By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
Now that the NFL Draft has come and gone, it’s time to figure out which of the newest players to enter the league can assist our treks toward the ultimate prize — a fantasy football championship.
I’d first like to give a huge thank you to everyone that tuned in to our 1st round coverage of the NFL Draft on either Die Hard Sports Radio or our Twitch stream. It was a lot of fun being in the studio with my co-host Joe Zollo, and I look forward to doing it again next year. (Also, big thanks to Byrd for working the stream!)
I’m going to go team by team to highlight at least one player on the team that can help in fantasy this year or in Dynasty for years to come. Some teams will have more than one player. Let’s start in the AFC East-
RB Devin Singletary – With LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore both born during the Eisenhower Administration, it’s safe to say a young running back was needed. Selected in the 3rd round, Singletary has a chance to get reps as McCoy had trouble staying healthy behind a porous Bills offensive line. At 5’8″, Singletary is on the smaller side which likely contributed to his slide during draft weekend- his production certainly warranted an earlier selection. My favorite stat of Singletary’s time in college? Over the last two seasons, Singletary accounted for 55 touchdowns. 55! He also forced the second most missed tackles on rushing attempts last year with 96. Singletary should be a late-round pick as a high upside backup in redraft leagues and a fringe 2nd/3rd round pick in Dynasty rookie drafts. Remember, with a run-oriented offense and a quarterback who is a rushing threat, Singletary will have plenty of opportunities to shine in the future.
RB Myles Gaskin – As the lone skill-position player drafted, Gaskin gets the write-up. A four-year starter at Washington, Gaskin logged over 1,000 touches at the collegiate level, making him a high-risk pick at such a volatile position. He did, however, score 62 touchdowns in college– so we know he has a nose for the end zone. Gaskin is nothing more than a backup as a name to know in case Kenyan Drake or Kalen Ballage succumb to injury — though I’d keep an eye on Gaskin overtaking Ballage since, well, he’s not that good, just really fast. The bigger selections the Dolphins made were a pair of Big 10 linemen — Wisconsin G/C Michael Deiter and Ohio State OT Isaiah Prince. If they can start for Miami — which, given the state of their offensive line, shouldn’t be that difficult — it will help protect newly-acquired QB Josh Rosen and the RB trio of Drake, Ballage, and Gaskin.
New England Patriots
WR N’Keal Harry – The Patriots added a couple of solid pieces on offense to surround QB Tom Brady with as many weapons as possible in the twilight of his career. I’ll start with Harry. The Sun Devil standout is dynamite on the outside. He has solid speed for a guy his size, but he does serious damage with his ability to use his size on underneath and intermediate routes to haul in passes. He also excels on yards after the catch. He has some work to do on deep ball routes, but let’s face it- Tom Brady isn’t throwing 60-yard bombs any time soon. Harry should be a favorite of Brady early, and I fully expect him to have at least 800 yards receiving and 6 TDs in Year One. That should put Harry in the top 40 discussion, and as a receiver with a longer shelf life in Dynasty, should be a top-3 player off the board in Rookie drafts.
RB Damien Harris – Harris is a favorite of our College Super Fan Chris Tyler — he refers to Harris as “Son” — and is a little biased when he says he’ll seize the starter’s job from Sony Michel sooner than later. Let’s pump the brakes, young buck. Harris is the consummate yeoman — he goes out and does his job and doesn’t seek out the spotlight. He’s very adept at falling forward and settling for one or two yards versus trying to break one loose and losing three yards. He’s a solid in between the tackles runner, and with the Patriots transitioning to more of a run-based offense, he should team with Michel to keep defenses on the field longer than they’d like. And keep in mind, Michel missed three games last year. Harris hasn’t missed a game in his last three years.
New York Jets
TE Trevon Wesco – The Jets focused on beefing up the trenches on offense and defense through their first three picks. Wesco, the only skill position player they drafted, was something of a swiss army knife at West Virginia. At 6’4″ 267 pounds, Wesco also has the potential as an inline blocker so the Jets can keep Chris Herndon as their “move” TE. Wesco is strictly a backup at this point, but if Herndon misses time to injury, there’s top 20 upside.
RBs Trayveon Williams and Rodney Anderson – I’m combining them for a specific reason. A healthy Anderson had a chance to be a top 5 running back in this class. After the nudge by collaborator Chris Molina, I checked out the tape on Anderson. Damn, he’s legit. But he missed a ton of games at Oklahoma and missed mostly all of last season. He’s likely to spend next year on the PUP list as a result. Williams was a standout at College Station and should be able to secure the backup job behind likely top 15 pick Joe Mixon. Both Williams and Anderson have some Dynasty appeal as Mixon has missed two games in each of the last two seasons. Williams is more of a 3rd/4th round pick while Anderson is a Taxi Squad stash in the event Mixon suffers a serious injury and Anderson finds a way to get healthy.
QB Ryan Finley – Finley is one of my favorite QBs in this year’s draft. A 4th rounder out of NC State, he is one of the most accurate throwers in this class. He reads defenses well and picks his spots. Many pundits and draft analysts compare him to current Bengals starter Andy Dalton. With 2019 potentially being Dalton’s last season in Cincinnati, Finley has a chance at starting as early as 2020. The Bengals have no shortage of weapons around him to help him succeed early in his career. Finley is a fine Dynasty stash on Taxi Squads and should be a 3rd rounder in Rookie drafts.
K Austin Seibert – I’d prefer to write about OBJ since he was “technically” the Browns 1st round pick, but since Seibert is the only offensive player the Browns drafted, here I am writing about a damn kicker. Ugh. Anyway, Seibert missed only one extra point over the last two years and made 85% of his field goals over that same time. Considering the Browns collectively missed 12 kicks last year (6 FGs, 6 XPs), Seibert has an opportunity to win the job for what should be a high scoring offense in 2019. Seibert is a likely waiver add in redraft leagues.
WRs Marquise “Hollywood” Brown & Miles Boykin – When the Ravens drafted Joe Flacco all those years ago, I swear, the only receiver they drafted was Breshad Perriman. After drafting Lamar Jackson this year, the Ravens immediately added two tight ends who are excellent receivers- a low risk/high reward receiver (Jordan Lasley), and two more receivers in the 2019 draft (Brown and Boykin). My biggest issue with touting Brown and/or Boykin as fantasy options is the offense as a whole. As much as I love Lamar Jackson, his short area accuracy — and accuracy in general — needs to improve. This is a run-oriented offense, first and foremost. Brown is very small and coming off a Lisfranc injury, two things that scare me- not just for 2019, but for years to come. Boykin is the guy I like more in Year One because of his size. Consistency is certainly an issue, but Boykin has good hands and should be healthy all year, which I’m not convinced Brown will be. Brown will be the higher pick in both Rookie and redraft leagues, but I would take Boykin over Brown in redrafts, and I’d be perfectly happy taking Boykin in the 2nd/3rd round over Brown in the first of a Rookie draft.
RB Justice Hill – I wasn’t all that high on Hill during the pre-draft process. His speed shows on tape, but to me, it’s more “straight line” and less “shake and bake.” Still, his speed can get him around the corner, and when he hits it, look out. He’s not a big back but has the chance to be effective in a third-down role. Ingram had Kamara in New Orleans and has a lite version of that with Hill now in Baltimore. Hill is worth a late-round flier in redraft leagues and is more of a late 2nd/3rd round guy in Rookie drafts.
WR Diontae Johnson – Johnson was taken using the 3rd round pick the Steelers acquired in the Antonio Brown trade. Many draft experts see a lot of Brown in Johnson with his quickness and smooth route running. Largely forgotten due to a subpar 2018, Johnson was outstanding in 2017 with Logan Whiteside at quarterback. If the Steelers have plans to move JuJu Smith-Schuster outside to handle more of the Antonio Brown role, Johnson has a chance to be electric out of the slot before growing into more of a multi-faceted role. In my opinion, his presence drastically hurts the Dynasty stock of James Washington. It tells me the Steelers view him strictly as an outside deep threat. Johnson should be square in the 2nd round discussion in Rookie drafts and a late-round flier in redraft leagues.
RB Benny Snell Jr. – Snell has a chance to eat into James Conner’s fantasy production. With Le’Veon Bell having moved on, and Conner’s late-season injury, I would not be at all surprised if Conner’s workload is divided up among Jaylen Samuels (3rd downs) and Snell (short yardage situations). Snell scored 48 touchdowns in college, and at 224 pounds, has ideal size to be their goal line back. Obviously, Conner is bigger at 233 pounds, but they want him healthy all year. Conner sits on the low end of RB1s for me with so much competition for carries now. Snell should be a late round add in Rookie drafts, and nothing more than a waiver add in redraft leagues.
WR Parris Campbell – Campbell put the whole world on notice with his blazing 4.33 40 time at the Combine. When you catch the tape, you see a guy who gets to his spots on the field in a hurry. He ran predominantly out of the slot at Ohio State and caught 90 balls, 12 of which went for touchdowns. The Colts need a slot guy. Luck will throw the ball a ton and when it’s not to T.Y. Hilton, it’s going to Campbell. I currently have Campbell in my top 2 among this year’s rookie WR class and should easily be a 1st round pick in Rookie drafts.
TE Josh Oliver – Led by new QB Nick Foles — a QB who targets his TEs often, mind you — the Jaguars may have found one of the biggest sleepers of this year’s draft in Oliver. He’s a standout receiver, finishing in the top 5 among TEs in catches and yards from the slot and in yards and receptions on passes over 20 yards downfield. To add to the allure, he led all tight ends in college football last year with 16 contested catches. His 4.63 speed also helps. Foles should fall in love with Oliver quickly, and I think he has an outside chance of being the number one rookie TE this year. That said, you may be able to snag him in the 3rd round of Rookie drafts, and you can certainly wait to snag him in the later rounds of redraft leagues, potentially even on waivers after the draft concludes. Don’t sleep on Oliver!
TE Kahale Warring – After spending two draft picks at the tight end position last year, the Texans add yet another intriguing prospect to the position in Warring. Warring is a solid pass blocker and ran a 4.67 speed. If he can further develop his receiving prowess, Warring has a chance to be a solid safety valve for QB Deshaun Watson. Until then, Warring is nothing more than a Taxi Squad stash in Rookie drafts (4th round or later) and isn’t worth owning in redraft leagues.
WR A.J. Brown – Much like new teammate Corey Davis, I love Brown’s talent. I just wish he had landed on a team that will exploit his talents. The Titans want to run the football, and I’m willing to bet they do so on at least 55% of their offensive plays this season. That will leave minimal opportunities for receivers like Davis, Brown, and free agent acquisition Adam Humphries. Davis will see the most target share and Brown, for as well-rounded a receiver as he is, will be left with scraps. I doubt he tops 40 receptions this year. Still, his talent will make him a 1st round pick in Rookie drafts. But in redraft leagues, he’s nothing more than a late flier in hopes Mariota proves he can throw the ball consistently.
TE Noah Fant – The Broncos 1st round pick is a blazing fast TE prospect who, for some, is quite overrated. It’s hard not to like a TE with his measurables and ability, but his catch percentage is worrisome. Fant had 13 drops in three seasons at Iowa. What works in his favor is new Broncos QB, Joe Flacco. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but Flacco has been throwing to TEs almost exclusively for years. Fant should be a frequent target of Flacco and he’ll have the ability to grow with the next player I’m going to spend some time writing about. Fant is at least a 2nd round pick in Rookie drafts, and should have top 15 upside among TEs in redraft. An 11th round pick or later on Fant is hardly terrible value.
QB Drew Lock – I don’t have the utmost faith in Flacco at QB. He’s been marred by inconsistent health — 6 games missed in 2015, and 7 in 2018 — and inconsistent production the last few years. The plus side is that he never had the type of talent in Baltimore surrounding him that he currently has in Denver. A couple of young receivers (DaeSean Hamilton and Courtland Sutton), a young TE (Fant), and a savvy veteran (Emmanuel Sanders) should help Flacco maintain steady production and holding off Lock for at least a year. Lock’s accuracy and footwork are his two biggest knocks. The accuracy has steadily increased, but he certainly needs to continue working at bettering his footwork. One thing both Flacco and Lock do well is heave the football — Flacco has a canon and Lock is arguably the best deep ball thrower among rookie QBs. Lock is merely a Dynasty stash — at least a 3rd round pick in Rookie drafts — and shouldn’t be considered in redraft leagues. Yet. (Flacco hasn’t been benched, after all.)
Los Angeles Chargers
QB Easton Stick – Considering the lack of skill-position players the Chargers drafted, I’m going to highlight their 5th round pick who is likely to be a career backup with upside. Stick comes from North Dakota State (yes, the same school that produced Eagles QB Carson Wentz). In fact, during Carson Wentz’s Senior year, Stick filled in for an injured Wentz and led ND State to the FCS Championship, where he relinquished the starter’s job to Wentz, who led them to a championship. During Stick’s subsequent two years, he also led ND State to the FCS Championship game, twice, winning one. ND State runs a pro-style offense. Stick has a chance to be a standout backup QB who has the chops to come in and lead a team, which helps the Chargers skill-position players keep moving right along with no interruption. I say this because Phillip Rivers is 37 and Tyrod Taylor was God awful in his limited role in Cleveland’s offense a year ago. Stick has the chance to develop into a low-end starter one day down the line. But that’s years from now. Don’t get antsy.
Kansas City Chiefs
WR Mecole Hardman – The narrative surrounding Hardman is that he will fill the Tyreek Hill role in Andy Reid’s offense when Hill is eventually cut and the Chiefs move on from him. Pump the brakes, people. Yes, Hardman is dynamite with the ball in his hands and his 4.33 speed makes one salivate. But he has inconsistent hands and is better suited as a return man as a rookie, you know, kind of like Hill. Hardman is a clear 1st round pick in Rookie drafts because of where he landed, but just know his production won’t likely pop off the page in Year One. Once Hill is released — no longer an “if” at this point — Hardman will likely go way higher than the price I’m willing to pay. (Think top 30 at WR.)
RB Josh Jacobs – As a 1st round pick, expect Jacobs to float to the top of the depth chart during the 2019 season, especially with the news that Isaiah Crowell suffered a ruptured Achilles and will miss the 2019 season. Of all the rookie RBs drafted over the weekend, Jacobs has the likeliest chance of finishing in the top 20 because of the round he was chosen (1st) and the situation he was drafted into (Gruden selected him to be their 3-down back and his scheme is tailor-made for running backs). Jacobs had minimal usage in college — only 299 touches through three years at Alabama — so he is fresher than Will Smith in Bel Air in the 90s. Jacobs should be a 1st round pick in Rookie drafts and will likely be a top 25 RB in redraft leagues — somewhere between rounds 4 through 7.
RB Tony Pollard – Just in case you wanted to know who will be competing for the right to be Ezekiel Elliott’s handcuff in 2019, here he is. Actually, Pollard will be competing with another rookie — Elliott’s former Buckeye teammate, Mike Weber — for the right to back up Zeke. Pollard was the higher pick, so this will certainly be a training camp battle to keep an eye on. The only way I would consider drafting Pollard in either a Rookie draft or season-long draft is if I owned Zeke. That’s it.
RB Miles Sanders – Call me biased, but Sanders was the guy I wanted to go to Philly throughout the draft process. A former 5-star recruit, he was buried behind Saquon Barkley at Penn State and finally got the chance to show scouts and teams what he was capable of in 2018- rushing for 1,274 yards and 9 touchdowns. Sanders has great speed, vision, and instincts, and I think he’s the perfect long term fit in Philly. Year One, he’ll likely share responsibilities with newly-acquired Jordan Howard, but in Year Two? It’s on, baby. Sanders should be a 1st round pick in Rookie drafts (top 3 RB off the board) and should be targeted after the 10th round in season-long drafts.
WR J.J. Arcega-Whiteside – Arcega-Whiteside could be a newer version of Alshon Jeffery for the Eagles. One of the better receivers in this year’s class, he should be able to use his size and strength to shed corners and make the contested catch. In fact, he led all receivers in college football last year with 19 contested catches. He’s a smooth route runner with good hands. Just another weapon for Carson Wentz. With the Eagles bringing back DeSean Jackson, the aforementioned Jeffery, and Nelson Agholor all in front of Arcega-Whiteside competing for catches (not to mention TEs Zach Ertz and popular breakout candidate Dallas “Philly” Goedert), I’m not expecting a big year from Arcega-Whiteside unless injury befalls an incumbent. (Or Agholor gets traded, a strong possibility given his contract status.)
New York Giants
QB Daniel Jones – I really don’t want to write about Jones. It all just boils down to Dave Gettleman being incompetent and reaching for a subpar quarterback when better ones — and better players, I might add — were still on the board. As the 6th overall choice, Jones should go into training camp as the starter, but Gettleman’s delusional thinking has Eli Manning starting and ending this season as the Giants starter. See? Even he’s trying to delay the inevitable embarrassment that will follow when Jones and his crow hop bomb the audition for the role of franchise QB of the New York “Football” Giants. I wouldn’t waste my time drafting him, but in Rookie drafts, if you want to take a flier for your Taxi Squad in the event Jones does live up to his potential, he’s at best a 3rd round pick.
QB Dwayne Haskins – See, this is who the Giants should’ve taken. Question his mobility all you want, but Haskins is a better pure passer than Jones in all aspects. (And Haskins throws one of the worst deep balls in this class, think about that for a second.) All Haskins has to do is beat out Case Keenum to become the starter in Washington. That shouldn’t be difficult, paving the way for the rookie to hand the ball of to Adrian Peterson a lot this year. I’m not targeting Haskins in redraft leagues, but he’s at least a 2nd rounder in Rookie drafts. He should easily clear the 3,000 passing yard plateau in Year One, but the Redskins have a problem at receiver, one they hoped they’re on their way to fixing with Haskins’s former OSU teammate.
WR Terry McLaurin – McLaurin is a step toward restocking a depleted Redskins receiving corps. McLaurin has blazing speed and already has a familiarity with Haskins, having caught 35 passes for 701 yards from Haskins just last year. McLaurin should have no problem running go routes to help the ‘Skins offense stretch the field. He’s at least a 3rd rounder in Rookie drafts (I like his new teammate, whom I’ll introduce in a bit, better) and at best a late-round flier in season-long drafts. Familiarity with Haskins could be a benefit, but unless the ‘Skins are moving Paul Richardson to the slot, McLaurin will be hard-pressed to find significant playing time.
WR Kelvin Harmon – This is the rookie pass-catcher on the Redskins you want to own. Let’s face it, Josh Doctson just isn’t the answer. Harmon should have no problem taking the number one spot among receivers from him in no time. Harmon is coming off back-to-back years with over 1,000 receiving yards and uses his body well to seal off corners. He doesn’t have blazing speed, but he makes the catches needed and moves the chains. Haskins will love Harmon, who inexplicably fell to the 6th round. Harmon should be a 2nd round pick in Rookie drafts and worthy of a late-round flier in season-long drafts in the event Haskins and the ‘Skins passing offense gets going.
RB David Montgomery – The Bears first pick in this draft — in the 2nd round after using their 1st round pick as part of the trade to acquire DE Khalil Mack — was used on my favorite running back in this class. Montgomery is a tackle evader, leading all of college football over the last two years in missed tackles forced. Montgomery has the potential to be a legitimate three-down back in the NFL. The Bears and Matt Nagy may appear to be a team that wants to use a committee approach, but they jettisoned Jordan Howard because they didn’t believe in his ability on 3rd downs. Yes, they have Tarik Cohen, who will be a big piece on 3rd downs and in the passing game, but he still isn’t a 200-touch running back. Montgomery has the potential to be. Howard last year had 250 rushing attempts. Montgomery will have the potential to reach that, potentially exceed it, and I have the utmost faith he will far exceed the 3.7 yards per carry Howard mustered last year. I personally would rank Montgomery above Jacobs in Rookie drafts- should be a top 3 pick. In redraft leagues, Montgomery has top 20 upside in both Standard and PPR formats and should be off the board no later than round 5.
WR Riley Ridley – The other Ridley brother — Calvin is his brother, in case you weren’t aware — is just as good a route runner, but lacks the same burst as Calvin. Ridley’s problem is that Chicago has no shortage of quality pass catchers currently in front of him. Allen Robinson is the team’s de facto number one option, Taylor Gabriel is a twitchy speed threat, and last year’s 2nd round pick Anthony Miller is a future standout from the slot. Ridley won’t be one to watch in redraft leagues but with this likely to be Gabriel’s final year in Chicago, — you don’t take rookies in back-to-back years without moving on from a veteran or two — Ridley has potential as a draft and stash in Rookie drafts for Dynasty.
TE T.J. Hockenson – The best TE in this draft landed on a team that hasn’t been keen on utilizing the TE position in past years. In fact, this is the third time in ten years the Lions have drafted a TE in the 1st round. Not exactly a great track record with the position, but I digress. A new coach, a new offensive coordinator, a new front office — the sky’s the limit. As much as I believe he’ll be the best TE in this class, he won’t be in Year One. It’s too easy and it doesn’t happen as often as one would think. Hockenson will be a late 1st/early 2nd round pick in rookie drafts and be over-drafted in season-long drafts because of his rookie stature. He has top 15 potential, but until I see Matthew Stafford consistently target the TE position, I’m not loving Hock’s 2019 season output. Take as a high-upside back up in deeper leagues, but in 10-team leagues, I just don’t see the point in using a roster spot on a backup TE when I can stash a high upside RB instead.
Green Bay Packers
TE Jace Sternberger – One of my favorite TEs in this draft class also landed in a not-so-ideal situation. The Packers signed Jimmy Graham a year ago and he promptly laid an egg, finishing as TE12 when many thought his ceiling was much higher. With Graham still on the roster, Sternberger’s upside is limited as they’re similar TEs. Still, he should be a strong Dynasty add- at least a 3rd round pick in Rookie drafts. But unless Graham gets hurt — which, let’s face it, is a strong possibility at this stage of his career — Sternberger holds zero value in season-long leagues.
TE Irv Smith Jr. – Smith had a chance at being a 1st round pick. The run on offensive and defensive linemen changed that. The Vikings got great value with Smith but one thing stands in his way — incumbent Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph isn’t exactly old, he’s only 29, but Smith is clearly the superior athlete. We know Kirk Cousins’s history with athletic tight ends, so Smith has a chance to excel in Year One. I’m a touch skeptical he will as long as Rudolph is on the team, but that doesn’t make him any less of an intriguing option in Dynasty leagues. Smith should be a late 2nd/early 3rd round pick in Rookie drafts and has top 20 potential in redraft leagues.
RB Alexander Mattison – Hailing from Boise State, it’s easy for Mattison to fall from the limelight, but Mattison has some serious short area quickness and is a beast to bring down. Mattison forced the third most missed tackles among RBs in college football last year. Considering the Vikings lost Latavius Murray to the Saints, and Dalvin Cook hasn’t shown he can stay healthy for a full season in the NFL, the Vikings needed a backup capable of filling in. Mattison can be that guy. If you own Cook in Dynasty, Mattison is someone to target in the 3rd round of your Rookie draft. In redraft leagues, he should be on the radar around the 12th round or later as a backup with upside given Cook’s injury history.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
K Matt Gay – The Bucs did it again. They drafted a kicker. We’re all aware of the Bucs’s issues in the kicking game, but a rookie who missed nine kicks over the last two seasons doesn’t scream “we found our guy!” That said, the Bucs went defensive heavy in this draft, so a kicker is who we’re looking at. He’ll be a waiver add in redraft leagues if he shows anything during the preseason.
RB Qadree Ollison – Ollison is a bigger back who should pair well with the smaller Ito Smith as backups to Devonta Freeman. Freeman missed most of last season, so people now deem him as injury prone. I’m not ready to go that far but, considering he’s missed time with concussions and nagging injuries in the past, I get it. That said, he’ll be great value in the 4th round (where he’s likely to be drafted). But in the event of yet another injury, it’s good to know who his backups will be. Smith will handle passing downs while Ollison is likely the early down guy. Consider yourself informed.
RB Jordan Scarlett – The urge to write about Will Grier is real. But a healthy Cam Newton makes Grier a pipe dream. Scarlett has the chance to be a player since there’s no way Christian McCaffrey can continue playing 90+% of the offensive plays. Scarlett found himself in trouble at Florida, but there’s no denying his talent. He averaged 5.4 yards per carry in college and finished tied for third among draft-eligible RBs with 0.32 missed tackles forced per attempt. Scarlett can help the Panthers offense stay afloat when they decide to give McCaffrey a breather. He should be looked at late in Rookie drafts — late 3rd/early 4th range if you own McCaffrey — and nothing more than a name to know in redraft leagues if McCaffrey succumbs to injury.
New Orleans Saints
TE Alize Mack – Good hands, good speed, but a developmental guy. I see no reason to look at Mack in redraft leagues or even in Dynasty for now. Jared Cook was brought in to push the Saints offense further, and Mack will be on the sideline for the foreseeable future.
QB Kyler Murray – I’m sure it seems obvious at this point, but you absolutely want to draft Kyler Murray, in both Rookie and season-long drafts. I would go so far as to say Murray should be the first rookie drafted and has top 10 upside at QB in redraft leagues. Murray’s ability as both a passer and a runner makes him the ultimate fantasy weapon, especially in leagues where you get 4 points per passing touchdown (why a touchdown of any kind doesn’t account for 6 points is beyond me) and 6 points per rushing touchdown. Murray had an aDOT of over 11 yards at Oklahoma last year, which tells me several things. First, his athletic ability allows him to keep plays alive and his receivers can improvise. Second, he keeps his eyes down the field, which isn’t always a trait of young QBs. Third — actually, sorry, I only have those two. The Cardinals didn’t do a ton to improve the offensive line around him — which doomed rookie Josh Rosen last year — but with a new coaching staff on hand, maybe they can provide a good enough scheme to at least make it seem the line is playing better. Seattle made it happen last year, so hopefully, the Cardinals can this year.
WRs Andy Isabella & Hakeem Butler – The Cardinals didn’t have a ton of receiving talent on the roster behind lifelong Cardinal Larry Fitzgerald. They drafted Christian Kirk a year ago, but that’s it. Enter Isabella and Butler. Isabella is only 5’9″, but sports 4.31 speed and led the nation in yards per route run. He also finished 2nd in receiving yards on passes over 20 yards downfield. You know who was first? Yep, Butler. The Cardinals drafted two receivers who excel at getting downfield to pair with a young QB who looks downfield and throws it with good accuracy. I’m not usually high on rookie receivers excelling in Year One, but if Kliff Kingsbury is even a decent play caller at the NFL level, I will gladly invest in the young Cardinals offense. Isabella and Butler should be 1st or 2nd round picks in rookie drafts — I slightly favor Butler due to his size — while both have top 40 upside in redraft leagues. In Year One, I’d favor Isabella because of his speed.
San Francisco 49ers
WR Deebo Samuel – A favorite of our college superfan, Chris Tyler, Samuel has all the tools to be dynamic at the NFL level. He just needs to stay healthy. I’m highlighting Samuel over fellow rookie WR Jalen Hurd (who is worth a late flier in Rookie drafts but shouldn’t be on the radar in redraft leagues) due to Hurd’s inexperience at the WR position. (Hurd started college as a WR and only recently began transitioning to WR.) Samuel has a chance to have a Tyreek Hill-like effect on the 49ers offense if utilized correctly. Samuel averaged almost 50 yards per reception over 20 yards. Yeah, he gets down the field that quickly. Jimmy Garoppolo should love him. If both Jimmy G and Samuel are healthy all year, the 49ers have a chance to live up to the offensive hype people put on them heading into 2018. Better late than never, right? Samuel is a late 1st/early 2nd round target of mine in Rookie drafts and should be off the board as a WR5 come draft day in season-long drafts.
Los Angeles Rams
RB Darrell Henderson – Henderson is a stud. I’m upset he landed on the Rams for Dynasty purposes, but if I end up drafting Gurley in redraft leagues — I won’t, but hear me out — I’m targeting Henderson late as a bonafide handcuff. Gurley’s lingering knee issues from last season have me looking at Henderson as the most valuable handcuff in the league next season. He is a big play threat every time he touches the ball, leading all incoming RBs in PFF’s Breakaway percentage. He led college football in rushes over 20 yards, en route to 22 TDs. I think Henderson is a 2nd round RB in rookie drafts (3rd if you’re comfortable with Gurley’s future) and will likely be gone by the 7th round in season-long drafts because he’s such a valuable handcuff.
WR D.K. Metcalf – The Seahawks selected three receivers and a running back in the draft, none with more boom potential than Metcalf. We’re all aware of the freakish athleticism of the Ole Miss product, but there’s definitely some cause for concern. However, considering that QB Russell Wilson had the 2nd highest QB rating on passes thrown 20 yards or more downfield and the best TD-to-INT ratio on such throws, I think the Seahawks offensive coordinator is just going to call for Metcalf to run go routes all season long and work next offseason on expanding the route tree. Wilson has never had someone this size to throw to, so there’s some serious upside with Metcalf. I look at him as a 2nd round pick in Rookie drafts, and someone with top 40 potential in redraft leagues.