Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Rookie Roulette - Which WR Should Go First in Rookie Drafts?


With rookie draft season in full swing, you've got some major questions to think about, especially if you're picking early in your league's draft and need to figure out which wide receiver to pick first.

The commonly accepted thought on this issue is to take N'Keal Harry first, but D.K. Metcalf s also a player who could be considered for the spot, and there are a few other players in good positions on teams that set them up well for the future.

So, should you go with Harry first? Or is there a different move you should make?

Editor's Note: Get any rest-of-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive DFS Tools, Lineup Optimizer and Premium DFS Research through the Super Bowl. Sign Up Now!

 

The Case For N'Keal Harry

Let's start with Harry, since I'm pretty sure most people see him as the top rookie receiver off the board.

There's good reason for that, as Harry wound up on a receiver-needy Patriots team where he could pretty easily step in and be the team's best outside weapon from day one. Imagine not taking Tom Brady's potential top target as the first receiver in your rookie draft!

Harry's a big receiver who's able to make an impact with the legs, someone who can make strong cuts and create space after the catch. He's already a good route runner, so the Patriots can rely on that to get him the ball in good positions. He can give the team a great deep threat, someone who can get past the defense and get the open field he needs to make big plays.

But there's also a level of uncertainty in New England, as Tom Brady can't just keep playing forever, and if you're taking Harry in a dynasty draft, you have to deal with that uncertainty. Who's up next under center for the Pats? Will they be able to take advantage of Harry's skill set?

And also, what if Brady regresses? He's 42 years old. He was just 22nd in completion percentage on deep balls. But Brady was still eighth in air yards last year, and it's hard to bet against him still being an above-average NFL thrower.

 

The Case For D.K. Metcalf

Can I just embed the photo of Metcalf where his shirt is off and he has more abs than any human being in the world has ever had and say y'all really aren't doubting this guy, are you?

Metcalf hype was high after the Combine. Per MockDraftable, here are Metcalf's Combine numbers, with his percentile scores among wide receivers:

So, Metcalf can jump out of the building and combines that with elite size and a 4.33 40-yard dash? And sure, that's combined with some alarmingly low marks in the events that test lateral quickness, but his straight-line speed should make him a major receiving threat, right?

And yet, things concern me, especially in terms of his college production. His college dominator percentage was 32.1 percent, good for just the 57th percentile among wide receivers. Per PlayerProfiler, that number -- which represents the percentage of a team's receiving yards and touchdowns a player had -- is lower than you'd want to see. Harry, for instance, was at 43.9 percent.

In college, Metcalf had plays where you could really see his speed and size working together to produce outstanding things on the football field, but Ole Miss just didn't get him the ball enough. His tape shows a fairly limited route tree and a lack of involvement in the short passing game, things that worry me about him moving forward.

But, like with Harry, we have to take the quarterback into account here when it comes to his NFL outlook. Harry has Brady, but Metcalf has someone who's better for Metcalf in dynasty leagues -- the newly re-signed Russell Wilson. Wilson's probably better than Brady right now and he's definitely got more upside than Brady going forward. Last year, Wilson had the NFL's second-highest deep ball completion percentage, so it's not hard to envision that connection working down the field a lot.

But can Metcalf be more than a deep ball guy? Harry seems capable of working both near the line of scrimmage and down the field, but Metcalf's tape shows him as a big play guy who may struggle if asked to make small plays, and his measurables don't give me confidence in his ability to produce in short yardage, where he'll need to make cuts.

 

The Case For Everyone Else

Sure, let's talk about some other guys who you could think about this high.

Three guys who I've been seeing go Round 1 in rookie drafts, with some quick reasons for/against them:

A.J. Brown: Brown was more productive than Metcalf when they played for the same college, but he finds himself in Tennessee, where he'll be the number two receiver behind Corey Davis on a team that isn't known for their passing skills. Marcus Mariota has to take a big step forward for this team to support one strong fantasy receiver, much less two. Adam Humphries is also new in Tennessee and should see a lot of action from the slot.

Mecole Hardman: Fast, fast, fast, and on an offense that's going to throw more than anyone else with reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes at quarterback. But if Tyreek Hill is still on this team come the start of the season, he's the deep guy, and Travis Kelce is the league's top tight end, so Hardman sees his path to production blocked off. (Plus, Sammy Watkins is technically here too, and head coach Andy Reid is going to trust him before he trusts Hardman.)

Parris CampbellT.Y. Hilton being on this Colts team limits what Campbell can eventually do, but he should have a great career as the second receiver on a team led by Andrew Luck. He just doesn't have the upside of being a number-one guy like Harry or Metcalf.

 

And The Winner Is...

After a lot of deliberation, I'm going with N'Keal Harry. I love Metcalf's upside, but Harry feels more certain of being a guy who delivers on his upside, and he's useful in more ways than Metcalf is right now.

This one might come down to your dynasty team build, though. If you're weak at receiver but strong everywhere else, Harry's someone who can be a reliable option for you. If you're strong everywhere and can take a risk on Metcalf with the understanding that you won't need to start him right away, or you're tearing it all down and want a guy with star potential, Metcalf makes sense.

More Dynasty League Strategy




More Recent Articles

 

Best Waiver Wire Pickups from 2019

Each and every year we see an incredible number of players step foot on the NFL gridiron. Just in 2019, using Pro-Football-Reference.com Play Index, a total of 2,025 players took part in at least one game while one (Emmanuel Sanders) did the impossible and played 17 (!) games in the regular season as he was... Read More


Tight End VOS (Values Over Starter): 2019 Season In Context

The 2019 fantasy football season is over. That is not something we like to say considering the empty path we have ahead of us until we reach draft season again in eight months. The good thing about it, though, is that we have plenty of time to analyze what happened during the past few weeks... Read More


Biggest Surprises of 2019: Running Back

The 2019 NFL season was an interesting year for the running back position. Christian McCaffrey was the overall RB1, but some of the other top players fell below expectations. That led to some interesting final results when the final season standings came around. And while some of those -- Dalvin Cook as the RB3, Leonard... Read More


Quarterback VOS (Values Over Starter): 2019 Season In Context

The 2019 fantasy football season is over. That is not something we like to say considering the empty path we have ahead of us until we reach draft season again in eight months. The good thing about it, though, is that we have plenty of time to analyze what happened during the past few weeks... Read More


2019 RotoBaller NFL Challenge - And The @Fleaflicker Winner Is...

What a season, RotoBallers. Fantasy football is always a fun, interesting, and long season - filled with injuries, breakout players, and different strategies. It takes stamina and endurance to win the marathon, and we're here today to recognize those who pulled it off. With 343 teams - across two divisions - competing to be crowned champ... Read More


Introducing the 2020 Rookie Tight End Class

Out of all the skill positions, tight end is the one where rookies have the most issue making an immediate impact. But there's still always some value at every position in every NFL Draft, and the 2020 one is no exception, even if people are very down on this year's crop of tight ends. Let's... Read More


Can a New Coach Fix Baker Mayfield in 2020?

Another season has passed and another disappointment by Browns fans has been realized. Baker Mayfield got the head coach he wanted in Freddie Kitchens in 2019. In 2020, hopefully he's got the one he needs in Kevin Stefanski. Last season, under Kitchens, Mayfield had a coach he could control and manipulate. He did just that... Read More


Wide Receiver VOS (Values Over Starter): 2019 Season In Context

The one (and only) good thing about fantasy football season ending is that we have plenty of time to analyze what happened during the past few months and put performances into context to prepare for next season. As football is an ever-evolving game, though, it makes sense to assess how good players were in fantasy... Read More


The King's Keeper Corner: NFL Postseason Impacts on Player Outlooks

With a break in the postseason NFL action, it is time to reflect on what we have seen in the playoffs so far and how certain performances will affect fantasy football outlooks in keeper and dynasty formats. How players respond and what they deliver at the most intense and critical times of the season can... Read More


Introducing Value Over Starter Football Metrics

When it comes to fantasy sports, we're always looking for the highest possible Return On Investment or ROI. This concept is easy to understand: in both Daily Fantasy and re-draft/fantasy leagues, ROI would come down to how many points a player returns relative to his salary, or the price you paid (given his ADP on... Read More


Biggest Breakouts of 2019: Quarterback

2019 was a very interesting season of fantasy football, to say the least. It's safe to say no one was banking on the season that we saw from Lamar Jackson but he wasn't the only one to stand out. At the quarterback position, we saw some really exciting players start to shine and some older... Read More


Goodbye Runners, Hello Pass-Catching RBs: 2019 Season Trends

As the 2019 summer kept going we all had two things in our minds with regard to September's fantasy drafts and both of them were related to running backs: Where in the world are Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon and when will they be back? It made sense back then (and it still does now,... Read More


Where Does 2019 Rank Historically Among ADP Movers?

I have worked on a season-review series of articles in which I have analyzed the biggest winners and losers in terms of ADP entering draft season compared to the end of the year final results. It was plenty of fun looking back at the gambles most of us took which ultimately paid off, but also... Read More


Biggest Busts of 2019: Tight End

2019 was not the record-breaking season for tight ends 2018 was. San Francisco’s George Kittle (most receiving yards for a TE in a season) and Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz (most receptions for a TE in a season) did not break the records they set last season, although both were fine for fantasy players. Kansas City’s Travis... Read More


Rushing Quarterbacks Are Becoming Necessary

The 2019 fantasy season is over. We are all thinking about what to do come 2020 draft day. So let me ask you something. What if I offer you the chance of drafting a quarterback who is a lock to finish the season with 270 fantasy points? Would you take him and make him your... Read More