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 South Impact rookies
When I think 2015 NFL rookies, I think about the Tennessee Titans. They have a trio of players who could be starters by the time the calendar turns to 2016. Quarterback Marcus Mariota is the top dog here. His development will shape the franchise. He can be a game-changer, and was drafted second overall because of it. Mariota killed it at the combine, running a 4.52 40-yard dash. He’s also good sized for a running quarterback at 6-foot-4, 222 pounds. He won every award an NCAA quarterback could hope to win, including the Heisman Trophy, as a senior. He also gets to cut his NFL teeth alongside an elite athletic receiver in rookie Dorial Green-Beckham. He has off-field risk, which seems to be a common problem in the NFL. However, he’s also a 6-foot-5, 237-pound monster who NFL analyst Mike Mayock compared to Hall-of-Famer Randy Moss. David Cobb, a 5-11, 229-pound running back from Minnesota, completes the potential trifecta. There is already talk that Cobb could surpass Bishop Sankey as the starting running back. Sankey has had a strong preseason, and he may need to stay strong to keep Cobb off the field. The rookie set a Gophers’ record with 1,626 rushing yards last season. He had two 200-yard games. Start, start, start.
Because of the less than ideal quarterback situation, I’ve been avoiding WR Jaelen Strong in drafts. Brian Hoyer got the gig, and he actually wasn’t awful as the Browns starter. Strong is still behind DeAndre Hopkins, Cecil Shorts and Nate Washington on the depth chart, but if Hoyer and the Texans offense surprise in 2015, Strong should show flashes that will have fantasy owners salivating for 2016. Stash him.
T.J. Yeldon is the top rookie running back this season, depending on who you talk to anwyay. Yeldon is primed to get a large volume of carries as the lead back in Jacksonville while his peers are either struggling with pass protection or recovering from injuries. Although he has a lower ceiling than his tiers, he was drafted with the fourth pick of the second round, so he’ll have a decent leash to work with. Yeldon is a good bet to be fantasy relevant in 2015 and beyond. Start him.
When the Colts drafted Miami WR prospect Phillip Dorsett the rich got richer, adding another speedster to a lineup that already boasts T.Y. Hilton. He’s stuck behind Hilton, Andre Johnson, Donte Moncrief, Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, but that offense has a lot of passes to go around. As Dorsett proved in college — 10 TDs on just 36 catches in 2014 — he doesn’t need many opportunities to make people take notice. Talent rises to the top in the NFL and Dorsett appears to have a lot of it. Start him.
Draft well. May variance be in you favor today and every day.