Expert Draft Breakdown Navigating the Final Rounds
There's one week of preseason football left and then it's the real thing. In previous breakdowns, we looked at some of the picks that will make or break drafts and talked about strategies than can win leagues in 2019. Now it's time to dig deep into the final rounds and figure out who the experts are closing out there rosters with.
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Notes on the Early Rounds
Andrew Luck (QB8)
Patrick Daugherty (@RotoPat) go caught holding the Andrew Luck hand grenade. Luck announced his immediate retirement from the NFL after this draft took place. Luck can be immediately wiped off of draft boards and be cut for another backup passer.
Here are some replacement options for Luck that may be available on the waiver. Nick Foles is the locked-in starter on John DeFilippo's Jacksonville offense. The last time we saw DeFilippo he was the Vikings offensive coordinator in 2018. They threw 6th-most passes and Kirk Cousins was a QB1.
Marcus Mariota has all of the weapons he could possibly need if he's going to succeed in the NFL.
- Corey Davis recorded over 900 yards from scrimmage at the age of 23
- A.J. Brown put up 1,320 receiving yards at Ole Miss while competing with D.K. Metcalf
- Delanie Walker returns as the offenses' safety blanket underneath
- Derrick Henry should force defenses to respect his bruising rushing game
In his second year with head coach Mike Vrabel, Mariota is a worthwhile replacement for Luck given that he comes with nearly no cost.
Jacoby Brissett is the obvious name to replace Luck but he's a rung below Mariota and Foles. As Luck's understudy in 2017, he threw a touchdown on less than 3% of his throws. Going back to his time at NC State, Brissett couldn't average even 7 yards per attempt as a college passer. He does offer some rushing upside though: He carried the ball 63 times in 2017.
Lamar Miller (RB30)
Lamar Miller was a cheap way to get volume and exposure to the electric Texans offense less than a week ago. After tearing his ACL, Miller will spend his 2019 season on IR while newly acquired Duke Johnson soaks up his touches in Houston. Miller was another play that was healthy at the time of this draft.
Duke Johnson has never been given more than 104 carries in the NFL but he's also never faced competition as week as he does in now. Damarea Crockett's production fell throughout his time at Missouri and now he's Johnson biggest threat. In a new home, Duke is locked in as a top-24 back.
Tony Pollard (RB58)
Ezekiel Elliott is looking more and more likely to miss time because of his holdout as each day passes. Tony Pollard has dominated early reps in the preseason and is set up to be the bell-cow back in Dallas. At 6'0", 210 lbs., Pollard has the size to take carries between the tackles. He also has the resume of an elite pass-catcher: Pollard caught 104 passes in three years at Memphis.
New Additions to the Late Rounds
Darwin Thompson (RB53)
Thompson has gone from a late-round flyer to a premium handcuff overnight. The Chiefs selected Thompson in the 6th-round as a dynamic playmaker in the mold of Tarik Cohen or Chris Thompson. However, multiple reports have confirmed that Thompson jumped Carlos Hyde on the depth chart. Now Damien Williams is the only player that stands in Thompson's way of an impressive workload as a rookie. Williams has never carried the ball more than 50 times in the regular season and he's been in the NFL for five years. Thompson's upside is the most efficient receiving-back in the league.
Preston Williams (WR82)
Williams put up a 4-97-0 line in his first game of preseason action against the Atlanta Falcons. In the two games since then, he's caught a single pass. As quickly as his start shot across the fantasy sky it disappeared. It's safe to leave Williams on the waiver wire for now.
Rashard Higgins (WR72)
With Antonio Callaway suspended for the first four games, Rashard Higgins slots in as the third receiving option for the Browns. In years past, that statement would have no impact for fantasy purposes. This is not your father's Cleveland Browns. With Baker Mayfield under center, getting on the field is enough to be relevant in Cleveland.
Ty Montgomery (RB63)
If anyone could match 's receiving production out of the backfield, it might just be Ty Montgomery. Montgomery played wide receiver at Stanford but made the transition to running back Green Bay's backfield succumbed to injuries. Now he is firmly cemented as the backup to Bell in New York and there are even rumblings that he could have a role even when Bell is healthy. In the dress rehearsal week of the preseason, Montgomery led the Jets with 12 touches.
While it seems unlikely that Bell leaves the field so Adam Gase can get Montgomery touches, he is the clear handcuff to Bell. With a three-down skillset, if anything happens to Bell, Montgomery's value will sky-rocket.
Jalen Hurd (WR79)
No player in the NFL can claim to be as versatile as Jalen Hurd. Standing at 6'4" and weighing over 225 lbs., Hurd is built like a tight end. In two years at Tennessee, Hurd rushed for over 2,000 yards and doubled Alvin Kamara's workload as a sophomore. Then he transferred to Bayor, only to dominate at wide receiver. In his first year at the position, Hurd hit 946 yards while adding 209 yards on the ground.
The San Francisco coaches have been adamant that Dante Pettis doesn't have the No. 1 role locked up and Hurd's other competition is fellow rookie Deebo Samuel. On top of that, they are already without Jerrick McKinnon in the backfield, leaving the potential for Hurd to steal some carries. Hurd won't be a fantasy starter but he fills too many roles not to be drafted.