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Fantasy football rankings 2019: Rookies to target, avoid in your draft

Fantasy football rankings 2019: Rookies to target, avoid in your draft

One of the hardest aspects of fantasy football is projecting which rookies are going to make a real impact on their teams' success.

Luckily for you, we're here to help.

Finding the most productive rookies is all about situation. Who's ahead of them on the depth chart? Which injuries to veteran players could open the door for more opportunity? These are some of the factors fantasy owners must weigh before taking a chance on a first-year player with zero NFL experience. 

Let's look at five rookies to draft, and five to avoid in your fantasy football draft.

Rookies to Draft

N'Keal Harry, WR, New England Patriots
The Patriots need Harry to be a factor offensively this season given their lack of quality depth at wide receiver and tight end. Harry is a big, strong wideout who's able to make tough catches in traffic. He caught 53.2 percent of his contested targets for Arizona State last season, and that ranked second among wide receivers in the 2019 draft. Harry's ability to outleap defensive backs could make him a valuable red-zone target for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. It's possible Harry becomes the team's No. 2 receiver behind Julian Edelman by the end of the regular season.

T.J. Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions
The Lions used the No. 10 overall pick on Hockenson, so they must really think he can make a difference as a rookie. There's good reason to believe he's up the challenge, too. Hockenson caught 49 passes for 760 yards and six touchdowns at Iowa in 2018. At 6-foot-5 and 250 pounds, Hockenson already has NFL size and should be a reliable red-zone target for Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who doesn't exactly have a lot of good wide receivers to target in the passing game. 

Josh Jacobs, RB, Oakland Raiders
Jacobs is expected to be the starting running back for the Raiders in Week 1, and that automatically makes him quite valuable. Jacobs was one of Oakland's three first-round picks after an impressive 2018 season at Alabama during which he tallied 847 total yards and 14 total touchdowns. The Raiders bolstered their offensive line with the free-agent signing of left tackle Trent Brown and upgraded their receiving corps by trading for Antonio Brown. Oakland's offense should be much improved in 2019, and Jacobs should benefit from opposing defenses not stacking the box because they're worried about being beat through the air.

Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Murray has solid value as a starting QB, particularly in leagues that start two quarterbacks. He also has some weapons in Arizona, including a top-tier wideout in Larry Fitzgerald and a serviceable tight end in Charles Clay. Veteran running back David Johnson should still have another solid season in him as well. Murray ran for 1,001 yards and 12 touchdowns during his Heisman Trophy-winning season at Oklahoma in 2018, so it's quite possible he makes a solid fantasy impact on the ground as a rookie. He also completed 69 percent of his passes last year, which is pretty impressive. And let's not forget rookie head coach Kliff Kingsbury wasn't afraid to throw a ton during his time as Texas Tech head coach. Don't be surprised if he unleashes Murray right from the start of the season.

David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears
Montgomery ran for 1,216 yards and 12 touchdowns at Iowa State last season, and he could get a huge share of the carries in Chicago in tandem with Tarik Cohen. Cohen ran the ball just 99 times last season, so he's not the traditional workhorse running back that Montgomery can be. Chicago's 16 rushing touchdowns were tied for the sixth-most in the league last year, which bodes well for Montgomery, particularly at the goal line with his impressive strength. He also made a good impression in training camp going against the league's top defense from 2018, as seen in the video below:


Rookies to Avoid

Dwayne Haskins, QB, Washington Redskins
Haskins is a solid pick in keeper or dynasty leagues, but not so much otherwise. He has impressive talent, but the situation in Washington isn't great from a fantasy perspective. Even if Haskins beats out Colt McCoy and Case Keenum for the starting job, he won't have much to work with on offense. The unproven Josh Doctson is the Redskins' top wide receiver, and veteran tight end Jordan Reed is far from an elite playmaker. Washington ranked 28th in passing yards last season behind an offensive line that allowed the 12th-most sacks. The running back depth chart, led by veteran Adrian Peterson and Chris Thompson, also won't get fantasy owners excited. It's best to avoid Haskins if you're drafting for 2019 only.

Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Sanders has great talent, but how many touches will he get in an Eagles offense where trade acquisition Jordan Howard should receive most of the carries and veteran Darren Sproles is likely to be on the field in most third-down passing situations? The running back depth chart is just too crowded in Philly for Sanders to make a profound fantasy impact in 2019, but he does have nice long-term value if you play in a keeper league.

Daniel Jones, QB, New York Giants
The Giants surprisingly drafted Jones No. 6 overall, and he likely will one day replace Eli Manning as their starting quarterback. However, the Giants have been pretty stubborn about sticking with Manning, so it's hard to see Jones earning the No. 1 job early in the season. When Jones does play, he's not going to have much talent around him. Sure, Saquon Barkley is among the league's best running backs, but the options in the passing game are pretty weak after the departure of elite wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Jones completed just 60.5 percent of his passes at Duke last season -- how is he going to fare in an NFC East division against three good defenses in Dallas, Washington and Philadelphia?

Bryce Love, RB, Washington Redskins
Love was a Heisman Trophy-caliber player in 2017 with 2,118 rushing yards, but he was awful in 2018 with just 739 yards on the ground. The Stanford product already is battling a knee injury in training camp, and he has to beat out Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, Derrius Guice and Samaje Perine for carries in the Redskins backfield. Don't expect Love's 2017 dominance to show up in Washington this season.

Irv Smith Jr., TE, Minnesota Vikings
Smith is the future at tight end in Minnesota, but the current No. 1 tight end for the Vikings is veteran Kyle Rudolph. Rudolph, who recently signed a contract extension, is one of the most reliable fantasy tight ends with four consecutive seasons of four or more receiving touchdowns. (Only Travis Kelce has a longer active streak). Unless you're in a keeper league, it would be wise to pass on Smith. His value drops with a top 10 tight end ahead of him on the depth chart.

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Fantasy football Week 3 waiver wire: QBs to add after Roethlisberger, Brees injuries

Fantasy football Week 3 waiver wire: QBs to add after Roethlisberger, Brees injuries

Quarterback is arguably the deepest position in fantasy football.

And that depth is about to be seriously tested.

Monday brought a double dose of rough news on the QB injury front: The New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees reportedly is out at least six weeks, while Pittsburgh Steelers signal-caller Ben Roethlisberger is done for the season.

If you're reading this, we're guessing you're among the unlucky bunch that owns either Brees or Roethlisberger in one of your leagues. But we have good news: There's plenty of help on the waiver wire, where three players owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues finished in the top 10 in fantasy scoring for Week 2.

Here are the top five quarterbacks to target on the waiver wire this week:

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers (owned in 48 percent of Yahoo! leagues): The 49ers offense finally clicked Sunday in Cincinnati, where Garoppolo threw for 297 yards with three touchdown passes and an interception. Next up? A home date with a Steelers defense that's allowed 300-plus passing yards and three touchdowns to both QBs it has faced this season. We like Jimmy G's chances of a repeat performance.

Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (40 percent owned): How long until fantasy owners start taking Allen seriously? The second-year scrambler added another rushing touchdown Sunday while ranking as the seventh-best fantasy QB of the week. He's a safe bet to land in the top 10 in Week 3 against the aforementioned Bengals defense, which looks as bad as advertised.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions (35 percent owned): Yes, the Philadelphia Eagles defense intercepted Matt Ryan on Sunday. It's also allowed 700 passing yards and six touchdowns in two games. Stafford is still chucking the ball (75 attempts through two games), making him a high-floor play next Sunday.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (19 percent owned): Few names inspire less confidence than Andy Dalton. But guess who's second in the NFL in passing yards behind Patrick Mahomes? Throw your judgment out the window and take a chance on the Red Rifle, who has a tough matchup in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills but gets the Steelers in Week 4.

Teddy Bridgewater, Saints (1 percent owned): This is more of a long-term play, as Bridgewater has a low ceiling in a Week 3 road matchup with the Seahawks. But that's followed by an inticing three-game stretch against the Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars, none of whom boast elite defenses. With the weapons at Bridgewater's disposal, he should at least by a high-end QB2 going forward.

If you're set at QB, here are the top waiver wire adds to consider at running back, wide receiver and defense.

RUNNING BACK

Raheem Mostert, 49ers (18 percent owned): Mostert amassed over 150 total yards and a touchdown last Sunday in Tevin Coleman's absence. He's not quite a "must-start" (forgive the pun), but he's a borderline FLEX play in Week 3 if Coleman is out and at least deserves a roster spot.

Other running backs to target: Carlos Hyde (HOU), Jaylen Samuels (PIT), Frank Gore (BUF)

WIDE RECEIVER

Nelson Agholor, Philadelphia Eagles (16 percent owned): Injuries to DeSean Jackson and Dallas Goedert meant Carson Wentz looked Agholor's way a ton (11 times, to be exact) in Week 2. Assuming the Eagles forgive his horrendous drop last Sunday, he's a good bet for a heavy workload against the Detroit Lions.

Other running backs to target: DK Metcalf (SEA), Deebo Samuel (SF), Geronimo Allison (GB)

DEFENSE

Tennessee Titans (36 percent owned): Tennessee's D has been a pleasant surprise with nine sacks and four takeaways over its first two games. Expect regression ... but not on Thursday night, when they face the Jacksonville Jaguars and some guy named Gardner Minshew who we're still not convinced is a real person.

Other defenses to target: Buffalo (vs. CIN), San Francisco (vs. PIT), Philadelphia (vs. DET)

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NFL Rumors: Former Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri considering retirement?

NFL Rumors: Former Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri considering retirement?

It has been a tough start to the season for former New England Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri. The current Indianapolis Colts kicker has been in the league for 24 years and at age 46, he is the oldest active player in the NFL. And so far, he has looked like it.

Through two games this season, Vinatieri has already missed five kicks. He is 1-of-3 on field goal attempts while going a woeful 2-for-5 on extra points. It seems that age simply may have caught up to him and Vinatieri might be realizing that.

After Sunday's game, Vinatieri gave a cryptic message to Stephen Holder of The Athletic on his way out of the stadium.

Monday is usually the off day for NFL players, so Vinatieri wouldn't be seeing media members on Monday unless it was for a special occasion. That seems to indicate that Vinatieri might be calling it quits amid his recent struggles, and he could organize a Monday press conference to announce his potential retirement.

NBC's ProFootballTalk believes that may be the case as well, but that the Colts might try to convince the veteran to stay.

Right now, these are only rumors, so it is important to take them with a grain of salt. But still, it seems possible that Vinatieri is seriously considering retiring.

Vinatieri was one of the greatest kickers in Patriots history, and he hit countless game-winning kicks for the team, including a 41-yarder that sealed their Super Bowl 38 victory over the Carolina Panthers. During his 10-year Patriots career, he converted on nearly 82 percent of his kicks and won three Super Bowl rings. And despite many believing he didn't have a lot of years left in the tank when the Patriots moved on from him, he has kicked for 14 more years since being replaced by Stephen Gostkowski.

We'll soon see if Vinatieri is considering hanging up his cleats but if he does, he certainly won't have anything to be ashamed of. He has converted the most field goals in NFL history (583) and was named a first-team All-Pro three times. He'll be a sure-fire Hall of Famer after he does retire.

Tom Curran's takeaways from Patriots big win over Dolphins>>>

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