Fantasy Football: Drafting the right rooks often pays dividends
Every year, there is at least one breakout rookie who isn’t drafted until rounds four through 10 of your fantasy draft. This proved especially true last year, with players such as Doug Martin (RB, Bucs) and Alfred Morris (RB, Redskins), among many others, displaying immense value late in drafts.
But, don’t forget that while most rookies looked good last year, it was only two years ago that everyone wanted to get their hands on disappointments like Mark Ingram (RB, Saints) and Daniel Thomas (RB, Dolphins). And even last year, we saw talented RBs such as David Wilson (RB, Giants) and Ronnie Hillman (RB, Broncos) get held back by their respective coaching staffs due to fumbling or pass protection concerns.
This year’s rookie class is unlikely to live up to the hype of last year’s class. However, the best bet to look like Martin probably is Eddie Lacy (RB, Packers). With fellow rookie Johnathan Franklin (RB, Packers) proving to be a camp disappointment, Lacy seems primed for a lot of carries in the high-octane Green Bay offense. Meanwhile, a combo of undrafted rookies in New England, Kenbrell Thompkins (WR) and Zach Sudfeld (TE), may prove Morris-like in their ability to come out of nowhere to put up big numbers, thanks to a little help from their quarterback, Tom Brady.
On the flip side, consider avoiding the heavily hyped Montee Ball (RB, Broncos). His head coach, John Fox, has always shown a distrust in rookies, especially those like Ball who struggle in pass protection. And nothing slows down a rookie like a preseason injury, so be wary of Le’Veon Bell (RB, Steelers) unless he slips to the later rounds of your draft.
Whatever you do, remember to do your homework on the rookies you are targeting. While it is never easy to pick the right one, a championship may await the owner who does the best job of scouting young talent.
Alex Case is amNY’s fantasy football columnist.