The 2019 NFL Draft has finally come and gone and we now know where the latest wave of NFL stars will start their careers. While this draft has been touted as underwhelming, particularly amongst the offensive skill players that capture the bulk of our fantasy football minds, the dynasty rookie draft remains one of the most exciting moments of the calendar year. No matter how weak or strong the draft class, there is always an opportunity to capture value, both by making picks, and by moving picks for veterans or future selections. So without further ado, let’s dig in to the rookie top 36 for 2019.
1. N’Keal Harry, WR, Patriots
N’Keal Harry wasn’t the first skill player off the board, or even the first WR off the board in 2019, but he does have the best balance of fantasy football positional value, prospect profile, and landing spot. Physically, Harry has everything you want from a WR – a 6’3”, 228 pound frame that ran a 4.53 forty and jumped 38.5 inches. On tape, Harry doesn’t jump out to me as fast, but he does have the kind of effortless motion that elite WRs tend to share. He also has a tendency to make jaw dropping circus catches.
Obviously, life after Tom Brady will be different, but life with him in the short term should make for an ideal NFL transition. With Rob Gronkowski retiring, the Patriots may look for Harry to fill in as a bigger downfield target for Brady.
Harry isn’t the best prospect ever, and he’s one of the weaker 1.01 worthy picks in recent memory, but he’s also an extremely well-rounded dynasty prospect – which to be honest isn’t something we can say about many people in this class.
2. Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders
How you feel about Josh Jacobs, may just come down to how you value various parts of a player’s draft profile, because Jacobs’ is all over the place.
On one hand his athletic testing at Alabama’s first pro day was sub-par as he ran in the mid-4.6s for the 40-yard dash, although he reportedly was in the mid-4.5s during a second Alabama pro day. His collegiate production also leaves a lot to be desired as his career high in rushing yards for a season at Alabama was just 640 yards as he shared the rock with several Alabama runners including fellow rookie Damien Harris.
On the other hand, Jacobs was a first round pick to a RB needy team that wants to run the ball, and the limited tape that he has is pretty impressive.
My expectations for Jacobs are somewhat limited by his lack of production at Alabama. I cant help but feel that a first round caliber RB should have been relied on as a workhorse by his college team (especially one with as smart a coach as Nick Saban). But, at the end of the day, the fact that Jacobs was a first round pick in for Jon Gruden’s Raiders locks him into a very safe floor as a usable RB from day 1.
3. Miles Sanders, RB, Eagles
Sander’s tape is as good as any RB’s in this class and his athletic profile is actually better than Jacob’s. His landing spot is also a positive. While Philadelphia traded for Jordan Howard this offseason and has a tendency to rotate backs, they are also an offense with gobs of fantasy potential. And the Eagles own use of draft capital (trading a 6th for Howard vs. taking Sanders in the 2nd), shows clearly who they value more. Jacobs has a better hold on his backfield, and more draft capital invested in him, but the two backs are closer than most people think and Sanders is good enough to sneak into the bottom of the top rookie tier.
4. Noah Fant, TE, Broncos
5. TJ Hockenson, TE, Lions
Fant and Hockenson have been an obvious pairing in draft (and college football) conversations for a long time and after both went in the first round of the draft, they will remain paired here in my rookie rankings.
Despite Hockenson coming off the board first (#8 to the Lions compared to Fant at #20 to the Broncos), I give Fant the slight edge in dynasty. Hockenson is an excellent all around tight end prospect, but there simply aren’t fantasy points given out for blocking. Fant’s elite athleticism for the position make him a clearer offensive weapon in the passing game and while Joe Flacco isn’t as talented as Matt Stafford, the Broncos offense has a young QB and more room for targets for a rookie tight end.
Ultimately, both of these two are excellent prospects. Fant has a genuinely special athletic profile, and Hockenson is the lone WR, RB, or TE to earn the “Top 10 pick” NFL seal of approval. The only reason they didn’t make it to Tier 1 is because they play tight end – but in a weak class don’t let two of the only top notch prospects fall just because they don’t play a fantasy glamour position.
6. David Montgomery, Bears
Montgomery landed in a great spot in Chicago now that Jordan Howard is out the door. He wont be able to command a full 3 down workload with Tarik Cohen in town, but Chicago liked him enough to move up and grab him at the top of the 3rd round. At the least Montgomery should be a usable flex option from day 1 which isn’t bad for midway through the first round.
7. Marquise Brown, WR, Ravens
Yes, he’s small (5’9”, 166 pounds) and was drafted to a terrible situation (Lamar Jackson completed between 12 and 14 passes in each of his 7 starts last season), but Brown is still an electric talent with 1st round backing. That kind of draft status is often underrated and while the Ravens were a dreadful situation for WRs last year I don’t think that’s guaranteed to continue.
For one, Brown doesn’t have much competition for targets and the 1st round investment shows that Baltimore has big plans for him. And secondly, Lamar Jackson isn’t a gimmick QB. Sure, the Ravens relied on him to run an unconventional offense last season on the ground, but he is still a legitimate first round pick from a year ago and a very talented passer with a cannon for an arm. The decision making and arm talent are there, its just a question of whether he can have any type of consistent accuracy (admittedly a hugely important box to check). So yes, Brown may end up an undersized WR in a run first offense with an inaccurate QB. But people are severely overlooking the possibility that Brown will be the WR1 in an explosive offense with an up and coming franchise QB. Both options are very much on the table and that’s enough to make Brown a tempting first round option in rookie drafts.
8. Parris Campbell, WR, Colts
Campbell checks a lot of boxes for me. He had a great final collegiate season, tests well athletically, landed in an ideal situation with a pass happy franchise QB in Andrew Luck, and had decent draft capital invested in him to boot.
Brown gets the edge for me due to going a full round higher, but their dynasty values should be close at this point and Campbell has enough going for him to sneak into the end or my 3rd tier.
9. Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals
I love mobile quarterbacks, high flying college style offenses, and players who shake conventional wisdom (for example really short Quarterbacks), but even I have my doubts about Murray. Its hard to imagine a world in which Murray would have really gone #1 without Kliff Kingsbury as the coach with the pick and when I watch Murray, I see immense potential and natural talent but a backyard style that is hard to pull off at the next level.
But still, a mobile QB who has the backing of a number 1 pick and a coach who will let him play his way has sky high potential in fantasy. Like with Fant and Hockenson – this is a case where the rest of the draft class really eases my concerns over taking a non-glamour position in the first round. Murray has far more fantasy upside from day 1 than almost every player in this draft.
10. Andy Isabella, WR, Cardinals
I felt like a proud parent watching Isabella get scooped up in round 2 by the Cardinals after I touted him in both my Senior Bowl and Combine review articles. OK maybe its not QUITE the same as being his parent, but Isabella’s progress through the draft cycle shows what can happen when things break right and why it pays to pay attention early on.
This landing spot in Arizona with Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray is an excellent landing spot as well. I can see Isabella being a go to option for Murray for years to come.
11. AJ Brown, WR, Titans
Alternatively, this landing spot stings a bit. Brown is a legitimate prospect who would be receiving loads of hype if he had just gone at 32 to the Patriots instead of falling all the way to Tennessee at 51. Instead of being viewed as a potential #1 WR, Brown is now stuck behind Corey Davis in an offense that rarely throws the ball. I have a hard time seeing Brown breakout in year 1, but he might be a good buy-low option a year or two from now when people begin to lose interest in favor of the next rookie WR.
12. Mecole Hardman, WR, Chiefs
This pick certainly sent a clear message to Tyreek Hill and the NFL community at large. Hill’s future with the Chiefs and the NFL as a whole is in serious doubt right now, and Hardman is Andy Reid’s pick to take the job of Pat Mahomes’ field stretching weapon. Obviously, that is a role with massive potential and Andy Reid is one of the best coaches at maximizing the offensive talent he has, but Hardman is still a large gamble. Tyreek Hill thrived in that offense because he is extremely talented. A solid but unspectacular deep threat, could easily be overshadowed by Travis Kelce, Sammy Watkins, or even Demarcus Robinson.
13. Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers
In the last couple of years the 49ers have added Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis, Trent Taylor, Jordan Mathews, Richie James, and now Deebo Samuel at WR. Each one has earned added hype for playing in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. However, I don’t think Shanahan has any interest in making any of these wideouts a go to guy, especially with George Kittle at TE. Shanahan has spoken in the past about having versatility and options at WR and I think his vision for the 49ers offense is a bevy of interchangeable weapons that give him options from any lineup and formation. This is probably good for the 49ers, but for 49ers WR value it may not be great. Unless Shanahan finds another Julio Jones, it will be hard for any one wideout to stand out. And I don’t think Samuel is the next Julio Jones.
14. JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Eagles
Arcega-Whiteside is an excellent fit for Carson Wentz and the Eagles deadly red zone offense. His biggest obstacle will be finding enough targets in a crowded offense, but if the talent is there this a fantastic landing spot. And in reality, the talent really might be there – he’s often (unfairly) compared to Mike Evans for his size and jump ball prowess.
15. DK Metcalf, WR, Seahawks
Truth be told, I’m not that into Metcalf. I tend to prefer quicker more refined WRs like Brown than larger physical freaks needing development, and at least this time the NFL seems to agree with me as Metcalf slid all the way to the end of the 2nd round. That certainly isn’t bad draft capital, but it is worth noting there were 8 receivers taken ahead of him this year.
Russell Wilson is obviously a great QB to play with and he will give Metcalf ample opportunities to attack the ball and make a play, but the Seahawks don’t hand out playing time that isn’t earned (Rashaad Penny anyone?) and even with Doug Baldwins release, David Moore and Tyler Lockett will fight for playing time over Metcalf.
16. Devin Singletary, RB, Bills
I have to admit, its pretty hard to find myself all that excited about a RB that’s undersized, not all that athletic, not a natural receiving option, and doesn’t jump out on tape. In Singletary’s defense he was wildly productive in 3 years at FAU with 66 rushing touchdowns.
He should have a fair chance at carries in year 1, but it isn’t a great situation and he doesn’t have enough draft capital to avoid being quickly replaced if he can’t stand out quickly.
17. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Redskins
18. Daniel Jones, QB, Giants
Haskins and Jones both went in the first round to NFC East divisional rivals, but the feedback on their picks has been wildly different. Jones has been wildly considered a reach at #6, while Haskins is being viewed as the better prospect and a solid value in the mid first. The Redskins dysfunctional front office makes me worried, however, especially amid reports that Haskins was a Dan Snyder pick despite Jay Gruden’s arguments to go another route.
Then again, the Giants front office isn’t being outdone for incompetence by anybody these days so Jones may not be a more stable position after all. At the end of the day, both of these QBs are decent prospects that will be given a fair chance to succeed. I prefer Haskins, but Jones is still a top 10 pick.
19. Terry McLaurin, WR, Redskins
Speaking of Haskins, McLaurin will be moving from Ohio State to DC along side him which may give him an edge in an underwhelming WR room for the Redskins. McLaurin isn’t a high upside pick, but he is the sort of player who will find his way onto the field as a rookie and should be able to carve out a productive NFL career. His main competition for targets in Washington is the oft injured Paul Richardson and the underwhelming Josh Doctson.
20. Hakeem Butler, WR, Cardinals
Butler had a lot of pre-draft hype but a middling 4th round draft selection to a team that already drafted a WR should dampen the hype. Of course, it probably wont since Butler will now be paired with the biggest name from the draft (Kyler Murray) in Kliff Kingsbury’s offense. I like Butler, but if the hype hasn’t died down in your league I would let somebody else reach for him.
21. Diontae Johnson, WR, Steelers
The Steelers are well known for their success in drafting WRs over the years. Since 2009, they have drafted Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and Juju Smith-Schuster. Its commonly believed that the Steelers have figured out the magical secret to finding successful NFL receivers. But in reality – that’s complete BS. The Steelers are a good organization with a stable front office and a solid coaching staff that has minimal turnover, but they are no better at picking WR talent out of college than the rest of the league. And Johnson already has a 2nd rounder from last year in James Washington to contend with. This isn’t to say he’s a terrible prospect – just that he shouldn’t get a magical Steelers WR boost to his value.
22. Gary Jennings, WR, Seahawks
On a related note to my DK Metcalf bearishness, Gary Jennings is a solid prospect with a somewhat crowded WR room – but not a WR room with established roles. Obviously Jennings is the longshot for playing time out Metcalf, Lockett, and Moore, but it isn’t far fetched to see him earning plenty of playing time as a rookie or in the near future. And the Russell Wilson factor is as much a positive for him as it is for Metcalf.
23. Damien Harris, RB, Patriots
As a Sony Michel fan, I’m not entirely sure how to feel about this pick but Bill Bellicheck and the Patriots tend to have a method to their madness. Michel is still the man to own in the NE backfield but a 3rd round choice to a great offense is still a nice spot for Harris. Last year I hyped Michel for his massive touchdown potential and that still holds true a year later. There’s no way to know how the carries and touchdowns will split but there’s far more day 1 potential for Harris here than there is for the remaining backs in their situations.
24. Bryce Love, RB, Redskins
I love buying low on injured players in trades, but the draft is no different. Love sank in the draft due to his recovery from a torn ACL but he was once considered a potential 1st rounder. I doubt his talent really warranted that and Derrius Guice will make for tough long term backfield competition, but Love is still the most talented option left at this point. I can stand to wait a year for a rookie’s health to return.
- Irv Smith, TE, Vikings
- Darrell Henderson, RB, Rams
- Alexander Mattison, RB, Vikings
- Jace Sternberger, TE, Packers
- Justice Hill, RB, Ravens
- Drew Sample, TE, Bengals
- Drew Lock, QB, Broncos
- Miles Boykin, WR, Ravens
- Benny Snell, RB, Steelers
- Ryquell Armstead, RB, Jaguars
- Josh Oliver, TE, Jaguars
- Kahale Warring, TE, Texans
And with that, we come to the end of the Dynasty Rookie Top 36 for 2019. If anything jumps out as outrageous – that’s ok. I prefer to think of my rankings in tiers where personal preference can dictate within each tier. And as always, dynasty is about running your team the way you want. There are certain trends that will hold true and help you to follow (following draft capital for example), but there’s nothing more rewarding than putting your own research in, going after your guy, and seeing it pay off. Sometimes its ok to just put fun first. On that note – best of luck to everybody in your drafts!