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 2017 Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings

This year’s rookies are ranked by position based on their potential value in year-long fantasy football.  Those falling under “to Draft High” are potential first or second round picks.  Those who are under “to Draft” are worth drafting at some point.  Rookies listed under “to Consider Drafting” may be worth a shot but should not be penciled in as a starter.  Finally, those under “Keep an Eye on” will need to be watched in the preseason and during this season to know their fantasy value for sure.

Quarterbacks to Keep an Eye on:

1. Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans

The Texans will probably play a lot of ball-control offense, but with DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller catching passes, Watson could put up a lot of fantasy points.

2. Mitchell Trubisky – Chicago Bears

Although Mike Glennon may be the signal caller, the Bears run a very fantasy friendly offense. Whoever the quarterback is, he is likely to be productive from a fantasy standpoint.

3. DeShone Kizer – Cleveland Browns

Who knows who will be taking snaps in Cleveland this year? With improvements to the offensive line, the Browns offense will likely improve. Kizer could be a decent streamer with the right match-up.

4. Chad Kelly – Denver Broncos

No one expected Trevor Siemian to be the starter in Denver last year.  Maybe this is Chad Kelly’s year to surprise people. Kelly put up ridiculous numbers against the highest competition he saw in college.

5. Nathan Peterman – Buffalo Bills

The Bills do not seem to be committed to Tyrod Taylor.  Peterman played in a pro style system, and if he finds his way into the lineup, he will have Sammy Watkins, Zay Jones, Charles Clay, and Patrick DiMarco to throw to.

6. C.J. Beathard – San Francisco 49ers

Who knows how long Brian Hoyer’s leash will be.  Shanahan runs a productive offense and is big on this rookie quarterback.

7. Josh Dobbs – Pittsburgh Steelers

Dobbs gets the lowest rank because it would take a major injury to Ben Roethlisberger (plus beating out Landry Jones) to get him on the field. If thrust into the starting role Dobbs would have a wide range of playmakers like Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell to help him make plays and score fantasy points.

8. Patrick Mahomes – Kansas City Chiefs

Running Backs to Draft High:

1.Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers

A running back who catches a ton of balls out of the backfield is any fantasy owner’s dream. McCaffrey will be an every-down back who will light up fantasy scoreboards.

2. Leonard Fournette – Jacksonville Jaguars

Fournette is likely to get a lot of carries including all of the goal line work. He should be a top fantasy performer.

Running Backs to Draft:

1. Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals

Expect Mixon to beat out Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard and be used as the primary back. Mixon has big play potential and is an excellent receiver out of the backfield. If he gets the expected workload, he will be a high-level fantasy back.

2. Dalvin Cook – Minnesota Vikings

Cook gets downgraded because it is not clear how the workload will be split with Latavius Murray also in the Vikings’ backfield.

Running Backs to Consider Drafting:

1. Jamaal Williams – Green Bay Packers

The Packers did not have a pure running back for much of last season, opting to replace the injured Eddie Lacy with receiving threats. Williams gives them that true power back once again. Depending on use, he may not be a great pickup in PPR, but expect to see him used on the goal line, which will give him value in traditional scoring leagues.

Running Backs to Keep an Eye on:

1. Samaje Perine – Washington Redskins

The Redskins have a lot of talent in their backfield and Perine may be fighting for carries. Even if he has few carries, he may have value in traditional leagues if he is used on the goal line.

2. D’Onta Foreman – Houston Texans

The Texans already have two talented backs, but with a talented defense and uncertainty at quarterback, they may look to feed the ball continuously to a thumper like Foreman.

3. Elijah McGuire – New York Jets

Matt Forte and Bilal Powell were competing for reps last year. Don’t be surprised if McGuire ends up taking some from both of them. McGuire is a dual-threat back who could be an extremely productive fantasy player if given the opportunity.

4. James Conner – Pittsburgh Steelers

Conner is this low because the Steelers are unlikely to take carries away from a healthy Le’Veon Bell. However, if Bell is injured during any point of the 2017 season, rostering Conner is a smart move.

5. Wayne Gallman – New York Giants

6. Marlon Mack – Indianapolis Colts

7. T.J. Logan – Arizona Cardinals

8. Kareem Hunt – Kansas City

 

Wide Receivers to Draft High:

1. Corey Davis – Tennessee Titans

Davis should be the Titans’ number one target in 2017 particularly in the red zone.

Wide Receivers to Draft:

1. Mike Williams – Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers have a number of receivers, but look for Williams to be a top fantasy player in 2017. He should get a lot of targets, although Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry may take a lot of the red zone targets.

2. Zay Jones – Buffalo Bills

The Bills declined to pick up Sammy Watkins’ option, which means they may be grooming Jones to be a number one receiver. Expect to see a lot of targets go Jones’ way.

3. Kenny Golladay – Detroit Lions

The Lions took Golladay higher than he was projected because they saw the big receiver as a suitable replacement for Anquan Boldin. Don’t be surprised if he quickly becomes a big part of their offense.

4. Curtis Samuel – Carolina Panthers

With Ted Ginn Jr. off to New Orleans and Kelvin Benjamin reportedly overweight, Samuel has a great opportunity to become the Panthers’ top receiver. His versatility also makes him an appealing fantasy player, as he could steal touches from the backfield.

5. John Ross WR Cincinnati Bengals

Ross will be a number two receiver in Cincinnati, but his speed makes him a constant scoring threat.

Wide Receivers to Consider Drafting:

1. Chad Williams – Arizona Cardinals

Williams will have to fight his way up the Cardinals depth chart, but if he can get into the second or third slot and Carson Palmer’s play is improved from a year ago, Williams could be a dynamic fantasy player.

2. Juju Smith-Schuster – Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have been trying hard to shore up their number two receiver position. If Smith-Schuster is the guy, he could be a big-time fantasy asset particularly when teams try to take away Antonio Brown.

3. ArDarius Stewart – New York Jets

Recent reports about Eric Decker’s health have been positive, but if Decker is unavailable, Stewart could be a very productive fantasy receiver.

Wide Receivers to Keep an Eye on:

1. Dede Westbrook – Jacksonville Jaguars

2. Taywan Taylor – Tennessee Titans

3. Chris Godwin – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

4. Carlos Henderson – Denver Broncos

5. Cooper Kupp /Josh Reynolds – Los Angeles Rams

Tight Ends to Consider Drafting:

1. David Njoku – Cleveland Browns

The Browns want to involve their tight end heavily in the passing game. Njoku will get a lot of targets.

2. O.J. Howard – Tampa Bay

With the improvements Tampa Bay has made to their passing attack, it is hard to say how the targets will be split, but Howard certainly has potential to be an impact fantasy tight end.

3. Gerald Everett – Los Angeles Rams

It is an old cliché, but a good tight end can be an excellent security blanket for a young quarterback. Expect Jared Goff to get Everett involved early and often.

4. Evan Engram – New York Giants

Engram is an extremely talented receiving tight end who falls this low on this list simply because when you play on an offense with Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Sterling Shepard, you can only get so many targets.

Tight Ends to Keep an Eye on:

1. Jake Butt – Denver Broncos

While it is uncertain when he will be available, Butt is bound to be active in the Broncos’ passing attack at some point.

2. Jordan Leggett – New York Jets

3. Bucky Hodges – Minnesota Vikings

4. Eric Saubert – Atlanta Falcons

5. Adam Shaheen – Chicago Bears