Fantasy Football Mock Draft: We're buying upside with rookies flying off the board

It took us a little longer than expected to do our first PPR mock draft following the NFL Draft. That's because we were cranking out content for our upcoming Fantasy Football magazine, which we do in conjunction with Beckett Sports.

The magazine will be available in early June, and I promise you will enjoy all the Draft Prep we have to offer. And now that the shameless plug for the magazine is out of the way, let's get into this mock draft.

With the rookies finally in place on NFL rosters, we can fully evaluate their Fantasy outlooks for this season. And here, you can get a gauge of where they should be selected on Draft Day in a 12-team PPR league.

Heath Cummings did a great job looking at the rookies for dynasty leagues, which you can read here. This is a good guide for those of you in rookie-only drafts, happening now.

But rookies are clearly viewed differently in seasonal leagues, and only a handful are usually quality Fantasy options over the course of a season. In 2018, guys like Saquon Barkley, Phillip Lindsay, Nick Chubb and Calvin Ridley were reliable starters throughout the year. Meanwhile, others like Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen, Sony Michel, Kerryon Johnson, D.J. Moore and Dante Pettis had plenty of positive production, though it was sporadic.

The same will happen this season. There will also be rookies who flop, just like what happened to Rashaad Penny, Ronald Jones, Royce Freeman and Courtland Sutton, among others, last year. Still, we gravitate toward rookies, especially when they are put in prime spots. I'm certainly guilty of doing that in this mock draft.

I drafted the first rookie, Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, in Round 4 at No. 38 overall. That might be too soon, especially since there were other quality running backs still available in Aaron Jones, Chris Carson, Lindsay, Marlon Mack and Johnson, but I like the upside for Jacobs.

As the starter in Oakland, I'm expecting 250-plus touches, and Jacobs has the potential to be a workhorse. I project him as a top-15 running back in all formats.

I also drafted the second rookie in Chicago running back David Montgomery in Round 6 at No. 62 overall. While Montgomery could share time with Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis, I'm still counting on quality production from the rookie as the replacement for the departed Jordan Howard (Philadelphia).

Speaking of Howard, Eagles running back Miles Sanders was the third rookie drafted in Round 6 at No. 64 overall. Sanders could be the starter in Philadelphia, ahead of Howard, as early as Week 1, and this was a good spot to draft him. He's a flex option in most leagues to start the season, but he could be a top-20 running back by the end of the year.

Jacobs, Montgomery and Sanders, barring something unforeseen happening, will be the top three rookies drafted in most leagues. They have the most upside at a position we know Fantasy players covet, and all three could emerge as potential studs.

But after this trio of running backs, look for the rookie receivers to start coming off the board in most drafts, which happened here. Parris Campbell and Mecole Hardman went in Round 7, and N'Keal Harry and Marquise Brown went in Round 9.

All of these guys landed in good to potentially great situations. Campbell could be the starter in Indianapolis opposite T.Y. Hilton and catching passes from Andrew Luck. Hardman could be a starter in Kansas City in place of Tyreek Hill, who could be suspended, and he'd be catching passes from Patrick Mahomes. Harry could be a huge asset in New England with Rob Gronkowski gone. And Brown could be the No. 1 receiver in Baltimore, which could lead to plenty of targets, even from Lamar Jackson.

Other rookies of note in this mock draft include Darrell Henderson, D.K. Metcalf, Noah Fant, T.J. Hockenson and Kyler Murray. All of them could be quality Fantasy options this year.

Henderson was drafted in Round 9 at No. 107 overall by, guess who, and his Fantasy value could spike by the time we get to August. As the expected No. 2 running back for the Rams, Henderson could be in a great spot if Todd Gurley has any issue with his knee, which caused him problems in the playoffs last season.

Metcalf was drafted in Round 10 at No. 109 overall, which could be a steal now that Doug Baldwin was released by Seattle. By the time we get to August, don't be surprised if Metcalf is the starter opposite Tyler Lockett, which will drive up his Fantasy value.

Fant and Hockenson, who were teammates at Iowa, will likely be compared throughout their careers. Fant was drafted first in this mock draft in Round 10 at No. 117 overall, and Hockenson went in Round 11 at No. 124 overall.

I like Hockenson slightly better than Fant, but neither is worth drafting as a starter in seasonal leagues. Only once since 2014 has a rookie tight end finished as a No. 1 Fantasy option in PPR, which was Evan Engram in 2017. Rookie tight ends just aren't trustworthy Fantasy options right away.

As for Murray, he was the only rookie quarterback drafted, which will likely be the case in most one-quarterback seasonal leagues. I don't recommend drafting him as your only starter, but he does have top-10 upside playing in Kliff Kingsbury's offense.

Here, Meron Berkson drafted Murray as a backup to Cam Newton in Round 13 at No. 146 overall, which is a smart move with Newton coming off last year's shoulder injury. If Newton is out or has any limitations with his shoulder then Murray will hopefully be a capable replacement.

Plenty of other rookies were taken in this mock draft, and you should analyze where they were selected if there are certain guys you want to target. A few of my favorite late-round rookies include Andy Isabella, Darwin Thompson and Deebo Samuel.

Isabella might be the best Cardinals rookie receiver ahead of Malcolm Butler, and Thompson is one of my favorite sleepers. I'm not sold on Damien Williams as the full-time starter in Kansas City for 16 games, and Thompson could be the Chiefs best running back by the end of the season.

I drafted Samuel in Round 14 at No. 158 overall, and he should have the chance to start in San Francisco opposite Dante Pettis. He was an easy selection to make this late in the draft.

I also needed a receiver with upside given the state of my roster. After drafting Michael Thomas and Odell Beckham with my first two picks, I went running back heavy with six of my next seven picks: Leonard Fournette, Jacobs, Montgomery, Peyton Barber, Ronald Jones and Henderson.

Please pounce on Fournette if he falls past the beginning of Round 3. I know he burned a lot of you last season, but the offensive line, quarterback and his apparent improved attitude should help him have a breakout campaign in 2019.

And along with the rookie running backs, I also decided to take both guys in Tampa Bay's backfield, Barber and Jones. Should one become the featured option for the Buccaneers under coach Bruce Arians, that back could be a star.

Running back, tight end (Engram) and quarterback (Jameis Winston) should be in great shape on this roster, along with my starting receivers. Receiver depth is my lone concern.

Along with Samuel, I also have Anthony Miller and John Brown. Miller will hopefully improve in his sophomore season, and I expect Brown to do well being paired with Allen in Buffalo.

I like all three of these receivers, but my Fantasy team would be in trouble if Thomas or Beckham got hurt. Let's just hope both of them play all 16 games this year.

In this league, all touchdowns are worth six points, and we award one point for every 10 yards rushing and receiving and one point for every 25 yards passing. We also award one point for every reception. We feature a starting lineup of QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, FLEX (RB/WR/TE), K and DST. There also are six reserve spots for a 15-round draft.

Our draft order is as follows:

  1. R.J. White, NFL Editor
  2. Meron Berkson, CBS Sports HQ Producer
  3. Ben Gretch, Fantasy Editor
  4. Matthew Coca, CBS Sports HQ Producer
  5. Andrew Baumhor, CBS Sports HQ Producer
  6. George Maselli, Fantasy Editor
  7. Tommy Tran, CBS Sports HQ Host
  8. Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
  9. Adam Aizer, Podcast Host
  10. Chris Towers, Senior Editor, Fantasy
  11. Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer
  12. Jack Capotorto, CBS Sports HQ Producer
Round By Round
Round 1
Pos Team Player
1 R.J. White S. Barkley RB NYG
2 Meron Berkson A. Kamara RB NO
3 Ben Gretch C. McCaffrey RB CAR
4 Matthew Coca E. Elliott RB DAL
5 Andrew Baumhor M. Gordon RB LAC
6 George Maselli D. Adams WR GB
7 Tommy Tran D. Hopkins WR HOU
8 Dave Richard J. Jones WR ATL
9 Adam Aizer J. Conner RB PIT
10 Chris Towers J. Smith-Schuster WR PIT
11 Jamey Eisenberg M. Thomas WR NO
12 Jack Capotorto D. Johnson RB ARI
Round 2
Pos Team Player
13 Jack Capotorto T. Gurley RB LAR
14 Jamey Eisenberg O. Beckham WR CLE
15 Chris Towers T. Kelce TE KC
16 Adam Aizer L. Bell RB NYJ
17 Dave Richard J. Mixon RB CIN
18 Tommy Tran A. Brown WR OAK
19 George Maselli Z. Ertz TE PHI
20 Andrew Baumhor K. Allen WR LAC
21 Matthew Coca M. Evans WR TB
22 Ben Gretch G. Kittle TE SF
23 Meron Berkson N. Chubb RB CLE
24 R.J. White A. Green WR CIN
Round 3
Pos Team Player
25 R.J. White A. Cooper WR DAL
26 Meron Berkson T. Hilton WR IND
27 Ben Gretch S. Diggs WR MIN
28 Matthew Coca A. Thielen WR MIN
29 Andrew Baumhor D. Cook RB MIN
30 George Maselli P. Mahomes QB KC
31 Tommy Tran R. Woods WR LAR
32 Dave Richard D. Williams RB KC
33 Adam Aizer J. Edelman WR NE
34 Chris Towers D. Freeman RB ATL
35 Jamey Eisenberg L. Fournette RB JAC
36 Jack Capotorto J. Landry WR CLE
Round 4
Pos Team Player
37 Jack Capotorto B. Cooks WR LAR
38 Jamey Eisenberg J. Jacobs RB OAK
39 Chris Towers S. Watkins WR KC
40 Adam Aizer K. Golladay WR DET
41 Dave Richard A. Jones RB GB
42 Tommy Tran C. Carson RB SEA
43 George Maselli P. Lindsay RB DEN
44 Andrew Baumhor C. Godwin WR TB
45 Matthew Coca M. Mack RB IND
46 Ben Gretch K. Johnson RB DET
47 Meron Berkson T. Cohen RB CHI
48 R.J. White S. Michel RB NE
Round 5
Pos Team Player
49 R.J. White J. White RB NE
50 Meron Berkson D. Moore WR CAR
51 Ben Gretch T. Boyd WR CIN
52 Matthew Coca T. Lockett WR SEA
53 Andrew Baumhor K. Drake RB MIA
54 George Maselli D. Henry RB TEN
55 Tommy Tran M. Ingram RB BAL
56 Dave Richard C. Ridley WR ATL
57 Adam Aizer C. Kupp WR LAR
58 Chris Towers L. Miller RB HOU
59 Jamey Eisenberg E. Engram TE NYG
60 Jack Capotorto A. Rodgers QB GB
Round 6
Pos Team Player
61 Jack Capotorto E. Ebron TE IND
62 Jamey Eisenberg D. Montgomery RB CHI
63 Chris Towers D. Guice RB WAS
64 Adam Aizer M. Sanders RB PHI
65 Dave Richard D. Pettis WR SF
66 Tommy Tran O. Howard TE TB
67 George Maselli M. Williams WR LAC
68 Andrew Baumhor H. Henry TE LAC
69 Matthew Coca R. Anderson WR NYJ
70 Ben Gretch W. Fuller WR HOU
71 Meron Berkson A. Jeffery WR PHI
72 R.J. White T. Coleman RB SF
Round 7
Pos Team Player
73 R.J. White A. Robinson WR CHI
74 Meron Berkson J. Cook TE NO
75 Ben Gretch C. Kirk WR ARI
76 Matthew Coca J. Washington WR PIT
77 Andrew Baumhor J. McKinnon RB SF
78 George Maselli L. McCoy RB BUF
79 Tommy Tran A. Luck QB IND
80 Dave Richard P. Campbell WR IND
81 Adam Aizer G. Allison WR GB
82 Chris Towers M. Hardman WR KC
83 Jamey Eisenberg P. Barber RB TB
84 Jack Capotorto S. Shepard WR NYG
Round 8
Pos Team Player
85 Jack Capotorto D. Njoku TE CLE
86 Jamey Eisenberg R. Jones RB TB
87 Chris Towers D. Westbrook WR JAC
88 Adam Aizer D. Watson QB HOU
89 Dave Richard M. Ryan QB ATL
90 Tommy Tran K. Coutee WR HOU
91 George Maselli L. Fitzgerald WR ARI
92 Andrew Baumhor G. Tate WR NYG
93 Matthew Coca K. Ballage RB MIA
94 Ben Gretch B. Mayfield QB CLE
95 Meron Berkson L. Murray RB NO
96 R.J. White M. Jones WR DET
Round 9
Pos Team Player
97 R.J. White C. Davis WR TEN
98 Meron Berkson N. Harry WR NE
99 Ben Gretch M. Breida RB SF
100 Matthew Coca R. Wilson QB SEA
101 Andrew Baumhor A. Ekeler RB LAC
102 George Maselli C. Hyde RB KC
103 Tommy Tran J. Howard RB PHI
104 Dave Richard R. Penny RB SEA
105 Adam Aizer M. Brown WR BAL
106 Chris Towers I. Smith RB ATL
107 Jamey Eisenberg D. Henderson RB LAR
108 Jack Capotorto K. Hunt RB CLE
Round 10
Pos Team Player
109 Jack Capotorto D. Metcalf WR SEA
110 Jamey Eisenberg J. Winston QB TB
111 Chris Towers R. Freeman RB DEN
112 Adam Aizer J. Williams RB GB
113 Dave Richard C. Sutton WR DEN
114 Tommy Tran D. Singletary RB BUF
115 George Maselli D. Harris RB NE
116 Andrew Baumhor D. Hamilton WR DEN
117 Matthew Coca N. Fant TE DEN
118 Ben Gretch C. Samuel WR CAR
119 Meron Berkson E. Sanders WR DEN
120 R.J. White D. Brees QB NO
Round 11
Pos Team Player
121 R.J. White N. Hines RB IND
122 Meron Berkson J. Crowder WR NYJ
123 Ben Gretch J. Hill RB BAL
124 Matthew Coca T. Hockenson TE DET
125 Andrew Baumhor A. Brown WR TEN
126 George Maselli R. Gronkowski TE NE
127 Tommy Tran M. Valdes-Scantling WR GB
128 Dave Richard A. Mattison RB MIN
129 Adam Aizer V. McDonald TE PIT
130 Chris Towers T. Williams WR OAK
131 Jamey Eisenberg A. Miller WR CHI
132 Jack Capotorto D. Moncrief WR PIT
Round 12
Pos Team Player
133 Jack Capotorto D. Lewis RB TEN
134 Jamey Eisenberg Bears DST CHI
135 Chris Towers D. Jackson WR PHI
136 Adam Aizer D. Foreman RB HOU
137 Dave Richard A. Hooper TE ATL
138 Tommy Tran J. Goff QB LAR
139 George Maselli C. Thompson RB WAS
140 Andrew Baumhor C. Wentz QB PHI
141 Matthew Coca J. Samuels RB PIT
142 Ben Gretch M. Lee WR JAC
143 Meron Berkson C. Newton QB CAR
144 R.J. White D. Johnson RB CLE
Round 13
Pos Team Player
145 R.J. White C. Herndon TE NYJ
146 Meron Berkson K. Murray QB ARI
147 Ben Gretch J. Richard RB OAK
148 Matthew Coca Ravens DST BAL
149 Andrew Baumhor P. Rivers QB LAC
150 George Maselli A. Isabella WR ARI
151 Tommy Tran Z. Jones WR BUF
152 Dave Richard D. Thompson RB KC
153 Adam Aizer D. Walker TE TEN
154 Chris Towers D. Prescott QB DAL
155 Jamey Eisenberg J. Brown WR BUF
156 Jack Capotorto C. Anderson RB DET
Round 14
Pos Team Player
157 Jack Capotorto Jaguars DST JAC
158 Jamey Eisenberg D. Samuel WR SF
159 Chris Towers Vikings DST MIN
160 Adam Aizer G. Zuerlein K LAR
161 Dave Richard Texans DST HOU
162 Tommy Tran Chargers DST LAC
163 George Maselli Rams DST LAR
164 Andrew Baumhor Saints DST NO
165 Matthew Coca J. Tucker K BAL
166 Ben Gretch Cowboys DST DAL
167 Meron Berkson Browns DST CLE
168 R.J. White Patriots DST NE
Round 15
Pos Team Player
169 R.J. White S. Gostkowski K NE
170 Meron Berkson K. Fairbairn K HOU
171 Ben Gretch W. Lutz K NO
172 Matthew Coca T. Brady QB NE
173 Andrew Baumhor A. Vinatieri K IND
174 George Maselli H. Butker K KC
175 Tommy Tran G. Tavecchio K ATL
176 Dave Richard R. Gould K SF
177 Adam Aizer Eagles DST PHI
178 Chris Towers J. Myers K SEA
179 Jamey Eisenberg M. Crosby K GB
180 Jack Capotorto J. Elliott K PHI
Team by Team
R.J. White
Rd Pk Player
1 1 S. Barkley RB NYG
2 24 A. Green WR CIN
3 25 A. Cooper WR DAL
4 48 S. Michel RB NE
5 49 J. White RB NE
6 72 T. Coleman RB SF
7 73 A. Robinson WR CHI
8 96 M. Jones WR DET
9 97 C. Davis WR TEN
10 120 D. Brees QB NO
11 121 N. Hines RB IND
12 144 D. Johnson RB CLE
13 145 C. Herndon TE NYJ
14 168 Patriots DST NE
15 169 S. Gostkowski K NE
Meron Berkson
Rd Pk Player
1 2 A. Kamara RB NO
2 23 N. Chubb RB CLE
3 26 T. Hilton WR IND
4 47 T. Cohen RB CHI
5 50 D. Moore WR CAR
6 71 A. Jeffery WR PHI
7 74 J. Cook TE NO
8 95 L. Murray RB NO
9 98 N. Harry WR NE
10 119 E. Sanders WR DEN
11 122 J. Crowder WR NYJ
12 143 C. Newton QB CAR
13 146 K. Murray QB ARI
14 167 Browns DST CLE
15 170 K. Fairbairn K HOU
Ben Gretch
Rd Pk Player
1 3 C. McCaffrey RB CAR
2 22 G. Kittle TE SF
3 27 S. Diggs WR MIN
4 46 K. Johnson RB DET
5 51 T. Boyd WR CIN
6 70 W. Fuller WR HOU
7 75 C. Kirk WR ARI
8 94 B. Mayfield QB CLE
9 99 M. Breida RB SF
10 118 C. Samuel WR CAR
11 123 J. Hill RB BAL
12 142 M. Lee WR JAC
13 147 J. Richard RB OAK
14 166 Cowboys DST DAL
15 171 W. Lutz K NO
Matthew Coca
Rd Pk Player
1 4 E. Elliott RB DAL
2 21 M. Evans WR TB
3 28 A. Thielen WR MIN
4 45 M. Mack RB IND
5 52 T. Lockett WR SEA
6 69 R. Anderson WR NYJ
7 76 J. Washington WR PIT
8 93 K. Ballage RB MIA
9 100 R. Wilson QB SEA
10 117 N. Fant TE DEN
11 124 T. Hockenson TE DET
12 141 J. Samuels RB PIT
13 148 Ravens DST BAL
14 165 J. Tucker K BAL
15 172 T. Brady QB NE
Andrew Baumhor
Rd Pk Player
1 5 M. Gordon RB LAC
2 20 K. Allen WR LAC
3 29 D. Cook RB MIN
4 44 C. Godwin WR TB
5 53 K. Drake RB MIA
6 68 H. Henry TE LAC
7 77 J. McKinnon RB SF
8 92 G. Tate WR NYG
9 101 A. Ekeler RB LAC
10 116 D. Hamilton WR DEN
11 125 A. Brown WR TEN
12 140 C. Wentz QB PHI
13 149 P. Rivers QB LAC
14 164 Saints DST NO
15 173 A. Vinatieri K IND
George Maselli
Rd Pk Player
1 6 D. Adams WR GB
2 19 Z. Ertz TE PHI
3 30 P. Mahomes QB KC
4 43 P. Lindsay RB DEN
5 54 D. Henry RB TEN
6 67 M. Williams WR LAC
7 78 L. McCoy RB BUF
8 91 L. Fitzgerald WR ARI
9 102 C. Hyde RB KC
10 115 D. Harris RB NE
11 126 R. Gronkowski TE NE
12 139 C. Thompson RB WAS
13 150 A. Isabella WR ARI
14 163 Rams DST LAR
15 174 H. Butker K KC
Tommy Tran
Rd Pk Player
1 7 D. Hopkins WR HOU
2 18 A. Brown WR OAK
3 31 R. Woods WR LAR
4 42 C. Carson RB SEA
5 55 M. Ingram RB BAL
6 66 O. Howard TE TB
7 79 A. Luck QB IND
8 90 K. Coutee WR HOU
9 103 J. Howard RB PHI
10 114 D. Singletary RB BUF
11 127 M. Valdes-Scantling WR GB
12 138 J. Goff QB LAR
13 151 Z. Jones WR BUF
14 162 Chargers DST LAC
15 175 G. Tavecchio K ATL
Dave Richard
Rd Pk Player
1 8 J. Jones WR ATL
2 17 J. Mixon RB CIN
3 32 D. Williams RB KC
4 41 A. Jones RB GB
5 56 C. Ridley WR ATL
6 65 D. Pettis WR SF
7 80 P. Campbell WR IND
8 89 M. Ryan QB ATL
9 104 R. Penny RB SEA
10 113 C. Sutton WR DEN
11 128 A. Mattison RB MIN
12 137 A. Hooper TE ATL
13 152 D. Thompson RB KC
14 161 Texans DST HOU
15 176 R. Gould K SF
Adam Aizer
Rd Pk Player
1 9 J. Conner RB PIT
2 16 L. Bell RB NYJ
3 33 J. Edelman WR NE
4 40 K. Golladay WR DET
5 57 C. Kupp WR LAR
6 64 M. Sanders RB PHI
7 81 G. Allison WR GB
8 88 D. Watson QB HOU
9 105 M. Brown WR BAL
10 112 J. Williams RB GB
11 129 V. McDonald TE PIT
12 136 D. Foreman RB HOU
13 153 D. Walker TE TEN
14 160 G. Zuerlein K LAR
15 177 Eagles DST PHI
Chris Towers
Rd Pk Player
1 10 J. Smith-Schuster WR PIT
2 15 T. Kelce TE KC
3 34 D. Freeman RB ATL
4 39 S. Watkins WR KC
5 58 L. Miller RB HOU
6 63 D. Guice RB WAS
7 82 M. Hardman WR KC
8 87 D. Westbrook WR JAC
9 106 I. Smith RB ATL
10 111 R. Freeman RB DEN
11 130 T. Williams WR OAK
12 135 D. Jackson WR PHI
13 154 D. Prescott QB DAL
14 159 Vikings DST MIN
15 178 J. Myers K SEA
Jamey Eisenberg
Rd Pk Player
1 11 M. Thomas WR NO
2 14 O. Beckham WR CLE
3 35 L. Fournette RB JAC
4 38 J. Jacobs RB OAK
5 59 E. Engram TE NYG
6 62 D. Montgomery RB CHI
7 83 P. Barber RB TB
8 86 R. Jones RB TB
9 107 D. Henderson RB LAR
10 110 J. Winston QB TB
11 131 A. Miller WR CHI
12 134 Bears DST CHI
13 155 J. Brown WR BUF
14 158 D. Samuel WR SF
15 179 M. Crosby K GB
Jack Capotorto
Rd Pk Player
1 12 D. Johnson RB ARI
2 13 T. Gurley RB LAR
3 36 J. Landry WR CLE
4 37 B. Cooks WR LAR
5 60 A. Rodgers QB GB
6 61 E. Ebron TE IND
7 84 S. Shepard WR NYG
8 85 D. Njoku TE CLE
9 108 K. Hunt RB CLE
10 109 D. Metcalf WR SEA
11 132 D. Moncrief WR PIT
12 133 D. Lewis RB TEN
13 156 C. Anderson RB DET
14 157 Jaguars DST JAC
15 180 J. Elliott K PHI
Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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