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Who’s the number one pick in fantasy football drafts next year?

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FakeTeams writers make their case for their favorite #1 pick in 2018.

Getty Images/Peter Rogers Illustrations

With the 2017 fantasy season coming to a close (excluding any fellow degenerates playing Playoff DFS who must read Heath Capps preview piece), we’re looking ahead to 2018 and starting at the top of the draft board. Our FakeTeams writers all took a stab at answering the question, ‘If we had the first pick in a 2018 PPR re-draft league, who would you take?’

Our answers and brief defense is below. First, I thought it might be helpful to look at the performance of some recent 1st overall picks. I was curious how frequently the #1 pick actually is the best player at his position. I use positional ranks since total points is skewed by QB scoring. The table below shows the results since 2011:

#1 ADPs Historical Performance

Year ADP Name Result (Pos. Rank)
Year ADP Name Result (Pos. Rank)
2017 1.6 David Johnson 119
2016 1.3 Antonio Brown 3
2015 1.7 Adrian Peterson 2
2014 1.6 LeSean McCoy 12
2013 1.3 Adrian Peterson 8
2012 2 Arian Foster 3
2011 1.5 Adrian Peterson 8

The results are actually kind of ugly. Only 3 times in the previous 7 seasons did the #1 pick provide Top 7 production at his position. Keep this in mind heading into next season. Just because someone is a consensus #1 pick does not guarantee anything. Don’t be afraid to go down the board a few spots to get your player.

Brian Creagh: Todd Gurley

@BrianCreagh

I'm all aboard the Todd Gurley train. The #1 player in all formats, Gurley has youth, pedigree, and the surrounding weapons on his side heading into the 2018 season. I'm normally a fan of zigging when everyone else zags, but I'm going chalk here and projecting Gurley to repeat as the #1 player. Kamara and DJ are close runner-ups in PPR formats, but Gurley presents a better supporting case than DJ, and a more primary role than Kamara.

Heath Capps: Todd Gurley

@HeathCapps

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Rolling the dice on a player returning from injury (DJ) doesn't appeal to me like taking the guy who was a one-man wrecking crew in all of 2017. Plus, Goff/McVay/Rams offense are all young. If I roll with Antonio Brown I have to worry about Roethlisberger's decline and home/away splits. Give me the Gurley-man until further notice.

Paddi Cooper: David Johnson

@PaddiCooper

There was a reason David Johnson was the overall number one pick in fantasy drafts his season, and that’s because he’s a total stud. He had over 2000 scrimmage yards and 20 total touchdowns in 2016 when everybody knew he was getting the ball for the Cardinals. With his season ending wrist injury this year, I’m far less concerned than if it were a knee or ankle, and with essentially a whole year to rehab, going forward I’m taking him with the first pick every time.

Pete Rogers: Todd Gurley

@petemrogers

Look, fantasy football is a reactionary world. David Johnson had a magical season last year and so instantly went #1 overall this year. Who knows what 2018 holds for Gurley but it's clear he's the focal point of Sean McVay's offense and that's not going to change next year. I would have a hard time passing on Gurley at 1.1 if I had that pick. Maybe Lev Bell gets consideration but I'm worried about how he'll hold up next year after the Steelers have milked every last touch out of him this year.

Matias Wodner: Le’Veon Bell

@matiwod

Gurley will be the popular pick after a breakout season, but his 2017 season and the TD rate that came with it is likely unsustainable. David Johnson will be coming off a major injury that cost him the entire season and has lost his coach and QB. Ezekiel Elliott has massive off-field concerns and the entire offense has regressed. In 27 games over the last two seasons, Bell has caught 160 passes, totaled 3836 yards and scored 20 TDs. With Big Ben possibly retiring or scaling back his workload, Bell's touch count of 406 in 2017 will be equaled in 2018. That is tough to pass up with his production at pick no. 1.

Clark Barnes: Kareem Hunt

@NFLClark

I know everyone hates Kareem Hunt, and why shouldn't they? A guy who was drafted super-late or not at all had the audacity to have a few disappointing weeks! He's such a huge trashbag that he finished 3rd RB in scoring (4th in points per game) on the not-exactly-high-flying Chiefs.

Hunt is entering his sophomore campaign (Andy Reid is expected back in KC, btw), and I expect we're going to see Pat Mahomes under center. On top of getting a featured Andy Reid running back, we'll get a back which the team will lean on as they ease the young gunslinger Mahomes in to the offense.

Reid has produced some historic fantasy RB seasons, and I think Hunt has the talent to put up I-win-button like performances we saw early in 2017 on a more consistent basis in 2018.

The number 1 overall pick will be highly debated this year. I can't fault the 'i just saw this so it will certainly happen that way again' attitude that we'll see from the Gurley-men. I can't fault the 'look at who's been completely dominant when healthy for the past 3 years' Lev-Bros, either. I’ll be happy as a clam if I’m forced to pick one of those guys in my top 6.

For me, though, for the coveted 1.01, I'm puttin' my chips on the Reid-Hunt express ... 8 months before our fantasy drafts.

Poll

Who’d you take first overall?

This poll is closed

  • 51%
    Todd Gurley
    (76 votes)
  • 16%
    David Johnson
    (24 votes)
  • 20%
    Le’Veon Bell
    (30 votes)
  • 4%
    Kareem Hunt
    (7 votes)
  • 7%
    Someone else (leave in comments)
    (11 votes)
148 votes total Vote Now