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Top Rookies for 2019 fantasy leagues

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Rookies have made an enormous impact in the fantasy football world in recent seasons. Unfortunately, the 2019 NFL Draft class isn't likely to follow that trend. There simply aren't a lot of can't-miss offensive prospects, and several big-name running backs and wide receivers went to teams that already have plenty of talent at those positions.

Regardless, here's my initial list of the top 20 fantasy rookies for re-draft leagues.

1. Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders: Jacobs was the consensus top running back in the 2019 class, so it was no surprise to see him as the first back off the board. A potential three-down back who averaged 5.3 yards per rush and caught 20 passes in his final collegiate season, Jacobs will replace Marshawn Lynch as the team's top back. I'd project him as a borderline No. 2 fantasy runner.

2. David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears: Montgomery is coming off a season that saw him finish with a 4.7 yards-per-rush average and 13 touchdowns on the ground. He also hauled in 22 passes as a receiver and had a combined 58 combined catches in his last two seasons with the Cyclones. In Chicago, I'd project him as a flex starter as the early-down workhorse in a committee with Tarik Cohen.

3. Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles: Sanders came out of college with little tread on his tires after playing behind Saquon Barkley for two years at Penn State. While he needs to work on his pass protection and ball security, he did average 5.8 yards per rush with 24 catches last season. I'd project him as a potential flex starter as the top back in Philadelphia, ahead of veteran Jordan Howard.

4. Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs: Hardman wasn't in the top-five of more pre-draft wideout rank lists, but he ended up in a potentially tremendous position in Kansas City. With Tyreek Hill's NFL future in serious doubt, the speedster out of Georgia could end up with a lot of targets in one of the league's most explosive offenses. Be sure to keep tabs on Hill in the weeks to come.

5. Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals: I don't typically rank quarterbacks this high because the position is so deep, but Murray is a special prospect who completed 69 percent of his passes and rushed for 12 touchdowns in his final collegiate season. He'll step right in and starter after the trade of Josh Rosen, so Murray could easily finish with top-15 fantasy totals among quarterbacks.

6. N'Keal Harry, WR, New England Patriots: Harry is a strong, physical wideout who broke 38 tackles in his three seasons with the Sun Devils, per Pro Football Focus. He also recorded 515 yards after the catch in 2018. Landing with the Patriots, who lost Rob Gronkowski to retirement and have questions at wide receiver with Josh Gordon and Demaryius Thomas, Harry will be a late rounder in most re-drafts.

7. Darrell Henderson, RB, Los Angles Rams: An explosive collegiate playmaker who averaged almost nine yards per rush in 2018, Henderson had more runs of 20-plus yards (27) than any other back in the 2019 class. He also combined for 63 catches in his three years at Memphis. Questions about Todd Gurley's knee will make Henderson a very popular (and potentially valuable) handcuff.

8. Parris Campbell, WR, Indianapolis Colts: Campbell is coming off a breakout season for the Buckeyes, producing 90 receptions and 12 touchdowns as the top option for Dwayne Haskins. He was also very sure-handed, catching 82 percent of the 111 targets he saw last season. If he earns the third spot on the wideout depth chart and with Andrew Luck under center, Campbell will be a sleeper.

9. Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers: Samuel had some durability issues at the collegiate level, but he was a major standout at the Senior Bowl. He was also a tackle-breaking monster, busting 21 on 62 catches in his final season with the Gamecocks per PFF. He has a legitimate chance to start opposite Dante Pettis as a rookie on a team that will have plenty of targets available in 2019.

10. A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans: A sure-handed playmaker, Brown ran most of his routes out of the slot during college. He also forced 17 broken tackles and produced 34 explosive plays, per Pro Football Focus. He projects to start opposite Corey Davis, but there's a lot of mouths to feed in an offense that could be leaning on Derrick Henry as the run often. Brown has late re-draft appeal.

11. Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens: Brown, who has drawn comparisons to DeSean Jackson due to his size (5 foot 9, 166 pounds) and skill set, finished his final year in college with 75 catches, and 10 touchdowns. Unfortunately, he landed in a Ravens offense that ran the ball 64 percent of the time last season with Lamar Jackson under center. That severely limits Brown's rookie ceiling.

12. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks: Metcalf is a physical specimen who ran a 4.33 40-yard dash and put up 27 reps on the bench press at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he still slipped into the Round 2 due to his unreliable hands and limited route tree. However, the Ole Miss product would see an increase in value if Doug Baldwin retires due to the effects of multiple injuries in his career.

13. T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions: Fantasy fans looking for a future star at tight end should look no further than Hockenson. A sure-handed receiver, he dropped just one of 51 catchable targets per Pro Football Focus. He should start for the Lions in Week 1, and he could end up being the best tight end in the franchise's history. In the short term, I'd draft as a No. 2 fantasy tight end with upside.

14. Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills: Singletary is a small running back at just 5 foot 7 and 203 pounds, but he did rack up 5.2 yards per rush and 22 scores in 2018. He was also an ultra-elusive runner in college, averaging 0.36 missed tackles last season per PPR. He landed in a crowded Buffalo backfield, however, so he's a much more valuable option in dynasty leagues than in traditional drafts.

15. Noah Fant, TE, Denver Broncos: Fant and Hockenson were the first pair of tight end teammates to be drafted in the first round together. An athletic freak, Fant had 519 yards and seven touchdowns in his final collegiate season. His downfall? He's dropped 11 passes on 80 catchable balls since 2017. In all, he's worth a late-round look in most re-drafts with the tight-end friendly Joe Flacco under center.

16. Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings: Mattison looks like the favorite to open next season as the top handcuff in Minnesota's backfield for Dalvin Cook, so he will have some re-draft value. Why? Well, Cook has missed a combined 17 games over his first two NFL seasons due to injuries.

17. J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Philadelphia Eagles: A big possession receiver, Arcega-Whiteside could work his way into some targets during his initial NFL campaign if the Eagles decide to trade Nelson Agholor. Still, the rookie out of Stanford has a limited ceiling for fantasy fans.

18. Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Redskins: The Redskins have a big need at wide receiver, and McLaurin has a great rapport with Haskins during their time together at Ohio State. In a best-case scenario, McLaurin could be worth a late-round flier in larger re-draft leagues.

19. Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Johnson is a far better dynasty-league prospect, but there aren't a lot of sure things ahead of him on the Steelers depth chart outside of JuJu Smith-Schuster. Johnson needs to have a great training camp to have any real value in re-draft leagues.

20. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Washington Redskins: Haskins will be given every chance to compete with Case Keenum for the starting job in Washington next season. If he's successful, the former Buckeye will be worth a pick in fantasy Superflex or two-quarterback re-draft leagues as a rookie.


Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on NFL.com and NFL Network and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram for the latest fantasy football news and analysis!

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