With this year’s NFL draft in the books, it’s never too early to think about which rookies will be able to impact your fantasy football team. Or maybe you’re in a league that has an offseason rookie draft.
Here’s a look at 10 rookies to watch this fall who have been drafted into good fantasy situations:
10. Andre Ellington, RB, Arizona: Look for him to get on the field frequently. Rashard Mendenhall looks like the starter, but has durability issues. Even with a healthy Mendenhall and the presence of fellow rookie Stepfan Taylor, Ellington has great balance and top speed that an offensive coordinator will want on the field.
9. Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati: Quarterback Andy Dalton has another big red zone target to go alongside Jermaine Gresham and A.J. Green. Two-tight end sets will be common, as Eifert is a huge target that can catch anything and Gresham remains one of fantasy football’s better tight end options.
8. Joseph Randle, RB, Dallas: DeMarco Murray is not the most durable back, so Randle definitely has an opportunity to contribute. Like Murray, Randle is a good straight-line back with a few moves. He’s a tough runner who can shed tacklers.
7. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh: He’d just as soon hurdle a defensive back as he would run over one. He’s a big back that can definitely contribute early on for the Steelers. The backs on the roster now only produced three 100-yard rushing games last year. Bell will definitely get his chance.
6. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston: He doesn’t look like an instant super star, but he doesn’t have to be with Andre Johnson on the field. If he can provide a quality target for Matt Schaub, both receivers’ fantasy value goes up. He can be a quality deep threat, but also has the tools to be a nice possession receiver.
5. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota: With the additions of Greg Jennings and now Patterson, the Vikings have pretty good targets for the improving Christian Ponder. Patterson uses his size to make catches and seems to glide as he eludes tacklers.
4. Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati: Will take plenty of reps away from BenJarvis Green-Ellis. He’s elusive, with a low center of gravity, and is always falling forward. He’s the type of player the Bengals will want to get touches, despite not being the starter. He can catch passes out of the backfield as well. Hope his previously injured knee isn’t an issue.
3. Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis: The Rams are in desperate need of a playmaker at the wideout position and they just may have gotten him. Though he lacks size, he’s tougher than most guys with his stature. He can be an asset in the return game as well since he’s so good out in space. Sam Bradford needed someone to replace Danny Amendola, and he got him.
2. Montee Ball, RB, Denver: The Broncos are clearly in need of a dependable running back. Knowshon Moreno doesn’t look to be that guy and Willis McGahee is getting up there in age. Ball is nothing if not a reliable every-down back. He finished the 2012 season with 356 carries, 1,830 yards and 22 touchdowns facing defenses that keyed in on stopping him.
1. Eddie Lacy, RB, Green Bay: In a case of the rich getting richer, the Packers’ potent offense was gifted possibly the best running back in the draft. He’ll have immediate impact since the Pack’s best rusher last year, Alex Green, only gained 464 yards. Look for Green Bay to mix in more runs into their game plans since Lacy can be a workhorse if necessary.