Rookies can (and sometimes do) win you a Fantasy Football league. The first player that comes to mind is Odell Beckham, who burst onto the scene in 2014 with the New York Giants. He started just 11 games (playing in 12), yet finished the season with 130 targets, 91 receptions and 1,305 receiving yards. OBJ won a lot of leagues. A LOT OF LEAGUES. With the 2019 NFL season just a handful of weeks away, who should we consider to be the Fantasy Football Impact Rookies this year? Who are our OBJ’s?
The die-hard Fantasy research geek will know some of these names (e.g. the obvious Kyler Murray mention), but more casual Fantasy owners will not. Some rookies make an immediate impact, while others hold a clipboard for a few years.
Here are SEVEN players that could make a significant impact by year’s end. The challenge will be finding the right time to draft them. ADP can help, but every league is different. In the end, I decided to cover at least one player at each key position, while adding in a few potential diamonds in the rough.
Sexy Seven: 2019 Fantasy Football Impact Rookies for the Upcoming Season
Kyler Murray (QB – Arizona Cardinals)
First, let’s get the obvious choice out of the way. Murray can really sling it and has the speed and shiftiness to provide points via rushing yards, too. Assuming he is the starting QB in Week 1, he will most definitely be an impact player. However, I see him more as a backup Fantasy QB. This is a stash move and not someone to rely on as a starter. Why? For one, there will be growing pains. We saw that in his second preseason game. Also, his durability and size worry me. Having Kliff Klingsbury as a rookie NFL head coach also is a concern. Combine that with the talent level surrounding him and it is hard to predict just how well he’ll do. If anything, if he stays healthy, the Cardinals will likely fall behind in games and Murray will be there to pick up a lot of fourth quarter garbage points with his arm and feet.
Crazy Note: On average (in ESPN drafts), Murray is currently being selected ahead of Tom Brady, Russell Wilson and Dak Prescott
DK Metcalf (WR – Seattle Seahawks)
The freak athlete jumped off the charts during the NFL combine. As a result, he was one of the more talked about players and ended up in Seattle with the 64th pick (2nd round). Metcalf lands on the top of the depth chart, following the departure of Doug Baldwin. He has breakaway speed and that was very much on display in Seattle’s first preseason game. It didn’t translate to the box score but let’s keep in mind that Russell Wilson wasn’t throwing to him. Put the league’s highest paid QB on the field and this could easily be an explosive combo. Tamper your expectations, because not only is he still a rookie, but the Seahawks are going to focus on being a run first team.
Note: A clear sleeper, barely cracking the top 50 among WR’s in ESPN drafts (ADP: 141)
David Montgomery (RB – Chicago Bears)
One of the more talked about backs amongst prognosticators, Montgomery replaces Jordan Howard in Chicago. The Bears traded up to get him (in the 3rd round) and many feel he has more to offer in the passing game, while having the frame and ability to be a workhorse back. Tarik Cohen remains and could take away some production, but in the end, Montgomery could be the steal of your draft.
Note: In ESPN’s live draft trends, he’s surprisingly the 27th back taken (ADP: 75)
Josh Jacobs (RB – Oakland Raiders)
Jacobs had an impressive performance against Arizona. Yes, it’s preseason and it’s the inexperienced Cardinals. Still, you can see the explosiveness. He recently was quoted as saying the NFL game “is slowing down for me already”. Confidence and explosiveness are a filthy combo. Keep in mind what Kareem Hunt did as a rookie for the Chiefs last season (before we found out he had dirtbag tendencies). On the Fantasy front, Jacobs is a worthy addition and likely to go fairly early, because workhorse running backs are far from a dime a dozen in Fantasy.
Note: His average ESPN ADP is 44, so if you want him, you’ll need to invest early
Terry McLaurin (WR – Washington Redskins)
The rookie from Ohio State wasn’t the highest profile member of the Buckeyes receiving corps. He was, however, a great leader and a player with reliable hands that was also a good route runner. It is no secret that the Redskins are short-handed at the wide receiver position, especially following the departure of Jamison Crowder (to the Jets). Josh Doctson has been inconsistent and someone needs to step up in D.C. McLaurin could emerge and be that guy. Toss in the fact that Dwayne Haskins played with him in college. If Haskins eventually lands the starting gig, the chemistry could rise to another level. He is worth your attention and a late round selection.
Note: Currently outside the top 50 receivers being taken in ESPN drafts
Alexander Mattison (RB – Minnesota Vikings)
He is an unknown by a lot of Fantasy owners, yet is in a very good position to take over the number two slot on the Vikings RB depth chart. Mattison is therefore likely to be a handcuff for a number of Dalvin Cook owners. If you can swipe him at the right spot, it can be a trade chip or a future starter, considering the injury-prone Cook has played a combined fifteen games in his first two seasons. In Minnesota’s first preseason game, Mattison ran 9 times for 30 yards and added in a one-yard TD reception.
Note: Tough to gauge and again, it depends on trends in your league and if people prefer to invest in handcuff players early or not
T.J. Hockenson (TE – Detroit Lions)
Hockenson is considered by many to be one of the stronger and more complete tight end prospects in years. Yes, rookie TE’s often disappoint in Fantasy. Remember, the Lions suffered a number of key injuries at the WR position last year. If that happens again, the door opens more for Hockenson. Also, if Hockenson is as solid a blocker as scouts say, he’ll be on the field more frequently, opening the door for more receptions. Often, offensive-minded tight ends do not block as well and do not see as much time on the field. It’s simple math, but worth considering.
Note: Currently the 19th TE taken (ESPN ADP – 164), worth a late selection and could serve as your backup tight end in the early weeks
Other Rookies to Consider:
- Hunter Renfrow (WR – Raiders)
- Miles Sanders (RB – Eagles)
- Noah Fant (TE – Broncos)
- Devin Singletary (RB – Bills)
- Andy Isabella (WR – Cardinals)
Now that you have viewed the TWHS list of impact rookies, let’s talk Fantasy Football, shall we? Do you agree or disagree with any or all of these selections?
Who do you consider to be at the top of your list of Fantasy Football Impact Rookies?
Other 2019 Fantasy Football Posts at TWHS:
Reference: ESPN Live Draft Trends
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