Fantasy Football: Rookies To Keep An Eye On
Fantasy Football is essentially underway with drafts being held nearly every day as the season gets closer to officially kicking off on September 8th with a Super Bowl rematch between the defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.
Every season we have breakout rookies who tear up the NFL, as well as a number of fantasy leagues. Odell Beckham Jr., Amari Cooper, and Doug Martin were more than what anyone imagined in their rookie campaigns as they racked up a ton of fantasy points week after week. With that in mind, here are some of the rookies to keep on your radar, and possibly pick up on your fantasy roster.
1.) Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
Ezekiel Elliott is easily the best rookie in this field. He has the best offensive line in the game, combined with that dual threat ability to run and catch the ball out of the backfield, there is no reason Elliott shouldn't be a fantasy football stud. With Alfred Morris and Darren McFadden in the backfield with him, Elliott will be able to adjust to the NFL game at his own pace, however, that could easily be sooner than we thought after the team lost quarterback Tony Romo with another back injury a few days ago.
Elliott could develop into that workhorse-back that we all expect him to be, it's just a matter of time. If one thing is for sure, Elliott will be a focal point of this offense. The Cowboys wouldn't have drafted him 4th overall had they not expected an immediate return on the football field from him. I think it takes a few weeks, but Elliott will develop into a top-5 fantasy running-back by the end of the season.
By week 4, I see Elliott racking up 20-25 carries a game and with fellow Rookie Dak Prescott subbing for the injured Romo at quarterback, there may be more read-option style plays for Elliott to take.
Estimated AVG points per week: 9-16
2.) Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants
The New York Giants selected a diamond in the rough when they took Shepard with the 40th overall pick in this past years NFL Draft. A star at Oklahoma, Shepard's skills translate immediately to the NFL game. Likely the #2 receiver starting alongside Beckham Jr. on week 1, Shepard needs to develop a report with quarterback Eli Manning the way Beckham Jr. did, and I think he can do that quicker than we all think.
Shepard has the same ability to do what Beckham Jr. did his rookie season when it comes to making big plays. He can turn those short routes into big gains with his play-making ability. He also has those crafty one-handed catches in his arsenal as well.
Newly appointed head coach, Ben McAdoo, has the perfect offense for a player like Shepard to make an impact early and often. He may become the most reliable receiver on that roster in due time. I see Shepard as a 4-8 reception-per-game player, who has the ability to have very big games the same way his teammate did in 2014.
Estimated AVG points per week: 7-14
3.) C.J. Prosise, RB, Seattle Seahawks
Prosise is one of the more interesting rookies to watch this upcoming season. With Marshawn Lynch retiring after the end of last season, the running-back job is in need of consistency in Seattle. Thomas Rawls who exploded onto the scene last season has a good set of tools to be the #1 back, but don't count out Prosise just yet.
Rawls has yet to proven his every-down-back capability and with the skill-set of Prosise, a two-back rotation is likely the best option in Seattle. I expect Prosise to develop into one of the main targets in that Seattle offense both running the ball and receiving it out of the backfield. I see Prosise as a guy that will need a few weeks under his belt until we can fully see what he can do, but there is no doubt that he will make his presence felt on this Seahawks team. If he focuses on ball security and can get a reasonable amount of touches per week, there is a ton of value there. Prosise will be a great value pick late in your draft in a deep running-back field.
Estimated AVG points per week: 7-14
4.) Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns may be one of the worst organizations in the NFL when it comes to drafting players (or just in general), but they hit a home run when they selected Corey Coleman with the 15th overall pick. Coleman is a kid that will immediately be the center of that offense when it comes to making big plays. He is a pure threat on the outside, and with Hue Jackson as the new head coach, I expect him to get the ball to his rookie wide receiver a lot.
Coleman is a guy you may be able to lean on throughout the course of the season and he may become even more of a threat once teammate Josh Gordon returns to the team after his latest suspension.
Either way, Coleman is going to be a 5-10 catch a game player, who has the ability to get past defenders deep in the secondary. With a revitalized Robert Griffin III throwing him the ball, I think Coleman has a stellar rookie season. (My ROY pick)
Estimated AVG points per week: 9-15
5.) Kenneth Dixon, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Not as well known as many of the other players on this list, Dixon is sure to be on everyone's radar after his first few weeks. Last season at Louisiana Tech, Dixon totaled 1,537 yards and 26 touchdowns, proving he can do it all.
But the reason why Dixon is on this list is because he will likely unseat Justin Forsett at some point as the starting running-back on this Ravens team. Dixon has had a stellar camp and preseason thus far and will likely see a lot of playing time, even if he isn't named the week 1 starter.
I think he'll likely be a guy that starts off slow as far as workload goes, but will eventually develop into a 15-20 carry-per-week player.
Estimated AVG points per week: 7-12
Tyler Higbee, TE, L.A. Rams
- Has developed a great relationship with quarterback Jared Goff that may translate well on the field.
Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
- Stuck behind DeMarco Murray at the moment, but the power-back will get his carries eventually.
Will Fuller, WR, Houston Texans
- With DeAndre Hopkins getting much of the attention, Fuller may get more footballs headed his way.
Josh Doctson, WR, Washington Redskins
- The #3 WR on their team, Doctson is a redzone threat that could get you those coveted touchdowns.