Six Rookie WR’s Worth Drafting

Conlin Postma

Fantasy Writer


As the Fantasy Football season slowly approaches, we saw many rookies be drafted to fitting teams. This article will be solely about the six best rookie receivers that are worth being drafted. The reasons for drafting them could be because of their upside, place on the depth chart, being on a successful team, or all of the above. There won’t be any sleepers on this list, it will just be about the rookie WR’s that could have outstanding seasons.

One of the elements of this article is the player comparisons. The player comparison isn’t necessarily about if the rookie will have a similar season to their NFL counterpart. It’s more about their similar size, play style, or team situation. For example (spoiler alert), Marquise Brown, who isn’t on the list, would have Philadelphia Eagles’ WR, DeSean Jackson, as his comparison. Both have phenomenal speed, ability to stretch the field, and boom-or-bust Fantasy play style.

Bringing it back to the rookies. They should all be in line to have a successful Fantasy season especially three of them because of who their QB’s are. In 2018, Patrick Mahomes, Andrew Luck, and Russell Wilson were all top ten Fantasy QB’s. Those QB’s will likely provide a higher floor for their rookie receivers, too. Don’t let that stat sway you because all six players have the potential to finish as top 40 WR’s.

Now without further ado, here are the Six Rookie WR’s Worth Drafting.

 

  1. N’Keal Harry, New England Patriots

Player Comparison: Alshon Jeffrey, Philadelphia Eagles

Alshon Jeffrey is a good comparison for the former Arizona State Sun Devil because of their similar sizes. Harry does weigh a considerable more than Jeffrey, but they both stand at 6’3. Both are “go up and get it” receivers who can win 50-50 balls and are polished route runners. Jeffrey is also Carson Wentz’s go-to wideout and Harry could be the same thing for Tom Brady, now with Gronk retiring and Josh Gordon’s future unknown.

One of the main benefits of N’Keal getting drafted by the Patriots is that he is immediately planted as their second best WR. Only Super Bowl LIII MVP, Julian Edelman, is ahead of him. Philip Dorsett, Braxton Barrios, Bruce Ellington, or Maurice Harris pose no threat to taking his spot. New England still has Josh Gordon on their roster and they have signed former Broncos and Texans receiver, Demaryius Thomas, too, but they’re not threats to Harry either.

It wouldn’t be a shock if Josh Gordon isn’t able to make it back for the 2019 season. He is continuously getting suspended or taking time off to fight his substance abuse problems. At this point in Gordon’s life, his health is more important than football. The newest signee, Demaryius Thomas is still battling back from a torn Achilles he suffered in Week 16 when he was a member of the Houston Texans. Thomas has been trending downwards the last couple years and the Patriots signing him is a big question mark. Don’t be surprised if Thomas retires or is cut during the preseason.

When it comes to rookie N’Keal Harry, people forget that he has tremendous size. He is listed at 6’2 and weighs 228 lbs. With his size, he will be a favorite goal-line target since Rob Gronkowski retired during the offseason.

For Fantasy Football, feel confident in drafting him as a WR3. No one other than Edelman is a threat to him. Harry should be in line for about 77 catches, 95 targets, 852 yards, and seven touchdowns. This rookie has the potential to become Tom Brady’s go to goal line receiver and can finish inside the top 25 WR’s this season if he remains healthy.

  1. A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans

Player Comparison: Quincy Enunwa, New York Jets

This might not be the most flattering comparison, but it’s definitely an accurate one. Enunwa and Brown have almost an identical size and they both have similar skill sets. Quincy suffered from poor QB play last season and that limited his fantasy potential. A.J. Brown could have the same situation if Mariota doesn’t step up his game this season.

Just like N’Keal Harry, Brown is walking into Tennessee as their second best WR on the depth chart. Tennessee did add former Tampa Bay wideout, Adam Humphries, but he will be the main slot receiver. A.J. Brown should see plenty of targets due to playing opposite of Corey Davis. One downside to Brown’s fantasy value is Marcus Mariota.

Over the last two seasons, Mariota has struggled mightily and it shows with his 24 passing touchdowns to 23 interceptions. Last season, he had career lows in the following categories, passing yards, passing touchdowns, completions, and passing attempts. If Mariota continues to struggle or gets injured then the Titans will be forced to put Ryan Tannehill under center. If Tannehill becomes the starter that could be good news for Brown, as Tannehill is a much better passer than Mariota.

Rookie, A.J. Brown, could be primed for a successful season. The returning Delanie Walker and young stud, Corey Davis, will be the main focus of defenses. This will let A.J. Brown be in favorable one on one matchups and he could several big games. He could catch 54 passes, see 86 targets, have 648 receiving yards, and score five touchdowns. A.J. Brown should be drafted ahead of other number two receivers like John Ross, Zay Jones, Tyrell Williams, or Tre’Quan Smith.

At the end of the Fantasy Football season, this rookie could finish inside the top 50 WR’s.

  1. D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

Player Comparison: Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts

The comparison for this athletic freak isn’t an idea based off of physique, but it’s due to their potential to have similar production. D.K is comparable to former Lions’ TE, Eric Ebron. Ebron caught 13 TD’s in his first season with the Colts and there is a chance D.K. could get double-digit TD’s in his first season.

This physical specimen fell into the Seattle Seahawks’ laps in the second round of the 2019 draft and it could be a perfect home for him. Due to Baldwin’s recent release, Metcalf is now the number two receiver for Seattle, behind only Tyler Lockett. No Seattle receiver can dethrone D.K. from his depth chart position.

When it comes to D.K.’s potential in 2019, there is much to love about it. He will be the primary goal-line threat and could have double-digit touchdowns. Seattle will continue to be a run-first team and that will limit Russell Wilson’s passing attempts. Wilson had his lowest passing yards, attempts, and completions since 2013. If Wilson has similar numbers to last season the former Ole Miss Rebel could have an inconsistent fantasy season.

Since Doug Baldwin is no longer in Seattle, the rookie should have roughly 66 catches, 93 targets, 771 yards, and 10 touchdowns. With that stat line, Metcalf is a solid WR4 option but could become a touchdown-dependent WR3. When it is all said and done, D.K. Metcalf might be a steal in fantasy drafts.

  1. Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs

Player Comparison: Brandin Cooks, Los Angeles Rams

Some might have DeSean Jackson or Marquise Goodwin for comparisons, but Cooks is the best example. Great field stretchers, similar sizes, and both have two of the best young QB’s. Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce will free up Hardman, the same way Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp are able to free up Brandin Cooks.

This former Georgia Bulldog is walking into an opportunity of a lifetime. Tyreek Hill should be getting released due to his off-field incident and that leaves Hardman to be behind just Sammy Watkins on the Chiefs’ WR depth chart. There might be some games where Hardman is bumped to number one due to Watkins’ inability to stay healthy.

There are two downsides to the rookie’s game. The first one being is his field-stretching play style. The second problem is that he could be inconsistent for fantasy. There are players that are primarily field stretchers but can also be reliable fantasy starters. For example, Tyreek Hill and T.Y. Hilton are reliable weekly starters. Then you have Robby Anderson and Will Fuller who can have 7-145-2 in one game or 2-20-0 in the next game.

Look into drafting him as a WR4, but when Hill does get released or suspended then Hardman becomes a WR2. Mecole could do some kick and punt returning, too which would increase his fantasy value some. For his receiving stats, 79 catches, 933 yards, and eight touchdowns is likely since he will be the WR1 or WR2 for the Chiefs.

These “boom-or-bust” type of players are quite inconsistent, but due to the Chiefs being a pass-heavy offense there is much to like about this rookie’s upside.

  1. Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts

Player Comparison: Stefon Diggs, Minnesota Vikings

Stefon Diggs is not a far-off comparison for Campbell. Diggs is six feet tall and weighs 191 pounds, Campbell is also six feet tall, but weighs 205 pounds. Another strong comparison is that Diggs is able to make plays because of how Adam Thielen takes some of the focus off of him. T.Y. Hilton will help alleviate some of the pressure off of Campbell and allow him to make plays because most defense will be trying to stop Hilton.

Being drafted by the Colts is a blessing for Campbell. He is coming into a great situation where he could be the starting receiver by Week One. Most likely, the newly acquired, Devin Funchess, will play opposite T.Y. Hilton on the outside and that would leave Parris to play in the slot.

In the offseason, the Colts didn’t make many moves when it came to their offense, but they made enough to possibly give Parris Campbell a decent number of catches. The departures of Ryan Grant and Dontrelle Inman will free up 63 catches. Now with the arrival of Campbell, you have to think he’ll take some of Eric Ebron’s 66 catches, Nyheim Hines’ 63 catches, and Chester Rodgers’ 53 catches.

One of the biggest benefits of Parris to the Colts is how much they pass and how talented his QB is. Last season, Andrew Luck attempted 639 passes and had the second most touchdown passes with 39. Luck also had 12 games with more than 30 attempts, eight games with more than 40 attempts, and four games with more than 50 passing attempts.

At the end of the season, you can be assured that Parris Campbell will have the second or third most catches for Indianapolis. Indianapolis’ outstanding offense and top five passing attack will make this rookie a week-to-week WR3 or Flex option. Having Andrew Luck under center gives Campbell a higher floor than other rookie WR’s, too.

For all the reasons above, Parris is in line to have 98 targets, 67 catches, 783 receiving yards, and only four touchdowns. The reason for his four touchdowns is that he won’t be used as much in the red zone. Other Colts players such as Jack Doyle, Eric Ebron, Marlon Mack, Devin Funchess, and even T.Y. Hilton will all be used more near the goal line and in the red zone more than the rookie. Even with his possible low number of touchdowns, don’t let that deter you from drafting this rookie.

  1. Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers

Player Comparison: Julian Edelman, New England Patriots

If there is one thing this former New England QB, Jimmy Garoppolo, needs is a Julian Edelman and he might have that in Deebo Samuel. Both Edelman and Samuel are smaller framed slot receivers who are able to take hits. Garoppolo could use Deebo the same way Tom Brady uses Julian Edelman.

This last spot was a toss-up between Baltimore’s Marquise Brown or 49ers’ Deebo Samuel. The reason for Samuel over Brown is because Jimmy Garoppolo will attempt more passes than Lamar Jackson. Jimmy threw for only 483 yards and one passing touchdown less than Jackson in four fewer starts. All of that bodes well for Deebo’s fantasy potential.

Samuel could be the starting outside or slot receiver for San Francisco when the season begins. Deebo shouldn’t have a problem winning the positional battle over Trent Taylor for the slot or Marquise Goodwin for the number two receiver. When the 49ers selected the former Gamecock in the second round it wasn’t for him to sit on the bench so he will be at least a WR4 for San Francisco.

Samuel could have the fourth most targets at the end of the season behind George Kittle, Dante Pettis, and either Tevin Coleman or Jerick McKinnon. Kittle is the clear number one option, Pettis is the number one WR on the depth chart, and either Coleman or McKinnon will be the starting back. If Deebo is able to see the fourth most targets for his team, that is a huge opportunity for him to really produce in Fantasy Football.

Due to his high upside and smart QB, this rookie should be selected ahead of Jamison Crowder, Emmanuel Sanders, DeSean Jackson, and even over his teammate Marquise Goodwin. It is highly possible for this rookie to finish his first season with 88 targets, 62 catches, 831 yards, and six touchdowns.

**PSA**

This isn’t a rankings list at all, but just the six-best rookie WR’s from the 2019 draft. Hopefully, these rookies are able to stay healthy and help their Fantasy owners and teams win multiple games this season.

 




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