Evaluating Top Fantasy Rookies’ Landing Spots & Fantasy Impact

These are the top rookies and expert Riley Bymaster is evaluating their landing spots and looking ahead to breakdown their Fantasy potential

  1. RB Josh Jacobs, OAK

Jon Gruden and newly-hired GM Mike Mayock have already made some questionable decisions quickly into their tenure but used one of their three 2019 first round picks to nab their running of the future. With only Isaiah Crowell and Jalen Richard occupying the position, Jacobs is in a unique position this year to obtain the immediate workload from day one. Expect RB2 numbers throughout his rookie year with a Sony Michel-like floor in value after the conclusion of his rookie season. Do not hesitate to select Jacobs at 1.01 in any dynasty format as he provides the best combination of floor and ceiling of any rookie in the 2019 rookie class.

  1. WR N’Keal Harry, NEP

Harry was somewhat of a surprise first-round selection to the Patriots, which is ultimately the replacement for future Hall-of-Famer Rob Gronkowski. Instead of replacing the hole with another tight end, Harry will play the big slot role where he creates space underneath and fights for contested catches in the red zone. Harry will likely take a year or so to adjust to the offensive system, but will eventually produce Mike Williams-type numbers as a fantasy WR3 product. He may not increase in value immediately but will see a rise in both production and value in year two.

  1. RB David Montgomery, CHI

Matt Nagy finally acquired his lead running back after trading up in the third round. Montgomery has an every-down skillset with an ability to make defenders miss with ease and catch the ball naturally out of the backfield. Although the offense is loaded with weapons, Montgomery will be a centerpiece in the mold of Kareem Hunt. He may not possess the ceiling of a top-12 dynasty asset, but the new Bears’ running back will absolutely reach a low-end RB1 status and surpass the likes of James Conner, Le’Veon Bell, and David Johnson in less than two seasons.

  1. RB Miles Sanders, PHI

Sanders is the first running back that GM Howie Roseman has invested significant capital in, so the presence of Jordan Howard, who was traded for in exchange for just a sixth-round pick, will not affect his value long-term. Having been taken in the second round, Sanders profiles as an every-down back who will be just as involved in the passing game as he will the running game. He will produce low-end RB2 numbers during his rookie season, with a definite uptick in value and production once Jordan Howard hits free agency after the 2019 season.

  1. WR DK Metcalf, SEA

Largely thought to be a consensus first-round pick before the draft, Metcalf nearly slipped to the third round. He finally found a new home in Seattle with stud quarterback Russell Wilson, where he will start opposite Tyler Lockett to give the Seahawk offense the receiving weapons it has lacked for many years. He is a raw route runner, but Metcalf will slide into the deep threat role immediately and contribute as a Will Fuller-type player during his rookie year. Expect on and off production in 2019, but an increased share in targets from 2020 and beyond. Metcalf is worthy of a top-five selection in all formats due to the inability to pass up the unbelievable ceiling.

  1. TE TJ Hockenson, DET

Whispers of him being a top-ten selection floated around the entire offseason, and it came to fruition this past week. The Iowa product will start immediately and contribute mostly in the run game during his rookie season. The fantasy production will be limited throughout his first year, but a significant uptick in passing game after he learns the offense and becomes more comfortable as a receiver. In any tight end premium format, Hock belongs in the top-ten as he is already valued similarly to David Njoku and OJ Howard.

  1. WR Deebo Samuel, SF

Kyle Shanahan’s new toy vaulted in value after being selected with the second pick of day two in the NFL draft. Samuel will slide into an immediate starting role with the ability to play both underneath and down the field. His explosiveness and sticky hands will translate well to the NFL and be the reasons for consistent WR3 fantasy numbers for the foreseeable future. Look for Samuel to see a nearly equal target share with Dante Pettis in 2019 and be a solid selection in the late first round of rookie drafts.

  1. WR AJ Brown, TEN

Possibly the biggest disappointment regarding landing spots, Brown lands in a subpar offense with Marcus Mariota and a likely run-based scheme. Brown plays like a running back after the catch and is extremely polished in all facets of his game. Mariota’s tendency to stick to short-area routes will help Brown’s outlook, but should Tennessee choose to move on from the former number two overall pick after the 2019 season; Brown becomes a big-time buy for the future. Should he play a majority of his snaps in the slot, Brown has a chance to be a sneaky value in the late first round of rookie drafts with an enormous opportunity to grow down the road.

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  1. TE Noah Fant, DEN

Fant was the second Hawkeye tight end to be drafted in the first round, and we all know how much experience his new quarterback Joe Flacco has throwing to tight ends. The Denver offense is not uber exciting, but it contains several potential deadly weapons in Courtland Sutton, Phillip Lindsay, and now Noah Fant. He likely faces an uphill battle to produce significant numbers during his first season but will be a hot commodity despite the early numbers. Consider his value to be in the middle of the first round in most tight end premium formats.

  1. WR Parris Campbell, IND

Campbell landed in one of the best available spots for receivers, so his opportunity to produce immediately in 2019 is much higher than the majority of these rookie receivers. He has a flashy skill set and works well in and out of zone, which will complement perfectly to current star receiver TY Hilton. Expect on and off production during his rookie season as he continues to learn the offense, but will be a solid best ball play and a late first-round selection in rookie drafts.

  1. WR Mecole Hardman, KC

As one of the most surprising picks in the entire draft, Hardman was drafted by the Chiefs shortly after the Tyreek Hill news broke. He may not be the perfect replacement, but Hardman is a speedy playmaker who can operate deep down the sidelines and work well in the short areas of the field. He is an extremely high-upside pick who could pay immediate dividends due to the thin receiver depth chart. Should no other options be available in the late first round, Hardman is worthy of being selected due to the possibility of his value rising sooner rather than later.

  1. WR JJ Arcega Whiteside, PHI

The Stanford product slides into the Philadelphia offense as an immediate red zone threat who will eventually replace Alshon Jeffery as the X receiver for Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz. Whiteside is a future bet who will likely struggle to make significant contributions in year one. He is a candidate to lose a bit of value when the loaded 2020 rookie class takes the stage next offseason, so consider passing on him this year and trading a 2020 2nd round pick for a future consistent fantasy WR3.

  1. WR Marquise Brown, BAL

Brown was the first receiver off the board this year, but in no case does that make him a sure-fire dynasty selection. He lands in a run-based Baltimore offense centered around athletic quarterback Lamar Jackson. Although questions revolve around Jackson’s ability, or inability for that matter, to accurately throw the football, he showed promise during his time at Louisville. Brown is extremely light at 166 pounds and combined with the fact that he will be playing in a run-heavy offense, he is a risky, unstable fantasy option. Leave him be until the second round.

  1. QB Kyler Murray, ARI

Murray enters the NFL under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury who plans to implement his spread offense in hopes of reviving the Cardinals’ offense. Standing at 5’10,” Murray is one of the shortest quarterbacks ever to be taken and hold such high expectations. As a passer, he shows the ability to work in and out of the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield. He has the potential to produce rushing stats similar to Lamar Jackson and Josh Allen. He is worthy of an early-mid second round in single quarterback leagues and the first overall pick in superflex formats. Based on the early hype, Murray is an immediate sell candidate if a return can net a package such as Kirk Cousins and a future rookie pick.

  1. TE Irv Smith, MIN

Smith was the third tight end off the board and immediately fits into an exciting offense that will likely soon be without veteran Kyle Rudolph. Smith may take a season to develop and learn the offense, but he possesses exciting potential in a loaded offense. With a skill set similar to that of Jordan Reed, Smith is an intriguing selection in the early second round of any formats. The year wait will be worth the investment on the former Alabama product.

  1. RB Justice Hill, BAL

Hill one was of the definite combine winners where he displayed his overall athleticism and explosiveness, which is also evident in his tape at Oklahoma State. Hill is a shifty runner who is comfortable running in between and outside the tackles. He follows blocks and is willing to cut back against the grain, which will fit extremely well in the Ravens’ zone scheme. He will begin the season as a backup to Mark Ingram but will absolutely demand touches and be the lightning to Ingram’s thunder. He will likely produce low-end RB3 numbers but contains upside as a mid-second round pick.

  1. WR Andy Isabella, ARI

One of the newly-selected receivers to play a role in the spread offense, Isabella brings extreme speed and big-play ability to the team and new quarterback Kyler Murray. He struggles to consistently catch the ball with his hands and relies on his body far too often. He profiles as a WR3 for the Cardinals who will produce highly inconsistent fantasy numbers, similar to 2018 rookie Keke Coutee. Do not burn a first-round pick, but attempt to move back into the second or simply select a better player and safer fantasy option.

  1. RB Devin Singletary, BUF

Despite the poor combine showing, Singletary is a talented runner who will likely take the lead role in the backfield once LeSean McCoy is cut and Frank Gore finally decides to retire at age 64. He can gain chunks of yards at a time using a variety of agility moves and constant leg driving. He produced like a mad man during his time in school and will run in a similar fashion to Devonta Freeman. Neither possesses electric long speed but know how to beat defenders and pick up first downs. He is a long-term play but will be worth the wait once he reaches his ceiling of an every-year RB2 starting in 2020.

  1. QB Dwayne Haskins, WAS

Haskins surprisingly fell to number fifteen overall in the laps of the Redskins, who came out looking like geniuses, as opposed to Dave Gettleman. Case Keenum will command the offense during 2018 while Haskins learns Jay Gruden’s offense. In superflex formats, Haskins is easily worthy of a top-seven pick, but in single quarterback leagues, he should land in the mid-late second round. With a cannon of an arm and the ability to quickly recognize coverages, Haskins will fit well into the offense and become a high-end QB2 in all formats.

  1. RB Darrell Henderson, LAR

The Rams shockingly traded up for Henderson, despite having Todd Gurley and the ultra-talented John Kelly (I kid, I kid, but I am a big fan of Kelly). Henderson was never going to be a stud like many analysts projected him to be coming out of Memphis. He struggles to create for himself and avoids using any agility moves such as cuts or jukes. Henderson lacks a reliable set of hands and needs more reps catching the ball out of the backfield, but he will thrive in a change-of-pace role where he sees 8-10 touches per game to give Gurley an occasional breather. Leave him alone until the late second round of rookie drafts, unless Gurley is rostered, in which case the handcuff adds a bit more value.

  1. RB Bruce Anderson, TB

Yes, Anderson was not drafted, but Tampa Bay did not address the running back position at all. Ronald Jones is not the answer, and Peyton Barber will not run away with the job. This leaves the North Dakota State runner who shows an all-around skill set with the potential to carry an NFL workload. Playing at the FCS level was likely the reason he was not selected, but he runs with an excellent combination of speed, power, and elusiveness that will lead to him finding a large amount of success at the next level. Bruce Arians loves a running back who can catch the ball out of the backfield, and Anderson was one of the smoothest at doing so during his time with the Bison. With the overall craziness of this unpredictable draft class, do not be afraid to draft Anderson in the late second round of rookie drafts. Allow the league mates to heckle and make fun of the pick, but rub it in later when the next David Johnson is on your roster and not theirs.

  1. WR Jalen Hurd, SF

A converted running back out of Tennessee, Hurd transferred to Baylor and *develop into an exciting big slot receiver for the Bears. Head coach Kyle Shanahan has big plans for Hurd as he wasted no time in the third round selecting the somewhat of a question mark. Hurd will be used in a variety of ways, likely similar to Cordarrelle Patterson. He is a risk but has upside as a low-end flex play for the next few seasons. The Shanahan offense is evidence enough to gamble on Hurd in the late second or early third round of rookie drafts.

  1. WR Kelvin Harmon, WAS

Harmon was one of the most surprising falls in the entire draft, slipping to the sixth round of the NFL draft. Day three receivers usually do not warrant a second-round rookie pick, but Harmon lands in a thin Washington depth chart that lacks playmakers. Questions lurk regarding his ability to consistently separate, but he can do everything well and has a skill set that resembles former NFL receiver Dwayne Bowe. In this draft class, Harmon is worthy of a gamble at the end of the second round.

  1. RB Ryquell Armstead, JAX

Armstead was one of the most intriguing selections as he landed with the running back-needy Jaguars, who have finally discovered Leonard Fournette is not a reliable back. Armstead is a sturdy, upright runner who fights through contact and drives his feet until he is taken down. He may begin the season behind Fournette, but once injury strikes or the coaching staff is fed up with his subpar yards per carry, Armstead will be given ample opportunity to take the first and second down role. He is one of the safer dart throws in the running back class and will be one of the first to pay dividends in 2019.

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