Top Rookie QBs and TEs for 2019 Fantasy Football

by Nick Ercolano March 12, 2019

Top Rookie QBs and TEs for 2019 Fantasy Football

Kyler Murray - Oklahoma

kyler murray combine

Murray obviously didn't perform at the combine. His performance was his measurements. Coming in at 5'10, 207lbs, which was 3/4" shorter than Russell Wilson, 3lbs heavier than Russell Wilson at his combine. Big difference is that Wilson ran at his combine, a 4.55. Murray didn't probably because he'd been taking OD trips to McDonald's the day's leading up to the combine to hit that weigh-in. Doesn't matter, he's thicc, I'm not worried about his weight. The height was surprising tbh. I didn't think he would hit 5'10, a lot of people expected him to be closer to 5'10, idk what they put in his shoes, and we never will. I would put some good money he's not 5'10 though. I've seen him in pictures standing next to Tua, who is 6'0 and Kyler is a good like 3-4 inches shorter, next to AB, who is a real 5'10 and Kyler is an inch maybe 1.5 inches taller, but whatever, 5'10 is the official mark, and he's going to go in the 1st round, if not the first overall draft spot to the Cardinals.

Either way, what's the concern with the height? He can't see over the lineman? He just played at Oklahoma, everyone on that line is the size of NFL lineman, he did just fine seeing over them. Or that he's going to get passes batted down?

Kyler Murray height

 

I think we're good here.

Kyler is so damn talented as both a passer and a runner. Obviously, he's the reigning Heisman winner.

kyler murray college statskyler murray rushing stats

Huge passing numbers, huge rushing numbers, over 4,300 passing yards plus 1,000 rushing yards. Kyler is an exemplary deep passer. An adjusted completion percentage of 51.9% on deep passes, 11.6 YPA which is fantastic, Haskins's was a full 2.5 yards fewer (9.1). He's great in the pocket, but shines when he's under pressure or outside of the pocket. His adjusted completion percentage shot up to 78.7% out of the pocket with a passer rating of 128.3:

 

kyler murray stats

 

A great infographic here from PFF about his date under pressure as well. So, the thing I'll say here is I don't think he's as good as a passer as Baker Mayfield, one of PFF's most predictive statistics is your accurate passes at or behind the sticks in a clean pocket. Murray's uncatchable rate on passes at or past the sticks is at 28% which is not bad whatsoever, but Baker's was at 21%, which was elite. So, he may not be, or ever be as great an intermediate thrower as Baker, but what he adds via the ground is other-worldly.

So, Kyler is the 1.01 in superflex dynasty drafts, and I'm not sure it's close. For 1QB he probably doesn't crack the 1st round, maybe late 1st, the value of QBs in 1QB league like season-long just isn't there. However, in season-long leagues, if he falls to one of those late-round QB spots, I'll be all over him as my QB2. How many times do we see QBs come into the league with this kind of rushing ability and not be at least a top-12 fantasy QB. Very, very rarely. If Kyler is a starter somewhere for 16 games, I'd put a lot of money that he winds up as a top-15 QB in fantasy this year, at worst.

Dwayne Haskins - Ohio State

dwayne haskins combine

Haskins is pretty much the black Jameis Winston. Wait, what? He's the black Ben Roethlisberger. Wait, that's Jameis Winston. You get the point.

He can move around the pocket, and is elusive there very much like Ben, but he's not breaking 40-yard runs (5.04 40-time). Haskins had a monster sophomore season, his first year as the starter for the Buckeyes, completing 70% of his passes for 4,800 yards and an absurd 50 passing touchdowns.Dwayne Haskins stats

Haskins is an interesting case. I have a lot of friends, mainly Snacks that wants Haskins with the 6th pick bad. There are also a lot of people in the industry that don't even have a first-round grade on Haskins. I think he's a very strong pure thrower, obviously no rushing upside, so for fantasy, it's easily Kyler over Haskins for me. If Haskins goes to the Giants, that would be super interesting, he'd probably be my 1.03 in Superflex dynasty, behind Kyler and N'Keal Harry. I would be surprised if he put up usable numbers anywhere in his rookie year for fantasy leagues. 

***DRAFT GUIDE PLUG***

Tight Ends

Noah Fant - Iowa

Fant absolutely blew away the combine this year, testing as one of the greatest tight ends ever. Of course, coming from Iowa, his best comparable player is George Kittle. Should surprise no one.

Noah Fant combine

He is next in line to be a stud tight end in the NFL. Probably not as great as an all-around prospect as his teammate, Hockenson is, in terms of all 3 downs, but Fant on a team that will use him correctly, wheeewww. Fant is great at running different routes, adjusting to catch tough passes, going up the seem and destroying coverage defenders with speed. Has been moved all over the offensive set: flexed wide, played from in-line and put in the backfield to be put in motion and have momentum at the snap. YAC, everything. Absolutely love him as a prospect, I'd draft him in every one of my fake Madden franchise mode drafts.

And when you watch his tape, it's even more impressive. He's like a young Jimmy Graham. Holy shit this guy is explosive and smooth.

The problem, of course, with tight ends is they rarely, almost NEVER have big rookie years. I remember pulling out this stat a few months ago (make sure you're following me on Twitter/IG)breakout tight ends 2019 fantasy football

That should tell you all you need to know about rookie tight ends. So, I know I said on Twitter and last week's video that I'd think about grabbing Fant in the 1st over this horrid RB group, but I think I lied. He's just sitting on the bench for a year, maybe on your taxi squad. And it might take more than a year. It might take two. We're spoiled with George Kittle, but look at David Njoku. It'll be his 3rd year and we're still not sure he's going to breakout. It took Ertz 3 years just to become the TE10 in fantasy, it took the 21 year old Ebron like 14 years, Kelce was solid his first two years but didn't truly explode until year 3. This is very real. So, I think I would likely take the immediate RB production of someone in a good spot on a good team, whose value will increase in year 1 and 2 over Fant's or any TE whose decreases.

T.J. Hockenson - Iowa

Another beast from Iowa, Hockenson was awesome in his own right at Iowa and while overshadowed by his teammate, was still awesome at the combine:

t.j. hockenson combine

If Fant wasn't there, he would easily be the most talked about tight end in this class. So good as well. Fant is literally like just a ridiculous athlete, WR in a TE's body. Hockenson is more very good tight end with a travis kelce skill set. Very soft hands, can rull all routes, and excellent blocker in every aspect of the game, can really do it all. Put on a better team/in a better system it's possible he ends up as a better fantasy option. But straight up, Fant is the guy I want for sure.

Irv Smith - Alabama

People are going to want to make the Irv Smith to O.J. Howard comparison. That needs to stop. Irv Smith is 6'2-240. O.J. Howard is 6'6-250. Howard ran a 4.51, Smith ran a 4.63 which is good for  TE but not these upper echelon type players. He also tested really poorly in the agility and burst tests. So you can be lazy and say whatever 6'2, that's Jordan Reed. Reed's agility was in the 93rd percentile, Smith's was in the 39th percentile. Reeds college dominator, meaning his production in college relative to his team's overall production was in the 80th percentile of all tight ends, Smith's was in the 35th. So, before you get lazy and just make Reed/Howard comparisons, don't. I just don't think he's explosive enough to be an elite playmaker, nor is he big enough to offset that with sheer volume based on having 3-down size. If he winds up in a good situation and you whiff on the first two, sure, I'll take a chance on him late 2nd, early 3rd in rookie drafts maybe.

Jace Sternberger - Texas A&M

jace sternberger

He's a guy I don't hate. I actually don't hate him at all. I prefer him to Irv Smith believe it or not. Jace Sternberger is a really, really smooth athlete at the tight end position. Just like Noah Fant, he's like a WR out there, but is capable enough as a blocker. He's the typical size for a tight end, I wish he would've test a bit faster in his 40, it wasn't great but not a deal breaker, I like that he was in the 60th percentile for agility, and he's a bit of an older prospect, he'll be 23 at the end of this upcoming NFL season, which isn't super old, but he'll likely be a bit more refined because of it, and ready to contribute to an NFL team sooner rather than later. He bounced around in college, he redshirted at Kansas, then transferred to a JuCo where he was found by A&M HC Jimbo Fisher and transferred over there where he'd put up 832 yards and 10 touchdowns in his junior season on 48 catches, which is 17.3 YPR. 2nd in the NCAA in yards among TEs, 1st in YPR with any TE that had 30 catches, and led the country in TEs. 

Ridiculous YAC, really soft hands. Can be a really solid playmaker in an offense that passes to the TE.

Caleb Wilson - UCLA

The only tight end in the country to top Sternberger in receiving yards was this guy with 965 yards. He also led the NCAA TE's with 60 receptions, with a 16.1 YPR, catching 4 touchdowns, good enough for a 91st percentile college dominator rating.

caleb wilson combine

A lot of people weren't sold on Wilson pre-combine but he ran a 4.56 40 which surprise most. He's a little undersized, in terms of his frame, but that 40 still put him in the 87th percentile for WASS.

So, he has the explosion, that's what you look for in a fantasy TE, that's what gives them the upside. He's very natural catching passes, too. I think he measured and tested well enough at the combine, that he too can be a tight end in the NFL somewhere. All guys to keep an eye on.

Let me know some of your top under-the radar guys at both TE and QB and I'll make sure to check them out!



Nick Ercolano
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