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Fantasy Football 2019: Projecting Best Dynasty Rookies Before Combine

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistFebruary 22, 2019

Mississippi wide receiver D.K. Metcalf (14) gestures before a play during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Louisiana Monroe in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Thomas Graning)
Thomas Graning/Associated Press

Fantasy football has become a modern staple of the game, as ubiquitous as cold beer or hot wings. Like hot wings, fantasy now comes in a variety of flavors, from traditional draft formats, best-ball leagues and daily fantasy sports.

There is no wrong way to play fantasy with friends, family members and coworkers, but dynasty formats can be some of the most rewarding. In a dynasty league, you keep most of your players from year-to-year, strengthening your roster through a yearly draft, free agency and trades.

Sound familiar?

As in real football, the decisions you make can affect your team for years to come. It can be frustrating and takes patience, but if you manage your team well, you'll be rewarded with, well a dynasty.

Depending on your league's format, you'll either be encouraged to or will be forced to select rookies from the 2019 NFL draft to place on your roster. With that in mind, here are some pre-combine projections for the top fantasy options.

Because team needs can vary in dynasty drafts, players aren't ranked here. Also, while IDP dynasty leagues do exist, defensive players aren't included here.

    

Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

Reigning Heisman-winner Kyler Murray isn't going to fit on every NFL team. This makes him quite a bit of a risk for fantasy owners. Whichever team drafts him must embrace his ability to win from the pocket while also allowing him to use his incredible speed on occasion.

Murray, who amassed 4,361 yards passing, 1,001 yards rushing and 54 touchdowns in 2018, is a true dual-threat quarterback, However, he shouldn't be allowed to run regularly at the pro level due to his slight frame—he's listed at 5'10" and 195 pounds.

If you can afford to take a flier on a quarterback, Murray could pay big dividends. He isn't going to have the rushing numbers of Lamar Jackson or Josh Allen, but he could be a cross between a Jackson-type and a Baker Mayfield.

Like all rookie quarterbacks, Murray is a big risk. If you have an unstable quarterback situation, he probably isn't the gamble for you.

    

Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins represents less of a risk, but he doesn't have the upside of potential ground yardage. Haskins is a pure pocket passer with an archetypal 6'3", 220-pound frame. Haskins can sling it, too, as evidenced by his 4,831 yards passing and 50 touchdowns in 2018.

"This guy's got a cannon for an arm," NFL Network's Charley Casserly told NBC Sports Washington. "He can stretch the field vertically and horizontally."

Haskins' value will largely depend on where he lands. If he ends up with, say, the New York Giants, he'll have the good fortune of playing with guys like Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram—once he takes over for Eli Manning, anyway. Haskins has the tools to take advantage of such a strong supporting cast.

If Haskins ends up with a team like the Miami Dolphins, though, he'll have little to work with out of the gate. Haskins is a player to draft with the long game in mind—if you have, say Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger on your roster.

     

Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

While there isn't a Saquon Barkley in this draft class—there may not even be a Nick Chubb, for that matter—running back is usually a position that can at least benefit your team from Day 1. Unfortunately, there isn't a clear RB1 currently on the board.

This should change after the combine.

Right now, Alabama's Josh Jacobs is the name generating buzz. He's a fast and shifty runner who wasn't beaten down by a heavy workload under Nick Saban. Dane Brugler of The Athletic ranks Jacobs as his top back in the class.

Here's the caveat with Jacobs. While his limited workload means he will be fresh for the NFL, it also means we don't know if Jacobs can handle being an every-down back. He may only be a complementary option, especially early in his career, though as Kamara proved with the New Orleans Saints, that doesn't mean he can't be a fantasy star.

There is a bit of a risk-reward factor with Jacobs, but he should be able to help your dynasty franchise early and over time.

    

D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi

Mississippi wide receiver D.K. Metcalf is likely to see his draft stock skyrocket after the combine. He's a tremendous athlete with a hulking 6'4" frame and a legitimate NFL No. 1 wideout skill set. As long as his medical checks are good—his 2018 season was cut short by a neck injury that required surgery—he'll almost certainly be a high first-round selection.

Metcalf has everything you look for in a future fantasy WR1. However, you have to draft him knowing that he may not reach his potential for two or three years.

While Metcalf has a Josh Gordon-type ceiling, he's also a raw prospect. In part because of the neck injury, he only played in 21 career college games over three seasons. He is a capable route-runner, but he isn't polished and doesn't have an extensive route tree.

If you're desperate for wide-receiver help now, you're probably better off acquiring an established starter. However, if you can afford to be patient at the position, Metcalf may prove to be the best dynasty player in this draft class.

    

T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

Holly Hart/Associated Press

The tight end position isn't quite the standout spot in fantasy. However, it's one that most fantasy managers can afford to upgrade. If you have one of the few top-tier guys like Travis Kelce, George Kittle or Zach Ertz, then you're set. If you have someone from the vast second tier, then you've been waiting for a prospect like Hockenson.

Not only is Hockenson ready to contribute right away, and he should be an instant upgrade over the likes of Austin Hooper, Trey Burton and Kyle Rudolph. He also has the potential to be the next Kittle or Ertz within a year or two.

"Hockenson has it all," Bleacher Report draft analyst Matt Miller wrote, while also labeling him as the best tight end in the class.

If you're set at quarterback, running back and receiver, Hockenson may be the perfect rookie target for you.

    

Other Worthy Rookie Dynasty Targets

Darrell Henderson, RB, Memphis

N'Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

A.J. Brown, WR, Memphis

Damien Harris, RB, Alabama

Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State

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