Aug 21 2007 11:45AMBy JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
RealTime Fantasy Sports
We don't advocate going crazy with rookies come draft day. For every Marques Colston, there are 10 Mike Williams. It isn't a great strategy to load up on rookies even though it might be the exciting and sexy thing to do. This is normally a recipe for disaster.
But we don't have a problem with getting a rookie or two on your roster. There are always a few rookies that make a big impact. The key is to identify the rookies that seem setup to produce from day one. Below is our list of the rookies that we see producing for fantasy teams this season.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings. Yes, we know Chester Taylor is the starter in Minnesota. But Peterson is going to get his work. This guy is a beast with big-play ability. He will be a star in this league and the Vikings aren't going to keep him on the bench. He might not finish with the best stats of a rookie back this season, but we like his chances to produce enough to be a solid No. 2 or 3 back. Peterson is a special talent.
Brady Quinn, QB, Browns. Quinn made his competition to start look bad in his first preseason action. He outperformed Derek Anderson and Charlie Frye. And this was after getting little work in training camp. You would have to think Quinn will be starting at some point this season - probably sooner than later. The Browns don't have a ton of talent offensively, but Quinn could be worth a few spot starts once he claims the No. 1 quarterback role with the Browns.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Bills. Lynch projects to be the highest scoring rookie fantasy back this season. He will start from day one and get the majority of the carries in an emerging Bills offense. Plus, he is a viable receiver, which will help his stats even more. He has a lot of total yardage potential and should near double-digit touchdowns. Lynch is an exciting, young talent, making him a good choice as a No. 2 fantasy back as early as this season.
Calvin Johnson, WR, Lions. Johnson was arguably the most talented player in the draft. And he moves into a starting role in a Lions offense that should throw the ball plenty. He has 1,000-yard potential as a rookie and could score a good number of touchdowns. Johnson might get overvalued in some leagues, though. We wouldn't count on gaudy numbers as a rookie, but good enough for him to be a great No. 2 receiver.
Brandon Jackson, RB, Packers. Jackson is playing better and better as he continues to run with the first team as Vernand Morency continues to miss time because of injury. Jackson is playing his way into a starting role. And even if Morency returns, Jackson projects to get plenty of chances in the Packers offense. Jackson isn't a guy we would count on as a No. 2 back, but take him as your third back and hope for the best. He has some upside in a Packers offense that seems to be getting better.
Anthony Gonzalez, WR, Colts. We think Gonzalez could be the most productive rookie wideout. He moves into the No. 3 receiver role with the Colts. And he is having a terrific camp and seems to be gaining a rapport with Peyton Manning. Remember, Brandon Stokley was a fantasy force for a few seasons in this same role. The Colts passing attack should be explosive, giving all three of their top receivers plenty of opportunities from week to week.
Greg Olsen, TE, Bears. Olsen is a big-time talent at the tight end position. The Bears already have Desmond Clark, who played well last season, but his pass catching skills aren't near as good as Olsen. The Bears will split Olsen out wide to use his speed but also run him down the middle of the field to stretch defenses. Olsen plays like a receiver at the tight end position. He won't be an every week starter to begin the season, but he could end the season as a legit No. 1 fantasy tight end. The Bears will find ways to utilize this talent in their offense.
Jacoby Jones, WR, Texans. Jones is turning heads in camp. He comes from a little known college (Lane), but is playing like a big-time talent. He just makes plays and does a great job of finding the open spaces. He is pushing to start and even if he doesn't start, he'll at least be the No. 3 receiver, getting plenty of action in the Texans offense. He could be this year's Marques Colston. Don't reach too soon for Jones, but take a flyer on him late in your draft and hope his progress and strong play continues.
Tony Hunt, RB, Eagles. Hunt is not running the ball too well, but doing good things in short-yardage situations. He could end up getting the goal-line work for the Eagles, which is a something fantasy owners need to know. We don't expect his yardage numbers to be very good, but he could surprise with his touchdown totals.
James Jones, WR, Packers. Like the other Jones, James Jones is having a strong training camp and preseason. He is pushing Greg Jennings for the other starting spot at receiver. Jones has been the best receiver in Packers camp and seems to have formed a good chemistry with Brett Favre, who is giving Jones rave reviews. The Packers claim Jennings isn't in danger of losing his starting spot, but we don't buy it. If Jones continues his strong play, the Packers will get him on the field more often. For now, he is another good late-round flyer come draft day. The potential is there for Jones to be something special as soon as this season, though.
If you have any questions or comments, please email Jeff Paur at email@example.com