It seems every season more NFL rookies are ready for primetime, which means they’re ready to contribute to our fantasy teams.
Last year, rookies Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., Jeremy Hill, Tre Mason and even linebacker Chris Borland all performed well above what we 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 because they will get opportunities early. 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 North Impact Rookies
The Bengals did draft a skill position player, Tyler Kroft, but he’s a 22-year-old third-string tight end. There’s little chance he makes an impact. That said, third-round TCU linebacker Paul Dawson is also a third-stringer at this point, however, I’m a little more excited for his opportunity. He’s stuck behind Vontaze Burfict, who missed 11 games last season after combining for a sick 298 tackles the previous two seasons, and Vincent Ray, who piled up 121 tackles last season. However, Dawson made 136 tackles, including 20 for losses and made four pics as a senior in 2014. He was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year. Those are the kinds of credentials that scream Stash Him.
WR Sammie Coates is 6-foot-1, 212 pounds and had a monster combine. The Steelers selected him with the 23rd pick in the third round. That means he’s not guaranteed playing time — especially not with Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant ahead of him — but they spent enough on him that they’ll give him a couple chances, and that might be all Coates needs. The speedster amassed 209 yards on five catches against Alabama and was invited to the Senior Bowl. Stash him.
Just when you thought the Browns backfield was going to be a mess, they go and draft RB Duke Johnson and make it a really big mess. Johnson is currently third on the depth chart, but the Browns aren’t sure what they’re doing with that backfield. If it wasn’t for Johnson’s hamstring injury this preseason we all may have a very different opinion about Johnson. The explosive runner finished as miami’s all-time leading rusher with 3,519 yards. He ran for 249 yards against Virginia Tech. When he gets his opportunity. It will come, and soon, Johnson will be poised to take the reigns while Isaiah Crowell and Terrence West struggle. Start him.
WR Breshad Perriman is the top rookie in a pretty good crop for the Ravens. He is WR1 material, 6-foot-2, 212 pounds out of Texas Christian University, where he amassed 50 catches, more than 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns in a run-heavy offense. Perriman suffered a knee injury this preseason, clouding his immediate future, but he is supposed to be back before teams smash pads in real football. He’s also expected to start opposite Steve Smith. He is one of the top rookie receivers to target. Start him.
Draft well. May variance be in your favor today and every day.