Your 2019 fantasy football draft is coming. It’s mid-July and while the new NFL season still feels like it’s far away, it’s technically here in just two weeks. If you haven’t begun your preseason fantasy football research, let this breakdown of a 12-team PPR mock serve as your toe-dip into a new season.
The good news is there aren’t any obscene contract holdouts to monitor this year. We also haven’t had to deal with any crazy injuries yet. Those could pop up, though, so if you can help it, staving off your draft until mid-to-late August is still preferable. Whether you’re starting your league early or not, however, mocking your exact draft with FantasyPros’ Draft Wizard is still suggested.
No amount of mocking will completely prepare you for what actually goes down in a real, live draft. But it can build your cheat sheet out. It can help you identify fantasy football sleepers you didn’t know existed. It can also help eliminate bias.
That takes time, but one of the best ways to reshape your thought process is to see where and when players are going in drafts. You can also plan out how you construct your roster and how it pertains to your league roster and scoring settings.
The point is fantasy football mock drafts are important and you should start the process of utilizing them early and often.
I’m doing that with the Draft Simulator, which should get me ready for a 12-team full PPR league I’m in (going on 10 years now). Here’s the team I came away with, drafting out of the 12th spot thanks to taking down the championship last season:
QB: Carson Wentz (Eagles)
RB: Le’Veon Bell (Jets), Kerryon Johnson (Lions)
WR: JuJu Smith-Schuster (Steelers), Robby Anderson (Jets), Larry Fitzgerald (Cardinals)
TE: Evan Engram (Giants)
FLEX: Devonta Freeman (Falcons)
K: Harrison Butker (Chiefs)
DEF: Seattle Seahawks
BENCH: Royce Freeman (Broncos), Ronald Jones (Buccaneers), DeVante Parker (Dolphins), Adam Humphries (Titans), Josh Allen (Bills), John Brown (Bills)
I started the draft off with Le’Veon Bell. He carries risk after sitting out all of last season, but he should also be fresh and has always been a fantasy monster. The upside is obvious, while the 12th pick doesn’t offer many “sure things”. He’s a fine place to start and with back-to-back selections, I can also go get a true #1 wide receiver in JuJu, who was a top-10 guy last year and now slides into Antonio Brown’s old role.
Both of these guys carry minimal risk, but the talent and roles are obscene. The fact that you can get them back-to-back at the end of a 12-team draft is pretty absurd and I’ll gladly start my team off with that pairing. Other guys in that draft range like Joe Mixon, James Conner, Antonio Brown, Travis Kelce, Mike Evans and perhaps even Patrick Mahomes are all worth consideration, of course.
Kerryon Johnson slides in as my RB2, as he flashed amazing ability as a rookie and should be locked into a true feature role in 2019. New offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell should run more, while Johnson is also expected to be utilized more in the passing game. I don’t love where I need to take him, but Johnson has monster upside and should be on your radar.
I love the intermediate value at wide receiver this year, which prompted me to grab a third running back in Devonta Freeman right away. If healthy, he has nice PPR upside and is a touchdown machine. Derrick Henry was also staring into my eyes at this spot, while Brandin Cooks would have been a solid get.
My second wide receiver came in round five, where I nabbed Robby Anderson. He’s been mostly a big play guy thus far, but I think his PPR value sees a nice spike this year. He’s easily New York’s best weapon in the passing game and even if he doesn’t come out and catch 80+ balls, his down-field ability should make him a fine WR2.
Evan Engram is a mild reach in round six in my opinion, but tight end was quickly thinning out and I love him for PPR leagues this year. His size and red-zone chops make him a fine starting TE option no matter the league, but New York doesn’t stretch the field much with their passing game. Whether it’s Eli Manning or Daniel Jones checking down, Engram should see a lot of targets, while his athleticism and size should allow solid TD upside. This was the 4th best fantasy tight end in 2017, after all.
My starting quarterback comes off the board to start round seven and that will be Carson Wentz. The Eagles quarterback was not himself last year, but when healthy he has top-5 upside. I’m liking the value here, as he attacks down the field and that could mean special things with the weapons he has around him. He is risky, though, so I’ll be sure to land a high upside QB2. I think you can wait even longer and get a viable QB1, but this is a great price for Wentz.
Fitzgerald finalizes my starting wide receiver spots. No, he can’t take the top off of defenses, but he has serious upside in a new, flashy Arizona offense. He should be peppered with targets early and often, so his (possibly) final season could include nice PPR value and a good amount of scoring.
That set my starters. From there, I nabbed solid depth with running backs like Ronald Jones and Royce Freeman, as well as wide receivers like DeVante Parker, Adam Humphries and John Brown. No, I’m not enamored with either of these guys, but they should offer solid bench value in PPR formats. Brown, perhaps not as much, but he does offer upside as a big play threat.
I finished things off with the Seahawks as my team defense and Harrison Butker as my kicker.
In the name of transparency, the Draft Simulator only have my team a C grade and didn’t project it to make the fantasy playoffs. You can’t win them all, but I still think this is a very balanced squad with some solid upside. I feel completely set at quarterback and running back, while I could have been a bit more aggressive at wide receiver considering it’s a PPR league. Picking from the 12-spot, however, you’ll find that the truly elite wide receivers worth paying a premium for are gone in a hurry, however.
Overall, this is a fine squad for a defending champion. You always learn lessons with fantasy mock drafts, though. Mine here would be to perhaps bypass a stud RB2 to chase a better WR2 earlier. If I have three elite rushers filling out the RB/RB/FLEX slots, however, I suspect it will be a non-issue.
Thoughts on this squad or how you plan on attacking your draft? Feel free to comment below!