One of the most puzzling issues going into each fantasy football draft is when to select rookies. They’re young, exciting, and easy to fall in love with. Some of them even end up being viable fantasy options in their first year. But how do you tell the difference between an Adrian Peterson and a Maurice Clarett? For starters, forget most everything you remember from their college careers. The NFL is more about opportunity than talent. That’s why Joseph Addai ranks in the top 5 among all fantasy RBs over the last 3 years, despite being the least talented RB in the league. So before you pull the trigger on C.J. Spiller in the 3rd round because he dominated Georgia Tech last year, remember that he was drafted by the Bills. I’m pretty sure Buffalo only had like 7 red zone attempts last season. Spiller may end up being a decent player, and he may be the most talented rookie RB on the board, but his situation is brutal. Let’s take a look at a few more rooks set to contribute or disappoint in the coming year.
Ryan Mathews: Fantasy owners with any sense know that Mathews, not Spiller, should be the first rook drafted. He steps into a starting role on a high powered offense. HE’S THE ONLY ROOKIE WHO YOU SHOULD CONSIDER IN THE FIRST 4 ROUNDS. No exceptions.
C.J. Spiller: The Bills are awful. Not only does Spiller have to compete for touches in a crowded backfield, but Buffalo will be getting throttled most weeks. That means a lot of second half pass plays. If he’s still available in round 7 or 8 go ahead and grab him. But some moron in your league is sure to pick him up before then.
Ben Tate: Something tells me to keep an eye on this kid. Houston needs a solid running game to compliment their aerial attack. If Slaton keeps coughing up the pill, Tate could swoop right in.
Dez Bryant: Don’t jump the gun on Dez. Miles Austin is the man in Dallas right now, and that won’t change this season. Draft Dez as a bye week option or a flex in deep leagues.
Demaryius Thomas: He’s got some huge shoes to fill replacing Brandon Marshall in Denver, but he has the tools to be the same type of receiver. He won’t catch 100 balls, but look for him to improve in the 2nd half of the season.
Arrelious Benn: Arrelious will be drafted too early in every single fantasy draft held in Illinois. The talent’s there, but he’s in Tampa Bay. They’re bad.
Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen: Never draft a rookie QB. Ever.
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