Fantasy scouting report on top-five overlooked rookies in 2018 draft

While we won’t know these players’ fantasy values until their landing spots are announced later this month, it is helpful to know what they do (and don’t do) well. Here’s a snapshot of the top-five ranked second tier players in this year’s draft. Stay tuned for more in-depth analysis via our LIVE draft show on April 26 and 27!

Rashaad Penny, RB, San Diego State

Fun Fact: His older brother is Elijhaa Penny, also a running back entering his second season with the Arizona Cardinals.
Claim to fame: A quick runner with the size (5’11” and 220 lbs.) and skills to be an every-down back at the next level, Penny is a patient player with a ton of versatility. He wowed at the Senior Bowl, showing off his ability to catch out of the back field and appeal as a kick returner.
Trying to tame: Some scouts question his long speed (though he did hush critics with a solid combine performance), but the major knocks against him are his upright running style and his inability to create chunk yards after initial contact.
Comp: Jordan Howard, Thomas Jones
Fantasy fit: Washington’s backfield is full of question marks. Penny could very well be the answer.

Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State

Fun Fact: Scored eight times in one game (7 rushing, 1 receiving), tying the FBS record for touchdowns in a single-contest.
Claim to fame: Ballage is brimming with athletic upside. He’s fast (4.46) for his size (6’2” and 228 pounds) and offers oodles of versatility as a deft pass-catcher with kick-return experience.
Trying to tame: He doesn’t play to size, lacks elusiveness, and wasn’t a consistent college producer.
Comp: Latavius Murray
Fantasy fit: Oakland makes a lot of sense. None of the backs on the roster are a sure thing. Plus, Ballage’s appeal on passing downs could help spell whichever rusher Gruden decides to run into the ground.

Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis

Fun Fact: Was a high school track stand out whose best events were hurdles (state champ) and the long-jump.
Claim to fame: A gritty player whose determination makes up for his stature, Miller has sticky hands, brow-raising body control, and head-shaking boundary awareness. Highly productive in the red zone, the Tennessee native can play all three levels of the field.
Trying to tame: He’s undersized (5’11” and 200 pounds) and will turn 24 years old in October.
Comp: Doug Baldwin
Fantasy fit: With Albert Wilson in Miami, Kansas City is a viable destination for Miller, but his fantasy potential would obviously be suppressed with Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Sammy Watkins on the roster. From a fake football perspective, I’d be thrilled to see him end up in Green Bay, which could be possible given Randall Cobb’s decline and Jordy Nelson’s departure.

Memphis wide receiver Anthony Miller was a red zone machine in college. (via NFL)

D.J. Chark, WR, LSU

Fun Fact: Chose to wear a No. 7 jersey after former teammate Leonard Fournette went to the NFL.
Claim to fame: The fastest wideout in the 2018 draft class, Chark ran the 40-yard-dash in a blazing 4.34 seconds as the NFL Combine.
Trying to tame: Despite being tall (6’3”) he has a thin frame (199 pounds) and there’s fear that he’ll get pushed around by press corners. His route-running is also pretty sloppy.
Comp: Robby Anderson, Ted Ginn
Fantasy fit: A lot of WR needy teams could be eyeing Chark in the second round. The Bills, Ravens, and 49ers all make sense. However, I think Atlanta is an interesting landing spot for the Louisiana native. While I’d prefer to see Equanimeous St. Brown line up opposite Julio Jones, Thomas Dimitroff may be swayed by Chark’s speed, especially now that Taylor Gabriel is in Chicago.

Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

Fun Fact: Will confidently sing a Garth Brooks tune while being interviewed by Russell Wilson.
Claim to fame: Can stand tall in the pocket and loft a nice deep ball, giving his receivers a chance to make a play.
Trying to tame: More times than not, his play feels sluggish. His arm strength is average, his accuracy is inconsistent, and his processing feels a touch too slow.
Comp: Sam Bradford
Fantasy fit: I’m not optimistic about Rudolph’s future as a starter, but I think he’d be a serviceable back-up in the league. He’s recently been linked to the Patriots. If New England passes, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Steelers grab him five spots later.

Where would you like to see each player land? Follow Liz and tweet her your favorite rookies and projected landing spots @LizLoza_FF.

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