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Fantasy Football 2010-11 Season: Top Ten Offensive Rookies

Mike PendletonCorrespondent ISeptember 9, 2010

Fantasy Football 2010-11 Season: Top Ten Offensive Rookies

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    Week in and week out a new name arises to the top. In a year that seems to have some key rookies on key teams, the same can go for your fantasy team. Compiled are this year's best rookies who can make an immediate impact on your fantasy team. While these players have a tremendous upside factor they also have a downside factor, the rookie wall.

    Here are your top ten fantasy rookies on the offensive side of the ball who can make an impact this year. Welcome to the league rookies, and welcome to fantasy football where everyone cares about your play!

No. 10 Aaron Hernandez, Tight End, Patriots

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    While it's hard to sit down and talk numbers for rookies, it's not hard to talk about the system that they come in to. For Hernandez it's simple, he's coming to Tom Brady's team. This tight end out of Florida is big and has great hands. 

    For the Patriots he gives them yet another offensive weapon and red-zone target. With no true running attack the Patriots rely heavy on the pass which should have Hernandez capture your eye.

    With Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Julian Edelman at wide receiver for New England it may be hard to focus attention on Hernandez. His presence may not have as much of an impact this year, he's a great backup to have and a nice selection for dynasty and keeper leagues.

No. 9 Mardy Gilyard, Wide Receiver, Rams

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    With number one overall pick, quarterback, Sam Bradford in town the Rams seem to be relying on two rookies to bring their team's image back up. Donnie Avery, the star wide receiver for the Rams, suffered a torn ACL and will miss the full season, throwing Gilyard into the spotlight. 

    If there is any one standing in the way of Gilyard it could be Laurent Robinson who falls into fantasy football category "sleepers". Gilyard had a very successful career at Cincinnati and has great speed which may make him hard to stop.

    I wouldn't keep Gilyard on my team unless it was a deep roster or a dynasty league. If your league allows it, put Gilyard on your watch list and if you truly begin to watch, this man may perform.

No. 8 Brandon LaFell, Wide Receiver, Panthers

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    LaFell comes from LSU to Carolina where many situations are shaky. Matt Moore is the quarterback currently but there's a reason they drafted Jimmy Clausen. With Jake Delhomme gone and Double Trouble (DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart) ready to carry the offense LaFell must prove his worth.

    This third round pick has drawn comparisons to Dwayne Bowe, minus the weight and character problems. If he can take pressure off Steve Smith and pull in his own stats, LaFell could be a huge play maker for fantasy teams and the Panthers.

    Drafting LaFell in a league this year is not a bad idea, especially for depth at the wide receiver. The rough games will come but he also has the ability to make big plays at any time in which his hands touch the ball.  

No. 7 Jermaine Gresham, Tight End, Bengals

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    Injured for the final season of his college career, Gresham is still worth a spot on your fantasy team. Being the sidekick for number one overall pick Sam Bradford while the two attended Oklahoma. Welcome to the league rookie, your on the most camera hungry team in the NFL.

    Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco in front of Gresham is actually a good thing. With all due respect to the others, Carson Palmer has never truly had an explosive tight end like Gresham. If T.Ochocinco are covered Gresham could get a lot of looks especially in the red zone.

    The question remains: will Carson Palmer actually look for this rookie? Time will only tell, if you miss out on the top tight ends or need a back--up Gresham is the perfect guy. You don't want him as your number one or only tight end but as the season moves on, look for his progression to rise.

No. 6 Dexter McCluster, Wide Receiver, Chiefs

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    Explosiveness. If I was told to describe Dexter McCluster, the rookie out of Ole Miss, that's what I would use in one word. The Chiefs practically stole McCluster who will see the ball in many forms as a rookie. With running backs Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones in front of him McCluster could see more time at the wide receiver position.

    The wildcat is another system the Chiefs are using DMC for and that could be the best weapon they have. With due respect to Dwyane Bowe and Chris Chambers, McCluster has the most upside out of the wide receiver core.

    Being the slot receiver comes a lot of opportunity and a lot of responsibility (see Wes Welker, New England) and McCluster has the elusiveness to break away from anyone and everyone. He could be a good pick in your fantasy drafts as his stock continues to rise. 

No. 5 Sam Bradford, Quarterback, Rams

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    Why not? The reason the St. Louis Rams have two rookies on this list is because 1) there are other rookies who are out for the year with injuries and 2) the Rams most valuable players, are rookies.  The number one overall pick comes in with heavy expectations, but a weak offensive line.

    Look for the Rams to use Bradford, who's been named starter in short passing situations to begin. The faster the ball gets out the more lifespan this kid has. He will become better over time but the time isn't now.

    I still like Bradford in fantasy football because he will put up point as almost all fantasy quarterbacks not named Jake Delhomme do. He won't be a top option but Bradford is a nice third quarterback or backup quarterback in almost all fantasy leagues. Owner beware, it will take a while for his big game outbreak.

No.4 CJ Spiller, Running Back, Bills

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    Dude is fat! CJ Spiller has been named the Bills starting running back headed into week one, so why is he at number four? Thanks a lot Fred Jackson. The fact that Spiller will be sharing time hurts his value but not by much.

    This speedster out of Clemson can make the starting job his all season just as quick as he can turn the corner. With not much offensive firepower in Buffalo, the Bills may rely to much on Spiller as well.

    He's a great fantasy option as I have him in numerous leagues but the consistency and share time is what will hurt Spiller the most. I wouldn't have him as my number one, but he's definitely the number two running back on any fantasy team. 

No. 3 Dez Bryant, Wide Receiver, Cowboys

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    You can't mess this one up Dez. The rookie out of Oklahoma St. had to miss his final college season after a suspension by the NCAA for a full season due to rule violations. There is only one rule for Bryant as he enters the league: Don't make Jerry Jones look stupid.

    With that being said, Don't make fantasy owners look stupid either Bryant. While Dallas may have one of the best offensive systems in the NFL, Bryant still has to do his part. Sometimes bringing baggage along with you to the NFL can hurt your career.

    Bryant left his bags at home and is ready to make an impact from the start. Not a number one option but as a number two or flex option Dez Bryant makes the perfect fantasy football player. 

No. 2 Ryan Mathews, Running Back, Chargers.

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    Take it easy, no that's not LT with a new number and looking ten years younger. Or is it? Mathews is being ranked very high after the Chargers released their all-time great running back LT and traded up to select Mathews at fourteen out of Fresno St. University.

    With a big workload ahead of him I had to put Mathews at second. He also has Darren Sproles still behind him who has grown into his own. If there was ever a case of one player getting to much work and their backup doing to much work, it would be Mathews'.

    Drafting Mathews at your number one running back, may not be a bad choice if you decide to take a quarterback and/or wide receiver first. He will see more then enough carries which means he has more then enough opportunities to find the end-zone. 

No. 1 Jahvid Best, Running Back, Lions

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Well, who did you expect? Many whispers questioning Best is the reason I have him at the top. Kevin Smith, the Lions running back from last year was supposed to miss a few games, giving Best the automatic nod. Now, not so much. Smith has played in pre-season but Best is still starting.

    You know your team has drafted a star player when you YouTube his name and all you see is 50+ yard touchdown runs while Best played for California.His elusiveness make him lethal, the fastest player in the NFL draft this year at running back, the Lions have their guy.

    Do you have yours? There may not be another rookie in the same position (outside of Dez Bryant) who will see the ball as many times as Best will. Surrounded by Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, the Lions are slowly making their own "big three". If this lone rookie of the group can produce, the Lions and fantasy owners of Best will be more then happy. 

Sorry Fellas

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    Two top rookies headed into the pre-season were Ben Tate (Houston) and Montario Hardesty (Cleveland) and they both suffered separate season ending injuries. While that may have hurt your fantasy teams if you have an IR spot in keeper leagues these two are definitely worth picking up and placing them on your IR for the season.

    Rookies who didn't make the cut:

    -Mike Williams (Tampa) I feel like Williams can be a top late pick in many drafts but something tells me that when it comes down to big situations, Buccaneers quarterback, Josh Freeman will look to tight end Kellen Winslow, to produce.

    -Arrelious Benn (Tampa) Yet another wide receiver for the Bucs but this one drops faster then the rest. Benn had come into camp with high expectations but not only under-performed but was out-showcased by Mike Williams, his stock has fallen but he may be an option in deep leagues.

    -Golden Tate (Seattle) With the departure of TJ Houshmanzadeh and the possible rebirth of Mike Williams, Seattle can still use all the help they can get. If Tate can keep his hands off the doughnuts for a day and puts his hands on passes thrown to him, he could be a reliable fantasy source. Until then, draft with caution.

    -Jimmy Clausen (Carolina) Clausen could be starting by season's end but the competition for the starting role on Carolina never became a true storyline. Clausen has all the tools to make him a successful starting quarterback in the league, if given the opportunity.

    So there you have it for your fantasy football rookies for the 2010-11 season, good luck and don't forget, stay away from guys in shaky situations. Note to Colt McCoy: GET READY!

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