There is a nice group of rookies represented in the upcoming 2013 season following a very talented NFL Draft. The hard part is selecting the ones that can make an immediate impact on your roster. That’s where we come in. We have culled through the list of first-time NFLers and listed the 10 who we feel are mostly likely ‘worth the risk’. This is an important part of your draft as there can be multiple rookies who could end up potentially carrying your team to fantasy victory, so choose wisely..
1. Montee Ball-RB-Broncos- At the outset, we are predicting that Ball will end the season with 1000 rushing yards and double-digit touchdowns so be sure to check Ball’s stats at the end of the season as we will. If an older and oft injured running back like 32 year old Willis McGahee can average 73 yards a game (as he did last season), then Ball should have a ‘ball’ in this Broncos offense. With McGahee gone (released) and Knowshon Moreno who is coming off of knee surgery and is much less explosive than Ball, it is very likely that Montee will be the Broncos #1 back come the start of the regular season.
Ronnie Hillman will be part of the running back committee in Denver but remember 30 of Hillman’s 107 carries went for no gain or negative yardage last season so his role will be more of a passing down player while Ball will garner the goal-line chores. It seems like this will be Montee Ball’s job to lose and we don’t see that happening.
2. Le’Veon Bell-RB-Steelers- Even though the blocking at Michigan State left a lot to be desired, Bell still had an outstanding and productive year and with the Steelers reverting back to the prototypical Pittsburgh ground and pound offense, Bell will fit right in. Think Jerome Bettis with excellent pass-catching ability. Not often you find a big plodder of a back that can catch the ball out of the backfield which makes Bell a more valued commodity to the Steelers as well as to your fantasy team, especially if you are in a PPR league. Bell will be the #1 back in Pittsburgh this season with enormous opportunity and a lot of potential. Grab him if you can.
3. Tavon Austin-WR Rams- Austin will be one rookie that will have an immediate impact as your fantasy starter this season. St. Louis traded up to number 8 in order to get him so not only will he start but he will also take over the role that Danny Amendola (traded to the Patriots) had. Amendola was QB Sam Bradford’s favorite target as his slot receiver ending the season ranked 12th in the league in targets averaging 9.2 per game.
The West Virginia standout who played multiple positions: receiver, running back and returner, never missed a game in college while scoring 28 touchdowns in his last two seasons as a Mountaineer. Austin is another rookie who we would suggest you snag early as we see only good things for him this season.
4. Robert Woods-WR-Bills- Here is another bold prediction. This USC receiving superstar has the talent, we feel, to end the season as a potential Rookie of the Year candidate or at the very least, the rookie with the most receptions in the NFL. This kid caught 250 passes in three seasons at Southern Cal and has better breakaway speed than fellow WR Stevie Johnson. Woods will begin the season as the Bills’ WR2 but could end up as their #1!
His biggest asset is what he does after the catch. Watch his Yards Per Carry stats by season’s end and he will be among the leaders in that category to be sure. This was an excellent draft day pickup for Buffalo who finally gets two standout possession receivers in their passing arsenal.
5. Giovani Bernard-RB-Bengals- Perhaps the most versatile running back to come out of this year’s draft, Bernard is another back who you should earmark if you are in PPR leagues. We even put Bernard in the sleeper category in his rookie season given his speed as well as a pass-catching threat. When was the last time the Bengals had a back with his kind of talent?
While BenJarvis Green-Ellis will continue to see the goal line duties which will have some affect on Bernard’s fantasy potential, PPR-leaguers will rack up the fantasy points with this speedster with the golden hands. Don’t sleep on him…