NFL Draft First Round Winners/Losers (2019 Fantasy Football)
The first round of the 2019 NFL Draft was full of twists, turns, and surprises, and it did not disappoint. All of the pre-draft hype lived up to expectations as Kyler Murray went first overall, three QBs were selected, the Patriots took a first-round wideout, and some notable talent fell out of the first round. Some players find themselves in great situations that should set them up for immediate success as rookies, while others may turn in disappointing inaugural campaigns because of less than ideal circumstances. Let’s take a look at some of the winners and losers of opening night in the draft. Daniel Jones (pick No. 6, New York Giants) doesn’t have a realistic shot of playing this season with Eli Manning on the roster, so he wasn’t included here.
Kyler Murray (QB – ARI) Pick: 1st overall
The wait is finally over, as Murray was selected by the Cardinals with the first-overall pick. It’s an ideal situation for the former Heisman winner, who has previous ties to new Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury has publicly shown love for Murray and will certainly make the passing game the centerpiece of his offense. Murray will start and get a ton of opportunities right out of the gate, and he’s worth a flyer in the later rounds of fantasy drafts.
Noah Fant (TE – DEN) Pick: 20th overall
Fant should immediately make an impact for the Broncos and new starting QB Joe Flacco. Flacco has a history of locking in on TEs throughout his career, and the athletic Fant should become a favorite target almost instantly. He plays with the skill of a WR, and with a shaky receiving corps and a stable of injured TEs in Denver, Fant should be heavily involved in the offense and push for a TE1 fantasy finish.
Josh Jacobs (RB – OAK) Pick: 24th overall
Jacobs enters the league in an ideal situation, joining one of the few NFL teams in need of a workhorse RB. After losing Marshawn Lynch to retirement and with only Isaiah Crowell to compete with for work, Jacobs should be the Raiders’ starting back Week 1. He racked up less than 300 total touches in his college career, so he’ll join Oakland with fresh legs. He is a powerful rusher between the tackles but can also catch the ball out of the backfield, making him a versatile weapon on a new-and-improved Oakland offense. An RB3 finish this season is absolutely within reach.
Skill players for the Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, and Minnesota Vikings
All three teams drafted offensive linemen, with Atlanta trading into the back of the first round to select a second. The Falcons’ offensive line wasn’t terrible, but it got a huge upgrade after Thursday night. Houston and Minnesota’s lines were dreadful in 2018, and they should be improved this upcoming season. The skill position players for all three of these teams should be thrilled, especially DeShaun Watson, who was sacked an NFL-high 65 times in 2018.
T.J. Hockenson (TE – DET) Pick: 8th overall
Although he’s ultra-talented and a John Mackey Award winner, the fantasy outlook for Hockenson isn’t great this season. Tight ends have not been used heavily in the Matthew Stafford era, and former top-10 pick Eric Ebron had a forgettable career with the club. With needs on the offensive line and new back C.J. Anderson to pair with sophomore Kerryon Johnson, it’s likely the Lions selected Hockenson for his excellent blocking abilities rather than his pass-catching. NFL veteran TE Jesse James was added to the roster in the offseason, and he will share time with Hockenson to cap the latter’s upside. This move makes a lot more sense from an NFL perspective than a fantasy perspective.
Dwayne Haskins (QB – WAS) Pick: 15th overall
Haskins was a one-year starter in college and likely needs a year to sit behind a starting NFL QB to develop. However, it’s not a lock that Case Keenum will get the starting job, and Haskins should compete for that job in training camp. Even if he does become the starter this season, Haskins is in a pretty poor situation. There’s no Parris Campbell or Terry McLaurin in the nation’s capital, and the top receiving options are Josh Doctson, Trey Quinn, Paul Richardson and an ever-injured Jordan Reed. Unless Washington finds a way to upgrade its offensive weapons, Haskins will be in trouble this season, assuming he gets the starting gig at all. He’ll be a long-time starter in the NFL, making him worthy of a top selection in dynasty formats.
Marquise Brown (WR – BAL) Pick: 25th overall
“Hollywood” Brown finds himself in one of the worst offenses for a WR as he heads to Charm City. He’ll be catching passes from Lamar Jackson in one of the most run-heavy offenses in the league, and it’s a shame that his elite speed and athleticism will be underutilized. Brown turned in 2,413 yards and 17 TDs over his last two seasons in Oklahoma, and his speed and skill will make him a threat to take one to the house on any given week. Playing in the Ravens’ offense, however, renders him a boom-or-bust option until further notice.
N’Keal Harry (WR – NE) Pick: 32nd overall
He’ll be a starter from Day 1 this season, joining Tom Brady and the Patriots’ depleted receiving corps. New England lost Rob Gronkowski to retirement and boasts Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett as its top receiving threats, so this selection makes sense. The 6’3 Harry was a monster for Arizona State, going 155-2,230-17 over his last two collegiate seasons. I don’t buy into the hype that he’ll be a huge fantasy asset in his rookie season, though. The Patriots have shifted offensive tactics to become more of a running team to accommodate the aging Tom Brady. Brady likes to spread the ball around too, meaning Harry won’t be a target hog in this system. I love Harry early in dynasty rookie formats, but I don’t see huge fantasy upside in 2019.