2013 NFL Draft: Rookies Who Will Have Major Impact on Fantasy Football

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIApril 27, 2013

2013 NFL Draft: Rookies Who Will Have Major Impact on Fantasy Football

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    With the first three rounds of the 2013 NFL draft completed, we've seen a handful of players drafted who'll make an instant impact in fantasy football.

    While this year's class may not have a Robert Griffin III or Doug Martin, it has fantastic depth at a number of key fantasy football positions. In fact, you shouldn't be surprised at all if the 2013 crop of rookies produces at a more consistent rate than the 2012 crop.

    Today we're going to look at which rookies that have been drafted will have major impacts on the 2013 season of fantasy football.

Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams

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    Of all the rookies drafted in this year's draft, Tavon Austin has the most potential to put up huge numbers in his first year in the league.

    Austin is easily the most dynamic playmaker in this year's class. He's a legitimate threat to score every single time he touches the ball. His open-field quickness is really quite special.

    Considering the fact that the St. Louis Rams are lacking playmakers, Austin should get plenty of touches in his first year. Don't be surprised to see the Rams do everything in their power to get the ball in his hands.

    Austin has legitimate starting potential for most fantasy football leagues, and should be in for a huge season in 2013.

Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals

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    While Tyler Eifert will have to compete with A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham, he's simply too talented to not make an impact. Eifert was easily the best tight end prospect in the 2013 NFL draft, and went to an ideal situation with the Cincinnati Bengals.

    For starters, Eifert won't have the pressure of being the No. 1 option for a team. He'll benefit from players like Green and Gresham opening up the field for him.

    Look for Eifert to make his living working the middle of the field for the Bengals as a rookie. His reliable hands will instantly make him a favorite of Andy Dalton, especially in the red zone where he'll score plenty of touchdowns as a rookie.

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

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    After years and years of not drafting a secondary receiver to Andre Johnson, the Houston Texans finally did it this year. They drafted DeAndre Hopkins will the 27th pick of the first round.

    While Johnson is still the clear No. 1 receiver for the Texans, Hopkins should start from day one opposite him. Hopkins is a complete receiver with great hands is the ability to make plays all over the field. He can win jump balls down the field, but isn't afraid to cross the middle of the field to make receptions either.

    The ceiling for Hopkins is extremely high, and with Johnson continuing to age, he could be in for a huge season as a rookie.

Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings

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    Despite falling down draft boards, Cordarrelle Patterson landed in an ideal situation with the Minnesota Vikings. The 29th-overall pick of the 2013 NFL draft should start from day one for the Vikings.

    Much like Tavon Austin, Patterson is a unique talent with the ball in his hands. The difference between Austin and Patterson, however, is that Patterson has the size to be a legitimate No. 1 receiver for an offense.

    What makes Patterson such a threat in fantasy football is his versatility. Not only is he dangerous as a receiver, but he's so talented in the open-field that he can make an impact as a running back, too.

    The only reason Patterson won't be the highest-scoring rookie in fantasy football is because of Adrian Peterson. However, look for Patterson to quickly become one of the league's most dangerous receivers with the ball in his hands.

Robert Woods, WR, Buffalo Bills

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    The Buffalo Bills drafted its quarterback of the future in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft by selecting E.J. Manuel. In the second round, the Bills gave Manuel a talented weapon in wide receiver Robert Woods.

    While Woods doesn't have the upside or playmaking abilities as Tavon Austin or Cordarrelle Patterson, he may be the most NFL-ready receiver in this year's draft. Woods is a polished route-runner who possesses great hands.

    With Stevie Johnson as the only real receiving threat on the Bills' roster, Woods should see plenty of touches his rookie year.

Le'Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers made a surprising pick in the second round by choosing running back Le'Veon Bell over other running backs like Eddie Lacy or Johnathan Franklin.

    However, Bell is a great fit for a Steelers team that is missing a true every-down running back on their roster. Bell has the power to instantly be a goal-line threat, but he's also surprising quick for a player of his size.

    While Bell may not start the year as the No. 1 back on the depth chart, he certainly has the talent to become that player for the Steelers. Look for Bell to become a consistent producer in Pittsburgh and get plenty of opportunities to score touchdowns in his rookie season.

Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay Packers

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    For the first time in a long, long time, the Green Bay Packers have a decent running back for fantasy football purposes. Eddie Lacy will step in right away and become the every-down back that the Packers have been missing in recent seasons.

    Lacy has a nice blend of power, speed and quickness. He isn't the most athletic running back, but he knows how to use the skills he has to consistently pick up yards. He's also great in pass protection, which is good news for Aaron Rodgers.

    While Lacy won't have the offense revolve around him in Green Bay, he should still have a big impact on one of the better offenses in the league.

Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers

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    There was a time when Keenan Allen was considered a first-round prospect and one of the top receivers in this year's draft. Allen ultimately slid to the third round, but the San Diego Chargers aren't complaining about that.

    Allen is a complete wide receiver with very little holes in his overall game. He's got great hands and the ability to make plays after the catch. He isn't the speediest receiver out there, but he'll consistently get open for the Chargers.

    While San Diego has good depth at wide receiver with Malcolm Floyd, Danario Alexander and Vincent Brown, Allen is simply too talented for Philip Rivers to not get the ball in his hands. Look for Allen to put together a very solid rookie season in San Diego.

Markus Wheaton, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers lost Mike Wallace in the offseason, but adding a player like Markus Wheaton in the third round will certainly help lessen the blow.

    Wheaton is a similar player to Wallace with his elite speed and deep-threat potential. He isn't necessarily a dynamic playmaker in the open field, but his quickness allows him to create separation and pick up extra chunks of yards.

    While Wheaton will play behind Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, he should still get plenty of action in the Steelers' offense. Don't be surprised if Wheaton establishes himself as one of the better deep threats in the league early in his career.

Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins

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    In terms of potential, Jordan Reed might have more than any other player on this list. He's an extremely athletic tight end who has often been compared to ex-Florida tight end Aaron Hernandez.

    Reed's versatility will allow him to line up at a number of positions for the Washington Redskins. He'll line up at the H-back position as well as splitting out wide as a receiver.

    The big question surrounding Reed will be how big of an impact he'll have during his rookie season. While he's still a little raw around the edges, Reed has too much talent and potential to not see the field on a consistent basis during his rookie season.

    He should quickly become a favorite target of Robert Griffin III because of his versatility and ability to make plays all over the field.