In our second round article, we set you up with some late wide receiver picks to snag that will have the other good fantasy player in your league slamming his keyboard while he whines about how he was “just about to take that guy”. In this round we’re going to give you the running backs that will hopefully slot safely into your flex or RB2 slot and live there for the rest of the season. Worst case scenario maybe you can trade them to the dude who see’s your pick and begins to wonder out loud about the health of his early pick’s knee (that’s called foreshadowing).

In this article we will be taking a hard look at the third round of the 2019 NFL draft from the perspective of a fantasy football redraft league. We’re going to outline the rookies from this round to draft, the ones to avoid, the ones to watch, and then we’ll identify the one guy we think is the biggest stud from this round. So let’s get to it.


Third-Round Rookies to Draft

David Montgomery – RB CHI

The only real concern for us surrounding David Montgomery is that the hype surrounding him might cause his ADP to become too high come draft day. When we talk about rookies to draft in redraft leagues, the three big factors are landing spot, talent, and ADP. With David Montgomery, the narrative surrounding his landing spot/opportunity couldn’t be better. All offseason last year Matt Nagy harped on how important it was to have three down running backs to keep the defense guessing and on their toes. He continuously touted how hard Jordan Howard was working on catching the ball and how much better his hands were, and then we saw the same old frying-pan-handed Howard who was quickly shipped off for a late round pick this offseason. On draft day Nagy and the Bears then traded a third, a fourth, and a fifth round pick to move up 14 spots in the third round so that they could get their guy – David Montgomery.

When you take a step back and look at the scenario of giving up a decent runner in Howard and trading up to use their very first pick in the draft on Montgomery, it’s hard to believe they will use him in the same role as they did Howard while only throwing to Cohen out of the backfield again. During his three years at Iowa State, he ran for almost 3,000 yards while scoring 26 touchdowns and, most importantly to the narrative, catching 71 passes. The talent and the landing spot are there so we just hope his ADP stays low enough to be worth taking since, as of right now, he is going in the late fourth at pick 46. At this ADP we are onboard but if he starts moving into the Kerryon Johnson /Aaron Jones /Derrick Henry range then you may need to let him go as those guys already earned their number one spot and an increased role moving forward while Montgomery still needs to beat out Mike Davis for early down work. They didn’t give Mike Davis $3 million guaranteed to bring water to a rookie from day one.

Darrell Henderson – RB STL

As we alluded to in the intro, the next two running backs on our “players to draft” list have a common theme – degenerative knee conditions. In the case of both players though we aren’t talking about their bad knees but the guys ahead of them. If you haven’t heard yet, it’s been widely reported that Todd Gurley has an arthritic knee that is cause for concern and may limit his ability to consistently stay on the field. We all saw it at the end of last season when they, seemingly inexplicably, deferred to CJ Anderson instead of their star player. As bad as that sounds for Gurley and therefore great for our rookie,the reality is that Darrell Henderson probably isn’t going to show up and just take over for one of the best running backs we’ve seen in years. If we actually expected that then we’d be telling you to draft Henderson as early as the second round. What we have heard though, directly from the mouths of Sean McVay and Les Snead, is that they believe that Darrell Henderson gives them a “Kamara element” to their offense. You can listen to them say so yourself in this tweet from Cameron DaSilva where Sean McVay seems to have forgotten that the Rams traded their 2019 second round pick (pick 63) to the Chiefs over a year ago as part of the Marcus Peters deal.

Luckily, they figured it out soon enough to trade two third rounders, picks 94 and 99, to the Buccaneers to move back up to pick 70 and grab their guy. One of the main reasons he became their guy is because he exploded for 2,204 yards from scrimmage and 25 touchdowns on 8.9(!) yards a carry and 15.5(!) yards per reception in his final year of school. Normally we’d be disappointed that a player with a such a great skillset fell behind a marquee guy but in prolific offenses we’ve seen multiple running backs put together startable running back seasons. Alvin Kamara /Mark Ingram , Devonta Freeman /Tevin Coleman , James White /Sony Michel etc. In the mid 12th round at pick 140 all you are looking for is a guy who can offer startable talent and, if the rumors about Todd Gurley ’s knee end up being even worse than we imagined, you might have just hit the jackpot. The difference for us here compared to other buried runningbacks is that there seems to be an okay floor to go along with the spectacular upside.

Damien Harris – RB NE

Reps or lack thereof usually aren’t cause for concern in spring practices. In fact, sometimes extra reps at this point in the “season” can mean a player may be on the bubble and in danger of being cut. But when a respected beat writer like Jeff Howe from the Atlantic starts saying that Damien Harris could see a “prominent role” this year while also tweeting that Sony Michel needed an impromptu knee scope during offseason workouts, the extensive first team reps for Damien Harris start to take on a different meaning.

Now, one reason to pump the breaks on Harris a little is that the Patriots had pick 73 with Harris on the board but traded it to the Bears who were anxious to grab a runningback before the Bills did with the 74th pick (the Bears took David Montgomery and the Bill took Devin Singletary, back to back). Unless you have Mission Impossible level espionage going on then you don’t throw your pick to two RB hungry sharks and just hope your guy falls to pick 87. The pick is more likely a best available play based on Belichick’s respect for Nick Saban’s opinion but, based on the concern surrounding Sony Michel ’s knee alone, Damien Harris is a buy at his current ADP in the 12th round. If every team had the option, they would run the ball down the defense’s throat and then run the clock outsome more and the Patriots are no exception - they had the fifth most rushing yards with 2,037 and were tied for the fourth most rushing touchdowns with 18 last season. As Tom Brady gracefully transitions into the last phase of his hall of fame career, you can imagine that the team would love to be able to take some of the load off his shoulders with a strong running game.


Third-Round Rookies to Avoid

Devin Singletary – RB BUF

According to Nick Wojton of USA Today, Frank Gore thinks that Devin Singletary is “in a perfect situation”.

Unfortunately, what Frank Gore means, is that Devin Singletary is in the perfect situation to watch two legendary veterans in Frank himself and LeSean McCoy carry most of the load while he learns how to compete and be a pro. Gore even went as far as to say that “Devin and my son’s style is similar” comparing the rookie to an 18 year old high school player (which might not be too far off as the young Gore at 5’8” is an inch taller than Singletary). At the combine Singletary ran a 4.66, good for 18th among running backs and didn’t test better than the 47th percentile in any metrics according to Statistically, he seemed to regress in college going from 6.7 yards per carry and 26 receptions his freshman year to 5.2 yards per carry and 6 receptions his junior year. We’d need to see at least two of LeSean McCoy , Frank Gore , and TJ Yeldon not make the roster to justify taking Singletary with one of our top 12 picks given his talent, landing spot, and ADP of the 11th round.

Alexander Mattison– RB MIN

Alexander Mattison does a couple things okay and one thing really well which is power football. He has a nose for the end zone scoring 30 touchdowns over his last two years with Boise State. He’s immediately a candidate for goal line and short yardage work considering he’s already 12 pounds heavier than the incumbent running back. The shame is that the incumbent happens to be Dalvin Cook who is locked in as the three down back and has done nothing but perform and perform well, when healthy. As we discussed earlier with Darrell Henderson, in some offenses two running backs can co-exist but the Vikings were 27th in rush attempts, 30th in rushing yards, and tied for 27th in rushing touchdowns with only nine in 2018. The fact of the matter is that, if Dalvin Cook remains healthy, Alexander Mattison isn’t much more than a Latavius Murray replacement (which, on the Saints, Latavius Murray might actually have some value). In serious leagues, you don’t draft vultures or handcuffs at all and, if you must, it’s three down back on a prolific running team behind another three down back and it’s with your last round pick. Which means Alexander Mattison at his ADP is a no.

Diontae Johnson – WR PIT

Because of the void left by Antonio Brown , fantasy gamers will be grasping at whatever they think might fill that hole.The reality is that the production may have been based on the talent in that offense rather than the offense itself and the hole may have collapsed on itself as Mr. Big Chest headed west. A guy like AB, who converted 63 first downs last season, was likely the key to long, sustained drives which allowed Big Ben to throw a career high 452 completions. In fact, his next two highest completion totals were 408 in 2014 and 375 in 2013 while his average completions per season is 308. Left behind is JuJu Smith-Schuster facing tougher assignments as the de facto wide receiver one and Diontae Johnson battling with James Washington , a second-round pick in his second year, and Donte Moncrief for the leftover targets. We might be quick to dismiss Moncrief but, if I’m the Steelers paying a guy $5 million dollars for this season, I’m going to give him every opportunity to earn that money before telling the GM and owner that they wasted their money. If Diontae were a greater talent then maybe he’d be worth a flyer but his workout metrics were mediocre and, if we are talking from a fantasy perspective, he was actually outproduced by his teammate Cody Thompson at Toledo last year. There are better players for your last roster spot.


Third-Round Rookies to Watch

Tight Ends

This round actually features four different interesting tight ends who are going outside the top 20 rounds in fantasy drafts, meaning none of them likely need to be selected on draft day, while they all might have the opportunity to earn a role on their respective teams. Those players are:

Kahale Warring – TE HOU – 26th round ADP

Josh Oliver – TE JAX – 21st round ADP

Jace Sternberger – TE GB – 23rd round ADP

Dawson Knox – TE BUF – 26th round ADP

The order they are in above is not random but rather based on how much we like them and their opportunity going into this specific season. Opportunity is the key word when it comes to rookie right ends. Ahead of Kahale Warring in a prolific passing offense are Jordan Akins and Jordan Thomas with a combined 37 career catches, presenting a potential path to a starting role or at least usage in the passing game while someone else may earn snaps as the in-line tight end. Warring battled injuries throughout college but what Houston saw out of him at San Diego State was enough to drop a 3rd rounder on him. Josh Oliver has the clearest path to a starting role with castoffs from teams that are thin themselves at tight end like Geoff Swaim (Dallas) and James O’Shaugnessy (New England) the main threats to a starting role. He also has the honor of being the earliest player selected in the real draft at in the third at pick 69. Gronk would be proud.

With Jace Sternberger and Dawson Knox the talent is there but Sternberger is behind Jimmy Graham and Knox is behind Tyler Kroft . Tyler Kroft did break his foot on the first day of OTAs requiring surgery with a three-to-four month recovery time table but he will likely be back towards the beginning of the season and, with a contract paying him $6.5 million this season before the Bills have an out next season, Kroft is likely to slot back into the starting role as soon as he’s healthy. None of these guys need to or should be drafted in anything but dynasty or the deepest of keeper leagues but they are all names we felt you should know and keep an eye on. Tight end is incredibly thin and if anyone is getting consistent targets, they become better than half the tight ends already in the league.

Myles Boykin – WR BAL

Myles Boykin is our last player to keep an eye on from this round. Going off the board in the 25th round he’s another guy that doesn’t need to be drafted and, to be honest, we aren’t exactly thrilled about the passing volume expected in Baltimore, even if they do plan to ramp up the passing. That being said, Lamar Jackson is essentially a brand new QB with a lot of brand new faces besides Willie Snead so he’ll be choosing who he likes and who he doesn’t like moving into the season. A wide receiver who is 6’4”, 220 pounds that has elite speed, agility, and catch radius is an easy friend to make when you aren’t the most accurate or hard throwing QB in the league. Feel free to throw a last round pick at him or throw him on the watch list to see how things shake out early in Baltimore.


Third-Round Stud

David Montgomery – RB CHI

We said most of it in our write up above but it needs to be repeated here that David Montgomery has the skills and the landing spot to have the best rookie year, not just of the third round players, but of anyone out of this draft class. He’s in the same tier as first rounders like Josh Jacobs and N’Keal Harry in terms of our expectations for this season. If Matt Nagy channels the Matt Nagy of yesteryear and David Montgomery can beat out Mike Davis , we could be seeing a Matt Forte /Kareem Hunt type season out of David Montgomery which, in the fourth or fifth round, is invaluable. Just be sure to keep an eye on his ADP because you can’t afford to blow a second or third round pick on a dude who might be splitting time with another back while also losing some third down work to Tarik Cohen .