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. 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.
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 . 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:
- R.J. White, NFL Editor
- Meron Berkson, CBS Sports HQ Producer
- Ben Gretch, Fantasy Editor
- Matthew Coca, CBS Sports HQ Producer
- Andrew Baumhor, CBS Sports HQ Producer
- George Maselli, Fantasy Editor
- Tommy Tran, CBS Sports HQ Host
- Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
- Adam Aizer, Podcast Host
- Chris Towers, Senior Editor, Fantasy
- Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer
- Jack Capotorto, CBS Sports HQ Producer