With the fantasy football draft season upon us and multiple rounds of pre-season games in the books, here are the relevant rookies at the core skill offensive positions and their projected draft round in standard 12-team fantasy football leagues. It is very hit-and-miss to draft Rookies so do not reach and grab them too high in your draft or you could be looking up at the rest of the league quickly. The following is the consensus review from MFS for this year's crop of NFL rookies.
1. Johnny Manziel (Cleveland): The Manziel hype machine is far busier than Tebowmania could ever hope to muster and it is not going to quiet any time soon. It is too early to say when he will assume the starting QB position but it is hard not to envision it happening sooner than later. I would like his potential numbers much better if Josh Gordon had an ounce of common sense. I can easily see Johnny Football going off the board in the 13th round.
2. Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota): Another guaranteed starter this year, most likely early in the season as well. Bridgewater has better overall QB skills, but, with a better running game to count on, his fantasy stats won't be as good as Manziel's. With so many good NFL QBs to choose from, he is a speculative add, at best, with the last non-kicker pick of your draft.
3. Blake Bortles (Jacksonville): Bortles is the obvious heir apparent in Jacksonville while Chad Henne keeps the seat warm. I expect the season to be lost soon and Bortles to be the starting QB, but this team is a mess and I expect Bortles to be able to do very little to make much out of this season. He has the talent to succeed in a few years if the team can build around him. He is a waiver wire add late in the season to carry over to next year if your Keeper list is long enough.
4. David Carr (Oakland): Carr is in a similar situation to Bortles where he will be expected to learn from the bench until the season is lost and he gets some playing time. However, Oakland is very deep at running back so he will be a simple game-manager in the limited time he sees this year. Undraftable.
5. Tom Savage (Houston): Houston is going to be very unpredictable this year. They have the defense to help them compete for the wildcard, they have Arian Foster and hopes that he will stay healthy and they have two great wide receivers, one that needs to see his team make a serious playoff run to be happy. When Ryan Fitzpatrick gets hurt or fails, will the Texans turn to Case Keenum before Savage is the question. The only way you grab Savage is if your roster is really deep since most QBs could put up very good numbers under center in Houston.
1. Bishop Sankey (Tennessee): Sankey is definitely the future for the Titans and he has a chance to start that future with the team's first offensive snap of the season. Listed number 1 back, Shonn Green, is coming off some unimpressive years in New York as well as a knee injury. Sankey put up great numbers at the University of Washington (1870yds and 20 TDs last season) and should be able to handle an NFL workload at 5'9" and 209lbs. I would add him as a late 3rd round or early 4th round pick.
2. Terrance West (Cleveland): West was mentioned as our Sleeper RB of 2014. The Browns signed Ben Tate to be their feature back and added West in the draft as a complement until he was ready to take over the team, not to mention that Ben Tate has had a history of injuries. While West didn't come from a high-profile college (Towson), he was extremely prolific; 413 carries for 2509 yards and 41 TDs last year! There is no doubt he is your handcuff for Tate, but expect him to be involved in the offense right away, especially since he has impressed the coaching staff with good hands out of the backfield. I would expect to grab him in the 8th round.
3. Jeremy Hill (Cincinnati): Geovani Bernard is the Bengals ultra-back, but he isn't built for being a full-time RB1 that takes the rock 250 times per year. The Bengals still have BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but he is proving to be on the downside of his career so expect Hill to gain more time as the goal-line and ground-and-pound type of running back, which suits his 6'1" 233lb body just fine. I would expect him to go off the board in the 9th round.
4. Carlos Hyde (San Francisco): Hyde was drafted as the successor to Frank Gore and expects to work his way towards that this season. Gore is wearing down after playing every game for the past three seasons and is on the negative side of 30. Hyde was penciled in behind Kendall Hunter, but Hunter got hurt in camp and is out for the season. Also, Marcus Lattimore is not proving ready for much of a workload quite yet so Hyde will begin getting work right away and will look at 10 carries per game to help keep Gore somewhat fresh throughout the season. He is one injury away for becoming a 25-carry per game RB. I would expect him to go off the board in the 10th round.
5. Devonta Freeman (Atlanta): The situation for Freeman is very similar to Hyde's. Steven Jackson has been a bulldozer throughout his NFL career, but those big hits take their toll. Like Gore, Jackson is also 31 years old. He is currently the number 1 RB, but for how long? Freeman is the obvious handcuff to SJax and should be available until the 10th round as well.
1. Sammy Watkins (Buffalo): Sammy is the best pure receiver drafted this year. There is not a flaw in his game; he catches everything thrown his way, whether he should be able to or not, he has breakaway speed, he can go over the middle, and he has great moves. The downside, in my opinion, is that he plays for Buffalo and has E.J. Manuel throwing to him. Manual has talent, but he is a long way from being consistent enough to take advantage of Watkins' talent. I expect him to go in the 6th round, but it is too high for me unless I am in a , even if Cumberland gets hurt.