Fantasy Football: Neville’s Positional Rankings

Quarterback

Risk Factor: 1

Summary: Watson has the opportunity to be the number one Quarterback in fantasy assuming Mahomes comes down to earth slightly. He has the pleasure of throwing to DeAndre Hopkins - the first WR going off the board. Will Fuller is expected to be ready for week one. Fuller has an undeniable rapport with Watson which should give both players a boost if they can stay on the field. Keke Coutee is a reliable slot receiver that can help Watson keep the sticks moving. Watson throws for a lot of yards and touchdowns, while rarely turning the football over. He also can do damage in the run game, adding 551 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2018. 

Conclusion: Watson is one of the most consistent performers and is one of the only Quarterbacks I would draft early. Watson is an early fifth-round pick which is a steal in my opinion. I would not draft him before the fifth, but if he goes where he is projected, Watson is a steal.

Risk Factor: 1

Summary: Mahomes showcased that he was the most physically talented Quarterback in the NFL last season. He is a bold decision maker, which worked for him amidst his 2019 MVP season. The expectations for Mahomes are way too high this season. There have only been three 50+ touchdown seasons in NFL history. In fact, there have only been 13 40+ touchdown seasons in NFL history. My point is that he will most likely come down to earth a little and throw somewhere in the 35+ touchdown range. I still expect elite play, just not 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns. Mahomes gambled frequently in 2018 and got lucky on some of his highlight plays. If he continues to make the same decisions he made in 2018, his turnovers should see a slight increase which will impact his all around numbers.

Conclusion: Mahomes is going in the late-second/early-third round. Personally, I would not take a QB that early, as I believe there are plenty of quality QBs late in the draft

Risk Factor: 1

Summary: Aaron Rodgers has been a model of consistency during his 11 seasons as a starter. I have Rodgers slated slightly under Mahomes - essentially a wash. Rodgers consistently passes the 4,000-yard marker and has four 38+ TD seasons which is Hall of Fame production. Rodgers also turns the ball over less than anyone else and typically runs for 250-300 yards. With Parker emerging into the top tier of WRs and quality depth options, I expect Rodgers to throw roughly 4,200 yards and 32 touchdowns with a very high ceiling. Those numbers are conservative and still put him as my QB3

Conclusion: Rodgers is going in the early to mid-fifth round which I would consider a value. While I personally do not typically draft Quarterbacks that early, he would be a good value in the 5th. If you are looking for a QB in that area, Watson is the home run swing and Rodgers is the safe choice with obvious upside.

Risk Factor: 1

Summary: Luck is coming off a healthy season where he threw for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns. He finished as the QB5 in 2018. I expect similar numbers next season.

Conclusion: Luck is in line for another top-five finish in 2018. However, his late-fourth round ADP is far too high for me to even think about. I would much rather wait a round and pick up Watson or Rodgers in the 5th, or target Wilson/Brees in the seventh.

Risk Factor: 4

Summary: Wilson will have some new challenges as Doug Baldwin will be watching from his couch this year. Wilson will be dependent on a new receiving core that will feature Tyler Lockett and David Moore as returning starters. DK Metcalf is a wildcard but regardless, Wilson will find a way to get it done in the passing and running game.

Conclusion: Wilson is an extremely consistent performer who is a very safe choice and a value in the seventh round.

Risk Factor: 1

Summary: Brees has finished in the top nine of fantasy scoring every season in the last decade. He is one of the best overall Quarterbacks in NFL history and has not shown signs of slowing down. Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara are always open, and the team itself is a wagon. 

Conclusion: Brees should do enough to return his seventh-round ADP although I would prefer to wait and stack up at RB and WR.

Risk Factor: 3

Summary: Baker is a key part of the new core that is changing the culture and expectations in Cleveland. With OBJ and Juice Landry leading the receiving core, Mayfield should clear 4,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2019.

Conclusion: Mayfield is going in the late sixth round. That is a fair spot for his ADP, but I would not call Baker a value. 

Risk Factor: 5

Summary: Matt Ryan has been extremely inconsistent over his career. Here are his finishes from 2012 to 2019: QB7, QB15, QB7, QB19, QB2, QB15, QB2. Ryan always gets the yardage but struggles to put up touchdowns and throws too many interceptions on a year-to-year basis. With Koetter back as the Offensive Coordinator for Ryan, you can expect another productive season for Matt Ryan. Koetter and Ryan have a great relationship and Ryan's numbers are far better with Koetter than without him.

Conclusion: Ryan is going just after Baker Mayfield in the sixth round. I would not take Ryan here because you can get Newton or Wentz in the eighth or stream QBs even later.

Risk Factor: 4

Summary: Cam Newton is a fun player to have in fantasy. He throws the ball deep and is always a candidate to take off for a first down. Newton will have Greg Olsen as his reliable check down, as well as Christian McCaffrey who is just as productive in the pass game as he is as a runner. DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel both have the potential to break-off a long touchdown, and Newton's ability in the run game is baked in consistency.

Conclusion: Cam Newton is a great player to target in the seventh round.  I would rather go get a quality Quarterback at this spot than take some of the depth pieces being drafted around him.

Risk Factor: 4

Summary: Carson Wentz has shown the ability to be a top ten QB in the NFL when healthy. I have him at ten which is a very conservative. I put him at his floor. I could see him finding a rhythm with DeSean Jackson while utilizing Alshon Jeffery and continuing to feed Zach Ertz. If that happens he could be a top three fantasy option.

Conclusion: Wentz is the tenth QB coming off the board. If you are a believer then draft him in the seventh or eighth round. He should return that value as long as he stays on the field.

Risk Factor: 6

Summary: Kyler is the kind of unknown that is fun to have in fantasy. I project that he will throw roughly 3,900 yards and run for almost 500 yards. People talk about the speed and size, but his accuracy isn't talked about enough.

Conclusion: Murray is going in the eighth round. I haven't decided whether I would trust a rookie Quarterback to lead my team. While I most likely will target a player I've seen at the NFL level, Murray is still going to be a productive player for someone in your league.

Risk Factor: 5

Summary: Lamar Jackson doesn't have the typical production to become a relevant fantasy Quarterback. He will throw for a low amount of yards but will run more than any other QB in the league. Rushing yards are worth more than passing, giving Jackson some added value. He is also a great late QB to target if you play in a standard four point per passing touchdown league.

Conclusion: Jackson is going in the twelfth round - which in my opinion is a steal. John Harbaugh designed the offense around Jackson. He is a good coach that will set Jackson up for success.

Running Back

Risk Factor: 2

Summary: Barkley was one of two players to register 2,000+ yards from scrimmage in 2018. Saquon was able to rack up 1,307 rushing yards and 721 receiving yards as a rookie. Barkley was second in carries at 261 which paired nicely with his 91 receptions. When you combine a massive workload with elite talent, you get one of the best fantasy options in the league, I don't care how bad the rest of his team is.

Conclusion: There is a Big Three in the NFL:  Barkley, Elliot, McCaffrey. Be excited if you can get your hands on any of them, but Barkley is 1st on my board right now.

Risk Factor: 4

Summary: The only reason Elliot has a moderately high risk factor is because he gets in trouble with the league multiple times a year. On a week-to-week basis Zeke is one of the most consistent performers. The Cowboys' offense improved immensely with the addition of Amari Cooper last season, and Elliot was able to benefit. 

Elliot was the only player not named Saquon to register 2,000+ scrimmage yards. He led the league in 2018 with 1,434 rushing yards and added 567 yards on 77 receptions. 

Zeke was given 304 carries in 2018 - that is 43 more carries than Barkley who ranked 2nd in carries. His 77 receptions were the 5th most by an RB and 22nd most overall.

Conclusion: Elliot is one of the best players in the game and drafting him at any spot would be a win. 

Risk Factor: 1

Summary: If you are looking for a safe pick at the front of the draft, McCaffrey is your guy. He is the safest guy in the draft, especially in PPR formats. 

The Panthers' offense is built around McCaffrey, not Cam Newton. Last season Christian ran for 1,098 yards in 219 attempts. He had the 6th most rushing yards and the 10th most carries but that is not what makes him a top pick. McCaffrey caught 107 passes for 867 yards last season. His receptions ranked 9th in the NFL, just ahead of Antonio Brown.

Conclusion: McCaffery is the safest pick out of The Big Three RBs in fantasy football. If you prioritize consistency, McCaffery would be a great add to your team. Of course, you're going to need a top three pick.

Risk Factor: 3

Summary: Kamara built on a fantastic rookie campaign in 2018. He only had 883 rushing yards (18th) on 194 carries (16th) but his production in the passing game makes him elite. Kamara's 81 receptions ranked 16th in the league last year. He had 709 receiving yards as an RB.

With Mark Ingram gone, Latavius Murray looks to step in and fill the same role. Kamara should have similar production as he did last season.

Conclusion: Kamara is a great player to take in round one, assuming The Big Three are already taken. He will still be in a committee, but that didn't matter much last year and it shouldn't in 2019 either.

Risk Factor: 8

Summary: Melvin Gordon is an elite talent but he has some issues surrounding him this season. His biggest problem is that he is demanding to sit out until he receives a contract extension. This resembles Bell's conflict far too much for my liking. Also, Gordon has an injury history that includes the four games he missed in 2018. I am far more worried about the contract issue, so if he can get that worked out, he's a quality choice with the fifth pick. Talent-wise Gordon is right at the top, and he is the featured player for the Chargers' offense. Last season Gordon took 175 carries for 885 yards and added 490 yards on 50 receptions. Gordon has been one of the most consistent fantasy picks in the league over the last three seasons.

Conclusion: Gordon's contract situation puts a damper on one of the best weapons in the league. If he does not receive a contract extension, I'd stay away in round one. Otherwise he is a quality pick from 4th overall on.

Risk Factor: 7

Summary: Gurley has fallen out of the first round because of rumors that he has arthritis in his left knee. While that is obviously a reason to be concerned, he is still an elite running back. Gurley has stated many times that he is fine, and McVay has enforced those comments by saying he is not worried either. McVay is still planning on Gurley being the centerpiece to this offense, and even with a lightened workload he can be a top-five RB. Gurley finished as the number one back in 2017 and 2018, making him a potential steal in the late first/early second round. 

Conclusion: Gurley will be the one of the best available once the top five go off the board. It is a matter of when you are willing to pull the trigger on what could be the steal of the draft. 

Note: Target Darrell Henderson if you grab Gurley, as he will be your insurance should Todd's knee give out.

Risk Factor: 2

Summary: David Johnson is an underrated talent. DJ ran for 940 yards and caught 50 passes for 446 yards on a horrible Cardinals offense in 2018. With Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury taking over, defenses will not be able to stack the box every play. Last year Johnson was the only player the defense had to focus on. DJ had 258 carries in 2018 which ranked 3rd in the NFL. Johnson is a great pass-catching back, and Kingsbury will have a pass-heavy offense.

Conclusion: David Johnson's numbers can only improve from last season. He was the RB10 last season and I would be okay taking him from the 4th pick on in 2019. He could conceivably finish as the best RB in fantasy, and is one of the safest picks in the first round.

Risk Factor: 3

Summary: Bell's patient running approach has made him on of the best fantasy options over the last decade. His issue has been getting on the field. With all the contract and injury issues behind him, Bell is primed for another season as a top-tier RB. I believe in Bell this season because he is going to benefit from Sam Darnold playing QB. The offense will be built around Bell in the pass and run game. The best friend of a young QB is a pass-catching RB to check down to. Expect the Jets to use Bell heavily in 2019.

Conclusion: Bell will have the workload to shine in New York. Look to draft Bell in the late first round/early second if he is still available.

Risk Factor: 1

Summary: Joe Mixon is an underrated three-down back that can run inside the tackles and find success in the passing game. Mixon was given 237 carries (8th) for 1,168 yards (4th) in only 14 games. He also added 43 receptions for 296 yards. Mixon will benefit from Zac Taylor taking over as the Bengals' head coach. Taylor studied under McVay and will build a similar offense as the Rams - a team that heavily rely on the RB position to move the ball down the field. 

Conclusion: The two most important things in fantasy football are workload and talent - Mixon has both. Expect Mixon to go in the late first/early second round.

Risk Factor: 1

Summary: James Connor put his skills on display last season on his way to an RB6 finish in only 13 games. The Steelers utilize the RB better than any other team in the league, and they refuse to use an RB committee. This makes Connor an auto-start if healthy on his way to another top finish.

Conclusion: Connor is one of the safest picks in the league with a guaranteed workload of 250+ touches. He is effective in standard and PPR leagues.

Risk Factor: 4

Summary: Cook has had a career riddled with injuries but has shown his ability to play at a high level in the NFL. He will be the Vikings' lead back that will be featured in both the running and passing game. The only problem with Cook is his inability to stay healthy.

Conclusion: Cook is going in the mid-second round which could be a steal. He is a boom or bust player considering his health concerns. A full season for Cook should conclude with an RB12 or better season. As long as he plays at least 12 games you should be happy taking Dalvin Cook.

Risk Factor: 4

Summary: Williams has never been the featured back for a full season. In 2018 Williams took over in Week 14 and never looked back. He played well in his four games as the starting RB. Any offensive player for the Chiefs with his projected snap count will have value.

Conclusion: The only concern for Damien Williams will be the addition of Carlos Hyde. Andy Reid has claimed that Williams will be the featured back and we will have to trust him.

Wide Reciever

Risk Factor: 1

Summary: This one is simple. Hopkins is one of the league's best receivers in the game. He has a talented QB to throw to him and he has the workload to finish as the top WR in fantasy once again. 

Conclusion: Hopkins is going seventh overall which would be a great spot. Anywhere after four would be solid for Hopkins.

Risk Factor: 1

Summary: Adams is the number one receiver for Aaron Rodgers which automatically puts him in the top twelve. He is also a very talented receiver making him a candidate to finish as the WR1. Adams is format-proof because he will get over 100 receptions and double-digit touchdowns.

Conclusion: Adams is going 9th overall which I am more than okay with. People prefer RBs in the first round which allowed Adams to slip into the late first. 

Risk Factor: 3

Summary: Julio Jones has been a model of consistency when healthy. His injury history increases his risk factor but he is still a great WR1 on any team. Julio is a lock to put 1,000 yards in the rear view mirror by the time the fantasy football playoffs start. Koetter becoming the new Offensive Coordinator will also help Julio this season.

Conclusion: Julio is going 11th overall on average and could easily slip into the second round. He will return his value if healthy.

Risk Factor: 9

Summary: Hill is one of the best receivers in the game and he can produce in many ways. He's the best deep-ball threat in the league and can have huge reception totals. He also can run the ball and has the best Quarterback to match his talent. His risk is that even though he is now cleared to practice and play, that can change anytime. The NFL said he is not suspended at this time, but he still can be. All it takes is one video - just look back on Kareem Hunt in 2018. The legal case is also still open which is reason for concern. If he plays all 16 games he will be one of the leagues best players but his risk is the highest on this chart.

Conclusion: Hill's ADP will be changing aggressively over the next few weeks. I would take a chance on him in the third but no earlier.

Risk Factor: 1

Summary: Juju is one of my favorite WRs because he has limitless upside. Smith-Schuster finished as the WR8 last year as the second WR on his team. 1,500 yards in double-digit touchdowns is a realistic outcome.

Conclusion: Juju is going 17th overall which is an absolute steal. Getting a stud in the first and then adding Juju would give an automatic edge throughout the draft.

Risk Factor: 3

Summary: We have never seen OBJ and Baker work together before. However, they have both proven what they can do on a football field, and the pairing should benefit both sides. OBJ has an upgrade at QB and will have the chance for a memorable season.

Conclusion: Odell is going 16th which is a perfect spot in my eyes. The difference between OBJ and Juju is a toss up so go ahead and take whoever you feel most confident in.

Risk Factor: 1

Summary: Michael Thomas has finished as the WR6 in PPR over the last two seasons and as the WR7 his rookie year. He led the league in receptions last year and will continue to get a large workload in 2019.

Conclusion: Michael Thomas is going 12th overall right now. It's not a bad spot for him but I personally would prefer Juju/OBJ later.

Risk Factor: 4

Summary: Brown has finished as the WR1 four times and was the WR5 last season. Now in Oakland, his yardage shouldn't be effected much. In fact, they might increase without an elite WR2 taking targets away. His touchdowns could go down but overall he will finish in the top 10.

Conclusion: Antonio Brown would be a great player to get in the late second to pair with whichever stud RB you already drafted in the top of the first. 

Risk Factor: 3

Summary: Mike Evans' biggest risk is that Jameis Winston does this thing where he all of a sudden becomes the worst player in the NFL. Mike Evans on the other hand is an elite talent. He has never had a season under 1,000 yards and has had double-digit touchdowns twice in his five years. He could be in the conversation of a top three WR if he didn't have so many uncatchable passes thrown his way. He has the targets to be a top guy, but Winston is so inaccurate that his receptions are just solid - not special.

Conclusion: Mike Evans is going 18th overall. Evans is a fine second-round pick but I would take Brown ahead of him. That said, Evans at 18 is nothing to scoff at, and nobody is going to question that decision. 

Risk Factor: 3

Summary: T.Y. Hilton is a very talented receiver and excels when Luck is healthy. As of right now Luck is good to go so book Hilton for 1,000+ yards and a handful of touchdowns.

Conclusion: T.Y. Hilton is going as the first pick in the third round which I would love. If you can get Hilton in round three then you have a stud in the third.

Risk Factor: 2

Summary: Thielen and Diggs have shown that they can both sustain top WR production. Thielen is the safer choice because he gets the higher target share and receptions. 

Conclusion: Thielen is an early third-round pick which is where he should be.

Risk Factor: 2

Summary: Julian Edelman is the best slot receiver in the game, and he can line up outside too. He is one of the best route runners in football, and he has a phenomenal rapport with Brady. The Patriots offense is hard to predict but one thing is consistent: Brady to Edelman all over the field. With Gronk taking a step back from football, Edelman is the only reliable receiving threat besides James White that Brady already trusts.

Conclusion: Edelman is going in the fourth round which is a massive value. Getting JE11 as your WR2 would set you up for success.

Tight End

Risk Factor: 1

Summary: Travis Kelce has been the number one fantasy TE over the last three seasons. His 2018 campaign was outstanding. He had more points in a PPR format than plenty of Quarterbacks - including Brady, Rivers, and Newton. Kelce has the target share of a top of the line WR and is a redzone threat. 

Conclusion: Kelce is going 15th overall which is too high for me to grab a TE but he still could return that value.

Risk Factor: 1

Summary: Ertz has been a consistent fantasy football performer. He has the targets and yardage to be successful. He had 8 touchdowns in 2017 and 2018, which is an increase from years past. I expect him to fall down to earth a little, but still finish second at the position. 

Conclusion: Ertz is going in the third which is too high for me but a fair price. I'd rather get a stud WR but he should return the value of a third-round pick.

Risk Factor: 1

Summary: Kittle had a crazy breakout season in 2018 where he proved he is one of the top Tight Ends in football. His target share should go down with a healthy receiving core but he still will be towards the top of the TE fantasy football scorers. 

Conclusion: Kittle is going at the end of the third round. That is too high of a draft capitol for a TE3. 

Risk Factor: 3

Summary: Engram is going to be on a lot of my teams this season. He is one of the most athletic Tight Ends and leads the position in separation per route. He gets open more than his peers and will be rewarded with targets, yardage and touchdowns.

Conclusion: Engram is going at the end of the fifth round on average, which could be a great value. He is one of the top Tight Ends and could easily slip into the sixth round.

Risk Factor: 5

Summary: Howard is risky because of the injury history. On the other hand, he is one of the most athletic players in the league. His combine numbers were on the charts - which actually matters for Tight Ends. He showed that he could be a quality option in fantasy football last season and should be even better this year,

Conclusion: OJ Howard is going at the same price as Engram. I would choose Engram as the safe choice but Howard has more potential. 

Risk Factor: 2

Summary: Ebron emerged as a top fantasy football option last season. His rapport with Luck is special - especially in the endzone. While I doubt he will repeat a 13 touchdown season, he still should be one of the leading scorers.

Conclusion: Ebron is being drafted in the late-sixth/early-seventh round. Ebron should return that value and is a solid option at that price.

Risk Factor: 4

Summary: Henry missed the entire 2018 season and has an injury history. If he can stay on the field he could be a dynamic threat for the Chargers. With Gates out of the way Henry looks to be a top redzone target for Rivers. The Chargers signal caller has been throwing to his Tight End his whole career and will keep those same tendencies in 2019.

Conclusion: Henry is going at the top of the sixth round. That is a high price but could be worth it if you're stacked at RB and WR.

Risk Factor: 1

Summary: Cook has the opportunity to play with Drew Brees this season. He was the TE5 in 2018 and could finish around the same spot with the Saints. Cook does not excel in any area but he is a safe week-to-week start with the occasional big game.

Conclusion: Cook is going one pick after Ebron who I would much rather have. If Cook slips in drafts he could be a solid pick.

Risk Factor: 5

Summary: Vance McDonald had a solid year in 2018. Big Ben likes to target Tight Ends giving Vance a solid floor. If he can build on his 2018 season he can be a quality week-to-week starter for your team.

Conclusion: McDonald is going in the eighth round, which is basically free. If you do not like to draft Tight Ends early then McDonald should be on your watchlist.

Risk Factor: 3

Summary: Njoku is a very athletic Tight End with a lot of talent. He will be fighting with OBJ and Landry for targets, which will be a challenge. The benefit of the increased offense will be the redzone targets. The team will also have more offensive plays on the season which will benefit the entire team.

Conclusion: Njoku is going late in the eighth round. I actually like his current ADP and could see myself taking him if I hold off on Tight Ends in the middle rounds.

Risk Factor: 7

Summary: Andrews is in a rare Tight End timeshare right now. Last year he was the TE17 as a rookie. He has been a standout at camp and should takeover the bulk of the workload in 2019. Andrews is not talked about enough but is a very good player.

Conclusion: Andrews can be taken in the last round of your draft and has the chance to be a top Tight End. He allows you to bolster your depth at key positions.

Risk Factor: 2

Summary: Trey Burton was the TE8 last season. He should be able to do more of the same in 2019. His ranking is lower purely because there are some young talents who have more potential.

Conclusion: Burton is going in the twelfth round which is a good price for his production. He should outplay his draft capitol.

Scoring Format

These rankings were based on Half-Point PPR. The Quarterbacks were graded using four points per passing touchdown – which is why players like Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson made the list. 

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