Friday, August 10, 2012

Draft Prep: Rookies

Trent Richardson (RB, CLE, ADP 30.6, My draft position 40): Richardson will be the first rookie taken in the draft this year and will be the workhorse in Cleveland. He should be getting at least 20 carries a game in a Cleveland offense that should not be as terrible as recent years. And remember how Peyton Hillis had success? Well, Richardson has a chance to really shine assuming his knee problems do not take him out for too long. Richardson has looked like a beast in training camp and might be one the most hyped backs since Adrian Peterson. But with his recent surgery, I would not take Richardson until late third round or fourth.

Doug Martin (RB, TB, ADP 78.4, MDP 47): Martin has looked very explosive in camp and has already have earned himself the majority of carries over LeGarrette Blount. And for where he is being drafted, Martin has the best value of any of the rookies this year. He really has a chance to excel in the run first Tampa offense and an offense where they have lost faith in Blount. While Blount will see the goaline carries, expect Martin to make an impact everywhere else. He is moving up lots of draft boards, but I would still consider taking him as early as the fourth round.

Robert Griffin III (QB, WAS, ADP 81.7, MDP 70): Another guy moving up draft boards is none other than the immensely popular RGIII. After a phenomenal start to his preseason, RGIII looks like the real deal. Unlike Andrew Luck, Griffin has placed into a much better offense with targets like Santana Moss, Pierre Garcon, and Fred Davis. Throw in Leonard Hankerson and Roy Helu and you've got decent talent. But the hype with RGIII is really about what he can do with not only his arms, but also his legs. It would not be unwise to expect somewhere around 500 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns this season. But be careful with RGIII as all rookie quarterbacks will struggle. So have modest expectations with a high ceiling and moderately low basement.

Andrew Luck (QB, IND, ADP 125, MDP 140): Luck is the closest thing to a young Peyton Manning we have seen. But, like Manning, immediate success is far from guaranteed. The Colts' offense is still a year or two away from recovery. Luck does have Reggie Wayne, who people are acting like is dead. He's old, not dead, folks. Do not count him out completely. And he also has a two tight end system including Coby Fleener, his dependable target at Stanford. Luck is worth watching throughout the season, but is worth only a late round pick this year.

Justin Blackmon (WR, JAC, ADP 119.6, MDP 130): As talented as Blackmon is, he has put himself in a major hole this season. After holding out and missing valuable camp time, Blackmon also managed to get a DUI this July. He has not shown any pull away speed to get past coverage. And oh, he has Blaine Gabbert throwing him the ball. Gabbert, who reminds me of Sunshine from Remember the Titans, might actually be worse than Sunshine would be at his current age. Blackmon is draftable, just do not expect too much.

Reuben Randle (WR, NYG, ADP 138.5, MDP 148): He's behind Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz. Those are two pretty good receivers who you know will get the majority of the targets. But Randle is in a high-octane offense that loves to throw the ball. He is worth a late pick with modest potential.

Coby Fleener (TE, IND, ADP 141.4, MDP 130): His chemistry with Andrew Luck is unparalleled for a rookie tandem. Fleener will be a favorite target of Luck and actually has a decent chance to finish in the top ten. The tight end position is deep, but I would rather have Fleener than Brent Celek and Owen Daniels. He can be a nice late round pick.

Michael Floyd (WR, ARI, ADP 144.2, MDP 150): While he does get to play aside Larry Fitzgerald, there are several questions surrounding Floyd. For one, Kevin Kolb's health, and even skills, are a question mark, although it still did not stop Fitz last year. He has been slow to adjust to the game, but if he becomes the unquestioned starter opposite Fitzgerald, then look out fantasy world. But that is a fairly big if for this year. Unless his work ethic picks up, I expect a moderately low impact from his rookie season.

Kendall Wright (WR, TEN, ADP 149.2, MDP 160): There's marginal upside here with Wright. He's behind Kenny Britt and Nate Washington and should see solid time in the slot. But a rookie wide receiver who is third on the depth chart will rarely make a big fantasy impact.

Brian Quick (WR, STL, ADP 150.8, MDP 145): It seems like a long, long, long time ago since the Rams had Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. Now, Quick from Appalachian State has a chance to become a favorite of Sam Bradford. If Quick can move up the depth chart, he has potential to be a solid number two fantasy receiver. Sam Bradford has not forgotten how to throw the ball and he is a good candidate for a comeback year. So look for Quick late in the draft as a solid sleeper.

Isaiah Pead (RB, STL, ADP Not drafted, MDP Not drafted): I believe Steven Jackson has one more year left in him. But Pead is up and coming and will get some carries this year. For those in dynasty leagues, Pead is a great option.

Ronnie Hillman (RB, DEN, ADP Not drafted, MDP 150): Another lesser known rookie running back, Hillman does have a chance to see significant action. I do not trust old man Willis McGahee or Knowshon Moreno and his ACL, so I like Hillman's chances to play. He is worth a late flier and has potential to be Peyton Manning's Addai.

Brandon Weeden (QB, CLE, ADP Not drafted, MDP Not drafted): The other first round quarterback presents no fantasy value this year. If you get into a situation where you are considering him, boy, do I feel sorry for you. Get out of it fast. Unlike last year when I said Cam Newton would have little fantasy value, I feel pretty confident in saying Weeden will have little fantasy value.

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