Here are my (way too early) favorites for rookies of each position next year in fantasy. I picked them based on 3 major factors:
1) Their opportunity vs. other rookies (who has the best chance to start right away)
2) What they’ve shown on tape in their college game
3) How they projected as an overall prospect
QB – Geno Smith, Jets – This here was purely based on which rookie QB is most likely to start the soonest. The Jets have the easiest QB job to win and the highest rated QB in the draft. Geno sees this as an opportunity to prove his haters wrong and earns the starting role by week 1. I wouldn’t depend on him to be a fantasy starter (as I never do any rookie, especially a QB) but rookie’s are always the best depth to take a gamble on. In the last few years that mantra has gotten me many points from the presence of rookies such as RG3 and Cam Newton as my 2nd QBs taken.
RB – Giovani Bernard, Bengals – This was the hardest position to choose. I think the Packers and Cardinals rookies have the best opportunity to take over but each team chose 2 competitive rookies. The most likely scenario is that they split time and neither are used as a feature back. Giovani Bernard was one of the highest rated running backs in this class and can prove to be the last piece to making the Bengals a truly complete football team. I was never too high on BJGE and think Bernard has a shot to outshine him for that feature spot but it’ll take a lot of hard work.
WR – Quinton Patton, 49ers – This is my favorite rookie fantasy wise for next year. Patton may be the best traditional pro style receiver in the draft. He’s only had two years of FBS but was unstoppable in every game including a monster performance against Texas A&M, one of the hottest teams in the country. In each of his seasons playing for LA Tech, he was one of the most productive receivers in the nation hauling in at least 1200+ yards per season. If he had gone to a school like Texas or Alabama this would be a surefire 1st round pick. San Francisco has a good track record of finding the best small school receivers come draft day. In 1985 they drafted Jerry Rice out of Mississippi Valley State who became an all time great. Then in 1996, they drafted their second best receiver of all time, Terrell Owens out of Tennessee-Chattanooga. Patton was far more productive in college than Owens but wasn’t quite putting up Jerry Rice’s numbers. Could he be the next great 49ers receiver? I say its worth a late pick in your league’s draft, especially with Michael Crabtree’s injury and San Fran’s glaring need for a #1 WR.
TE – Travis Kelce, Chiefs – This pick is more on an tight end pass happy Alex Smith joining the Chiefs than the prospect himself. Of the tight end prospects he seemed to be one of the more promising prospects after hauling in 722 yards and 8tds his senior season at Cincinnati. He may be the best receiving tight end prospect for the Chiefs since Tony Gonzales