Early Fantasy Football Rookies to Target

Return of the King, ladies and gents. Deke’s home after a state mandated boyfriend trip and what else would I come back with other than some Fantasy Football updates. I was able to watch most of the NFL Draft this weekend which was lovely, but after a quick recap of picks, I’m ready for our first bit of fantasy content for the year.

For this, I basically categorized a few guys I wanted to talk about into three categories : Draft, Avoid, and Sleepers. Simply put, some rookies you can draft in a fantasy draft, some you should absolutely avoid, and others might eventually break rank and prove their fantasy worth. In perfect, Deke fashion, let’s just get started.

*THIS IS WRITTEN FOR A PPR 10+ TEAM REDRAFT LEAGUE*

DRAFTABLE ROOKIES

Josh Jacobs, Running Back, Oakland Raiders

I don’t really bet any of the knocks against this kid. Josh Jacobs is a feel good story matched with an NFL ready style of play. The dude was homeless and fought until he made ti to the NFL. I know that he split carries with Damian Harris his last season at Alabama, but if a major knock on most college running backs is the wear and tear, this kid has barely been touched. The Oakland Raiders have 0 other running backs, so expect him to get a heavy workload early that’s favorable with the new influx of receivers.

Noah Fant, Tight End, Denver Broncos

The big debate amongst the TE class this season was who was the better prospect, T.J. Hockenson or Noah Fant. Personally, I do like Hock better, but there’s a few things to keep in mind here. The first and most important thing is, the Broncos now have Joe Flacco at the helm who LOVES his tight ends. If you need proof, last year the Ravens took two tight ends in the NFL Draft and although they proved to love Lamar Jackson more than Flacco, those picks were made for Joe. Fant is a great talent who runs a 4.50 40 yard dash and reminds me of peak Vernon Davis on the outside. I LOVE this kid for redraft leagues this year.

N’Keal Harry, Wide Receiver, New England Patriots

I think a large majority of draft fans got swept away by a mediocre receiving class this year and assumed a run would start in the first round. Harry, a player who has been compared to the likes of Dez Bryant, was the second receiver off the board to the Patriots. The Pats are an interesting team for fantasy this year. They lost Gronk, Chris Hogan and Cordarrelle Patterson this off season, so Harry finds himself INSTANTLY as Brady’s #1 receiver…behind Edelman, of course. I think Harry will work wonders this year.

Deebo Samuel, Wide Receiver, San Francisco 49ers

In the words of co-host Greg, “I watched this dude light up the SEC”….I still don’t believe Greg watched any SEC games that didn’t have Alabama (he doesn’t read blogs anyways) I do like Deebo, especially in the 49ers offense. Deebo is the best slot receiver in the draft hands down. Although I know people are far gone on the Marquise Goodwin / Dante Pettis train, Samuel is the most talented receiver on that roster bar none. He can do it all, and with Jimmy “YungGodPornStarLover” G coming into his first healthy season as the starter, there will be a nice connection here.

D.K. Metcalf, Wide Receiver, Seattle Seahawks

D.K. fell in the draft pretty hard, but if there’s one thing this kid can do it’s prove people wrong. Doug Baldwin is basically done playing in the NFL, meaning that Russ only has two serviceable receivers (Lockett, Moore) from last year to go into the new season with. Metcalf is going to be an unbelievable talent for this team. I think a late round flyer on a guy who has arguably the best chance to be a true #1 isn’t too out of the question.

David Montgomery, Running Back, Chicago Bears

Coach Naggggggy and I have a few things in common. We both enjoy a rousing game of football. We both are under 6 foot 3. We both hated Jordan Howard as an RB1. So much in common. Montgomery was my guy from this running back group going into the draft strictly due to his game adapting to todays NFL so nicely. Montgomery will waltz into Chicago and have the true starting job from day one with one thing in mind….we really don’t know what that position looks like. Tarik Cohen has been amazing in this system and continues to thrive, but you have to assume Monty gets the majority of the traditional work load. I love this guy in a very hot rising young team.

AVOIDABLE ROOKIES

Any of the Quarterbacks

Personally, I LOVE a few of these guys in a dynasty league, especially Dwayne Haskins at the Redskins and the Patriots Jarrett Stidham (although more of a long term play). I don’t believe Murray has instant success in the NFL under his new coach despite the talented receiving core around him. I also dont think Lock is worth a look in any format until we understand just what Flacco’s role is in Denver. In a redraft league, the only player who has a legit chance to break my draft would be Haskins, and that’s only because he’s the guy with a starting job. Also……Will Grier might beat out Cam Newton at some point. Hot Take.

Irv Smith Jr., Tight End, Minnesota Vikings

Although the major conversation was the debate between Hock and Fant as the #1 TE, Smith Jr. had cemented himself as the obvious choice for the third overall TE in this draft. My reservations with this pick come from a place more of confusion than anything else. The Vikings don’t know how to use Kirk Cousins and they obviously don’t know the talent they have in Kyle Rudolph. Rumors have emerged of Rudolph being a trade piece to move for the Vikings this offseason and I understand sometimes change is needed, but when healthy and used Rudolph is a top ten play in fantasy, easy. Also it should be noted I’m never high on first year tight ends. Hopefully Smith proves me wrong on this pick.

Marquise Brown, Wide Receiver, Baltimore Ravens

HEAR YA BOI OUT! I think Marquise Brown is going to be an upper tier receiver based on his speed alone. This guy isn’t just fast, he’s faast. He has an excellent ability to lose any CB in the dust and a decent route runner at that. My reservations with Brown come from two places. He’s coming off an injury that he “should” be cleared by come mini camp, but an injury is an injury. Look no further than Bryce Love if you really need to understand how much an injury can impact you. Second, it’s the ravens. I know they don’t have many other pass catchers, but Lamar Jackson isn’t quite known for his outstanding deep ball play. I hope they get a thing going and I’m wrong, but until I am I’m not taking the dude in a redraft league.

ROOKIE SLEEPERS

T.J. Hockenson, Tight End, Detroit Lions

I LOVE Hockenson, don’t get me wrong. He has proven to be one of the best pass catching talents in this entire draft and should have a pretty awesome NFL career. My major issues with Hock comes with the team that drafted him. The last major offensive weapon the Lions took in the first round was Eric Ebron, who you might know from his massive success this past year for the Colts. The Lions have no way to know if they can work with Hock the way they couldn’t with Ebron. Also, rookie tight ends traditionally take time to function in the NFL. The only recent instant impact rookie was Evan Engram who finished as a top ten TE in his first year. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m cool without Hock in redraft leagues until I see some production.

Miles Sanders, Running Back, Philadelphia Eagles

As was with Hock, most of these rankings are not an indictment of the player themselves. It’s more based around the team they were drafted into and the potential touches they will have their first year. Miles Sanders was a late round riser out of Penn State. Traditionally, I like running backs in favorable situations more than this, but the Eagles have had a murky backfield for years. Sanders could walk in and compete for the job, but with returning talent Josh Adams, Corey Clement, Donnel Pumphrey, Wendell Smallwood and recent addition Jordan Howard on the depth chart, Sanders will need to prove his worth first.

Mecole Hardman, Wide Receiver, Kansas City Chiefs

Admit it. You had 0 clue who Hardman was until the Chiefs took him, and that’s ok. Hardman is a speedster and a big play guy, which makes sense for the Chiefs considering no-one knows the future of star wide out Tyreek Hill. Hardman finds himself in arguably the most favorably landing sport for any receiver in this draft in Kansas City, but personally I need to see the connection with him and Mahomes before I’m sold. People forget…Tyreek Hill wasn’t just a speedster, he was THE speedster. It will be interesting to see how Hardman fills that role.

Hakeem Butler, Wide Receiver, Arizona Cardinals

Honestly, I’m not too sure why Butler fell the way he did in the draft. This guy has a big frame with tons of upside, so maybe the drop issues scared a few teams away. I love Butler, but I need some time to see how Kliff’s offense pans out. I’m very low on Murray, so sadly I’m not crazy high on the plethora of receivers this team now has. Larry Fitzgerald, Christian Kirk, Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler. One of these guys will be irrelevant, and I don’t want to draft the one that is. Dynasty, love the three young Cardinals receivers. Redraft…..I’m only looking at Fitz so far.

Kelvin Harmon, Wide Receiver, Washington Redskins

This one is a combination of situation plus player. I’m not high on Harmon himself, but I am high on the Redskins having a serviceable player on their receiving squad this season. I know the team signed Case Keenum, but I think Haskins will compete and win the starting job. This depth chart is basically the island of misfit toys with Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, Trey Quinn and….not much else. Harmon won’t have an easy path, but he does have a nice job opening up in front of him. Keep an eye on Harmon.

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