The 2019 NFL Draft is in the rearview mirror, and it’s time for the next part of the NFL calendar. That’s right… massive, rampant speculation! They will go through drills in shorts, and we will endlessly project and prognosticate on their fantasy football futures. There are 78 guys who might have fantasy football relevance after their names were called in Nashville. Our goal with our Fantasy Football Rookie Roundup series is to give you a quick hit on every one of these guys. By the end, you’ll know these guys better than their mothers know them. Because it’s not like their mothers are necessarily good at fantasy football.
The 2018 edition of the Kansas City Chiefs blew the doors off the hinges for fantasy football. Patrick Mahomes burst onto the scene and supported big fantasy football production from Sammy Watkins, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Kareem Hunt, and Damien Williams. Tyreek Hill is now facing a suspension for “chronic idiocy and maybe breaking his child’s arm,” which means the Chiefs absolutely reached to fill that role in their offense in the 2019 NFL Draft. They also have a mighty mite that they snatched up in the sixth round that is getting a lot of fantasy football buzz, but what do these two guys mean for your 2019 fantasy football drafts?
Round 2, Pick 56 overall – Mecole Hardman, Wide Receiver, Georgia
Okay, I’ll admit it. I don’t get it. I don’t understand the Mecole Hardman hype. He’s set to potentially take over the Tyreek Hill role for part of the season, and as of typing this, he is a top-100 fantasy football pick. I understand watching to snatch up a section of that Chiefs offense, but has science gone too far?
First, to determine if Hardman is worth one of those precious top-100 picks, let’s look at a few things. First, Tyreek Hill is an absolute freak of nature. Everyone thought he couldn’t continue to produce at a high level after his monstrous rookie year because of his insane efficiency. He was fifth in the league in fantasy points per target last year. This is the kind of fantasy football efficiency we are talking here, the elite of the elite. The tippy top of elite efficient producers. Why do we think that a rookie, any rookie, is worth banking on being Tyreek Hill? Or a portion of Tyreek Hill? A poor man’s Tyreek Hill is Randall Cobb, who had to have an absolutely dominant amount of touches to produce with Aaron Rodgers. Call me skeptical that Hardman, or any rookie matching his profile, would do that in his rookie season.
As for Hardman’s tape… I’m even more confused. He plays well enough and has good speed (4.33 40-yard dash), but there was nothing that popped off the tape about him. He was good for a great contested catch a game, but with Riley Ridley opposite him, and that blazing speed, it begs the question: why were his catches so contested? He does decently well with his YAC and wasn’t overwhelmed out there, but I didn’t see a guy who deserved to go in the second round. And that second-round selection is driving his price on fantasy football draft day. Don’t pull a Chiefs and overdraft him in your eighth or ninth round, let someone else jump on that bomb, and be okay being wrong if he blows up (but like… blows up, in a good way).
2019 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
in games without Tyreek Hill
Round 6, Pick 214 overall – Darwin Thompson, Running Back, Utah State
Darwin Thompson is a tale of two tapes for his college production. His highlight reel sizzles, with him bouncing off of defenders and dragging would-be tacklers into the endzone. Then you watch his film cut-ups and you get a completely different story. His production is… sparse. He split touches at Utah State almost 50/50 with Gerold Bright. If you ask me, Bright has better pop plays. The problem with evaluating Thompson on his college production is that his highlights if you look closely, are full of bad defenders defending poorly. He sheds ankle tackles and bounces off guys who aren’t in a position to tackle him.
There is some spicy talk that he will take over as the RB1 in Kansas City at some point this season, but I’m not buying it. Damien Williams and Carlos Hyde will get enough production between them to bounce the job back and forth until one of them gets hurt. Thompson has some upside in PPR fantasy football leagues as a destitute man’s version of Tarik Cohen his rookie year. He is a small guy, and I don’t see him holding up to any role other than that. His college tape bore that out as well, as he moved everything outside. However, he did invite contact once he was outside. Unfortunately, DT will quickly learn that inviting contact in the NFL is much different than doing it in the Mountain West.
I don’t expect much out of Darwin Thompson in 2019 outside of some deeper PPR value if one of Williams or Hyde gets hurt. Otherwise, go ahead and ignore him in your fantasy football drafts in redraft leagues.
2019 FANTASY FOOTBALL OUTLOOK
Like what you see? Looking for more hot content like this? Check out the rest of our 2019 Fantasy Football Rookie Roundup pieces, here!