Dynasty League Rookie Mock Draft (Fantasy Football)
While there’s still plenty of playoff football ahead of us, the 2018 fantasy season has ended. While redraft owners can focus on postseason NFL DFS or perhaps catch up on some TV binging they’ve put off for the last few months, the fantasy season never truly ends for dynasty leaguers.
The good news is that we’ve got you covered. We asked our writers to partake in a one-round dynasty rookie mock draft. They provide their picks and reasoning to help you as you attempt to navigate the upcoming class of fantasy football rookies.
1) D.K. Metcalf (WR)
I’m sure I will turn a few heads by not taking the consensus No. 1 pick, N’Keal Harry. I’ve read a lot of scouting reports on Harry and there are enough red flags that I’m not willing to take the plunge with him as my 1.01 rookie pick. Metcalf, on the other hand, in most of the recent NFL mock drafts seems to have moved up to the No. 1 WR prospect in a rookie class that is deep at WR. At 6-foot-3 and 225 lbs, he has the size of an NFL WR and is praised for his release off the line of scrimmage to beat press coverage, which is something most rookies struggle with in their transition to the NFL. I’ve seen him mocked as high as nine to the Buffalo Bills and as low as 25 to the Raiders, but I think whoever he goes to, he steps in as a starter Week 1. Though his route tree is somewhat limited by the Ole Miss offense, he has good — if not great — route-running ability and is a “run after catch” threat with the ball in his hands. The only red flag on him is he needs to show he has recovered from a season-ending neck injury, but as long as he does that, I think he will be the first WR off the board in the NFL Draft and, for me, he will be the first WR off the board in fantasy.
Geoff Lambert (@GeoffLambert77)
2) N’Keal Harry (WR)
Harry is coming off back-to-back 1,000 receiving yard seasons for Arizona State. At 6’4 and 213 pounds, he has great size for an NFL receiver. Some scouts have questioned his ability to separate at the next level, but Harry is fantastic with the ball in his hands. He has shown the ability to make the tough catches in college too. Expect Harry to be selected in the first 15 picks in the actual NFL Draft, but he is not a polished route runner. The big plays will be there as a rookie, and dynasty managers are going to want to own Harry.
Tyler Watts (@tylerpwatts)
3) A.J. Brown (WR)
With the third pick, I’m grabbing another Ole Miss WR, A.J. Brown. At 6’1/230, he doesn’t possess incredible height, but his large frame makes him tough to bring down. He has sure hands and playmaking ability after the catch, and it’s very possible that he has a better rookie season and NFL career than his former teammate, D.K. Metcalf. Brown had a phenomenal college career, racking up a ridiculous 160-2,572-17 line in his last two seasons, finishing in the top 10 in the nation in receiving yards in 2017 and 2018. He led the SEC in receiving for consecutive seasons, the first time a player has done that since Carl Pickens in 1990-1991. The SEC has produced some prolific NFL wideouts in recent years (Amari Cooper, A.J. Green, Julio Jones among them), and Brown should be another. With such a weak WR free agent class this year, teams needy at the position will be taking wideouts early, and Brown could find himself in an immediate starting role, possibly for the Raiders or Colts. A good route-runner and a physical player, he’s NFL-ready and could produce from day one.
Zak Hanshew (@ZaktheMonster)
4) Rodney Anderson (RB)
Rodney Anderson is a 6’1, 220 lbs running back with an every-down skillset who would likely be the consensus top overall running back in this class if not for an injury-derailed 2018 season. Anderson is a powerful, exciting runner who possesses all the traits of an elite RB1 including explosion, soft hands, and elite cutting ability. Anderson’s 28 missed tackles forced in 2017 accentuates his great contact balance and his elite open field game is highlighted by his 34 carries over 10 yards. The angry runner is a major asset in the passing game, and his 16.5 yards per reception suggests he could quickly become a PPR savant in a workhorse role. Anderson is my pre-combine number one overall rookie.
Raju Byfield (@RajuByfield)
5) Kelvin Harmon (WR)
Standing at 6’3″, 215 pounds, Kelvin Harmon is a big and strong receiver primed to contribute early, particularly in the red zone. Harmon primarily stretched the field with N.C. State, but he isn’t a burner. Instead, he uses his strength and hands to win contested catches. Watching Harmon, it’s easy to think of Alshon Jeffery as a pro comparison.
Matt Giraldi (@Mgiraldi)
6) Damien Harris (RB)
With four of the first five picks in this rookie draft locking up wide receivers — only one running back was selected (Rodney Anderson) — RB Damien Harris fell to me at the six-spot. Harris (5’11’/ 215), an Alabama senior, is touted as an all-around back who is an exceptional pass-blocker, which will help him get on the field right away assuming it translates to the pros.
Sitting with three picks in the first round, Harris could land with a team like the Raiders, who have a hole at the running back position. With the uncertain futures of Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin — they are both 30-something free agents this offseason — plus, the fact that head coach Jon Gruden has spent an early-first rounder on a running back in the past (Cadillac Williams), it seems like Harris could land with a team like Oakland and see significant playing time immediately.
In a 2019 draft class that isn’t a great one for day-one running backs, Harris stands out amongst his peers. And although NFL Draft Expert Mel Kiper doesn’t believe there is a first-round back in this year’s class, Harris could certainly help his cause with a strong performance at the combine and sneak into the late first where the Raiders have two of the final 10 picks (24th via Dallas, 28th via Chicago).
Harris did not see a tremendous workload in his college career, which could either be good or bad depending on how you want to look at it. If you ask me, the lack of wear and tear on his body is a big plus. Despite not seeing a ton of work, Harris managed to score 18 touchdowns in the final 17 games of his collegiate career while accumulating a 139/819/9 running back stat line (5.9 YPC) as a senior. In the right landing spot, this fringe first-round pick could make an early splash in his NFL career.
Anthony Cervino (@therealnflguru)
7) Hakeem Butler (WR)
Fortune favors the bold, and I want to add the prospect who has the best chance at superstardom (read: highest ceiling) to my dynasty squad. At 6’6, 225 pounds with a wide catch radius, among other skills that jump off the screen, Hakeem Butler fits the bill.
Butler’s ability to utilize his big frame to box out defenders while simultaneously showcasing his long arms and a set of velcro hands to high-point the football is an NFL scout’s dream. The Cyclone wide receiver doesn’t possess the lightning speed of a Parris Campbell, but his unofficial sub 4.5 40-yard dash time is still impressive for a man of his stature.
Detractors will point to his limited collegiate production in his first two seasons (50/831/9) before enjoying a breakout junior season (60/1,318/9) as a red flag. Ignore these haters as they fail to mention the program’s all-time leading receiver Allen Lazard was the alpha dog of the Iowa State receiving corps during those first two seasons.
As of this writing, Butler hasn’t officially declared for the NFL Draft. Yet, this announcement is more of a formality after an impressive nine-catch, 192-yard performance (including a highlight reel one-handed catch) in the Alamo Bowl. The Iowa State receiver should shoot up draft boards and dynasty rookie rankings alike when he inevitably puts on a show at the NFL Combine.
Josh Brickner (@joshbrickner)
8) Noah Fant (TE)
If you play in Devy leagues, chances are you know who Noah Fant is. If you don’t I’d suggest you read up on Fant. Fant first placed himself on the radar at the 2015 Nike “The Opening” with his obscene numbers. He ran a 4.64 40-yard dash, 4.36 shuttle and had a 33.4-inch vertical (which he reportedly upped to 42 inches during spring practices!), as a 6’4″, 211 lb 17-year-old college recruit. After signing with Iowa, the same college that produced George Kittle, Fant had a quiet Freshman season. Over his Sophmore and Junior seasons, though, Fant accounted for over 1,000 yards receiving and 18 touchdowns, averaging 13.3 yards per reception. Fant is not just the No. 1 Tight End of the 2019 class, he may be the best Tight End to enter the league since Rob Gronkowski did so in 2010. Fant is well worth taking this early in any 1QB leagues you play in, and I might even draft him earlier in TE premium leagues.
Shane Manila (@DFF_Shane)
9) Justice Hill (RB)
The 2019 running back class is pretty shallow considering the wealth of talent we have seen over the last few years. Oklahoma State product, Justice Hill, stands out to me as an electric back with a well-rounded skill set that could carry over successfully to the NFL. Hill rushed for over 1,000 yards right off the bat in his freshman year. He truly broke out in his sophomore season where he led the Big 12 with 1,467 rushing yards (5.5 YPA) and 15 rushing TDs. Hill has proven to be one of the most elusive runners in college who will give linebackers fits. He can cut on a dime and shows tremendous burst. Hill’s ability to make big plays in space at the second level are reminiscent of Dion Lewis circa his prime with the Patriots. At 5’10” and only 190 lbs, Hill is slightly undersized to fit as an every-down back (think Matt Breida) but he offers plus pass protection for a back his size. Hill is a player I could see building a lot of hype after a solid combine showing.
John Ferguson (@FantasyFerguson)
10) Benny Snell (RB)
Say what you want about Benny Snell’s lack of explosiveness or jaw-dropping advanced metrics. These notwithstanding, he’s built like a back that can handle the 15-25 touches an NFL team will require from him come draft day. The 5’11” 222 lb back was an absolute force throughout his entire collegiate career as he gashed SEC defenses to the tune of consecutive 1K+ seasons in both his freshman and sophomore years. This past season, Snell was nearly able to best that mark for a third straight season in only eight games played. He’s done this all while averaging no less than 5.2 ypc yearly and finding paydirt 10+ times per season. While his sparse receiving usage may not be coveted by dynasty drafters, at this point in the first it is wise to grab the value Snell could represent as early as his first season. If Snell lucks into a role in KC, PHI, or TB watch out.
Etan Mozia (@FF_Wonderkid)
11) David Montgomery (RB)
Iowa State running back David Montgomery is sure to move up draft boards now that he has officially declared for the 2019 NFL Draft. He rushed for 1,216 yards and 13 touchdowns last season on 257 attempts earning All-Conference honors. Montgomery also added 22 receptions for 157 yards. He has a well-rounded skill set with the potential to be a late first or early second round pick. Montgomery ranked sixth in career rushing yards (2,925) at Iowa State, third in 100-yard rushing games (15) and eighth with 26 touchdowns on the ground. Montgomery also caught 71 passes, fifth-best among Iowa State backs. His best landing spots to provide immediate fantasy value would be the Chiefs, Texans, or Jets. He also had 22 catches for 157 yards. Montgomery rushed for 1,216 yards and 13 touchdowns for the Cyclones this season on the way to earning all-conference honors. According to Pro Football Focus, Montgomery led the FBS in broken tackles in back-to-back seasons.
Eric Moody (@EricNMoody)
12) Bryan Edwards (WR)
South Carolina wide receiver Bryan Edwards didn’t have quite the Junior season some expected, catching 55 passes for 846 yards and seven touchdowns. The South Carolina passing game had some ups and downs this season which cut into Edwards’ production, as did the emergence of Deebo Samuel as a receiving threat opposite Edwards. The main thing to like about Edwards as an NFL prospect is his age (he just turned 20 in November) and high dominator numbers in school. Edwards, at 6’3″ and 215 pounds, has prototypical size for an outside NFL receiver. As of this writing, Edwards has not yet declared for the NFL Draft. If he does and lands in a good spot, he could become a top-three rookie pick.
Matt Terelle (@supermt)