All 254 selections have been made and now we can see how players will fit with their new teams and five our NFL Draft fantasy analysis. This means, which players will carry the most stock when the fantasy season begins. Draft rankings are beginning to emerge and it helps to know which of these 254 selections, should you be targeting. This article will breakdown the first day of the draft, which would all the first round selections.
Which of these players will become fantasy legends like Calvin Johnson or Philip Rivers and which will become fantasy busts like Dustin Keller or Jake Locker? Take a read and see which players are in the best situations to become fantasy relevant in the 2019 season.
Day 1 NFL Draft Fantasy Analysis
Kyler Murray, Quarterback, Arizona Cardinals
Murray going number one overall was a foregone conclusion when the Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury to be their head coach. There was no smoke and mirrors here and this really puts a lot of pressure on the shoulders of the young, reigning, Heisman Trophy winner.
With Josh Rosen being dealt to Miami during the draft weekend, Murray has become the de facto starting quarterback and even if Rosen was in the building, he still would have been the starter going into week one. General manager, Steve Keim, has already gone on record stating that the former Oklahoma Sooner will be the starting quarterback against the Detroit Lions, come week one.
Murray has all the skills to become a great quarterback and his pairing with Kingsbury will be a match made in heaven. Running that Air Raid style of offense that spreads out the defense will suit Murray’s sandlot quarterback playing style. He can throw the deep ball, he throws with accuracy and is just as dangerous as a ball carrier.
He also has all the weapons around him including Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson, and Christian Kirk. Not to mention all the rookie receivers that have been added like Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler, and KeeSean Johnson. He has all the pieces there to make him succeed, but the key thing that is on everyone’s minds is can he hold up to the NFL grind? He can for sure make all the plays, but will his body survive against the behemoth pass rushers and defenders of the NFL. This can limit his ability to get out of the pocket and we will have to wait and see if he has the skill-set to be a pocket-passer.
Murray has a good shot to be the Baker Mayfield of the 2019 season, but the big thing is can his skills translate to the NFL. This will be all on Kingsbury’s shoulders to scheme for him, and up to Murray to make the right adjustments to the NFL style of play. As a fantasy option, he is worth a draft selection but he will need to earn his way into your starting fantasy roster.
T.J. Hockenson, Tight End, Detroit Lions
Hockenson was the most complete tight in this year’s draft. That makes it very obvious why he became the first tight end to go in the top-10 since Eric Ebron, in the 2014 NFL Draft. Hockenson is a great pass-catcher but as mentioned, he can also stay in and block like an All-Pro lineman.
Head coach, Mike Patricia, knows the value of having a tight end that can do it all, from his days back in New England and watching Rob Gronkowski. That is a solid reason as to why Hockenson was selected with the number eight overall pick.
With the trade of Golden Tate late in the 2018 season, the offense started lacking some offensive weapons. Hockenson can be a great option in the red zone and also a chain mover in this offense. Not only that, since he is also talented as a blocker, this can be a good sign for the running game as he can open up those outside runs for Kerryon Johnson and those screen passes for Theo Riddick.
With such a high draft selection used on Hockenson, he will be involved in the offense and this means that his value will be high for a position that lacked serious depth for fantasy owners. If the offensive line can hold up for Matthew Stafford, he should be able to find Hockenson regularly for touchdowns and crucial third down conversions. Stash him on your bench in the late rounds and you could see good value once the season gets a couple of weeks in.
Dwayne Haskins, Quarterback, Washington Redskins
The first round could not have gone better for the Redskins. Having the Giants take Daniel Jones at number six, the Broncos trading out of 10, and they didn’t know at the time but Miami was working a deal to acquire Rosen from the Cardinals. This led to Haskins falling right into their laps. With the unfortunate accident to Alex Smith, Haskins will come in and compete for a starting job with Case Keenum and Colt McCoy.
Haskins is arguably the most pro-ready quarterback in this draft. There are only six quarterbacks in NCAA FBS history that have thrown 50 or more touchdowns and Haskins is one of them. He has great composure in the pocket and goes through his progression nicely to find the open receiver. That is also a reason why he posted a 70% completion rating at Ohio State. Haskins come into an offense in Washington where he has some good receivers but with him under center, he can make them better. One thing that will help is Washington drafted his fellow teammate, wide receiver Terry McLaurin, and that should bring some familiarity to the offense.
Haskins has the inside track to win the starting job. Regardless of whether he becomes the starter day one or a couple weeks in, he has good fantasy value. Now he is a pocket-passer and makes infrequent plays with his legs. This means you are relying purely on his passing prowess. Similar to Murray in Arizona, stash him on your bench in the later rounds and just wait to see if the skills translate to the NFL. Most likely, he will be fantasy relevant sooner, rather than later.
Noah Fant, Tight End, Denver Broncos
The Broncos played the first round to their advantage. Using the number 10 pick to trade back and gain additional draft capital, then select Fant with the number 20 pick. Fant is the other heralded tight end to come out of Iowa in this year’s draft and he will greatly improve the tight end corps of the Broncos. He didn’t amass a huge stat-line during his time as a Hawkeye, but that could be because he played with Hockenson in the same offense. He wanted an expanding role but was not able to get it and he ultimately declared for the draft.
Now coming into the NFL, Fant will need to improve his blocking if he wants to stay on the field for all three downs. He has excellent ball skills and can get open whenever he wants, so there is no questioning his ability as a pass-catcher. Coming into an offense that features Joe Flacco under center, he is sure to get involved early in his career. Flacco loves relying on tight ends to move the chains and Fant fits that bill nicely. He may face some competition with Jake Butt and Troy Fumagalli, but if their injuries continue to plague their career, Fant is looking like a bonafide star in the making in that Denver offense.
Draft Fant and just know that Flacco will find a way to get him the ball. He may not be reliable enough early in the year to be in your starting roster, but he is for sure worth a bench spot and could be handy in those bye weeks as a solid streaming option. Target him in the later rounds and he is sure to return on your investment.
Josh Jacobs, Running Back, Oakland Raiders
There are pros and cons of being in the Alabama backfield. Pro: You get wide recognition on the national stage. Con: You split backfield carries with other high-level recruits coming out of high school. Pro: Since you are splitting reps, you have less of a workload and are fresher coming into the NFL. Con: Since you are not the feature back, can you live up to the grind of possibly being the every-down back in a team’s backfield. This could go on forever, but for Jacobs, he is living this reality. This didn’t stop the Oakland Raiders from selecting him in the first round, with the 24th overall selection.
Jacobs has the ability to be a fantasy star in the NFL. His limited body of work may worry some folks, but he should be able to translate all his skills to the NFL easily. He can run with power, has the ability to be a receiver out of the backfield, and he has the breakaway speed to elude defenders in a foot race. There is no doubt that is why he was tied for the most total touchdowns in the Crimson Tide offense and led all running backs in rushing scores.
So you weigh all the options and it gives you a lot to think about when it comes to Jacobs’ fantasy outlook. He is coming into a situation where Marshawn Lynch is retiring and he just needs to worry about beating out an aging Doug Martin for the top spot on the depth chart. It sounds simple enough but as mentioned, when you split a backfield with Damien Harris, your stardom is split and people may not believe you can hold up to 25 or 30 carries in the NFL. For me, it’s no question he can live up to it and will be a sneaky fantasy rookie of the year. Draft him to your bench and he will break into your starting roster very quickly.
N’Keal Harry, Wide Receiver, New England Patriots
During his time in New England, you can count on one hand the number of times Bill Belichick has selected a wide receiver in the first round. In fact, you don’t even need any fingers…that’s right, zero. This is also the first receiver the Patriots as an organization has selected in the first round since Terry Glenn back in 1996. So when this pick was made, you know this receiver will be involved heavily in the New England offense and will fast become a go-to target for Tom Brady.
Listed at 6’2 and 228 pounds, Harry is a physical freak. Now he may not be on the same level as D.K. Metcalf, but he uses his body and athleticism to beat corners on a consistent basis. Add in the fact that he has excellent ball skills and it’s no questions why he closed out the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Harry comes to New England as a sure-fire option in the passing game. With Gronkowski retiring and Chris Hogan moving on to Carolina, the receiving options have dwindled for the Patriots. Harry has a good shot of working alongside Julian Edelman and free agent acquisition, Demaryius Thomas.
Just like Sony Michel last season, the Patriots don’t take a skill position player in the first round unless they were going to be utilized as much as possible. Harry was drafted to be a chain mover and consistent target for Brady to throw to. Draft him as a player with huge upside and a chance of starting right away. His starting role in your fantasy roster may be a WR3 or a FLEX option, but it won’t be long before his abilities take him higher than that in the NFL and in your fantasy league.