Fantasy Football: Highlighting Most Pleasant Surprises from Rookie Class

Richard Santamaria@RiSantamariaCorrespondent IIDecember 30, 2013

Fantasy Football: Highlighting Most Pleasant Surprises from Rookie Class

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    Let's face it, from a fantasy perspective, the 2013 NFL rookie class is not getting anyone excited.  Starting from the top, the quarterback position offered very little fantasy value with players such as E.J. Manuel, Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Mike Glennon, Ryan Nassib, Tyler Wilson and Jeff Tuel.

    There were fantasy busts such as Montee Ball, Tavon Austin and Tyler Eifert, players who clearly provided less than their fantasy owners estimated.

    While we are only talking about a handful of players, there were some pleasant surprises from within the 2013 rookie class.  Let's take a closer look at these potential fantasy stars.

    *All fantasy breakdown stats courtesy of CBS Sports.

Eddie Lacy

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    Eddie Lacy has vaulted his fantasy status into the second round.  Lacy did not become the undisputed starting running back for the Green Bay Packers until Week 5 but still managed to rush for 1178 yards and 11 touchdowns in 15 regular season games.  The Alabama standout also managed to average 4.1 yards per carry.

    In the fantasy playoffs, Weeks 14-16, Lacy produced steady numbers.

Keenan Allen

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    Keenan Allen eclipsed the 1000-yard mark during the regular season and added eight touchdowns in 15 games.  The California alumnus surpassed the century mark in receiving yards, five times in the 2013 regular season.

    In 2013, Allen proved that he could be a No. 1 receiver, becoming Philip Rivers' favorite target by Week 4.  Allen scored five touchdowns during the fantasy playoffs, Weeks 14-16.

Giovani Bernard

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    Despite sharing the offensive backfield with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Giovani Bernard managed to gain 1209 yards from scrimmage with five rushing touchdowns and three receiving touchdowns.

    In point-per-reception leagues, Bernard's 56 receptions were a huge bonus. Bernard showed quickness and elusiveness but can he handle a larger workload in 2014?

Zac Stacy

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    In the St. Louis Rams' final 12 games, Zac Stacy rushed for 969 yards and seven touchdowns. This was no easy task, considering Sam Bradford only played in three of those games.

    In Vanderbilt, Stacy was a bull and he has shown that he could be a workhorse at the professional level as well, averaging 3.9 yards per carry on 250 rushing attempts.

    The beauty of Stacy's run was that he was a late-round flier in most leagues but this will not be the case in 2014.

Le'Veon Bell

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    Le'Veon Bell had 1259 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns in only 13 games. While Bell's average of 3.5 yards per carry is a cause for concern (see Trent Richardson's rookie season), the Michigan State product seemed to pick up steam as he healed from a preseason foot injury.

    Bell has added value in point-per-reception leagues, hauling 45 receptions for 399 yards.  

    If Pittsburgh's coaching staff remains intact, expect their opponents to see a healthy dose of Bell in 2014.