Fantasy Football 2012: The Great Rookie Experiment

J.P. Scott@TheJPScottSenior Analyst IAugust 2, 2012

July 27, 2012; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) throws the ball during Redskins training camp at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

Over the past decade and a half, essentially the total duration of my fantasy football career, one statement I keep hearing or reading in regard to traditional leagues is that rookies have minimal fantasy value.

Historically, that may be fairly accurate. I'm not convinced, however, that the 2012 rookie class fits that mold.

I haven't made any type of effort to pay more attention to this season's rookies than I have in past years. 

What I have done is felt compelled to talk about several members of the class as steals, encouraging some to look at certain rookies over seasoned veterans who play the same position. The reactions I get usually go something along the lines of "Well, I'm not in a keeper league."

That's not my point. 

It is my firm belief that the 2012 NFL rookie class is the best class in recent memory in terms of players who will have an immediate fantasy impact.

Given that, some people may feel compelled to give these rookies a closer look and possibly reserve a spot on their fantasy team's roster for one or two of them.

I have taken it step further.

Recently, I participated in a traditional online fantasy football draft in a public league. Before the draft took place, I created blueprint of what I wanted my team to look like.

I was very specific.

I wrote down the names of two quarterbacks, four running backs, four wide receivers, two tight ends and two kickers I wanted on my team.

I chose the names not based on the projections of the traditional fantasy experts, but based on how I felt they were going to be used in the specific offenses they were going to be a part of.

All 14 names I wrote down were rookies.

I then ranked them in the order I wanted to draft them. This way, in case someone drafted a player I wanted, I had a contingency plan in place and go could get another rookie at the end of the draft. That never happened.

I was able to draft all 14 players on my list in the exact order I was hoping to.

Of course, you need team defenses/special teams too, so I drafted the Bears and Cowboys in rounds 13 and 14.

My goal in all of this is to manage this team of rookies in a ten-team league for an entire season, documenting the results right here on Bleacher Report for the world to see with the hope of finishing in the top half of a league whose owners went the traditional route when drafting.

My goal is to shatter the myth that rookies have minimal value in traditional fantasy football leagues.

Having said that, allow me to introduce you to the roster of Team Rookie Experiment, complete with the round and overall pick with which I drafted each player:


Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins (Round 3, Pick 27)

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts (Round 8, Pick 74)

Running Backs

Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns (Round 1, Pick 7)

Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Round 2, Pick 14)

Isaiah Pead, St. Louis Rams (Round 9, Pick 87)

Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos (Round 10, Pick 94)

Wide Receivers

Brian Quick, St. Louis Rams (Round 5, Pick 47)

Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars (Round 6, Pick 54)

Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals (Round 7, Pick 67)

Devon Wylie, Kansas City Chiefs (Round 11, Pick 107)

Tight Ends

Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts, (Round 4, Pick 34)

Michael Egnew, Miami Dolphins (Round 12, Pick 114)


Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings (Round 15, Pick 147)

Randy Bullock, Houston Texans (Round 16, Pick 154)

These players will be plugged somewhere into one of the following roster slots based on matchups and bye weeks:

QB, RB1, RB2, WR1, WR2, FLEX, TE, K, D/ST

Surely some of my picks will be cause for debate, but there was a method to my madness. At the end of the day, only the gods of the gridiron know how this story will unfold.

I look forward to updating you throughout the season and to reading your thoughts and comments, some of which I already know will be colorful to say the least.


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