2019 Fantasy Football: 14-Team Best-Ball Industry Draft

By Chet Gresham – @ChetGresham
Updated July 25, 2019.

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Good day, sirs and ma’ams. Below I have the first rounds of a slow draft to which I was invited. The settings are fairly standard, now that PPR is actually the standard. This is a “Best Ball” league, which is a league that plays out the season with no roster moves or lineups set. I had the No. 2 slot, which hasn’t been my favorite. I think I’d prefer the fifth spot so I can get one of the top running backs while also getting a shot at a top wide receiver in Round 2. But I’ll get more into that as we go along. Let’s check out the draft so far, and I’ll give you my thoughts through our first seven rounds.

Round 1

My Pick: I took Ezekiel Elliott second overall. For me, it was a decision between him and Christian McCaffrey, with both set up again to be usage hogs, both on the ground and through the air.

Best Pick: There aren’t usually “bad” picks in the first round, so they’re all great players. Travis Kelce is a pick who some might not like, but even at seventh overall, he makes for a contrarian play, but one that can give your team a substantial leg up, as most teams won’t have a tight end even close to Kelce. A high-scoring and consistent tight end is similar to a top-end every-down back in the NFL, as they are a scarce commodity.

“Not Great, Bob” Pick: In the first round, it is hard to go too far off base, so I have to get a little nitpicky here. I’ll choose Dalvin Cook even though I love his upside and think he is good enough and will get enough work to be in the first round, but I do worry about injuries. I’m usually not risk averse to injuries, but a running back with multiple injury history in the first round is one I’d like to avoid at sixth overall when I could get a stud wide receiver with much less risk.

Round 2

My Pick: With the 27th overall pick, I took Todd Gurley. I emphasize “27th overall” because I am not super excited to draft him, but at that point, I felt his upside was worth the risk. We know Gurley is going to play and start, even if he is rested more this year and we also know he’s on one of the best offenses in the league. Running backs are one of the riskiest positions to pick as it is, so getting his upside as the 13th running back off the board felt right.

Best Pick: I’m not a fan of the man, but Tyreek Hill was easily the best pick of the second round, especially in best ball. The only fantasy football qualm I have with Hill is that for someone who was the No. 1 fantasy wide receiver last season, he sure can put up some down games that can hurt you in weekly leagues. Scoring three touchdowns in two games and two touchdowns in three games last season can do that. In best ball, those down games can get replaced by another receiver on your team with a higher score. Hill is easily a top-three receiver in this format.

“Not Great, Bob” Pick: Melvin Gordon will probably end up playing, but I also thought Le’Veon Bell would play last year. The longer Gordon sits out, the more his backups will win snaps, while Gordon isn’t getting into NFL shape or working on timing. If he reports tomorrow, I’ll gladly admit I am wrong, but until he does, I’m holding off.

Round 3

My Pick: Starting with two running backs put me behind the receiver eight-ball, so I grabbed A.J. Green. I love Green at his ADP just outside of the top 12, and getting him as the 15th receiver off the board is a perfect spot. Is he injury prone now that he’s getting up there in age? I don’t know, maybe, but when he’s on the field, he’s still playing great and now he’ll get a new offense with Coach Taylor that will make Marvin Lewis hide.

Best Pick: Kerryon Johnson is one of my targets this season, as the Lions have a solid offensive line. Johnson put up great numbers when finally given a chance last season, and it doesn’t look like he’ll be babied despite some recent injury trouble. He landed right at his ADP as the 20th running back taken, but I like his upside as a top-10 back this season.

“Not Great, Bob” Pick: Derrick Henry is a beast, to say the least, but he’s not going to catch many passes and he’ll need his team to keep games close or have leads going into the fourth quarter to reach his upside. If this were a non-PPR league, I’d be on board, but it’s not.

Round 4

My Pick: The Cardinals are a team I’m looking to mine for fantasy gold this season, and Christian Kirk is high on my list of gold nuggets to grab. Kirk is set up to lead the team in targets this season and can become a top-12 fantasy receiver in Kliff Kingsbury’s throw-and-throw-some-more offense. Kirk is currently the 34th wide receiver taken in ADP, so I went after him early as the 25th receiver because I like him that much and I know the guys I am drafting against like him better than that ADP as well.

Best Pick: Chris Carson is someone I’m going to target in every draft at his current ADP at RB24. Seattle is insane with that running game, outdistancing the whole league by running more than passing. Mike Davis is gone, along with his 100-plus touches, so Carson and Rashaad Penny will have a ton of touches to split up and Carson is the no-doubt lead back.

“Not Great, Bob” Pick: Sony Michel is injured to start training camp once again after getting a knee scope and the Patriots have already drafted his possible replacement in Damien Harris. I love New England’s run game this year, but I don’t love Michel’s knee issues already popping up.

Round 5

My Pick: DeShaun Watson is my No. 2 quarterback this season, and I think he has the upside to overtake Patrick Mahomes if Mahomes regresses. In best-ball leagues, you can’t stream quarterbacks, so I like to grab one I think can carry my team, and Watson is that guy for me.

Best Pick: No picks really stand out to me, but I do like where Tevin Coleman went. Kyle Shanahan’s offense is always good for starting running backs, and Coleman has the lead in that battle right now. Coleman is going off as the 29th running back so far in ADP, and his upside is much higher. Even if he is sharing a big chunk of work, I still expect him to finish in the top-30 running backs as long as he stays healthy.

“Not Great, Bob” Pick: I believe Alshon Jeffery is a top NFL wide receiver, but I’m wary of Eagles players this season due to the number of mouths to feed in that offense. Philadelphia signed DeSean Jackson and drafted J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who is likely Jeffery’s replacement. The Eagles also have Dallas Goedert, who needs more work than he had last year. Jeffery was taken as the 26th wide receiver, and his ADP is as the 29th receiver at the moment.

Round 6

My Pick: Vance McDonald is a player I’ve been hyping since Antonio Brown went to the Raiders, and the Steelers still don’t have anyone I see who should beat him out for the second-most targets on the team after JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Best Pick: Latavius Murray isn’t going to knock anybody’s socks off, but he’s set up in a perfect offense for his abilities, as the Saints use their running backs almost as much as the Seahawks, but more often due to their higher pace. Murray should see plenty of work around the goal line and is not a big injury concern, which is another plus in best ball. I expect 8-10 touchdowns from him this season.

“Not Great, Bob” Pick: I cannot get behind the Titans’ passing game, and even though I think Corey Davis is a stud, he’s set up for failure in their offense. Delanie Walker will return, and A.J. Brown and Adam Humphries will be useful targets for this run-first team, so Davis will likely need to do a lot with his targets. If Marcus Mariota gets hurt again, Davis will be in even deeper trouble.

Round 7

My Pick: Curtis Samuel is almost the 1B to D.J. Moore’s 1A in the Panthers’ receiving hierarchy, and I love Samuel’s ability with the ball in his hands. Carolina also has one of the lighter schedules against pass defenses, and you can always get Samuel a few rounds after Moore.

Best Pick: I skipped on Larry Fitzgerald for Samuel, and I’m not sure that was the best move. I think that Kingsbury’s new offense will get Fitzgerald hyped for this season, and even at his ripe old age, he could be a reception machine for Kyler Murray, especially when he needs to get rid of the ball quickly.

“Not Great, Bob” Pick: I believe Ronald Jones will get a shot at beating out Peyton Barber, but I also think that Barber is the safer of the two and that Bruce Arians is more worried about the passing game than risking Jones as the starter. Jones was awful last season, and Barber feels entrenched as the starter right now. If Arians had been involved in drafting Jones, I would be on board, but he wasn’t and I don’t think he’s high on him.

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