Dynasty League Rookie Mock Draft (2019 Fantasy Football)

by Raju Byfield | @FantasyContext | Featured Writer
Jan 15, 2019

Damien Harris possesses a very high-floor and may be the most popular RB prospect heading into the draft

Some fantasy football managers have still never participated in and know the excitement of dynasty leagues. While some fantasy managers are now left bemoaning the fact that there is no more fantasy football for eight months, the dynasty enthusiast is ramping up their research and already excitedly looking forward to the 2019 NFL Draft. In fact, many owners, even those who knew their fantasy season was over by Week 10, have been digging deep since November to analyze which players they may target in their 2019 dynasty rookie drafts.

With the fantasy football offseason now in effect, this is as good of a time as any to dive into a dynasty league rookie mock draft. Some of the most competitive leagues have already started their rookie drafts and, depending on your league setup, you could find yourself drafting anytime between now and the Wednesday before the start of the 2019 NFL season.

While there may not be any truly elite skill position names in this draft outside of the tight end group, this class does have the distinction of being one of the deepest in recent memory at both the running back and wide receiver positions. With such an abundance of talent set to hit NFL rosters in April, being cognizant of the value of your (and your rivals’) rookie draft picks as well as the widespread impact such an influx of talent will have on your current players is imperative. With many still under the impression that this is a ‘weak’ draft class, astute managers should view this as an opportunity to exploit by way of acquiring as many discounted draft picks as possible before the consensus changes.

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1.01 – Rodney Anderson (RB – Oklahoma)
Rodney Anderson is a 6’1, 220-pound running back who would likely be the lone running back selected in the first round if not for a knee injury that he suffered just 11 carries into the 2018 season. Anderson has everything one would look for in a featured runner including size, power, elusiveness, burst, and soft hands and should find his way to a workhorse role if he can prove to be healthy in time for the NFL Combine or at least his pro day.

Anderson boasts elite open field ability which serves him well in both the run game (28 broken tackles in 2017) and as a receiver out of the backfield (a wide receiver like 16.5 yards per reception in 2017). Anderson is one of the most exciting runners in this draft class. The excitement rises to a fever pitch when one realizes that he weighs in at 220 lbs. Anderson has all the tools of an elite fantasy RB1 and should be the first player off the board in dynasty rookie drafts.

1.02 – Darrell Henderson (RB – Memphis)
One of the most exciting running backs in this draft class is none other than former Memphis Tiger Darrell Henderson. At 5’9, 200 lbs. some may express size concerns, but the same could have been said about the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Jones. Speaking of Jones, Henderson’s college tape is arguably the most exciting since the Packers starter himself.

His tape dazzles and screams future NFL star as one can clearly see that Henderson is a big play threat with elite open field ability. Blessed with great contact balance, Henderson compiled an unreal 1,321 yards after contact this past season, which was good for 6.2 yards per carry after contact.

Henderson, while not on the David Montgomery or Devin Singletary spectrum of tackle-breaking ability, is elite is his own right as he forced 53 missed tackles or 0.26 per attempt in his scintillating 2018 college campaign (Nick Chubb averaged 0.23 in his rookie season). Henderson also doubles as a fantastic receiver and his 1.67 yards per route run suggests he will become a household PPR name sooner rather than later. Think Aaron Jones with even better receiving ability.

1.03 – Josh Jacobs (RB – Alabama)
A player who is quickly gaining steam in the pre-draft process is Alabama’s Josh Jacobs. Watching film of this year’s class I could not help but notice that the other Alabama back actually looked like the better pro prospect. While Damien Harris has everything you would want in a modern day power back, Josh Jacobs has the toolset of a modern day NFL workhorse.

Jacobs is a hard-hitting power back with a good base but also boasts the elusiveness NFL teams covet. Jacobs shines as a receiver thanks to his elite ability both in the open field and to maintain his acceleration out of his cuts. Don’t let his limited college workload fool you; he had more touchdowns than Harris for a reason and has the every-down skill set each dynasty manager should be enamored with. Jacobs can play on all four downs and is ready as a pass protector, increasing the likelihood that he becomes a fantasy star early on in the 2019 fantasy football season.

1.04 – David Montgomery (RB – Iowa State)
Montgomery is an exciting 5’11, 216-pound running back who excels in open space. One of the top tackle breaking machines in the country, Montgomery amassed an insane 94 missed tackles forced this past season for 0.37 per attempt, and when you pair his elusiveness in the open field with his prowess as a receiver out of the backfield, you have what looks like a future fantasy star in the making. Arguably one of the most exciting running backs in this entire draft class, Montgomery electrified with 40 runs of over 10 yards and 892 yards after contact and could quickly become a fantasy stud if he lands on a weak depth chart. If Montgomery lands a starting opportunity he will become an instant RB2 with RB1 upside. A contender to be the first running back off of the board in April’s draft, Montgomery is an explosive back with good power who has the chance to be a top tier every down back in the NFL.

1.05 – N’Keal Harry (WR – Arizona State)
An explosive receiver who stands 6’4 and weighs in at 213 lbs., Harry is arguably the top wide receiver prospect in this loaded draft class. Harry shines as a 50/50 ball winner who is capable of making spectacular catches, but also shows explosiveness in the screen game, suggesting that he will be able to operate at all four levels and thus see the coveted high-target volume that is necessary for any potential WR1s.

Harry has also shown that he is a receiver who can thrive in space where he can put on a clinic with his great run after the catch ability, especially for his size. It’s a tool that will help propel Harry to the upper echelon of dynasty wide receivers in short order. Harry sported a rock solid 118.0 passer rating when targeted while averaging 2.70 yards per route run this past season and could become an instant WR1 if he lands on the right team. Get excited.

1.06 – D.K. Metcalf (WR – Ole Miss)
Metcalf is one of this draft classes most polarizing prospects. A 6’4, 225-pound big bodied receiver Metcalf has limited college production as he totaled just 1,228 yards over his three-year college career. To make matters worse, he ran a very limited route tree in college, suggesting that he may be behind the eight ball so to speak when it comes to that department.

His film, however, tells another story. Arguably the top receiver in this draft class, Metcalf may very well be the first receiver off the board this April as he boasts excellent ability both as a downfield receiver and in the red zone. Metcalf shows good explosiveness and looks like a potential monster after the catch and could join the WR1 conversation on draft day depending on where he lands. Luckily for dynasty owners, Metcalf, limited tree notwithstanding, runs with excellent stem to his routes and should be able to create separation on a regular basis at the NFL level. Metcalf, coming off of a season where he averaged 2.83 yards per route run and 21.9 yards per reception, should be a fast riser leading up to the draft and, despite the aforementioned concerns, is in the conversation to be the number one overall pick in dynasty league rookie drafts.

1.07 – Devin Singletary (RB – Florida Atlantic)
One of the most exciting runners in the upcoming draft, Devin Singletary, is a 5’9, 200-pound running back who boasts an every-down skill set and has the talent to emerge as the best back in this class. Singletary was one of the elites in terms of making defenders miss as evidenced by his ridiculous 94 broken tackles (0.36 per attempt) and 1,051 yards after contact (4.02 per attempt) and is a facet of his game that consistently shows up on his game tapes. The hallmarks of Singletary’s game are his elite open field ability, excellent vision, and great cutting ability, all of which will help to make him a force not only as a runner, but also with the ball in his hands as a receiver. Singletary has great contact balance and should annually rank among the league leaders in yards after contact as a workhorse for whichever team is lucky enough to acquire his services.

1.08 – A.J. Brown (WR – Ole Miss)
In an offense with a receiver who may be the first player at his position called on April 25 in D.K. Metcalf and with a potential day two pick in DaMarkus Lodge, it was A.J. Brown who led the NWO (nasty wideouts) in receptions and receiving yards. At 6’0 and 203 lbs., Brown may get overlooked in a draft class loaded with skyscrapers, but he may very well turn out to be the most valuable fantasy receiver in this draft. Brown is a terror with the ball in his hands and can operate both in the slot and on the outside ensuring Brown should be a high upside starter from Week 1.

While Metcalf and Harry get a lot of the hype it may actually be Brown who hears his name called first on draft day as he projects to be a prolific receiver who can operate on all four levels shedding defenders with his running back-like ability when the ball is in his hands. Brown is a physical receiver who looked great metric wise as he averaged a 113.2 passer rating when targeted, 3.09 yards per route run, and 7.1 yards after the catch. Brown is a crisp route runner who figures to be one of the NFL’s leaders in average separation, yards after the catch, and yards after the catch above expectation. You’ll want to remember his name as he could very well turn out to be the best dynasty asset, not only at this position, but in the entire draft class.

1.09 – Benny Snell (RB – Kentucky)
Billed at 5’11, 222 lbs., Snell is a decisive, hard-hitting power back who displays good vision and patience. Built like a workhorse, Snell is a fun one to watch as he has good contact balance and great leg churn which he utilizes to keep piles moving. Frequently used as a wildcat back, Snell offers plus versatility and could become something special if and when he is able to maintain a mean streak.

While he is not a great receiver like the names above him, he is effective as an outlet receiver or check-down option and should have no problem staying on the field for all three downs. 62.3 percent of Snell’s rushing yards (829 out of 1,449) came after contact, a stat that makes sense when you watch his film and consider that the explosive power back forced 39 missed tackles. Snell’s yards after contact ability should translate to the NFL level and is a tool that should allow him to ascend to RB2 level immediately if he lands a starting opportunity this April.

1.10 – L.J. Scott (RB – Michigan State)
At 6’1 and 229 lbs., Scott is your prototypical NFL power back. Playing for Le’Veon Bell’s alma mater, Scott has earned himself comparisons to the All-Pro back and the comps may not be too far off. Bell, much like Scott’s college tape, did not wow anyone with speed, but showed a back who displayed good patience and vision that he paired with a great feel for cutback lanes.

Scott is a surprisingly shifty back for his size and could excel in a power or zone blocking scheme. Amazingly, Scott saw 1,902 of his career 3,558 scrimmage yards come after contact (58 percent) suggesting that Scott much like the other names on this list could become a yards after contact monster in the NFL. While Scott may not test as the fastest running back in this draft class he hits the hole hard and does indeed have explosion, as evidenced by his 63 runs of over 10 yards during his college career, and is a running back who will become a fantasy star if he lands in the right scenario.

1.11 – Damien Harris (RB – Alabama)
Harris is likely the name most draftniks are going to have at the top of this class pre-combine. While Harris looks like a great running back who could emerge as a Mark Ingram type, he simply does not possess the cornucopia of elite tools the names above him boast.

What Damien Harris does do, he does well. Harris is a powerful, jump cut runner who hits the hole hard while displaying plus vision. He fits the prototype of a modern day NFL back at 5’11, 215 lbs. and should be at least a day two pick regardless of what his 40 time looks like.

Though not on the same level as some of the names above him, Harris boasts solid (not good or great) elusiveness and is adept at breaking tackles thanks to a strong base and good contact balance, traits that ensure Harris will have a career as more than just a rotational north-south runner.  

Harris looks like one of the higher floor prospects on this list and is likely to be drafted to at least contend for a starting job this April. Once that happens Harris will be an annual contender for 10-plus trips to paydirt and should become a fantasy star in the right offense. If you are drafting 1.11 and are able to land Harris, you should count your lucky stars that there is such a breadth of talent in the 2019 NFL Draft.

1.12 – Hakeem Butler (WR – Iowa State)
The same height as his two cousins who played for John Calipari and the powerhouse Kentucky Wildcats (Andrew and Aaron Harrison — Andrew is now in the NBA), Butler’s tape is all the more impressive when you learn that he indeed stands 6’6 and still moves like a legit wide receiver. I thought long and hard about both Justice Hill and Marquise Brown at this spot, but the 225-pound receiver is literally oozing with upside and could quickly become the next big thing in the NFL, both literally and figuratively.

As expected from a player that looks like he was stolen from the basketball team, Butler has great ball skills and is more than capable at boxing out defenders and skying for 50/50 balls. Butler will thrive in the red zone due to his sheer size, but is also a capable receiver as a downfield threat as well as in the short and intermediate games. Butler, unlike some of his former basketball playing counterparts, is a physical receiver who boasts solid route running skills where he displays an adeptness to finding soft spots in zone coverage as well as using route stem to curtail man defenders.

Butler’s future as a WR1 to a WR3 is wholly dependent on where he lands but one thing is for sure — Butler is going to be a dynasty asset. As a receiver who can haul in 70-plus targets annually while cracking the double-digit touchdown mark, Butler is a receiver to target in the first round of your dynasty league rookie drafts.


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Raju Byfield is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Raju, check out his profile and follow him @FantasyContext.

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