Rookies to Draft, Bench, or Avoid

Regardless of format, everyone likes to find that next rookie sensation at a good price in your draft and hope his young dynamic talent will give you early or late fantasy success. But inevitably there are always those rookies who let you down or don’t produce as much right away. We’re going to look at some of the top rookie Running Backs and Wide Receivers to see who you should Draft and start, Draft late and Bench, or Avoid altogether.

Running Backs

David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

Status: Draft

Montgomery is one of my rookie must-owns this year. His competition is Tarik Cohen and Mike Davis, two players that he can beat. In his last year of college he rushed for 4.7 YPC and over his last two seasons hauled in 58 catches (22 in 2018). He could see early work in an RBBC but I think his natural talent as both a runner and catcher will shine and Matt Nagy will have no choice but to give Montgomery the reigns.

Damien Harris, New England Patriots

Status: Draft

Sony Michel suffered a torn ACL in high school, then at Georgia he had a shoulder injury and a second ACL tear. Then last season he had a late start due to injuries and had multiple injuries throughout the season. Recently he had a knee scope surgery to clean up his knee. Point of this is: Sony Michel is an injury risk! I think that Bellitrix is strong here and I think that you should have Harris on your team with the possibility that he will whether split the load with Michel or he can take over the backfield. 

Josh Jacobs, Oakland Raiders

Status: Bench

I like Josh Jacobs and Alabama has a track record of producing good NFL ready running backs but I have some concerns. First his ADP (3.5) as a rookie has me worried because while he may have had 5.3 YPC at Alabama he was in an RBBC with Damien Harris who had a similar 5.8 YPC efficiency. Jacobs will be getting the majority of the workload with him only splitting carries with Doug Martin, Jalen Richard, and DeAndre Washington. While none of those players will necessarily strike fear into your hearts, I am exercising restraint when drafting Jacobs and will seeing what he can do with a full workload before putting him into my starting lineup.

Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles

Status: Avoid

I will not be drafting Miles Sanders in any format except dynasty for one reason: Doug Pederson. He has always used a RBBC and Sanders will be splitting carries with Jordan Howard. Not to mention that Howard will be getting all the goal line work. Unless there are significant injuries to the backfield (which no one wants) I don’t see how Miles Sanders carves out a significant workload. He may have a high draft pedigree but that has never mattered to Pederson.

Honorable Mentions:

Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills: Bench 

Justice Hill, Baltimore Ravens: Avoid

Wide Receivers

Mercole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs

Status: Draft

Even with Tyreek Hill not facing suspension I’d still draft Hardman. He’s going to be competing with the oft-injured Sammy Watkins for a starting spot so he does need to be drafted. I expect his ADP to fall drastically to maybe the 12th or 13th round so he’d be a high end flex if he has a good training camp!

Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts

Status: Draft

Campbell couldn’t have landed in a better position. Campbell is fast and has sure hands. Campbell’s hands are the most impressive part of his game. In his last season with the Buckeyes he caught 90 of 112 targets which is an impressive 82%. Campbell also snagged 12 TDs so if he can build that chemistry with Andrew Luck, with TY Hilton on the outside, you can feel nothing but excitement for the potential that Parris Campbell 

Deebo Samuels, San Francisco 49ers

Status: Bench

Deebo was one of the best route runners of this rookie class and he was a standout at the Senior Bowl this year. However two conditions factor into his benching status:

1) Durability issues in college 

2) Rookies receivers in Shanahan’s offense don’t do well early.

While I believe that Samuels can be a late season sleeper, I am going to pass on him in the draft or stash him at the end of my bench. 

AJ Brown, Tennessee Titans 

Status: Bench

AJ Brown drew comparisons to JuJu Smith-Schustsr in the draft process and the Titans need help at the spot since Corey Davis has not been that true #1 receiver yet. Brown will have competition with former Bucs receiver Adam Humphries but I fully expect him to have a mid to late season breakout that will warrant a bench spot early.

N’Keal Harry, New England Patriots 

Status: Avoid

While Harry was regarded as one of the most talented receivers in the draft, Rookies tend to not do well their first year in New England. Also, Patriots are designing their offense to be more fun heavy. However, the Patriots put high draft capitol in Harry so I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a high volume of targets should the Patriots fall behind and need to throw the ball.

D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

Status: Avoid

Metcalf was a combine Star, with a first round grade, that was drafted in the third round… Ouch… Regardless early reports suggest that Tyler Lockett, David Moore, and Jaron Brown are the starting three. Metcalf was flagged for not having a diverse route tree so unless he has a strong training camp I think that it is best to avoid and wait with Metcalf.

Honorable Mentions:

JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Philadelphia Eagles: Bench

Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins: Bench

Dionte Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers: Avoid

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