Fantasy Football Offseason: An early look at our 2019 rankings

Welcome to 2019. Hopefully, the 2018 Fantasy Football season that just ended resulted in a championship for you. If not, maybe it was a long playoff run. Or you missed the postseason but are ready for a fresh start.

And that's where we are. We have turned the page. It's time to focus on next season.

As we're all aware, a lot will change between now and August when you get serious about your Fantasy leagues, including the NFL playoffs, free agency and the NFL Draft. And we'll adjust accordingly to the news as it happens. But we're still starting our preparation for the 2019 season, and it all begins with the rankings.

With that in mind, here is the first run of the 2019 PPR rankings for me, Heath Cummings and Dave Richard at every major position, as well as our top 12 overall for what it will look like in Round 1. Again, these lists will change -- likely hundreds of time -- before many Fantasy drafts take place, but it's time for us to get started on the new year.

Remember, the more you know, the better off you will be when it comes to draft prep. Don't wait until August to start planning for Fantasy Football, and we're here to help.

We'll be doing stories, podcasts, segments and shows on CBS Sports HQ and more throughout the offseason to give you every little detail needed to win your Fantasy league. Our job is to make it easier for you to draft the right players and set your lineup, and the research starts now.

So let's get started. And stick with us for the next few months to make sure you're more than ready for Draft Day in your league.

Quarterbacks

View Profile
Patrick Mahomes KC • QB • 15
2018 stats
CMP %6,600.0
YDS5,097
TD50
INT12
RUSH YDS272
RUSH TD2

Jamey Eisenberg's rankings

  1. Patrick Mahomes
  2. Aaron Rodgers
  3. Andrew Luck
  4. Deshaun Watson
  5. Ben Roethlisberger
  6. Matt Ryan
  7. Russell Wilson
  8. Baker Mayfield
  9. Cam Newton
  10. Jared Goff
  11. Drew Brees
  12. Philip Rivers

Heath Cummings' rankings

  1. Patrick Mahomes
  2. Andrew Luck
  3. Aaron Rodgers
  4. Deshaun Watson
  5. Ben Roethlisberger
  6. Matt Ryan
  7. Cam Newton
  8. Russell Wilson
  9. Drew Brees
  10. Jared Goff
  11. Philip Rivers
  12. Mitchell Trubisky

Dave Richard's rankings

  1. Patrick Mahomes
  2. Andrew Luck
  3. Aaron Rodgers
  4. Russell Wilson
  5. Deshaun Watson
  6. Jared Goff
  7. Matt Ryan
  8. Ben Roethlisberger
  9. Carson Wentz
  10. Drew Brees
  11. Cam Newton
  12. Baker Mayfield

Heath and Dave have Luck ahead of Rodgers for now, but Heath said the next coach in Green Bay could change his mind to move Rodgers up to No. 2. I'm expecting Rodgers to improve in 2019, and he finished 2018 as the No. 9 quarterback in leagues with six points for passing touchdowns. Luck was No. 4 behind Mahomes, Ryan and Roethlisberger.

We're all waiting to see any news on Newton with the shoulder injury that ended his season in Week 15, and hopefully he will be fine for the start of next year. He will move up for me if he's OK, and potentially for Heath and Dave also.

I'm the highest on Mayfield for now, and he finished as the No. 16 quarterback despite not playing in the first two games of the season. I want to see who the next coach in Cleveland will be, but I expect Mayfield to improve in his sophomore campaign and thrive as a Fantasy starter.

I'm also intrigued by two other 2018 rookies. Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson both will be in consideration as top 12 quarterbacks for me next season based on their rushing ability. As usual, quarterback will be a deep position, and you can wait for talented options with late picks on Draft Day.

One guy you might be waiting on is Tom Brady, who you see is missing from our rankings. He could creep back into the top 12 with a strong playoff performance, but the Patriots need to improve their receiving corps after the Josh Gordon experiment failed, as well as Rob Gronkowski slowing down with his production. Brady could end up as a tremendous value pick in 2019.

Running backs

View Profile
Todd Gurley LAR • RB • 30
2018 stats
ATT256
YDS1,251
TD17
YPC4.9
REC59
REC YDS580
REC TD4

Jamey Eisenberg's rankings

  1. Todd Gurley
  2. Saquon Barkley
  3. Ezekiel Elliott
  4. Christian McCaffrey
  5. Alvin Kamara
  6. Melvin Gordon
  7. James Conner
  8. Nick Chubb
  9. Joe Mixon
  10. Dalvin Cook
  11. Phillip Lindsay
  12. David Johnson

Heath Cummings' rankings

  1. Todd Gurley
  2. Saquon Barkley
  3. Ezekiel Elliott
  4. Melvin Gordon
  5. Christian McCaffrey
  6. Alvin Kamara
  7. Nick Chubb
  8. Dalvin Cook
  9. Joe Mixon
  10. James Conner
  11. Le'Veon Bell
  12. Phillip Lindsay

Dave Richard's rankings

  1. Todd Gurley
  2. Saquon Barkley
  3. Ezekiel Elliott
  4. Christian McCaffrey
  5. Alvin Kamara
  6. Melvin Gordon
  7. Le'Veon Bell
  8. James Conner
  9. Joe Mixon
  10. Nick Chubb
  11. David Johnson
  12. Dalvin Cook

We're all in agreement on the first six running backs, but we have them in a different order. And one spot where I struggle is at No. 2 with Elliott and Barkley. Barkley was the No. 1 PPR running back in 2018, while Elliott was No. 5, although he sat out Week 17 to rest.

In non-PPR leagues, I would take Elliott over Barkley, and the main reason is the touchdowns. Elliott scored just nine total touchdowns in 2018, but he scored 16 as a rookie in 2016 and was on pace for 14 in 2017 if he played 16 games (he missed six games due to suspension). I expect that total to spike this year. I also expect Elliott to still have the better offensive line with center Travis Frederick (illness) coming back, and Elliot's numbers popped after Amari Cooper joined the Cowboys prior to Week 9.

But Barkley is the superior receiver, and that gives him an edge in PPR. Obviously, both running backs are awesome and worthy of being in the top three at the position -- and in the top 12 overall.

I'm taking a wait-and-see approach with Bell to see where he plays in 2019. It's doubtful he'll be in my top 12 unless he ends up in an explosive offense -- Indianapolis or Kansas City could show interest -- but I'm concerned about him leaving the Steelers and still being dominant after a year off. He has a lot to prove after making money a priority over playing in 2018.

I think it's going to be fascinating to see how Fantasy owners approach running backs like Cook, Lindsay and Johnson on Draft Day. Fantasy owners could have trust issues with these guys, including Cook and Johnson after having disappointing seasons in 2018, as well as concern if Lindsay can repeat his success from his rookie campaign. I'm fine with all three of these guys in Round 2.

Wide receivers

View Profile
Davante Adams GB • WR • 17
2018 stats
TAR169
REC111
YDS1,386
TD13

Jamey Eisenberg's rankings

  1. Davante Adams
  2. DeAndre Hopkins
  3. Antonio Brown
  4. Julio Jones
  5. Michael Thomas
  6. JuJu Smith-Schuster
  7. Odell Beckham
  8. T.Y. Hilton
  9. Tyreek Hill
  10. A.J. Green
  11. Keenan Allen
  12. Mike Evans

Heath Cummings' rankings

  1. DeAndre Hopkins
  2. Julio Jones
  3. Davante Adams
  4. Michael Thomas
  5. Odell Beckham
  6. JuJu Smith-Schuster
  7. Antonio Brown
  8. Tyreek Hill
  9. T.Y. Hilton
  10. A.J. Green
  11. Keenan Allen
  12. Kenny Golladay

Dave Richard's rankings

  1. Antonio Brown
  2. Davante Adams
  3. DeAndre Hopkins
  4. Julio Jones
  5. Michael Thomas
  6. JuJu Smith-Schuster
  7. Odell Beckham
  8. Mike Evans
  9. T.Y. Hilton
  10. Tyreek Hill
  11. A.J. Green
  12. Adam Thielen

We all have a different No. 1 receiver going into 2019, and that's going to be a fun debate all offseason. I like Adams, who would have been the No. 1 PPR receiver in 2018 if he played in Week 17, but he ended up four points behind Hopkins. Brown, who also missed Week 17, was No. 3.

Heath expects Smith-Schuster to be better than Brown in 2019, and Smith-Schuster had more receptions (111-104) and receiving yards (1,426-1,297) than Brown in 2018. Brown had more touchdowns (15-7), and Heath may be on to something with his evaluation of the Steelers receivers. Smith-Schuster is definitely on the rise heading into his third season in 2019.

Dave is the highest on Evans, who quietly finished as the No. 9 PPR receiver. Heath expects a big leap coming for Golladay in his third season, and he finished 2018 as the No. 22 PPR receiver. And we're all still trusting Beckham and Green, who struggled with injuries in 2018, but obviously still present plenty of upside when healthy.

Some receivers who just missed the cut for me included Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods, Amari Cooper and Golladay. All have the chance to be stars in 2019, and they should be gone by the end of Round 3.

Tight ends

View Profile
Travis Kelce KC • TE • 87
2018 stats
TAR150
REC103
YDS1,336
TD10

Jamey Eisenberg's rankings

  1. Travis Kelce
  2. Zach Ertz
  3. George Kittle
  4. Eric Ebron
  5. Hunter Henry
  6. O.J. Howard
  7. Rob Gronkowski
  8. David Njoku
  9. Chris Herndon
  10. Evan Engram
  11. Delanie Walker
  12. Jared Cook

Heath Cummings' rankings

  1. Travis Kelce
  2. George Kittle
  3. Zach Ertz
  4. Hunter Henry
  5. O.J. Howard
  6. Eric Ebron
  7. David Njoku
  8. Rob Gronkowski
  9. Evan Engram
  10. Jared Cook
  11. Trey Burton
  12. Chris Herndon

Dave Richard's rankings

  1. Travis Kelce
  2. Zach Ertz
  3. George Kittle
  4. O.J. Howard
  5. Eric Ebron
  6. Hunter Henry
  7. Rob Gronkowski
  8. David Njoku
  9. Chris Herndon
  10. Delanie Walker
  11. Evan Engram
  12. Jack Doyle

Heath is going with Kittle ahead of Ertz in 2019, and we'll see if Fantasy owners follow suit on Draft Day. Kittle finished as the No. 3 PPR tight end behind Kelce and Ertz, and that's the order I expect them to be selected. It's doubtful anyone will crack that top three, and I expect all of them to be drafted before the end of Round 2 in all formats.

The trio of tight ends ranked No. 4-6 are the same for all of us, just in a different order, with Ebron, Henry and Howard. Ebron was the No. 4 PPR tight end in 2018, and Henry and Howard should rebound after dealing with injuries this past season. I'm hopeful Henry (ACL) has a good showing if he's able to play in the postseason for the Chargers, and Howard (ankle) was having a breakout season before going on injured reserve in Week 12.

Gronkowski could retire after this season, which is something to monitor, but he was a bust in 2018. He finished as the No. 10 PPR tight end, but it felt like he was much worse than that. He has a lot to prove in the NFL playoffs if Fantasy owners will trust him again as a starting option in 2019 -- if he doesn't retire.

Njoku didn't have the breakout season I was expecting, but he still finished as the No. 9 PPR tight end in 2018. He has plenty of upside for next year, as does Herndon, who should be a primary weapon for Sam Darnold.

Cook should remain a main weapon for the Raiders, who will likely have a less-than-stellar receiving corps again in 2019. And I'm hopeful Walker (ankle) can return at 100 percent and be a quality Fantasy option again next season. It would also help if Engram can be a consistent playmaker when Beckham and Sterling Shepard are healthy.

Top 12 overall picks

View Profile
Saquon Barkley NYG • RB • 26
2018 stats
ATT261
YDS1,307
TD11
YPC5.0
REC91
REC YDS721
REC TD4

Jamey Eisenberg's rankings

  1. Todd Gurley
  2. Saquon Barkley
  3. Ezekiel Elliott
  4. Christian McCaffrey
  5. Alvin Kamara
  6. Davante Adams
  7. DeAndre Hopkins
  8. Melvin Gordon
  9. Antonio Brown
  10. Julio Jones
  11. Michael Thomas
  12. James Conner

Heath Cummings' rankings

  1. Todd Gurley
  2. Saquon Barkley
  3. Ezekiel Elliott
  4. Melvin Gordon
  5. Christian McCaffrey
  6. Alvin Kamara
  7. DeAndre Hopkins
  8. Julio Jones
  9. Davante Adams
  10. Michael Thomas
  11. Nick Chubb
  12. Dalvin Cook

Dave Richard's rankings

  1. Todd Gurley
  2. Saquon Barkley
  3. Ezekiel Elliott
  4. Christian McCaffrey
  5. Alvin Kamara
  6. Melvin Gordon
  7. Antonio Brown
  8. Davante Adams
  9. DeAndre Hopkins
  10. Julio Jones
  11. Le'Veon Bell
  12. James Conner

We all have five running backs with our first five overall picks, but Heath and Dave would take another running back at No. 6 overall. I would lean toward receiver at No. 6 with Adams, followed by Hopkins, but running back will dominate the first round once again.

I have seven running backs being drafted in the first round, and Heath and Dave have eight. It will be interesting to see if Fantasy owners draft either Kelce or Mahomes in the first round, and I can make a case for Kelce. He was the No. 14 overall non-quarterback in PPR, and he's someone you should definitely target at the swing picks at the back end of Round 1. The same goes for Ertz, who was the No. 16 overall non-quarterback in PPR.

Mahomes had the best quarterback season of all time, passing Peyton Manning's amazing campaign in 2013. But I'm still not drafting Mahomes in Round 1, especially in PPR. The earliest I would draft Mahomes is the end of Round 2.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories