I don’t know about you, but fantasy draft season is my favorite time of the year. You go into your draft fired up, ready to obliterate everyone. The first pick you have to make is, obviously, in the first round.
You skim the list of players (well you already know them because you’ve been reading FantasyFusion’s draft kit religiously, but “you” here can be some dweeb), and an odd emotion comes over you:
Usually, the first round is just a bunch of studs and you can pretty much get by just taking the next best guy that falls to you. This year, however, that may not be the case. There are concerns everywhere in the first round, and I just can’t get past them.
I’ll lay them out for you and hopefully you have the willpower to tell me I’m dumb and fire up those confident draft picks again.
The below 10 players are according to FantasyPros Average Draft Position (ADP) in PPR leagues. I’ve also included the FantasyPros Expert Consensus Ranking (ECR). My rankings are always updated here if you’re interested.
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1. Todd Gurley (ECR: 4)
Mr. Gurley is one of two or three with whom I don’t really have a problem. I would definitely expect some regression from the almost 2100 total yards and 19 total touchdowns he achieved in 2018, but he’s a workhorse and he’s what the kids call “good.” Gurley is my number one player and I’m totally cool with that.
2. Le’Veon Bell (ECR: 3)
Last year, Bell’s contract dispute apparently got the best of him, as he didn’t cross 100 yards from scrimmage in a single game until Week 4 after sitting out training camp and the preseason. The guy is absolutely a stud, but if he’s going to start slow again, that’s enough for me to be cautious taking him.
3. David Johnson (ECR: 2)
Very sadly, we barely saw any of David Johnson last year after a broken wrist ended his season very early. I have no concerns about DJ’s skill set and likely workload, but I don’t have the most trust in the Cardinals offense in general. Sam Bradford doesn’t inspire the most confidence, and I’d usually say that Larry Fitzgerald can’t keep it up but he does every year and that’s a trap I’m not willing to dive into. Two years ago, Todd Gurley couldn’t get anything going because defenses would just put eleven defenders, the defensive coordinator, three cheerleaders, and one big stupid mascot in the box, and he’d have nowhere to go. That’s my concern with DJ, though admittedly it isn’t an intense concern.
4. Ezekiel Elliott (ECR: 5)
Same story here with Zeke. Dak Prescott is fine but not any kind of gunslinger, and the Cowboys are currently starting Terrance Williams, Allen Hurns, and Cole Beasley at receiver. Zeke should get plenty of carriers and he’ll be effective, but how effective can he be if the Cowboys go-to passing play is a 4-yard screen to Beasley?
5. Antonio Brown (ECR: 1)
Now Brown is interesting. I have no qualms about his skill set, as he is - scientifically speaking - a bananas athlete. My only concern around drafting Brown isn’t actually about Brown himself, but just that I’d really like to start my draft with a RB. I did a piece on FantasyPros for a RB heavy draft, and you can’t accomplish that by taking a WR first. To be clear, if I’m picking 5th and the four previous RBs are gone, I am definitely still taking Brown.
6. Alvin Kamara (ECR: 7)
The cautious narrative around Kamara is pretty simple and pretty well-known. He had one game with over 100 rushing yards, and his highest amount of carries in a game was 12 (three times). He also had 826 yards on 82 receptions, which is just lovely. His productivity was insane, but I - and many others - don’t see that repeating. Maybe you draft Kamara and trade him after Week 4 before Mark Ingram returns from suspension? Taking Kamara at his current ADP makes me more uneasy than anyone else on this list.
7. Saquon Barkley (ECR: 12)
This one is easy: kid’s a rookie. The Giants wouldn’t have drafted Saquon if they didn’t plan on using him, so he should be plenty productive. It’s always easy to use the rookie argument, and that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m as comfortable with Saquon here as I am with Antonio Brown or David Johnson at their respective spots.
8. DeAndre Hopkins (ECR: 6)
Last year, DeAndre Hopkins was an absolute force: 96 receptions on 174 targets for 1,378 yards and 13 TDs. I’m not immensely concerned about him, though I did see him be very unproductive two years ago. The issue with Hopkins is really the same as Brown - I really want to start with a RB.
9. Odell Beckham Jr. (ECR: 8)
Are we really drafting two Giants in the top nine? Is this real life?
I guess I’m fine with Beckham here. I still don’t want a WR first, and I’m also worried that the Giants take a massive swing back to favoring the running game, and Odell (and Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram) struggle to see the targets that we expect. If the top 8 go as they did here, I’d probably take Beckham and absolutely grab the best RB on the way back.
10. Kareem Hunt (ECR: 13)
Hunt was a victim of a RB carousel last year for some reason that no one understands. He had five games with less than 15 carries, and his yardage in those games was: 81 yards, 21 yards, 37 yards, 17 yards, and 40 yards. Everyone is allowed to have their bad games, but Hunt seemed to just randomly fall off the face of the earth at times and no one had any idea why. Let’s hope the Chiefs realize that he should be the face of their offense and continue to feed the man.
I hope your doubts aren’t as strong as mine, I really do. It’s a lot more fun to be blindly excited than finding concerns in all of your potential draftees.
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