Top Picks for Fantasy Football Include Four Running Backs With Huge Upside in 2019 NFL Season

Jason Schandl
New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles
New York Giants v Philadelphia Eagles /

Fantasy football draft season is upon us, and while every pick you make has the potential to elevate your team to a championship level, no draft decision carries as much weight as who you select first. That one pick can almost single-handedly make or break your season (sorry to those of you who drafted Le'Veon Bell at No. 1 in 2018).

Looking at this year's average draft position (ADP) data, there is a clear tier of four players that are in consideration to be drafted first in fantasy football. Those players are Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara and Ezekiel Elliott.

Who to Draft First in Fantasy Football

There's no consensus No. 1 pick this year, and there's a case to be made for each of those four players. Here's a breakdown of the four RB options.

Saquon Barkley Stats

In 2018, Barkley scored the most fantasy points ever for a player in their rookie year. He eclipsed 2,000 yards from scrimmage and scored 15 touchdowns on 352 touches. The weak New York Giants offense may raise some red flags, but the group isn't much worse than what surrounded him during that dominant rookie season. It's easy to see why most experts have him at the top of their draft boards.

Christian McCaffrey Stats

Almost inseparable from Barkley at the top of many rankings, McCaffrey defined the word "workhorse" in 2018. Over the first 16 weeks of the fantasy football season, he was on the field for an absurd 97 percent of the Carolina Panthers' offensive snaps. The next-highest mark for a running back was 89 percent. McCaffrey erased all concerns of how well he would hold up with a big workload, racking up 326 touches. He finished eighth among players at any position in receptions, and he's especially valuable in PPR fantasy football leagues. He's well worth the top pick, especially in PPR formats.

Ezekiel Elliott Holdout

Elliott has fallen out of fashion with the news that his holdout may last into the regular season. But remember, only one running back (Todd Gurley) has scored more fantasy points than Zeke since he was drafted in 2016, and he's led the NFL in rushing yards per game in all three seasons. His outlook is similar to Barkley's, but the added holdout concerns make him a riskier pick at the top of drafts. However, if the Dallas Cowboys extend his contract before the season, he could ultimately be the top scorer of these four options.

Alvin Kamara Stats

In his first year as the New Orleans Saints' lead back, Kamara racked up 194 carries and 105 targets, notching 1,592 yards and 18 touchdowns. He's playing in one of the NFL's best offenses, and with Latavius Murray representing a possible downgrade from Mark Ingram, Kamara could be in for the biggest workload of his career. Kamara's volume has a good chance of being the lowest of these four players, but the elite efficiency he's posted in his first two seasons combined with the elite offense around him keeps his upside as high as anyone's.

That's four options for the top pick in 2019 fantasy drafts and, in reality, you can't go wrong with any of them.

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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.