NFL Rookies To Help You Win Fantasy Football
The 2017 draft was loaded with offensive talent and will change the landscape of Fantasy Football. Knowing the next Ezekiel Elliot is the difference between a trophy and nothing, especially if you’re in a keeper league. These are some rookies to keep an eye on in your upcoming drafts.
RB Christian McCaffrey –Carolina Panthers
McCaffrey is going to eat all season long in an offense that values versatility, where fresh blood is desperately needed to take some pressure off its oft beaten up QB and RB. Rivera insists Jonathan Stewart will see the bulk of the carries but don’t let that scare you off McCaffrey who will see plenty of work in the passing game as he slowly takes over the running game. By the end of the season the Panthers will be funneling their offense through McCaffrey and you’ll be soaking up the benefits.
RB Dalvin Cook- Minnesota Vikings
Cook has landed in a brilliant spot. The void left by RB Adrian Peterson is huge and the need for an identity on the Viking offense is even bigger. Latavius Murray isn’t going to be it. When the Vikings struggle to move downfield unless they give it to Cook and with them having multiple ways to deploy him, he will thrive, especially in a PPR league. Bonus Points if Bridgewater retains the starting job as his accurate but weak arm was made for dumping off to Cook.
RB Kareem Hunt- Kansas City Chiefs
Speaking of accurate weak armed QBs, Alex Smith is an excellent passer to pump up your RBs PPR value. When Hunt wins the starting job (and he will win the starting job from Spencer Ware) he will give you RB1 production for what will probably cost you a mid to late round pick.
Fresh TE talent:
TE has been a brutal position to draft for over the last few years. Draft Gronkowski? He gets hurt. Draft Kelce? He disappears for half the year. Finally we have some new talent that should be a tremendous value at the position.
TE O.J. Howard- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I’m not quite as high on Howard as some folks are. A lot of potential but not a lot of production. There’s been plenty of players who never met the lofty ceiling their physical tools gave them, including the Bucs last TE Sefarian-Jenkins. That said Howard is an absolute freak (6’6” and runs a 4.5) who will have a talented QB, who isn’t afraid to take risks and put balls up for Howard to contest.
TE Evan Engram- New York Giants
TEs can take time to have an impact in the NFL. Mainly because in college they are used for size and athleticism and in the NFL they must learn blocking, pass protecting, and route running. Evan Engram is already good at all three of those things which will encourage the coaching staff to have him on the field early and often in the 2017 season.
TE David Njoku- Cleveland Browns
Yah this comes with the ‘he plays for the browns disclaimer’ but Njoku is in a good position to produce especially in PPR. With little in the way of competition Njoku is the proud owner of Gary Barnidge’s 82 touches last year. A situation of talent meeting opportunity it will be Njoku’s job to lose this season and he makes a great value pickup later on if you skipped TE early to focus on other needs.
TE Gerald Everett- Los Angeles Rams
Remember that disclaimer? Yah double it for the Rams offense….but if you’re in the later parts of the draft and your TE positon is still unsettled, remember that Kendricks (who has now departed) got 87 targets last year and that Sean McVay is the guy who figured out how to use Jordan Reed effectively. Everett is more Delanie Walker than Reed but McVay knows how to give his tight ends production.
Fantasy Stars of Tomorrow:
RB Leonard Fournette- Jacksonville Jaguars
An absolute beast. A generational talent with HoF comparisons who saw his hype tarnished by an injury plagued final college season. Fournette will try to be this year’s Ezekiel Elliot. The issues are he doesn’t have Elliot’s receiving chops, His offensive line, or his QB. Fournette will command attention in every game he is in but his fantasy value will suffer somewhat because of it, but like the Paul Anderson movie, where defenses try to stop Fournette there will be blood. A lot of Linebackers and safeties are going to get their feelings, and bodies hurt if Fournette makes it to the second level. His lack of Elliot’s ideal situation will keep him from being the consistent value Elliot was but he will have weeks where he wins for you singlehandedly as he wears down defenses and blows games open.
WR Corey Davis- Tennessee Titans
Refined like a good wine. Mr. Corey Davis does it all and does it all really well. A precise route runner with a talented QB who has been desperately awaiting someone he can trust to throw to, Davis and Mariota were made for each other. There are other receiving options on the Titans and this will turn some owners off to Davis potential. I just see it as Davis avoiding double coverage. When Mariota and Davis start to click, there will be nothing stopping Davis from going off every game. Defenses can’t ignore Delanie Walker and Mariota’s legs and they can’t leave Davis in single coverage. Something will give. Bonus points if you take Mariota at a good value to pair with your new star WR.
Late picks who could win your season:
RB Jamaal Williams- Green Bay Packers
The packers starting RB job belongs to Ty Montgomery. He was effective last year and finally settled down a position that has been in flux since Eddie Lacy first stepped into Golden Corral and opened the doors for bums like Christine Michael. The coaching staff won’t soon forget how long it took to find Montgomery’s consistency and he won’t be pushed aside easily. However, the Packers season now and always will run through Aaron Rodgers. Montgomery is not a good pass protector and doesn’t give the Packers the bruising style they enjoyed with Lacy. Jamaal Williams on the other hand enjoys breaking tackles and is great at pass protection. By the end of the season he could be handling the vast majority of the Packers workload, and be carrying you through your fantasy playoffs.
RB Joe Williams- San Francisco 49ers
Williams got taken off a lot of team’s boards because they heard he quit football. Succeeding in the NFL takes so much discipline and hard work that a quitter like him would never make it, right? Luckily the 49ers actually did their research and found out that Williams only quit because he was suffering from depression after his 7 year old sister died in his arms. Williams quit, cleared his head, got counseling, and decided to come back with a vengeance. Destroying opposing defenses with his blend of athleticism and extraordinary vision. Always taking the correct cut and with the ability to make defenders miss, Williams racked up almost 1,500 yards and was hand-picked by Kyle Shanahan. He’s available in later rounds because the starting position is locked down by Carlos Hyde and Williams doesn’t have the receiving ability to swipe production on passing downs. Shanahan didn’t draft Williams to not play him though and if/when he takes over the starting job he will come with RB1/RB2 production.
Honorable Mention: Joe Mixon RB Cincinnati. Zay Jones WR Buffalo. Mike Williams WR San Diego Chargers.