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Fantasy Football 2012: Trent Richardson and 10 Rookies Who Will Be Studs

Sammy SucuSenior Analyst IApril 23, 2012

Fantasy Football 2012: Trent Richardson and 10 Rookies Who Will Be Studs

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    The 2012 NFL draft will produce some great offensive players who will be sure to put up huge numbers for fantasy football owners.

    The NFL draft is only a couple of days away and fantasy football managers will keep a big eye on the new talent that will enter their fantasy draft pools.

    This list of talent is a group of studs that will likely help out fantasy owners next season. Rookies are very important in fantasy. If you have a good rookie on your team that you drafted late, you will definitely be in a much better position than someone who did not.

    If you are a fantasy football manager who plays in a league of less than eight, this list may not be for you because rookies won't matter much. However, if you are in a 10 or 12 team league, this list oozes importance. 

    Let's take a look at the 10 rookies who will shine in the fantasy football light in 2012. 

10. Stephen Hill (New York Jets)

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    Height: 6'5"

    Weight: 206 lbs

    Position: Wide Receiver 

    School: Georgia Tech

    2012 NFL Draft Projection: late Round 1—early Round 2

    Stephen Hill is the biggest wild card in the 2012 NFL draft. Many scouts believe Hill has the talent and body to become an elite receiver in the league. However, he did not show off much of those talents in college. If you look at his stats at Georgia Tech, nothing stands out much.

    It's not because Hill was not good, but his team liked to run the ball a lot more than pass. With the New York Jets, Hill will produce very well in the coming years, however, it won't be this year. 

    Mark Sanchez is a very inconsistent quarterback who has a hard time finding his receivers and Hill is not really known for his route-running ability. The only thing that benefits Hill here is the fact that he will compliment Santonio Holmes. 

    Holmes and Hill will be a good combo for years to come, but with Sanchez at the helm, it's going to be tough for both of them to consistently produce. 

    His size, hands and quickness will be enough for fantasy owners to take a look at him in the later part of the draft. He may put up similar numbers to what Plaxico Burress put up for the Jets last season, if that's the case, you may only want him in deeper leagues. 

    2012 Projections: 50 catches, 625 yards, 5 touchdowns 

9. Doug Martin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

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    Height: 5'9"

    Weight: 215 lbs

    Position: Running Back

    School: Boise State

    2012 NFL Draft Position: late Round 1—early Round 2

    Doug Martin is the closest thing to a Darren Sproles from this draft class. Martin has great speed [ran a 4.47 at the combine and great strength (28 reps on the bench press)]. 

    Martin ran for 4.9 yards per carry in his last season at Boise State. He ran for 1,299 yards and 16 touchdowns. Not only is he a deadly runner, but Martin is a great kick-returner. In 2011, he averaged 33.8 yards per kick return. 

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers traded up to select Martin, and don't expect him to dissapoint. WIth that offensive line, a mobile quarterback, and weapons at the wide receiver position, Martin should excel in for Tampa Bay in the 2012 season. Martin will be a sure steal in every fantasy football draft. 

    2012 Projections:

    Rushing: 210 carries, 650 yards, 5 touchdowns

    Kick Return: 31.3 yards per return, 2 touchdowns

    Receiving: 350 yards, 2 touchdowns

8. Alshon Jeffery (Chicago Bears)

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    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 229 lbs

    Position: Wide Receiver 

    School: South Carolina

    2012 NFL Draft Position: late Round 1—early Round 2

    Alshon Jeffery is going to be one of the biggest steals in the 2012 NFL draft

    Jeffery had an incredible season in 2010 by catching 88 passes for 1517 yards and nine touchdowns. However, in the 2011 season, he only caught 46 passes for 763 yards and six touchdowns. 

    Jeffery is a large receiver who has decent speed with great hands. With the Chicago Bears, on the opposite side of Brandon Marshall, Jeffery could produce similar numbers to what Plaxico Burress produced throughout his career. As long as Jeffery stays out of trouble and keeps his head in the game, he will be a gem for any fantasy owner. 

    Jay Cutler is going to have a lot of fun this year. 

    2012 Projections: 45 catches, 775 yards, 9 touchdowns 

7. Justin Blackmon (Jacksonville Jaguars)

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    Height: 6'1"

    Weight: 215 lbs

    Position: Wide Receiver 

    School: Oklahoma State

    2012 NFL Draft Projection: early Round 1

    Justin Blackmon will likely be the first receiver selected in the 2012 NFL draft. Blackmon helped his stock a lot against Stanford at the Fiesta Bowl by catching three touchdowns. 

    Blackmon has decent speed and incredible hands. He is a great route-runner and he doesn't have a problem with dropping passes. Some scouts have said he is kind of like Anquan Boldin, which is not a bad thing if he is more the Arizona Cardinals version.

    Blackmon has been drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars and will automatically be their No. 1 option. He won't have a very productive year because Blaine Gabbert is not exactly the cream of the crop when it comes to quarterbacks. 

    2012 Projections: 59 catches, 800 yards, 7 touchdowns

6. Kendall Wright (Tennessee Titans)

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    Height: 5'10"

    Weight: 190 lbs

    Position: Wide Receiver 

    School: Baylor

    2012 NFL Draft Projection: mid-to-late Round 1

    Kendall Wright has all the right tools and skills to come in and shine in his rookie season. 

    Wright will likely be drafted in the later parts of the first round. With the Tennessee Titans, Wright will produce very well. If Kenny Britt stays healthy, he and Wright will be one incredible one-two punch for second-year quarterback Jake Locker or last years starter, Matt Hasselbeck

    He will not light up the stat sheet in his rookie season the way Randy Moss or Anquan Boldin did, but he may put up Julio Jones-type numbers in his rookie season as a Titan.

    Wright is a sleeper in every fantasy football draft, and if you are lucky to have him, you may enjoy a championship this year. 

    2012 Projections: 60 catches, 805 yards, 5 touchdowns

5. Coby Fleener (Indianapolis Colts)

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    Height: 6'6"

    Weight: 244 lbs

    Position: Tight End

    School: Stanford

    2012 NFL Draft Projection: late Round 1—early Round 2

    Coby Fleener is the best tight end prospect in this draft. Considering tight ends have become deadly in both the NFL and the world of fantasy football, it would be a smart idea to pick up a strong tight end if you want to win your fantasy football championships.

    Fleener has the talent, size, strength and great hands. All these tools will make him a great tight end in the NFL and a big-time name in fantasy football leagues. 

    The NFL has been producing a lot of good rookie tight ends in the past couple of seasons like Kyle Rudolph, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Vernon Davis, etc. Fleener just might be that next guy, and if he is, he will make a huge difference for any fantasy football manager that has the privilege to own his services. 

    With the Indianapolis Colts, Fleener will produce very well with Andrew Luck, his quarterback in college. Fleener is not a great blocker, but he is a great pass catcher. Expect him to get the bulk of the touchdowns and for him to be an incredible value pick for your fantasy football leagues.

    He won't get a lot of yards, but he will bring in a lot of touchdowns.

    2012 Projections: 45 catches, 575 yards, 10 touchdowns 

4. Michael Floyd (Arizona Cardinals)

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    Height: 6'3"

    Weight: 224 lbs

    Position:  Wide Receiver 

    School: Notre Dame

    2012 NFL Draft Projection: Round 1

    Michael Floyd is regarded as the second-best receiver in the draft by plenty of scouts. There is no denying that Floyd has elite wide receiver talent. 

    While at Notre Dame, Floyd shattered all the old receiving records. In those three seasons, Floyd had a total of 266 catches 3,645 yards and 36 touchdowns. These are big-time numbers, and if Floyd can produce like this in the NFL, you know fantasy owners will be pleased to have him.

    Floyd is going to put up great numbers in Arizona because he is going to be open a lot opposite Larry Fitzgerald. Floyd is going to have a better year than Blackmon. You would be crazy to draft Blackmon over Floyd in your fantasy football draft. 

    2012 Projections: 60 catches, 925 yards, 9 touchdowns

3. Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts)

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    Height: 6'4"

    Weight: 235 lbs

    Position: Quarterback

    School: Stanford

    2012 NFL Draft Projection: Round 1 (First Overall Pick)

    Andrew Luck is the real deal. Luck is the next big thing in the NFL, and if you are in a keeper league, you might want to draft him as early as possible.

    Luck won't put up huge numbers for the Indianapolis Colts in his first year, but he will put up enough to make any fantasy owner who has his services happy. He won't be as valuable as Robert Griffin III in fantasy leagues, but he will definitely be a better quarterback in the long run. 

    Luck will be a highly-coveted player in fantasy football for years to come. 

    2012 Projections: 

    Passing: 2,850 yards, 25 touchdowns, 14 INTs

    Rushing: 45 carries, 375 yards, 2 touchdowns 

     

2. Trent Richardson (Cleveland Browns)

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    Height: 5'11"

    Weight: 224 lbs

    Position: Running Back

    School: Alabama 

    2012 NFL Draft Projection: early Round 1

    Speaking of running backs who will produce well next season, enter Trent Richardson. 

    Everyone knows how great of a running back Richardson is. Plenty of scouts and analysts are usually not okay with teams drafting running backs so high in the NFL draft, but Richardson is different. 

    Like Adrian Peterson did in 2007, Richardson may make a name for himself early in the season and place himself in the conversation as a top-10 running back. 

    If Richardson can put up similar numbers to what AP did in 2007, fantasy owners who have him might be celebrating at the end of the year as champions. 

    Richardson will be great on the Cleveland Browns and put up similar numbers to what Peyton Hillis put up for the team in 2010. 

    2012 Projections: 300 carries, 1,350 yards, 10 touchdowns 

1. Robert Griffin III (Washington Redskins)

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    Height: 6'2"

    Weight: 220 lbs

    Position: Quarterback 

    School: Baylor

    2012 NFL Draft Projection: Round 1

    The Washington Redskins traded the farm to the St. Louis Rams for their second overall pick. It has become pretty obvious (over time) that the Redskins did this to secure a quarterback. Considering the Indianapolis Colts have already said they will select Andrew Luck, Griffin will end up with the Redskins with the second overall pick.

    The Redskins may not be very competitive next season because of a mix of a tough division and weak talent, but Griffin will light up the stat sheet. Griffin has a couple of great receivers at his disposal. Santana Moss has been very consistent throughout his career and will enjoy a lot of success with Griffin. 

    Washington also signed Pierre Garçon in the offseason, and he will be another great target for RG3 to throw to. 

    RG3 will light up the stat sheet the way Cam Newton did last year. The combination of his elite rushing and passing ability, and a better offense, Griffin may put up better numbers than Newton did in 2011. Fantasy owners know how great Newton was to their squads last season, and owners this year should expect similar production from RG3 this season. 

    2012 Projections:

    Throwing: 3,150 yards, 20 touchdowns, 13 INTs

    Rushing: 125 carries, 650 yards, 7 touchdowns

     

    Sammy Sucu is a Featured Columnist for the WWE. Sammy also writes for the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Lakers. You can follow him on Twitter.

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