Preseason Dynasty Rookie Mock Draft (2019 Fantasy Football)
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With the NFL preseason now officially underway, fantasy football draft season is in full force. The most hardcore dynasty leagues likely conducted their rookie drafts in May, June, or July. However, a significant portion of leagues wait until August or even the end of the preseason. With OTAs in the books and training camps and preseason underway, we now have a clearer picture of some rookies roles. There are three new names from my May rookie mock, largely due to role clarity and an increase or decrease in upside. This mock draft does not reflect ADP. It’s meant to project and reflect what I believe to be the dynasty values of the players highlighted.
1.01 – Josh Jacobs (RB – OAK)
Jacobs was the draft’s big winner at the running back position. Opportunity is king in the NFL, and the talented back from Alabama has just Doug Martin and Jalen Richard to compete with for carries. A committee back for his entire college career, Jacobs has the fresh legs to handle an early-career workhorse role. He could see upwards of 290 touches as a rookie and will be the only player from his class who projects to seize a feature-back role. In a new-look Raiders offense that can more than keep defenders honest, Jacobs should rarely see stacked boxes. He is a high-end RB2 with low-end, volume-based RB1 upside. He’s also the first pick based on Fantasy Football Calculator’s ADP.
1.02 – David Montgomery (RB – CHI)
A talented back who appears set to take on Jordan Howard’s old role for the Chicago Bears, Montgomery could explode as a rookie. The pedestrian Howard managed 277 touches in this offense. If Montgomery receives or exceeds that number, he can produce RB1 value. Currently a high-upside RB2 in dynasty leagues, Montgomery has the talent to sneak into the RB1 conversation as soon as 2020. Tarik Cohen cements Montgomery into a high-volume role, albeit one with capped receptions upside. With that said, Montgomery is a sure-handed receiver who is dynamic in the open field due to his ability to both shed tackles and make defenders miss. The second overall pick based on ADP, long-term role certainty gives Montgomery a case to go first overall.
1.03 – N’Keal Harry (WR – NE)
Harry is a talented wide receiver whose skill set meshes perfectly with the New England Patriots’ offense. His re-draft value has taken a hit due to drawing mixed reviews out of training camp and OTAs, but his dynasty value remains intact. Based on current depth charts, Harry still projects as the lone receiver from this class who will receive WR1 level targets. It will only be a matter of time before Tom Brady and Harry develop a deadly on-field rapport. With the top two running backs off of the board, you should be angling to draft Harry or move down. He is currently the fifth overall pick based on ADP.
1.04 – Marquise Brown (WR – BAL)
Arguably the most talented wide receiver in the 2019 NFL Draft, Marquise Brown’s fantasy ceiling dropped by landing on the Baltimore Ravens. Playing in a run-first offense with a QB who has yet to show much as a passer is indeed cause for some concern. However, review of some of Lamar Jackson’s college tape shows that receiver Jaylen Smith ran many of the same routes Brown will be running. An electric receiver with the ability to create instant separation, Antonio Brown’s little cousin looks set to make some serious noise. Baltimore’s Brown figures to be a boom-or-bust option early in his career, but he has T.Y. Hilton-level upside once the rookie and his quarterback start to click. The 11th pick based on ADP, Brown is someone you can trade down to acquire.
1.05 – A.J. Brown (WR – TEN)
A talented wide receiver in the JuJu Smith-Schuster mold, A.J. Brown would be much higher in the mock (and in ADP) if he landed on a different team. Fantasy owners have their trepidations when it comes to investing in a receiver tied to Marcus Mariota, but there is good news. Mariota is in a make-or-break season and will likely be replaced next season if he does not show marked improvement. This suggests that Brown could have a good quarterback as soon as this season and as late as 2020. In dynasty leagues, talent trumps immediate opportunity. Brown is one of, if not the most talented wide receiver in this draft class with legitimate 100-reception upside. Think of him as a future WR2 with WR1 potential. Brown is the eighth overall pick based on ADP.
1.06 – D.K. Metcalf (WR – SEA)
A wide receiver with a hulking build and incredible straight-line speed, Metcalf was the draft’s biggest winner at wide receiver. Not only was he able to avoid the increased expectations associated with a first-round selection, but he joins the ideal quarterback for his skill set. Metcalf appears poised to make some major noise as a rookie for the Seahawks, who lost last year’s target leader in Doug Baldwin. Metcalf has already started to develop a rapport with Russell Wilson and may become an unguardable weapon for the Seahawks quarterback.
Despite lateral movement and route-running concerns, Metcalf can consistently create separation if you can buy him enough time. It just so happens that Wilson is a virtuoso at doing just that. Consider Metcalf an upside WR2 who should quickly lead the Seahawks in both receiving yards and touchdowns. He is currently the seventh player off of the board based on ADP.
1.07 – Kyler Murray (QB – ARI)
A talented quarterback set to start his career in an offense seemingly tailor-made for a QB to become a fantasy monster, Murray will likely be the first pick in some dynasty leagues. He overcame size concerns his entire football career, and he has the wherewithal to move around in the pocket under pressure to create the vision pathways needed by shorter quarterbacks.
Murray can quickly become one of the most exciting signal-callers in the league. He’s a future QB1 who could reach that level as soon as this season due to a stacked wide receiver room featuring future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald, the talented Christian Kirk, the surprisingly fast Andy Isabella, the “stolen from a basketball court” player (with two cousins who played in the NBA) Hakeem Butler, the sure-handed KeeSean Johnson, the post-hype/bust Kevin White, and talented zone beater A.J. Richardson. The fourth overall pick based on ADP, you may have to select Murray in that range to ensure he makes it to your squad.
1.08 – Devin Singletary (RB – BUF)
A talented running back with excellent patience and contact balance, Singletary reminds one the most of his Buffalo Bills teammate, LeSean McCoy. There are a number of other rookies who will have better fantasy opportunities in 2019, but dynasty leagues are about long-term value as much, if not more than an immediate return. Singletary is likely to spend most or all of 2019 learning from McCoy and future Hall of Famer Frank Gore, but he will eventually get his snaps as the Bills prepare him to take over the featured back role in 2020. Playing with a dual-threat quarterback will help create space for Singletary, and the Bills will hopefully make some major upgrades to their wide receiver corps by the time he starts. Think of him as a RB2 in waiting. The 13th overall pick based on ADP, Singletary has gone as high as first overall in some drafts. If he is your target, be aggressive (within reason) to ensure you land him.
1.09 – Darrell Henderson (RB – LAR)
Arguably the most talented running back in this class, Henderson found himself on one of the worst depth charts possible. There is some long-term concern about Todd Gurley’s health, but he should at least be able to play through this contract. This means Henderson could have to wait four to five years before he gets a true chance to start. Henderson has an every-down skill set and saw both his re-draft and dynasty values receive a major boost with news that the Rams plan to use him in a Chris Thompson-like role.
His best-case scenario is Gurley goes down with an injury or is released in 2021 or 2022 as the Rams try to get out from under his contract. If that does not happen, Henderson still possesses standalone value as a flex option with RB1 upside. He is also the top and most crucial handcuff in fantasy football. Well worth the gamble on draft day, Henderson is currently the sixth overall dynasty rookie pick based on ADP.
1.10 – Miles Sanders (RB – PHI)
Sanders is a talented back who seems to have a great opportunity. The Eagles have been desperate for an answer at running back for years, and they may have found their solution in the Penn State product. Sanders patterned his game after Saquon Barkley and is a pleasure to watch. He does, however, have some holes. He will need to work on his hands and on-pass protection to log heavy snaps alongside Howard, who is destined to soak up some early-down carries. Long term, there is concern that Sanders will always be a committee back. His best-case scenario is that the Eagles add someone like Nyheim Hines and allow Sanders to thrive in a Marlon Mack type of role.
With that said, Sanders is a Mack-level talent whose drawbacks stem more from opportunity. Like Mack, Sanders will be an annual risk to lose major value due to competition from a draft addition. As referenced above with Montgomery, role certainty is sometimes just as valuable as an immediate opportunity, especially at running back. The third overall pick based on ADP, think of Sanders as an upside RB2 with a flex floor for dynasty purposes.
1.11 – Parris Campbell (WR – IND)
While Metcalf pairs with the most ideal quarterback for his abilities, Campbell — much like Harry — appears to have landed in an ideal system. Unlike Harry, Campbell does not project to have role certainty. While he can become a prolific 100-reception player, he does not project as a future number one receiver. He can, and probably will have a pro impact comparable to Golden Tate on the Lions. Their games are very similar, though Tate is the more physical receiver while Campbell is faster and more explosive.
In Indianapolis, Campbell can focus on many of the same routes he ran at Ohio State as he develops his route tree. It is a major boon to his fantasy value that he was not drafted to a team that planned to immediately miscast him as a go-route receiver due to his exceptional speed. He will instead have an opportunity to learn from and eventually replace Hilton. Think of Campbell as an upside WR2 for dynasty leagues. He is currently the ninth overall pick based on ADP.
1.12 – Damien Harris (RB – NE)
With concerns regarding Sony Michel’s knee and his ability to make it through any season injury-free becoming a legitimate talking point, Harris’ dynasty value is screaming upwards. The most complete running back on the Patriots’ roster, Harris has impressed beat writers with his every-down skills. Like Michel, Harris has operated and succeeded in a committee for the majority of his career. Taking Harris at 12th overall is a boom-or-bust proposition, but the alternative is spending a first-round pick on tight end T.J. Hockenson or Noah Fant.
Harris seems set to generate standalone value regardless of whether he starts. The Patriots have frequently, rather frustratingly, utilized three-back rotations under Bill Belichick, and it should be no different going forward with three high-level talents on the roster. Harris makes the most sense as the non-hand tipping starter. Due to Michel’s recent injury issues, the rookie will be given a chance to openly compete and wrestle the job away from Michel in 2019 and beyond. Harris is the 19th overall pick based on ADP, but he has been drafted as high as 1.07 in multiple leagues.