Davis Mattek’s 2019 NFL Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings
With the 2019 NFL Draft wrapped up and in the books, it is time to get to Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings. Most dynasty leagues that I am in are ready to begin their rookie drafts for the 2019 NFL Draft class. The draft brought us some surprises that really shake up the projected order of things. The Chiefs jumping on an early wide receiver, the Patriots taking another SEC running back and Daniel Jones at #6 all weren’t really baked into pre-draft Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings. What follows is my top-40 rankings of dynasty rookies (with an update likely to come during training camp).
2019 Dynasty Fantasy Football Rookie Draft Rankings
- N’Keal Harry, Wide Receiver, New England Patriots – While I expect that many will have Josh Jacobs as their top-ranked rookie, I just can’t go there. Harry is almost everything that we can ask for in a wide receiver prospect. His Dominator Rating topped 40%, he was drafted in the first round and he had a 90th percentile speed score. Even if Tom Brady retires soon, I expect Harry to be the most productive player from this class.
- Josh Jacobs, Running Back, Oakland Raiders – Josh Jacobs is not a special talent, the same that Leonard Fournette is not a special talent. Jacobs is a slow-ish, college backup running back who happened to get selected in the first round. That draft capital is going to ensure him a minimum of two years as a lead running back in the NFL. Those years have value and as such, this ranking is appropriate.
- Miles Sanders, Running Back, Philadelphia Eagles – Unlike Jacobs, Sanders does actually profile like a capable NFL running back. His situation is not 100% ideal as the Eagles do often use multiple running backs but like most teams, if they have one very capable back, that can shift usage. I’m also bullish long term on Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson.
- Kyler Murray, Quarterback, Arizona Cardinals – Quarterbacks (even those guaranteed to start) generally are not ranked this high and do not go this high in dynasty fantasy football rookie drafts. However, Kyler is both a special talent in a special situation but more importantly, adds rushing yards. Adding rushing yards as a QB is so valuable that it catapults Murray up in a weaker rookie class.
- David Montgomery, Running Back, Chicago Bears – Montgomery seems like the odds on favorite to replace Jordan Howard’s role in the Chicago offense for the next few seasons. Montgomery is a slower running back but lead the NCAA in broken tackles in 2018 and is associated with a good offense.
- Mecole Hardman, Wide Receiver, Kansas City Chiefs – Hardman went from being almost entirely off the radar to being one of the hottest assets in dynasty. Hardman was an average player at Georgia but ran a 4.3 40 and was drafted in the second round by the best offense in football with the best quarterback in football. His median projection got a massive boost by being drafted by the Chiefs.
- Parris Campbell, Wide Receiver, Indianapolis Colts – Campbell is a really interesting prospect for dynasty; a lot of what we expect from him in the NFL is pure projection. He was barely used down the field at Ohio State which is what his size/speed profile says he will be in the NFL. I’m high on this offense and the fit of player/scheme but there is some real downside if Campbell doesn’t develop as a route-runner.
- Darrell Henderson, Running Back, Los Angeles Rams – Todd Gurley’s arthritic knee prompted the Rams to spend their third-round on my number-one ranked running back in the class. This is a team in the middle of a Super Bowl window. To spend this pick on Henderson they are either 1) thinking and acting unintelligently or 2) aware that Gurley’s run as a great running back is over. I am betting that it is the latter while also believing Henderson and his 8.2 yards per carry at Memphis is a real trend.
- Marquise Brown, Wide Receiver, Baltimore Ravens – Generally, the top wide receiver taken in the NFL draft is guaranteed targets. Brown might see 20% the Ravens targets as a rookie and that still might not make him a WR4. Determining Brown (and Miles Boykin’s) usage is troubling because the last we saw of Lamar Jackson, he was sailing passes everywhere while leading an extremely run-heavy offense. We can be high on Hollywood the player while acknowledging the risk in the offense he joined.
- Andy Isabella, Wide Receiver, Arizona Cardinals – Isabella checks all the boxes for me. He was productive as a receiver, rusher and returner in college. He was drafted in the second round. He went to a team that wants to throw the ball down the field every down. I would not be surprised if he had one of the best careers of any offensive player from this draft.
- A.J Brown, Wide Receiver, Tennesse Titans – Before the draft, I was higher on Brown than consensus and thought he would be taken before D.K Metcalf. That did end up happening but the landing spot with the Titans is an average one. The Titans have questions at cornerback, already have two talented wide receivers and don’t play an explosive brand of football.
- Noah Fant, Tight End, Denver Broncos – I know that everyone loves T.J Hockenson (and he is great) but in terms of immediate impact, Fant seems like a better bet. Fant is more athletic and profiles more as a big wide receiver or pure pass catcher than Hock does. I expect that after two years, Fant will have more production than his former college teammate.
13. D.K Metcalf, Wide Receiver, Seattle Seahawks – All of Metcalf’s concerns are still there. He cannot turn while moving fast, he was injured in college and he only produces on a few specific routes. However, he was taken in the second round (it seemed like he might really slide for a while) and is playing with maybe the most hyper-efficient quarterback in football. To top it all off, Doug Baldwin is likely retiring which should give Metcalf a chance to lead Seattle in targets.
14. T.J Hockenson, Tight End, Detriot Lions – It feels odd to rank tight ends this high (and to expect them to be drafted here) but this is an extraordinarily weak running back class. The value of hitting on Fant or Hockenson as top-12 tight ends for the next five years is massive and I think both of them are more likely than not to hit that ceiling.
15. JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Wide Receiver, Philadelphia Eagles – JJAW went to a great spot for his long-term production. With Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery both potentially heading out of town over the next two seasons, Arcega-Whiteside could find himself as the top wide receiver in Philly by year two. I am a massive fan of his highly efficient game (14% of his targets turned into touchdowns at Stanford) and think he can transform the Eagles redzone offense.
16. Diontae Johnson, Wide Receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers were always going to draft a wide receiver to compete with James Washington and Donte Moncrief. Johnson is very much in the quick/shifty/productive mold that the Steelers like to draft wide receivers in. While I don’t expect much of a year one impact, Johnson could end up a starter for a very productive offense by year two.
17. Deebo Samuel, Wide Receiver, San Francisco 49ers – I suspect this ranking will be lower than many and lower than Samuel’s ADP. While I like him well enough as a player, Deebo doesn’t seem dynamic/fast enough to create value all on his own. The 49ers drafted competition for him and he’ll never be higher than #2 in the pecking order with George Kittle on the team. I consent that Samuel could outproduce many ranked ahead of him but I don’t see the same ceiling that others do.
18. Damien Harris, Running Back, New England Patriots – The drafting of Harris likely signals Rex Burkhead’s time in New England as over. Harris can pass block, run short/intermediate routes well and grind for 4.3 yards per carry. A perfect New England RB on a cheap contract for Belichick.
19. Hakeem Butler, Wide Receiver, Arizona Cardinals – Kliff Kingsbury wanted Butler to come to Texas Tech and didn’t quite him. This is his chance to develop a WR1 who can make athletic plays down the field while Andy Isabella and Christian Kirk take advantage of the space underneath and Butler drawing the #1 corner. An absolutely perfect landing spot.
20. Justice Hill, Running Back, Baltimore Ravens – If I was told that Justice Hill lead the Ravens in carries in 2020, I wouldn’t be surprised. Mark Ingram is older and has a fair amount of wear on the tires. Justice Hill overtook Chris Carson as a true freshman at Oklahoma State and is one of the most athletic RB’s in the 2019 draft class. He is a steal in the second round of my dynasty fantasy football rookie draft rankings
21. Jace Sternberger, Tight End, Green Bay Packers – Sternberger was one of the best pass-catching tight ends in this class. He lead Texas A&M in receptions, yards, and touchdowns his final season. No tight end does that! Now he is in line to learn from Jimmy Graham and play with Aaron Rodgers. Sign me up.
22. Jalen Hurd, Wide Receiver, San Francisco 49ers – Jalen Hurd is a very, very Kyle Shanahan style player. Hurd can play running back, wide receiver and according to Shanahan, tight end. He is likely lower in my dynasty fantasy football rookie draft ranks than average because this style of player can impact his real NFL team but never deliver tangible fantasy football value.
23. Dwayne Haskins, Quarterback, Washington – We are now officially in the range where taking quarterbacks and tight ends is fine. Haskins projects as a pretty average quarterback that landed in a bad situation. However, a starting QB is a valuable enough piece, especially in deeper leagues.
24. Devin Singletary, Running Back, Buffalo Bills – The chances of Singletary ever having even an RB2-level season seem dramatically low to me. The Bills brought in three different running backs this offseason and Singletary might be the slowest of the group that includes Frank Gore. I won’t own Singletary in any format in all likelihood.
25. Miles Boykin, Wide Receiver, Baltimore Ravens – I have been thinking about this landing spot since it happened. Boykin is the exact type of player I would want with Lamar. His massive size and catch radius can limit some of the damage of Lamar Jackson’s inaccuracy and his speed should help him be very open. Boykin is a pretty raw player and that might not play well with the Ravens coaching staff, however.
26. Alexander Mattison, Running Back, Minnesota Vikings – You won’t find a more bang-average running back than Mattison. He ran a 4.67 at a very mediocre size and was just an average producer at Boise State compared to some previous Broncos running backs. However, he is the true backup running back for the Vikings and is behind an over-rated and oft-injured Dalvin Cook. That alone makes him draftable.
27. Ryquell Armstead, Running Back, Jacksonville Jaguars – The former Temple stud (35 touchdowns, 602 touches over four seasons) was drafted to a situation where the team already hates their starting running back. Leonard Fournette is slow, too big and in trouble with the team. I’m not sure Armstead is a great player but I am sure that Fournette is a bad one.
28. Daniel Jones, Quarterback, New York Giants – That guy in the bagel shop told Dave Gettleman that it was a good pick. Who am I to disagree? If Jones starts for even two years of his rookie contract, he is probably a good pick at this spot in the third round of dynasty rookie drafts.
29. Terry McLaurin, Wide Receiver, Washington – McLaurin was not a top-15 wide receiver prospect for me in this class but neither was Mecole Hardman. McLaurin was drafted highly enough by Washington that I think they expect him to play as a rookie and a 4.35 40 time profiles him as an NFL-caliber deep threat.
30. Darwin Thompson, Running Back, Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs have likely found their lightning to Damien Williams’ Thunder. The 5’8, 200-pound non-combine invitee is a favorite of some draftniks and it seems like the Chiefs expect him to contribute right away. He doesn’t have a clear path to being a feature back but a Tarik Cohen-esque role seems possible.
31. KeeSean Johnson, Wide Receiver, Arizona Cardinals – Bet on scheme and coaching. With Larry Fitzgerald likely retiring soon, Johnson has a path to becoming a starting wide receiver for Kyler Murry and Kliff Kingsbury within two years. Johnson had a massive career at Fresno with 3,463 yards and 24 touchdowns over four seasons. I am very in on Johnson at this price and where he was taken in the draft.
32. Kelvin Harmon, Wide Receiver, Washington – Harmon is not that far removed from being touted as one of the better wide receivers in the 2019 NFL Draft class. Harmon was pretty bad his final season at NC State and sucked harder at the combine but he has a few projectable traits to play big slot in the NFL. I expect him to stick for at least five years as a rotational wide receiver.
33. Travis Homer, Running Back, Seattle Seahawks – There is nothing Pete Carroll likes more than benching an incumbent starter for a day three pick the next season. Homer wasn’t overly productive at Miami (never had a 1,000-yard season) but was one of the more athletic running backs in the class and lands in a spot where his team wants to run, run and run more.
34. Tony Pollard, Running Back, Dallas Cowboys – Darrell Henderson’s college running mate also finds himself being draftable in my dynasty fantasy football rookie draft rankings. Pollard averaged 9.2 yards per touch in college and scored 18 touchdowns while getting 20% of the teams’ work. His measurables are all in the good-not-great category but I expect him to be used as a spell-back to Ezekiel Elliot immediately.
35. Riley Ridley, Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears – Ridley might suck but we’re now in the range of just trying to find guys who will play. The Bears are likely to use Ridley as a way to get off Taylor Gabriel’s money once they decide Gabriel has lost a step. I don’t like Ridley as a player but I suspect the Bears do.
36. Trayveon Williams, Running Back, Cincinnati Bengals – Sooner rather than later, I expect that the Bengals will want to move on from Giovani Bernard. Williams had a tremendous final season in college (2,038 scrimmage yards, 19 touchdowns) and moves to a team that seems as if they are prospecting hard for an RB as they also selected Rodney Anderson from Oklahoma. This is a bit of a homer call as I love Williams’ #talent but I do see a path to playing time.
37. Ashton Dulin, Wide Receiver, Indianapolis Colts – Laugh all you want, this UDFA from Malone University is going to make the Colts roster. Dulin was one of the most athletic wide receivers at the combine and dominated his competition in college. 25% of NFL rosters are made up of UDFA’s and Dulin is going to join that group.
38. Gary Jennings Jr., Wide Receiver, Seattle Seahawks – Jennings was very productive at West Virginia (168 catches in four seasons) and ran great times at the combine. His 4.42 40 probably put him on the radar of the Seahawks, a team that is clearly searching for answers at the wide receiver position. It’s not impossible he ends up a starting player for this team.
39. Myles Gaskin, Running Back, Miami Dolphins – It was sort of befuddling for the first two days of the draft that the Dolphins weren’t chasing after a running back. With a depth chart that had only Kenyan Drake and Kalen Ballage, they needed to add some competition. That will come in the form of seventh-rounder Gaskin who posted not one, not two, not three but FOUR straight 1,000-yard seasons at Washington. He could be the steal of the draft at RB.
40. Kahale Warring, Tight End, Houston Texans – The night that Warring got drafted, Texans’ TE Ryan Griffin got arrested. Warring is an 80th-percentile athlete who ran a 4.67 at 252 pounds. His Dominator Rating of 19% is fairly strong for a tight end. I’m a fan of him late in drafts.
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