Editor’s Note: Make sure you’re ready for your dynasty league rookie draft by checking out our 2019 Rookie Draft Guide, which is now updated with post-draft profiles for all your favorite prospects, our current Dynasty Rookie Rankings and our convenient Rookie Draft Cheat Sheet. Looking to move or acquire some of those picks? Make sure you take a look at our new Dynasty Trade Analyzer to get maximum value. There are simply no better resources out there for dynasty fantasy football draft preparation.
Every draft has its own uniqueness. Last year’s draft was highlighted by a host of running back talent, led by Saquon Barkley. He was the consensus 1.01 in virtually all rookie drafts and backed up the massive capital used on him with a spectacular rookie season. This year’s draft is much, much different as we have a few players who could be considered at the very top of the draft, a whole host of receivers who are very similarly ranked, two premier tight end prospects and bunch of players who could be taken late in drafts and blossom down the road, emerging as true draft steals. In short, this thing is a total crapshoot this season – perfect for us since we spend so much time evaluating these athletes. And that, my friends, is what makes this time of year so much fun.
Let’s dig in and start figuring it out!
The tiers and commentary I’ll make on this post are my own, comprised of my opinions. Tier one is comprised of the two players we’re most likely to see taken at picks one and two this year.
1.01 = N’Keal Harry, WR NE
The 2019 NFL Draft was dominated by defensive talent. Still, it’s rare for the first pick in a rookie draft to be a player who was the final pick of round one. That being said, Harry is a premier prospect who landed in a prime situation for production. It’s fair to wonder just how long Tom Brady has left, but the Patriots are the Patriots and they’ll find a way to make talented players produce. After all, Harry is the first receiver taken in round one by New England since Terry Glenn in 1996 and the first in Bill Belichick’s nearly 20 years in New England.
With the losses of Chris Hogan and Rob Gronkowski, Harry has a path to early playing time. Though it’s very rare for a rookie receiver to make a mark with the Patriots, he has the talent, draft capital investment and skill set to do just that. With the future of Josh Gordon in doubt and so many quality pass-catching options having left New England, Harry is a very intriguing rookie pick this year. He is a high character player with a huge upside and is clearly going to be in the mix for the top overall pick in dynasty drafts this Spring and Summer.
1.02 – Josh Jacobs, RB OAK
The other player getting massive consideration for the 1.01 in early drafts is new Oakland running back Josh Jacobs. A tough-minded and talented player, Jacobs will take over for the Raiders in the backfield and eliminate the idea of a committee attack featuring Isaiah Crowell, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard after the retirement of Marshawn Lynch. As the first running back taken in the NFL Draft with a clear road to bellcow duties in Oakland, Jacobs will clearly be in play at the very top of dyansty drafts, despite his limited resume in college. Simply put, Jacobs is a tough and talented player with a lot of tread on his tires who could flourish at the next level. If you want him, it’s now clear you’ll need to get to the top three picks in rookie drafts to secure his services, maybe even the 1.01. It’s a risk to take the plunge on a player with 251 career carries, but you also have to consider he has a ton of mileage left in him and Jon Gruden wants to run the ball. A lot.
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The second tier of players includes two running backs who could find themselves with big workloads this year and two former teammates who have WR1 ability.
1.03 = Miles Sanders, RB PHI
The Eagles were expected to address the position after their committee attack was inconsistent and failed to really make a sizable difference last season. Sanders took over for Saquon Barkley and promptly rushed for 1,274 rushing yards on 5.8 yards per carry in his lone season as the Penn State starter. With good size (5’11”, 211) and a solid all-around combination of NFL Scouting Combine statistics and college production, Sanders was one of the fastest risers of the class and ended up being a second round pick of the Eagles. With great metrics (he posted a 4.49 40-yard dash, 6.89-second 3-cone drill, a 36-inch vertical and had over a 10-foot broad jump, showing explosive athletic ability at the combine), and the fact he, like Jacobs, hasn’t been overused in college makes him a very intriguing selection in rookie drafts this year. He should lead the Eagles in carries and really does have three down ability.
1.04 = AJ Brown, WR TEN
The Titans have waited patiently for Corey Davis to emerge as an elite wide receiver to take the pressure off Marcus Mariota. Unfortunately, that just hasn’t happened quite yet. Davis had 891 yards and four touchdowns last year, but that’s just not going to get it done. Sure, you can blame Mariota and a fairly pedestrian offense, but Davis has yet to prove he’s a difference maker at the NFL level. While much was made of his teammate DK Metcalf, Brown was the more productive receiver at Ole Miss and is waiting in the wings with WR1 talent if Davis continues to struggle. He is a physical player who should add an element of toughness to their receiving corps, something the Titans really need. Owners will likely need to patient as the Titans currently boast Davis, Taywan Taylor, Tajae Sharpe and the newly signed Adam Humphries, however. Brown may not have the electric combine numbers of some other prospects in the class, but he could very well have the highest floor.
1.05 = DK Metcalf, WR SEA
By now, everyone has seen the twitter photo of Metcalf and the video of him meeting Pete Carroll with his shirt off. While he has a ways to go before being the athlete I am, it ain’t half bad. In all seriousness though, Metcalf is a physical specimen and broke the NFL Draft Combine this year. However, a 26-catch, 569-yard, five touchdown year that saw him appear in just seven games isn’t exactly making some dynasty owners believe his game is going to seamlessly translate to the NFL level. On the flip side, Russell Wilson is the best downfield passer in the NFL and Metcalf has the size and speed combination the Seahawks tend to fall in love with. Couple that with the real possibility Doug Baldwin retires and you clearly have a player who should be considered in the middle of round one. It’s possible he just becomes the next David Boston as a player who just seems too obsessed with the weight room, but look out if Metcalf tries yoga for a month or two.
1.06 = David Montgomery, RB CHI
The Bears need a replacement for the newly departed Jordan Howard and they found their power back to go with Tarik Cohen in the form of Montgomery. With only journeyman Mike Davis to beat out for early down duties, Montgomery has a great chance for an early down role in Chicago in week one. Unlike Metcalf, Montgomery isn’t an unbelievable athlete. However, he makes up for it with a great skill set that includes patience, footwork, vision and strength. Even without elite ability, Montgomery is simply hard to tackle and broke over 100 attempted stops last year. The Bears should really love this kid and he’s squarely in the second tier of players, which ends right here.
And now the draft gets fun. There are eight or ten players who could realistically slide into the first round and a lot of dynasty owners are going to be filling rosters based on team needs. As it stands right now, it’s pass catchers galore in this tier and each of them has a great upside and risk involved. We also see the second set of former teammates who could finally give us some more talent at the tight end position, a spot where we desperately need it.
1.07. Marquise Brown, WR BAL
I’ve seen Hollywood Brown ranked as highly as second overall and as low as #14 in some post-draft rankings, which just goes to show how volatile this draft really is. Personally, I have a few receivers ranked higher than Brown and wouldn’t take him at 1.07. However, he’s an extraordinarily explosive player, has a good pedigree as the cousin of Antonio Brown, and could develop into a serious weapon for the Ravens. There are concerns about his lisfranc surgery and he currently weighs just 166 pounds at 5’9″, making it unreasonable to expect him to be a full-time outside receiver. However, he could turn into a slot weapon and a player who can take the top off a defense in the mold of DeSean Jackson. Time will tell if he can be an elite fantasy performer in a run-first offense and his fantasy potential is likely tied to that of Lamar Jackson as well. If you believe in Jackson, you should believe in Brown.
1.08 = Parris Campbell, WR IND
A big play receiver if there ever was one, Campbell landed in a pretty desirable location for fantasy success. He’s a true lid lifter, but it remains to be seen if he can really develop into anything more than a speed receiver who runs deep and catches an occasional deep ball from Andrew Luck. That being said, catching a ball from Luck is a lot better than being paired with a noodle-armed signal caller. What many people don’t realize is that while Campbell has a ton of deep receptions, they weren’t all on go routes – he’s elusive as well. Campbell is a boom or bust prospect, but he posted 90 catches for 1,063 yards and 12 scores last year and his prime landing spot should keep him around the first round in dynasty rookie drafts. There are a few players in this class with true star potential and Campbell is clearly one of them.
1.09 = Deebo Samuel, WR SF
Samuel joins a thin receiving corps in San Francisco that currently includes the likes of Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, Trent Taylor and fellow rookie Jalen Hurd. He’s a major playmaker with a super high ceiling, but has also dealt with tons of injuries at his time in South Carolina. The 49ers reportedly want him to start over Goodwin, so that’s certainly positive. Samuel fits the mold of what John Lynch needs with an element of toughness and should provide the team with a presence of a playmaker who could eventually be a true alpha. The 49ers really needed receiving help after being the only team without a receiver who posted more than 500 yards last season. Time will tell if Samuel can stay healthy. If he does, he has first round talent in both reality and fantasy. Regardless, he’ll be in play in round one of rookie drafts. Like many others in this tier, there’s risk (though with Samuel, it’s injury related), but he’s clearly worth a late first round rookie pick this season.
1.10 = JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR PHI
Arcega-Whiteside has been compared to Alshon Jeffery throughout the draft process and ironically, he ended up on the same roster. He simply doesn’t possess the same type of physical prowess as other receivers in the class, but he’s smart, savvy, and great at the catch point. He’s also one of the most pro-ready players (not just receivers) in this entire draft class. He currently finds himself on a roster with DeSean Jackson, Jeffery and Nelson Agholor. Early playing time will be hard to come by for Arcega-Whiteside, but he’s still going to be under consideration in the first round of most rookie drafts. He’s clearly in this tier of “pick your favorite pass catcher.” While he doesn’t have the same ceiling of some other receivers in this year’s draft, he likely has a higher floor than most.
1.11. TJ Hockenson, TE DET
It’s been a while since we’ve had a legitimate tight end prospect to get excited about and this year brings us not one, but two from the same school. Hockenson should give Detroit the production they’ve been wanting since taking Eric Ebron in round one long ago. With 49 catches for 760 yards and six touchdowns last season, Hockenson proved to be a truly special prospect at the position. The 6’5″, 250 pound tight end posted an impressive 4.70 40 time at the Combine and has production to match. The Lions believed in him enough to make him the eighth overall pick in the draft and Hockenson has a chance to crack the truly elite tier of tight ends – that makes him worthy of consideration in the middle-to-late first round. In fact, he’s likely going to be taken in top ten in most drafts by TE-needy teams.
1.12 = Noah Fant, TE DEN
Hockenson’s teammate should finally give the Broncos the tight end they’ve been looking for since Julius Thomas left. It’s possible Fant becomes a TE1 in time (Joe Flacco loves his tight ends, but it’s fair to wonder how long he’ll as the starter in Denver now), so Fant deserves consideration starting in round one. He’s a fantastic prospect and Denver really does view him as an every down player. In fact, his 19 career touchdowns on only 78 career catches shows just how explosive he can be, especially when you consider Iowa isn’t exactly employing the run and shoot offense. Fant will be in the mix at the end of round one for owners looking to hit a home run at a position void of many true difference makers. It’s quite likely (if not probable) Fant is the best tight end Flacco will have ever had at his disposal. It’s also quite possible he ends up being better than Hockenson when all is said and done.
Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK
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