Fantasy Football: Ranking the top 10 rookies for 2017

Sep 19, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers running back Leonard Fournette (7) breaks away from Auburn Tigers cornerback Ed Paris (24) for a touchdown during the second quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 19, 2015; Baton Rouge, LA, USA; LSU Tigers running back Leonard Fournette (7) breaks away from Auburn Tigers cornerback Ed Paris (24) for a touchdown during the second quarter of a game at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

After months of anticipation we finally know what teams the 2017 rookies will be playing for. Which rookies should we target in fantasy football?

Trying to predict how rookies will fare in fantasy football is not as easy as ranking them in order by where they were drafted. We have to look at what teams selected them, the offenses they’ll be in and players already on the roster.

Must Read: Fantasy Football: What’s Jamaal Charles impact on Denver Broncos?

Using all that collective information will help determine what kind of fantasy success they could have in 2017.

Here’s an early look at the top 10 rookies for 2017. Keep in mind an injury or two could change this entire list. For the record, these rankings are based purely on 2017 redraft leagues. They are not dynasty rankings.

 Name Position Team
 1. Leonard Fournette RB Jacksonville Jaguars
 2. Christian McCaffrey RB Carolina Panthers
 3. Joe Mixon RB Cincinnati Bengals
 4. Corey Davis WR Tennessee Titans
 5. Dalvin Cook RB Minnesota Vikings
 6. Samaje Perine RB Washington Redskins
 7. Kareem Hunt RB Kansas City Chiefs
 8. Zay Jones WR Buffalo Bills
 9. Jamaal Williams RB Green Bay Packers
 10. Joe Williams RB San Francisco 49ers

Going in order with the rankings, a look at why each player is among the top 10 rooks.

Fournette takes the top spot as the No. 1 rookie in fantasy football. He might not be as dynamic as McCaffrey or Mixon, but he does project as a workhorse. The Jaguars did not select him fourth overall to give him 10-12 touches a week. Instead, he should see about 16-20 totes a game. Look for him to flirt with 300 touches in 2017.

More from NFL Spin Zone

Just like with Fournette, the Panthers did not select Christian McCaffrey as high as they did (eighth overall) to simply sprinkle him into the offense. Although he will not be a workhorse, McCaffrey should get a good amount of touches every week whether it’s running or catching the ball. With his receiving skills, he should catch around 50 balls next season. This, of course, gives him an advantage in PPR leagues.

Mixon is the best running back on the Bengals and possibly in this year’s draft class. The coaching staff might make the rookie “earn” his touches throughout camp and the preseason. However, by the time the regular season rolls around, Mixon should be the lead back in that offense.

Corey Davis got as good as a landing spot as one could hope for. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota looks like he could be heading towards elite status in the next couple years and the team didn’t have a true No. 1 wide receiver. It wouldn’t shock me if Davis ends up leading the team in receptions and receiving yards in 2017. With his 6-3 frame, leading the team in touchdown receptions is a realistic possibility too.

If Dalvin Cook landed with a better team (Green Bay), he would have been higher on this list. Instead, he landed with the Vikings. Their offensive line is below average and the team also signed Latavius Murray during the offseason. Cook is a three-down running back and a better all-around running back than Murray. Yet, Murray should steal some touches and don’t be surprised if Cook gets vultured in close by Murray’s 6-3 and 230-pound frame.

Samaje Perine wasn’t selected until Day 3 of the NFL Draft, but he landed in a great spot. The Redskins leading rusher last year was UDFA rookie Rob Kelley. Perine has a similar running style to Kelley, but he just does it better. Look for Perine to be the team’s early-down and goal line running back.

More from Fantasy Football

Hunt was selected in the third-round and Kansas City is a decent landing spot with Spencer Ware not being anything special. In 15 games last season (including playoffs), Ware only had one, 100-yard rushing game. Hunt could push for 8-10 touches a game right away with a good preseason.

Zay Jones finds himself in a spot where he can contribute right away. He should be the Bills No.2 wide receiver opposite of Sammy Watkins. If/when Watkins goes down with an injury, Jones will see extra targets.

Jamaal Williams could steal early-down work from former wide receiver Ty Montgomery. If he does, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he also becomes the team’s go-to running back near the end zone.

Joe Williams was handpicked by 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and the team is reportedly low on Carlos Hyde. Williams could see reasonable touches right away. This is especially true when (not if) Hyde goes down with an injury.

“Hey, why no love for…”

John Ross, WR – Bengals: Just because the Bengals reached on him in real life doesn’t mean you should reach on him in fantasy. The speedy wide receiver has a litany of injuries and, at best, will be third on the team in targets behind A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert. Throw in Joe Mixon and he might not even be a top-four fantasy performer on his own team.

Any Tight End: Rookie tight ends don’t have a great history of making a significant impact in year one. Hunter Henry’s season last year was one of the better ones we’ve seen in a while and he still wasn’t a TE1.

Mike Williams, WR – Chargers: If Williams landed with the Titans, he’d be in my top 10. Instead, he goes to the Chargers who already have Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin, Hunter Henry, Melvin Gordon and Antonio Gates. He’s going to starving most weeks because there are too many mouths to feed in this offense.

Next: Fantasy Football: 4 Free Agents Who Could Make An Impact

Juju Smith-Schuster, WR – Steelers: This is a better landing spot in real life than in fantasy. Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell will get their touches every week. Martavis Bryant is returning from suspension and Sammie Coates is returning from an injury-plagued 2016 season. Juju won’t be a potential factor until someone gets hurt and/or suspended. With Bell and Bryant’s history of suspensions, maybe I am undervaluing Juju.