It’s no secret, Donkey likes em young. There’s just something about the trusting innocence in those big soft rookie eyes which can’t be matched by an old weathered veteran. And fantasy sports are all about having fun; what’s more fun than drafting the youngster your buddies have never heard of and watching the kid grow into a superstar on your fantasy team as your closest friend cries their self to sleep while clutching the last place penis trophy?
To help you avoid the penis trophy shame, here’s my favorite rookies from this year’s draft class in order of preference for 2019 only:
1. Josh Jacobs OAK RB – The Bama product fell into a great situation in Oakland where it seems he’ll have a chance to become the every down back in Chucky’s system. He also somehow dodged the dreaded Hard Knocks hype since the show producers forgot the first round running back even existed. I’m all in on Jacobs in the late third round.
2. Darrell Henderson LAR RB – Player number two and Donkey is already way out on a limb. It’s alright, I’m one of those climbing Donkeys. The Rams showed how much they like Henderson by trading up in the NFL draft to take him in the early 3rd round ahead of David Montgomery. Sean McVey described Henderson as a versatile, explosive, play-maker after the draft. I expect the Rams to use Henderson creatively and often out of the gates, keeping Gurley’s knees fresh for their playoff run. Give Henderson an extra boost in PPR leagues.
3. David Montgomery CHI RB – Some scouts had Montgomery pegged as the top running back in this years class and he gave us a glimpse of why during his brief preseason appearances. He won’t have a three down job, but touchdowns should be plentiful as Da Bears go around stealing picnic baskets this season.
4. Miles Sanders PHI RB – There’s a pretty good argument for both Sanders and Montgomery ahead of my boy Henderson. The market has them priced as such with both being drafted around 30-50 spots ahead of Hendo in recent drafts. Philly spent a second round pick on Sanders so they think very highly of him. It seems like only a matter of time before he moves ahead of Jordan Howard in the pecking order.
5. Kyler Murray ARI QB – The polarizing two sport star has massive upside in Kingsbury’s air raid offense with the Cardinals playing from behind often this year. If he’s faded with the rest of the QBs in your league, why not take a shot?
6. Justice Hill BAL RB – Hill will have a role in the Ravens offense immediately and there’s potential for him to play Alvin Kamara-lite to Mark Ingram. I’m not sure he has the size to handle more than a complementary workload, but if Ingram goes down we might just find out. Bump him up in PPR leagues.
7. Darwin Thompson KC RB – I wrote about Thompson in my recent RazzBowl article and discussed my love for him on our podcast back in June. Shady’s arrival in KC has dampened my excitement a bit, but I still think Thompson will have a very valuable stretch at some point this season. He moves down this list a few spots if your league has smaller rosters, but stash him where you can.
8. Tony Pollard DAL RB– This ranking assumes Zeke is going to sign in the near future, in which case I still think Pollard will have stand alone value especially in PPR leagues. But that scenario isn’t a given with Zeke seemingly set to miss week one; Pollard is a complete wildcard. If Zeke misses substantial time then Pollard shoots up to #4 or #5 on this list, but my buddy has been telling me a new contract is imminent since he spent $69 on Eze in our auction last weekend. Nice.
9. Devin Singletary BUF RB – With Shady out of town, Singletary is the new hot thing. I wasn’t a fan when we profiled him on another podcast in early June. He seemed small and slow, with mediocre hands at best. That said, he has the opportunity in Buffalo and they must believe in him. This could be a severe under rating on my part.
10. Miles Boykin BAL WR– The Notre Dame product has shown great chemistry with Lamar Jackson and continues to turn heads throughout training camp. The LJax haters have done us a favor by suppressing the Boykin draft hype, providing us a nice discount. There’s a decent chance Boykin is the #1 rookie receiver to own in fantasy this year.
11. D.K. Metcalf SEA WR – David Moore is hurt and Seattle just cut Jaron Brown who was expected to fill in as the #2 WR behind Tyler Lockett. Pete Carroll must have a lot of faith in the freakish Metcalf who has enormous upside to go along with his enormous body. It sounds like Muscles Metcalf might be ready to go for week one despite a knee scope procedure just two weeks ago. Don’t sleep on D.K, he could be special.
12. Marquise Brown BAL WR– We talked up AB’s cuz on this podcast back in late June. Hollywood Brown was expected to miss the start of the season as he recovered from a Lisfranc injury, but he’s beaten those timelines and should be good to go for week one. It’s a good thing he didn’t listen to his cousin’s cryo treatment suggestions!
13. Alexander Mattison MIN RB – Dalvin Cook has played a total of 15 games across his first two professional seasons. Need I say more about why it’s a good idea to roster Cook’s handcuff, Mattison, who the Vikings ponied up a 3rd round draft pick for?
14. T.J. Hockenson DET TE – Hock has drawn rave reviews out of Lions camp. My only concern is he might be too good of a blocker to contribute at the level we’d like as an offensive weapon in year one. Either way, there should be some big weeks in store. We profiled Hockenson on this podcast about a month ago.
15. Deebo Samuel SF WR – The 49ers wide receiver situation is an interesting one with Coach Shanahan publicly bashing Dante Pettis all preseason. I still believe Pettis is the most talented WR in the bay area and Jimmy GQ’s #2 threat behind Kittle, but Deebo may not be too far behind.
16. Diontae Johnson PIT WR– Diontae was reportedly one of the most impressive players in Steelers camp before missing time with leg and hip issues. There were actually whispers of him shooting up to #2 on the depth chart. I don’t trust Donte Moncrief to stay healthy himself, so I expect Johnson to get some run at some point this season. Once he gets his chance, there’s nice upside with Big Ben slinging it his way.
17. Damien Harris NE RB – The Patriots 3rd round pick likely needs an injury to James White or Sony Michel for fantasy relevance in 2019. But if you haven’t noticed, running backs get hurt often. Harris is a great attrition play.
18. N’Keal Harry NE WR – The Arizona State rookie has a bright future, but he’s been stunted by injuries this preseason while trying to pick up a complex Patriots offense. There was talk that he might start the season on the IR, meaning he’d miss at least the first 8 weeks but those rumors might be false. Even if he’s healthy, there’s a lot of competition for targets with Josh Gordon back from the dispensary
19. Noah Fant DEN TE – Fant’s upside is just as high as Hockenson’s and he shouldn’t be asked to block as much either since it’s not really his game. An Evan Engram type rookie season is well within Fant’s range of outcomes if Flacco’s able to get him the rock.
20. Parris Campbell IND WR – Campbell’s stock has taken as big of a hit as anyone with Andrew Luck hanging up the horseshoes. It seems like a bit of an over reaction to me. This will be Brissett’s second season running the Colts offense and there’s a chance he surprises. Keep the talented Campbell on your radar.
The Best Of The Rest (Deep League Considerations)
21. Keesean Johnson ARI WR
28. Ryquell Armstead JAX RB
32. Hunter Renfrow OAK WR
Find Donkey Teeth on Twitter. Subscribe to his podcast: The Razzball Fantasy Football Podcast on Itunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.