Top Ten Fantasy Rookies

By: Matt Moore (Matt23Moore)

 

With the draft behind us and the season quickly approaching, it is time for us to fix our eyes on what will be consuming our lives in a mere few months: fantasy football. The draft has presented us with players that will be hoping to instill their talent in an NFL system. When it comes to fantasy football, the rookies often tend to slide down toward the bottom of the draft. After all, they have not proven their ability in the NFL and cannot always trusted, which presents the perfect opportunity for a steal in the lower rounds. Everyone loves being the guy that drafted a standout rookie. PFC is here to help you grab those low round, standout rookies that will help you achieve fantasy glory. Here is our top ten fantasy break out rookies for the 2013:

1. Monte Ball, RB, Denver Broncos

The Broncos have a cluttered running back depth chart. Going into Organized Team Activites, Denver has a total of 7 running backs on their roster. The release of injury prone Willis McGahee confirms that the team is looking in a new direction for the running game. Ronnie Hillman saw a little game action in 2012 after McGahee was injured in Week 11, however in a one-on-one position battle I pick Ball over Hillman. There are a ton of early down carries available for the Broncos and Ball has a great opportunity to earn some of those. He could find his way into splitting carries or a solid backup spot. Ball has the physicality to be productive in the NFL and the all-time NCAA leader in touchdowns knows a thing or two about getting in the end zone. The Broncos could look to use him as their goal line running back. Be prepared for Ball to make a splash in your fantasy league.

2. Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers

This is a tough call considering the Packers also drafted stud running back Johnathan Franklin out of UCLA. Although I think Franklin could pan out to be a solid NFL running back, I think Lacy will be the better fantasy back this year. Lacy has 26 pounds on Franklin, so he is more likely to be the goal line option for the Packers. Alex Green entered and left OTAs as the starting running back for the Packers, however he has been unimpressive in his past two years at Green Bay. Lacy or Franklin could end up with the starting job, but I think Lacy will be the one doing a majority of the scoring.

3. Le’veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

No rookie running back has a better shot at starting than Le’vevon Bell.  Johnathan Dwyer was given the opportunity to take over the running back position last year, however he did not capitalize. Bell also presents a better catching option out of the backfield than Dwyer. Isaac Redman was another guy that the Steelers looked to last year to fill the running back role, he too failed in securing the position. Despite Bell’s high probability of starting, all I see is a potential to bust. He is a bruising 6’1’ 230, but he runs timid. Running scared may have worked in high school and college, but it will not be successful in the NFL. Unless Bell can find a way to toughen up, I don’t see him becoming what many fantasy owners hope he will be. Nevertheless, he will most likely be starting Week 1.

4. Tavon Austin, WR, Saint Louis Rams

Rookie wide receivers are always somewhat of a risk. That being said, Austin is a freak. He only stands 5’8’ 174 pounds, but he possesses 4.2 speed and ran the second fastest 20 yard shuttle of all the wide receivers in the2013 NFL combine. Austin also has the opportunity to pick up some fantasy points with his kick return skills. He accounted for 5 special team touchdowns during his campaign at West Virginia. With Danny Amendola going to the Patriots and Brandon Gibson to the Dolphins, Tavon Austin has a great shot at a starting job in Week 1. The offensive line of the Rams is a concern, considering Sam Bradford has been sacked 71 times in 26 games. However, Jake Long looks to provide Bradford with more protection if he can stay healthy. Austin could be a great fantasy two or three receiver.

5. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

Not the most talented player selected, but Hopkins has a high probability of starting. The fact that he will most likely be lining up opposite of Andre Johnson is another important factor. Johnson requires a lot of defensive attention, leaving Hopkins to shine. Although he is not extremely tall and does not have that pure track speed, he is a solid route runner and catches the ball in traffic. His competition is two inexperienced receivers: Keshawn Martin and Lestar Jean (had a combined 236 yards receiving last year).  Hopkins has greater talent than both Martin and Jean, making him almost a shoe in to start Week 1.

6. Johnatahn Franklin, RB, Green Bay Packers

The Packers surprised everyone in the draft by selecting not one, but two running backs in the draft this year. This presents a true dilemma for fantasy owners. Franklin is not a guy that should be overlooked. He was a premier performer in the combine with a 40-yard dash time of 4.49 and 60-yard shuttle time of 11.23. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in two seasons at UCLA and finished just 24 yard short of 1,000 his junior year. Franklin is a better passing option out of the backfield than Lacy, with his speed and quickness. The starting job in Green Bay is up for grabs. Monitor Franklin during the preseason. He could very well snag a starting job or a solid back up position.

7. Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals

I am high on Bernard to eventually make an impact on the NFL. Hopefully, he is able to make an impact this year. He has drawn comparisons to C.J. Spiller and the Bengals could look to use his quickness to compliment BenJarvus Green-Ellis’ power. Bernard is a great passing option out of the backfield and is the best back up option for the Bengals. If Ellis were to go down, then Bernard would be a great pick up off waivers. Even if Ellis remains healthy, Bernard should see game time. You never know how much playing time he will receive, so he is a risk. However, keep your eyes peeled on him in the upcoming years.

8. Joseph Randle, RB, Dallas Cowboys

Randle is predicted to wind up as the backup to DeMarco Murray. He is bound to beat out the less talented Lance Dunbar and Phillip Tanner. Being a backup actually does not put him at too bad of a position considering Murray has missed a combine 9 games over the past 2 seasons. Randle is a tall lengthy running back, who had more than 3,000 yards from scrimmage over the past 2 seasons. He has good pad level and has great patience in finding a hole. However, he lacks the second level burst that is necessary to be a home run hitter in the NFL.

9.Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers

Keenan could be a hit or miss. On one hand, if you have seen any of Keenan Allen’s highlights you know how exciting of a football player he is. He can make the big play and is definitely a top five wide receiver in his class. On the other hand, he is a in a clustered San Diego wide receivers core that includes Danario Alexander, Vincent Brown, Malcom Floyd, and Robert Meachem. If he can find his way into a starting job, I would look to Allen to produce some good fantasy numbers. Monitor him during preseason.

10. Corderrell Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

In order to acquire Patterson, the Vikings traded picks in the second, third, fourth, and seventh rounds to the New England Patriots. This would lead one to believe that they have a plan for him. He was not the most impressive receiver in the draft, but he is what Minnesota needs. He is a tall receiver, standing 6’3’’ and had the fifth best vertical at the wide receiver position in his draft class. He should gain a starting spot opposite of Greg Jennings and will be looked to as a big play option. The Vikings were very reliant on the play of Adrian Peterson last year, but Patterson and Jennings will present them with an effective new wrinkle to their offense. Look for Patterson to be a valuable third receiver, he could be the home run hitter that the Vikings need to compliment Peterson’s running game and Jenning’s wide receiver play.