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2019 Dynasty Rookie Rankings and Tiers: Pre-Season Edition

Curtis Patrick is the Dynasty Coordinator for team RotoViz.

Pre-Season 2019 Dynasty fantasy football rookie rankings are here!

The RotoViz dynasty rankings team has been adjusting the outlook on which players are the best dynasty investments as more has been learned about depth charts and immediate opportunity since we first saw the landing spots for this new wave of players. I’ve drawn in the tiers based on RV scores generated by each player, which is our internal way of measuring not only a player’s average ranking, but how much agreement there is on the player by the rankings team. I’ll share an overview of the top-12 in this post and make note of the highest and lowest rank on each player among the analysts on our dynasty rankings team, as well as whether there has been any movement in each player’s ranking since our Post-NFL Draft Dynasty Rookie Rankings. You can see the full rookie rankings set here, which is governed by Blair Andrews, David Caban, John Lapinski, Shawn Siegele, TJ Calkins, and me.

Tier 1

1.01 – N’Keal Harry – WR, New England Patriots (no change)

To say Harry is viewed as the 1.01 by the RotoViz team doesn’t really make a strong enough statement. He’s ranked No. 1 overall by five out of our six dynasty rankers (and the only ranker who didn’t have him first ranked him second overall). After locking in first-round draft pedigree, Harry’s closest comp in the Box Score Scout is Mike Evans. His top-10 comp list also includes Alshon JefferyKenny GolladayAllen RobinsonJuju Smith-Schuster, and Michael Thomas.

The list is absolutely sterling in terms of quality and quantity of comparable profiles.

Highest rank: 1

Lowest rank: 2

Tier 2

1.02 – Josh Jacobs – RB, Oakland Raiders (no change)

Jacobs actually did it – he managed to be drafted in the first round despite testing as a below average athlete and having one of the least impressive production profiles among the running backs in the class. However, as useful as analytics can be, they aren’t the only thing that matters. Jacobs entered an Oakland backfield in dire need of a leading man after Marshawn Lynch decided to hang up his cleats this offseason. His year one production opportunity is huge – not much stands in the way of him amassing 250 touches in his first season. As TJ Calkins noted, the biggest obstacle preventing Jacobs from becoming a dynasty RB1 could be the presence of incumbent receiving game back, Jalen Richard.

Highest rank: 2

Lowest rank: 4

1.03 – Miles Sanders – RB, Philadelphia Eagles (no change)

As a second-round pick, Sanders should instantly command the most valuable role in Philadelphia. The Eagles also brought in Jordan Howard via trade earlier this offseason, but he projects to fill the short yardage and goal-line role held by LeGarrette Blount several seasons ago. Sanders has true bell-cow potential in Philly, but the team has employed a committee approach in the Pederson era, so the big question is whether a back of Sanders’ caliber will change the way Pederson and Duce Staley rotate the group. Sanders was one of the best athletes among running backs in the 2019 class. Check out his metrics from the RotoViz Combine Explorer.

Highest rank: 3

Lowest rank: 6

Tier 3

1.04 – Darrell Henderson – RB, Los Angeles Rams (+9)

Exactly how healthy is Todd Gurley? That’s the question every dynasty owner is dying to have answered. Until we truly know, we’ll have to bank on what we know about Henderson as a prospect. Jordan Hoover mentioned Henderson as one of his “favorite options based on profile, potential, and value”, and noted that he’s one of just 10 players this century to average at least 8.5 YPC on 130 or more carries in a season – and the only one to do it twice. If the former Memphis Tiger gets his shot in the Rams touchdown happy offense, fantasy fireworks are going to fly. Henderson was also the Pre-NFL Draft Champion of our annual RotoViz Rookie RB Tournament.

Highest rank: 2

Lowest rank: 11

1.05 – A.J. Brown – WR, Tennessee Titans (no change)

Fans of Brown and his strong pre-draft profile may argue he’ll instantly be the best receiving option in Tennessee the first time he walks onto the practice field. However, the Titans do still have Corey Davis, a former top-10 pick entering just his third season and they also added Adam Humphries. In what projects to be a low-volume passing offense, I’m worried about how much fantasy love Marcus Mariota will truly be able to funnel in Brown’s direction. I’m lower than this on him and will not be drafting him in this range. He’s a player I’ll target in trades after his first season because I think his lack of Year 1 production will drive his price down a little.

Highest rank: 2

Lowest rank: 13

 

1.06 – J.J. Arcega-Whiteside – WR, Philadelphia Eagles (no change)

Perhaps the most talented jump-baller in the class, Arcega-Whiteside has been earning rave reviews in camp and from all accounts looks to be on his way to earning a real role in the offense in year one despite the Eagles’ relative depth at the position. Jordan Hoover had this to say on Arcega-Whiteside back in April:

Arcega-Whiteside posted three consecutive seasons accounting for 30% or more of Stanford’s receiving yards and touchdowns starting in his age-20 season. And while he’s probably best known for parlaying his size (6 feet 2 inches, 223 pounds) into touchdown production he also finished as just the ninth college WR over the last three seasons to average 16 or more yards per reception on 130 receptions. While this type of stat is arbitrary and not necessarily predictive, I believe it indicates a potential ceiling for Arcega-Whiteside as more than just a red zone specialist.

Highest rank: 6

Lowest rank: 11

1.07 – Andy Isabella – WR, Arizona Cardinals (no change)

The former UMass star was selected in the second round as a battery-mate for Kyler Murray. This pick wasn’t owned by the Cardinals entering the draft – they had to move Josh Rosen to get it. This speaks volumes about how the team views Isabella and how he’ll fit in Kliff Kinsgbury’s air raid system. It’s not hard to picture three different pass catchers getting 100 or more targets in Arizona, and with Isabella’s speed and Murray’s ability to create on the fly outside the pocket, the possibilities are drool-including. Having locked in second round draft pedigree, Isabella’s final comps in the Box Score Scout include Will FullerBrandin CooksTyler Lockett, and Odell Beckham Jr.

Shawn Siegele calls Isabella “one of the best rookie values in recent memory.”

Highest rank: 4

Lowest rank: 9

1.08 – David Montgomery – RB, Chicago Bears (-4)

I’m not sure enough is being made of how great a landing spot this was for the former Cyclone. First, the Bears traded up to select him. This always grabs my attention – they didn’t simply want a running back – they wanted this running back. Howard and his 270 touches from 2018 are gone. Even if newcomer Mike Davis carves out a role, 200 touches seems like the absolute floor in Year 1 for the rookie. Head Coach Matt Nagy is an Andy Reid disciple but hasn’t been able to run the offense in the same manner as his mentor to this point in Chicago because Howard and Tarik Cohen are specialty backs and it has limited what can be called based on which player is in the huddle. Montgomery’s skills in the receiving game could yield a role more similar to what we’ve seen from Jamaal Charles and Kareem Hunt in Kansas City. Not only would this be good for Montgomery’s fantasy outlook, but it could help the Bears unlock the true ceiling of Nagy’s system. Of note: TJ Calkins has Montgomery as his No. 1 overall rookie.

Highest rank: 1

Lowest rank: 17

Tier 4

1.09 – D.K. Metcalf – WR, Seattle Seahawks (+2)

Metcalf  didn’t get the first-round pedigree he needed to secure desirable comps in the Box Score Scout, but from a NFL-situation perspective, this may have been one of his better possible landing spots. Russell Wilson is one of the best in the game at finding his receivers down field and creating efficient fantasy scorers. Lockett’s rookie campaign of 51/664/6 in 2015 is a reasonable floor projection in Year 1 with Doug Baldwin out of the picture.

Highest rank: 5

Lowest rank: 16

1.10 – Noah Fant – TE, Denver Broncos (no change)

Grabbing tight ends early in single TE leagues isn’t something I typically recommend, but if you’re going to make an exception, this is a good year to do it. Not much stands in the way of Fant becoming at worst the second most targeted player on the team. Last year’s first-round pick, Courtland Sutton, is still a player who requires some projecting in terms of long-term potential because he didn’t show much in his rookie season. Emmanuel Sanders is also still in town, but he’s aging and coming off a major injury. The arrow is straight up for this player, but you’ll have to pay handsomely if you want him on your roster.

Highest rank: 8

Lowest rank: 13

1.11 – T.J. Hockenson – TE, Detroit Lions (-1)

Hockenson locked in very rare top-10 draft pedigree, which we’ve seen only a handful of times in the past 20 years. The total package, Hockenson should see extremely high snap count percentages from the drop. His initial target volume could be lower than most want to see due to the presence of Golladay and Marvin Jones, however most tight ends in the league are no better than third options on their squads either.

Highest rank: 8

Lowest rank: 14

1.12 – Mecole Hardman – WR, Kansas City Chiefs (-4)

I’m not sure anyone could have written a better script for Hardman to go from virtual rookie fade based on collegiate production to being a tantalizing option at the 1/2 turn. To be fair, nearly any wide receiver paired with Patrick Mahomes would’ve gotten an extreme boost, but Hardman’s blazing speed and on the other end of a 40-plus TD quarterback is reason enough to take notice. Our team appropriately adjusted expectation for Hardman after we learned that Tyreek Hill appeared less likely to face any severe punishment from the NFL for his actions earlier in 2019.

Highest rank: 7

Lowest rank: 16

Just Missed the Top-12

Kyler Murray, Parris Campbell (dropped out of top-12 since last edition), Marquise Brown

You can find the rest of our pre-season dynasty rookie rankings here.

Image Credit: Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: N’Keal Harry.

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