Scott Engel returns to Seahawks.com for his eighth season of Fantasy Football coverage. An inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association’s Hall of Fame, he is in his 23rd year as a Fantasy analyst and professional. You can now find more of his work on RotoBaller.com and hear him every Saturday night and Sunday morning on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio.
It’s a bright, sparkling time of year as we begin anew in the NFL and Fantasy Football worlds. Seahawks training camp opens this week, and that means it’s also time to start your own personal training camp, as you begin to prepare for the new Fantasy Football season.
To kick off another season of coverage, we’re going to provide you with 12 key players to keep your eyes on with fantasy drafts coming up very soon, from possible breakthrough performers to value selections. Of course, our lists here are always in the 12s, as a nod and salute to Seahawks fans. We focus on covering the whole league here in the Seahawks.com Fantasy Insider series, so even if you’re visiting as a fan of another team, you can stick with us all season long for top-notch Fantasy Football advice and recommendations.
12 Fantasy Football Players To Watch In 2019
Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders (NFL.com Average Draft Position of 45.56)
The rookie is going to be a very important part of an improving offense in Oakland. He runs with impressive power, but also makes defenders miss in short space, and he will be a regular TD finisher near the goal line. Jacobs also catches passes out of the backfield and can ensure himself extra playing time because of his quality pass blocking skills. The only RB taken in the first round of the NFL Draft this year, he can be an instant impact performer and a possible high-end Fantasy RB2.
James White, RB, Patriots (61.61)
He is a name that is known to many NFL fans, but he is being undrafted so far in 2019. White’s value comes more in PPR formats than the standard scoring system, but he is still being taken in the PPR territory where he is a good value choice. According to FantasyPros, he is the 26th PPR RB off the board on average across several sites. That’s too low for a guy that played near or at a Fantasy RB1 level for a good portion of the 2018 season, and caught 87 passes with 12 combined TDs. He will have to play a big role in the New England offense this season as one of their most proven pass-catchers, and a top contributor in the Patriots attack. The presence of Sony Michel is not going to adversely affect his productivity in a major way.
Mike Williams, WR, Chargers (72.20)
In his second pro season, Williams served notice that he was on the rise by catching 10 TD passes. But he caught just 43 passes for 664 yards. Look for him to push the totals up in those two categories in a big way in 2019. He’s a big target with a terrific veteran QB on a top team in the AFC. For where he is being drafted, you could be landing a fine Fantasy WR2. Williams will become a more consistent presence on key downs outside the red zone this season.
Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons (74.72): The locals are very enamored with Ridley, who is set to take another leap forward after very impressive flashes of promise during his rookie season in 2018. In an interview I did with him on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio, Falcons beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution likened Ridley to a young Marvin Harrison. Ridley caught 10 TD passes in his first season and after also hauling in 64 passes for 821 yards, he seems like a sure bet to reach 75-plus catches while soaring over 1,000 yards in 2019.
Rashaad Penny, RB. Seahawks (105.17)
Penny is healthy as camp opens and appears set to make a bigger imprint on the Seahawks offense in 2019. While Chris Carson bangs away at opponents on the inside, Penny can dazzle on the perimeter and in open space. He certainly appears to be in line to see more quality touches this season as one of two notable RB returnees along with Carson. He can complement Carson well, and if Penny is ever pressed into an expanded role, he could be locked in as a Fantasy starter. Both Carson and Penny can be very useful as flex options in Fantasy Football this season, if not more.
Sterling Shepard, WR, Giants (107.03)
The departure of Odell Beckham Jr. leaves a big void in the passing game to be filled while New York also works out their QB situation. Former Seahawk Golden Tate will certainly return to reliable form, but Shepard has the most familiarity with Eli Manning and in the Giants offense. He could really get a chance to shine and show off his talents more now, and will at least be a quality Fantasy WR3.
Dante Pettis, WR, 49ers (107.46)
Pettis provided frequent glimpses of big-play ability and a nose for the end zone in his rookie season. He averaged 17.3 yards per catch and made some timely scoring grabs, catching five TD passes in 12 games. A healthy 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could take to Pettis as one of his favorite playmakers this year.
DK Metcalf, WR, Seahawks (124.98)
This going to be fun. Russell Wilson has enjoyed throwing to some impressive receivers in past seasons, but he has never worked with such a tantalizing combination of size and speed before. Seahawks fans and some Fantasy players are already buzzing about what this pairing can possibly accomplish together. Metcalf has already drawn lofty comparisons to the likes of Julio Jones and Demaryius Thomas. He gets to work with a QB that is already considered maybe the best pure deep passer in the game. The results are going to be exciting at times in 2019.
Ronald Jones, RB, Buccaneers (132.75)
Jones had a forgettable rookie year, but gets a fresh chance to prove himself in 2019. The new regime in Tampa Bay did not go out and acquire another RB to compete with Jones for quality playing time or occupy a depth chart spot ahead of him. Jones has the opportunity to seize a starting job with a good preseason this year. Even if he begins the regular season in a time share, he could eventually emerge as the lead RB at some point. The Buccaneers need a respectable running game to support Jameis Winston, and Jones can still be the guy to supply the needed offensive balance.
Trey Burton, TE, Bears (137.53)
Burton occasionally was a quality contributor in 2018 in his initial season as a Bear, but he was expected to be a breakout performer in his first year as a true starter. The Chicago offense should be improved in 2019 in the second season under Matt Nagy, and the TE plays a significant role in his attack. Burton should be more consistently productive this year.
D’Onta Foreman, RB, Texans (147.20)
Finally healthy, Foreman should make his push for a good amount of playing time this season. The plan appears to be for Foreman to share work with Lamar Miller, and the former could emerge as the team’s prime TD threat near the goal line. A very nifty runner with good size and strength, Foreman has the potential to emerge as a Fantasy starter this season.
Derek Carr, QB, Raiders (148.62)
You should seriously consider drafting Carr as your second QB this season. This is a pivotal campaign for him, as he must prove he can remain worthy of the driver’s seat in Oakland and going forward to Las Vegas. He has his best supporting cast ever in Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams and Jacobs, as well as the motivation to return to his 2016 form.
For more from Scott Engel, get the RotoBaller.com 2019 Fantasy Football Draft Kit, which includes his rankings and regular weekly columns. Enter code “Seahawks” at checkout for a discount.