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2012 NFL Fantasy Football Rookie Assessment

June 23, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 146

Every year, many rookies come into the league and, outside of RBs, very few make much of an impact. Maximum Fantasy Sports has ranked the top fantasy football relevant rookies at the core skill positions and their projected draft round in standard 12-team fantasy football leagues.

Receivers have a chance to shine in their first year, but tend to be very inconsistent and require some patience since they can often turn in the dreaded goose egg. However, many of us play in deep Keeper leagues, so we need to think about the future as well as the present. Do NOT hang your current season on a rookie QB. Cam Newton is the exception, not the rule. The pro game is much more complex, and much faster, than any team these fellas played against, or played for, in college. Below is the consensus from MFS for the current draftable NFL rookies.


1. Andrew Luck (Indianapolis): Peyton Manning was thrown to the wolves in his rookie season in Indy and Luck is about ready to follow in those footsteps. The jury is out on how far he can walk in those cleats and he does have a depleted team to lead, much like Peyton did. With no solid running game, Luck will air the ball out often so I expect lots of TDs and lots of INTs. He is worthy of a backup QB position and can be taken around the 12th round.

2. Robert Griffin III (Washington): Luck will be given more time to prove that he can succeed in the NFL. RG3 will be more heavily scrutinized, but it is not due to Washington mortgaging their future on him. It is due to the success Cam Newton had last year. Many people will unrealistically expect RG3 to replicate Cam's season. While he could, it is highly unlikely. He will not run near as much as Newton did. However, he does have skill and speed at the RB and WR positions to work with. He is worthy of a backup QB position and can be taken around the 12th round as well.

3. Brandon Weeden (Cleveland): Weeden is a salty veteran and will be given the keys to the offense right out of the gate. The issue with drafting Weeden is that the Browns have no legitimate wide receivers. Weeden has a strong, accurate arm, but he needs playmakers to be relevant. I would leave him on the waiver wire to start the season.

4. Ryan Tannehill (Miami): Tannehill had a nice college career, especially since he was learning the position on the job. He does not have the seasoning to step into the pro game right away. If he starts in 2012, it will be after an injury or after the Dolphins have thrown the towel in on the year.

Running Backs

1. Trent Richardson (Cleveland): Richardson is about as solid as you can get. His thighs are bigger than my upper torso. He will be a workhorse for Cleveland this year, especially with Weeden under center. There is no argument that he is the first rookie off the board and could go as early as late 2nd round, but will definitely not last through the 3rd round.

2. David Wilson (New York Giants): Wilson lands in a nice spot in NY. The Giants cut ties with Brandon Jacobs and retained often-injured Ahmad Bradshaw. That means that Wilson will be splitting the backfield with Bradshaw and will get at least 15 carries a game. Platoons are not ideal, but are now commonplace in the NFL. The other slight drawback for Wilson is that the Giants love to air it out. Even so, I expect Wilson to go off the draft board in the 6th round.

3. Doug Martin (Tampa): Martin is a solid RB and has good hands. The jury is out on LeGarrett Blount on whether or not he is the long-term solution in Tampa. I would expect Blount to get the lion's share of the carries early in the season as Martin gets worked in as a 3rd-down back. I would definitely handcuff Martin to Blount if you draft Blount and I wouldn't expect Martin to go before the 11th round.

4. Ronnie Hillman (Denver): Hillman could be a huge Sleeper this year. He steps into a Denver backfield that is somewhat of a mess. With Peyton Manning at QB, defenses will not jam the box as much as they did with Tim Tebow at the helm, which will open up the running lanes. While Willis McGahee is the unquestioned #1, he does have a history of injuries. You definitely need to handcuff these two backs, but I would do it before round 12.

5. Chris Rainey (Pittsburgh): Rainey was not drafted to replace an injured Rashard Mendenhall. He was drafted because he is a playmaker. He is small, particularly by NFL standards, but so is Darren Sproles. I would have no problem taking a flier on Rainey with my last pick, particularly in PPR leagues.

Wide Receivers

1. Justin Blackmon (Jacksonville): Blackmon landed in the right spot to walk into a number 1 receiver position. The problem is that Jacksonville has a second-year QB in Blaine Gabbert and has traditionally been a run-first and often team. That being said, I still think that he'll have a very nice year as Gabbert has a big arm and I expect the Jags to let him show it off more this year, especially if MoJo holds out. I expect Blackmon to be taken late in the 5th round.

2. Michael Floyd (Arizona): I think the happiest person in Arizona when Floyd was drafted was actually Larry Fitzgerald. Floyd has the skills to be an elite NFL receiver and can definitely take some of the coverage away from Fitz. If Arizona can get some consistent QB play, both receivers could have big years. I expect Floyd to go off the board in the 8th round.

3. Stephen Hill (New York Jets): Hill runs a 4.36 40-yard dash, stands 6'4, weighs 215 pounds and has a 39.5-inch vertical. He played at Georgia Tech which throws the ball as often as they run the Statue of Liberty play so his route-running skills leave a bit to be desired. However, the Jets are in dire need of someone to line up across the field from Santonio Holmes. Hill could easily win that spot. I can see him getting taken in the 12th round.

4. Kendall Wright (Tennessee): Wright can flat out fly down the field. It is unknown how often he will be used on the field though. The Titans' have Kenny Britt coming back from injury and a slew of additional receivers to work in. It may be best to temper your expectations on Wright's output until 2013. He'll still get drafted, but will probably get dropped after having small numbers for the first couple of weeks. I expect him to get drafted in the 13th round.

5. Alshon Jeffery (Chicago): With Mike Martz out as OC and Mike Tice in, expect the Bears to return to their run often mindset, especially if they have the luxury of using Matt Forte and Michael Bush in the backfield. However, Devin Hester will not see near as many snaps at WR and Johnny Knox is out after that terrible back injury suffered against Seattle late last year. This is the perfect situation for Jeffery to jump into and excel, provided he is focused. I would definitely take a chance on him in the 14th round.

6. A.J. Jenkins (San Francisco): This pick flew under the radar as the receiving news out of San Francisco revolved around the Niners signing Randy Moss. The Niners love to run the ball and Alex Smith looks to Vernon Davis as his first, second and third options. Moss will quickly tire of being a decoy. With Michael Crabtree being a disappointment, Jenkins will have a good chance to sneak in and become the number 1 receiver this team needs. However, it is difficult to say when, and if, that will happen. So, I expect Jenkins to also get taken as someone's last receiver around the end of the 14th round.

Tight Ends

1. Coby Fleener (Indy): It is usually not a lot of fun to take any receiver when his QB is a rookie. However, Fleener was Andrew Luck's TE at Stanford and will be a commonly used safety valve as Luck runs for his life behind a pretty crappy OL. There are a lot of quality TEs in the league, so don't reach in single digit rounds for him. I would wait until round 11 before considering.

2. Adrien Robinson (New York Giants): The Giants may have enjoyed the Super Bowl... well, most of them. Starting Tight Ends, Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum, each tore an ACL. While the Giants did sign Martellus Bennett, Robinson is much more athletic (6'4, 264 pounds with 4.5 speed) and could have a decent year exploiting the middle of the field. I wouldn't draft Robinson, but I would definitely keep him on my Watch list.

Bill Parsons is the owner of and a rabid fantasy sports participant. He began creating his own football and baseball fantasy leagues at the ripe old age of seven; tracking stats and standings on paper. Bill decided to create a real-time fantasy football league website that includes all of the best features and some of which have never been attempted at any other website. Maximum Fantasy Sports offers Free Fantasy Football leagues, Free Pools and Public Fantasy Football Leagues with cash payouts.

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