Biggest Fantasy Impact: NFC Rookies

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: RB Tony Pollard

Dallas didn’t spend a ton of draft capital on offensive skill players.  The most significant skill player they invested in was Tony Pollard. Out of Memphis, Pollard is a patient runner that has great top end speed.  Pollard will initially contribute to the Cowboys as a kick and punt returner, but if he is given the opportunity, Pollard could be a nice change of pace back for Ezekiel Elliott.  Also, if your league gives points for return yards, Pollard definitely gets a bump.

Philadelphia Eagles: RB Miles Sanders

After acquiring Jordan Howard via trade, Philadelphia invested a 2nd round pick in Miles Sanders.  Sanders is the most talented and well rounded running back in this backfield. If Philadelphia can commit to Sanders and make him the primary running back, he can end up as a RB 2 as early as this season.  However, with Howard there and Philadelphia’s recent history, it’s hard to rely on the Eagles to give Sanders the desired workload this season.

Washington Redskins: QB Dwayne Haskins

I really like what Washington did in this draft.  Even though I am not a huge Dwayne Haskins fan, getting him at 15 without having to move up was great for Washington. Then they snag his OSU teammate Terry McLaurin and NC State standout Kelvin Harmon.  Haskins is easily the most talented QB in Washington. Even if he isn’t the Week 1 starter, Haskins should see the field this season and instantly add some juice to this offense.

New York Giants:  QB Daniel Jones

New York has been catching a lot of heat since they drafted Daniel Jones with the 6th overall pick in draft.  Jones looks the part of a franchise QB, but his film leaves a lot of the community hesitant to buy in. I really hope we are all wrong about Jones.  I would love for him to be able to come in after Eli Manning and be the starter for the New York Giants for the next 10 years. Regardless of what GM David Gettleman says, Jones should get the opportunity to play this year or next. If that is the case, it’s hard to imagine he would be worse for the fantasy options then Manning.  

NFC South

New Orleans Saints: TE Alize Mack

Considering Mack was drafted in the 7th round of the NFL Draft, this may be a bit of a stretch.  However, Mack does have some intriguing skills that could one day translate into fantasy production.  Mack has decent speed and works the seam pretty well. With time to develop under Sean Payton, Mack could maybe become a decent TE 2 for fantasy some day.  He shouldn’t be drafted in rookie draft, but could be a nice stash on your taxi squads.

Atlanta Falcons: iOL Chris Lindstrom and OT Kaleb McGary

Rather then trying to sell you all on Qadree Ollison and Marcus Green, I think it would be better to talk about the 2 first round lineman Atlanta drafted.  Getting Lindstrom and trading up for McGary shows us that Atlanta is going to continue trying to improve the run game. Both guys are very good run blockers and will help Devonta Freeman and Ito Smith out of the backfield.  The lack of significant draft capital spent at running back says that Atlanta still has faith in Freeman.

Carolina Panthers: QB Will Grier

I am a huge Will Grier fan and really like the fit for Carolina.  Obviously Grier won’t be an immediate starter, but Grier is instantly a premier backup QB.  And who knows, if Cam Newton’s shoulder is really messed up, Grier can do enough to keep the offensive weapons in Carolina fantasy relevant.  If Newton continues to take hits and misses significant time, I would feel very comfortable having Grier as a QB 2.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:  WR Scott Miller

Similar to New Orleans, Tampa Bay spent most of the draft improving their defense.  The only offensive player they picked was Scott Miller in the 6th round. Miller is undersized, but has a ton of speed. He may be a nice field stretcher, but I don’t think he’s even worth a spot on a taxi squad.

NFC North

Chicago Bears: RB David Montgomery

I absolutely love this fit for both Montgomery and Chicago.  For whatever reason, I’ve heard way to many people saying that Montgomery is just a slightly better Jordan Howard.  Montgomery has more talent and is way more versatile than Howard. Montgomery is the best pure runner on this roster and is lined up to be the primary 2 down back for Chicago. Montgomery showed solid pass catching chops and will also be able to contribute in the passing game. Be excited people! Montgomery is going to be a stud in Chicago.

Minnesota Vikings: TE Irv Smith Jr.

See ya later Kyle Rudolph! Irv Smith is the new sheriff in Minnesota.  With Kyle Rudolph being owed over $7 million and no guaranteed money left, it is looking like Rudolph will be cut before the 2019 season starts.  If that is the case, Smith will have the opportunity to start producing right away. Smith is a big, athletic target that should be a great fit in this offense.  

Green Bay Packers: TE Jace Sternberger

Jace Sternberger is a staff favorite over here at the Fantasy Fanalysts.  He plays tight end, but in all honesty, he’s more like a big bodied wide receiver. Sternberger has reliable hands and shows a lot of promise as a route runner. He may not have a ton of production his rookie season, but Sternberger definitely has potential to become a low end TE1.  

Detroit Lions: TE TJ Hockenson

TJ Hockenson is the best tight end out of this class.  On top of being great as a receiver, Hockenson is a wonderful blocker.  Hockenson plays with the type of energy and attitude that everybody loves.  His ability to block will allow him to be on the field every down and start contributing right away. When ranking him for dynasty purposes, Hockenson is already a top 12 tight end.

NFC West

Los Angeles Rams: RB Darrell Henderson

I was/am a huge Darrell Henderson fan.  He is extremely quick, is a capable pass catcher and had a ton of production while at Memphis.  I don’t think Los Angeles invests an early 3rd round pick on a running back unless they are at least slightly concerned with Todd Gurley’s knee.  I expect Henderson to take some of Gurley’s workload and have a ton of upside if Gurley were to ever miss time.

Seattle Seahawks: WR DK Metcalf

This was a great fit for DK Metcalf.  Russell Wilson is one of the most talented quarterbacks in the NFL and is going to find ways to get Metcalf the ball.  Even if the Seattle offense is run heavy, Metcalf showed that he can produce on limited targets. Metcalf has one of the highest ceilings in this class.  If he can come close to reaching that ceiling, he is going to be a stud in this league.

San Francisco 49ers: WR Deebo Samuel

Deebo Samuel is possibly the most exciting prospect in this class when he has the ball in his hands.  He has good speed and is great after contact. With George Kittle and Dante Pettis returning, it’s hard to tell how much Samuel will produce right away.  If given the opportunity, Samuel has the talent to be a WR 2 for fantasy purposes.

Arizona Cardinals: QB Kyler Murray

As it was speculated for months, Arizona picked Kyler Murray with the 1st overall pick in the NFL draft.  On top of that, Arizona drafted Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler and KeeSean Johnson. Murray has the talent, the weapons and hopefully the scheme with Kliff Klingsbury to be a big time fantasy producer.  With his arm talent and athleticism, I don’t think it is to crazy to think that Murray could be a top 12 QB in 2019. This Arizona offense has the chance to be extremely fun.

Opportunity vs Ability: NFL Smarts in Rookie Drafts

We all know a kid sometime in our past who had all the talent in the world, but never made it. It could’ve been due to many different circumstances like money for college, more important responsibility at home, couldn’t stay out of trouble and so on. It still doesn’t change the fact that sometimes people just miss out.

In terms of the NFL, you have to add in the fact that every scouting department isn’t created equally and even if they were, they don’t make the choices. The ones choosing could be sold on someone who is just terrible compared to other guys, but there’s nothing we can do about it. The only things we can do is hedge those decisions for fantasy, which is what I’m here to help you do.

Opportunity’s Call

When dealing with fantasy football we like to have guys who have a huge opportunity share in the offense (or defense with IDP leagues). History shows we have to be the same with our rookie drafts.

Here’s why you should, for the most part, avoid guys (with your high picks) drafted in the 6-7 rounds and undrafted free agent pools:

In last 10 years, here are some of the hits for 6-7 rounders and UDFAs. From a recent conversation I had, I decided to change it from an all inclusive 100 PPR points or 6.25 ppg, to position specific. My baseline for success for each position was someone you’d be flexing or starting in most leagues.

Quarterbacks (3 year average of the QB24 = 184 points)

7 QBs have had success in rounds 6-7 with only 4 out of the 7 having done it more than once:

Tom Brady, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyrod Taylor and Matt Cassel

The UDFA to accomplish this feat:

Tony Romo, Case Keenum and Kurt Warner.

Wide Receivers (3 year average of the WR36 = 166 points)

6 receivers have done it with only 4 out of 6 having done it more than once:

Antonio Brown, Julian Edelman, Pierre Garcon & Steve Johnson.

20 UDFAs did it with just 9 of them doing it more than once. The most notable:

Wes Welker, Doug Baldwin, Victor Cruz, Adam Thielen, and Willie Snead

Michelle Magdziuk @BallBLastEm made a great observation that cannot be over looked:

Running Backs (3 year average of the RB36 = 134 points)

9 running backs were a RB36 or better and only 6 of them did it more than once:

Rashad Jennings, Alfred Morris, Latavius Murray, Theo Riddick, Andre Ellington, and Justin Forsett

The undrafted accomplished this 22 times with 12 having continued success:

Fred Jackson, Isaiah Crowell, Adrian Foster, Pierre Thomas, Danny Woodhead, C.J. Anderson, Joique Bell, LeGarette Blount, Chris Ivory, Ryan Grant, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and Mike Tolbert

Tight Ends (3 year average of the TE24 = 93 points)

The TEs that have done it:

Charles Clay, Zach Miller, Brandon Myers, Mychal Rivera, and Ryan Griffin

The only undrafted free agents to do it:

Antonio Gates, Cameron Brate, Jack Doyle, Will Tye, Jake Ballard, Trey Burton, Larry Donnell, and Tim Wright

It’s simple, if the TEAM invests in them, WE have to invest accordingly. The caveat here is that you don’t forget about the late round/UDFA guys.

Allen Iverson’s Law: Talkin’ Bout Practice

One of the best practices is the utilization of your local taxi squad IF you have the room or regular roster if you have the spots. If through the draft process, you found a guy or guys whom you’ve just become enamored with, GO GET THEM. Don’t be dissuaded from getting your guys, just utilize your own draft capital for guys with true draft capital. This is because on average, for every position except quarterback, 1-2 guys per year emerge from that murky junkyard of 6-7 rounders and undrafted free agents to become PPR relevant at least once. Some of these guys end up with long term success, A LOT don’t.

A Rule of Thumb:

There is a much bigger area for “boom-bust” in 6-7/udfa areas than rounds 1-5.

Which is why I believe that these guys are sometimes better served for waivers later on. If they don’t end up free agents in your league, it’s ok. Let someone hold onto your asset for you until it’s time to obtain. Once that player starts tracking for success, you have to act before the price raises or otherwise you over pay in a trade vs making that asset a throw in for an otherwise “underwhelming” trade in the eyes of everyone but you. It’s all about timing. The trick is to not go in to negotiations showing your hand and you’ll be just fine.

Another good practice is to grab these guys when an injury happens to guys ahead of them on the depth chart. This is generally a key time where they can begin to be able to garner more snap counts (time on the field) if they perform well enough.

Going Forward

My pinned thread from Twitter and this article are just a warm-up for a series of articles and rankings so, be on the lookout for those, which will come directly after this.

A small hint to my ranking content-they will be different than you’ve seen before! Hopefully this has helped you prepare for your rookie drafts, stay tuned!

Biggest Fantasy Football Impact Pick: AFC

Now that the draft is over, we finally have landing spots for some of our favorite rookies! Today we’re going to go through each AFC team to find each rookie who will have the biggest impact when it comes to fantasy. Some will have instant impact, some will have small impact, while some will have sneaky impact. Let’s get started!

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: Marquise Brown, WR

Brown’s ability to separate from defenders with his sheer athleticism (wont be winning with size) will make him a great weapon for Lamar Jackson. Look for him to be a better John Brown and when Jackson looks to throw, he’ll have a very dependable target to throw to. Brown makes defenses have to respect his ability and opens it up for Jackson and Mark Ingram.

Cincinnati Bengals: The RBs

They drafted (albeit 6th rounders) Rodney Anderson and Traveon Williams while Mark Walton was waived, so I believe this was a depth move with sleeper potential. I have a feeling that one of these guys could end up working into both Bernard and/or Mixon’s workload. This could kill off some production and cause these guys to drop in value as well.

Cleveland Browns: The Defense

Cleveland really hit this draft for defense and it’s ok because they are absolutely well off in the offensive department. With that being said, Cleveland really bolstered their defense and gave their team a chance to have a great D/ST (yes I play in leagues that still use this position). With their team already in the bottom 5, the only way is up!

Pittsburgh Steelers: Diontae Johnson, WR

Already being anointed as the new #84, Diontae Johnson definitely has the ability and draft stock to come in and contribute immediately. He gives the Steelers a piece for the future alongside Juju and Washington. Yes Moncrief is there, but he’ll be losing snaps to this kid before long. He’s great against the press and should be being drafted in dynasty for sure. He’s definitely got sleeper impact.

AFC South

Houston Texans: Kahale Warring, TE

Warring did himself a world of justice throughout the draft process and ended up going very high in a draft thick with TE talent. With the team already having a few tight ends on the roster already, this was a head-scratcher. With his draft stock, it definitely means he’s here to stay and others will be waived. As far as fantasy goes, he just makes this offense a TE by committee further pushing us away from Houston TEs.

Indianapolis Colts: Parris Campbell, WR

This is one of the best places he could go. Not much competition for WR2, Campbell comes in as an immediate contributor. He should eventually be able to sully Funchess’ value toward mid-late season (if it takes that long). He also makes Luck an even more enticing selection with what he can accomplish in the slot as well as outside (contrary to popular belief).

Jacksonville Jaguars: Josh Oliver, TE

Definitely a project, but I project him as the TE1 in Jacksonville eventually. Geoff Swaim ain’t it and Josh Oliver can be on par with the top TEs in this class if he can learn how to block better. Could be the AFC’s Jason Witten; good across the middle of the field and no (and I mean no) high point ability whatsoever.

Tennessee Titans: AJ Brown, WR

A bit of a scary landing spot given who his QB is, AJ Brown impacts both Mariota and Corey Davis. The Titans don’t really have anybody outside of Davis who are difference makers at the level of AJ. Delanie was in the past, but father time is undefeated and that injury at his age will have it’s effects. Corey Davis will no longer have so much focused on him to stop him which boosts his value. The only thing is hoping that Mariota (like Lamar Jackson) can throw the ball a little more next season.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills: Dawson Knox, TE

I’m going to try and contain myself here, but I believe he could end up top 2 in this draft at the position. Buffalo just got a great weapon for Josh Allen who is an upgrade from Croom and will eventually supplant Kroft. With TEs, the rule is to wait and wait we shall. Don’t be filled with regret for not drafting him. He’s got draft stock, a clear path to start and a young QB to grow with. He’s going to be one of the best parts of this offense in a few years, just watch.

Miami Dolphins: Josh Rosen, QB

Josh isn’t a rookie, but was the best offensive asset they acquired in the draft. Still young and talented, he goes into a situation where he’s got a chance to take the keys and go. He (and Fitzpatrick when he plays) are an immediate boost for the receivers in Miami which excites me even more for my Gesicki shares.

New England Patriots: N’Keal Harry, WR

I was/am still not high on the kid after studying his game tape, but he will definitely produce/be given the opportunity to produce. Harry represents something the Pats haven’t done since 1996, draft a WR in the 1st round. I see him having the same success that Josh Gordon was having, but I don’t expect it to be immediate. I expect it to really start to show in year 2.

New York Jets: Trevon Wesco, TE

No, he’s not the guy you’re drafting in rookie drafts, he’s the guy who excites you for the sake of Darnold and Lev Bell. With the Jets already having drafted Chris Herndon in the same round last year, they brought in a TE who is much better at all the blocking aspects. Keep an eye out for his developing catching ability, could surprise in his production there which could put Herndon behind him on the depth chart. However, don’t expect anything for a few years. He’s more of a project who will possibly blossom in years 4-5.

AFC West

Denver Broncos: Noah Fant, TE

Already announced the starter, Fant has a chance to be the most productive rookie TE this year. I believe he’ll get the opportunities early and often purely because of his skill as a receiver. I don’t, however, think he’ll be a top TE overall this year. It’s hard for rookies to come by production at this position early on in their careers. With Fant, it’ll be no different unless Manny Sanders, Daesean Hamilton and Courtland Sutton suffer significant injuries reminiscent of the 2017 Giants with Engram.

Kansas City Chiefs: Mecole Hardman, WR

The Chiefs went out and got their possible replacement speedster for the same role of Tyreek Hill. If Hill is waived, suspended or both, Hardman will step into that role. I don’t expect the production right away, but man will he have breakaway plays that will drop your jaw. He essentially could be a less consistent Hill. My notes on him from film are filled with the words FAST in all capital letters so expect an electric player. He’s also good at finding an assignment to block which will keep him on the field a little more.

Oakland Raiders: Josh Jacobs, RB

He WAS my RB2 coming into the draft behind David Montgomery, but now his situation has “vaulted” him into first place. He’s a lead back and he’ll get the chance to prove that with Crowell going down for the season. The Doug Martin signing is a depth play while Jalen Richard shouldn’t see too much 3rd down work over Jacobs, who can catch well. Chris Warren is great, but doesn’t have the draft stock to give me faith that he’ll do anything but be a backup. Jacobs has the stock, the ability and the full faith of the team, what more could you want?

LA Chargers: Defense…Again

For those of you who play with D/STs in your lineups, rejoice, for this is what you want in your drafts. A team that was already great in terms of defense got better by loading up on defensive players like Jerry Tillery and Nasir Adderley. I can’t really say Easton Stick here because 5th round QBs have a nauseating success rate. With Rivers looking to re-up like Big Ben did for at least 3 more years, I’d say he ends up a gadgety (rumors of Taysom Hill usage) 3rd stringer behind Tyrod.

Justice Hill: Building Hype After An Electric Combine

Welcome to the 48 Report, a full working database including 48 of our favorite 2019 Draft Prospects. The key, however, is that we focus specifically on their ability to translate as fantasy football players. All players in the database have been/will be scored by 3 writers, and this is their article; explaining their aggregate score, as well as the score of their writer.

All categories are scored on a 1-5 scale; with 5 being the highest score a prospect can receive. The highest aggregate average scores a player can receive is 25. Articles will be posted January-April, all the way up to the draft. Ratings will be adjusted after the combine, based on measurables and after the draft, because as we all know: landing spot matters.

Justice Hill (5’10”, 190), Running Back, Oklahoma State

15.3 Aggregate Score (3 Star Prospect)

Justice Hill is a very intriguing prospect.  He has been hanging around in that second tier of running backs most of the pre-draft process.  That all changed when he had one of the best performances for a running back at the 2019 NFL Combine.  Hill ranked first amongst running backs in the 40-yard dash (4.40), broad jump (10’10”) and vertical jump (40’).  Since then, Hill has been gaining hype and rising up rookie draft boards.

Out of Booker T. Washington High School in Oklahoma, Hill was a 3-star recruit, based on 247Sports Composite.  His senior year, Hill was an all-state selection and the 6A-II offensive player of the year.  After receiving offers from Houston, Kansas and Louisville, Hill decided to commit to Oklahoma State.

College Production

Hill was very productive while at Oklahoma State.  As a true freshman, Hill had 206 carries for 1,142 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns. His performance earned him Second-Team All-Big 12 honors and broke the OSU freshman rushing record.  As a sophomore, Hill had his best season at OSU with 268 carries for 1,467 yards and 15 touchdowns.  Hill also added 31 receptions for 190 yards and 1 touchdown.  Hill earned First-Team All-Big 12 honors and was a Doak Walker Award Semifinalist.  In 10 games as a junior, Hill had 158 carries for 930 yards and 9 touchdowns.

This is great production for Hill, even if the majority of it came against Big 12 defenses.  The only thing I would have liked to see more from Hill is a bit more production in the receiving game.  He only had 49 receptions for 304 yards and 1 touchdown in three seasons.  It is better than nothing, but for a guy who projects best to be a third down back, I would have liked to have seen more out of him.

Speed & Agility: Aggregate Score: 4 (Personal Score: 4)

Hill is extremely quick.  He does a great job of accelerating to open space. Along with being fast, Hill does a great job of changing direction.  When he cuts or has to change direction, he is very fluid and accelerates forward very well. I wish Hill would have displayed more of his agility and elusiveness in open space to avoid/break some more teams.

Receiving: Aggregate Score: 2.6 (Personal Score: 3)

As I mentioned above, this is an area I expected to see more out of Hill.  In terms of running routes, Hill mainly ran swings and flats.  The promising thing is that Hill looks comfortable catching the ball and is great after the catch.  He uses his acceleration and vision to get to space and make plays.

Vision: Aggregate Score: 3 (Personal Score: 4)

This an area of Hill’s game that I seemed to like more than my fellow raters.  When looking at Hill’s vision, I think he does a great job of identifying when he needs to change direction or reverse the field.  He turned countless broken plays into positive plays just by changing direction and accelerating to space.

Blocking: Aggregate Score: 3 (Personal Score: 3)

I think the best way to describe Hill as a blocker is competent.  As a smaller back, he wasn’t asked to block a ton in college.  He was mainly used to chip defenders and then release to his route.  When he was asked to stay in to pass block, Hill showed willingness and aggression when going up against defenders.

Strength: Aggregate Score: 2.6 (Personal Score: 3)

I really enjoy watching Hill run because he is aggressive and attacks defenders.  He does a great job of fighting for extra yards by being physical.  The only problem is that he doesn’t have the size to consistently overpower defenders and break tackles.  I really wish I could give him 25 extra pounds and watch him run over people.

Conclusion: Mid-Late 2nd round pick

Because of his combine performance, Hill has started catching more people’s attention.  So long are the days of thinking you could grab him late in the third round of rookie drafts. Hill has the skill set to be a reliable third down back that will definitely get his looks on early downs as well.  Again, my only issue with Hill is that since he projects to be primarily a receiving back, I would have liked to see more production in college.  Still, with big play upside, I would feel really comfortable with taking Hill in the middle of the 2nd round of rookie drafts.