Rookies make the NFL go around, but rarely do they make the fantasy impact that many potential GMs hope for in fantasy football.

melvin-gordon

 

 

 

1. Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers

Melvin Gordon is one of those NFL Rookies who has the best chance to provide immediate returns. Like Bishop Shankey last year, Gordon looks like a player who will be drafted within the first 3 rounds. Unlike Shankey, who I clearly had reservations about last year, Gordon should make an impact. Donald Brown and Branden Oliver don’t have Gordon’s ability, and Danny Woodhead is more of a receiving back, so draft Gordon with confidence. Don’t be surprised if his ADP crawls to top 15 in a standard 10 team fantasy league.

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2. Kevin White, WR, Chicago Bears

With Brandon Marshall’s trade to the Jets, White looks like a surefire bet to be the WR2 in the Chicago Bears offense. White’s physical gifts are impressive. He’s armed with tremendous size and speed to create solid fantasy numbers. On the downside, White’s production could be hampered with inconsistent quarterback Jay Cutler throwing the ball. In addition, some scouts wondered if his production in college was a result of West Virginia’s system rather than elite talent. No matter the question marks, targeting White on draft day is prudent. He is also a must in Dynasty leagues.

 

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3. T.J. Yeldon, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

Yeldon is a prime candidate to be drafted within the first 5 rounds. He has exceptionally quick change of speed backed with great lateral quickness to make opposing defenders miss. With the Jaguars being one of the worst teams in the NFL and, clearly woeful on talent, there will be playing time for Yeldon, but his small frame and fumble prone issues that plagued him in college are there as well. Expectations are all over the place. The most optimistic forecasts see Arian Foster, while the most negative see a third down back with durability concerns. Somewhere in the middle lays Yeldon’s true value this season. Other than Dernard Robinson, the challenge for carries is more than likely between them. Toby Gerhart’s time as a possible feature back are dead and buried.

 

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4. Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders

Cooper may be the most talented WR in the 2015 rookie class. With that being said, he is not in the best situation to prove his talents. The Raiders look like a budding group, thanks to Derek Carr’s productive yet wildly streaky rookie year. Michael Crabtree will more than likely be the #1 WR on the depth chart, but Cooper has the ability to be the better scorer in fantasy leagues. The biggest issue dogging Cooper is the mediocrity of the Raiders. Like prized rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins last year, I see some games of greatness mixed in with a lot of ugly. Inconsistency isn’t a prized trait in fantasy football, which will be reason enough to target Cooper with tempered expectations.

 

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5. Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

Coleman is as dangerous a pick as any player in this year’s fantasy football season. He is the ultimate boom or bust pick. While a speed back at Indiana he showed exceptional skills, racking up 2,036 yards and 15 touchdowns. Last year Devonta Freeman was the guy many anointed to take the RB reigns away from veteran Steven Jackson. Despite a favorable ADP of 108 many GM’s cut bait with him all together before the end of the season. With Jackson gone via Free Agency, Coleman has an even more advantageous situation than Freeman. The biggest issue is, the more you look at the Falcons backfield the more you have a feeling that it will be a shared workload. The translation? Inconsistent playing time and streaky production equals an extreme risk if you draft Coleman too early.

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6. Breshad Perriman, WR, Baltimore Ravens

With Torrey Smith leaving to the San Francisco 49ers, Perriman finds himself in an advantageous position. Perriman’s skills mirror many of Smith’s, such as size, athleticism and explosiveness, but this is no slam dunk. Perriman’s negatives are many. He has a below average route-runner, low concentration (i.e. dropped passes) and spotty competition level in college at Central Florida. With Joe Flacco at the helm Perriman will have a QB capable of throwing downfield. Fantasy owners should be conservative when targeting this wide receiver

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7. Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

It was clear heading into the draft that the Eagles weren’t going to resign Jeremy Maclin. Enter Nelson Agholor, who more than likely split time with Riley Cooper before becoming the Eagles #2 wide receiver. Athletically he isn’t the athlete that others in his rookie WR class are. Couple that with his lean body frame, which brings about concerns regarding his ability to gain separation in the NFL. With the Eagles WR position not very deep, Agholor will be drafted in all leagues. Philadelphia Eagles teammate Jordan Matthews will be the most productive. Despite this, Agholor will still be drafted this year in all leagues on the sheer on the possibility of producing.  Unless you are in a dynasty league, Agholor will more than likely by a bye week replacement

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8. DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins

Drafted 14th overall, Parker has all the skills you look for when trying to identify a potential fantasy impact rookie. Athletically he doesn’t have incredible explosiveness, but his ability to catch in traffic more than makes up for this. If there is anything concerning, it’s his durability. He missed much of last season at Louisville with a broken foot. After the draft Parker impressed many in the Miami Dolphins OTA’s. Unfortunately, during the minicamp, Parker complained of soreness in his foot and had to undergo surgery. Dolphin officials claim he will be ready by the start of the season, but his readiness for week 1 might be a stretch. With the Dolphins losing 69% of their offense and if his health doesn’t hinder, look for some solid numbers.

 

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9. Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams

Gurley was viewed as the unquestionable best RB in college before the ACL injury. Whispers of an Adrian Peterson comparison are too hard to ignore. Despite all this, disregard the hype and temper the urge to reach for Gurley too early in fantasy drafts. Gurley should be a high priority if you are playing in a dynasty league, yet Gordon easily trumps Gurley in standard leagues. The Rams have a stable situation in the backfield with Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham. Combine that information with Gurley recovering from his injury and I don’t expect him or the any of the Rams RBs to do much this year. Could he recover and be great? Absolutely. But realistically, Gurley’s impact in fantasy football looks more obtainable in 2016.

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10. David Cobb, RB, Tennessee Titans

You might be asking yourself how does a 5th round draft pick earn a spot as a potential fantasy football rookie you should look at this year. Simple. It’s opportunity. Last year, Bishop Sankey was supposed to be the guy that would make the Titans forget about Chris Johnson. Cobb is a sturdy built 5-10, 230lb back which enables him to have a good workload, but lacks the homerun ability, which would honestly be an upgrade over what happened in the backfield last year with Sankey. At the moment, the Titans simply need consistency with a rookie QB and an ever-improving offensive line. Cobb is a guy that would surprise me if he overtakes Shankey and becomes a steady force. If you draft him, do so strictly from a project viewpoint and target Cobb in the extremely late rounds of the draft 13-14 rounds.

 

Agree or disagree? Hit up the comments and let me know.

Honorable Mention: (By Position)

Jameis Winston, QB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Marcus Mariota, QB – Tennessee Titans
Duke Johnson, RB – Cleveland Browns
Ameer Abdullah,RB – Detroit Lions
David Johnson, RB – Arizona Cardinals
Jay Ajayi, RB – Miami Dolphins
Phillip Dorsett, WR – Indianapolis Colts
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR – Tennessee Titans
Devin Smith, WR – New York Jets
Jaelen Stron, WR – Houston Texans
Devin Funchess, WR – Carolina Panthers
Maxx Williams, TE – Baltimore Ravens
Clive Walford, TE – Oakland Raiders