Written by Bobby Greco
The NFL Draft phase of the year is now over and your teams are filling out their rosters, so now it’s time to start thinking about the next step in your football year… Fantasy Football! That time of the year you get to pretend you’re an NFL GM and come up with your own draft boards, while at the same time trying to outsmart your friends and family. I don’t know if it’s just me, but showing my football IQ and dominating my friends and family is always my favorite part. Alright, I got sidetracked a little, the real reason we are here is to talk about this season’s top fantasy performing rookies. I’m going to stick to only the top five for each position because when it comes to the QBs five is where it starts to get dicey. I could do more than five RBs, but I think there are five legitimate contributors in this group and as for WRs there are just way too many that I could talk about. Sorry to the TEs out there, this is a weak tight end class and I have to leave you off the list. Now, let’s take a look at what we have, and hopefully, this will help some of you take your league’s championship.
1. Joe Burrow, This is a no brainer, Burrow is the only rookie QB expected to be a day one starter and his talent alone makes him an interesting fantasy pick. I’m not drafting him early, but I am for sure taking a flyer on him late.
2. Tua Tagovailoa, I actually hope I’m wrong here because I really think he needs to sit this year out. He suffered a very scary hip injury and I think he needs to have a season to build up more strength. However, I do believe he will take over as starter some point this season and is probably worth a late-round pick.
3. Jalen Hurts, Honestly Hurts was almost my number 2 over Tua, because I think he will be the QB who plays most other than Burrow. I don’t think he will be a Taysom Hill, but I do think he will be used in their offense in different ways. I don’t know how much fantasy value he has, but with Wentz injury history, Hurts could be a good late-round handcuff.
4. Justin Herbert, The Chargers are pretty firm with Tyrod Taylor at QB, but if things take an ugly turn early, the Herbert chants are going to start. I don’t think he is a draftable player, but he should definitely be on your watch list.
5. Jordan Love, I’m really stretching here, but Love is the only other QB that has any chance of seeing the field. Sure things will have to go very wrong with the Green Bay season, but he is still the only guy left who might play. Unfortunately, I don’t think he has much fantasy value, but if the time comes he would make a great waiver wire pickup.
1. Cam Akers, This may surprise you, but Akers is the only RB who is going to be the feature back. Akers would have most likely been the top-ranked RB coming into this draft if he had any help at Florida St. Now he will be thrust into the middle of a powerful NFL offense and a team with a solid O-Line, so the sky's the limit. I see him being a good RB2 and would pick him in the 4th round at the earliest.
2. Clyde Edwards-Helair, This was one of those “rich get richer” picks. Edwards-Helair fits the KC offense very well and will be a major weapon for Mahomes. The only reason I have Akers above him is that the Chiefs have Damien Williams who should see a majority of the time. At least to begin the season that is… I think he would be a middle-round pick, a good flex spot player who has the potential to become an RB2.
3. Zack Moss, Moss is going to be a great complement to Devin Singletary and has a lot of fantasy value, because I think he is going to be a touchdown vulture. Moss is going to get most of the Bills dirty work yards, which will lead him to get a good amount of goal-line carries. He will be a valuable bench player, who should be a mid-late round pick.
4. Jonathan Taylor, This pick was really exciting for me because I think Taylor is the best RB in this class and now has a fantastic situation in Indy. Marlon Mack will be the starter at the beginning of the year, but if Taylor’s production stays consistent he can easily take over as the lead running back. He would be a great late-round bench player, who could possibly become a weekly starter for your team.
5. D’andre Swift, Swift is in a decent position to get playing time, but I just don’t know how much I trust Detroit as a whole. Kerryon Johnson should have a bounce-back year, which will limit Swift’s production and if that happens Swift will have little fantasy points. I think he is definitely a watch list player and could be a waiver wire gem.
1. Jerry Jeudy, Jeudy has the best situation for early success and has the best route-running skills on top of it, so it should become a strong option for Drew Lock. Sutton is going to take another big step forward in my opinion, so Jeudy should see his fair share of opportunities. He is an easy mid-round pick, with great flex spot value.
2. Ceedee Lamb, Though Lamb will be the Cowboys WR3, he is the best receiver in this class and should see a lot of favorable matchups. With his talent, there is a very good chance he is pushing Michael Gallup for the WR2 position by season’s end. Lamb will be a mid-late round pick but could end up being a spot starter from week to week.
3. Chase Claypool, Yes, as you might have noticed I am a big Claypool fan. That aside, he is in an incredible situation for him to succeed. He will instantly become Pittsburgh’s WR2 and will be in a position to really showcase his skills. Claypool should also take the pressure off of Juju and should help open up the offense. If only Pittsburgh QBs gave me more confidence, Claypool would rank higher than Lamb. I still think he is a late-round pick, with a ton of upside and the potential to be statistically the top-ranked rookie receiver.
4. Justin Jefferson, This is a really intriguing player because he has gone from a 0-star recruit to 1st round pick. Jefferson will also be asked to fill the shoes left by Stefon Diggs and should see a lot of targets because of it. However, Minnesota is known to have inconsistency in their offense and that might make things tough on the young receiver. I do like him and think he deserves to be drafted though, I just don’t see him as a fantasy starter yet.
5. Michael Pittman Jr, I’m a big fan of this pick and think it gives Indy a bonafide WR2. He is a big body receiver and the perfect complement to T.Y. Hilton, so he will see a lot of touchdown opportunities. Pittman isn’t a speed threat, but has great hands and plays through contact easily. He is a late-round pick, but someone who could get a few flex starts.