Trying to figure out which rookies will have an impact in fantasy football is no easy task.
Oftentimes, players go into training camp with relatively undefined roles, unless they are of the Saquon Barkley ilk where the expectation is they’ll be a transcendent player. Because of that, drafting rookies for fantasy purposes is more or less a crapshoot, so generally, the best thing to look at is the situation a guy is entering. With that in mind though, a couple rookies always seem to find a way to break through and create a nice role for themselves that benefits both their respective team and their fantasy owners.
So, let’s take a look at five potential rookie stars and five potential rookie busts.
FIVE POTENTIAL ROOKIE STARS
Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders. There understandably is plenty of hype around Jacobs, who could be a three-down back for Oakland this season. He also can be a threat as a receiver, which only adds to his value (especially in PPR leagues) since most defenses’ attention in the air will be going to Antonio Brown. Based on the usage he likely will get in the Raiders offense, there’s major boom potential here.
David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears. Montgomery might share touches with Tarik Cohen early on, but he probably will carve out a role for himself in the Bears offense as the season goes on. He’s much more of a power back than Cohen as well, so one has to think he’ll get more touches near the goal line.
N’Keal Harry, WR, New England Patriots. There are few better situations a rookie wide receiver can go into than playing with Tom Brady. Harry, so long as he can stay healthy, will be near the top of New England’s receiving depth chart alongside Julian Edelman, so there’s plenty of reason to believe he’ll have an immediate fantasy impact.
Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs. Hardman might not be the best receiver in the draft class, but you could do much worse than going into a high-octane offense that features Patrick Mahomes under center. What role Hardman will serve behind Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins remains to be seen, so this selection might be reaching, but there’s a high ceiling here.
Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills. Here’s another one that might be a little touch-and-go at first. With LeSean McCoy and Frank Gore also on the roster, Singletary might have some competition for touches early on, but the 21-year-old’s receiving ability should keep him very much in the mix and worth a flier in a PPR league, especially since he could really blossom if Gore or McCoy go down.
FIVE POTENTIAL ROOKIE BUSTS
Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals. Consider us skeptical of drafting a rookie quarterback in general, but there’s a ton of risk for Murray. The Cardinals were the worst team in the NFL last season, and there are plenty of question marks about how Murray’s game will translate to the top flight. Unless he’s getting stashed on your bench or you are in a really big league, you might want to pass.
DK Metcalf, Seattle Seahawks, WR. He’s a freak physically, sure, but there’s a reason he slid down the draft board. Metcalf is pretty raw, and it seems unlikely he’ll be a contributor of any significance this season.
Noah Fant, TE, Denver Broncos. Fant’s inclusion here isn’t so much an indictment of his skill, rather that he is playing for an offense that might be really, really bad this year. Joe Flacco is what he is, and who knows how effective Drew Lock will be, especially as a rookie. Fant might one day be serviceable, but for now, a raincheck could be wise.
Damien Harris, RB, New England Patriots. It’s tough enough to gauge how a Patriots running back will be used in the first place, then there’s the question of where exactly he falls on the depth chart. Sony Michel, James White and Rex Burkhead all will be heavily involved in the offense, so it might be slow going for Harris this season.
A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans. There’s too much uncertainty in the Titans offense to bank on Brown contributing right away. They went out and got Adam Humphries this offseason, while Corey Davis likely will have a bigger role in 2019. Brown might be *involved* in the offense, but not nearly enough to bank on him.
Thumbnail photo via Daniel Bartel/USA TODAY Sports Images