With the 2010 NFL Draft in the books, there are a number of fantasy relevant rookies to consider on draft day. As history has taught us, rookie running backs have the best chance to make an immediate impact, but there are a number of quarterbacks and wide receivers that will have some fantasy relevance in their first year in the league. Our experts recap each position and list several rookies worth targeting in your 2010 Fantasy Football draft.
The Chargers traded up to ensure to be able to draft Mathews since he fills a clear void that will be left behind with the release of LaDainian Tomlinson. The Chargers have a potent offense that included a league high 28 goal line attempts. This season scat back Darren Sproles will play a slightly larger roll but Mathews should be the goal line, first and second down back. This makes Mathews the clear cut top fantasy rookie and he will be drafted that way. Early mock drafts have him going in round 3 or 4 however, as the hype grows we expect people to reach for this rookie as early as the second round. Now he might be worth an early pick just do not fall too much in love with him and draft this rookie over proven players.
This was certainly a surprise pick in the draft for the Bills since they already have Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson on the pay role. There were whispers before the draft that Lynch would get dealt this off-season and, with the drafting of Spiller, it is all but a certainty at this point. Spiller has been compared to Darren Sproles due to his quickness and we are betting he will be used in the same manner. His name and his 1200+ rushing yards at Clemson will probably get him drafted in the mid-rounds but buyer beware, the Bills still have one of if not the worst offensive lines in football which never leads to good things for fantasy stats. On a positive note, in return heavy leagues, Spiller’s value should be higher since he should be racking up the return yards this season.
The Lions drafted Kevin Smith not too long ago and he appeared to be on his way to becoming the featured back for the Lions for many years to come. However, a knee injury and the fact all NFL teams have incorporated the two-best-backs system led the Lions to draft Best. At Cal Best was a versatile back with great hands that averaged over 7 yards every time he touched the ball. This paired with the fact that there is a chance Kevin Smith will start the year on the injured list means Best is a great value pick in any point per reception leagues. Last season Matt Stafford was blitzed from all angles and will face the same situations again this year; however, Best may benefit from this since Stafford will be certainly dumping the ball off to Best to avoid getting his head removed from his shoulders again and again. Best could be great value mid to later rounds of the draft.
It is rumored that the Texans were targeting Ryan Mathews in the draft but when the Chargers leap- frogged them they moved to plan B which was Ben Tate. If that was the case, Tate is not a bad plan B at all. He is a big runner with 4.4 speed and is exactly what the Texans need. From a fantasy perspective, the fact Tate was drafted might be more telling for former top 15 pick Steve Slaton. Slaton went from undrafted to first round talent to a big question mark this year and Tate is that reason for the question mark. We actually see both backs as risk/reward players this season since head coach Gary Kubiak has proven in the past that he will start whoever doesn’t fumble the football. One can certainly guess that Slaton will be the 3rd down, pass catching back (better suited for point per reception leagues) and Tate will get the goal lines (better suited for standard scoring leagues). It is still yet to be seen who will be the 1st and 2nd down back but we think Tate just might be that guy making him a potentially fantastic late round value. (as long as he does not fumble the ball)
Current Browns running back Jerome Harrison helped numerous owners capture a championship last season, he was stellar down the stretch averaging 217 yards and 2.5 touchdowns in the semi and finals of most fantasy football leagues (week 15 and 16). So we thought that Harrison would get every chance to start and produce this season but with the Browns trading up to get Hardesty he might be on a shorter lease than one might think. Head coach Eric Mangini has said great things about Hardesty during their OTAs and it certainly seems that it is an open competition. One of the most impressive things about Hardesty is his soft hands for such a punishing-type runner. Unless you are drafting in Tennessee or with a bunch of SEC fans (he was a Vol) Hardesty will probably be over looked making him a perfect young guy with upside late round selection.
Chester Taylor is gone so the Vikings addressed the second running back need with Gerhart. It was an interesting pick since he is not a pass catching back and therefore is not a great compliment to Peterson. This actually means that Peterson value may increase especially if he starts catching more balls out of the backfield. If you are drafting Gerhart, it is only to be the new hand cuff to one of the leagues best running backs.
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