Fantasy Football: 5 Rookies Who Landed in Perfect Spot for 2014 Dominance
Rookies are notoriously unreliable for fantasy football purposes, but there have been a number of exceptions to that rule in recent years.
There were a number of highly talented position players selected early in the 2014 NFL draft, and a few of them should be put in great situations right off the bat this season.
While the term "dominance" is relative in regard to rookie performance, these first-year pros have a great shot at early success.
Don't look now, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have quietly assembled one of the most talented offenses in the entire NFL, and this year's seventh overall pick, Mike Evans, is a big part of that.
Quarterback is still a big question mark, but it's hard to ignore the guys around him. Vincent Jackson is one of the most dangerous wide receivers in the game, and Doug Martin is a very talented running back. Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and slot receiver Robert Herron were two other very good 2014 draft picks.
Evans, however, has the most potential of the bunch. At 6'5" with good speed and quickness and even better hands, he's a true physical specimen who should be able to adjust to the punishment of the NFL game relatively easily.
There are bound to be some mental hurdles for the 20-year-old to climb, but he's bound to see single coverage most of the season because of Jackson's presence on the other side of the field. He could easily get 55 catches, 900 yards and seven touchdowns because of the huge mismatch he presents.
Calvin Johnson has been missing a wingman for the past seven years. But the Detroit Lions may have finally found their man in tight end Eric Ebron, the 10th overall selection in 2014.
As one of the best receiving tight end prospects in recent memory, Ebron will bring an element to the Lions offense that has been completely absent throughout Megatron's remarkable career. He's also apparently been looking like a future leader already, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
The 21-year-old's ripped 6'4", 250-pound frame is solid, but it's his 4.60 speed and big-play potential that make him so tantalizing for fantasy purposes. Megatron will attract a lot of attention, and Ebron has the skill to take advantage of that, especially down the middle of the field.
Matthew Stafford led the NFL in passing attempts in 2011 and 2012, and he was fourth in 2013. There's no question the Lions are going to throw a ton, and Ebron should reap those benefits and be a top-eight fantasy tight end.
The Buffalo Bills had been stealthily adding offensive weapons over the past few years before coming out with a bang in 2014. C.J. Spiller, Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin are all very talented players, and 2013 first-round pick E.J. Manuel has the potential to be a good quarterback.
But none of them hold a candle to Sammy Watkins, the fourth overall selection in May's draft. He comes into Buffalo as the most talented player on offense already, and he will be the No. 1 receiver from Week 1.
He brings a little bit of everything to the table. His quickness and explosiveness are highly touted, but his hands and strength are very underrated.
There will certainly be some bumps along the road for Watkins and the Bills entire offense, but he's a clear favorite to be the most productive rookie in the league. CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora has already called Watkins a star, and that's a trend that will almost certainly continue.
There's a reason Bishop Sankey was the first running back selected this year by the Tennessee Titans: He's quick, powerful, durable, experienced and can catch out of the backfield as well.
In short, he can do it all, and he has legitimate potential to be a good starting running back in the NFL. Other backs like Jeremy Hill and Carlos Hyde may have more natural ability and upside, but nobody else is in as good of a situation as Sankey.
Shonn Greene is the only other notable running back on the Titans' roster, and he's proven to be as mediocre as they come. This is Sankey's backfield from day one, and John Glennon of The Tennessean reports that he's making nice progress this summer.
On top of that, new head coach Ken Whisenhunt was the offensive coordinator in San Diego last season, where he helped Ryan Mathews amass a career-high 1,255 rushing yards on a career-high 285 carries. Everything has lined up really well for Sankey.
Larry Holder of NOLA.com claimed that Brandin Cooks stole the show this past Friday at New Orleans Saints' practice, which will not come as a surprise to anyone who paid attention to Cooks in college.
The 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner can hurt defenses in so many ways. He's exceptionally agile, has phenomenal hands, is a great route runner and has the toughness and awareness to succeed in the NFL.
The Saints offense is a juggernaut that has proven itself to be able to cycle in receivers and still be one of the most productive in the NFL. Kenny Stills, Lance Moore, Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem have all enjoyed success over the past five or six years without any real stability behind Marques Colston.
Drew Brees is a big part of that and so are Colston and Jimmy Graham. Darren Sproles was also a major factor in the offense, and he's now in Philadelphia. Cooks is bound to pick up a lot of those short routes that Sproles leaves behind and can be used in so many ways.
It's not a stretch to think he could get 80 targets, and that would almost automatically mean a very productive fantasy season.