2019 NFL Draft: Fantasy Football fits for the top prospects
Where should Fantasy managers root for players like Josh Jacobs, T.J. Hockenson and Marquise Brown to end up? Dave Richard's watched them all and spills his guts on who's great, who's good and where they could thrive.
The 2019 NFL Draft is upon us. Not only are these the days where teams are instantly celebrated or razzed for their picks, but it's also a window to get re-energized about our Fantasy teams by determining who the breakout and sleeper rookies are, and who among the NFL veterans are impacted the most by them.
We'll have you covered with instant reactions to every Fantasy-relevant move made during the three-day draft, but before the teams go on the clock, here's a look at some of the top prospects at each position, complete with an idea of where they'd fit best for Fantasy. And yes, in the spirit of Fantasy, they're ranked ... but everything is subject to change once their new teams are determined.
1. Kyler Murray, Oklahoma
5-foot-10 1/8, 207 pounds, estimated under 4.5 in 40-yard dash
It's jarring to see Murray on the field because of his size -- he's not just short, he's also lean. Then you watch him play, and you're hooked. Murray has a great arm with excellent velocity and accuracy. He can also chuck it deep and connect for big plays. When there isn't a throw to be made, Murray can escape the pocket and pick up plenty of yardage with his legs. That speed also comes in handy when he evades the pass rush. He's a brave quarterback who best fits in a pass-heavy offense. The only worry is if he takes too many hits and breaks down. If he can hold up as Russell Wilson has held up, he'll be a Fantasy hero for years to come.
Best Fantasy fit: He'll probably end up in Arizona, which is where he's best suited to play right away in an offense with which he's already familiar.
2. Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State
6-foot-3 3/8, 231 pounds, 5.04 in 40-yard dash
Haskins is one of six quarterbacks in the history of college football to throw 50-plus touchdowns in a single season. That's thanks to his strong, accurate arm. He can make all of the throws and improve his receivers by throwing to open space. He's improved his reads and improved at using his eyes to move defensive backs and help his targets get open. His biggest negative is below his knees -- he's not a very mobile quarterback and could use some help with his footwork and pocket presence. He's also obviously inexperienced with one year as Ohio State's starter (but what a year it was!). Ultimately, it's his arm that will make teams chase him in the draft and give him the chance to be a Day 1 starter.
Best Fantasy fit: The unrealistic pick is Tampa Bay, where Bruce Arians could make magic with this guy. I'd rank the realistic landing spots as follows: Cincinnati, N.Y. Giants, Denver, Miami, Washington.
3. Will Grier, West Virginia
6-foot-2 1/2, 217 pounds, 4.48 in 40-yard dash
Grier is an older prospect (24 years old), but one with plenty of experience and an eye-popping array of talent. Blessed with a quick release, good arm strength, very good velocity and the ability to make quick decisions (even in a breaking pocket), Grier is a gamer who routinely puts the ball right on his receiver, specifically on any pass inside the numbers. He does need to get in a rhythm to reach his maximum effectiveness, which he did frequently in the Mountaineers' air-raid offense. His footwork is good and has room to improve. Some consider him a little too aggressive as he'll get big eyes for the big play and miss open receivers, but it could be taken a sign of his confidence in his arm. Questions about his size might hold some people back, as will a past that includes him getting busted for taking PEDs (suspended for a year) and transferring from Florida to West Virginia. However, I think he's good enough to contend for a starting job as a rookie, particularly if it's in an offense that is close to what he worked with at West Virginia.
Best Fantasy fit: You're going to think I'm crazy, but he could be the Redskins' Day-1 starter -- and he'd be good there.
4. Drew Lock, Missouri
6-foot-3 3/4, 228 pounds, 4.69 in 40-yard dash
Lock is a fascinating, and frustrating, quarterback prospect. There are moments where he'll demonstrate perfect ball placement on short, medium and deep tosses, and then there are times he'll miss a target 7 yards crossing in front of his face or chuck up an easy interception. Lock seems to work best in an up-tempo, get-the-ball-out-quick pace. He's adept at reading defenses but tends to lock on his targets and break down when defenses bring the pass rush on him. He's got the moxie to make tight-window throws and run for yardage when afforded the opportunity, but the gunslinger mentality he brings comes with a price -- interceptions and inaccuracy when things aren't perfect. Footwork will be the first thing a team will try to coach him up on.
Best Fantasy fit: I'd be curious to see how new Bengals coach Zac Taylor brings along Lock, first as the backup to Andy Dalton and then as the starter in an offense tailored to him.
5. Daniel Jones, Duke
6-foot-5 1/8, 221 pounds, 4.81 in 40-yard dash
NFL scouts love Jones for his traits and skill-set, not for the numbers he produced at Duke. Jones' stats were terrible, partially because his O-line couldn't block well for him and because his receivers had easy drops every game. While he had flashes of thriving while on the move or under durress, he also had plenty of tipped passes, hurried throws and overall bad decisions. Truth is, his arm strength is just solid, while his accuracy in clean pockets is typically very good thanks in part to very good, well-coached footwork in the pocket and mobility out of it. He seems to have the intelligence for the position, which adds to his appeal, but he can't be called NFL-ready. Because coaches love him for the traits already wired within him, he'll have a chance to play eventually. It could be bad news if it's anytime this season.
Best Fantasy fit: Gotta be somewhere he can take time to learn the game. New England would be nice, but so would New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Oakland, Los Angeles (both teams) and the Giants.
1. Josh Jacobs, Alabama
5-foot-10, 220 pounds, 4.62 in 40-yard dash
Jacobs is a young, tough, three-down running back with good speed, lateral agility, quickness and acceleration. He plays faster than he was timed and plays with a more physical style than his build suggests. He consistently falls forward on his carries, adding extra yards to his plays. He also is very capable as a pass-catcher with 10 and 1/8-inch hands. He's a try-hard blocker, but needs work there. He's also inexperienced, though some may consider that a positive -- he has 251 career carries and 48 career catches with only three games with 15-plus carries. With just a few 2017 injuries on his record (left hamstring, left ankle), Jacobs projects as an explosive, versatile running back with 1,300 total yard potential for several years.
Best Fantasy fits: Either the Raiders or Buccaneers could use Jacobs immediately as a primary back.
2. Damien Harris, Alabama
5-foot-10 1/8, 216 pounds, 4.57 in 40-yard dash
The replacement for Derrick Henry at Alabama, Harris started for the past three seasons and would have had amazing rushing numbers if not for limited carries (150 or fewer per year). A two-down bulldozer with good speed and very good acceleration, Harris should start his NFL career as an early-down back. However, he clearly has the hands and pass-blocking prototype to become a three-down feature guy if a team put him in that role right away. He might need a good O-line in front of him to truly unlock his potential (he didn't create yards in 2018 as well as he did in 2017) and his pass blocking technique needs work. Aside from that, he's a mature, coach-able, physical running back with good speed.
Best Fantasy fits: The Raiders and Buccaneers could both use him, so whichever one of them doesn't take Jacobs would be great for Harris' Fantasy prospects.
3. David Montgomery, Iowa State
5-foot-10 1/8, 222 pounds, 4.58 in 40-yard dash
Montgomery has a complete skill set to go with nimble feet and good strength and power, but he doesn't flash a ton of speed. The 222-pounder moves his feet like he weighs 195, creating separation from tacklers with lateral quickness and very good balance to buy some space. He's also plenty physical, from finishing off runs with a plowing shoulder or stiff-arm to salvaging a run where a hole doesn't open by burrowing behind his linemen and pushing the pile. That skill especially came in handy near the goal line for the Cyclones. He's already got good pass protection technique and more than capable hands in spite of a limited route tree. When I see him, I see Matt Forte, a three-down running back who might not have a bunch of explosive plays but could fall into very nice production provided he gets the touches.
Best Fantasy fit: Put this man in Buffalo, where he can spend a year learning from Frank Gore and LeSean McCoy before taking over for them when the Bills' offensive line is stronger in 2020.
4. Miles Sanders, Penn State
5-foot-10 5/8, 211 pounds, 4.49 in 40-yard dash
The guy behind Saquon Barkley for two years at Penn State, Sanders could evolve into a three-down running back but will begin as a part-time runner. A nice combination of lower-body strength and good speed, Sanders' best asset is his lateral quickness to make cuts and create room to run. He can stop on a dime and burst past defenders for additional yards. He also has good, underrated (and under-utilized) hands that, combined with an improvement in route-running technique, can push him into a bigger role. But his physicality waned against tougher opponents, he didn't have a second gear and is a work-in-progress in pass protection. A zone-blocking team looking to complete a running back tandem without carving out specific roles would like Sanders.
Best Fantasy fit: Sanders would put pressure on the playing time of Lamar Miller and D'Onta Foreman in Houston
5. Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic
5-foot-7 1/2, 203 pounds, 4.66 in 40-yard dash
Singletary's nickname is "Motor", but it should be "Creator" because all he does is create yards. Over three years at FAU, he had the uncanny ability to consistently juke defenders, break tackles (113 in 2018 to lead the country), slip out of defenders' grasps and power through for extra yards -- all at just 5-foot-7 and a little more than 200 pounds. Singletary has good patience, rare balance and lateral agility, and a knack for picking up chunks of yardage after contact. He also has the look of a good receiving back even though he seldom did it in college. Translating his tackle-shedding skills to the pros could be an issue since much of his college competition was outside of the power-five conferences, but evading tackles will definitely be seen on Sundays. Singletary isn't the fastest back in the draft, and his ticket for three-down work won't get punched until his pass blocking greatly improves, but posting back-to-back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons with an unreal 66 rushing touchdowns in 38 games (714 career carries) can't be overlooked, especially since he did it the hard way. He's got a chance to evolve into a feature back in two seasons.
Best Fantasy fit: If Tennessee wanted to move on from Dion Lewis and present a "lightning" to Derrick Henry's "thunder," Singletary would work.
Next five best: Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M; Dexter Williams, Notre Dame; Darrell Henderson, Memphis; Justice Hill, Oklahoma State; Bryce Love, Stanford
1. Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
5-foot-9 3/8, 166 pounds, estimated under 4.4 in 40-yard dash
Speed kills in the NFL and no receiver in the class can match up to the electricity Brown emits. He's also an accomplished route-runner with the quickness, agility, footwork and head-fakes to help him get open. His size and build are major question marks -- he's lean, under 5-foot-10 and might only bulk up to 175 pounds or so. Scary as that may sound, cousin Antonio Brown and fellow speed freaks T.Y. Hilton, Tyreek Hill and DeSean Jackson are no more than an inch taller and weigh around 180 pounds. But the broken foot Brown is coming back from is an example of how frail he might be.
Best Fantasy fit: Any landing spot with a job opening and a cannon-armed quarterback would be good. Becoming Aaron Rodgers' newest weapon in Green Bay would be great. So, too, would re-uniting with Kyler Murray in (maybe) Arizona.
2. DK Metcalf, Ole Miss
6-foot-3 3/8, 228 pounds, 4.33 in 40-yard dash
You've seen Metcalf's shirtless pics and seen him sprint in a straight line. You may have also heard that he's stiff and inexperienced as a route-runner. All that is true, but it doesn't mean he's going to be this way for his entire career. Metcalf will already be a tough matchup as a rangy outside receiver, but once a team develops his route tree, he'll have every week potential to be dangerous. Moreover, he's one of a handful of receivers who will impact defensive game plans right away, pushing safeties and linebackers just a little bit farther from the line of scrimmage, opening up the run game. Metcalf will get valued just as much for his blocking and threatening speed as he will his size and upside to be molded into a very good receiver.
Best Fantasy fit: It would be heavenly if the Patriots paired their earlier pick in Round 2 with their first-round pick to move into the late teens and draft Metcalf.
3. Hakeem Butler, Iowa State
6-foot-5 3/8, 227 pounds, 4.48 in 40-yard dash
You can't coach size, and Butler's height and hands are among the largest in the draft. Able to line up anywhere, Butler's quickness, loose hips and strength help him create just enough separation and add yards after the catch. His catch radius is huge to help with inaccurate passes. There's room for him to get even better with coaching -- he's good at boxing-out defenders but in time he should dominate 50-50 balls with improved high-pointing technique. His speed isn't bad for a guy his size, either.
Best Fantasy fit: Punch his ticket to the 49ers with their second-round pick. They need outside receiver help and Kyle Shanahan should put Butler in positions to succeed.
4. Kelvin Harmon, North Carolina State
6-foot-2 1/2, 221 pounds, 4.6 in 40-yard dash
Harmon is just about a finished product in terms of size and strength. He's a big outside target who mauled defenders on a weekly basis as a run blocker. He also happens to have slick feet, reliable hands and the learned trait of using his strength and body to out-fox defenders. Putting it another way, a 50-50 ball to Harmon has a better than 50-50 chance of being caught. Harmon is a clone of Alshon Jeffery, albeit without the same kind of speed or acceleration Jeffery had. He should be a chain mover and red-zone target for a long time.
Best Fantasy fits: A big target like Harmon would play well in Seattle, forcing defenses into some tough choices on how to play him, Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin at the same time.
5. N'Keal Harry, Arizona State
6-foot-2 3/8, 228 pounds, 4.53 in 40-yard dash
Harry looks the part of an outside wideout but has plenty of experience lining up all over the field. He's got a strong build to go with his height and should be a big target right off the bat. His footwork and ability to quickly shift and change directions make him intriguing, especially since he's a big guy. Harry is also physical, preferring to bowl over defenders rather than try and speed past them. Harry has solid hands with a very good ability to high-point jump balls but does not have good long speed. He's also a good, aggressive blocker, though he struggled to beat press coverage.
Best Fantasy fit: Harry just needs a place he can play right away as a No. 2 receiver. It wouldn't take him long to ascend to the starting lineup in Jacksonville or Baltimore.
6. A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
6-foot-0 1/2, 226 pounds, 4.5 in 40-yard dash
Brown is a ready-to-go slot receiver who could put up some nice numbers if the volume is there for him. He's not very tall but is thick, helping him use power as part of his skill-set. He's quick off the snap and is a polished, wily route runner with excellent footwork. His speed is good enough where he won't get caught from behind but won't blow past defenders, either. He's also a good blocker. Might be the safest receiver in the class, even if he doesn't carry the kind of upside to be a No. 1 weapon for a team.
Best Fantasy fit: Honestly, Brown would fit into just about any offense, but if the Eagles wanted to get a one-year head-start on replacing Nelson Agholor, Brown would slide right in.
Next five best: Parris Campbell, Ohio State; Miles Boykin, Notre Dame; Deebo Samuel, South Carolina; Riley Ridley, Georgia, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Stamford
1. T.J. Hockenson, Iowa
6-foot-4 3/4, 251 pounds, 4.7 in 40-yard dash
Hockenson is not just the best all-around tight end in the draft, but he's among the best all-around skill-position players in the class. He's a Day 1 starter with good blocking skills (with room to improve) and very good receiving capabilities. His routes are smooth and his hands are very good, making him a dangerous threat in any offense. We will see him in a Pro Bowl before it's all over.
Best Fantasy fit: The Packers would turn him into a part of the offense faster than you can say "Jimmy Graham," but I have a hard time believing a prospect this safe gets past the Jaguars -- and he'd be pretty good there, too.
2. Noah Fant, Iowa
6-foot-4 1/8, 249 pounds, 4.5 in 40-yard dash
Fant has the potential to be the next great Fantasy tight end, but it's going to take some time. He's got the size for it, not to mention the speed, but Fant will need coaching to be a better route-runner and blocker. He also must improve his physicality, awareness and be in sync with the snap. If he puts it all together, he'll be awesome. If not, he'll disappoint.
Best Fantasy fits: A team that will use him specifically as a receiver and not as a blocker would accelerate his timeline into our lineups. Oakland comes to mind, as does Detroit, Arizona and Seattle.
3. Irv Smith, Jr., Alabama
6-foot-2 3/8, 242 pounds, 4.63 in 40-yard dash
Smith passes the eye-ball test with a wide, strong body and also has quality hands, but leaves a little to be desired otherwise. He's inconsistent in his separation and his route running and isn't a tackle-breaker on his receptions. Smith figures to be a good contributor to his team, but patience will be required to wait on him to be a primary part of an offense. He'll barely be 21 years old when Week 1 kicks off.
Best Fantasy fits: Don't expect Smith to contribute to Fantasy rosters this year. Hopefully a year learning on the job will pay off in 2020. The Redskins, Titans, Vikings and Steelers all qualify as teams with a tight end opening after this coming year.
Next best: Jace Sternberger, Texas A&M; Kahale Warring, San Diego State; Kaden Smith, Stanford
Fantasy Football Today Newsletter
Get tips, advice and news to win your league - all from the FFT podcast team.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Jamey Eisenberg has five under-the-radar rookies who could make an impact in re-draft leagues...
SportsLine simulated the 2019 NFL season 10,000 times and identified must-draft Fantasy Football...
Heath Cummings takes a look at best-ball ADP since the NFL draft and comes up with some of...
Phillip Lindsay went from an UDFA to being named to the Pro Bowl in 2018 -- and was a standout...
Sony Michel is coming off a strong rookie season that has some viewing him as a potential breakout....
Reports after the ousting of Jets GM Mike Maccagnan suggest Adam Gase didn't want to sign Le'Veon...