As you guys know, James and I are sometimes a bit competitive with our fantasy picks, however it is a team effort. James’ article for fantasy running backs took the obvious guys and there are some awesome rookies that he’s recommended, and so I have looked a bit deeper for some other fantasy options that are going to give some upside in the later rounds of your fantasy draft, as well as a couple that he missed.
These picks are all focused in relevance for redraft fantasy leagues, but if you’re in a dynasty league, they will be great too.
Just before we start, I want to say, Josh Jacobs is my guy – James stole him.
All fantasy points are calculated on the basis of default 0.5PPR settings, and I have projected on a realistic but positive workload for the rookies.
Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
In his haste to take the best rookie for fantasy this year, and my favourite incoming player, James forgot about the first pick! Kyler Murray has a rushing floor that is going to give him a boost to his fantasy production every week, on top of whatever passing success he can muster. I think that the Kliff Kingsbury offense is going to elevate the Cardinals significantly from their lacklustre efforts last year, and although I don’t see a playoff-worthy team – I see a supremely talented QB. His upside is great, with the rushing floor, and so when you adopt a late-round QB (which you always should!) he will be a decent option, and the best rookie Quarterback for fantasy this year.
Projection: 3,750 passing yards for 23 TD’s and 15 INT’s, 500 rushing yards and 5 rushing TD’s – 292 Fantasy Points.
D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks
The big offseason news in the Seattle wide receiver room is the sad loss of Doug Baldwin, who has retired after an excellent career of fantasy production as well as NFL success. This isn’t something that can be considered merely as a change of personnel. The high-profile rookie, D.K. Metcalf, isn’t going to replace Baldwin, he is a freak-athlete who is simply dominant physically but needs to improve in the more technical aspects such as agility and route-running. When Baldwin was on the field, Tyler Lockett was often considered the deep threat, with his speed being the scariest on the depth chart, but that will be changing this season. Lockett has been underrated as an all-round wideout with extremely overlooked route-running and hands, making him a much better fit for the typical WR1 role that has been vacated. Now, his role of the backbreaking take-the-top-off deep threat will be taken by the combine-standout out of Ole Miss. Russell Wilson has an elite deep-ball and is very good at putting the ball out in front for the WR to go and get it, and I think that Metcalf can put up some big numbers even if he only runs the Megatron route tree of Slants, Fades and the occasional comeback or dig route (he’s not very good at these but the defensive backs have to respect him deep anyway so he will get open) for his first season, while he tries to improve his hands and route-running.
Projection: 45 receptions for 750 yards and 5TD’s – 127.5 Fantasy Points.
Justice Hill, RB, Baltimore Ravens
A name that I’m not hearing enough right now is that of Justice Hill, the rookie running back out of Oklahoma State. The Baltimore Ravens’ fourth round pick is an explosive athlete with the always coveted combination of raw speed and burst. Hill is a capable receiving threat too, making him a versatile addition to a backfield that currently doesn’t have any true three-down alternatives. The obvious argument for this backfield is that it is getting a bit congested, having added Mark Ingram to an already cloudy situation. Hill’s pass catching ability gives him a legitimate chance to be one of the more prominent backs in the depth chart. Lamar Jackson hasn’t exactly shown himself to be a top passer, but the shorter underneath routes aren’t beyond his ability, and the other additions in the passing game – fellow rookies Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin – will demand more respect from the opposing defense, giving someone like Hill space to get his hands on the ball. It isn’t an easy projection, but I believe by the end of the year, he will be one of the primary pairing with himself and Ingram. I would love to see Hill find himself in a Jalen Richard type of role.
Projection: 90 rush attempts for 450 yards and 2 TD’s, 40 receptions for 325 yards and 2 TD’s – 121.5 Fantasy Points.
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
One of my
favourite Dynasty league pickups this year, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside is a red-zone
monster who has been added to the already scary Eagles offense. This team won a
Super Bowl without the kind of elite talent of a team like the Rams, who failed
to – how? The Eagles are great at using people to their strengths. This is the
reason that they use the running back by committee strategy, this is why they
run plays with two tight ends more than other teams, it is to use people to do
specific jobs. Arcega-Whiteside is a 6’2, 225lbs athlete, with underrated hands
and reliable route running to pair with his incredible ability to high-point
the ball and pull it down in the red zone. When the Eagles find themselves
within that 5-15 yard range from the endzone, they will now have Zach Ertz and
J.J. – that is terrifying.
Like I already said, I am very excited about his prospects for the future, and will be targeting him in dynasty, however he has Touchdown upside every single week so he’s worth a late pick, as he begins his ascent in the Philly depth chart. If he starts to see a rise in snaps and targets, suddenly his value will be significantly higher than what you paid.
Projection: 40 receptions for 375 yards and 5 TD’s – 87.5 Fantasy Points.
Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
There are so many fantasy friendly teams in the NFL, teams where you can have any player who is getting reps and the points will come. The Eagles have literally the opposite reputation – if you’re not Zach Ertz or Carson Wentz you need to fight for every fantasy point, tooth and nail. There’s a running back by committee, and no truly elite receiver, so I understand why people aren’t talking about Miles Sanders. The talent is there, he has the raw skills to be a great running back, averaging 5.8 yards per carry in his last season at Penn State. Speaking of, due to sitting behind a certain running back who got drafted a season ago, the infamous ‘he’s got a lot of tread on his tyres’ line that has been used every time people talk about Joshua Jacobs applies Miles Sanders too. He has plenty to work on, namely his pass protection, if he wants to find himself as a three-down back for any team – but the beauty of the Eagles is that he will definitely get a chance, and if he shows some of his potential early in the year he could start vying for a bigger role, getting more touches and more involved. He isn’t bad at receiving out of the backfield either, so that gives him an in, if he can demonstrate his potential. I really hope he finds a spot in this run-game during his first year, and if he does, he will be a good option for a flex with weekly RB2 upside, available at the end of drafts.
Projection: 50 rush attempts for 200 yards and 3 TD’s, 35 receptions for 275 yards and 1 TD – 89 Fantasy Points.