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Fantasy football rankings: The 192 players who should be drafted this season

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Yates: Kelce is the surest thing in fantasy football (2:09)

Field Yates has no problem if you take Travis Kelce earlier than most tight ends because of his durability and consistent production. (2:09)

During the offseason, 2,880 human beings (32 teams x 90 players) can be rostered by an NFL team. Once Week 1 rolls around, that number is cut down to 1,696 (32 x 53). The ESPN Fantasy player database includes nearly 2,500 players.

You can't be expected to know all of those players, which is why "The 192" is here to make your life easier.

Why 192? Fantasy leagues come in all shapes and sizes, but many have settled into leagues featuring 12 teams of 16 players. "The 192" is a list of the 192 players who should be drafted (and thus rostered) in a 12-team, 16-round PPR league with relatively standard scoring and lineup settings. The players are technically listed in the order they should be drafted, though it's important to remember that drafts are fluid and your decisions should be altered based on what's left on the board and your previous selections.

So what if you're in an eight-team league? Or a 16-teamer? "The 192" can still help you win, but you'll certainly need to make tweaks in the mid-to-late rounds. For example, in a smaller league, you might want to wait even longer at quarterback since the position is so deep. In deeper leagues, running backs and tight ends should be more of a priority, as those positions lack depth and could leave you with a weak spot if you wait too long.

Although some player analysis is included throughout the piece, strategy is the primary topic of discussion. For more thorough player analysis, check out our player profiles, which were drawn up by yours truly. For a deeper look at the rankings, check out Cheat Sheet Central.

The 192 should serve as a simple guide to help you maximize the value of your starting lineup while making the best possible decision every round.

1. Saquon Barkley, NYG, RB1

Not everyone agrees with this, but I say Barkley is the no-brainer No. 1 overall pick in all 2019 fantasy drafts. The Penn State product ranked top-three among backs in carries, pass routes and targets en route to pacing the position in fantasy points as a rookie. He's running unopposed in a Giants backfield that will benefit from an offense that will lean even more on the run in 2019. If you can choose your draft spot, roll with 1.1 and get your hands on the top asset in fantasy football.

2. Christian McCaffrey, CAR, RB2
3. Alvin Kamara, NO, RB3
4. Ezekiel Elliott, DAL, RB4

The running back position has been rejuvenated with young backs playing workhorse roles, and fantasy managers will be itching to grab one early. Is it worth the risk, considering the high injury rate? Yes, when it's a clear, feature back set for a significant passing-game role. This trio fits that bill, though Elliott's holdout knocks him to the bottom of the list.

5. DeAndre Hopkins, HOU, WR1
6. Michael Thomas, NO, WR2
7. David Johnson, ARI, RB5
8. Le'Veon Bell, NYJ, RB6
9. Davante Adams, GB, WR3
10. Julio Jones, ATL, WR4
11. Odell Beckham Jr., CLE, WR5
12. Tyreek Hill, KC, WR6
13. JuJu Smith-Schuster, PIT, WR7

Johnson and Bell are two more clear feature backs worth your attention in the first round. Johnson is trending up with so much positivity surrounding the progress of rookie QB Kyler Murray, as well as Johnson's role in a high-volume Kliff Kingsbury offense.

The debate over who should be the first wide receiver off the board will continue all offseason. Following reports that Green Bay will run more than we anticipated, Hopkins now gets the nod over Adams, who paced the position in fantasy points before sitting out Week 17 last season and leads the NFL in touchdowns over the past three seasons. Adams is still a fine WR1 option, as are Thomas, Jones, Beckham, Smith-Schuster and Hill. Landing one of these wideouts in Round 2 is both possible and a terrific value.

14. Todd Gurley II, LAR, RB7
15. Travis Kelce, KC, TE1
16. Antonio Brown, OAK, WR8

Gurley paced all backs in fantasy points in 2017 and finished top-10 a position-high 11 times in 2018, but a troublesome knee will mean fewer touches in 2019. Of course, he can afford a lesser role and still deliver elite fantasy production in the Rams' terrific offense. He's a fine Round 2 pick.

Kelce belongs in the first-round discussion after pacing all tight ends in fantasy points for a third straight season. Brown has missed time due to a foot injury and helmet drama; knock him down a few spots.

17. Joe Mixon, CIN, RB8
18. James Conner, PIT, RB9
19. Dalvin Cook, MIN, RB10
20. Mike Evans, TB, WR9
21. Keenan Allen, LAC, WR10
22. Nick Chubb, CLE, RB11
23. Kerryon Johnson, DET, RB12
24. Leonard Fournette, JAX, RB13
25. Devonta Freeman, ATL, RB14
26. Melvin Gordon, LAC, RB15

Many don't like picking first overall because of the perceived drop in value as the second round progresses, but this list shows that even in 12-team leagues, you're going to have plenty of terrific options at the Round 2/3 turn. Chubb might seem low, but Kareem Hunt's midseason return looms large and could limit the second-year back's production during the all-important fantasy playoffs. Johnson is trending up following the Lions' release of Theo Riddick. There seems to be a very real chance that Gordon will miss regular-season action, which knocks him into Round 3.

27. Amari Cooper, DAL, WR11
28. T.Y. Hilton, IND, WR12
29. George Kittle, SF, TE2
30. Zach Ertz, PHI, TE3

Andrew Luck's Week 1 status is up in the air, which makes Hilton a bit risky, so that's a situation to monitor. Kittle (who set the tight end receiving yardage record last season) and Ertz (who set the tight-end reception record last season) are candidates for a dip in targets and/or some regression and thus find themselves a tier below Kelce. Nonetheless, both are solid Round 3 targets.

31. Josh Jacobs, OAK, RB16
32. Derrick Henry, TEN, RB17
33. Chris Carson, SEA, RB18
34. Marlon Mack, IND, RB19
35. Aaron Jones, GB, RB20

This is an intriguing tier of running backs. All five are in good situations and have RB1 upside but also hold some risk. Henry and Mack have been limited as receivers thus far, Jacobs is a rookie and will defer passing-down work to Jalen Richard, Jones has yet to lock down clear lead back duties in Green Bay, and Carson will need to fend off second-year back Rashaad Penny. Carson is trending up following reports that he'll play a much larger role as a receiver.

36. Julian Edelman, NE, WR13
37. Adam Thielen, MIN, WR14
38. Brandin Cooks, LAR, WR15
39. Stefon Diggs, MIN, WR16
40. Robert Woods, LAR, WR17
41. Kenny Golladay, DET, WR18
42. Cooper Kupp, LAR, WR19

The depth at wide receiver really shows up here and suggests it makes sense to grab a running back in the first round before attacking hard at wide receiver. Minnesota will run the ball more this season, but huge target shares for Thielen and Diggs should allow for WR2 campaigns. All three Rams wide receivers were top-11 in fantasy points during the seven games the trio played together last season.

43. Patrick Mahomes, KC, QB1

Mahomes will (and should) be the top quarterback off the board in 2019 drafts. Of course, the question is: When is the right time? I say Round 4 for the reasons laid out here and here. Yes, Mahomes will be drafted earlier than 43rd in most drafts, but I can't justify going much earlier on a quarterback.

44. Damien Williams, KC, RB21
45. Mark Ingram II, BAL, RB22
46. Alshon Jeffery, PHI, WR20
47. Chris Godwin, TB, WR21
48. Tyler Lockett, SEA, WR22
49. Mike Williams, LAC, WR23
50. DJ Moore, CAR, WR24
51. Tyler Boyd, CIN, WR25
52. Allen Robinson, CHI, WR26
53. Calvin Ridley, ATL, WR27
54. Josh Gordon, NE, WR28
55. Sammy Watkins, KC, WR29
56. A.J. Green, CIN, WR30

I'm lower on Damien Williams than most. The journeyman back flashed in relief of Kareem Hunt last season, but he's also 27 years old and has yet to clear 50 carries or 23 receptions in a single season. He has upside, but he's also risky, and both need to be considered.

This is a terrific area to go shopping for a third wide receiver. Lockett's efficiency stats will regress this season, but Doug Baldwin's retirement will mean a larger target share. Robinson is a candidate for a better season now that he's fully recovered from his 2017 torn Achilles. Don't sleep on Ridley, who is positioned for a big role in a highly productive Falcons offense that isn't deep with reliable targets. Green will miss a few weeks, but we know he'll supply fringe WR1 numbers once healthy.

Gordon is worth an extended mention after he was reinstated. The veteran wide receiver wasn't nearly as dominant last season as he was back at his peak in 2013 but was still very effective, ranking sixth among wide receivers in YPR (18.0), 10th in YPT (10.2) and fourth in RAC (6.7). Gordon was often utilized as a vertical threat (13.8 aDOT), which limited his volume a bit; during the nine full games he played, Gordon (63) was behind both Julian Edelman (83) and James White (70) in targets. Gordon ranked 24th in fantasy points during those nine weeks. He's back in the WR3 discussion, but his off-field troubles make him a risky early-round investment.

57. James White, NE, RB23
58. Sony Michel, NE, RB24
59. Kenyan Drake, MIA, RB25
60. David Montgomery, CHI, RB26
61. Tarik Cohen, CHI, RB27
62. Phillip Lindsay, DEN, RB28
63. Derrius Guice, WAS, RB29
64. Lamar Miller, HOU, RB30

Round 5/6 presents a significant chunk of the top RB3 options.

New England's top two backs are worth a look here, though we know White will be limited as a rusher and Michel contributes very little as a receiver. Montgomery and Guice were recent Day 2 draft picks and are positioned for big 2019 roles. Lindsay's stock is trending down with Denver committed to a big role for Royce Freeman. Same for Miller, who will defer touches to newcomer Duke Johnson Jr.

65. Evan Engram, NYG, TE4
66. O.J. Howard, TB, TE5
67. Hunter Henry, LAC, TE6
68. Jared Cook, NO, TE7

Round 6-7 has become the sweet spot for finding your tight end in 2019. Engram will be a featured target in New York, especially with Golden Tate suspended. Injuries have been a problem for Henry and Howard, but both have elite upside. Cook is expected to play a massive role in New Orleans' elite offense.

69. Deshaun Watson, HOU, QB2
70. Matt Ryan, ATL, QB3
71. Aaron Rodgers, GB, QB4

Finally we reach the second tier of quarterbacks. Watson, Rodgers and Ryan are very good QB1 plays, but none is worth reaching for. As we'll see throughout this piece, the position is deeper than ever.

72. Sterling Shepard, NYG, WR31
73. Jarvis Landry, CLE, WR32
74. Robby Anderson, NYJ, WR33
75. Dede Westbrook, JAX, WR34
76. Will Fuller V, HOU, WR35
77. Marvin Jones Jr., DET, WR36
78. Christian Kirk, ARI, WR37
79. Emmanuel Sanders, DEN, WR38
80. Tevin Coleman, SF, RB31
81. Miles Sanders, PHI, RB32
82. Austin Ekeler, LAC, RB33
83. Duke Johnson Jr., HOU, RB34
84. Royce Freeman, DEN, RB35
85. Rashaad Penny, SEA, RB36
86. Nyheim Hines, IND, RB37

Round 7 presents a chunk of solid, veteran WR3 options, as well as some potential breakout running backs.

Shepard is one of my favorite mid-round targets as the Giants' clear No. 1 wide receiver. Anderson is entering his first contract year and could take a huge leap if Sam Darnold takes a step forward. Sanders is trending up following a quick recovery from a torn Achilles. He seems likely to suit up for Week 1.

Especially with Jerick McKinnon still not recovered from a torn ACL, Coleman is your top option in the 49ers' backfield committee. Ekeler is a hot mid-round target as the presumed starter in Los Angeles if Gordon holds out. Johnson's stock is way up after a trade from Cleveland to Houston.

87. Cam Newton, CAR, QB5
88. Baker Mayfield, CLE, QB6
89. Carson Wentz, PHI, QB7
90. Andrew Luck, IND, QB8

Each of these quarterbacks has the upside to finish 2019 as the top scorer at the position. Luck (calf) is trending down with his Week 1 status in question. Mayfield will be picked earlier than this in most drafts. The hype makes sense, but a lack of rushing production, a high interception rate and a shaky pair of offensive tackles means there's more risk than advertised. Healthy and ready to roll, Newton will be a value in 2019 drafts.

91. Corey Davis, TEN, WR39
92. Jamison Crowder, NYJ, WR40
93. Curtis Samuel, CAR, WR41
94. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI, WR42
95. Courtland Sutton, DEN, WR43
96. Keke Coutee, HOU, WR44
97. Michael Gallup, DAL, WR45
98. Dante Pettis, SF, WR46
99. Jordan Howard, PHI, RB38
100. Peyton Barber, TB, RB39
101. Matt Breida, SF, RB40
102. Latavius Murray, NO, RB41
103. LeSean McCoy, BUF, RB42
104. Darrell Henderson, LAR, RB43
105. Carlos Hyde, KC, RB44
106. Donte Moncrief, PIT, WR47
107. James Washington, PIT, WR48
108. Geronimo Allison, GB, WR49
109. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, GB, WR50

At this point, the core of your team is in place, so we're primarily looking to find flex options and upside bench players.

Davis is in a make-or-break season in Tennessee. Crowder's stock is on the rise as he's positioned for a featured role in New York. Fitzgerald should be reinvigorated in a better Cardinals offense. Allison and Valdes-Scantling could easily push for WR3/flex numbers if they lock down Nos. 2/3 duties in Green Bay. Sutton, Gallup and Washington are Year 2 leap candidates. Washington will compete with Moncrief for a bountiful No. 2 gig in Pittsburgh. Pettis is trending down following reports of a rough training camp.

At running back, Barber lacks a high ceiling but appears to be locking down lead back duties in Tampa. Henderson's value will depend mostly on the health of Gurley. If Gurley is out, he'll be an RB2 option. If Gurley is a full go, Henderson will struggle for standalone value. Henderson, Murray and Hyde are among the most valuable handcuffs in fantasy. Though he isn't what he used to be, McCoy remains the lead back in a run-heavy Bills offense.

110. Vance McDonald, PIT, TE8
111. David Njoku, CLE, TE9
112. Delanie Walker, TEN, TE10
113. Eric Ebron, IND, TE11
114. Dak Prescott, DAL, QB9
115. Drew Brees, NO, QB10
116. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT, QB11
117. Russell Wilson, SEA, QB12
118. Kyler Murray, ARI, QB13
119. Jared Goff, LAR, QB14

If you waited at tight end or quarterback, Round 10 isn't a bad spot to make a move.

The always-underrated Walker joins McDonald, Njoku and regression lock Ebron as solid TE1 options. Prescott's rushing prowess, improved supporting cast and super-light early-season schedule make him an excellent value. You never need to take a second quarterback, but a few of your top options are listed here if you choose to do so. Murray's outstanding rushing ability supplies him with a high floor.

120. DeSean Jackson, PHI, WR51
121. Tyrell Williams, OAK, WR52
122. Devin Funchess, IND, WR53
123. Anthony Miller, CHI, WR54
124. Tom Brady, NE, QB15
125. Lamar Jackson, BAL, QB16
126. DK Metcalf, SEA, WR55
127. Kenny Stills, MIA, WR56
128. Golden Tate, NYG, WR57
129. Adam Humphries, TEN, WR58
130. Albert Wilson, MIA, WR59
131. Austin Hooper, ATL, TE12
132. Jordan Reed, WAS, TE13
133. Trey Burton, CHI, TE14
134. Mark Andrews, BAL, TE15
135. Ronald Jones, TB, RB45
136. Jalen Richard, OAK, RB46
137. Dion Lewis, TEN, RB47
138. Giovani Bernard, CIN, RB48
139. John Brown, BUF, WR60

We're into Rounds 11-12, so we're looking for potential flex options, as well as breakout candidates. Metcalf is our first rookie wide receiver, as he locks down a significant role in Seattle. Jackson and Williams lead a long list of veteran wide receivers who will push for weekly fantasy value.

Those of you in PPR leagues with at least 12 teams will have more use for dedicated passing-down backs like veterans Richard, Lewis and Bernard. All three will be limited as rushers, but all are strong bets for 40-plus receptions.

140. DaeSean Hamilton, DEN, WR61
141. Mohamed Sanu, ATL, WR62
142. Deebo Samuel, SF, WR63
143. Chris Conley, JAX, WR64
144. Greg Olsen, CAR, TE16
145. Jack Doyle, IND, TE17
146. Jimmy Graham, GB, TE18
147. Mitchell Trubisky, CHI, QB17
148. Jameis Winston, TB, QB18
149. Philip Rivers, LAC, QB19
150. Kalen Ballage, MIA, RB49
151. Jaylen Samuels, PIT, RB50
152. Devin Singletary, BUF, RB51
153. Tony Pollard, DAL, RB52
154. Justin Jackson, LAC, RB53

These are some of your best options when looking to round out your bench. Ballage (Drake), Samuels (Conner) and Singletary (McCoy) are notable handcuffs with RB2 upside in the event of an injury above them on the depth chart. Pollard and Jackson should be on benches until the Elliott and Gordon contract situations are resolved. Youngsters Hamilton and Samuel are excellent late-round fliers as potential breakout wide receivers. Veterans Conley (teammate D.J. Chark just missed the cut) and Sanu should also be on your radar.

At tight end, Doyle is nearing full health, and don't forget that he easily out-targeted Eric Ebron and was fantasy's No. 6 tight end when healthy last season.

155. Marquise Brown, BAL, WR65
156. Paul Richardson, WAS, WR66
157. Mecole Hardman, KC, WR67
158. Tre'Quan Smith, NO, WR68
159. Andy Isabella, ARI, WR69
160. A.J. Brown, TEN, WR70
161. Deon Cain, IND, WR71
162. Kirk Cousins, MIN, QB20
163. Kyle Rudolph, MIN, TE19
164. Chris Thompson, WAS, RB54
165. Mike Davis, CHI, RB55
166. Jerick McKinnon, SF, RB56
167. Kareem Hunt, CLE, RB57
168. Darwin Thompson, KC, RB58

These are your top targets as we head toward the D/ST and kicker portion of the draft. The list includes a few more post-hype and/or upside fliers at wide receiver like Cain, Richardson and Smith. Also, here are rookie fliers Brown (x2), Isabella and Hardman (N'Keal Harry fell off the board following the activation of Gordon). Hunt is also a highly valuable handcuff, but his eight-game suspension limits his draft-day appeal. Thompson could make serious noise in Kansas City if Williams and/or Hyde flame out.

169. Bears D/ST, DST1
170. Jaguars D/ST, DST2
171. Bills D/ST, DST3
172. Rams D/ST, DST4
173. Vikings D/ST, DST5
174. Saints D/ST, DST6
175. Chargers D/ST, DST7
176. Patriots D/ST, DST8
177. Colts D/ST, DST9
178. Titans D/ST, DST10
179. Greg Zuerlein, LAR, K1
180. Justin Tucker, BAL, K2
181. Wil Lutz, NO, K3
182. Harrison Butker, KC, K4
183. Stephen Gostkowski, NE, K5
184. Ka'imi Fairbairn, HOU, K6
185. Robbie Gould, SF, K7
186. Mike Badgley, LAC, K8
187. Adam Vinatieri, IND, K9
188. Brett Maher, DAL, K10
189. Broncos D/ST, DST11
190. Texans D/ST, DST12
191. Matt Prater, DET, K11
192. Jake Elliott, PHI, K12

Did you learn nothing from the Jaguars D/ST last season?! With few exceptions, wait until the final two rounds to select your defense and kicker. These, of course, are the top kicker and D/ST options in 12-team leagues.