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Mike Tagliere’s Top-50 Dynasty Rookie Rankings (2019 Fantasy Football)

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
May 7, 2019

David Montgomery should be in the conversation for the No. 1 pick in dynasty rookie drafts

It seems like I’ve said it about 50 times this offseason, but I’ll say it one more time. Landing spot matters more than talent with most incoming rookies. There are always a few players who rise above the odds and find a way to produce in a bad situation, but it’s relatively uncommon.

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Now that the NFL Draft is over and we know how the cards have fallen, it’s time to have your rookie drafts. This class isn’t as impressive as some of the last few, but there will be studs who come out of it, that much we know. Before going with these rankings in your draft, you should properly assess your team and the state it’s in. If you’re competing for a championship in 2019, you should read the article I wrote on what to expect from rookies in their first season based on where they were drafted. Hint: You’ll want to move some running backs up your draft boards. But if we’re starting with a fresh slate, here’s how I’d rank the 2019 rookie class.

1. Josh Jacobs (RB – OAK)
2. David Montgomery (RB – CHI)
3. N’Keal Harry (WR – NE)
4. Miles Sanders (RB – PHI)
5. D.K. Metcalf (WR – SEA)
6. Marquise Brown (WR – BAL)
7. Parris Campbell (WR – IND)
8. A.J. Brown (WR – TEN)
9. T.J. Hockenson (TE – DET)
10. Mecole Hardman (WR – KC)

If you don’t have one of the first two picks (three in most drafts, as Harry is widely considered the 1.01 pick), I’d suggest trading back in the first round if possible. Outside of Jacobs and Montgomery, there are no sure things, especially in 2019. Harry is walking into a great situation, but rookie wide receivers tend to struggle a bit out of the gate, and by the time he’s a veteran (2-3 years), Tom Brady will have retired – I think. Many like Sanders as part of the high-end running back group, but I think he’s just outside of the top-tier. Did you know there’s been just one running back under Doug Pederson who’s played more than 43 snaps in a game? Top-tier fantasy backs typically play 50-plus snaps regularly. Everyone wants to believe “this guy is different,” but why should Pederson change his system when it’s worked pretty dang well. They also traded for Jordan Howard.

Metcalf may have fallen in the NFL Draft, but he landed in an offense with an elite quarterback who may be losing his top receiver (Doug Baldwin). Many have lowered Marquise Brown a ton due to him landing with the Ravens and Lamar Jackson, but he’s the best show in town and it’s not like DeSean Jackson hasn’t been able to make it work with underwhelming quarterbacks, and that’s who his best comp is. Campbell fell into a great spot, but I wouldn’t take him over Brown because he’s the third option, at best, in the passing game for the Colts. If you want to draft A.J. Brown earlier, I don’t blame you, but just ask Corey Davis owners how it feels. Hockenson is the rare case of a rookie tight end who’ll start right away, so he could be drafted sooner if you need a tight end. Just because Hardman might take Tyreek Hill‘s spot, it doesn’t mean he’ll perform like the once-in-a-lifetime player. Still, he moved up significantly for landing with Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes.

11. Hakeem Butler (WR – ARI)
12. Noah Fant (TE – DEN)
13. Andy Isabella (WR – ARI)
14. Deebo Samuel (WR – SF)
15. Kyler Murray (QB – ARI)
16. JJ Arcega-Whiteside (WR – PHI)
17. Justice Hill (RB – BAL)
18. Damien Harris (RB – NE)
19. Darrell Henderson (RB – LAR)
20. Jalen Hurd (WR – SF)

If you haven’t seen my article titled “What is a Dynasty Draft Pick Actually Worth?”, this is where I’ll let you know that nobody in this range is a sure thing, and that your most likely comparables at running back and wide receiver are the careers of Andre Ellington and Danny Amendola. No, I’m not kidding, so shoot for the stars. That’s why Butler is atop this range, as he offers massive potential with his 6-foot-5, 227-pound frame. He’s no sure thing, but he’s the one who offers the most upside. Fant is right there with him, though. We’ve seen crazy-athletic tight ends struggle in the NFL (see: Mike Gesicki) before, though Fant showed the ability to be a possession-style receiver for an offense, and Joe Flacco has traditionally targeted his tight ends rather often.

The remaining players in this group are likely to be role players, as Samuel and Isabella aren’t No. 1 options, Arcega-Whiteside could be a touchdown machine, but he’s also unlikely to play much early in his career, Hill is behind Mark Ingram in a timeshare, Harris is Sony Michel‘s backup, and Henderson is Todd Gurley‘s backup. If you need a quarterback, Murray is going to provide borderline QB1 value from the get-go with his mobility and will get a long leash as the No. 1 overall pick. Hurd is the most interesting, as he’s someone I’ve compared to Cordarrelle Patterson, but this time, the NFL is ready for a player like him. With no other big wide receivers in San Francisco, he could play a bigger role than most are expecting.

21. Irv Smith Jr. (TE – MIN)
22. Jace Sternberger (TE – GB)
23. Diontae Johnson (WR – PIT)
24. Rodney Anderson (RB – CIN)
25. Devin Singletary (RB – BUF)
26. Bryce Love (RB – WAS)
27. Ryquell Armstead (RB – JAX)
28. Emanuel Hall (WR – CHI)
29. Dwayne Haskins (QB – WAS)
30. Terry McLaurin (WR – WAS)

Here’s the part of rookie drafts where you’ll start to reach for “your guys.” Outside of tight ends and quarterbacks, there’s no one who’s guaranteed to have a large role on their team without injury. One of my favorites in this range is Hall, though I admit it’s a long-shot considering he went undrafted, but I love the player and the landing spot. Anderson is my choice to back-up Joe Mixon, even though he was drafted after Trayveon Williams. His inability to stay healthy is the reason he fell in the draft, not his ability. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t traditionally loved his tight ends, so Sternberger could be a bit overdrafted, but it helps that they didn’t draft a wide receiver. Haskins is likely going to be in the league for a while and should arguably go higher than this, but knowing he’s not going to offer anything on the ground, his ceiling is likely in the low-end QB1/high-end QB2 range.

31. Miles Boykin (WR – BAL)
32. Daniel Jones (QB – NYG)
33. Alexander Mattison (RB – MIN)
34. Darwin Thompson (RB – KC)
35. Kelvin Harmon (WR – WAS)
36. Benny Snell Jr. (RB – PIT)
37. Trayveon Williams (RB – CIN)
38. Riley Ridley (WR – CHI)
39. Drew Lock (QB – DEN)
40. Mike Weber (RB – DAL)

Some will wonder why Boykin has fallen into this range, but it’s due to me not being too high on him pre-draft, then combining that with him landing with Lamar Jackson in a run-heavy offense. They won’t support two fantasy relevant receivers and my bet would be on Marquise Brown. It’s possible that Jones is better than most think and he delivers some fantasy numbers, but I’m not counting on it, especially with their current group of receivers. Harmon is an interesting late-round pick because some had him as their No. 1 wide receiver in the draft. Him falling to the sixth round was too far, but will he be able to get on the field and prove he was worth more? Outside of them, you have a lot of handcuffs in this range, like Mattison, Snell, Williams, and Weber. Thompson is a tricky one because he’s not necessarily a handcuff, but rather a player who can be a compliment to a workhorse.

41. DaMarkus Lodge (WR – TB)
42. KeeSean Johnson (WR – ARI)
43. Hunter Renfrow (WR – OAK)
44. Jordan Scarlett (RB – CAR)
45. James Williams (RB – KC)
46. Josh Oliver (TE – JAX)
47. Foster Moreau (TE – OAK)
48. Alize Mack (TE – NO)
49. Karan Higdon (RB – HOU)
50. Gary Jennings (WR – SEA)

This is the area of the draft where most casual dynasty drafters check out, but you shouldn’t be one of them. Did you know Dante Pettis, Josh Allen, Jaylen Samuels, and Keke Coutee were drafted in this range at this time last year? You won’t get them that cheap anymore. Lodge might start in year one, but there are too many mouths to feed in Tampa Bay. Renfrow is likely to start, but again, there are a lot of mouths to feed, and Derek Carr hasn’t been able to produce multiple fantasy wide receivers on a consistent basis. Williams is one who should interest you, as he’s got some James White to him, and just happened to land with the running back-friendly Chiefs.

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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.