WHICH ROOKIES WILL HAVE THE BIGGEST FANTASY IMPACT IN 2015?

August 28, 2015

 

We are through two weeks of NFL Preseason, and more importantly, in the very heart of fantasy football draft season. As more and more fans are playing fantasy football than ever before, we are seeing a rise in 12-14 team "deep" leagues, as well as more keeper leagues. With this in mind, ScouTurf has put together an All-Rookie starting fantasy team this season to help you mine some gold in those later rounds.

 

QB

MARCUS MARIOTA

Through two games, Mariota has shown excellent composure and mental resiliency to bounce back from tough plays. Although he has kept plays alive with his feet, the most impressive thing about Mariota thus far has been his assimilation to the pro game, staying in the pocket and going through his checks. I think Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld said it best:

Just because Oregon didn't ask Mariota to take snaps under center and be a pocket passer doesn't mean he can't. In terms of fantasy, Mariota can be worth keeping as a QB2 on a deep bench or as a good bye week option QB for smaller 8-10 team leagues.

 ROOKIE YEAR PROJECTION: 3,177 passing yards, 18 TDs, 14 INTs, 472 rushing yards, 5 TDs

 

RB

TJ YELDON

Although the Jaguars have kept Yeldon on the shelf thus far this preseason (he sustained a knock on his hand during a scrimmage), we fully expect Yeldon to get a lions-share of the carries in Duval. Although there is valid concern about a crowded backfield, with Denard Robinson, Toby Gerhart and Bernard Pierce as candidates to poach carries from Yeldon, the Jaguars didn't take him at the top of the second round to split carries.

New Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson has been adamant that the offense will be run-heavy this year, and Doug Marrone's new gap blocking scheme has been impressive by early accounts. Oh, and the last time the Jaguars took a RB in the second round, he ended up being pretty good (see Jones-Drew, Maurice).

ROOKIE YEAR PROJECTION: 1,128 rushing yards, 12 TDs, 226 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

 

AMEER ABDULLAH

Abdullah has shown deadly agility and balance through two preseason games - two traits he was known for at Nebraska. Although Joique Bell seems like he will enter the season on top of the depth chart, don't be surprised if it is more of a 1(a) and 1(b) situation for the Lions, depending on down and distance. Abdullah has also shown ability to catch the ball out of the backfield and get in and out of cuts with ease.

Running behind two strong run blocking guards in Laken Tomlinson and Larry Warford is also a big boost for Abdullah, and the offensive line situation is ultimately why I put Abdullah in here above Todd Gurley.

ROOKIE YEAR PROJECTION: 888 rushing yards, 6 TDs, 471 receiving yards, 5 receiving TDs

 

WR

AMARI COOPER

Don't overthink this one. Amari Cooper will be the centerpiece for new Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave this season, who seems to have tailored his offense to match Derek Carr's short passing offense at Fresno State. While Cooper may not catch a ton of balls over the top despite possessing the second gear to get there, look for the Raiders to manufacture a ton of touches for Cooper on screens and slants, where he has the run after catch ability to break away from tackles and pick up yards.

While Cooper is the #1 rookie WR in this article, he is talented enough to garner consideration as a #2 WR on deeper leagues or a flex option for 8-10 team leagues.

ROOKIE YEAR PROJECTION: 1,178 receiving yards, 11 TDs, 96 rushing yards, 1 TD

 

NELSON AGHOLOR

Jeremy Maclin's offseason departure to join Andy Reid in Kansas City left a huge void on the Eagles roster at WR. Enter Agholor, who was not only extremely productive as a wide receiver at USC, but also electric on special teams and returns. Similar to Cooper, the Eagles will need to find ways to get the ball in Agholor's hands in any way they can, but one advantage that Agholor has over Cooper is that he has a Jordan Matthews on the other side/in the slot to help take some attention off him.

Agholor has struggled with a few drops this preseason, but this shouldn't be too much of a concern. Expect the new Eagle to be productive in his rookie season. Start Agholor as a WR2 or flex vs. defenses with older cornerbacks that will have trouble tracking speed.

ROOKIE YEAR PROJECTION: 922 receiving yards, 8 TDs, 101 rushing yards, 2 TDs

 

FLEX

TYLER LOCKETT

This may come as a surprise to people with receivers like Breshad Perriman, Jaelen Strong and Dorial Green-Beckham in the mix, but there is a method to the madness. When the Seahawks moved up to snag Lockett, they did so with the intention of grabbing the replacement for Golden Tate, who's production was matched via receiver-by-committee in Seattle last year. Lockett is more than just a kick and punt returner. He shows incredible tactical awareness, runs crisp routes, and controls the middle of the field while still showcasing the speed to beat players deep on the outside.

With the addition of Jimmy Graham in Seattle demanding defensive attention, look for Lockett to eat. Keep Lockett on your bench as a flex option depending on match ups.

ROOKIE YEAR PROJECTION: 778 receiving yards, 7 TDs, 80 rushing yards, 3 Return TDs

 

TE

MAXX WILLIAMS

It is no secret that this TE class was one of the weakest in recent memory, but one player who fell into a really nice situation is former Minnesota Golden Gopher Maxx Williams. The Ravens offense has traditionally tried to give their tight ends plenty of targets, and with Dennis Pitta's status up in the air after consecutive hip surgeries, Williams may end up being Flacco's favorite receiver early, especially in the red zone.

Throw in the fact that Breshad Perriman can't seem to stay healthy and Steve Smith has one foot out the door, Maxx Williams should have plenty of production. Oh, and you can say he has been pretty physical blocking, too.

ROOKIE YEAR PROJECTION: 564 receiving yards, 9 TDs

 

 

 

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