2019 Fantasy Football Rookie Wide Receivers

by Tyler Mulligan
2022 Fantasy Football Potential USFL Players Impact

With training camp underway in the NFL and the regular season just around the corner, rookies are looking to show off their skills in an attempt to garner a coveted spot within their respective organizations. This year's draft class has numerous options for fantasy owners at skill positions.

Often in the NFL, rookie wide receivers tend not to contribute in year one like their running back counterparts. However, there remain some intriguing options in this year’s draft. Players that can potentially step right onto the field and immediately produce viable fantasy numbers.

Over the past ten seasons, only seven receivers have eclipsed the 1000-yard mark in their first season. Most notable of these newcomers are Odell Beckham Jr. with the Giants in 2014 and Michael Thomas in 2016, for the Saints.

Opportunity and situation matter immensely for wide receivers breaking onto the scene. As a result, analyzing offensive schemes and position on the depth chart becomes vital when looking to draft untested talent on your way to fantasy glory.

2019 Fantasy Football Rookie Wide Receivers

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N’Keal Harry, WR, New England Patriots

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Tom Brady is north of 40 when it comes to age. The New England Patriots’ offense evolved to a more run-centric in an attempt to conserve what’s left of the hall of famer’s body. This puts a bit of a damper on the upside of their passing game.

Still, there is opportunity for N’Keal Harry to step into New England the receiving corps and produce at a high level.

With Julian Edelman aging as the primary pass catcher and Rob Gronkowski out of the mix, expect Harry to be relied on in the Pats passing game as a WR2 option within their system.

Since Bill Belichik became head coach and de facto GM of New England, not once has he chosen a wide receiver in the first round, until now. The fact that Harry was a first-round selection by the Patriots is certainly compelling because he’ll presumably have a prominent role within the offense.

In his last two years of college, Harry was a reliable target in the Sun Devil’s offense, topping over 1,000 yards in both seasons. Last year, Harry reeled in 73 catches, nine of which went for six.

Having sure hands is a big part of Harry’s game and as a result, he can make plays while blanketed with coverage. According to Pro Football Focus, Harry made a total of 17 contested catches last season.

At 6’2 and 228 pounds, the prospect out of Arizona State offers great size and should be a prime target in the red zone. While Brady may not be throwing for over 50 touchdowns on the year, expect Harry to be on the receiving end of many of the TD strikes.

DK Metcalf, WR, Seattle Seahawks
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Out of Ole Miss, DK Metcalf had the football world drooling during the combine, due to his incredible size and speed.

When it comes to traits you can’t teach, Metcalf checks all the boxes. At 6’4, 225 pounds of pure athleticism, Metcalf ran a blistering 4.33 40-yard dash.

Much publicized, however, is Metcalf’s route running ability. Running clean and crisp patterns is the rookie’s downside. Metcalf is also prone to injury, which poses some questions as to how consistent of a playmaker he’ll be within the Seahawks offense.

Last year Metcalf only suited up for seven games, due to a neck injury. In the seven games he did play, Metcalf made 26 catches for 569 yards. Averaging a whopping 21.9 yards per reception, Metcalf’s big play ability is clearly evident. If he expects to carry over his prowess as a deep threat into the NFL, precise route running is less of an issue, especially with one of the best deep ball deployers in Russell Wilson at the helm.

Treat Metcalf with a boom-or-bust mentality as inconsistency will limit his production. However, his physical traits should produce big numbers for fantasy owners through explosive plays.

Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens

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The man affectionately known as “Hollywood” is likely the only rookie of this year’s class who will start the year as a WR1 for his team. With the Ravens, Marquise Brown will be an interesting option for fantasy owners.

Brown is a shifty speedster coming out of Oklahoma. He posted an impressive 1,318 yards on 75 receptions and 10 touchdowns in the 12 games he played last season. Part of the credit can go to the number one overall pick, Kyler Murray, who was slinging the ball to Brown, but his blazing speed is what made him the first-round pick for the Baltimore Ravens.

With Lamar Jackson at quarterback this season, the Ravens offense will likely employ Brown’s explosiveness in RPO looks, utilizing his ability to stretch the field and Jackson’s ability on the ground to move the chains in Baltimore. Jackson is one of the best scramblers in the game. However, his lack of patience in the pocket and inability to pass the ball effectively (ranked 31st in QB rating with 45.1 last year), will hinder Hollywood’s performance.

Another issue is Brown’s size. At 5’9” and 166 pounds, Brown will find himself giving up to 40 pounds to corners. His painfully thin frame does not bode well for his long-term durability. His size does not make him a 50-50 ball winner either. Brown also lacks the skills to fight for underthrown balls that Jackson will inevitably throw.

Even as a WR1 in the Ravens offensive scheme, fantasy owners should temper their expectations of Brown because of his quarterback.

Parris Campbell, WR, Indianapolis Colts

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Another blazing fast wide receiver coming into the league is Parris Campbell. The Ohio State alumni adds another element to the Colt’s high-powered offense. With a 4.31 40-yard dash time, you’d expect Campbell to be a big option for Andrew Luck as a deep threat. Surprisingly, the Buckeyes utilized him mainly in the short game as a possession receiver.

Handcuffed to a limited role by Ohio State’s scheme, is a bit concerning, but Campbell was still very productive.

Campbell made 90 catches in the 2018 season for 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns, which is certainly impressive. However, in the Indy offense, Campbell will likely play a slot role which constitutes a lower average depth of targets. Although, his speed gives him the ability to take any touch to the house.

Also, with the newly acquired Devin Funchess, Campbell’s value in the red zone decreases as Luck will look to Funchess more often than not as a big-bodied target to create mismatches for opposing defenses.

Despite being behind T.Y. Hilton and Funchess in the Colts’ depth chart,  Campbell will still play a prominent role in Nick Sirianni’s pass-happy offense with one of the best quarterbacks in the league slinging the rock. This makes Campbell one of the best rookie options at the wide receiver position for fantasy owners.

Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City Chiefs

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With controversy swirling around the Tyreek Hill, the Kansas City Chiefs made a surprising day two selection with Mecole Hardman. Although the NFL chose not to suspend the explosive wide receiver, uncertainty remains.

From the University of Georgia, Hardman is a sneaky choice for fantasy owners. Playing wide receiver for only two years and being able to produce at the college level is impressive. The newcomer to the position is bound to have great potential to develop under Andy Reid.

Hardman’s numbers from last year don’t exactly jump off the page. He hauled in only 35 catches for 543 yards and seven touchdowns. However, with a gunslinger like Patrick Mahomes throwing the football,  Hardman will develop as the year goes on.

Also, Sammy Watkins is a band-aid; Watkins hasn’t had a full healthy season since 2014. These injury problems bode well for owners of Hardman, who is the next man up behind Watkins.

Speed kills in the NFL. Like most of the other rookies mentioned, Hardman posted an excellent time with a 4.33 40-yard dash at the combine. He has used his quickness and top-end speed in college to shed coverage at all three levels. With Mahomes’ rocket of an arm, you can expect Hardman to be fed down the field on a regular basis.

Get prepared for the 2019 Fantasy Football season by checking out the rest of our Fantasy Football content.

Click here for Updated Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings.

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