The 2019 fantasy football season is just weeks away, but evaluating the rookies before your draft can be stressful at times. Some prospects have been inconsistent, while players in the later rounds have paid off tremendously. Here is where you should value 10 rookies for your 12-man, PPR re-draft:
Chicago Bears RB David Montgomery- 3rd Round
Drafted in the 3rd round in the 2019 NFL Draft, Montgomery has been described as “a problem” for the Bears defense during OTA’s. This was a team that produced RB11 Tarik Cohen in 2018, who remains on the roster with the primary duty of catching the ball out of the backfield.
Looking in the 3rd round of PPR re-draft leagues, Montgomery holds far more upside than names such as Derrick Henry or Chris Carson; both of whom have had reports of injuries or limited upcoming reps in August. Drafting a rookie in the early rounds is a risk, but Montgomery has potential to be a solid RB2 for 12-man leagues.
Oakland Raiders RB Josh Jacobs- 4th Round
When you think of a strong rushing attack, the Oakland Raiders don’t come to the mind. In 2018, the offense ranked 25th in rushing yards per game, as well as 27th with 9 rushing TD.
However, Jacobs could turn matters around this season. Early reports admire Jacobs’ ability to catch out of the backfield, which is an attractive trait in PPR leagues. With Doug Martin and Jalen Richard posing no threat to steal carries, Jacobs would be a safe option between the 3rd-to-4th round.
Philadelphia Eagles RB Miles Sanders- 7th Round
Ranked as RB33 in 2019, Sanders is only owned in 73% of Yahoo leagues. The Eagles have struggled to produce efficient fantasy running backs since the days of LeSean McCoy, so the skepticism is understandable.
Jordan Howard is a more valuable name to fantasy owners, seeing that he is owned in 14% more leagues than Sanders. However, Howard averaged a career-low 3.7 YPC in 2018 and is not described as a reliable option. With Sanders being labeled as the “most impressive runner” this summer for Philadelphia, he makes out as a bench piece worth considering.
Los Angeles Rams RB Darrell Henderson- 8th Round
While preseason doesn’t necessarily correlate to how a player will pan out, Henderson didn’t do himself any favors last weekend. With 13 yards on six carries, it’s important to note that he’s still a must-own handcuff to Todd Gurley in 2019.
Owned in 72% of leagues, Henderson would only have increased value due to injury to the Rams backfield. The 8th round is fair value for him, but Gurley fantasy owners will likely reach on him towards the 7th round.
Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray- 8th Round
In re-draft leagues, Murray is the only rookie quarterback worth investing in. The expectations are somewhat high for him currently, as he’s owned in 93% of leagues and ranked as QB12.
The preseason debut of Murray increased his fantasy draft stock, and his ability to run outside the pocket will remind owners of previous fantasy studs such as Russell Wilson. Owners should be advised to select Murray around the 8th round or later, but have a safer option at the quarterback position in case he doesn’t live up to expectations.
New England Patriots WR N’Keal Harry- 11th Round
There is no such as thing as a reliable New England Patriots player when it comes to fantasy football, but Harry provides amazing upside in the later rounds. With Rob Gronkowski, Josh Gordon, and Chris Hogan no longer part of the team, that accounts for 122 receptions that need to be made up for.
The injury bug is scaring some fantasy owners away, as Harry is dealing with a series of lower-body issues. However, if he remains healthy, Harry could evolve into a FLEX option in 12-man leagues.
Seattle Seahawks WR DK Metcalf- 13th Round
For someone that came into league with this much hype, Metcalf is only owned in 38% of leagues. This makes sense though, considering Seattle passed the ball only 47.56% of the time in 2018; last in the league.
Dealing with a strained oblique, I would personally stay away from Metcalf until the last rounds of fantasy drafts. Even with Doug Baldwin out of the NFL, the ceiling for Metcalf in 2019 isn’t enough to risk a draft pick any earlier than the 13th round.
New England Patriots RB Damien Harris- 13th Round
As noted above, the New England Patriots are notorious for displaying inconsistent fantasy players. This becomes especially true with their backfield. In 2018, James White stole the lead role from Sony Michel and became RB7 because of it. This season, it’s another blind guess as to who will pave the way for New England’s committee of backs.
Despite dealing with a minor hand injury, Harris is worth the risk as a bench piece in the 13th round or later. There is no telling what will come of the Patriots’ offense this year, so grabbing Harris could be worth the minimal investment.
Detroit Lions TE TJ Hockenson- 14th Round
Some fantasy owners prefer to wait until the later rounds to grab their tight end, but how about waiting until the last moment? Hockenson is only owned in 33% of leagues, and at face value, won’t provide owners with much satisfaction.
Even with Jesse James on the roster though, Hockenson is expected to play a large role in the Lions offense. In select situations, we may even see Detroit use a two tight end formation. It’s unlikely that his rookie campaign will amount to much, but Hockenson is an interesting name to keep an eye on.
San Francisco 49ers WR Deebo Samuel- 15th Round
Can anyone name a reliable name in the 49ers receiving core? Dante Pettis is coming off an injury, and George Kittle is obviously stealing targets, but that’s about it. Owned in only 14% of leagues, Samuel should be considered a deep sleeper in fantasy leagues.
We don’t know if Jimmy Garoppolo will stay healthy (or consistent) in 2019, but Samuel has shown early signs of progression. If things go the right way, he could be a nice grab.
Photo Credit: Revenge of the Birds