This is an exciting week: it kicks off the whirlwind of showcase games that will be highlighted by the East/West Shrine Game (this week) and the Senior Bowl (next week).
Before we get there, though, we’re excited to give you a taste of what who we expect to go off the board early in 2019 fantasy football rookie drafts. Player values will fluctuate as the NFL Draft process progresses, but as of now here’s what who 5 dynasty/devy writers like:
For more on the fantasy football values of the 2019 Draft Class, check out the 48 Report: our 2019 Rookie Database
1.01: N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
Harry is my 1.01 and it is not terribly close. His ability after the catch is unmatched and he was able to produce in a big way while stuck in a lackluster offense. He will need some small continued improvement in his route running but his hands and his strength getting the ball is going to translate immediately.
1.02: AJ Brown, WR, Ole Miss
AJ Brown has produced two straight 1250+ yard seasons while averaging more than 15 yards a reception. Brown shows good quickness and agility while running routes and after the catch. His ability to make me people miss after the catch could make him a very valuable fantasy asset.
1.03: Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Please Noah, for the love of fantasy football: be good. The tight end position is a dumpster fire and needs an infusion of talent. Fant has elite pass catching skills and should be a mid-to-late 1st round pick. If he can end up on a team like New England or the LA Rams then his stock will skyrocket.
1.04: Anthony Johnson, WR, Buffalo
At this point, this is right where I’d want to grab him. Out of the receivers that are left, his receiver ability in his routes and after the catch intrigue me the most. This could change when he’s pitted against other NFL prospects, but I really, really like this kid.
It’s very tempting here to take D.K. Metcalf (he has not business falling out of the top 5), it’s even more tempting to snipe Montgomery from Josh; instead, though, I’ll take my RB1: Rodney Anderson. Anderson is a tantalizing combination of speed, power, and receiving skill. Anderson has an extensive medical history, but if cleared at the combine I expect him to be the first running back off the board (potentially on Day 1) during the NFL Draft. Check out his full article (linked to his name) for a lot more about why he makes me drool when I watch his tape.
1.06: David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State
The best running back in this draft class slides to me at six. He has the ability to play on all three downs and should get a shot at locking down the workhorse role wherever he is drafted. More about how my love of Montgomery got Matt to crush on him below:
1.07: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
The Slide had to stop. He was in consideration for me at 1.02, so I am ecstatic to see him fall to 1.07. His size, burst and strength will allow him to continue being successful the NFL. He is still a bit raw, but he has all the tools and traits to be an absolute stud.
1.08: Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State
Harmon is one of the better WRs in the draft. Expect him to go high to a team that will give him a chance to be the number 1. Hopefully gets paired with a good QB. Expected to go in the 1st round, his combine will be telling along with so many of the other wide receivers in this class.
Like said in my evaluation notes, “People bounce off of him and it’s hilarious”. He’s built like a humvee and has a hemi in his hips. I can’t wait to see this kid wrecking shop in the pros.
1.10: Trayveon Williams, RB, Texas A&M
Trayveon Williams stands out on tape. He’s quick, has good vision, and plays much bigger than his 5’9′ 200 lb frame suggests he should. Perhaps even more impressive: Williams led the SEC in rushing with 1,760 rushing yards vs the closest it comes to NFL defenses at the college level. You might be locked in on Williams yet, but I promise you will be.
1.11: Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
At the end of the first round, you take guys with the highest potential. As a 6’6” wideout with strong numbers in the 40 and the vert, this guy is the definition of potential. He could very well be drafted in the early first by the time we are drafting for real.
1.12: Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis
While at Memphis, Henderson has been a production monster! The last two seasons, Henderson has 3,006 yards and 31 touchdowns, while averaging 8.9 yards per carry. Henderson displays great explosiveness and some power when he runs the ball. Henderson has also showed that he can produce in the passing game.
BONUS: 2.01: Irv Smith Jr, TE, Alabama
See: analysis of Fant pick. Smith could have been a dominant pass catching force at Bama but there were so many mouths to feed. Elite pass catching Tight End. I expect him to go late 1st/early 2nd and wherever he goes, he will make an immediate impact with his abilities as a receiver.
BONUS 2.02: Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
It was awesome to get “Baby Ridley” here. Another receiver I’ve grown fond of that has the ability to line up at the X, Y or Z. Even though he didn’t get a lot of shine due to Georgia’s offense, I saw the kid explore the whole route tree which is what you want to see out of “line up anywhere” receivers.
BONUS 2.03: Benny Snell, RB, Kentucky
There’s a lot of wide receiver talent at the top of the 2019 class, it’s going to lead to great running back value in the 2nd (and later) rounds. Snell is an excellent example of that. Snell is a powerful runner that displays perhaps the greatest strength of any back in the class. He lacks burst but has great balance and a long center of gravity that allows him to bat off SEC linebackers. Snell has over 1,000 yards rushing in all 3 seasons he’s started at Kentucky, including his true freshmen year.