We’re hitting the middle of July where we enter the period where pretty much the only thing you have to look forward to is baseball. Most of the most prominent free agents in the NBA have found homes, the NBA Summer League is coming to a close and football season is just over the horizon. In fact, preseason is less than three weeks away. You know what that means, it’s time to start thinking about who you should be taking in your fantasy football drafts.
I’m going to take some time to breakdown who I think should go off the board first this season as well as a little strategy to take if you end up with that prominent first pick. There’s a lot of risks involved when you’re picking first in the draft, you’re bound to get yourself an elite player but you don’t get to pick again for a while in those 10 and 12 team leagues. It makes those next two picks all that much more important. Your team is going to rely heavily on that elite player so you better choose wisely.
First Pick Candidates:
This year there are essentially three guys that you should be considering and they’re all running backs. You really can’t go wrong with picking any of them, I’ll break them down.
The first guy we’ll break down is the 2018 leading rusher, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekial Elliot averaged twenty carries a game and lead the next closest guys by 50 carries. Elliott will surely take on a similar role this next season and will make a push to go over 300 carries again. The Cowboys will look to win the NFC East and there are no doubts Elliott will be a huge factor in that. If he stays healthy, he’ll be a top-five running back in the league again. The only downside for Elliot has to be his touchdown production from last season when he finished with nine. Despite that, he’s a safe play for the first pick due to his huge workload.
Barkley had a stellar rookie season and is expected to continue his success this upcoming season. The problem with this pick is that the Giants are going to be absolutely dreadful, Eli Manning will start the season at QB, I think? And if it’s not him it’s Daniel Jones? Based on that information I think the Giants are going to end up running the ball a lot. Defenses will surely key in on Barkley. Expect the Giants to not have a deep ball threat and check down often in the passing game and that’s going to be great news for Barkley owners especially if you play in PPR leagues. Barkley was the second leading rusher this past season behind only Ezekial Elliot. Barkley also finished in the top five for running backs in touchdowns and had the most rushes of 20+ yards in the league, in fact, he had five more than the next guy. Barkley I think is going to end up going off the board first in a lot of drafts.
One of the most exciting players in football in one of the highest octane offenses of all time. Kamara is a dog. He’s a serious candidate to be a 1000 yards rusher along and a 500+ yard receiver making him extremely appealing to fantasy owners. Kamara is a no-doubter to be a top-five pick in fantasy drafts this year and deservedly so he has a ton of upside, especially in PPR leagues. Kamara was 16th in the league last year in carries and 18th in rushing yards, with what he lacks in the running game Kamara certainly makes up for in receiving categories. Kamara scores a lot of touchdowns and gets a lot of looks in the passing game, his 81 receptions will make PPR owners salivate. If you are picking first in a PPR league Kamara deserves serious consideration.
After getting your elite running back with the first pick in a ten-team league you don’t get to pick again until 20 but you do get to pick again at 21. There are a few different approaches you can take, at this point in the league a few of the elite quarterbacks should still be on the board if you’re into that kind of thing and Mahomes is on the board you can certainly take him. Personally, I like to wait on quarterbacks until I get the rest of my team established. I would be looking to either get a few solid RB2s to fill in, a guy to fill the second running back spot and another to put in at the flex, these picks would be for guys like Nick Chubb, Leonard Fournette, or Damien Williams. If there is any good WR1s on the board such as Juju Smith Schuster, Keenan Allen, or Mike Evans I may be inclined to take one of those guys rather than two running backs. It would take something weird happening for me not to take an RB at 20 or 21 if that were my situation. After that I would be looking to take a wide receiver or potentially a tight end with my next two picks, depending on what quarterbacks are on the board you will need to pick carefully. If most teams haven’t already taken a quarterback you should be able to get away with not taking one until your 6th or 7th round selections.
Hopefully, everyone is as excited for the return of NFL football and fantasy football as I am. The season can’t get here soon enough, just a reminder the first preseason game kicks off on August 1st! It’s closer than you think.