By HAYES RULE (@Rule0021)
Photo credit goes to Dallas News
Ezekiel Elliott is going to be a top-10 pick in fantasy football drafts this year.
That’s more concrete than his abs. When was the last time we could say a rookie would be a first-round selection? Never?
Elliott will be the talk of this year’s rookie class, but it’s the unknown -- the late-round selections -- who can really propel your team to a championship. The following rankings of this year’s rookie class is based on standard ESPN scoring.
1. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
2. Josh Doctson, WR, Washington Redskins
3. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
4. Laquon Treadwell, WR, Minnesota Vikings
5. Sterling Shepard, WR, New York Giants
6. Corey Coleman, WR, Cleveland Browns
7. Will Fuller, WR, Houston Texans
8. Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
9. Kenneth Dixon, RB, Baltimore Ravens
10. Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans
11. Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams
12. Malcolm Mitchell, WR, New England Patriots
13. Kenyan Drake, RB, Miami Dolphins
14. Devontae Booker, RB, Denver Broncos
15. Pharoh Cooper, Los Angeles Rams
If you’re in a rookie draft, jump into the top eight, because it falls off after Tyler Boyd. Wide receivers dominate this class of offensive rookies, as seven of them will most likely be starting for their respective teams.
Jared Goff. Photo credit goes to oregonlive.com.
1. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams
2. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
3. Paxton Lynch, Denver Broncos
4. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
5. Cody Kessler, Cleveland Browns
6. Christian Hackenberg, New York Jets
7. Cardale Jones, Buffalo Bills
Ranking rookie quarterbacks can be awkward, as it entirely depends on opportunity. I expect only two rookies -- Goff and Wentz -- to start this year. Because of the steeper learning curve for Wentz, I give Goff the nod despite having worse weapons at his disposal. The five others on the list could be intriguing if the team’s starter were to suffer an injury.
Paxton Lynch will probably not start right away, but if Mark Sanchez mistakes another butt for the end zone, the rookie may earn an opportunity. Tony Romo is probably taking calcium shots to do whatever it takes to avoid another collarbone injury, but if he unfortunately were to miss more games, Dak Prescott will be an interesting name to watch.
1. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
2. Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore Ravens
3. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans
4. Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins
5. Devontae Booker, Denver Broncos
6. Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears
7. C.J. Prosise, Seattle Seahawks
8. Paul Perkins, New York Giants
9. Jonathan Williams, Buffalo Bills
10. Wendell Smallwood, Philadelphia Eagles
The running back position doesn’t get any deeper this year, as Ezekiel Elliott is truly the only running back I would feel comfortable starting. Kenneth Dixon may receive a notable amount of carries in Baltimore alongside Lorenzo Taliaferro, but for the most part, many of the rookies will be in cloudy backfields.
Of note: In PPR leagues, Kenyan Drake could be a sleeper depending on his average draft position. New Dolphins head coach Adam Gase loves to throw the ball to running backs (see: Matt Forte’s whopping 102 receptions in 2014), and Drake will take on that duty in Miami.
Josh Doctson. Photo credit goes to USA Today.
1. Josh Doctson, Washington Redskins
2. Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
3. Laquon Treadwell, Minnesota Vikings
4. Sterling Shepard, New York Giants
5. Corey Coleman, Cleveland Browns
6. Will Fuller, Houston Texans
7. Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals
8. Malcolm Mitchell, New England Patriots
9. Pharoh Cooper, Los Angeles Rams
10. Leonte Caroo, Miami Dolphins
What we lack at running back we retain in wide receivers. The top seven wide receivers can all make a big impact this year with -- for the most part -- solid quarterbacks to throw them the ball. (Thanks for ruining it, Cleveland.) I’m slightly higher on Michael Thomas and Sterling Shepard than most; Thomas has Drew Brees -- ‘nuff said -- and Shepard gets to run alongside Odell Beckham Jr. with Eli Manning slinging it around the field.
Watch out for Malcolm Mitchell. Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola have struggled to stay on the field, which could open an opportunity for Mitchell to catch some nice, soft balls from Tom Brady.
1. Hunter Henry, San Diego Chargers
2. Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams
3. Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons
4. Jerell Adams, New York Giants
5. Thomas Duarte, Miami Dolphins
Not much to see here, folks. If you’re relying on a rookie tight end… God bless your soul. Hunter Henry will be good eventually, but Antonio Gates is still Philip Rivers’ main target.