When it comes to drafting in the late rounds, nothing is more fun than landing yourself a rookie that tears it up for you. He has a great season by rookie standards and you look like you actually know something about fantasy football. It's great!
If you want to succeed, though, you can't just take any rookie because he was your favorite player in college. You do, however, want those clowns in your league—so leave Cam Newton for the clown.
There has to be a lot of studying on your part, in order to narrow it down to the right rookie that you’re going to pluck out from under everyone's nose.
The major factors you want to look at are simple. Look at the offensive system they are in. Is it complex? If so, it may take a while for him to adjust and be comfortable in the offense.
If you want to draft a rookie receiver or running back, take a hard look at whom the quarterback is. Veteran quarterbacks tend to help rookies along much faster than newer ones.
Another big thing you want to look at is who the other receivers on that team are.
In combing through all this, I think we can all agree that Julio Jones will make a nice addition to any fantasy team. He's already on a playoff contending team in Atlanta, has one of the best young QB's in the league, in Matt Ryan, throwing to him and has Roddy White to teach him.
Better Chance of Producing Early On
A couple other rookies that people are not so sure on are also at the receiver position—A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals and Greg Little of the Cleveland Browns.
Highly touted out of Georgia, and for good reason, the 6’4” 211lbs. A.J. Green is all a dude can handle out there alone on an island.
Green posted a nice 4.5 40 time at the combine, was taken with the No. 4 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and he’s also been handed the keys to the No. 1 receiver spot on the depth chart, with the departure of the T.Ocho Show.
According to 40-yard-dash-times.com , Green is already a polished route runner that has no problems going over the middle and making the tough catches.
If he can learn to adjust to what defenses are doing, he will no doubt become an elite NFL receiver.
However, he just so happens to have a rookie quarterback, in Andy Dalton, who is looking more and more like the opening day starter. Having rookies in two important positions like that is going to make for a tough situation for a good part of the season.
It should be noted, however, the duo did connect for a nice 45-yard TD pass against the Panthers, during their most recent pre-season game.
The rookie receiver that nobody seems to be talking about is Browns receiver Greg Little.
The Tarheel alum was taken 59th overall in the second round by the Cleveland Browns, but would have no doubt been a first-round pick, had he not missed the entire 2010 season due to some improper dealings with an agent.
The 6’3” 220 lbs. receiver has come along quite well with second-year quarterback Colt McCoy. McCoy has looked good so far this preseason, and worked hard in the off-season with Brett Favre, learning the nuances of the West Coast Offense.
Meanwhile, Little is slowly making his way up into the Brown’s top receiver spot. With Mohamed Massaquoi currently sidelined with an injury, Little is looking more and more like the week one starter alongside either Josh Cribbs or Brian Robiskie.
With a fast-maturing second-year quarterback in McCoy, Little is sure to come into his own much faster than A.J. Green will, given Green will be gaining his chops with his fellow rookie quarterback.
Green may be a good player to draft in the last round and just put on your bench. You can monitor his performance for the first few weeks and see what happens. If he and Dalton click right out of the gate, you found yourself a nice deep sleeper.
However, if you are looking for a player you can draft super late, but you want as a No. 3 option right away, Little seems to be in the right situation to come up real big for you.
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