5 NFL Rookies to Avoid in Fantasy Football Drafts Ahead of 2019 Season

Dan Israeli
Los Angeles Chargers v Arizona Cardinals
Los Angeles Chargers v Arizona Cardinals /

Most people love targeting high-upside rookies in fantasy football drafts. They are the shiny new toys that populate many sleeper lists, and in the case of running backs, have the upside to become first-round fantasy picks in their second seasons.

While some of this year's rookies offer tantalizing upside in the middle rounds, it's important that drafters do not blindly target every buzzy rookie name out there, just for the sake of having one. A lot of rookies take time to develop, especially at the wide receiver and tight end positions.

Here are five rookies you should consider avoiding in fantasy football, either due to their average draft position (ADP) or a lower projected floor for the upcoming season.

5. T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions

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A lot of people got excited about T.J. Hockenson's fantasy prospects when the Lions took him No. 8 overall in April's 2019 NFL Draft. The reality is, however, tight ends rarely make a significant fantasy impact in their rookie seasons. Hockenson may not even be the most productive rookie TE from his own college, as fellow Iowa product Noah Fant may see more looks as Joe Flacco's potential safety valve in Denver. Considering Hockenson might even start the year behind Jesse James on the depth chart, there is just too much uncertainty regarding his immediate impact. Hockensen is only the TE13 by ADP, according to FantasyPros.com, but there are some more reliable names going after him.

4. D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seattle Mariners

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The Seahawks, who enter 2019 without Doug Baldwin following his retirement, traded up in April's draft to select D.K. Metcalf out of Ole Miss with the No. 64 overall pick. Metcalf is an imposing figure at 6'4", 229 pounds, and he is also known for his jacked physique. The muscle-bound wideout dealt with an oblique strain earlier in camp, but got to play in Seattle's preseason opener, catching one ball for eight yards. While Metcalf offers long-term upside, he is still a raw prospect known for having bad hands and running a limited route tree. Considering Seattle is one of the league's most run-heavy teams, it will likely be hard for the rookie to get enough opportunities this season to warrant a starting role on your fantasy team.

3. Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens

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As the first wide receiver taken in April's draft, the initial buzz around Marquise "Hollywood" Brown was high, considering he landed on a team surely lacking in top WR options. The buzz has since fizzled, however, as Brown started camp on the PUP list due to a lingering foot issue following offseason Lisfranc surgery. While Brown is now off the PUP list and expected to be ready for Week 1, he has a new threat in fellow Ravens' rookie WR Miles Boykin, who has stolen much his thunder. Regardless of which rookie shines the most in year one, the Ravens could also challenge the Seahawks as the most run-heavy team in the NFL this year. It's hard to see Hollywood truly shining this season, outside of a few highlight plays.

2. Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders

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Josh Jacobs, the first running back selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, made his preseason debut in Week 2 against the Cardinals. He looked solid, picking up 21 yards on just four carries. However, Jacobs has had somewhat of a quiet camp, mostly in the sense that he's not been buzzed about endlessly by Raiders' beat reporters. While he has the talent to break out in year one, he is also playing on a Raiders' team that may struggle again in 2019, both offensively and defensively, which is never good for an RB's fantasy value. Jacobs is also being drafted as the RB19, ahead of guys like Chris Carson (RB20) and Sony Michel (RB22). While likely far from a total bust thanks to his expected workload, Jacobs is still going before too many proven backs in current drafts.

1. Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals

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After a more-or-less impressive preseason debut that saw him complete 6-of-7 passes for 44 yards, Kyler Murray struggled in Arizona's second game, going just 3-for-8 with 12 passing yards. The issue right now for Murray, and the Cardinals' offense as a whole, is their suspect offensive line play. While Murray may possess the evasiveness to make up for the line's faults, he will likely still struggle to hit his upside as a rookie if he is constantly being chased by opposing defenders. As the QB12 by ADP, Murray is going ahead of guys like Ben Roethlisberger, Jameis Winston, and Lamar Jackson, who all have a more proven track record at the NFL level, at least.

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