Fantasy Football 2019: Josh Jacobs and Top Rookies to Target in Mock Drafts

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistAugust 8, 2019

Oakland Raiders running back Josh Jacobs during NFL football minicamp Tuesday, June 11, 2019, in Alameda, Calif. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Eric Risberg/Associated Press

The immediate fantasy outlook for the NFL's freshmen crop isn't as bright as it's been in recent years.

That said, at least a few rookies are sure to pop.

We'll break down our top three NFL newcomers below, so you'll know who to watch and target in your upcoming mock drafts.


Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders

While Josh Jacobs wasn't the featured back at Alabama, he might be a lock for the role in Oakland. The Raiders not only deemed him worthy of the 24th overall pick—29 spots higher than the No. 2 back (Miles Sanders, Philadelphia Eagles)—they've been transparent about their big plans for him.

"This is a three-down back," Raiders general Mike Mayock said. "He's explosive. He's tough. We've watched him pass protect."

Jacobs is a home-run hitter. He handled 299 touches over three seasons at Alabama and averaged just under seven yards on those opportunities. This past season, he reeled off 14 scores on just 140 touches.

On average, he's being selected as the 20th running back and 35th player off the board, per Fantasy Football Calculator, but freshmen fantasy stocks can be among the most volatile.

Some owners are obsessed with youth and unknown potential, while others want more stability. If you're a Jacobs fan, run a few mocks to get an idea of how high you'd need to reach or how long you might get away with waiting.


David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears

Do anything in your power to forget the fact David Montgomery was the 73rd player taken in April's talent grab. His situation feels much more like that of a first-rounder.

He was, after all, the first pick the Bears made, having previously moved their top two selections. He was also welcomed to a team with a massive void in the backfield.

Jordan Howard—Chicago's leader in rushes, rushing yards, rushing-plus-receiving touchdowns and total touches last season—was traded a few weeks before the draft.

Montgomery is also an elite prospect. When Bleacher Report's Matt Miller assembled his NFL draft big board in January, he listed Montgomery as the top overall back and the most NFL-ready at the position.

The back was a workhorse at Iowa State, handling 695 touches and turning them into 3,507 yards from scrimmage and 26 scores over three seasons.

Montgomery is going just after Jacobs, landing as the 22nd rusher and 38th player overall. Montgomery should be a great get at that price and huge value if he falls even further. Read all the mock results you can and adjust his ranking accordingly.


N'Keal Harry, WR, New England Patriots

Rookie receivers aren't the easiest players to trust in fantasy, but it's looking like N'Keal Harry could be an exception to that rule.

Any pass-catcher in New England should get some of your attention, since Tom Brady has plenty of targets without Rob Gronkowski around. Harry, who Miller felt had the best hands in the class, could command more than a few.

"He's a big boy, man," Detroit Lions Pro Bowl corner Darius Slay said, per The Athletic's Nick Underhill. "He's aggressive. He looks like he's gonna be a big tool for them."

Harry has the size and strength to get open, the touch to make tough catches and the tools to turn short passes into big gains. Over his final two seasons at Arizona State, he scored 18 touchdowns in 25 games.

Between his talent, his quarterback and his opportunity, Harry might be one of the best mid-round fliers you can take. His average draft position of 104.4 puts him just 42nd among wide receivers.