It seems every season more NFL rookies are ready for primetime, which means they’re ready to contribute to our fantasy teams.
Last year, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Jeremy Hill, Tre Mason and even linebacker Chris Borland all performed well above we could have expected on draft day.
Which rookies should you draft and stash or draft and start, let’s talk about the best rookie or two on each NFL team. Start him players should be drafted or put on waiver wire speed dial in all leagues. Stash him players should be drafted with the intention of holding them for a year or two in dynasty and keeper leagues to see if they develop into stars.
Other impact rookies:
2015 AFC East impact rookies
Although I haven’t drafted him yet, rookie wide receiver Devante Parker is easily one of my favorite rookies this season. He’s 6-foot-3, 209 pounds, which means he doesn’t have elite size, but he’s big enough that it won’t be a hindrance. More importantly, Parker is on and up-and-coming passing offense that lost a combined 115 catches, 1,467 yards and 13 TDs with the departure of Mike Wallace and Charles Clay. Parker has been hurt — he’s questionable for Week 1 — and he’s in full pads but not practice at the time of this writing. Still, his talent level is too high to ignore. Start him.
New York Jets
At 6-foot and 196 pounds, wide receiver Devin Smith isn’t going to intimidate opposing corners with his stature, but he may with his speed and playmaking ability. NFL.com compared him to DeSean Jackson on draft day and his senior season numbers back that up. He led Ohio State with 930 yards, he also scored 12 TDs and averaged 28.2 yards per catch. Smith won’t start ahead of Eric Decker or Brandon Marshall this season, but he’s the kind of player who could show flashes in 2015, setting up a breakout season in 2016. Stash him.
Former safety Karlos Williams is 6-foot-1, 230 pounds. He’s penciled in as RB4 but both of LeSean McCoy’s backups, Fred Jackson and Boobie Dixon are already ailing. I’ll be interested to see what Williams does when he gets his opportunity. He flashed excellent speed at the combine, posting a 4.48 40-yard dash. His size also means that he could be extra effective as a pass-blocker, meaning he could be a three-down back once he gets his chance. Stash him.
New England Patriots
The Super Bowl champions didn’t make any waves at skill positions in the draft. Their one big pickup was defensive end Malcolm Brown with the last pick of the first round. The Texas product is huge, coming in at 340 pounds according to ESPN’s profile. While he’s penciled in as a backup defensive tackle on the current projected depth chart, New England’s defense moves personnel around a lot. It’ll be interesting to see if Brown can take advantage of his opportunities when he gets them. Stash him.