Mercifully, the poking, prodding and Wonderlic-ing has ceased. With player destinations finally set, this wannabe soothsayer forges ahead previewing what newly drafted contributors could accomplish in their fresh digs for fantasy/betting audiences. Today’s rookie under the microscope: Najee Harris.
Current fantasy ADP (.5 PPR): RB19, 33.20
Current player props: 900.5 rush yards (PointsBet), 925.5 rush yards (PrizePicks), 175.0 PPR Fantasy Points (Fantasy Score), Offensive ROY +1400 (DraftKings)
Upside: Equipped with a legitimate three-down skill set and brutalizing size (6-foot-2, 230 pounds) to move chains, Harris is a bulldozing back capable of tattooing defenders in myriad ways. His tools are reminiscent of Le'Veon Bell — elusive, powerful, soft-handed, route savvy. Watching his riveting tape for hours on end could keep even the sleepiest version of Ted Cruz awake. Last season for the NCAA champion Crimson Tide, he finished inside the top three in total missed tackles forced and yards after contact. His power gap experience meshes seamlessly with Matt Canada’s smashmouth system. Also featuring sticky fingers — he hauled in 43 receptions for 425 yards a season ago — Harris is a complete RB, pass pro included, who should step in Day 1 and pay instant dividends.
Downside: Flashing like a neon sign illuminated in the darkness, Pittsburgh’s makeshift offensive line is in dire need of repair. Last season, the Steelers ranked No. 31 in run-blocking efficiency, No. 32 in adjusted line yards and No. 27 in run stuff percentage. Barf. If the fresh faces don’t congeal quickly this training camp, Harris will need 300 touches to live up to his colossal promise, which is doable.
Fearless forecast: 242 carries, 1,086 rushing yards, 51 receptions, 438 receiving yards, 9 total touchdowns
Final word: With only piano-dragger Benny Snell and Anthony McFarland to beat out for the gig, Harris is sure to instantly morph into a Clydesdale for the Steelers. Mike Tomlin typically prefers single-back systems, and the rookie is ready to whinny. To alleviate pressure on an aging Ben Roethlisberger, bank on the coaching staff deploying the greenhorn early and often. With James Robinson plummeting down the ADP ranks after Jacksonville selected Travis Etienne, Harris, due to sheer volume alone, is in the top-12 RB conversation. He deserves to be considered in the Cam Akers, Austin Ekeler and D'Andre Swift tier in 0.5 PPR drafts. Load up.