It’s been quite a while since my Week 16 article. Time has flown by and here we are preparing for August 1 for Denver vs. Atlanta, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves; there’s work to be done. I’ve intentionally taken my time, let the draft elapse, let everyone throw their rankings up, present their numbers—you know, the works. Whether you’re familiar with my articles or are new to it (welcome and thank you, if so), you’ll know I keep things simple and direct through three major factors in this order: (1) opportunity, (2) talent, and (3) landing spot. Bearing that logic and rookie camp ending, I’ll be presenting you with your top three must-have rookies, your three rookie sleepers, and your three rookies to remove from the board. I’m a risk taker, so be prepared to have a few shake ups.
Three Must Have Rookies
Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders
Honestly, it’s no surprise and a no-brainer to take Jacobs at 1.1 in all dynasty formats. Crowell is out for the season and names like Doug Martin, Jalen Richard, and DeAndre Washington are nowhere near threatening to Jacobs’ workload. The off-season acquisition of Antonio Brown will help keep the defenses a bit more honest as well. Even with a suspect offensive line this season, consider Jacobs a lock to get at least 275 touches and produce an RB2 floor and low RB1 numbers in PPR formats.
D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks
In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock, Russell Wilson will be a Seahawk another four years. Tyler Lockett has an injury history, bouts with inconsistency and is more of a complementary receiver rather than a WR1. Let’s not forget that Doug Baldwin has retired, vacating an average of 115 targets from 2015-2017 (Baldwin only had 73 in 2018 due to an injury-marred season that caused led to his retirement). Going back to 2013, Baldwin ranks eighth among all players in yards/target (9.32) and sixth in catch rate (70.6%) among receivers and tight ends. Yes, that’s Baldwin and not Metcalf; however, given the athletic ability, talent, and opportunity–what this article is about, in case you forgot–Metcalf is in prime position to have every opportunity to replicate Baldwin’s numbers. Consider him a top 3 option in all formats with a massive ceiling.
Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles
Let’s be completely honest, the Eagles haven’t had a viable running back since LeSean McCoy. There’s a reason they drafted Miles Sanders with the 53rd selection. I’m fully aware that they have Jordan Howard, Clement, Smallwood and Adams, but the latter three haven’t shown viability to be a true 2- or 3-down back and Howard will likely be in a similar role to that of when LeGarrette Blount was in Philly. Of all the backs, Sanders has the most upside and is the perfect fit in Doug Pederson’s scheme. Draft Sanders as a top 3 selection in rookie drafts as a RB2 with RB1 dynasty value.
Top Three Rookie Sleepers
Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams
You may not consider this a sleeper, but the ongoing concerns with Todd Gurley’s arthritic condition in his knee continues to instill doubt that he will be the top guy in fantasy points again. Bearing that in mind, it’s worth getting excited over Henderson carving out a small role in the short run. Les Snead has already drawn comparisons of an “Alvin Kamara” element to the offense. Add that to a Sean McVay system!? We may see a lot more of Henderson in the long-run if he showcases such skill like he did in Memphis.
Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills
Three things I think are causing people to sleep on Singletary: 1. His build and height (5’7″, 203 pounds); 2. His 4.66 40-time; and 3. He comes from a Group of 5 University in FAU. I’d say good points, but the positives outweigh the negatives. I’ll list them simply as follows:
1. He still led the nation in forced missed tackles (96).
2. He’s drawn LeSean McCoy comparisons…if you forgot, the Bills have LeSean McCoy, so they see the heir to Shady.
3. The Combine isn’t a full scope of player predictability.
4. The Bills focused on revamping their offensive line.
5. Power 5 or not, the man scored SIXTY-SIX rushing touchdowns in his college career.
Draft Singletary as a prime sleeper candidate to have a shot at lead back duties, possibly sooner should Buffalo end up being out of the playoff hunt early on.
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Philadelphia Eagles
Yes, two Eagles in one article. They drafted really well and I hate it as a Cowboys fan. Nevertheless, JJAW is a prime candidate to yield long-term dynasty value as Alshon Jeffery (29) and DeSean Jackson (32) continue to age and Nelson Agholor continues his volatile production. Even further, Alshon has an injury history. Draft JJAW as another high-end sleeper with long-term dynasty potential to be Carson Wentz’s second favorite target after Zach Ertz.
Top Three Rookies to Avoid
Andy Isabella, Arizona Cardinals
Overhyped. Overhyped. Overhyped. He’s got the speed but not the hands. I’m not sold on him being the WR2 and may easily be proven wrong. However, with Fitzgerald, Kirk, and Butler (who I think has more upside than Isabella), there is just too many mouths to feed this year and even next year after Fitzgerald likely retires. I’m factoring in the fact David Johnson also gets his touches.
A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans
Wow. I didn’t expect to type this pre-draft, but here we are! I think Brown still has the talent to put up a WR3 floor, but this is one of the worst spots for him to land. I don’t trust Mariota and I certainly don’t trust the fact the Titans have had five different offensive coordinators in five years. Not to mention they are an extreme run heavy team. I like AJB, and I’m hoping I’m wrong here, but the landing spot will cuff his talents and opportunity. For further evidence, see Corey Davis.
Damien Harris, New England Patriots
Who’d think a New England running back would appear on a thread of players to avoid? Now that I got my sarcasm out of the way, it’s no secret that the Pats haven’t used a surefire lead back since Corey Dillon. I’ve speculated that Sony Michel’s knee problems could lead to Harris taking over as the main back at some point, but I’m not going to flip coins on this headache.
N’Keal Harry, New England and David Montgomery, Chicago Bears
I told you, you’d be surprised, but keep in mind this is for DYNASTY purposes and not redraft. Here’s my rationale:
Harry: The Patriots have a VERY complex offense to learn. Furthermore, Bill Belichick has a zero tolerance for poor performance and has zero qualms about benching a player regardless of name or draft pedigree. Next, we do not know how much longer Tom Brady will be under center, leaving a hole for Harry’s long-term dynasty production. Last and least importantly, I still speculate that Bill will retire when Tom Brady retires. So this could be double trouble for Harry. Harry can and should be drafted top 5, especially if you are more in a win-now mode.
Montgomery: I like Montgomery’s situation a lot more. Simply put, I can’t see the Bears bailing on Tarik Cohen though. He’s been productive and reliable and fits well in Matt Nagy’s system as much as Montgomery. Cohen will only be complementary due to his small stature, but he will also continue to siphon touches from Montgomery. From a dynasty value, draft Montgomery top 5 with mid-range RB1 numbers.
Do you agree with this assessment? Leave your comment below or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.