Ranking The Top 11 NFL Fantasy Rookies
SpreeGoogs would like to give ourselves a few props for our NFL mock drafting skills: we called the Oakland-Miami trade, Kenny Vaccaro to the Saints, Jarvis Jones to the Steelers, Alec Ogletree to the Rams, DeAndre Hopkins to the Texans and Cordarrelle Patterson to the Vikings. Two of those picks weren’t exactly where we thought they’d be, but hey, we’d appreciate mental high fives for predicting even a few things right about that crazy first round.
What we turn to now is what is most important about this draft: its fantasy impact, of course. Below are the top 11 fantasy rookies based on what team they landed with. This was admittedly a tough task this year since the draft was dominated by offensive lineman and defensive backs. But you expect us to tackle the tough subjects here at SpreeGoogs, so without further ado, our Top 11 and where to draft them:
11. Tyler Eifert, TE, Bengals (Round 15/FA)
I wanted to include one TE on this list. So here it is, getting it over right away. I don’t trust rookie TEs, but I think the Bengals have designs to have a two TE monster in the mold of Gronk and Hernandez with Eifert and Jermaine Greshman. How many receiving yards that translates into for Eifert remains to be seen, but I think out of the all of the TEs drafted, he has the best chance for production in his rookie season.
10. Geno Smith, QB, Jets (Round 14-15)
He is going to be the Jets starter. They wouldn’t have taken him otherwise. That means he could be a plug and play guy to stash on your bench for bye weeks or for certain match-ups. The rushing yards he’ll give you will be offset by all the INTs.
9. Cordarelle Patterson, WR, Vikings (Round 13)
Too low? I don’t think so, not when Christian Ponder is your QB. I also think it will take a little time for him to adjust to an NFL offense. If he ever does, he could be one of the top 5 receivers we draft every year.
8. Gio Bernard, RB, Bengals (Round 13)
I have no idea how well Bernard is going to do this year: he could be the second coming of C.J. Spiller or he could get hurt and the Bengals just run with the standard dose of BenJarvus Green-Ellis. I anticipate somewhere in the middle, perhaps to the tune of 900 total yards and 6 TDs.
7. Aaron Dobson, WR, Patriots (Round 12)
This pick has Randy Moss written all over it. The Patriots took a flyer on Dobson over a more established commodity like Keenan Allen in hopes that his physical tools and pedigree (Marshall) help him develop into Moss 2.0 . There is an opportunity for him to step in and start for the Pats opposite Danny Amendola, since they don’t have much talent outside of him. His challenge will be to learn the system and try to keep up with Master Brady.
6. Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers (Round 11)
Allen has the potential to be the offensive rookie of the year. He’s going to get a ton of catches in that Chargers offense, since he provides an added over-the-middle dimension that toothpicks Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander just don’t have. And those two can never stay healthy, so look for Allen to grab one of their starting jobs by season’s end. The only reason I don’t have him rated higher is because of the Phillip Rivers being Phillip Rivers factor.
5. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans (Round 11)
This is a perfect situation for DeAndre to flourish. Andre Johnson will still shoulder the Texans’ No. 1 receiver role, while Arian Foster is still a beast in the running game. All that means a lot of single coverage for Hopkins. Expect him to take advantage of it.
4. Tavon Austin, WR, Rams (Round 10)
Tavon might well be the No. 1 player on this list at the end of the season, but I just don’t trust rookie WRs all that much, I want him to prove he can stay healthy at his size and I anticipate him having a target on his back the whole season since he’ll be the Rams go-to option. I anticipate him having somewhere in the neighborhood of 45-50 catches, 800 yards and 7 TDs.
3. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (Round 10)
Bell is a potential starter for the Steelers with Rashard Mendenhall now in Arizona and Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer proving that they can’t stay healthy for more than a few games. Bell is well-built, making him a nice fit for the power running game the Steelers prefer. He also has great hands, so should make for a nice weapon out of the backfield for Big Ben.
2. Montee Ball, RB, Denver Broncos (Round 9)
The Broncos’ offense was dynamic last year with Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno receiving most of the carries. Imagine what it could be with a player that actually has some life in his legs. Ball might not open the season as the starter, but I anticipate him begin their workhorse by the end of the season, especially since he is likely the only one in that backfield that will be able to stay healthy. The wildcard is Ronnie Hillman and how much the Broncos want to use him as a change of pace runner.
1. Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers (Round 8)
Well this was a no-brainer. Lacy figures to be the starter in a horrendous Packers backfield where James Starks and Alex Green both averaged well under four yards a carry last year. DuJuan Harris had a nice couple of games at the end of last year, but the Packers could not have been comfortable with him being their No. 1 option. Lacy can be that No. 1 option. And if nothing else, he’ll be the goal-line hammer that they have so desperately needed. I could see him scoring 10 TDs easily in that offense.