Fantasy Football: 5 Rookies to Watch in Week 1
The opening weekend of the NFL season is finally upon us. For fantasy football owners, that means a key Week 1 matchup is under way as each player tries to get off to a winning start in their fantasy league.
One of the biggest keys in fantasy football is to have a capable rookie or two to help fill in for some of your veteran players at different points of the season or to have a great rookie on your team who can take over a starting position.
The first week of the NFL season will feature rookies making the first start of what they hope is a long and productive NFL career. Here are the top five rookies to watch on the opening week of the NFL season, to see if they can help your fantasy football team in the long run.
5. Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
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Giovani Bernard is probably not a guy you would want to start this week, given the fact that the Bengals are taking on a great defense in the Chicago Bears. Still, it is important to track the progress of a young player like Bernard this season.
The Bengals lack big-play capability in their running game. Because of this, Bernard could get a lot of playing time as the season unfolds. The problem with Bernard is that in goal-line situations, the Bengals will most likely hand off the ball to BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Everyone should keep an eye on Bernard this week. You may want to make a trade for him if you see something you like. If he already is on your team, you may want to keep him stashed on your bench for a few weeks before he starts to get some major production.
4. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
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DeAndre Hopkins suffered a mild concussion during the preseason but is ready to go for Houston's opener against San Diego on Monday night. He is an intriguing option at wide receiver, but due to his concussion, it may take him a week or two to be productive enough to be a starter on your fantasy team.
Hopkins should get a ton of opportunities as the No. 2 receiver behind Andre Johnson. With teams so focused on slowing down players like Johnson and running back Arian Foster, Hopkins could go a little unnoticed. He will soon show that his speed and playmaking ability make him a dangerous target for the Texans offense and a viable option as a wide receiver for your fantasy team.
3. Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers
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Eddie Lacy is one of the most interesting fantasy players to follow this season. The Packers have such a potent passing attack that many owners stayed away from Lacy in their drafts. Other owners saw a player who could thrive in such a system and decided to jump at him.
Do not read to much into what Lacy does in Week 1, unless he gives a dazzling performance against the San Francisco 49ers, which arguable have the best run-stopping defense in the NFL.
Facing the 49ers is a tough task for any running back, let alone a player in his first pro game. Lacy will get his chances against San Francisco, but do not expect a whole lot from him in his first game. Still, we should all expect a very good first season in Green Bay for Eddie Lacy.
2. EJ Manuel, QB, Buffalo Bills
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Hopefully, your fantasy team does not have EJ Manuel listed as the starting quarterback in Week 1. If he is, you need to change that as quickly as possible, because the Bills rookie is not likely to have a pretty debut against New England.
Most likely, Manuel is a backup in your league or probably even a free agent still. If he is a free agent, you will want to keep tabs on him. Manuel possesses a great skill set, and his ability to break contain and run the football if needed makes him a viable fantasy option down the road this year.
If you feel shaky about your backup quarterback, or if someone on your team goes down with an injury, do not be afraid to pick him up off the waiver wire. He may help your team out down the road this season.
1. Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams
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Coach Jeff Fisher and the St. Louis Rams will turn Tavon Austin loose against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1.
Austin has it all: good hands, great vision and tons of speed. The Rams will look to get the ball in Austin's hands whenever possible and just let him make plays with his outstanding attributes.
If you drafted Austin, congratulations! He is a great option at the flex position right now as he learns the NFL game over these first few weeks, but by the end of the season, he will be considered one of the elite playmakers in the NFL.
If you did not get Austin in your draft, then I am sorry for you. You may want to close your eyes when the Rams throw him the ball.