We’re working on loading 500+ rookies (all the non-OLs and punters) into our system – the drafted and the UDFAs. We’re getting them placed onto the right teams and then analyzing the impact they can have now and for the future, for dynasty rookie drafts, as well as the impact they will have on the existing NFL players on their new teams. It’s a long, studious process…and one of my favorite times of the year.
We’ll soon have our downloadable, searchable spreadsheet of the top 300+ dynasty rookie prospects statistically valued and ranked…with commentary on the top 100 or so players. All this week, I’ll be building to a settled rookie draft board that we’ll then update weekly.
Today, I wanted to get out a top 15+ board because I have some significant changes that need to be updated/published for you to consider. Notably…
Mecole Hardman – I was undervaluing him.
Darrell Henderson – yes, the Gurley thing…but also ‘the Gurley thing’.
Right now, today, I have the top 18 players with commentary for you to consider – just in document/webpage format…these commentaries will be on the master searchable, downloadable spreadsheet board too -- when we release that. I expect the top 25-50+ prospects/ranked spreadsheet/board will post later this evening (eastern time).
Here’s a fresh top 10/top 18 board to consider:
1) QB Kyler Murray, Arizona
Okay, we’ve been beating the drum for months. Now it’s time to add the clashing cymbals – Murray’s the best player in the 2019 dynasty rookie draft and probably the best player ever, for fantasy, going into a dynasty rookie draft or season. The perfect blend of passing skills + high-end running skills (for supreme FF scoring) + all rolled into one and drafted by the most-offensive conscious head coach in the league, and running the most fantasy-friendly offensive system the NFL has ever seen. It’s a surreal mix of talent and perfect opportunity.
Early returns/info…he’s going as high as 1.06 a day/two after the NFL Draft finished. Eventually, he will be top 5 in rookie drafts. Will it take the 1.07? 1.05? 1.03 to get him? I don’t know for sure. All leagues and situations are different. I’m just telling anyone who will listen two things…
1) If you just acquire the 1.01, you don’t have to sweat it. If you’re going for the 1.03-4-5…the 1.01 or 1.02 is not that much more. Get the 1.02-03 to use to help get to 1.01. Let everybody laugh when you take him 1.01.
If you can’t get to 1.01, you get to 1.02-1.03…get as close as you can, and hope none of your league-mates find me/this info.
2) Murray is a generational fantasy talent…he’s is ‘the one’ – the one worth doing whatever you have to do to acquire in the rookie draft or trading hot for him after.
2) WR Parris Campbell, Indianapolis
The most dangerous/lethal non-QB, for fantasy, coming out of the NFL Draft. This is about as a good a landing spot as he could hope for – he’ll be the clear #2 WR on this team, and Andrew Luck at QB is a good thing for the passing game/Parris production, he’s not Mahomes-Mayfield-Murray, but Luck is as good as anyone after that. In addition, a home dome, and southern division with better weather matchups consistently.
Here’s Campbell’s mid-Nov. to Dec. (Weeks 10 on) games this year: home, home, at HOU/dome, home, at TB, at NO/dome, home, at JAC. Wonderful conditions for this team/offense to operate all season. Campbell will usurp Hilton in a year or two and can thrive as a rookie with TYH getting the top coverage early.
Kyler’s awesomeness really hides, to a degree, how great Parris could be for fantasy.
3) TE Noah Fant, Denver
I do not like this landing spot because of the QB situation…Flacco is meh/OK, but the Drew Lock era is going to suck…hard. However, going to Denver does bring some positives – he can start right away as the primary TE. Had he landed better he might be our #2 pick/rank to start the process. Had he landed worse he might be out of the top 5. A top talent among all TEs in the NFL already, but a murky situation with the QB and old-school coaching staff. There are not many TEs built like Fant, so he has to be a top 3-5 consideration regardless.
4) WR N’Keal Harry, New England
There’s an argument for him to be #3 overall here. A great WR going to play for a great franchise with a great QB. The problem is – new WRs don’t just immediately click with Tom Brady, and launch into WR1-dom lately (see: Brandin Cooks, Josh Gordon)…especially tough to ask a rookie WR to make a huge leap into a WR1 right away. Brady loves him some Edelman, and everything else is ‘as available to take advantage of’.
The fear is, by the time Harry starts to ‘get it’ and ‘clicks’ with Brady…Tom Terrific will be nearing 45 years old. Jarrett Stidham helps encourage me as the groomed backup, but there’s not a clear, obvious, quick path for Harry to WR1. WR2-3, but not WR1…which means you can get him cheaper when the new car smell wears off mid-2019 season – a WR2 is nice but that’s not worth losing your mind over and using a top pick with.
5) LB Devin Bush, Pittsburgh
Obviously, Bush is going to start right away and he’s very athletically gifted…he’s an almost ‘can’t miss’ IDP tackle accumulator for 2019+. He wasn’t a big tackle tally guy in college, but he was fine…and might be in a better spot for higher tackle counts with the Steelers. Like his tape better than Devin White’s, and I like this landing spot a little better as well.
6) DE Nick Bosa, San Francisco
If your IDP scoring favors sacks and TFLs, then you’re gonna love Bosa. He may not be a great tackle accumulator, though he will be OK for his position…but his sacks, TFL, and forced fumbles counts should be sweet. He starts right away for SF and is star right away…everyone agrees.
7) WR Mecole Hardman, Kansas City
The better version of Marquise Brown, and without a Lisfranc problem. Hardman is the obvious Tyreek Hill replacement attempt by the Chiefs. I’ll be doing a deeper dive study of him very soon…given his suddenly lofty expectations.
In my scouting previews, I didn’t see obvious ‘next Tyreek’ but something made the Chiefs willing to move up to find out if he was. I’d get more excited about this move if the Chiefs hadn’t added so many talented WRs via the UDFA ranks…and the fact that 2018 rookie WR Byron Pringle is a pretty nice talent as well, kept safe on the ‘fake I.R.’ last season. KC made such a sweeping move to get Hardman, we have to take this seriously. If you have Tyreek on your roster…move Mecole up like +3-5 spots in value/ranking as insurance for what may be the inevitable Tyreek absence.
8) WR Andy Isabella, Arizona
I had Isabella in my mental top five here for a few hours Friday…and then the Cardinals drafted Hakeem Butler Saturday – good luck trying to figure out who Kyler Murray is going to prefer as a weapon…Larry Fitz? Christian Kirk? The giant Hakeem Butler? Or the little speedster Isabella? A lot of mouths to feed to confidently bet on just one…especially the smallest guy, Isabella.
I’m cautiously optimistic here because Isabella could be a great underneath option…and catch and go machine, like Julian Edelman, but in a more dynamic passing game. Could be great… but also could be a #4 WR in the pecking order too often with frustratingly erratic FF-scoring.
9) LB Devin White, Tampa Bay
I’m crossed up between knowing White is a physical freak and seeing his tape where he was passive/somewhat ineffective and not a huge stat-racker, to knowing he will start Week 1 and have an opportunity to shine (and, maybe, become more effective with different coaching/surroundings). He’s not my favorite, but I know he’s going to get chances to produce.
10) RB Josh Jacobs, Oakland
Solid RB talent with questions (slow afoot/4.6+ runner). He’s going to get all the touches he can handle for a weak NFL team with a shaky O-Line and terrible offensive coordinator. I can name you 3-4-5 reasons to worry…worry a lot, but I can also trump that with ‘draft status’ and ‘forced opportunity’. No matter if he’s just a ‘C’ talent…he’s going to get ‘A’ opportunity. He’s not much better than Isaiah Crowell, and not better than Chris Warren…so, I’m unsure just how much of a leash/free pass he’ll get.
11) RB Darrell Henderson, LA Rams
I love Darrell Henderson, but I hate he’s stuck behind Todd Gurley’s huge shadow. If Gurley gets back to normal, Henderson will be a sparsely used RB4 in PPR in 2019…and thus renders DH useless. However, consider if Gurley isn’t right…Henderson could suddenly be ‘the guy’ on an offense that catapults the running back as a fantasy god. You either get an ‘A’ or a ‘D’ here for the next 1-2+ years. There are not many guys we could daydream ‘A’ on, so that’s Henderson’s value. If you own Gurley…you have to have him…add +2-4 spots higher in value.
12) WR Hakeem Butler, Arizona
I’m a Butler fan, and I don’t see a ‘hands/drops’ issue…I see athleticism, size, and circus ‘high point’ catches. If I knew Butler was a for sure starter…I’d get excited, but there’s so many great WR options he may not get enough touches to be a WR2 consistently…or he may begin his journey as a rotational #4 WR. He’s another guy that could be an ‘A’-ish type WR but has ‘D’ risk because the depth chart in Arizona is so crowded.
13) WR Jalen Hurd, San Francisco
When the coaches start talking about him as a tight end and taking carries, along with discussing his presence as a WR…you have to start getting extra-excited for fantasy purposes. It’s been my point on Hurd back to the pre-Senior Bowl and Combine scouting – how many prospects come along that are legit 6’5” WR talents who also had a season rushing for 1,000+ yards in the SEC? I’m not sure how it will all pan out or if it’s just a lot of talk that never materializes, but Hurd offers a unique skillset that no other prospect really can in this draft.
14) WR D.K. Metcalf, Seattle
Yes, he cannot catch the ball well running normal routes…and, yes, he is going to a team that barely completes 10 passes a game sometimes. However, if DKM is used in a way to enhance his skills…he could be a monster.
He’s ‘OK’ on deep balls and red zone…that’s something. But where he could shine is…throw him bubble screens and just let this animal loose with the ball in his hands to truck over smaller DBs. Usually, that’s perfectly obvious to you and me, thus, the hope – but, usually the NFL is clueless… and thus the hesitation.
15) TE Jace Sternberger, Green Bay
I like, not love, Sternberger as a talent. He’s a very capable receiver and a so-so traditional TE/blocker, etc. So, for fantasy…I like the receiver part…but I fear the blocking part because it could keep him off the field too much and/or too early in the season to matter out of the gates.
Still, you know why he’s here/ranked up this highly – we always assume that any decent receiving TE with Aaron Rodgers is a good thing, as we’ve done with every single TE that Green Bay has had since Jermichael Finley. That’s only worked about once or twice in the past decade+…as far as pumping out a strong TE1 producer. There’s hope, although it’s not as strong as you think…but hope nonetheless, at a position constantly in search of ‘hope’.
16) QB Tyree Jackson, Buffalo
A perfect landing spot with a cloak to hide him (UDFA vs. drafted)…a wolf in sheep’s clothing coming to get current franchise QB Josh Allen. Had the Bills drafted Tyree, there would have been some eyebrows raised…all the people waiting for Allen to full-scale bust would have wondered if the Bills were worried, and that would have spooked Allen. Now, Tyree enters as a ‘who cares?’ UDFA and can fly below the radar to become a backup to begin. And then when Allen starts failing hard, there will be the much better version of Allen in every way just sitting there – Tyree Jackson. The people/fans will fall in love with him…he’s the big arm with accuracy, faster foot speed, and towers over all other QBs at 6’7”+. I love this deep-sleeper situation.
17) LB Cole Holcomb, Washington
One of my favorite players from the 2019 NFL Draft…an ILB prospect right up there with the ‘Devins’ in my book. He lands in a very good spot. The Redskins could use linebacker help, and they’re counting on Reuben Foster…a guy who constantly walks right on the edge of suspension.
I could see Holcomb starting naturally Week 1 or working his way in as a starter in short order as Rueben Foster lets everyone down again. Holcomb can work as an ILB or OLB, and he’s the quickest LB prospect in 2019…so he’ll get to tackles and will nab some TFLs/sacks too. Great in coverage as well. Sweet IDP potential.
18) LB Montez Sweat, Washington
If the Redskins change their defense to a 4-3 and let Sweat go as a 4-3 DE…look out. As a 3-4 OLB, I’m not as huge a fan. The ‘LB’ label stings for IDP purposes.
I am a fan of Sweat being a sack machine…a freak of nature EDGE prospect who only fell in the draft because of a debated heart issue. He was a top 3-5 prospect who fell into the Redskins’ laps mid-1st-round. He should be a 10+ sack a season guy easily, and the kinda guy who can lead the league in sacks because of his make up/chasing/closing speed.