Fantasy Implications from the NFL Draft By Adam Murfet at 5 Yard Rush

Fantasy Implications from the NFL Draft By Adam Murfet at 5 Yard Rush
Reading Time: 14 minutes.

The Draft is in the books and now we can start to focus on Fantasy Football once again. We hope you have all be listening to our podcasts in the interim to get the latest news and analysis from around the league, but if you haven’t, you can find 5 Yard Rush in all good podcasting places. This week, we will be deep diving all the rookies from the NFL Draft in offensive skill positions to give you a profile of what to draft and where. If you prefer audio, you can download our Saturday 11th May episode to listen to this in full.

1st Rounders:

1st Pick- Kyler Murray- With Rosen finally being traded to Miami, it is clearly Kyler’s team to run now. Not only did they draft Murray, but Arizona also signed 3 wide receivers (We will touch on some of these later on). They have proven they are all in on Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray. This Heisman Trophy winner has a good arm, but is mobile and quick. In his final season he passed for over 4,300 yards and also rushed for over 1000 yards with 12 rushing TDs. Due to his rushing upside, Murray will go high in rookie drafts, typically an end of first round. In a redraft or startup league consider him as your backup QB with upside, similar to Pat Mahomes last year.

6th Pick- Daniel Jones- The Giants draft their QB for the future in Daniel Jones. Jones looked almost as shocked as everyone that he was drafted at 6. As a result, this will lead to a ton of calls on him to start, sooner rather than later. But the franchise love Eli, and Dave Gettleman has said Eli could start for the next 3 years. We doubt this happens however we would expect him to start sooner rather than later. For Jones, he doesn’t look like a stud but there could be some value. However in most leagues we would expect Jones to go undrafted. We think there is more depth and we would pass.

8th Pick- T.J. Hockenson- The lions for the second time in 4 or 5 years drafting a TE in the first year. After the failed experiment of Eric Ebron, the Lions decided they would double down and take T.J Hockerson. The biggest concern with Hockenson is that Matt Stafford has never really loved his TEs. Ebron was known as the guy who never caught TDs yet he led the league at the Colts last year with 14. T.J will start week 1, and he will have some value but mostly because of a skinny Tight End market. In a redraft league he is not worth anything higher than a 13th round flyer, and I expect, especially now they draft has just happened, he is going higher than that. In Dynasty he holds more value, but we wouldn’t be expecting big numbers year 1 and the biggest worry is he could fall into the TD or bust realm of many TE streamers.

15th Pick- Dwayne Haskins- Haskins was a big surprise on the night when he fell to 15. There was some positive and negative news for Haskins here. The positive- he’s going to start day 1, the negative, it’s in a Washington offence that isn’t known for being prolific. The other concern with Haskins, despite his arm ability, he is going to have a real lack of weapons to aim at, in an offensive scheme not known for huge fantasy numbers in the passing game. Haskins also only has 1 year of college production, and whilst elite, there isn’t a lot of judge. He also isn’t a runner, so you won’t have a safety floor like Josh Allen did last. We haven’t done our rankings yet, but I can’t imagine Haskins making my top 20 this year. As a result, he should be a late round flyer at best in redraft, but worth a second round pick or 3rd rd pick in rookie dynasty drafts depending on your situation.

20th Pick- Noah Fant- There is no getting away from it, this guy is a podcast favourite already. He is an elite athlete with combine skills rarely seen in a guy of his size… ever! As a result he has the potential to be a real stud. The new Broncos TE Noah Fant saw a ridiculous 131.2 passer rating when targeted last season at Iowa. And he will be catching balls from a passer in Joe Flacco who has turned average Tight Ends into Fantasy Football studs in the past. He loves a Tight End and he will love Fant. Fant’s talent profile means he could have an incredible career. However, don’t expect a ton year 1. He will play a lot, however, he will need to learn blocking schemes as well as the playbook, and the primary goal will be to keep Joe Flacco upright. This isn’t Fant’s strong point. I expect him to be a top 15 TE year one, but with a ton of upside. In dynasty, he is worthy of going around the 9th-10th round in start-up leagues, and second round in rookie drafts, maybe even back end of round 1 depending on your needs. In redraft, he is a backup with upside so draft him as such.

24th Pick- Josh Jacobs- Deemed to be the number 1 offensive player in the draft by skill position rankings, and this landing spot has only helped him cement that. He didn’t participate at the combine due to injury however he put up ok numbers on his pro day. Nothing really blew him away. What stands out is Jacobs competed for a spot and got the majority of the playing time on the deepest college roster in the country, playing in the toughest division in college football. 640 yards doesn’t sound impressive, but in all 3 years of production in college he achieved well over 5 yards per carry and last year he rushed in 11 TDs as well as catching 3 more. He also comes into the league relatively fresh as he never had more than 120 carries in a season. In rookie drafts he will be the 1.01/1.02 in 90% + of drafts, and in dynasty startups we have seen him go as high as the mid second round. For me, Jacobs is a 3rd round dynasty startup player and between the 3-5 rounds in redraft depending on value of position. He’s no Saquon Barkley so his success cannot be guaranteed, plus the raiders were terrible at running the ball last year. that’s the caution here.

25th Pick- Marquise “Hollywood” Brown- The first WR off the board in the 2019 draft and this isn’t a surprise considering the tape. However, this is where the optimism ends. The landing spot is about as bad as it could have been. Sure he will play at the Ravens, but the concerns are their QB, Lamar Jackson. Brown has been comped a lot to John Brown, and I watched the movie last year where Brown just was not getting targeted or getting balls thrown anywhere near him. Most people expected the Ravens to go for a size WR like D.K Metcalf but instead they went for the speedster. His “Hollywood” nickname came as a result of 2,413 yards and 17 touchdowns on 132 catches from 2017 to 2018. His 18.3 yards per catch shows what a dynamic big-play threat he is. But he doesn’t have Mayfield or Murray throwing to him, and that means you should be thinking with caution as to where to draft him. He’s a second round pick in rookie drafts for me, and should not go inside the first 8 rounds in a dynasty startup. In redraft, he should not be under consideration to be drafted unless chasing massive upside in desperation. We do not believe in a redraft league he will return big enough numbers to make an impact year. By all means stick him on a watchlist if he is on waivers, but tread with caution.

32nd Pick- N’Keal Harry- In the complete opposite to Brown, Harry has landed in a wonderful situation for himself, and potentially for fantasy. The Patriots haven’t drafted a WR in round 1 since 1996, so this came as a minor shock, though Murf did mock him to the Pat’s as early as February. He easily walks into the receiver room as the WR 2, behind Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman. He collected 2,889 yards and 22 touchdowns on 213 catches over his three years at Arizona State. He is a true X receiver that Matt Harmon believes will thrive in the role occupied in the latter years of Larry Fitzgerald’s career. The one concern is, as with any Patriots player, Bill Belichick. Bill doesn’t care about your fantasy team, and proves time and time again that he will sling it to guys very far down the depth chart. Harry is easily in the top 3 prospects of rookie drafts, and is worth drafting as high as the 6-8th round in Dynasty start-ups as it stands. Re-draft will be similar to Brown, but maybe worth a late flyer. Taking him higher than 12th round will yield to nothing but disappointment I feel at this stage.

2nd Round Selections:

36th Pick- Deebo Samuel- Deebo Samuel managed over 900 yards from scrimmage in his final college season and scored 11 TDs. He also has big play threat with 16.7 and 14.2 yards per catch in 2017 and 2018. However unlike Harry, he is unlikely to be an X receiver due to his size and technique off the line. But he can very easily fit in as a flanker receiver and dump off man due to his speed and ability to make men miss. Playing from the slot is his best chance of success. He has a great landing spot in San Fran for sure, but the big questions will be “Will Jimmy G dump the ball to him when he has his a guy so critical to their limited success last year in George Kittle” and how quickly will Deebo Samuel develop. Given the fact I don’t see Samuel being a guy getting a ton of TDs, I’ld rather pass on him for some other players. But that’s not to say he won’t have some value. For us, Deebo is a 2nd/3rd rd pick-up in dynasty rookie drafts due to Kyle Shanahan and the way he schemes offence, but is isn’t worth investing a top 10 round pick in dynasty or worth consideration for drafting in redraft leagues at this stage.

42nd Pick- Drew Lock- A guy most people expected to go in the top 10-15 in the NFL draft he fell to Number 42. Concerns over his talent, speed a movability probably led to the slide, but he has found a home in Denver that makes complete sense. However, we probably won’t see much of Drew Lock in 2019 due to the trade to acquire Joe Flacco. He has the potential to be a mid-level QB starter in the NFL based on his profile, drive and intelligence. Some of his best games in college came against ranked opposition, meaning he likes the big game. But truth be told, he’s a hard prospect to evaluate. We would say Lock is no higher than a late round rookie draft prospect, and the same for Dynasty. He is not worthy of drafting in a redraft league unless you play in a 16 team plus league.

50th Pick- Irv Smith Jr- the 3rd ranked TE in the class is also the 3rd drafted TE in this class. Irv Smith has all the ability to be a successful TE in the NFL. 44 receptions for 710 yards (16.1yards per reception) and seven touchdowns in 15 games; 28 receptions gained a first down or scored a touchdown; 11 receptions gained 20 or more yards; All-SEC Second Team. Again, similar to Jacobs, he is competing for targets with the best core in the land. He was sat behind O.J Howard in his first year. The one concern is 14 receptions for 128 yards in his first 2 years and he has come out as a Junior, so only 1 year of production to go on. However, you can expect Irv Smith to take the starting job from Kyle Rudolph as Rudolph is a cap candidate as mentioned on this podcast previously. He is worth a late second round, high 3rd round pick in rookie drafts, and worth a 14-17th round pick in Dynasty. In Re-draft he is worth no more than a high upside late add, but we don’t expect him to be a top 15 TE this year.

51st Pick- A.J. Brown- This could easily be a copy and paste job for Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, made easier that they share the same last name. Supreme talent but terrible landing spot for fantasy. A.J Brown has incredible size, speed and an unbelievable technique. According to Sports Info Solutions, Brown averaged 8.7 and 7.0 yards after the catch per reception over the last two seasons. He also lined up in the slot 56% of the time last year, and this is where he was most productive as a receiver. However, he has been drafted by Tennessee, who invested a 4 year $38 mil contract in Adam Humphries, a slot receiver specialist. This is the clearest indication that he won’t be playing in the slot, in one of the 5 worst pass and play-action calling teams in the NFL. This offense, outside of Derrick Henry, has not been relevant in Fantasy football for a couple of years, and is on its 4th new O.C in 4 years. Also, I fell for this trick once buy investing in Corey Davis, and I’m still waiting for him to breakout. We won’t be making the same mistake twice. However, if you want to gamble, Brown has an ADP of 155 in dynasty startups. However, we think others have value in that range that is better like John Brown, Tre’Quan Smith and Quincy Enunwa. He will likely go in the second round of rookie drafts and might be drafted late rounds in redraft, but I wouldn’t do it.

52nd Pick- Drew Sample This was not a pick we saw coming and one not worthy of capital this high. Sample didn’t manage 500 yards in his entire college career and managed just 25 receptions for 252 yards and 3 TDs in his senior year. He managed 21 receptions in his previous 3 years and just the 2 TDs in his freshman year. His footwork and technique leave a lot to be desired, and there just isn’t a lot to judge here. To add to all this, he’s landed in a crowded TE room where he will be competing with Tyler Eifert and C.J. Uzomah for targets and snaps. For us, he is an avoid player in all formats and expect him to go undrafted in redraft and rookie drafts. Someone might add him in a dynasty startup due to his draft capital but don’t let that someone be you. Avoid at all costs.

53rd Pick- Miles Sanders- The second running back off the board, and looks like a very talented addition to a team in need of a talent at RB. He only has one year of production, but that is only because of being behind Saquon Barkley, rookie phenom from a year ago. Sanders was a former 5 star recruit out of High School, and in final year at Penn State, Sanders rushed for 1,274 yards at an average of 5.8 Yards per Carry with 9 TDs. He also carried the ball 220 times, which shows he can handle a bell cow workload. He has shown on tape that he has fumbling problems, but if he can get this right, he will be in line for a lot of the workload in Philly. They do have a number of backs, and Coach Pederson likes to use a committee of backs, to save the workload for deeper in the season. Miles Sanders is a top 3 rookie draft pick despite all this due to the size of the opportunity and talent, and you will likely see him go in rounds 4-8 in Dynasty startup leagues. He is worth drafting in re-draft in a similar range, as he has upside. If you are doing dynasty startups now, expect him to go sooner as the draft is fresh in people’s minds.

56th Pick- Mecole Hardman- Outside of Drew Sample, this was the shock of the second round. a lot of people just exclaimed “who!??!” at their TV’s when he was drafted. And with good reason. Last season saw Mecole Hardman follow up 2017 figures of 25 recs for 418 yards and 4 TDs plus 2 more Rushing with figures in 2018 of 35 Recs for 543 yards and 7 TDs. This is a guy who looks like a freak athlete, with incredible speed and a small frame. His NFL comp… Tyreek Hill, the man he could very well replace in 2019. Hill’s off the field issues are well known, however he has yet to be put on the exempt list by the NFL Commissioner as well as some new information coming to light that could shift the blame onto his partner, Crystal. Taking Hardman with a pick high up in drafts comes with, for me, more risk than drafting Hill himself. Anyone who thinks Hardman is a sure thing to just reproduce Hill’s numbers clearly doesn’t know Andy Reid and his coaching schemes. They are known for being effective, however not easy for rookies to learn. Hardman holds some value in the KC offense, and will hold more if Hill isn’t there, but that last part is nothing more than a gamble at this stage, despite our moral compasses making it a sure thing Hill will be gone. Hardman has been going anywhere in the end of the 1st, to early second round in rookie drafts, as well as going before rounds 8-12 in Dynasty startups. I don’t love this range when there is too much we don’t know. If you are drafting soon, you need to weigh up his value, and see if it’s worth it. We’ve seen Hardman go before Hill in drafts, which is a real gamble. Keep your ears to the ground with news on Hill. If he gets cut, then Hardman is worth a flyer. If not, maybe hold fire.

57th Pick- JJ Arcega-Whiteside- A perimeter receiver who gives the Eagles exactly what they are missing. Yes they have Jeffrey, Agholor and now they added DeSean Jackson, but those first 2 are prone to injuries and missing time. JJ, for Murf, is the best WR in this class at contested catches and going up and getting it. He’s not the quickest receiver you will see, but he is smart when it comes to reading coverage and blocks. You won’t see much on special teams with him but he is a real red-zone threat, and that’s all that matters really. 63 recs for 1,059 yards and 14 TDs last year to make it 28 in his college career. We think JJ is in line for a fine NFL career, but we aren’t sure how much he will influence in year 1 with all those guys in front of him. He’s a first round rookie draft add for sure, and should be considered in rounds 10-13 of your dynasty startup draft. But again, don’t be surprised if he goes earlier. So if you wanna bank on his future production, you might need to take him over his value. I wouldn’t plan on drafting in redraft, but could be worth a watch on waivers.

59th Pick- Parris Campbell- A man that divided a ton of analysts this year in the draft process, he is most compared to Cordarrelle Patterson. This seems like an insult, but we think Patterson was just ahead of his time, and coaches didn’t really know how to use him. Campbell is the sort of player who can do it all and has incredible speed, as demonstrated in the Combine. There is no doubt that 4.31 meant he was going into the second round. But don’t be fooled that he is just a bag of tricks. Last season, with Haskins slinging him the ball, he caught 90 balls for 1,063 yards and 12 TDs. It goes to show that he has a lot going for him. And then you stick him on the Colts roster, with Luck and company, and you now have a scary prospect. Campbell is easily a 1st round, probably top 5 rookie mock draft pick, and should be considered in rounds 8-12 of dynasty startups. However, as said previously, if you love the player, you will probably need to go get him. Could prove small value in re-draft too so consider a late round pick on him for high upside returns.

62nd Pick- Andy Isabella – A man who’s rise in this process has been just incredible. Coming out of UMASS. The biggest thing about Isabella is his numbers. as a Sophomore he caught 62 passes for 801 yard and 7 TDs. As a Junior, he caught 65 balls for 1,020 yards and 10 TDs, whilst also rushing one in. And then in his Senior year, he really took off with 102 receptions for 1,698 yards and 13 TD’s as well as another rushing one. His biggest flaw is due to his size, he isn’t the most physical, and that means on the outside, he won’t win a ton of contested catches. He can also play the slot to great effect, meaning he could be very effective in the Air Raid offense that Kliff Kingsbury promises to bring. For us, his range of outcomes match Parris Campbell’s in terms of where to draft him, and their ADPs are similar. The difference is taking a chance on the worst offense last year in the NFL under their new leadership. That might shy some people away, but Isabella could be worth the investment, for the right price.

64th Pick- D.K. Metcalf- We would argue that D.K Metcalf is the hardest prospect in the

breakdown we have done so far, to evaluate. He has everything you would ever want in a WR. If you were drawing a big, strong, athletic WR, Metcalf would be the closest thing to your sketches. Yet he fell down to the last pick of the second round. Why? Well injuries probably play a large part of this. When we had Ethan Turner on the podcast, he highlighted D.K Metcalf’s health concerns and did not see him as a round 1 prospect. Well congratulations Ethan, your evaluation was right once again. D.K’s numbers due to injury were not the best, with just 26 recs for 569 yards and 5 TDs being the return before a serious neck injury ruined his season. That being said, he has quick speed, a 4.33 40 yard time, and tremendous power. However his 3 cone time caused people to question his movement and change of direction skills. He really divides opinion, but there is not doubting his potential, and has a sky high ceiling. We would add caution to him and make him a 12-15th rd pick at the highest in a dynasty startup, a late second round rookie draft pick or 3rd round pick, and we would say he has little value in a redraft league.

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