Happy Fourth of July everyone! Hopefully, you are enjoying the greatest American holiday with friends, family, food, and your choice of beverage. While the 2019 NFL season doesn’t kick off for another nine weeks, it is never too early to prepare to build the ultimate fantasy football team. To help with that, the Scorecrow family has started a mini-series with a handful of writers giving you their opinions on five questions. Be sure to follow all of the writers on Twitter and ask any questions you may have regarding their answers. Without further ado, let’s get into it.
All questions and average draft position (ADP) is based on 12 teams, one quarterback, PPR scoring and can be found here.
Which rookie has the best chance to finish as a top 12 running back?
Mike Fanelli: Josh Jacobs → ADP 3.09, RB18
This question is often asked as “who is this year’s Alvin Kamara?” The answer to that question is no one because there isn’t a Kamara in this rookie class. However, Jacobs has the best shot as a top 12 finish because he is the only rookie stepping into a feature role. The Raiders’ rushing leader from last year, Doug Martin, is back but only after Isaiah Crowell tore his Achilles shortly after joining the Raiders. Last season Martin and Marshawn Lynch combined for 295 touches and Jacobs should easily surpass that.
Josh Abbe: Devin Singletary → ADP 11.12, RB50
While the obvious choice would be Josh Jacobs, Singletary was drafted in the third round and thrown into a rebuilding offense designed around Josh Allen. In a crowded backfield with LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore, and T.J. Yeldon, it may seem like an uphill climb for the rookie. However, I don’t think the Bills would’ve wasted a valuable pick on a running back if they didn’t think he could move up the depth chart. He’s already getting first-team reps and it’s highly unlikely McCoy makes the final roster. Singletary has third down back tendencies and gets better as the game goes on. Look for Allen to lean on him with his pass-catching ability.
Dale Money: David Montgomery → ADP 4.04, RB21
I believe Montgomery stands as the player with the most potential to come right out of the gate and perform as a three-down back. After the Chicago Bears traded Jordan Howard to the Eagles before the draft, this leaves a sizable hole to fill. He will have competition from Tarik Cohen, but I feel confident enough that Montgomery has the tools to take over that lead back role early on. At Iowa State, he had strong back-to-back seasons, combining for 24 rushing touchdowns and over 2,300 rushing yards. He was an outstanding dual threat in college and should do the same for the Bears.
Frank Dyevoich: David Montgomery → ADP 4.04, RB21
The obvious answer is Josh Jacobs, but I actually like Montgomery to be the best rookie running back in 2019. His receiving skills give Matt Nagy unpredictability in the backfield that was impossible with Jordan Howard. Nagy is from the Andy Reid coaching tree which has been historically lethal for the lead runner. Montgomery also possesses every trait that an elite running back should, as he is able to create yardage for himself with his eyes, footwork, lateral agility, elite contact balance, and power. He can certainly reach 250 total touches and double-digit touchdowns as a rookie, making him a steal at his ADP.
Dan Corrigan: David Montgomery → ADP 4.04, RB21
Every year, fantasy owners look for a late-round steal. A player like Alvin Kamara his rookie year was a mid-round selection who turned into a superstar. The rookie to watch for this year is Montgomery. His combination of pass-catching and speed make him very versatile in the Bears backfield. His ability to break tackles makes him a “patient and rhythmic” runner. If any rookie could become a top 12 running back it’s Montgomery. The Bears have a non-traditional backfield in terms that they have “athletes” more than running backs. With Montgomery being the third-down back for the Bears, he could be a great steal at his current ADP.
What running back is being under-drafted based off his ADP?
Mike: Devonta Freeman → ADP 3.08, RB17
Last season Freeman missed 14 games because of injuries and unfairly was slapped with the “injury prone” label. However, in his other four seasons, he has missed just three combined games. From 2015-2017, Freeman has finished as the RB1, RB6, and RB13 in that span. Tevin Coleman is in San Francisco while Ito Smith averaged just 3.5 yards per carry last season. There is no one on the roster that can challenge Freeman’s feature role and that should lead to a top 13 finish for the fourth time in five years.
Josh: Lamar Miller → ADP 6.10, RB32
With Alfred Blue out of the mix and in a run-first offense, Miller is slated to get the bulk of the carries while D’Onta Foreman needs to make amends for returning out of shape last season. With a struggling offensive line last season, Miller averaged 12.3 fantasy points a game. The Texans drafted two linemen in the draft and look to continue to take the pressure off Deshaun Watson. Handing the bulk of carries to Miller should be the focal point of the run game with anywhere up to 20 touches a game. He’s cutting body fat going into training camp and is the only player in NFL history with two 95-plus-yard rushing touchdowns in a career. I have him as an RB2 currently while going as a flex play is a steal.
Dale: Tevin Coleman → ADP 6.01, RB29
Coleman is very familiar with Kyle Shanahan’s system and should fit in well with the Niners. The pair spent two seasons together with the Falcons in 2015 and 2016 including his best season in 2016 with 11 total touchdowns. While filling in for Devonta Freeman last season, Coleman demonstrated that he has certainly got the big play ability to carry the torch and be successful for a full season. While he has to battle Matt Breida and Jerick McKinnon for touches, both players have an injury history. I look for Coleman to at least be given a sizable role with the potential of locking down that number one role. The fantasy potential is certainly there if you can get him as a mid-round selection.
Frank: Latavius Murray → ADP 7.09, RB34
Murray is currently drafted as a high-end handcuff to Alvin Kamara with an ADP that’s criminal, plain and simple. The Saints do not want Kamara to take on a bigger workload because he is the perfect weapon in the perfect system, and he might not make it through the season if they overuse him. Last year, Mark Ingram averaged 12 fantasy points per game and in 2017 he averaged 17.8 as the back-up to Kamara. Murray’s role is going to be identical to Ingram’s in this offense and with 31 touchdowns going to the Saints’ running backs in 2018, he is going to drastically outperform his ADP. Ingram finished as the RB32 in only 12 games last year, yet a faster, more explosive, fully healthy, non-suspended Murray is currently sitting at RB34. It makes zero sense.
Dan: Kerryon Johnson → ADP 3.11, RB19
I think that most people believe Johnson could be the next big sleeper. The NFL has an abundance of young, talented running backs but few offer more value than Johnson’s ADP of 3.11. He only played 10 games during his rookie season but showed the flashes he did at Auburn. If I had made a comparison, I think he is a better version of Duke Johnson. He is shifty, fast, and a great pass-catcher. The only concern is that the Lions may limit him this season coming off a knee injury. Johnson would make a great RB2 on your team.
What wide receiver is being under-drafted based off his ADP?
Mike: Dante Pettis → ADP 7.02, WR31
Fair warning, I have a draft crush on Pettis. Now that the awkwardness is out of the way, fantasy owners should wise up and steal Pettis at his ADP. Last season the 49ers had a merry-go-round at wide receiver, while tight end George Kittle is their true number one receiver. However, over his last five games to end last season, Pettis scored 13.3 or more fantasy points in four of them. With Jimmy Garoppolo coming back healthy, Pettis should finish second on the team in targets this season and will finish as a top 24 wide receiver, easily outproducing his ADP.
Josh: Trey Quinn → ADP undrafted
The Redskins have quite possibly the worst receiving corps in the league, but someone must shine through. With an ADP in the 200s, Quinn could lead Washington in receptions. Now that Jamison Crowder is gone and there is no competition, Quinn should fit into the slot role with ease. Having high praise from Jay Gruden, 2018’s Mr. Irrelevant has the hands and toughness to become Dwayne Haskins‘ or Case Keenum’s go-to guy. No Redskin receiver surpassed 45 catches last season while Quinn could easily get 60 or more in the slot. He is pretty much a free draft pick in later rounds that could become a great flex play when his chemistry builds with whoever wins the starting quarterback job in Washington.
Dale: Tyler Boyd → ADP 6.05, WR28
With all of the fantasy hype surrounding John Ross prior to last season, it was Boyd that ended up becoming the surprise player. Alongside A.J. Green, Boyd was putting up very serviceable numbers, it wasn’t until Green went down where his production began to drop. By seasons end he accumulated over 1,000 yards and seven touchdowns on 76 receptions. Just 25 years old, he will be playing for a new contract as it expires after the season. A great bargain at his late-round draft range, I look for him to be a top 20 wide receiver.
Frank: Allen Robinson → ADP 7.08, WR33
Robinson is being drafted behind guys like Jarvis Landry, Tyler Boyd, Dante Pettis, and Tyler Lockett and it needs to stop. Robinson came off a torn ACL last year and it took him a while to shake off the proverbial rust. It was also his first year on a new team and he had to learn a new offense with sophomore quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Once he and Trubisky started clicking we could see the potential. Over his last six games, Robinson had 33 receptions (65% catch rate) for 496 yards (15 yards per catch), which is a 16-game pace of 88 receptions for 1,323 yards. If he can score six to eight touchdowns he will be a consistent WR2 for your fantasy team.
Dan: Parris Campbell → ADP 12.03, WR55
Based on the ADP of wide receivers, I believe Campbell is criminally undervalued. This is a leap of faith because he is a rookie, but the Colts have a pass-heavy offense and Campbell is a playmaking receiver. His blazing speed is the staple of his game (4.31 40, and 4.03 shuttle.) At Ohio State, Campbell would run many jet sweeps, bubble screens, and deep vertical routes. His speed allows him to separation and he is a big-chunk play kind of receiver. I think that he was the steal of the draft (yes, even in the second round) and he will be the steal of your fantasy draft.
Who is your favorite late round, shot in the dark tight end?
Mike: Noah Fant → ADP 14.05, TE20
Usually, rookie tight ends aren’t fantasy relevant but Fant might become the exception to the rule. He was considered by many as either the best or second-best tight end in the 2019 draft; however, his landing spot gives an argument for him to be the top rookie tight end drafted. New Broncos’ quarterback Joe Flacco loves to throw to his tight ends. Over the last three seasons, Flacco has targeted a tight end on 23% of his passes, the fifth-highest in the league during that span. Other than Emmanuel Sanders, the rest of the Broncos receivers are young pups, giving Fant a chance to steal a good percent of targets.
Josh: Chris Herndon → ADP 13.11, TE16
Even with the two-game suspension looming for Herndon, Adam Gase’s “Unicorn” interpretation shows how high he is on his number one tight end. With quarterback Sam Darnold at the helm, his security blanket is Herndon, and he will be a big target for him while his injury-prone wide receivers may not be there week-to-week. Jets drafted rookie Trevon Wesco for blocking in two tight end sets which opens up Herndon as another receiving option in the passing game. Feel confident sitting on him and taking him while grabbing a later tight end to fill in when he sits out his possible suspension weeks.
Dale: Chris Herndon → ADP 13.11, TE16
A bit of a late bloomer last season, through those first five weeks Herndon was non-existent for the most part. I don’t hold that against him given how bad that Jets offense was playing. However, by week six Herndon began to turn things around, picking up touchdowns in three straight weeks. He ended saving his best performance for the Fantasy Championship, posting 82 yards receiving along with a touchdown. With the addition of Le’Veon Bell along with Sam Darnold going into his second season, I like his potential as a late round tight end pickup. I look for him to improve upon his totals from last year.
Frank: Chris Herndon → ADP 13.11, TE16
Herndon is sitting firmly in the 13th round and he could pay huge dividends for your squad. Adam Gase has been looking for Julius Thomas 2.0 since the Peyton Manning glory days and Herndon has all the tools to fulfill that role. He is facing a two-game suspension to start the season, so even come draft day in late August/early September he should be relatively free at the end of your draft. Once Sam Darnold began to trust Herndon, he was the TE6 from Week six on. He is a threat for 60 receptions, and he stands at 6’4″ so he is the obvious choice for Darnold in the red zone. If the chemistry with Herndon and Darnold translates into 2019 you could be looking at a top 12 tight end with your last round pick.
Dan: Noah Fant → ADP 14.05, TE20
I was really high on Noah Fant coming into the draft. With his current ADP, I think you are able to wait for later rounds to grab a tight end. With a 6’4″ 249 lbs frame, he would have the ninth-fastest 40 time among running backs. I think that tight ends typically have a tough time producing their first year, but his combination of speed and pass-catching make him an elite prospect. The Broncos have a pass-heavy offense, and with a rookie quarterback waiting for his turn, he will look for a young pass-catcher to make a connection with. I think it’s acceptable to draft Fant much higher than his ADP, maybe as early as the seventh round.
Name one player, regardless of position, that you won’t draft?
Mike: Travis Kelce → ADP 2.04, TE1
I am not one for spending an early pick on a tight end. Instead, I rather stream the position or grab a guy in the middle rounds. With that mindset, I don’t see myself drafting Kelce this year, especially at his ADP. With guys like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Dalvin Cook, James Conner and Mike Evans in the same range, I will happily pass on Kelce for any of them while grabbing a tight end later in the draft. Kelce will be a beast again this year and is the preseason TE1, but I’m not one to pay the price for a top tight end.
Josh: Patrick Mahomes → ADP 3.05, QB1
For redraft leagues, there is far too much unknown on how much regression Mahomes will endure with the probable suspension of Tyreek Hill. Furthermore, is Damien Williams truly a lead running back, and a full offseason of video prep for defenses, how close will Mahomes get to repeating what he did in 2018? Now maybe it’s close, but I won’t pay the price at his ADP when there are plenty of running backs and wide receivers I rather have in that price range.
Dale: Todd Gurley → ADP 2.05, RB10
Gurley finished as the RB1 last season on a fantasy points per game basis. The problem with Gurley was how he finished the year. That injured knee held him out of the last couple of weeks of the season. In the playoffs, he was still struggling for the most part with his health, he was virtually unused in the Super Bowl. That knee was obviously affecting him for quite a while. What put up the red flag for me though, was after the Rams drafted Darrell Henderson in the third round. It certainly doesn’t give me confidence moving forward and I won’t take the risk at his current ADP.
Frank: Le’Veon Bell → ADP 1.09, RB7
I am avoiding Bell at all costs. He hasn’t been tackled at game speed in over a year and there’s no replicating that in training. He’s going from a top-five offensive line to a bottom-five, and he’s going from a first-ballot Hall-of-Fame Quarterback to a 22-year old sophomore. Bell won regularly with the Steelers and I think it’s going to be a shock to his ego when the Jets fail to reach seven wins for the fourth straight season. Gase doesn’t use his running backs in the receiving game very often and his teams are always near the bottom of the league in the total number of plays run, which will limit Bell’s overall opportunities. There are roughly 13 running backs I would draft before him so his current ADP is a hard pass for me.
Dan: James White → ADP 5.09, RB27
Everyone always loads up on running backs, the most crucial position in fantasy. But trying to find a late-round RB2 could leave you in trouble. If there is one player I would stay away from its White. With the breakout of Sony Michel and the versatility of Rex Burkhead, I think White is going to be criminally overrated. When Michel averages ten touches per game, White gets 9.6 touches. I don’t know about you, but I would not want to waste a fifth-round pick on less than 10 touches per game. I wouldn’t take White till the tenth round.
In the end, a lot of our writers agreed on a few questions but offered different takes on who they think is undervalued currently. Hopefully, this helps with your fantasy teams this fall and be on the lookout for the next set of round table questions that should be out in a few weeks.
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