5 NFL Rookies That Landed in the Best Possible Spots for Fantasy Football
The Situation is crucial.
No, I'm not talking about the guy from Jersey Shore.
I'm talking about the environment that a rookie is drafted into.
Or players can land in a great NFL Situation but a dubious Fantasy Football Situation. Think David Wilson going to the Super Bowl Champion NY Giants to fill in the void left by the departed Brandon Jacobs and being mentored by Ahmad Bradshaw. Great NFL Situation, but a RB committee is a bad Fantasy Football Situation.
So of all the rookies drafted, which ones are in the best possible Situations for fantasy football?
QB Andrew Luck, IND
Prior to the draft, I said Luck would be someone to watch if he had weapons, but leading up to the draft, the offensive talent cupboard was empty.
The Colts obviously felt the same way.
Aside from Luck, the team's first three picks were offensive-minded: tight end and former collegiate teammate Coby Fleener, tight end Dwayne Allen and speedy receiver T.Y. Hilton.
Pairing those three talents with receivers Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie gives Luck a mind-boggling five solid receiving options, including multiple vertical threats.
Though the running game is still a potential liability, Luck is loaded when it's time to throw the ball. And with his elite football IQ, he is in position to beat the vaunted "rookie quarterback curse."
RB Doug Martin, TB
You heard it here first: Martin has the potential to be a bigger fantasy football star this season than Trent Richardson.
The Buccaneers have a pair of solid receivers (Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams) for veteran quarterback Josh Freeman.
A serious passing offense will keep defenses honest for Martin in the running game.
They added perennial All-Pro guard Carl Nicks to an already strong offensive line, which will be a boon to Martin.
And Martin has the talent to be a superstar. After an impressive 2011 season, he shined all week during Senior Bowl practices, leaving guys like first-round defensive end Shea McClellin grasping at air. Martin continued to stand out in the game itself.
Martin could not have landed in a better Situation. Fantasy football owners: You have been warned.
RB Chris Rainey, PIT
Rainey may be a fifth-round pick, but don't overlook his Situation.
With incumbent Rashard Mendenhall certain to start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, the door is wide open for someone to step in and take the starting RB job.
Isaac Redman is projected by many to be the man, but he's an undrafted running back, so he's no lock himself.
Rainey is a track athlete with burst and explosiveness. But he's not just fast. He has receiving skills, which adds a different dimension from Mendenhall.
After a solid 2011 season, Rainey continued to demonstrate his playmaking ability with a strong Senior Bowl week.
The Steelers could be a great Situation for Rainey.
WR Joe Adams, CAR
Of all the highly touted receivers in this year's draft class, most landed in Situations with some question marks.
Will quarterback Blaine Gabbert be able to get Justin Blackmon the ball?
Can Kevin Kolb step up now that Michael Floyd is opposite Larry Fitzgerald?
Is Matt Hasselbeck good enough at this stage of his career to take advantage of having Kendall Wright opposite Kenny Britt?
Ditto in Cincinnati between A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu, Marvin Jones and Orson Charles.
But there are no such questions in Carolina, the Situation where Joe Adams landed.
Quarterback Cam Newton is a very good passer who will only get better.
And the Panthers needed a quality receiver opposite Steve Smith. Adams steps in and is unquestionably the team's second-best receiver.
Following a productive senior season, Adams had a solid Senior Bowl week.
With his skills in this Situation, he is primed to be the 2012 version of Julio Jones, who finished 2011 as the 11th-best fantasy WR (10.6 FPPG).
TE Coby Fleener
It's not likely that Fleener will have a monster year in his rookie season.
As I've pointed out in a prior article, rookie tight ends do not light up the league. Not even Rob Gronkowski.
But of all the possible Situations that Fleener could have been drafted into, the Colts was the best possible spot for fantasy football.
Fleener and quarterback Andrew Luck share a chemistry from their collegiate playing days. That kind of relationship is expected to manifest itself on game days this season, easing his rookie transition.
By 2013, Fleener could even be the No. 1 passing option for the Colts with Reggie Wayne aging, Austin Collie serving best in a complementary role and Dwayne Allen not being a vertical threat.
Thanks to the Colts' Situation, Fleener should be an acceptable TE2 in fantasy football this year but be a star starting in 2013.