39 Players I Want to Draft Everywhere
These are the players I want. Don’t snipe these players before my pick, I’m warning you. I’m going to get salty real quick.
I'll go position-by-position and rank the players (loosely) by how angry I am if someone snipes my guy right before I'm about to pick.
Jared Goff, Rams
Jared Goff plus Cooper Kupp equals elite. In 23 games with Kupp over the past two seasons, Goff averaged 279 yards and 2.0 touchdowns per game. In eight games with Kupp last season (and Brandin Cooks joining the receiving corps), Goff averaged 330 yards and 2.1 touchdowns per game. The resulting 21.1 fantasy points per game would have been the third-highest production behind only Patrick Mahomes and Matt Ryan last season. He offers next to nothing as a runner, but with Kupp back and HC Sean McVay calling the shots, I have full confidence in Goff in 2019.
Philip Rivers, Chargers
A model of consistency, Rivers has thrown at least 28 touchdowns and posted at least 4,286 yards in six straight seasons. Rivers per game production has only cracked the top 15 once in the last four years but since he always plays a full season, he has three top 12 finishes in the same span. He has posted top 12 (QB1) numbers in 10 of the last 12 seasons. Rivers does have a tendency to throw interceptions, but he has only thrown 22 total picks in the last two seasons, so it seems like he’s taking better care of the ball.
And don’t worry about the Melvin Gordon holdout—Rivers’ numbers in the seven games that Gordon has missed over the last three seasons are basically identical to his numbers with Gordon in the lineup. He represents great value as the 18th QB off the board.
Carson Wentz, Eagles
Wentz is one of the quarterbacks where I might depart from my “wait until the 10th round” QB strategy and potentially pull the trigger in the ninth. Since the beginning of the 2017 season, he has averaged 20.1 fantasy points per game, which is solid QB1 production. His 2018 output is considered a disappointment, but if we ignore his three-interception debacle in New Orleans, he averaged 19.0 fantasy points in his other 10 games, which is about what Rivers scored as 2018's No. 13 fantasy quarterback.
He had the third-highest per game average through 13 games in 2017, so he has proven top-five upside. He’s practicing without limitations with regard to last year’s back injury, so he’s fully healthy. With the addition of DeSean Jackson, Wentz enjoys one of the league’s most potent and dangerous receiving corps. D-Jax and Wentz have been working together extensively during the offseason and the “connection and timing between Wentz and Jackson has been on point” this summer.
Kyler Murray, Cardinals
I’ll also reach into the ninth round for Murray. He'll have Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk and a couple of good rookie prospects (Andy Isabella, KeeSean Johnson) to throw to, so the receiving corps isn't bad either. I use a regression model to generate a starting point for rookie quarterbacks and Murray comes in with the highest projected touchdown percentage, the highest projected yards per attempt, the third-highest projected rushing yards per game and the fourth-highest projected rushing touchdowns in the 42-player sample.
His passing numbers (in the same system at Oklahoma) were eerily similar to Baker Mayfield's and Murray is a much better runner. Keep this fact in mind—since 2011, the four top-scoring rookie quarterbacks were Cam Newton (706 rushing yards, 14 touchdowns), Robert Griffin III (815 yards, 7 touchdowns), Dak Prescott (282 yards, 6 touchdowns) and Russell Wilson (489 yards, 4 touchdowns), so being able to run will really help Murray’s chances to find fantasy success as a rookie. If the offensive line improves, Murray will have a great shot at QB1 numbers. Sure, as a rookie he’s risky, but I’m willing to roll the dice on upside at a position that is so deep.
Jameis Winston, Buccaneers
Winston’s value has risen since the arrival of new head coach Bruce Arians, who appears to be quite committed to the former Heisman winner. In the 20 games over the past two seasons in which he attempted at least 25 passes—a way of filtering out a few of those games where Winston either did not start or was benched during the game—he has averaged 19.4 points per game. In 11 such games in 2018, he averaged 20.0 points per game. Those are top eight numbers.
Arians’ history with Carson Palmer—20.8 points per game playing for Arians in 38 games from 2015-17—makes this look like a great pairing. He’s going in the double-digit rounds, so he’s a great late-round quarterback option. Arians should be able to get the most out of Winston, especially with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard in the fold.
Dak Prescott, Cowboys
Prescott was shaping up as a great value heading into 2018, but then Jason Witten retired and the Cowboys cut Dez Bryant. Predictably, Prescott struggled before the team’s trade for Amari Cooper—he was the No. 24 quarterback through Week 8. However, with Cooper from Week 9 on, he was the No. 6 quarterback with a 19.1 per game average. Including the team’s two playoff games, he averaged 19.9 points per game in 11 games with Cooper, playing at a 4,305-yard, 32-total-TD pace when prorated to 16 games. Had he played at that pace for a full season, he would have finished as the No. 6 fantasy quarterback in 2018. (Jason Witten is back, which doesn’t hurt either.)
Lamar Jackson, Ravens
Jackson averaged 18.7 PPG in his eight starts, throwing for 159 yards and 0.7 touchdowns while adding 80 yards and 0.57 touchdowns as a runner. The Ravens hired ground-game aficionado Greg Roman to coordinate the offense so it’s crystal clear that the team will continue to emphasize the run with Jackson at quarterback, though he has shown signs of improvement as a passer. He will continue to rack up points with his legs, so Jackson should be a high-floor fantasy quarterback in 2019. If he figures out how to throw it, watch out.
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