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Top 5 Rookie Fantasy Football Picks

By: Blake Hymel

Saquon Barkley — Running Back — New York Giants

There’s no question that Barkley has the biggest fantasy upside of any rookie this year. His value comes from his incredible talent and versatility. Barkley is a 3 down back that is as well rounded as any running back prospect in the league, which means he’ll stay in on 3rd down to run block and catch out of the backfield.

In 2017, he averaged 4 catches, 48 receiving yards, and 0.23 receiving touchdowns per game. When you add his 97 rushing yards and 1.3 rushing touchdowns a game, Barkley averaged an incredible 27.5 fantasy points per game (PPR). With him going to a team with a Super Bowl winning quarterback and receiving phenom Odell Beckham Jr., Barkley will have many opportunities to put up fantasy points.

Ronald Jones II — Running Back — Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ronald Jones II doesn’t have much competition in Tampa. He joins Peyton Barber, Jacquizz Rodgers and Dalton Crossan in the Bucs backfield. He’ll likely be in the competition for starter going into the season but isn’t a 3-down back. He doesn’t have the pass blocking skills that Saquon has, but his hard-nosed running style will give him most of the goal-line snaps. I would draft Jones in the late rounds and watch out for good match-ups. He’ll likely be a bit of a hit-or-miss type player that you can plug into an RB2 spot given a good matchup.

In 2017, he had 3 games where he scored 36.8, 34.6, and 44.3 fantasy points, and against the best 3 defenses USC faced (Texas, Notre Dame, and Ohio state), Jones scored 17.3, 17.6, and 12.4 points. respectively. Jones averaged 23.1 fantasy points per game (PPR) overall last season.

Anthony Miller — Wide Receivers — Chicago Bears

Miller falls into an interesting opportunity with the Bears. He’s tailor-made for the slot receiver position and lands with a team that has a need for one. The Bears signed Taylor Gabriel from Atlanta as a slot, but he’s been very inconsistent there. In his 4 year career, Gabriel averaged 33 catches and 450 yards per season. Miller has a chance to see a lot of snaps in the slot, and if he plays the way he did in college, he can make an impact. With his ability to jump and fight for 50/50 balls, Miller could see a bulk of the red zone snaps at the slot.

Miller racked up more than 144 receiving yards 6 times in 2017, 4 of those were over 178 yards. He is inconsistent though, with 5 games with less than 55 yards receiving. He averaged 7.2 receptions, 112 yards, and 1.3 receiving touchdowns per game, giving him an average of 26.4 points per game (PPR).

Michael Gallup — Wide Receivers — Cowboys

Dez Bryant and Jason Witten are gone.The best receiver the Cowboys have is Allen Hurns who finished last year with 39 catches and 484 yards in Jacksonville. But In comes Michael Gallup, the 6’1” 200 pound receiver from Colorado State. Jerry Jones believes Gallup can start immediately for the Cowboys and be a weapon for Dak Prescott. Gallup’s aggressive playstyle and sure hands will earn him starting time early. According to PFF, Gallup only dropped 12 of 191 catchable passes over two seasons. This, plus his ability to run crisp routes, will make Gallup a monster in PPR leagues.

In 2016, Gallup scored at least 1 touchdown in 10 of his last 11 games. His touchdown numbers did drop considerably in 2017 to only 7, but he makes up for it by averaging 7 catches and 108 receiving yards per game. In 2017, he averaged 21.5 fantasy points a game(PPR). With Ezekiel Elliott forcing defences to play with stacked boxes, I expect Gallup to do very well his rookie year.

Dallas Goedert — Tight End — Eagles

Goedert is an absolute monster at 6’4”, 260 pounds. Goedert does have to contend with Zach Ertz, but will see more playing time than most think. The Eagles played with two tight ends on the field just over 20 snaps a game last season. With no one behind Ertz, Goedert is there to step in immediately. With his incredible size, it’s likely that Goedert will see a good number of red zone targets.

Goedert played in the FCS, so his stats are hard to draw conclusions from, but he finished 2017 with 72 catches, 1,111 yards, and 7 touchdowns. He had at least 7 catches in 5 games, averaging 17 fantasy points per game overall last year (PPR).

Sleeper Pick:

Trey Quinn — Wide Receiver — Redskins

I’ve been following Trey Quinn since high school, where he broke the national receiving yards record. He finished his high school career with 4,599 receiving yards on 249 catches– an average of 18.5 per catch. Out of high school, Quinn went to LSU and like most receivers there, didn’t put up great numbers. He transferred to SMU and we got a glimpse of the ability he showed in the past. Quinn averaged almost 9 catches and 95 yards per game, and he had a three game stretch where he averaged 37.5 fantasy points a game. In 6 of his 13 games, he caught at least 8 passes.

Trey Quinn goes to the Redskins where there is no elite receiver on the roster. Jamison Crowder is probably their best option, with 66 receptions last year. Paul Richardson is next with 44 and Josh Doctson had 35. No other receiver on their 2018 roster had more than 6 receptions last year. The Redskins need more receiving talent. With that said, Quinn’s first challenge is to make the final roster and find a spot on the field. I think he does both of those things. He likely won’t be the flashiest receiver on the team, but he’s a ball catching machine and can be a deep sleeper in PPR leagues later in the season as he develops in the NFL.


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