Top 30 Dynasty Rookie Prospects
1. Josh Jacobs - Raiders - RB1
With the news of Isaiah Crowell's torn Achilles Jacobs won't have much competition for early down work. Passing down work may be tougher to wrestle away from Jalen Richard given Gruden's historical tendency towards utilizing two backs. This could limit Jacobs' ceiling out of the gate, but he has the receiving chops to be an every-down back long term.
2. T.J. Hockenson - Lions - TE1
Some experts push tight ends down the board due to low starting requirements in most leagues (i.e. one tight end). I am of the opposite opinion. Historically, there are only a few difference makers at the position each season. Owning one of them is a big advantage. Early rumors have Hockenson splitting time with Jesse James. This could be true since the strength demands of the position can take time to grow into. Long term Hockenson provides the Lions with a strong interior pass catcher to complement outside receivers, Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones. He has the upside to be the top target in the offense.
3. David Montgomery - Bears - RB2
Montgomery lands in a great situation here. With Jordan Howard gone and only Mike Davis added, Montgomery is currently the favorite to operate as the lead back in an innovative offense under Matt Nagy. Like Jacobs, Montgomery's upside is capped due to the presence of a strong receiving back in Tarik Cohen. Montgomery unlike Jordan Howard though is not a liability in the passing game which could keep him relevant in bad game scripts.
4. N'Keal Harry - Patriots - WR1
Harry is not my favorite prospect in this receiving class, but he is good enough to grade as the top wide receiver given the first round equity spent by the Patriots. Harry struggles with press coverage at times and doesn't use his athletic length through the catch process as well as he could. He has room to grow in those areas though and immediately provides Tom Brady with a nice run after catch option on intermediate routes. He can also execute the back shoulder fade as good as anyone in the class.
5. Parris Campbell - Colts - WR2
Campbell lands in a great spot with Andrew Luck at quarterback. He also benefits from a roster currently built around niche players outside of T.Y. Hilton. Eric Ebron is a part-time player who attacks the intermediate and deep middle areas of the field. Devin Funchess is an outside possession receiver rather than an alpha that demands targets. Campbell's upside is real - he could be the number two option in this offense sooner rather than later and could eventually be the successor to T.Y. Hilton as the lead guy.
6. Noah Fant - Broncos - TE2
Fant is an uber-athletic tight end that lands in a strong scheme with a favorable path to opportunity. The tight end depth chart is wide open. Emmanuel Sanders is the top target ahead of young receivers Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton. Sanders is aging and Sutton struggled as a rookie. New coordinator Rich Scangarello brings the Kyle Shanahan version of the West Coast Offense. This means a lot of play action and bootlegs designed to create mismatches for the tight end on drags, posts and flat routes (i.e George Kittle, Brent Jones, Shannon Sharpe, Owen Daniels). Fant likely finishes as the third or fourth target this season but could find himself as the number one as soon as 2020.
7. Mecole Hardman - Chiefs - WR3
With the cloud hanging over Tyreek Hill's future, the Chiefs needed another playmaker to take advantage of their young quarterback's tremendous ability so they moved up in the second round to grab Hardman. The former five-star recruit arguably has the highest upside of any player on this list (he has only played receiver for two years). We could easily see Hardman as the third target on the team behind Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins this season. If Watkins' foot falters he could be pushed into the number two role. While his upside is undeniable, you have to balance the fact that he still has a lot to learn, thus he lands behind Harry and Campbell.
8. Marquise Brown - Ravens - WR4
"Hollywood" is a playmaker. Unfortunately, he landed in one of the most run-heavy offenses in the league with a quarterback still developing his down-field game. As Jackson progresses Brown should have plenty of chances to make big plays, but his short-term volume is a legitimate concern for the speedster. He has a shot at becoming the number one target this season but in this offense, he may need 30% of the targets to provide viable week-to-week fantasy production. That number isn't likely.
9. Miles Sanders - Eagles - RB3
I am extremely leery of Doug Pederson's running backs as fantasy assets. He historically has shown a strong tendency to rotate three guys. However, investing a second round pick is something Pederson hasn't done before. Maybe Pederson will limit his 2019 backfield to a one-two punch, which would benefit Sanders greatly.
10. Kyler Murray - Cardinals - QB1
Ranking a quarterback this high is something I don't do often, but Murray has a unique skill set and the NFL continues to promote offense with their rule changes. Murray is a true threat to rush for 500 plus yards and throw for 4,000 yards in the very near future. Kliff Kingsbury is on the record stating he is ready to open things up. If Kyler can survive punishment (slight frame) his upside is a top-three fantasy quarterback within the next three years.
11. Andy Isabella - Cardinals - WR5
Isabella is an ideal fit for Kliff Kingsbury's system. Like traditional slot receivers, he has the ability to separate underneath due to his immense quickness. However, he has rare speed for a slot receiver and can beat defenders deep (ask Georgia). You can't help but think Kingsbury has big plans to create mismatches galore with his new toy.
12. Deebo Samuel - 49ers - WR6
Samuel is a solid prospect but will have to beat out either Marquise Goodwin or Dante Pettis to get immediate snaps. Both have an injury history so the door could open that way. If not, Samuel is probably a year or two away from fantasy relevance but still makes for a fine stash due to the nature of the offensive scheme.
13. A.J. Brown - Titans - WR7
Brown is a nice talent, but his landing spot didn't do him any favors. This is a team that still doesn't know what it has at quarterback and prefers to run the ball (rushed second-most in NFL when trailing in 2018). Brown will also have to share targets with former first-rounder Corey Davis and freshly signed slot option Adam Humphries. Delanie Walker is also still in the mix. This is a situation where you will likely have to wait to see returns.
14. Irv Smith Jr - Vikings - TE3
Smith Jr. would rank higher on this list if he didn't land on a team where his target share is capped by two solid receivers (Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs). His talent isn't that far off from TE1 and TE2 on this list, but the pathway to opportunity isn't as strong.
15. Devin Singletary - Bills RB4
Singletary is an exciting back to watch, similar to his new teammate LeSean McCoy. But for now, he finds himself in a crowded backfield with McCoy, Frank Gore, and T.J. Yeldon. If McCoy or Gore are removed from the equation, Singletary jumps up this list as many as ten spots. If the roster remains as is Singletary is a year away from fantasy relevance.
16. Jace Sternberger - Packers - TE4
Sternberger is probably a year away from fantasy relevance behind Jimmy Graham, but whenever that day comes he will be playing with a great quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. Additionally, the target pecking order is currently wide open behind Davante Adams. Even with Jimmy Graham on the team, Sternberger could push for a role this season.
17. D.K. Metcalf - Seahawks - WR8
Russell Wilson has a great deep ball and hasn't had an athlete like Metcalf on the outside before. There will definitely be some big plays. The problem will be volume. This is the most run-heavy offense in the league and Metcalf hasn't shown much versatility in his game to this point. He will need to further develop in order to be a bigger part of the game plan.
18. Hakeem Butler - Cardinals - WR9
Butler has a solid long term outlook. Larry Fitzgerald is probably in his last season and Kyler Murray / Kliff Kingsbury will make the offense interesting, to say the least. For this season Butler likely finds himself as the fourth option behind Fitzgerald, Andy Isabella, and Christian Kirk.
19. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside - Eagles - WR10
Butler, Metcalf, and Arcega-Whiteside are all essentially on one mini-tier here. Arcega-Whiteside has a chance to quickly carve out a role as a red zone rebounder type as early as this season. However, his upside is capped currently with Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, and DeSean Jackson all foaming at the mouth for targets.
20. Diontae Johnson - Steelers - WR11
Johnson was a bit of a surprise pick where he went in the draft, but the Steelers like him and someone has to pick up targets with Antonio Brown gone. James Washington struggled in his rookie season and Donte Moncrief has been a disappointment so far despite getting quality time with Andrew Luck. Johnson is a name to watch closely this preseason - he could rise.
21. Alexander Mattison - RB5
Dalvin Cook is the number one in Minnesota, but the Vikings are looking for a back to help ease the load. Thus, the Mattison pick in round three of the draft. Mattison probably has a fast-track to 150 carries or so with Latavius Murray gone. That number could quickly inflate to 250 plus if Cook faces injury challenges again. It is also no secret that defensive-minded head coach Mike Zimmer wants to run the ball more.
22. Darrell Henderson - Rams - RB6
I have Henderson ranked below most. Based on Todd Gurley's contract though there really isn't any other way to look at it currently in my mind. He is a talented handcuff. If Gurley's knee issues turn out to be bigger than we think then he is a lottery ticket. I don't play the lottery. The odds suck.
23. Damien Harris - Patriots - RB7
Harris gets a bit of bad luck landing with the Patriots who just drafted Sony Michel. He could lock down the third back role though, which has some stand-alone value with built-in injury upside if Michel or James White gets injured.
24. Miles Boykin - Ravens - WR12
Boykin highpoints the football as well as anyone in this class. He also has upside given his athletic profile (best all-around Combine since Julio Jones). Great resume bullet points if employed by a passing team. Baltimore is a run first team with a quarterback who is still developing. Boykin is worth drafting, but this passing offense will have to grow before your investment shows returns.
25. Darwin Thompson - Chiefs - RB8
Thompson is a great fit for this scheme. If Damien Williams or Carlos Hyde are injured this season they may not get their respective role back. This is a back with a great blend of speed, acceleration, vision and balance who can work inside and out.
26. Justice Hill - Ravens - RB9
Hill finds himself on a team that is willing to give their backs plenty of reps. If he can beat out Kenneth Dixon during the preseason for the complementary role to Mark Ingram this ranking will rise.
27. Dwayne Haskins - Redskins - QB2
Haskins lands in a situation where he could easily be the day one starter for his team. His surrounding talent is suspect though with Jordan Reed, Chris Thompson, Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, and Terry McLaurin. Doctson is a bust to this point. Reed, Thompson, and Richardson are all injury prone and fellow Ohio State rookie Terry McLaurin has never been more than a complementary deep threat to this point in his football career.
28. Jalen Hurd - 49ers - WR13
Another talented receiver that joins a crowded corps of pass targets. Hurd will back up Dante Pettis, Marquise Goodwin, and fellow rookie Deebo Samuel out of the gate but brings some much-needed size to the group and could find a niche as a red zone target early.
29. Bryce Love - RB10
Love is a player that will require extreme patience. He is recovering from a late-season ACL injury and joins a currently muddled backfield. Derrius Guice is expected to work with Adrian Peterson on early downs and the tandem will give way to receiving back extraordinaire Chris Thompson in passing situations. Love will likely find himself inactive or in a reserve capacity this season barring injury to one of the starters. Still, he is a player who has flashed in the past and could push for a substantial role in 2020.
30. Drew Lock - QB3
Lock will start the season behind veteran Joe Flacco but could see playing time as the season wears on if the Broncos have a losing record. If the Broncos are competitive he will have to wait until 2020 to challenge for the starting position.
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