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 Wide Receivers Set to Make a Splash in 2019


The 2019 NFL Draft saw 28 wide receivers find homes with NFL teams. A handful others were added as undrafted free agents. The influx of new talent into the league every year always has an effect on the players already there.

It goes without saying that most of the rookie WRs will have no impact whatsoever in their first seasons, many of which will never matter at all. 2018 fantasy drafts saw about 5-7 rookie WRs taken in redraft leagues and none in spots where fantasy owners were expecting any sort of immediate contribution beyond rotational bench player.

While the 2019 WR class is one of the deepest of all time in terms of quantity, it is severely lacking in top-end talent. That doesn't mean there isn't value to be had in this rookie class, though.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season NFL Premium Pass for 50% off. Our exclusive In-Season Lineup Tools, Lineup Optimizer and over 150 days of Premium DFS Research. Sign Up Now!

 

The Best

*These rookie wide receivers have the best shot at immediate relevance and could be worth owning in re-draft leagues.

 

N'Keal Harry, New England Patriots

Rob Gronkowski retired. Chris Hogan is gone. Julian Edelman is 33 years old. The Patriots are a well-oiled machine and have been for years, but currently lack playmakers. N'Keal Harry comes with first-round draft capital and should step into an outside role immediately. Tom Brady is far from the prolific fantasy producer he once was and the Patriots are designed to do what's necessary to reach the postseason and go from there, but I would be surprised if Harry wasn't a useful fantasy asset as as rookie.

It all comes down to price. If you're drafting Harry to be an every-week WR2, you're going to be disappointed. There is no reason he can't be a WR3, though. At 6'2 with an 81st percentile catch radius, Harry has legitimate double-digit touchdown upside and could replace Gronk as Tom Brady's primary red zone target. If you can get Harry for the right price, he is the type of player that can win you a handful of weeks with multi-touchdown games.

 

Parris Campbell, Indianapolis Colts

This one is a little trickier. Parris Campbell landed in a great spot by going to the Colts in the second round. I love his long term outlook with T.Y. Hilton turning 30 this year. However, we cannot ignore that the Colts signed Devin Funchess and gave Chester Rogers a second-round tender. Campbell may very well open the season as the fourth WR on the depth chart. His ascendance to fantasy relevance may look more similar to that of JuJu Smith-Schuster in 2017 where Campbell is largely irrelevant for the beginning of the season until an injury or some other event propels him into action.

Although he wasn't used as a downfield threat in college, Campbell profiles as one given his elite burst and blazing speed. He is a great fit with Andrew Luck and definitely worth a late-round redraft selection. Fantasy owners just need to be aware that taking Campbell may require some patience. He could fit better as a late pick in best-ball drafts.

 

Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers

As we get further down the list, the likelihood of immediate fantasy impact decreases. Deebo Samuel is basically a better version of Dante Pettis. The pick, truthfully, made no sense. He is a redundant asset, or, rather, he makes Pettis a redundant asset. Given how highly the 49ers drafted Samuel, it is likely they push him into the starting lineup immediately. Pierre Garcon is gone and Marquise Goodwin can't stay healthy. Samuel and Pettis may be the second and third options in this passing game behind George Kittle.

The 49ers look to be building a quick-hitter west coast offense. Samuel fits in nicely, but I don't see much of a ceiling here. If he is anything more than a WR3 as a rookie, that would be a huge win.

 

The Next

*The next few players have a chance to make an impact as a rookie, but carry enough uncertainty that they aren't must-drafts in redraft leagues.

 

Mecole Hardman, Kansas City Chiefs

It is safe to say that Tyreek Hill will not be playing in the NFL in 2019. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't play football ever again. The Chiefs had this bombshell dropped on them right before the draft and clearly sought to replace Hill. Unfortunately, Mecole Hardman is not Tyreek Hill. Hill may be a complete trash can of a human being, but there's no denying he is an elite wide receiver. Hardman is not going to replace him. That doesn't mean the Chiefs will not try, though. With Sammy Watkins overrated and never healthy, there are targets available on a shallow WR depth chart. Hardman could find himself in a very advantageous position playing 90% of the snaps receiving passes from Patrick Mahomes.

With elite straight line speed, Hardman will certainly have his moments. Unfortunately, the odds of a wide receiver that never eclipsed the 40 receptions mark in a single college season having any success at the NFL level are extremely low. Hardman played 29 games over his sophomore and junior seasons and managed a grand total of 60 receptions. How the Chiefs took him over Parris Cambell and Andy Isabella or even D.K. Metcalf is completely befuddling. Hardman may very well be gifted with immense opportunity and his draft day price will probably be cheap, making him at least a name to monitor.

 

Andy Isabella, Arizona Cardinals

The pre-draft evaluations of Andy Isabella were all over the place. I saw him ranked anywhere from the top five to outside the top 20. With second-round draft capital, it is clear that Kliff Kingsburg believes in Isabella. The problem is that Christian Kirk is very good at football and Larry Fitzgerald is around for one more year (I do think 2019 will be his final season). The Cardinals also spend a fourth-round pick on Hakeem Butler, for whatever that is worth.

The revamped Cardinals air raid offense led by Kyler Murray is going to be filled with fantasy goodness. Predicting where that goodness comes from is tricky. It may very well be a week-to-week thing between Kirk, Fitz, and Isabella. Once Fitz is gone, I like the looks of this offense with Butler stretching the field on the outside and Isabella and Kirk rotating in and out of the slot. In 2019, though, Isabella's target share is very much in question. He does have a plausible path to targets via an injury in front of him or if Fitz is finally done and gets phased out of the offense.

 

D.K. Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks

This one is entirely predicted upon Doug Baldwin retiring. If Baldwin is able to return, he and Tyler Lockett will resume their roles, relegating Metcalf to a WR3 role in a low volume passing offense. Even if Russell Wilson spikes to over 500 pass attempts, Metcalf has the same problem as Hardman with the lack of college production (no 40 reception season), dreadful agility, and limited route tree. He's a much better real life field stretcher than fantasy asset. However, if Baldwin retires, Metcalf will have no choice but to take on a bigger role, which could lead to some WR2 weeks (mixed with a whole bunch of WR5 weeks). He's nothing more than a name to monitor.

 

The Rest

*The remaining guys are players with day two draft capital that have either talent issues or landing spot issues.

 

Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens drafted Marquise Brown because he can run really fast...at least we think. Hollywood didn't participate in the combine or his pro day due to a lisfranc injury. It is entirely possible he doesn't even play as a rookie. Combine that with Lamar Jackson's inability to make NFL throws and the Ravens low volume passing offense and Brown is highly unlikely to be a fantasy asset in year one (or as long as Jackson is the starter).

 

A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans

This was worst case scenario for A.J. Brown in terms of landing spot. The Titans already have Corey Davis and his top 10 selection draft capital. They signed Adam Humphries to a big contract. Marcus Mariota has been largely a bust. And the team thinks it's 1970 and wants to funnel their offense through Derrick Henry. Brown is a solid prospect, but was always going to be highly dependent on where he was selected. He is unlikely to matter in year one.

 

JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Philadelphia Eagles

A lot of people like JJ Arcega-Whiteside. I don't have an issue with the landing spot. Alshon Jeffery is on the wrong side of 30 and Nelson Agholor is terrible/may be traded or cut. There's a plausible path to targets for JJAW. I just don't think he's very good. Arcega-Whiteside played four years at Stanford and was productive in his final two. He tested incredibly poorly at his pro day. He displayed excellent speed, but has a small catch radius and bottom percentile burst and agility. The path to targets isn't terribly muddy, I just don't trust JJAW to do much with them in the event he gets them.

 

It's early May and much will change between now and fantasy draft season, but if I had to predict the likely utility of the major rookie WRs, here it is.

WR3: Harry, Campbell, Samuel

WR4: Isabella, Metcalf, Hardman

Someone in this class will probably be a WR2 and someone not listed here will probably break out, but I am not expecting anything near a 2014-like impact from what is considered the best overall WR class since 2014.

More NFL Draft Analysis




More Recent Articles

 

Week 8 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

This was a REALLY difficult week to rank, because there are so many usable DSTs this week. There are usable options all the way down to Tier 4 this week, and you're going to have something available to you on the waiver wire in even the deepest of leagues. Below are RotoBaller's Week 8 defense... Read More


Week 8 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

It's Chase Edmonds' world, we're just living in it. Wait, what? Hopefully you added him, as suggested in this column the past two weeks, because even if David Johnson is deemed healthy enough to actually play, it's likely Edmonds continues to see action. In QB news, by the halfway point of Thursday night, we already had... Read More


FAAB Bidding - Week 8 Waiver Wire Targets

Assisting our famous waiver wire pickups list, and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB). As a caveat, these prices do not by any means indicate how much these free agent players will... Read More


We Must Overreact Immediately! Week 7 Outliers

Week 7 seemed extremely fluky for fantasy football purposes. Devonta Freeman was ejected, and players like Will Fuller, Adam Thielen and Kerryon Johnson were both forced from their games very early on which hurt a lot of fantasy owners. The Rams wide receivers were supposed to light the world on fire against a Falcons secondary that... Read More


Deeper League Free Agent Pickups for Week 8

We're past the halfway point of the regular fantasy football season, which means you'd better start making some serious moves if you have any weaknesses in your roster. Unfortunately, this is also the time of the year when the waiver wire is at its most desolate. But that's why I'm here. To navigate you through... Read More


The Cut List - Players on the Chopping Block (Week 8)

This is your weekly list of players to drop. I will do my best to limit this list to injured players and players you might consider holding. If you roster pure handcuffs or backups, obviously you can let them go at any time. The players on this list will, ideally, be guys that aren't clearly... Read More


Week 8 Kicker Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Week 7 is over, and a few things have changed. The Los Angeles Rams learned how to play offense again, and the New York Jets came back to Earth, among other things. Week 7 was an especially quiet week for kickers across the NFL. A lot of kickers weren't able to get on the field... Read More


Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 8

The regular season continues to advance at a relentless pace as we have now entered planning for Week 8. Some of you are ecstatic with the level of production that has been delivered by your running backs. But many of you have been contending with unwanted developments at this position including injuries, inconsistent usage, and... Read More


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 8

We're heading into Week 8 of the NFL season. By now, some of y'all are getting a good sense of where you're at fantasy-wise, if you're heading to the postseason or playing for fun or, in a dynasty league, building for the future. This look at wide receivers is for all of you. As we... Read More


Week 8 Tight End Waiver Wire Picks and Streamers

A two-team bye week is a lot easier for fantasy football players to navigate than a four-team bye week. Fantasy owners are going to have to live without Dallas’ Jason Witten and Baltimore’s Mark Andrews in Week 8. If you have one of the those players as your starting tight end, the problem is that... Read More


Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers - Week 8

Tragedy struck a few top quarterbacks this week, as both Patrick Mahomes and Matt Ryan left games with injuries. We already know Mahomes will miss 3-6 weeks, while more will be revealed about Ryan's status later today. Either way, owners of these quarterbacks will need a backup plan in place, and this week the waiver... Read More


Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Pickups List

Back by popular demand in 2019... RotoBaller has brought back for the NFL season our Ultimate 2019 Fantasy Football Sleepers and Waiver Wire Pickups List.  Be sure to also try our other lineup tools below. Using your phone? Be sure to also download our free app which includes news, notifications, injury alerts & articles.   Rankings WizardWeekly... Read More


Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 7 Will Fuller (hamstring) is expected to miss several weeks. Matt Ryan is out for the game with an... Read More


Waiver Wire Express - Week 8 Lightning Round

The better part of seven weeks is in the fantasy football books, making those early trends very real -- for better or worse. One must still consider the matchups played thus far and those to come, but usage and volume are becoming reliable. Week 8 sees the Ravens and Cowboys hit their bye week. To... Read More


Week 7 Start/Sit: Monday Night Football Matchups Analysis

Even if this doesn’t turn out to be great MNF game, at least it's a divisional game with some importance. This is what Jets fans need to tell themselves heading into their second Monday Night Football game of the season. With the New England Patriots coming to town off their annual semi-bye in which they... Read More