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When to Ignore Your 2019 Fantasy Football Rankings

By Matt Schauf | Updated on Tue, 23 May 2023 . 1:27 PM EDT

If you haven’t created your MVP Board yet, please go ahead and do so. I’ll wait …

Now you’ll find our 2019 fantasy football rankings tailored to your league’s scoring and lineup settings. We’ve already spent tons of time on those numbers, and we’ll keep fiddling and updating right up until the final hours of draft season.

When you’re selecting your team on draft day, that board will give you value-driven recommendations at every turn to help build a league-winning roster.

And at some point, you need to just ignore them.

Is that a cop out? Nah. Are we trying to cover our butts for a few players bound to disappoint? Nope.

Consider this our annual reminder that you make your team your own. Projections are helpful -- essential even. But they’re not the whole story. That’s why we include “replacement points,” which account for what you can expect to get when your starter misses time. That’s why you’ll find “ceiling” and “floor” projections next to the regular numbers on your MVP Board.

Frankly, that’s why we write all of these articles instead of just providing rankings and wishing you luck.

There’s art to building your fantasy football roster. It’s easier to take a shot on that boom/bust wideout if you fortify the corps with bedrock. And come Round 15, do you just want the next RB on the list or the guy who could happen upon big opportunity with 1 well-placed injury?

Let’s take a walk through the positions now and see where things get truly interesting …

QB: Whenever You Want

Our preseason rankings last year found no 2 consecutive QBs separated by more than 9 points until you got down to the #25 and #26 passers on the list. That means our top 25 options at the position were each separated by less than 0.6 points per game.

This year’s a little different. But only a little.

As of this writing, #1 Patrick Mahomes sits 18 points ahead of #2 Deshaun Watson in our default scoring. Watson sits another 11 ahead of Andrew Luck. After that, players sit packed pretty tightly.

Eleven points separate #13 Mitchell Trubisky from #14 Russell Wilson. (Though there’s a little staff disagreement on that gap.) But no other QB pairs from #3 Andrew Luck down to #19 Jimmy Garoppolo find more than 7 points between them. And aside from Trubisky-Wilson, the space between #11 Jared Goff and #12 Dak Prescott is the only other larger than 5 points.

Does all that mean you need to go ahead and grab Mahomes if the MVP Board lists him as the top recommendation at your turn? No. You certainly can, and at some point it becomes a terrific bet. But you can also choose to wait on the position.

Should you target Watson, who sits well ahead of #3 in our rankings but carries a later ADP than the 2 QBs we rank directly behind him? You can. But again, you could choose to wait for a player such as Philip Rivers at QB15 to be your 1st guy at the position.

And especially after you’ve drafted your starter, you don’t need to let the board dictate when (or even if) you take a backup -- at least in 1-QB leagues.

The point here is that QB offers as much room for draft flexibility as any position in fantasy football. Feel free to work your own preferences in with the MVP Board’s recommendations. Four of the past 5 seasons have seen 15+ QBs score 300+ fantasy points in our default format. Seventeen reached that level in both 2015 and 2016. We project 22 QBs to score 300+ points this year. And the 1st guy below that threshold is Tom Brady.

You’ll have options.

RB: RB25 in non-PPR; RB28 in PPR

Let’s start with PPR, the most common format at this point. And let’s cut things off at Tarik Cohen.

You’ll notice if you check our rankings (as of this writing) that Cohen marks the last RB projected for 190+ fantasy points. Then comes #29 Lamar Miller at 178, knocked a bit after Thursday’s Duke Johnson trade.

If you’re drafting a “zero-RB” team, then Miller might be our highest-ranked RB you can actually hope to get (perhaps in Round 7). If you’re following a more common draft plan, we’d generally like to secure 2 RBs by the end of Round 4. That still gives you the freedom and flexibility to decide whether you:

-- like a Round 1 option
-- feel like starting RB-RB
-- want to go with someone such as Dalvin Cook or Nick Chubb as your 1st in Round 2
-- or start with a pair of pass-catchers and then double up with players such as Devonta Freeman in Round 3 and Mark Ingram in Round 4.

This range of players includes guys such as Damien Williams and Marlon Mack, whom we rank significantly below their positional ADP. So you’ll need to reach way over the MVP Board recommendations if you want to get them. But it also finishes with useful PPR backs James White and Tarik Cohen, who are each coming off top-11 seasons.

Then comes a range of decision players, including a slew of crowded backfields lacking clarity in the touch splits that lie ahead. Want to bet on a Washington back? A Philly back? Melvin Gordon’s insurance policy? All balance upside with downside risk.

In non-PPR, meanwhile, Miller looks like the cutline again. At #25, he’s 8 points behind Phillip Lindsay and just 2 ahead of Kenyan Drake. More importantly, he adds risk with Duke Johnson’s arrival. So if you were leaning toward ignoring when the MVP Board tells you it’s Miller time, that move now seems more sensible.

Like on the PPR side, we find a fair number of “if, then” players behind Miller. For example, if Kenyan Drake gets a clear lead share of the touches in Miami, then he might be a reliable fantasy option. Same for Tevin Coleman in San Francisco and Derrius Guice in Washington.

The deeper you get, the more you should be shopping for upside and situations rather than just selecting the next guy on your list.

WR: Corey Davis in PPR; the trio at 37 in non-PPR

On the PPR side, Corey Davis at #35 looks like the last guy you can say stands a strong chance of leading his team in targets. (Feel free to make the argument for #37 Dede Westbrook if you’d like.) There are certainly others behind him who could, but Davis is the last of the relatively comfy bets.

Shortly after Davis comes Mohamed Sanu (#40) and Tyrell Williams (#41), a pair of players stubbornly staying much lower in ADP than we have them ranked. So you can wait on that duo, address other positions -- late QB starter -- and pass on the wideouts in between.

As you get further into the double-digit rounds, pairing teammates such as Devin Funchess and Parris Campbell or Tre’Quan Smith and Ted Ginn becomes an option. That gives you a chance to hedge on which player will come out ahead while betting on a situation with the upside to pay out big.

In non-PPR, Tyrell Williams sits tied with Sterling Shepard and Curtis Samuel in projected fantasy points. Williams also sits 3 rounds behind Samuel in ADP and 4 behind Shepard. The buzz surrounding Samuel seems likely to keep pushing him higher, while you can continue to wait on Williams and snag 1 of fantasy’s best 2019 values.

TE: After the top 6

Whether you’re playing PPR, non-PPR or something in between, the top 6 looks like the elite-to-potentially-elite of this position.

Travis Kelce sits way ahead of Zach Ertz, who occupies a shelf with George Kittle, comfortably above Evan Engram, Hunter Henry and O.J. Howard.

You’ll likely need to jump by the end of Round 5 in most leagues if you want to secure any of these 6. So if you don’t want to spend that much on a TE, it’s perfectly OK to head in with a plan to wait.

Eric Ebron sits 7th in our non-PPR rankings but just 9th in PPR. He’s likely to leave the draft board before he makes it to the lead tile on your MVP board.

Jared Cook, David Njoku, Vance McDonald, Trey Burton, Jordan Reed, Austin Hooper … depending on your format, there’s likely not a lot separating this group. So you can chase a favorite or you can wait and take the last 1 remaining. After this range of players, though, the upside appears to take a dip.

And in most fantasy formats, you’re probably not working too hard for a 2nd option at the position.

Matt Schauf Author Image
Matt Schauf, Editor
Matt has earned two Fantasy Pros accuracy awards for IDP rankings and won thousands of dollars as a player across best ball, dynasty, and high-stakes fantasy formats. He has been creating fantasy football content for more than 20 years, with work featured by Sporting News, Rotoworld, Athlon, Sirius XM, and others. He's been with Draft Sharks since 2011.
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