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Is there such a thing as "too early" when it comes to mock drafting for next year in fantasy football? No!

I mean, mock drafting before the season even ends is maybe too early, but January isn't, which is why we here at RotoBaller decided to get together and do our Way Too Early Mock Draft for the 2019 NFL season. 12 of us were crazy enough to embark on the long, arduous process of a slow draft during the NFL playoffs.

Below, you'll find the first round of our draft, as well as my analysis of everyone's picks in that first round. To follow along as the draft progresses in real time, check out the draft board here.

Editor's Note: Get our rest-of-season NFL and DFS Premium Pass for only $9.99, with coverage through the Super Bowl. If you prefer the DFS Lineup Optimizer, just click here! Take advantage of our lowest pricing all year, and get an edge on your competition. Sign Up Now!

 

Way Too Early Mock Draft (Redraft) - Round 1

PICK PLAYER WRITER
1.01 Todd Gurley Justin Carter
1.02 Ezekiel Elliott Kyle Richardson
1.03 Christian McCaffrey Dom Petrillo
1.04 Saquon Barkley Richard King
1.05 Alvin Kamara Ben Rolfe
1.06 DeAndre Hopkins Matt Terelle
1.07 Tyreek Hill Jason Katz
1.08 Julio Jones Pierre Camus
1.09 Davante Adams Brendan Kennealy
1.10 Melvin Gordon Hamid Sandhu
1.11 Le'Veon Bell Cliff Clinton
1.12 Nick Chubb Phil Clark

There are the picks. Let's talk about them.

 

Quick Hit Analysis

1.01 - Todd Gurley - Running Back, Los Angeles Rams

I hate picking first. I'd gladly have the fourth or fifth pick in this mock draft, grab Barkley or Kamara, and smile because my second pick was coming faster, but I was stuck with the 1.01 in this one. I was debating between Gurley and McCaffrey but ultimately chose Gurley because I trust a healthy Gurley's workload and touchdown upside just a little more. McCaffrey had a great year, but it's always hard to shake some preconceived notions, including the one where I never trust that Ron Rivera isn't going to decide "oh, let's just go ahead and turn this into a committee."

1.02 - Ezekiel Elliott - Running Back, Dallas Cowboys

Zeke is a monster in the run game and was targeted at least four times in all but one game in 2018. He's the key to the Cowboys offense working, and he's probably the safest pick in this tier. His 77 receptions were more than double his numbers from his rookie season, the other time he played 15 games. (He hasn't played a full 16 because the Cowboys sat him in Week 17 in both of those seasons).

1.03 - Christian McCaffrey - Running Back, Carolina Panthers

I mentioned some thoughts on McCaffrey above, and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see McCaffrey finish as the RB1. Good pick.

1.04 - Saquon Barkley - Running Back, New York Giants

Barkley actually lived up to the preseason hype. You have to live with some of the short gains in order to get the long breakout runs that helped him have a strong rookie campaign, and while I might personally go Kamara over Barkley here, he's clearly in the top tier of running backs.

1.05 - Alvin Kamara - Running Back, New Orleans Saints

Kamara was in every discussion of players who wouldn't be worth their ADP last year, and he responded by finishing as the RB4 again. Getting him at five is a great start to any draft. With Mark Ingram likely heading out of New Orleans, Kamara should see his snap share move back toward the 80 percent range instead of staying in the 60s as it did once Ingram was back from suspension.

1.06 - DeAndre Hopkins - Wide Receiver, Houston Texans

Hopkins was the first wide receiver off the board. I get that. I'd probably also take him as the first receiver. He's good, and he's got a solid role with the Texans. But I also think this is the point where you really get some drop-off, because the five guys above, barring injury, are going to give you very consistent production, while Hopkins is also going to give you consistent production but with a caveat: there were times over the second half of the year where the Texans weren't getting the ball to Hopkins like they had in the past. While a healthy Will Fuller and Keke Coutee should open up space for Hopkins to see lighter coverage again, there's also only so many passes to go around in this offense. There's a 99 percent chance that I'm overreacting here, but I wouldn't be too shocked if Hopkins, a top-five fantasy receiver the last two years, drops down to the bottom of the top 10 by the end of the 2019 season.

1.07 - Tyreek Hill - Wide Receiver, Kansas City Chiefs

I'm not going to search back to find the receipts, but I'm pretty sure that Katz picked Hill really early in our mock draft last year and we all collectively were like "okay, man...," but this year Hill as the seventh pick doesn't really feel like a stretch. I don't know if I'd take him there, but Hill's third NFL season featured a finish as the top fantasy wide receiver. While in 2017 all of his touchdowns were 30 yards or more, Hill showed some more variety in his scoring this year, with 14 total touchdowns, including three receiving touchdowns inside the five-yard line. Patrick Mahomes loves looking for Hill -- he was targeted 137 times -- and while I'm worried that defenses will figure some things out about Mahomes next year and limit what Hill is able to do, he's still worth a first-round pick.

1.08 - Julio Jones - Wide Receiver, Atlanta Falcons

Julio Jones learned how to catch touchdowns this year! After catching just three in 2017, Julio Jones entered November of this season without a touchdown. He proceeded to get eight of them in nine games. A lot of the concerns about Jones in fantasy come from his failure to score, but if the connection between him and quarterback Matt Ryan over the last half of this season is indicative of anything, Jones belongs in the discussion for the first wide receiver taken in 2019.

1.09 - Davante Adams - Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers

We obviously want to see who the Packers pick to be their head coach, but Adams is the unquestioned top option on this team entering 2019. He doesn't have the same track record as other receivers that you could take in this spot, but having Aaron Rodgers' top weapon on your fantasy roster is never a bad decision.

1.10 - Melvin Gordon - Running Back, Los Angeles Chargers

Melvin Gordon has three straight top-10 fantasy finishes at his position, and that's probably enough reason to pick him in 2019. Am I worried about the presence of Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson? Yes. Of all the backs picked in the mock first round, none have to contend with the same internal challenges from other backs on their team's roster. I don't think this becomes a full committee or anything, but both players are capable of taking some carries from Gordon, especially if the Chargers want to limit his wear to keep him healthy down the stretch. He's still a safe option, but I agree that he's not in that top tier of backs that went off the board earlier.

1.11 - Le'Veon Bell - Running Back, ???

The most interesting choice by far, because we have no idea where Bell will wind up in 2019. Also, because he's bound to end up somewhere that grabbing him at 11 is a huge steal, right? Bell sat out the whole 2018 season, so while he does get a year older, he does so without any additional wear and tear on him. I expect Bell to bounce back next year and play more like the first five guys who were drafted.

1.12 - Nick Chubb - Running Back, Cleveland Browns

Chubb over James Conner? Over Michael Thomas? Hmm. It's probably a smart move and reflects where Chubb's value will be heading into draft season after an entire summer of "Is Nick Chubb going to be the story of 2019?" articles. An improved offense should get Chubb over the 1,000-yard barrier next season and he's likely to see more involvement in the passing game, so I'm not going to hate on this pick.

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