February to April is ruled by Draft Twitter. Countless hot takes, I’m right/you’re wrong, and no middle ground. As always, there were plenty of surprising draft picks, which certainly affects fantasy football value.
While the media oftentimes uses the best case scenario for player comparisons, the RotoViz Box Score Scout has an NFL player comparison tool that provides rational, objective SimScore comparisons. Now that the NFL Draft has passed, the Box Score Scout player comparison app is able to account for Draft Pick in its algorithm, thus further improving its accuracy.
Michael Dubner uses the Box Score Scout to find the top player comparisons for skill position players drafted in the first-round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Let’s see if your favorite teams drafted the next Generational Talent or the next colossal bust.
1. QB Kyler Murray (Oklahoma) – Arizona Cardinals
Thoughts: It’s no surprise that Murray comps to some of the best athletes to ever play Quarterback in college. Murray will be a useful fantasy asset given his Konami Code ability (shout out to RotoViz OG @LordReebs)
6. Daniel Jones (Duke) – New York Giants
8. T.J. Hockenson (Iowa) – Detroit Lions
Thoughts: Hockenson is largely considered to be one of the best tight end prospects of all time. Many in the media comp Hockenson to Rob Gronkowski. Here at RotoViz we don’t just casually comp players to the best TE in NFL history. But even when using the objective Box Score Scout NFL player comparison tool, nearly all of Hockenson’s comps are good-to-strong producers at the NFL level.
Hockenson’s biggest hurdle for fantasy football will be the learning curve required to play TE at the NFL level, as well as possibly being asked to block on the majority of his snaps.
15. Dwayne Haskins (Ohio State) – Washington
Thoughts: QB prospects are possibly the hardest position to evaluate in sports, so don’t take these comps as gospel. But it is encouraging that Haskins comps to starting NFL QBs.
20. Noah Fant (Iowa) – Denver Broncos
Thoughts: Fant is a 94th percentile SPARQ-x athlete with an 82nd percentile College Dominator (27 percent) and 85th percentile Breakout Age (19.8). His stats would be even more glowing if he didn’t share the field with the Generational Talent T.J. Hockenson and Iowa Hawkeye alum George Kittle.
There’s a good case to be made for Fant being the top fantasy football rookie TE given that he will be used almost exclusively as a pass-catcher.
24. Josh Jacobs (Alabama) – Oakland Raiders
Thoughts: Jacobs didn’t put up strong statistics at Alabama (15th-percentile College Dominator) and didn’t test well athletically (30th-percentile Speed Score). It’s not a surprise that his closest comps were all drafted at pick No. 43 or later.
Aside: Perhaps my favorite story of the 2019 NFL Draft is first-time Raiders GM Mike Mayock apparently panicked when the Eagles traded up to pick 23, thinking they were going to steal Jacobs. In reality, we all know Eagles GM Howie Roseman is too savvy to draft an unproductive, unathletic RB in the first round.
25. Marquise Brown (Oklahoma) – Baltimore Ravens
Thoughts: Brown represents an interesting juxtaposition – the NFL’s fascination with speedy WRs who can take the top off a defense versus a historically small WR (166 pounds).2
While Brown’s comps suggest he has a fairly wide range of outcomes – from Justin Hunter to Brandin Cooks – the vast majority of his comps have had at least some role on an NFL team. The biggest threat to Brown’s fantasy football success will be the run-heavy, Lamar Jackson-led Ravens offense.
32. N’Keal Harry (Arizona State) – New England Patriots
Thoughts: The RotoViz slack channel EXPLODED when this pick was made.
Harry boasts one of the most impressive player comparison lists I’ve seen, including six borderline superstars (at least signs of being a superstar at times). While the Box Score Scout player comparison feature isn’t able to account for landing spot, landing on a Patriots team that was desperate for pass-catchers further improves Harry’s probability of succeeding in the NFL.
Let me know who your favorite NFL player comparisons are for first-round skill position players @Michael_Dubner.
I also encourage you to check out the RotoViz Rookie Fantasy Football Tournament for a more in-depth analysis on each prospect.