NFL rookies hold a special place in my heart.
But up until just the past two or three seasons, including rookies as part of a fantasy draft strategy was considered risky. Depending on the size and makeup of your league, stashing away a rookie or two was often a high-risk/low-reward move.
But in recent years the trend has been for NFL teams to accelerate their rookies involvement in their offense's game plan. What that means for fantasy-football aficionados is that while first-year players are still a calculated risk, including them in your draft strategy makes far more sense than it once did.
However, we are in Week 4 of the NFL season, so drafts are over and done. So, I guess there's no shot at landing a star rookie or two, right? Wrong. Many owners shy away from rookies, preferring to line their rosters with solid, albeit unspectacular veterans.
It's all about the safe move.
That means if you scour your league's waiver wire, there could be a rookie or two sitting out there, poised for a big move, and that guy might as well be on your team when he emerges as an impact player. Or, if they are already on a roster, these guys might be trades you can really undersell and get a steal.
With that being said, here are my four rookies to pick up this week.
Stats provided by Yahoo Fantasy Football.
Mike Glennon, Quarterback Tampa Bay Buccaneers (three percent owned)
Glennon was named the starter this week by Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano to replace veteran Josh Freeman who has been benched. This development was confirmed by NFL.com correspondent Ian Rappaport on Twitter.
The #Bucs have, in fact, made a move. They have decided this morning to go with QB Mike Glennon over Josh Freeman, source confirms.—Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 25, 2013
This move was certainly a shock, and...no...the expectation isn't for Glennon to put up Peyton Manning numbers. But, if your league is large, where quarterbacks are at a premium, or if you had bought in with Freeman enough to draft him, you should consider his replacement.
I expect the Buccaneers during their upcoming bye week to implement some changes to their route concepts that should allow Glennon to be a serviceable fantasy backup.
Maybe don't go get him this week, but keep a close eye on his development in the next few weeks.
Eddie Lacy, Running Back Green Bay Packers (90 percent owned)
With the rookie back on the mend from a concussion, and most teams strapped for running backs, Lacy is the odd man out for many rosters. Plenty of managers cut ties with the rookie back in favor of his teammate Jonathan Franklin.
Lacy is a little harder to find, but if you happen to have him available, you should go get him. And if another manager owns Lacy, you might be able to really buy low in a trade.
In the short run, having Franklin makes sense, but if reports are true that Lacy is back after the bye week, now is the time to get him. As good as Franklin is, a healthy Lacy is a much better option for what the Packers need, and accordingly he will work his way right back into the rotation.
Here's what CBS Fantasy Football tweeted about Lacy's return:
Le'Veon Bell, Running Back Pittsburgh Steelers (68 percent owned)
If Bell is sitting out on waivers in your league, go ahead and get him, because it is only a matter of time before he is the primary back for the Steelers.
As much of a pleasant surprise Felix Jones has been, he was brought in only because of Bell's injury.
And Pittsburgh's only viable backup, Jonathan Dwyer, wasn't even a player the Steelers wanted until injuries forced their hand to bring him back. Make no mistake, when Bell is healthy, that job is his. The Steelers desperately want to run the football, and Bell is far and away the most talented back on the roster. His health is really the only question mark at this point.
Kenbrell Thompkins, Wide Receiver New England Patriots (30 percent started)
All the talk about the Patriots' wide receivers has centered on the explosion of Julian Edelman and the injury to Danny Amendola. In the meantime, the rookie Thompkins is slowly making his way into that WR2/WR3 zone with the Patriots.
If the confidence quarterback Tom Brady appears to have in him continues to grow, Thompkins could figure heavily into the Patriots' passing game going forward. If someone already owns him in your league, make the sell that the return of tight end Rob Gronkowski will drive down his value and buy low.
So run, don't walk to your waiver wire and snatch up any of these rookies you can find. You won't regret it.