3 Must-Own Fantasy Breakout Players 2019
Football is officially back. Kawhi Leonard’s stranglehold on NBA Twitter has come to an end, Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth are dusting off their Sunday Night Football headsets, and Jon Gruden is primed and ready to take the big stage on Hard Knocks – which he’ll most likely burn to the ground. This all culminates into what we care about most – Fantasy Football season. I’m sure you’re all neck deep in mock drafts, searching & praying for the likes of Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliot or Alvin Kamara. Let’s take it one step deeper – and take a look at some breakout players heading into 2019.
When looking for fantasy breakout players we’re looking for the Philip Lindsay’s of the world, the James Conner’s, hell, the Derrick Henry’s. We want league winners that you’re getting for pennies on the dollar. You’ll praise to the fantasy gods when that supposed slouch you drafted in the 8th round cruises to the finish line as the RB5 with your championship team on his back. These are players being drafted outside of the top 50 that should significantly outperform their ADP. Let’s break it down with one player per major position group.
Kyler Murray (QB – ARI)
The NFL landscape is changing. A league that was once dominated by the prototypical 6’5” pocket passer who couldn’t shake your average 280 lb. defensive tackle has gone through a makeover. We’re now welcoming on a new onslaught of dual-threat talents capable of mastering the challenges of the RPO & deep ball alike. Sprinkle in even more novel and exciting attributes, along with a pioneering head coach looking to spearhead the Air Raid’s takeover of the league, and you have Kyler Murray.
Murray is the next generation of the NFL Quarterback, a passer capable of all NFL throws who totaled over 4,000 yards and 42 TD’s through the air at Oklahoma a year ago. He completed over 67% of his throws and boasted a 10.29 YPA mark in a similar Air-Raid style offense that Kliff Kingsbury will employ in Arizona. He was also the only QB in NCAA history since DeShaun Watson to add an additional 1,000 yards on the ground to go with his 4,000 through the air, averaging 7.2 yards a clip and adding another 12 TD’s.
Murray’s college production speaks for itself, and he couldn’t have fallen into a better situation than with Kingsbury in Arizona. He’ll be joined by a strong cast of rookie and veteran skill players alike: Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson, Christian Kirk, Hakeem Butler & Andy Isabella. Don’t fear his height. Murray has the sky-high potential to reach the top 5 at his position, given his out-of-this-world rushing skillset. Let him fall into your lap in the 9th round and sing his praises all the way to the title game.
Dante Pettis (WR – SF)
Did we forget how much of an offensive mastermind Kyle Shanahan is? Fresh off of transforming Matt Ryan into the league MVP and a Tom Brady god-like comeback away from a Super Bowl victory, Shanahan was tasked with grooming the next great QB to pass over the Golden Gate Bridge into Niner Nation: Jimmy Garoppolo.
Unfortunately, he tore his ACL in week 3 of last year but will be returning in full force to start the 2019 season. That’s great news for Dante Pettis, the 49ers receiving leader in 2018 with Nick Mullens at the helm. Pettis, a rookie last season, finished with 467 yards receiving & five TD’s, tying a franchise record. Over Pettis’ final five starts last year, he averaged 71.8 yards per game. Pettis’ back end of 2018 extrapolated out over a 16 game season comes out to a staggering 1,148 yards & 12 TD’s. That’s a WR1. On top of that, Pettis averaged 17.3 yards per catch, good for 4th highest in the league.
The return of Jimmy Garoppolo manning the controls of Kyle Shanahan’s prolific passing attack with Pettis slated into the Niner’s #1 WR role will produce more consistent flashes like we saw late last season, ultimately leading to a strong WR2 finish. With all things considered, Pettis makes for one of the better middle-round fantasy breakout players in 2019.
Latavius Murray (RB – NO)
Rewind two years back to 2017. Mark Ingram & Alvin Kamara both finished in the top six at the RB position for the Saints. Ingram, now a Baltimore Raven, averaged just over 15 touches per game over that two-year span – including his 4 game suspension in 2018. Ingram was being drafted in the 4th round of fantasy drafts last year as the clear cut second option in New Orleans, on top of the aforementioned suspension looming over his head. The Saints have transitioned to a run-heavy offense in recent years. Not just any run-heavy offense at that – a high octane machine averaging a league-best 24.5 TD’s a season since 2017. On top of all of that, Sean Payton has been quoted numerous times saying that he prefers Kamara not carry the load as an every down, bell-cow type of back.
Enter, Latavius Murray. His 4 year-$14mm contract right at the open of the NFL’s free agency is nothing to scoff at. Murray has been productive in the past as a lead back for his two previous teams. He posted top 15 fantasy finishes in both 2015 & 2016 for the Oakland Raiders, and 578 yards & 6 TD’s in only 6 starts for the Minnesota Vikings last year. Now factor in the generous swap of the Vikings atrocious O-Line for the Saints powerhouse run blocking group, along with the threat of Brees’ arm to keep defenses honest. We’re looking at another potential top 15 finish for a runner you can get in the 7th or 8th round.
Those are my top 3 fantasy breakout players for the 2019 fantasy season. Drop me a comment or tweet us your reactions!