Redraftable Rookies Vol 2
An updated look at the rookies for 2014
Drafting rookies in fantasy football can be a very dicey proposition. Rarely do the year-end stats measure up to the preseason hype. Today, I will be looking at some of the more intriguing rookie prospects for 2014 in terms of redraft value. These are players who, we feel, are game-ready and or have a chance to earn substantive playing time in 2014. I've also added some backs who project as high-value handcuff options, like Ka'Deem Carey, Jerick McKinnon and Charles Sims.
This is the first update to the redraftable rookies, and I will provide a few more updates as we roll through the summer and facts change in training camps.
Check out our Top 300, just posted this week and check out our initial player projections if you haven't already done so.
I'll be updating the projections some time next week, so check back for that. I will also be updating our Rookie Rankings for Dynasty leagues in the next few days.
As you read through these rankings, you'll see a scouting report link for each player. These links take you to that player's in-depth Rotobahn scouting report. Each report gives you our full breakdown on the player plus game film. They are well worth digging into, especially if you play in long term formats or large redraft leagues.
1) Bishop Sankey, RB, Titans
You may find it hard to beat the Bishop when it comes to rookie backs in 2014. He’s the one guy with a fix on a starting job and fantasy value starts with opportunity. Having said that, Sankey is starting for a reason. If you are not familiar with the former Washington star, then read his full scouting report. Sankey will cede some work to veteran Shonn Greene and that will include some goal line action. Then you have the new offense which is a mild concern, though we have confidence that Ken Whisenhunt will settle things down. Sankey should have low-end RB2 value in most 12-team formats and he has the upside for better if Tennessee gets the offense working well.
2) Terrance West, RB, Browns
Yes, he’s not even starting, but when you do all the math on West, it’s hard not to conclude that he’ll be packing some serious weekly value at some point in 2014. First off, we expect Cleveland to run the ball enough for two backs to work up a lather. West could end up with some flex appeal in deep leagues even if starter Ben Tate stays healthy. However, if Tate misses time as he’s done most every season, West’s value could explode. There’s also the chance that West could simply steal the gig over time or even in training camp. He’s got enough upside to draft at his current ADP of 84 if you play in a 12-team league with a flex spot. Check out West's scouting report if you have not already.
3) Mike Evans, WR, Bucs
He’s got a lot of the qualities we look for. Read his full scouting report for all the details, but the key detail for this piece is that Evans can be an every-down option in Tampa and he has serious red zone chops. If the Bucs are a functional offense, Evans has a very good chance at WR3 value in 12-team leagues, and he’s got some upside too—probably caps out at WR2 in 12-team leagues.
4) Brandin Cooks, WR, Saints
The Saints’ offense is a well-oiled machine and they should be able to integrate Cooks in seamless fashion as they did with Kenny Stills in 2013. Cooks is an inside-outside option who can even line up in the backfield if you want him to. This is a kid who prides himself on YAC. Here’s what he said when we caught him at The Combine. “For me, I like taking a short pass and breaking it for a run. Catch a shallow, catch a hitch, catch a slant and make one miss and go.” Folks, I think Sean Payton agrees. Look for Cooks to play a diverse role in 2014. He’ll be part Darren Sproles and part Lance Moore and he’ll be more explosive than either one of them. We project eventual WR3 value with WR2 upside. Read Brandin’s full scouting report if you haven't already.
5) Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals
This is a player whose impact is not being seen in a lot of the ADP out here. Hill could have a huge impact in Cincy if he picks up the new offense quickly. If he fails to do so, we could see the Bengals leaning on Gio Bernard as a lead dog. Hill is a player to follow very closely in August. A strong camp changes both the value of Hill and Gio’s as well. Jeremy is a back who can play on all three downs and he’s a potential goal line monster. Check out his scouting report if you have not already.
6) Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers
Frank Gore cannot be discounted, but we think some folks are discounting Hyde, who we think is arguably the best back in this year’s class. He is going to be the lead man in Frisco at some point and perhaps some point this year. I want him on my team if I can get him late in smaller drafts and in the middle of larger ones. He’ll climb up our board if he has the kind of training camp we think he’s capable of having. Check out Carlos' glowing scouting report. This is a player to know about.
7) Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, Giants
We are big on Beckham. Read his scouting report to find out all the specifics and to watch his film. Odell’s game-ready and his team invested the 12th overall pick on his talents. There is a concern that the Giants have enough depth at receiver to bring Odell along slowly, but that’s not why you take a WR at 12 overall in a deep draft. The G-Men plan on giving Beckham every opportunity and the Giants should play a ton of three receiver sets in 2014. We think Odell will be a WR3 in 12-team leagues at some point this season if not right away. Long term, we think he has yearly Pro Bowl potential.
8) Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills
Sammy was our top rated receiver heading into the draft. Sadly, of all the elite options, he was dealt the worst hand in terms of NFL locale. Buffalo is a cold windy place that currently lacks a QB with NFL chops. While we fully expect Watkins to impress, he will have to really earn it. Still, when a team trades up to the 4th spot to draft you, you can expect a lot of playing time. That reality, combined with Watkins top shelf skill set should give him WR3 appeal as a rookie, and he has upside for better if EJ Manuel settles in and plays better in his sophomore campaign. Read Sammy’s complete scouting report.
9) Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Panthers
In his scouting report, we dubbed him Mr. Upside, and he still is. Benjamin will be given every chance imaginable to make an impact as a rookie, and he has the talent to do it. The risk lies in his somewhat raw skill set and the fact that defenses can key on him. Still, his potential for high volume and his red zone potential are reason enough for excitement. He’ll be rostered in any league I play in. He has WR2 upside with some bust potential if you overdraft him. If there’s one game that sort of frames Benjamin perfectly, it would be last year against Florida. You see it all there. The concerning elements and the eye-popping talent.
10) Jordan Matthews, WR, Eagles
He impressed us with his game film and then again at the Combine, where he was confident and intelligent. Read his entire scouting report for full illumination, but we see high-end potential as soon as this season. The issue is the rookie curve and a very deep Eagles offense—even without DeSean Jackson.
11) Tre Mason, RB, Rams
Having a good camp will be huge for Mason because the Rams have an established starter who they can lean on heavily if need be. Having said that, Mason has the skill set to earn a large share of the job once he is settled in. This is situation to monitor both for Mason’s value and, more importantly, for Stacy’s. Read Tre's Rotobahn scouting report if you haven't already.
12) Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons
We remain unconvinced that Steven Jackson will own the touches in Atlanta this season now that there’s legit competition on the roster in the form of Freeman. We expect a job share that could go either way based on how the players perform, but with Jackson’s age and injury history, we are a lot more excited about Devonta at his current ADP of 116 than Jackson and his ADP of 67. We see the former Seminole as a game-ready player. Read his scouting report for all the details and some good film.
13) De’Anthony Thomas, RB/WR, Chiefs
Thomas is a complex talent and I recommend digesting his scouting report. The reason he’s got redraft potential is because of the team that took him. Thomas is a potentially excellent fit for Andy Reid’s scheme and he’s a pure playmaker. If he has RB eligibility, he could be a serious sleeper in PPR formats. He’s definitely a talent to monitor in camp, and remember, Dexter McCluster is a Tennessee Titan. There’s significant opportunity in K.C. for anybody who can add any kind of dimension to the passing attack. If he picks up the system quickly, he could be a factor from the get go.
14) Marqise Lee, WR, Jaguars
As I said in his scouting report, Lee is a NFL-ready player. He’s also on a team that needs receiver help. It's quite possible that Lee becomes the Jaguars' number one option at some point this season. He’s got WR3 potential in 12-team formats and he could be draft able in smaller leagues if he has a good camp. Right now, Lee is a nice late round sleeper in larger formats.
15) Johnny Manziel, QB, Browns
His name recognition could cause him to be over drafted, so be careful with where you select him, because quarterback depth is at an all time high. The Rotobahn QB Plan will be out closer to drafting season and we’ll have several strategies for how to build your quarterback position based on league size, your draft position and so on. Right now, we envision Manziel posting QB1 caliber fantasy numbers because he can score points in so many ways. He’ll be a top 20 option in redrafts if he is starting for the Browns and he has the kind of fantasy upside we saw from RGIII in his rookie year. The rub is that, if they allow him to run free, you have substantive injury risk. Johnny Football is definitely a risk worth taking at his current ADP of 144. The question is, does his ADP spike at all if and when he’s named starter? We’ll keep you posted. Check out Manziel's scouting report.
16) Jerick McKinnon, RB, Vikings
McKinnon is one of our favorite rookies, but his fantasy appeal in 2014 is as a handcuff option to Adrian Peterson. Assuming McKinnon beats out the very average Matt Asiata for the backup job, he is a very solid handcuff because he has plenty of big play ability. Check out Jerick's scouting report if you have not already.
17) Ka'Deem Carey, RB, Bears
Like McKinnon, Carey's value could be limited to being a handcuff, but he's a potentially excellent one for those who invest heavily in Matt Forte. Carey's got 3-down ability and he can do all the things a back needs to do in Marc Trestman's offense. He'll be an improvement on Michael Bush assuming he can beat out Michael Ford for the backup job and we think he will. Check out Ka'Deem's scouting report.
18) Charles Sims, RB, Bucs
Sims could play his way into a shared role with starter Doug Martin. As I said in Sims' scouting report, he has top shelf ability as a receiver and that could dovetail nicely with Martin's early down chops. The key will be how Sims picks up the offense as a rookie and that big key is pass protection. Sims is a guy to watch in the coming weeks.
19) Eric Ebron, TE, Lions
While we like Ebron, as we said in his scouting report, and expect him to get a chance to play significant snaps as a rookie, we also see a growth curve for the former Tar Heel star. In our view, the realistic hope is that Ebron becomes a startable talent as the season wears on. Anything more than that should be considered a bonus.
20) Allen Robinson, WR, Jaguars
We are big fans of Robinson's upside, but he does have Marqise Lee and Cecil Shorts to contend with on Jacksonville's depth chart and he's already had some hamstring issues this offseason. He has all the talent he needs and we think he's a player with a future. For him to get going early as a rookie, he'll need to get healthy and digest the playbook. You can get a good look at Robinson by reading his Rotobahn scouting report.
21) Cody Latimer, WR, Broncos
We are huge fans of his game and you can find out why by reading Cody's scouting report. His redraft appeal is all about Peyton Manning and the Denver offense. Latimer should be running early on as the 4th receiver behind Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Emmanuel Sanders, but one injury is all it takes for him to be center stage and he has the skill to make big plays and the size to be a red zone factor. Latimer will be rostered in any large league that I play in.
22) Jace Amaro, TE, Jets
Amaro is an interesting player because he plays on a team that is looking for targets in the passing game. As I said in his scouting report, Amaro is a catch-first tight end who spent very little time playing in-line at Texas Tech. He has some redraft appeal because he could become a legit weapon for the Jets as the season wears on. On the negative side, Amaro was said to be struggling with the Jets offense during OTAs. One thing you can bank on is that the Jets are going to give this kid plenty of chances. He could move up with a good camp.
23) Paul Richardson, WR, Seahawks
He’s being sold as a special teamer in 2014 and Seattle is certainly a team that makes rookies earn their playing, as we learned with Christine Michael in 2013. Having said that, Richardson is a receiver who will make impact plays in the Seahawks offense. He could force his way onto the field at some point. If he flashes in camp, we’ll be looking to nab him late in large drafts. Read our glowing scouting report on the Colorado star, if you have not already.
24) Andre Williams, RB, Giants
This is an upside listing. If you read Williams' scouting report, you know we like his talent. And, lucky for him, he landed on a team that just might be willing to roll with a big back, since the Giants have had success with Brandon Jacobs in recent years. There's a lot of competition in New York but there's no stud back to contend with. We'll be keeping a close eye on Williams in camp. The early favorite for carries is Rashad Jennings, but he's a back who's stuggled with health in the past. If Williams ends up second on the depth chart, he will have some redraft appeal.
25) Dri Archer, RB/WR, Steelers
This may surprise some people, but we think Archer is a player to watch in camp. The Steelers don’t have any players who have the kind of explosiveness we see from Archer on film. He doesn’t need a ton of snaps to make an impact and he can play all over the formation. Don’t go drafting him just yet, but keep an eye on him. If you think a player like Andrew Hawkins is exciting, just wait until you get a load of Dri Archer. Check out his scouting report if you haven’t already.
26) Lache Seastrunk, RB, Redskins
Washington’s backfield could go a lot of ways this year with a new coaching staff. Seastrunk was drafted by the new regime and that’s no small detail. The main thing to know about the former Baylor back is that he’s a big play waiting for a place to happen if you give him some room to run. For Seastrunk to have a big rookie year, he will have to have a good camp and earn a role. His primary competition will come from incumbent starter Alfred Morris and Roy Helu. Check out his scouting report if you haven’t seen Lache run. HC Jay Gruden is looking for playmakers and Seastrunk’s a guy who can hit the home run. He could be a nice sleeper with a decent training camp.
27) Davante Adams, WR, Packers
The positives are Adams’ obvious talent and the fact that he’s landed with a HOF QB in his prime. Still, as we said in Adams’ scouting report, he does have some things to work on and it’s quite possible that he will be a fourth receiver for a period of time. If he can out-perform Jarett Boykin in camp, he could be the third receiver out of the gate and that would make him an interesting fantasy option. That is far from a given. Boykin is talented in his own right and played 59 percent of the Packers offensive snaps in 2013 putting up 49 receptions for 681 yards and three scores.
28) Jarvis Landry, WR, Dolphins
He could move up in these rankings with a solid camp because he's a potential PR asset if he cracks the top three in Miami's rotation. For a complete picture of just how good this player could be, check out his scouting report. Right now, he's a potential sleeper for large PPR formats.
29) Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Vikings
People are totally asleep on this guy as a fantasy sleeper. There is potential for legit value here if Teddy wins the starting job. That’s far from a given, but we are big fans of the Vikings’ skill talent from top to bottom. All they need is an accurate QB who can get the ball to the playmakers. If the rookie can fill that void, he can be relevant for fantasy purposes. Remember, this is a QB with plus mobility and outstanding awareness. We expect some foot points in addition to what he can do with his arm. Can he beat out Matt Cassel from day one? It’s a story worth following for fantasy GMs. Check out Bridgewater’s scouting report if you have not already. Teddy is currently going undrafted in most seasonal leagues.
30) John Brown, WR, Cardinals
We think he'll have a better year than Ted Ginn (Brown's primary competitior for snaps) when all is said and done, and that will include some big plays. Brown could get into the redraft discussion in big redraft leagues and he makes a nice insurance policy for those who invest heavily in either Larry Fitzgerald or Michael Floyd. If you are unfamiliar with the kid from Pitt State, check out his scouting report.
31) Chandler Jones, WR, Browns
Here's our sleeper. Jones was not drafted though we think he should have been, as I mention in his scouting report. The speedy receiver out of San Jose State has landed on a Browns roster that needs receivers like the Mets need outfielders. He's not getting much buzz, but we think he has some redraft potential. He could be a player worth boning up on just in case.
32) Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Bucs
If you read his scouting report, you'll see why we think he has big upside for fantasy purposes. He's a big athletic target with excellent red zone poyential. The key for his fantasy value is going to be playing time and then how they use him. We'll be watching the Bucs tight end group closely this summer. ASF will be competing with Brandon Myers and Tim Wright for playing time.
33) Jeremy Gallon, WR, Patriots
We're big fans of the pint-sized Michigan product and we were excited to see him land with the Patriots--a team that could get the best out of his skill set. While there are some good players ahead of him, there are also a lot of banged up players or guys with thick injury histories. If Julian Edleman or Danny Amendola get banged up, Gallon could provide a spark. Give Gallon's scouting report a read if you have not already.
34) Isaiah Crowell, RB, Browns
He's a serious talent with a lot of maturing to do, but you'll want him on your roster if he ends up playing meaningful snaps as a rookie. That could happen if there's an injury to either Ben Tate or Terrance West. Given Tate's history of missing time, Crowell is a name to know and perhaps even draft in really deep formats. Training camp will be huge for Isaiah. Check out his full scouting report if you've never seen him run. This kid has eye-opening talent.
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