Guest columnist Shane Hallam takes a look at which rookies will make the biggest impact in your fantasy football league this year and in the future.
As an avid dynasty fantasy footballer, I have run into many situations where I took the rookie in the “better” situation although I knew the player was not very talented. Kevin Jones in Detroit, J.J. Arrington in Arizona, and Donald Brown in Indianapolis have bitten me plenty of times. This has led to my strategy adjusting to best talent rather than just best situation.
- Jake Locker
Physically and athletically talented in perfect situation. Upside is huge, could become a future star.
- Christian Ponder
Good offensive fit and talented player. Ignore those that say he was a reach, pick him to pick up yards and TDs with his weapons.
- Blaine Gabbert
Gabbert doesn’t have much to throw to and reminds me a bit of Alex Smith, so I am shying away.
- Cam Newton
Huge upside for Cam, but he isn’t very polished. Scared this is a bust in the making.
- Colin Kaepernick
Harbaugh has developed mobile QBs before (Josh Johnson). Reward could be big with Kaepernick under his tutelage.
- Andy Dalton
Good system fit, but weak armed player who is fairly inaccurate. Won’t develop into a starter.
- Ryan Mallett
Big armed, talented player, but will he ever start? High risk, low reward.
- Ricky Stanzi
Could be developed into a starter in KC if Cassel doesn’t work out. Handcuff for now.
- TJ Yates
A poor man’s Matt Schaub to back him up. Schaub has had injuries in the past, worth a stash.
- Nate Enderle
A very poor man’s Jay Cutler. Inconsistent, but could string together a few games.
- Greg McElroy
More a 3rd QB than a back-up. Not much upside.
- Tyrod Taylor
Doesn’t quite have the tools to be a QB
UDFAs to watch for:
- Josh Portis
- Pat Devlin
- Jeff Van Camp
- Mark Ingram
Great vision and explosion, should get the primary role. Target with #1 picks.
- Mikel Leshoure
Big back who can catch, can be the #1 guy. At the very least the Thomas Jones to Best’s Jamaal Charles.
- Ryan Williams
Extraordinarly talented, #1 back potential. Should take the job from Beanie Wells and Hightower immediately.
- Daniel Thomas
Big, talented runner. Can he stay healthy? Will be the bell cow, but too risky for me
- Kendall Hunter
A tad slower Ray Rice type. Backing up an injury prone Frank Gore could pave the way for Kendall Hunter to take a starting job and not give it away. Target him.
- Roy Helu
Situation and talent meet. Roy Helu is heavily underrated as a runner and in a PERFECT system fit. If O-line develops, he could be a top 10 fantasy back one day.
- Taiwan Jones
Most explosive player in the draft. Brian Westbrook esque. If McFadden goes down, expect big big games.
- Jordan Todman
Drafted too late. With Sproles out of town and Mathews being injury prone, this talented back could tout the rock a bit.
- Jacquizz Rodgers
Good situation, but he has taken a lot of beatings. Rodgers was very productive though and fits well in Atlanta.
- Shane Vereen
Kevin Faulk type of role for the Patriots, though not even as quick.
- Dion Lewis
Great fit for Andy Reid and has some excellent vision. Could split with McCoy down the line.
- Delone Carter
Big back who plays small. A different type of runner for his system, but has had some big games, tough to bring down.
- DeMarco Murray
Very talented pass catcher, but not much more. Also in a black hole in Dallas, doesn’t make for a good fantasy bet.
- Alex Green
Straight line player who was productive, but not overly talented. Good situation though, but let someone else gamble.
- Stevan Ridley
Bigger back for Sammy Morris role. Overdrafted, a one trick pony, could produce TDs.
- Jamie Harper
Big and slow is not a good combination. Compliments Chris Johnson well, but I wonder if he can even win the #2 job.
- Johnny White
A poor man’s version of CJ Spiller won’t see playing time over him and FJax.
- Da’Rel Scott
Talented, fast runner with high character. Should take #3 job with some higher potential down the line. Good late round steal.
- Evan Royster
Good situation, but terrible player. Pass on him.
- Allen Bradford
Great blend of size and speed, but not very productive. 1-2 punch with Blount?
- Bilal Powell
Not overly talented, over drafted, can he even make the roster?
- Owen Marecic
- Baron Batch
- Stanley Havili
- Anthony Sherman
- Shaun Chapas
- Jay Finley
UDFAs to watch for:
- Derrick Locke
- Mario Fannin
- Graig Cooper
- Darren Evans
- Donal Buckram
- Noel Devine
- Damien Berry
- John Clay
- AJ Green
Hall of fame potential, no matter who the QB is. Next Larry Fitzgerald.
- Julio Jones
Hall of Fame potential, big upside, but a #2. Good bet to produce WR2 or Wr3 numbers consistently.
- Leonard Hankerson
Good situation, underdrafted, could steal the #1 spot and be a spot starter for you as a rookie. Qb situation improves? Slam dunk.
- Torrey Smith
Fast, athletic, big player. Good fit as down the field threat. Not much in PPR.
- Greg Little
Very talented, but still raw. Can take #1 spot as a rookie however and outperform draft position.
- Titus Young
Great vertical threat. May not catch a lot of passes, but when he does, he will make it count. Next Mike Wallace?
- Jonathan Baldwin
Great situation, but is he ready to step up? Effort concerns worry me, but one place he can succeed is KC.
- Jerrel Jernigan
Jack of all trades, should play in slot immediately and add to return game.
- Randall Cobb
Buried on depth chart, but eventual replacement for Driver makes him a nice dynasty play.
- Edmond Gates
Big upside next to Marshall, could be a starter by year’s end. Target him in drafts.
- Vincent Brown
Good PPR target in an offense that needs slot help. Won’t get in end zone much though.
- Tandon Doss
Eventual Derrick Mason replacement. Big, slot WR with work to do.
- Niles Paul
Good situation, high upside, but he is pretty raw. Maybe more that we saw from Devin Thomas.
- Denarius Moore
Underdrafted, big vertical threat. Good situation if DHB doesn’t workout.
- Greg Salas
Slot guy, can he get his in this offense? Not many TDs going his way, could be valuable with PPR.
- Kris Durham
Underrated big, fast target. Good situation, could develop into #2 guy. Don’t sleep on him.
- Ronald Johnson
Solid player who also returns. Should end up in the slot.
- Dwayne Harris
Dynamic player who can find his place into Dallas’ lineup before long.
- Cecil Shorts
Developmental. May not be as good as he is billed.
- Austin Pettis
Mere redzone threat who will be buried on the depth chart.
- Stephen Burton
Underrated player. If he makes the Vikings, keep an eye out.
- Jeremy Kerley
- Aldrick Robinson
- Ryan Whalen
- Kealoha Pilares
- DeMarco Sampson
- David Ausberry
- Scotty McKnight
UDFAs to watch for:
- Dane Sanzenbacher
- Darvin Adams
- Tori Gurley
- Terrence Toliver
- Armon Binns
- DeAndre Brown
- Jeff Maehl
- Kyle Rudolph
John Carlson type, should beat Shiancoe, but will still lose catches to him. Not a fantasy starter.
- Lance Kendricks
Talented, should be the #1 guy. Lots of balls to go around without a dynamic option on the Rams, not sure he is a Top 12 NFL TE ever.
- Luke Stocker
Winslow will take most catches, but Stocker could be the man in a few years. More of a blocker.
- Julius Thomas
Longterm option for deep leagues. GREAT developmental guy who could become the next Jimmy Graham when developed. Huge upside, may take awhile.
- Jordan Cameron
Similar to Thomas. Would be a longshot, but if he develops, could be a Top 7 fantasy TE.
- DJ Williams
Very talented player, but upside could be slightly limited. Don’t love fit either, not worth a pick.
- Rob Housler
Good situation, talented, but still really raw. Should develop into something, but not willing to risk it in dynasty.
- Charles Clay
Polished, good after the catch, may be a decent bye week fill-in downt he line.
- Virgil Green
High upside, but I don’t love the downside. Poor man’s Jared Cook, that’s not good.
- Daniel Hardy
- Richard Gordon
- Ryan Taylor
- Lee Smith
UDFAs to Watch:
- Schuylar Oordt
- Weslye Saunders