12. Drew Brees, Saints
With his high completion percentage and low interception rate, Brees is one of the safest fantasy picks at quarterback, especially if you want to wait until the middle rounds. But don’t expect the 40-year-old to be one of the top fantasy quarterbacks this year. He may not even reach the top-10.
It’s worth noting that this has almost nothing to do with Brees. The Saints are just better on defense than past years and are also capable of running the ball effectively. They don’t need Brees to carry them. He didn’t even reach 4,000 passing yards last year, a first since coming to New Orleans. He’ll be great for the Saints but average at best for your fantasy team.
Top Target: Michael Thomas
Secondary Target: Ted Ginn
11. Kirk Cousins, Vikings
The beauty of Cousins is that he’s usually better for fantasy owners than Vikings fans. He has two elite receivers in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, as well as a solid tight end target in Kyle Rudolph. On top of that, Minnesota’s defense has taken a step back from a couple of years ago and their running game is a little iffy too, creating more opportunities for Cousins to throw the ball.
The key for Cousins will be Minnesota’s offensive line. They allowed far too many sacks last year, allowing Cousins to take a lot of heat. The Vikings have addressed the issue over the summer, and if that unit improves, Cousins boasts plenty of fantasy upside.
Top Target: Stefon Diggs
Secondary Target: Adam Thielen
10. Philip Rivers, Chargers
Some people are down on Rivers, but he still looks like he has plenty left in the tank. Even with the Chargers scaling back what they ask of him, he still tossed 32 touchdown passes and threw for over 4,300 yards last year.
There’s no reason to expect anything different from Rivers this season. In fact, if Melvin Gordon’s holdout stretches into the season, Rivers will throw the ball even more than expected. If Mike Williams can take a big step forward, he and Keenan Allen could form quite the tandem and make it that much easier for Rivers to post big fantasy numbers.
Top Target: Keenan Allen
Secondary Target: Mike Williams
9. Carson Wentz, Eagles
After sitting out the end of last season with a back issue, there are some injury questions surrounding Wentz heading into 2019. Admittedly, that makes him risky to take too early in your fantasy draft. But if he’s healthy, he’s poised for a big season.
Remember, he would have been MVP in 2017 before his knee injury. Philadelphia’s receiving corps could be even better than it was then. DeSean Jackson is back and Zach Ertz was incredible last season. Throw in Alshon Jeffery, Nelson Agholor, and promising rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Wentz and the Eagles could be flying high in the passing game this year.
Top Target: Zach Ertz
Secondary Target: Alshon Jeffery
8. Russell Wilson, Seahawks
For the Seahawks, Wilson is a quarterback who isn’t all that flashy but is remarkably consistent. He’s the same kind of fantasy player. He may not have a lot of 300-yard performances, totaling less than 3,500 yards last season. However, he limits his turnovers, averaged over two touchdown passes per game last year, and will provide a few points as a rusher every week.
One concern with Wilson this year is whether or not Seattle did enough to improve an atrocious offensive line. The Seahawks are also betting on rookie DK Metcalf making an instant impact. However, one way or another, Wilson will find a way to get the job done.
Top Target: Tyler Lockett
Secondary Target: DK Metcalf
7. Jared Goff, Rams
Goff emerged as a top-5 fantasy quarterback last season, so it’s a safe bet that he’ll at least be a top-10 fantasy option this year as well. Assuming Cooper Kupp comes back healthy, the Rams will have the same trio of receivers along with Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods, making life easy for Goff.
The biggest question, of course, is the health of Todd Gurley. Goff got plenty of passing yards on short passes that Gurley turned into big games. If Gurley isn’t fully healthy, the Rams won’t be the same unstoppable force they were at times in 2018. But even if Goff’s numbers dip a little, he’s still a top-10 quarterback, no questions asked.
Top Target: Brandin Cooks
Secondary Target: Robert Woods
6. Baker Mayfield, Browns
Mayfield did just enough as a rookie to warrant a massive amount of hype heading into his sophomore campaign. It also helps that the Browns added Odell Beckham Jr. over the offseason. To be fair, he’ll have to show considerable improvement to be a top-5 fantasy quarterback, but considering his moxie and supporting cast, Mayfield has tremendous upside.
It’s not just the addition of Beckham that will help. Mayfield has a steady slot receiver in Jarvis Landry and a quality tight end in David Njoku. Turnovers could be a problem that holds him back, but Mayfield and the Browns are bound to make plenty of big plays in the passing game.
Top Target: Odell Beckham Jr.
Secondary Target: Jarvis Landry