For fantasy players the draft is a scary time where we sit in front of our TVs hoping our players aren’t going to be pushed out by the recently drafted and probably overpaid rookies. But there are also NFL ready payers that, if they get picked by the right team, have a great chance of being fantasy studs quickly. Let’s take a look at some of the most fantasy relevant rookies:
Ryan Mathews — Though he sounds like a character from Boy Meets World he has landed in the best situation for a rookie, at least fantasy-wise and that’s the only wise we care about. The San Diego Chargers found themselves without a running back who could handle 20 carries a game and short yardage, and Mathews fit that bill. He has good vision and fits the run blocking scheme in SD and will have less decrepit body parts than LT who still had a decent year in their potent offense. Darren Sproles was never going to be the main back in SD so his fantasy value won’t change much. Mathews becomes fantasy relevant as of right now.
Dez Bryant — He fell in the draft due to character concerns, but Jerry Jones has no qualms grabbing a character. Bryant was the best receiver in the draft and the Cowboys got him at a super duper saver price. Miles Austin is still the main man, but Bryant could quickly be on the heels of Roy Williams. Kevin Ogletree had looked to get a chance to usurp the #2 WR throne, but that doesn’t look possible now. This could cut into Austin’s long term value a bit, but I still believe Austin is the man to own in Big D. The big winner of this pick is Tony Romo. Austin, Witten, Bryant and pass catching Felix Jones means Romo is going to keep the ball in the air.
Jahvid Best — The Lions had a good first round with A Man Named Suh and The Best. The Best isn’t going to run you over, but you can’t catch him. He will be fantasy relevant, especially if Kevin Smith isn’t ready for the season. He does have trouble staying off the injury report and he won’t be gaining tough yards. In ppr he’ll have much more value than non-ppr, much like Reggie Bush. He does help Matthew Stafford and it is looking like the Lions will be throwing the ball a lot.
Ben Tate — If you own Arian Foster and/or Steve Slaton you have to be really worried. Tate is a bruising back who should take over early downs which would replace Foster and push Slaton to a third down role. Tate isn’t a sure fired starter, but he will be given every chance and is worth a gamble in the Texans potent offense.
Golden Tate — The other Tate of the law offices of Tate and Tate landed in Seattle where he will get a chance to start soon. Deion Branch is old and injury prone and will be pushed by Tate sooner than later. Tate is a Steve Smith type, the one who punches people, and should get a lot of chances in Pete Carroll’s offense.
C.J. Spiller — He is a great talent, but Buffalo is where great talent goes to get frost bite. The Bills don’t plan on upgrading at QB, which means they have officially forfeited the 2010 season. Spiller is yet another back formed in the Reggie Bush mold which isn’t the mold you really want for fantasy dominance. He could be used as a returner/third-down back which might be his best chance to make big plays happen, but not become fantasy relevant. This does hurt Fred Jackson, but as long as Marshawn Lynch gets traded, which should happen, I don’t see it decimating his value.
Sam Bradford — I like this pick for the Rams and see Bradford having some success early, but it will take a small miracle for him to become fantasy relevant in one QB leagues. But any threat at QB will have to help Steven Jackson just a little.
Rob Gronkowski — The new Patriots tight end has had some back problems, but could easily be the best tight end in the draft. Add that to the powerful Patriots’ offense and you have fantasy goodness. Just hope he doesn’t miss a block or drop a pass because Belichick’s dog house isn’t where you want your fantasy players to reside.
Dexter McCluster — When the Chiefs picked McCluster Jamaal Charles owners felt a little piece of them die inside, that is until they took a look at Dexter and realized he wouldn’t murder them or their team since he is going to end up playing as a slot receiver.
Montario Hardesty — The Browns traded up to get Hardesty in the second round so they must like him, which means he will be given a shot to start, which means Jerome Harrison and James Davis will have one of the hardesty times ever this year if they want to stay fantasy relevant.
Demaryius Thomas — He’s 6’3”, 224 lbs and as long as his foot is 100 percent, which it should be, he will get a lot of playing time in a depleted Denver wide receiver crew that needs a big receiver.
Arrelious Benn — The Buccaneers needed a wide receiver and traded up to get Benn. There really is no reason he won’t be starting this season. He should be worth a 4th or 5th starter slot in deep leagues.
Jermaine Gresham — The Bengals never have much luck with tight ends, but Gresham is good enough to change that if they’ll use him. I’m still not sure about Palmer’s arm, and there are going to be 12 more stable tight ends to draft in redraft leagues, but he’s worth a look in dynasty’s.
Jimmy Clausen — He fell and fell some more, but landed in a nice cushy spot on the Carolina Panthers. With an offense geared toward the run, a solid offensive line, and an incumbent QB in Matt Moore that doesn’t have the job solidified, Jimmy likes his new digs. I still believe Moore will win the job this season, but Clausen has a shot to take it over in a year or two.