We're not even to the Super Bowl yet, but there's an opportunity to get a head start on the 2019 fantasy football season.
The too-early 2019 fantasy football rankings are already out, and there's plenty to discuss in anticipation of the upcoming season. Here's the best and worst potential first-round picks in the 2019 fantasy football draft.
Who's No. 1?
Can you pick against Todd Gurley?
I was planning to do that in 2018, but Gurley was by far the top option once again in fantasy football. Can he repeat that performance in 2019? He needs to stay healthy, but his offense is set up to continue his dominating fantasy performances.
Gurley is used a lot, which helps and hurts him overall in fantasy. He's a three-down running back, so his volume is going to be among the best in the NFL. However, his usage will have to curtail at some point, since a running back's NFL life is short-lived.
He still averages a solid yards per carry at 4.9, so that's encouraging heading into 2019. Once the yards per carry start to drop, then that usually signals the end for running backs. Don't worry about Gurley's health. He's the most utilized running back in fantasy football for a reason, so he should definitely be the No. 1 pick in 2018.
Confidence in most RB1 picks
The remaining running backs in the top-12 in fantasy football rankings are Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, Melvin Gordon, Nick Chubb and James Conner.
Barkley, Elliott, McCaffrey, Kamara and Gordon are sure-fire fantasy options.
All of those players, especially Barkley, can be top-tier running backs through a season. I like Gordon's value, too, at No. 6. If he can avoid injury, he's a legitimate three-down running back, who averaged 5.1 yards per carry in 2019.
Barkley is another year older for a Giants team that can't possibly have a worse offensive line in 2019, so he, along with Gordon, should offer tremendous upside in 2019. If I don't have the No. 1 pick in 2019, I'd favor Barkley as my No. 2.
If I was skeptical on any of those other running backs, it would be Chubb. I wasn't a major fan of Chubb coming out of Georgia. I still believe Sony Michel is a better running back in the long-term, and I see some regression coming up for the Browns. They overachieved in 2018 and Chubb may take a step back. He's a risky RB1, with the limited evidence we have on him.
Is there a wide receiver worth it?
DeAndre Hopkins is labeled as the top wide receiver, going off as the seventh-best pick. Normally, I would downgrade any wide receiver, but that's not a terrible value for a receiver who has been one of the better wide receivers consistently over the last few years.
I'd still favor Conner and a few second-round running backs possibly, but there are some solid running back options later, with David Johnson and Le'Veon Bell likely still available in the next round.
Davante Adams, Julio Jones and Michael Thomas round out the rest of the wide receivers in the first round. All have their pluses, especially with quality quarterbacks at the helm. But they all have their drawbacks, too.
It's difficult to pass up a running back in the first round, but players like Thomas and Hopkins would make sense in the first round, with a little more depth at the running back position.
Injuries are always a concern, so we won't consider the impact those could have on a pick. Gurley has had some injury issues, but you'd be extremely unwise to pass on him as the No. 1 overall pick.
So if there were any concerns I had with the first-round picks, it would center on Chubb and Jones. I don't trust Atlanta. Matt Ryan is not a consistently viable quarterback in fantasy football. He proved that once again in 2018.
That could affect Jones' fantasy value. And Chubb's concerns center on his playing time. We don't have enough information on how good Chubb can be, and if he can improve as a pass-catching running back. I'm not buying into Chubb just yet, so he would throw up some red flags.
Scott Levine blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. His Against The Chalk blog has earned him back-to-back Iowa Newspaper Association awards for Best Blog. Check out more sports betting coverage at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH