his 2018 breakout campaign, so it was absolutely an underwhelming year. To be fair, injuries kept him out of two games and he was without Drew Brees for a large part of the year. Expect a nice bounce back year in 2020 for Kamara.
3. Christian McCaffrey — A +
McCaffrey was the best player in all of fantasy football last season. There’s not much more to say. He’s the consensus #1 pick for 2020 drafts, and you WILL regret it if you pass up on him with the top pick. Here’s a video to remind you of how deadly he is.
4. Ezekiel Elliott — A
Zeke did everything fantasy owners could have asked for in 2019, finishing as a top 3 running back and top 8 overall player. Rushing for 1,357 yards and 14 total touchdowns, he was consistently elite throughout the entire season.
5. DeAndre Hopkins — B
DeAndre Hopkins had a solid 2019 season, finishing as WR10. However, his numbers were WAY down from 2018 across the board. He’s still one of the most — if not THE most — talented receivers in the league, so don’t be afraid to draft him in the top 7 again next year. His value as an elite WR1 doesn’t really change after being traded to Arizona, as he and Kyler Murray have the potential to be an electric duo. Expect big things from Hopkins — and the Cardinals — in 2020.
6. James Conner — D
Conner struggled to stay on the field in 2019, playing in only 10 games and rushing for just 464 yards. This resulted in Conner finishing as RB35 … not what you want to see from a consensus top-10 pick. Durability is a serious concern for the Steelers running back moving forward. I wouldn’t touch him in the first two rounds of 2020 drafts.
7. Patrick Mahomes — C
I can say without a doubt in my mind that Mahomes is the best quarterback in the NFL. The grade he received is not a reflection of his talent. We all know that he was pretty banged up for most of the 2019 season, which resulted in him finishing the year as QB7. As long as he’s able to stay healthy in 2020, he’ll be a top-3 fantasy quarterback. Here’s a video to remind you of how crazy Mahomes’ no-look passes are. He’ll probably hit your favorite team with a few of them next year.
8. Le’Veon Bell — C –
Bell had a tough time getting anything going behind a really poor offensive line in 2019. He rushed for 789 yards with an awful 3.2 average yards per carry, finishing as RB16. His talent is undeniable, hopefully he can get back on track in 2020.
9. Davante Adams — B –
An ugly turf toe injury kept Adams out of 4 games this season. That, along with a poor start to the season, was reflected in Adams’ final ranking as WR22. That being said, we all know how talented Adams is. He’s going to be just fine in 2020. In the meantime, check out these highlights of his insane route running.
10. David Johnson — F
YIKES. My condolences to anyone who drafted Johnson last season. After scoring 18+ points in five of his first six games (PPR), he failed to receive more than five carries for the last 10 games of the year. Was he hurt? Did the coaching staff just lose confidence in his abilities? We’ll never know. On the bright side, Johnson will get a fresh start in Houston. The Texans seem to have a lot of confidence in him, and he’ll get the chance to prove his worth as an RB1 again.
11. Julio Jones — A
Were you expecting anything different? Jones dominated yet again in 2019, finishing as WR3 in his SIXTH straight season with 1,000+ receiving yards. Jones is an absolute monster, and will only see more targets next year following the departure of Austin Hooper.
12. Nick Chubb — A –
Chubb somewhat-quietly had an elite 2019 campaign, rushing for 1,494 yards and finishing the year as RB8. Some may complain that a lot of those yards came in garbage time, but at the end of the day yards are yards, and they translated handsomely into fantasy points for Chubb. He’ll look to contend for the rushing title once again in 2020, and should continue to put up RB1 numbers.