Top 10 Fantasy Football Rookies 2019-20

The draft has concluded, and offensive rookies have us chomping at the bits to see what they can bring to their teams. Of course this means we want to see what they can do for our teams, our fantasy teams. Josh Jacobs is looking like a favorite to leads the rookies in production, but we also have a ton of wide receivers to analyze. Two tight ends also went early, and landed in spots where they can start right away. Usually tight ends take time before they are fantasy relevant, this year might be an exception. We dive into the top ten fantasy rookies for 2019 for what their production should look like and where you should be drafting them.

Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders

ADPProjected Rushing AttemptsProjected Rushing YardsProjected Rushing TouchdownsProjected ReceptionsProjected Receiving YardsProjected Receiving Touchdowns
51.2190.2834.26.543.2431.52.5

Josh Jacobs was the first running back off the board in the draft, and the Isaiah Crowell Achilles tear opened the door for more production. He comes in as a dynasty number one pick, but also the top rookie to target in re-draft leagues as well. He projects to be around the 12-15 range in terms of a yearly finish, around names like Devonta Freeman, Leonard Fournette, and Nick Chubb. Jacobs works well in the passing game, and because Oakland bolstered their receiving core, defenses will at least have to respect it, even with Derek Carr under center.

Jacobs is a bruiser, and while he doesn’t stand out in one area, he is a well-rounded back that should thrive in Oakland. The offensive line was a high point just a few years ago, but they completely flipped. Jacobs might struggle a bit on the ground if this line doesn’t improve, but overall the volume is going to be there. His ability to play three downs is what makes him truly appealing. I can’t see myself taking him over a Chubb or Fournette, but if they are gone Jacobs is the guy in this tier.

David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears

ADPProjected Rushing AttemptsProjected Rushing YardsProjected Rushing TouchdownsProjected ReceptionsProjected Receiving YardsProjected Receiving Touchdowns
50.5195.6877.54.926.7202.21.1

Chicago was top ten in rushing attempts per game, and they were done with Jordan Howard before last season even started. David Montgomery comes into a great situation. Chicago is run-based, and he pairs well with Tarik Cohen. In fact, they are being drafted right around each other. Chicago landed Montgomery in the third round, which was Chicago’s first pick of the draft. I really like him to jump into a prime role in Chicago. There will still be a small concern with Mike Davis also landing in Chicago over the offseason, so we will need to watch leading up to the season.

Davis doesn’t have a ton of speed, but he is a bigger back that is way more agile than Jordan Howard. He can work in the receiving game, which is going to give Matt Nagy some excellent plays to work him and Cohen in. Montgomery is also a plus in pass-protection. He finished his final year with over 1,200 yards and had double-digit touchdowns.

N’Keal Harry, WR, New England Patriots

ADPProjected ReceptionsProjected Receiving YardsProjected Receiving Touchdowns
108.540.5608,444.2

N’Keal Harry went off the board at the end of the first round, and he goes to a New England team desperate for pass-catchers. Rob Gronkowski retired, Kevin Hogan is gone, and we are not quite sure what Demaryius Thomas will bring after a torn Achilles. Needless to say, there are targets and productions to be had. Harry is a big wideout at 6’2 and 228 pounds, and I liked him before he landed in New England. Harry caught 70+ balls in his last two seasons at Arizona State. New England going after him with their first pick has me believing they want him involved right away, and who wouldn’t?

Even with the Patriots leaning less on the pass, they are still an uber efficient offense for Harry to fit in with. Harry projects to be a solid WR3, and out of the rookie wide receivers, I like his floor on a week-to-week basis the most. He can be a red zone target for Brady, and his ability after the catch sets him up for the potential of big plays.

D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks

ADPProjected ReceptionsProjected Receiving YardsProjected Receiving Touchdowns
112.442.4601.25.1

D.K. Metcalf had the body of a gladiator coming into the draft, as that picture generated a lot of buzz on social media and in draft rooms. He is a big and physical wideout, which Seattle has not had in quite some time. He fell to the third round, landing in Seattle. The Seahawks threw just 27 times per game last season, which was dead last in the NFL. The Seahawks need a red zone threat, and Metcalf can fill that void. He isn’t a one dimensional wide receiver, as he ran a sub 4.4 40 at the combine, and was one of the best in terms of catch radius. The downside to Metcalf is his durability and his route running could use some work. He had two season-ending injuries in college.

Inside the red zone is where I predict him to be most effective in this offense, this is just solely because of the way the offense is ran. Like most of these receivers, the week-to-week floor won’t be there, but the upside will be. With Doug Baldwin’s retirement, Tyler Lockett is expected to move to the slot, opening up the outside for Metcalf.

Parris Campbell, WR, Indianapolis Colts

ADPProjected ReceptionsProjected Receiving YardsProjected Receiving Touchdowns
139.540.9526.73.2

The hype around Parris Campbell is is sky high from the Colts perspective and the fantasy world. He landed in a perfect spot, as Indianapolis bounced back with Frank Reich at the helm. Campbell was a part of an Ohio State team that spreads the ball out. We tend to see their receivers have their ceilings capped, but that wasn’t the case for Campbell. Chris Ballard and Reich are in love with this kid, who has 4.3 speed and a high football IQ. Indy spreads the ball around, but the they throw it a ton. Campbell will fit right in.

There are some question marks about him being limited in terms of route running, but even if it takes some time, this is where you want to go to learn. His size is somewhat underrated at an even 6’0. He had 90 receptions last season at Ohio State, and 12 touchdowns. Campbell’s fantasy ADP might be the only downside if he keeps getting praise. There is a line I will draw in the sand for drafting him, and it won’t be as high as some want to take him.

Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

ADPProjected ReceptionsProjected Receiving YardsProjected Receiving Touchdowns
118.329.3467.83.1

A lot of this production is going to depend on the status of Tyreek Hill. He is currently still suspended from team activities, but we have yet to hear about any solidified suspension from actual games. Kansas City drafting Mecole Hardman shows they have concern about Hill’s future, and Hardman would be the guy to replace him. His speed is on par with Hill’s, and he averaged 16 yards per reception at Georgia. Hardman could also work in the running game, where had 97 yards and two touchdowns at Georgia.

Kansas City is a bit thin at wide receiver right now, and Hardman could walk into immediate volume. This is always the plus when looking at rookies in fantasy. Not only does he possibly walk into immediate production, he walks in with Patrick Mahomes as his quarterback and Andy Reid as his head coach. Talk about a win-win. Hardman will play all over the field, and have plays drawn up for his skillsets. Like Hill, Hardman will have his down weeks, but also carries that home run threat ceiling on one play.

Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals

ADPProjected Passing AttemptsProjected Passing YardsProjected Passing TouchdownsProjected InterceptionsProjected Rushing YardsProjected Rushing Touchdowns
141.2534.13,234.919.414.6421.33.1

I almost left quarterbacks off this list, but the rushing potential of Kyler Murray is what adds to his fantasy value. He plays in a tough division, and he is going to have down games. However, Murray walks into a better situation for fantasy than Dwayne Haskins. Washington should rely on the run a bit more with their strong defense, and Haskins isn’t much of a runner. I also value the Arizona pass-catchers over Washington’s. Nobody should be drafting Murray as their QB to stick with all year, but I like adding him as a backup and using in fill-in spots.

His big playmaking ability with his arms and leagues brings upside, but his size and Big 12 play is still somewhat of a concern. Murray sets apart comparisons with other running quarterbacks because he can actually throw the ball. Durability will be a question mark in the NFL, but where you are taking him and at what position, you can get away with it. Love the potential Murray has in Arizona, especially with names like Larry Fitzgerald and David Johnson on the team. In my eyes they have also made smart receiver draft picks in the last two seasons that could emerge.

Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

ADPProjected Rushing AttemptsProjected Rushing YardsProjected Rushing TouchdownsProjected ReceptionsProjected Receiving YardsProjected Receiving Touchdowns
98.9145.8565.43.934.9294.51.7

Originally I thought this pick was a bit high for Philadelphia, but Miles Sanders has potential to break through in this backfield. He sat behind Saquon Barkley at Penn State for a little bit, and then broke out in the Penn State offense. He had over 1,200 yards in his junior season, and nine touchdowns. At the combine he had some of the top scores in terms of speed and burst. Sanders has a lot of potential in space, and Philly was a great spot for them to exploit that. Philly trading up for him in the second round suggests he will be a larger part of the offense. Generally I have stayed away from the Philly backfield because of the committee, but it is hard seeing others cut into his workload.

I find Sanders getting about 40-45% of the workload, with Jordan Howard, and the more receiving backs working in. He isn’t going to start in fantasy lineups early in the season, but he could turn into an RB2 by the second half of the season. The trade for Jordan Howard throws a wrench into things, but we still need to see if last season’s disappointment was more on Howard or the Bears. Sanders still stands out as one of the better fantasy rookies at this position.

A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans

ADPProjected ReceptionsProjected Receiving YardsProjected Receiving Touchdowns
174.532.1395.62.9

Between A.J. Brown and Marquise Brown, I was stuck on who cracked the top ten. Marquise Brown was a big time playmaker at Oklahoma, and is a smaller wideout with big speed. He only sits at 5’9, and he fell to an offense that isn’t exactly friendly for fantasy production. Lamar Jackson’s arm is in question, and this team is still focused on being more balanced to slightly run heavy. However, Tennessee is in a similar boat, although Mariota has more of an arm.

A.J. Brown is where I landed, and let me tell you why. He is a bigger wideout who has above average athleticism for his size. While Brown has a few more bodies to work through in Tennessee, he isn’t as limited as Marquise. Both spots have their downside for fantasy, but Brown stands out more as an option for Mariota than Marquise does for Jackson.

T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions

ADPProjected ReceptionsProjected Receiving YardsProjected Receiving Touchdowns
146.150.8502.94.0

Detroit hasn’t had a viable fantasy tight end in years, maybe decades. They drafted T.J. Hockenson eighth overall, hoping to change that trend. He is an athletic tight end, who has dominant size. Hockenson is an easy rookie to plug into the starting role, and he should be one to avoid the hiccup that rookie tight ends have. Production for tight ends in college is not something to weight too heavily. However, he had over 13 yards per reception in both seasons, and had six receiving touchdowns and 760 receiving yards last season. You also had Noah Fant playing alongside him, who was drafted in Denver later on.

The Lions keep trying to pound the run, and this offense has zero identity at the moment. This is where it frustrates me, as he could be asked to block more because of the incompetence of the coaching staff. I still view Hockenson over Fant, which seems to be a split take at the moment. Hockenson should still find himself with reasonable targets in this offense. The pass-catchers have been falling off in Detroit, and a red zone threat like Hockenson will also help them out. He is going to be a late round flyer for me.

  
Jason Guilbault has been writing and podcasting in the fantasy sports world for over five years. You can find his work at Daily Fantasy Cafe. He is an avid Tottenham fan, and follows the Boston sports teams. When he isn’t diving into stats, he is enjoying the outdoors or down at the local brewery.

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