“The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” according to Robert Burns.
Heeding Mr. Burns’ words of warning, here’s a heads-up for you: Always have a fantasy football cheat sheet at hand for your draft.
Because whatever plan you have for Draft Day is probably going to fall apart right before your eyes. A cheat sheet gives you something to hold onto when the chaos of draft day starts to take hold. But don’t let any prying eyes spy on your sheet, they just might take your good idea and make it their own.
Fantasy Football Cheat Sheet 2019
This fantasy football cheat sheet 2019 was designed for 12 team PPR leagues with a snake drafting order. And, it’s for the first five rounds – top 60 players – where the most impact can be made. Ok now, sharpen your pencils and take notes.
Round 1 Cheat Sheet
1.) Saquon Barkley
2.) Ezekiel Elliott
3.) Christian McCaffrey
4.) Alvin Kamara
5.) Le’Veon Bell
6.) DeAndre Hopkins
7.) Todd Gurley II
8.) Davante Adams
9.) Melvin Gordon
10.) Michael Thomas
11.) David Johnson
12.) Julio Jones
As you can immediately tell, the best type of player to select in Round 1 is either a RB or WR.
In the early rounds of the draft, it is wise to take the best players available. You will want to go into round one with a few target players. Check to see what the draft trends are for Round 1 before you draft and once you learn your drafting position begin to create a rough strategy for the first and second rounds.
The Top Picks
If you get the number 1 pick: take Barkley. If you get the number 2 pick: take Elliot. They both catch and run and eat up all the carries. Barkley probably has less risk, so he’s my pick at the top for those fortunate enough to draft at number one. McCaffrey, Kamara, and Hopkins are all great picks for the early-middle selections.
If Le’Veon slides down to the middle-back picks he is worth the risk. Adams, Gordon, and Thomas are all very safe, productive draft picks. Johnson and Jones are decently safe picks with a degree of risk. Gurley poses the most risk of any of these picks at the present time.
13.) Travis Kelce
14.) Tyreek Hill
15.) James Conner
16.) Odell Beckham Jr.
17.) Antonio Brown
18.) Patrick Mahomes
19.) JuJu Smith-Schuster
20.) Joe Mixon
21.) Keenan Allen
22.) Dalvin Cook
23.) Mike Evans
24.) Leonard Fournette
In Round 2, things begin to open up a little. But still the general theory is to stick to receivers and running backs. However, that doesn’t mean that selecting an excellent tight end here is a poor idea, it just means that there aren’t many tight ends good enough to go as early as the second round.
Do not select a QB in round 2! Simply put, you can get a better R.O.I. (return on investment) if you wait until later in the draft. The scoring for a QB is different than other players and as it is, the gap between the best QBs and the next couple tiers is not as dramatic as it is with RBs and WRs.
The Snake Draft Considerations
It is always good to think of a pick with the next pick also in mind. In a snake draft, the team with the 1st pick must then wait 22 selections before making their second selection with the 24th pick. They then immediately select again with the 25th pick before waiting 22 more selections once again. However someone with the 6th or 7th pick will continuously wait 10 or 12 selections before being able to pick again. There are advantages and disadvantages to each position.
For example, if you have the 12th pick, you could select Travis Kelce and then immediately select Tyreek Hill with the 13th pick. This strategy is called “Stacking”, because you are taking the two best players from a single team and purposefully drafting both of them to snare as many points from that offense as possible.
Round 2 Analysis
Kelce, Hill, OBJ, and Brown are the best picks here because they all have high floors and very high ceilings. Mahomes will perform well but using a second round pick for a QB is a difficult decision to arrive at.
Conner, Mixon, Allen, Cook, and Evans all are “probable” to perform well, but there is a reason they aren’t first round selections. Fournette and Smith-Schuster have some question marks and could be riskier picks.
25.) Zach Ertz
26.) T.Y. Hilton
27.) George Kittle
28.) Amari Cooper
29.) Nick Chubb
30.) Adam Thielen
31.) Devonta Freeman
32.) Julian Edelman
33.) Derrick Henry
34.) Brandin Cooks
35.) Josh Jacobs
36.) A.J Green
By round 3 you want to make sure you have diversified a little bit. If you drafted wide receivers in the first two rounds, you probably want to take a running back now and vice versa. Also, if you took a “boom-bust” player already, try to take a secure player.
An example of an early “boom-bust” player is David Johnson or even Todd Gurley. David Johnson could be very good, but if the cardinals struggle to put their new offense together he could get smothered all year. Todd Gurley looked like the league MVP for most of 2018 but with concerns about his knee health, there is also a chance he never returns to form.
High Risk Drafting
Another term for boom-bust is high risk. Le’Veon Bell is a higher risk player because he has been away from action for a year and a half and is with a new team.
A secure player that you could draft in round 3 to help balance the high risk player is someone that is a reliable performer, in a familiar position. Examples of these players in this round are: Zach Ertz, T.Y. Hilton, Adam Theilen and Julian Edelman. They are almost guaranteed to be decent contributors.
Round 3 Analysis
If you were lucky enough to get Elliot in Round 1, stacking him with Cooper in round 3 would be a smart move. If you have a solid RB already, taking Derrick Henry here as your RB2 is a great idea. He is too risky to be a RB1 but has the potential and athleticism to easily become one.
Chubb is an interesting prospect because he will likely perform like a top-10 RB for the first half of the season before Hunt is reinstated from his suspension. If you draft Chubb here, make sure to add RB depth to your bench in the mid-to-later rounds.
Kittle is a bit of a risk, because he has only really performed for one season and he will have to repeat that with a different quarterback throwing to him now. The obvious upside: his QB this year is much better than last year’s. Freeman and Jacobs could be top-5 RB if they truly excel this season, but are more likely to be reliable RB2’s.
Josh Jacobs Highlights Video
37.) Stefon Diggs
38.) Deshaun Watson
39.) Marlon Mack
40.) Kerryon Johnson
41.) Aaron Rodgers
42.) Aaron Jones
43.) Damien Williams
44.) Robert Woods
45.) Sony Michel
46.) Phillip Lindsay
47.) Evan Engram
48.) Cooper Kupp
Round 4 Analysis
Round 4 is another great opportunity to snag more RBs and WRs. You will notice that the RBs start to get considerably riskier. That is because most NFL teams only have 1 truly viable RB, or some teams don’t have any (for fantasy purposes).
Watson and Rodgers are excellent QBs to own and come with the Round 4 price-tag instead of Mahomes’ Round 2 price. This is still a bit early for drafting a QB all things considered, but in some senses Rodgers is a safer point producer than Mack or Engram. Diggs has a good floor and a good ceiling and is likely to out-perform his 2018 season. He is the best selection from this round.
Which Rams’ Receiver?
Robert Woods is the superior choice over Cooper Kupp because woods produced like a WR1 while Kupp only just began to look like a top wideout before going down with an ACL injury. It is easy to compare the two since they are on the same team. Kerryon Johnson and Phillip Lindsay are true lead backs – when healthy.
Mack, Michel, and Jones are in a backfield mix. Jones has the most upside, Michel is probably the safest and most solid pick, while Mack will have a lot of opportunities but is the least skilled of the three. I would go with Michel.
Williams and Engram are in excellent positions to do well but are unproven as to whether or not they can perform for an entire season. Because of this they are risks and you should pass on them.
49.) Alshon Jeffery
50.) James White
51.) Mark Ingram II
52.) Andrew Luck
53.) Kenny Golladay
54.) Chris Carson
55.) Matt Ryan
56.) Bears D/ST
57.) O.J. Howard
58.) Tyler Lockett
59.) Baker Mayfield
60.) Jarvis Landry
Round 5 Analysis
Round 5 will be when you certainly begin to see some players sliding. It is not unlikely that a player from Round 3 could still be available by Round 5. It is important to consider these sliding players first because the opportunity to select them could be very unique.
Round 5 is also where “reaching” begins to become more commonplace. Reaching is when someone intentionally picks a player that is not predicted to be drafted until a later round. This is because that player is perceived as having more value than the draft model projects.
It is important to note that just because a player is projected to go off the boards in a later round does not mean it is safe to wait on them until that round, because of reaching.
It is also smart to start looking at the core of your team that you have built through the first 4 rounds. Do they have bye-week complications (multiple players will be on a bye during the same week)? Is your team unbalanced (4 wide receivers, no running backs)? How many “Risky” players are on your team? Draft accordingly
Two Receivers, Two Running Backs
Alshon Jeffery and Tyler Lockett are going to be in the position of WR1 on their respective teams. This makes them valuable.
Ingram and Carson are the lead backs, but the reason they are around in Round 5 is because there are questions and concerns surrounding their situations. Carson is on a Seattle team that has struggled mightily on the ground. Ingram is with a new team in Baltimore that hasn’t been able to produce a workhorse back for years.
Getting Their Share
White, Golladay, and Landry are all going to be in a target-share on their respective teams, yet they are all players with a decent floor and some good upside.
Luck, Ryan, and Mayfield are solid QBs. Ryan has been consistent, while Luck and Mayfield look to build off of their successful 2018 seasons. I would go with Luck here because he has experience, his team is hot, and he has good weapons around him. Mayfield is young and the ceiling is high but he could underperform if the Browns fail to live up to the hype, so he has more risk.
O.J. Howard is coming off of an injury but looked very good before he got hurt. This makes him a risk. Tight ends are fairly volatile as it is, a risky tight end in the 5th Round could come back to bite you. I would recommend passing on him.
The Bears D is a great unit. But defensive scoring is different than other scoring procedures, and the defense is arguably the least important position in fantasy. Do not use your 5th round pick on the least important position.
Use this cheat sheet as a guide, and be alert to opportunities. You never know when the commissioner’s brother-in-law might make a huge reach to draft his hometown team’s quarterback leaving you a big, unexpected opportunity. Strange things can happen in a draft; be ready to pounce.
When other owners making drafting errors, e.g. drafting a defense too early, it presents opportunities for others. With your cheat sheet in hand, you’ll be in great position to improve the prospects for your squad. Good luck.
— Red Zone Rick
Red Zone Rick believes in the Confucius line that states, “Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation, there is sure to be failure.” Rick’s prep work makes it easy for you.
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