Fantasy Football: 2010 Offensive Rookies and Their Impact

Quarterbacks

Sam Bradford, Rams – Bradford has the best chance to start out of all the rookie QBs and all signs point to him starting Day 1, but do you want him on your fantasy team? Not unless you’re in a 16 team league that starts 2 QBs. At best I think Bradford throws for 2200 yards 12 TDs and 20 INTs

Jimmy Claussen, Panthers – The job in Carolina is Matt Moore’s job to lose. He started the last 5 games of the 2009 season and went 4-1 with the lone loss being to the Patriots. He passed for an average 198 yards per game with 8 TDs and 1 INT. With the running backs Carolina has it will be tough for Matt Moore to be bad enough that they have to bring Jimmy Claussen in.

Colt McCoy, Browns – Mike Holmgren has said he doesn’t want Colt McCoy to play this year unless he’s ready, but with no clear QB of the future on the Browns roster if the Browns are 2-8 after the first 10 games I wouldn’t be surprised to see Colt starting the last 6 games of the season. I don’t think McCoy will have any fantasy relevance unless you’re in a 14+ team 2 QB league.

Tim Tebow, Broncos – It will likely be at least 2 years before we see Tim Tebow playing any significant time at QB, let along starting a game. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Broncos get him on the field for a few plays a game in the latter part of the season, bu he won’t play enough to have any fantasy relevance.

Running Backs

Ryan Mathews, Chargers – Norv Turner has made it very clear that Ryan Mathews is the starting running back this year for the Chargers and he will get 300+ carries this year. For a passing oriented coach such as Norv Turner to say this he must think this kid has huge potential. I think he is by far the highest impact rookie in this years draft class.

Jahvid Best, Lions – Best is currently at 68.4 for ADP as is the 29th RB taken on average. I think the Lions will take big steps forward this year in their passing game with a healthy Calvin Johnson and with Matthew Stafford in his second year. Best should be a good value in the 6th or 7th round. 1,000 total yards and 6 or 7 TDs is a realistic expectation.

Ben Tate, Texans – Tate is a big back (220 pounds) who ran a 4.43 at the combine. The rare combination of size and speed in a running back is something the Texans have been looking for. I think Tate holds a slight edge of Arian Foster and Steve Slaton for the most touches this year and with the Texans great passing game he should be able to gain at least 800 total yards and 8 or 9 TDs. His current ADP is 91st, 36th overall among RBs. He’s a great pick in the 7th or 8th round as a backup running back.

Montario Hardesty, Browns – Hardesty is another guy who should push for about 40% of his teams carries. Jerome Harrison had 106 carries in the final 3 games of 2009 and will probably be the opening day starter, but if Hardesty can stay healthy he could run for 700 yards and 7 or 8 TDs in 2010.

C.J. Spiller, Bills – In my opinion Spiller is one of the most overdrafted players in this years’ fantasy drafts. He’s currently going 72nd, 31st among RBs. People tend to forget Fred Jackson ran for 1,000 yards last season and Marshawn Lynch is still on the team. If the Bills decide to use Spiller more in the slot he may have some value, but he won’t be anywhere close to the 72nd best overall player.

Toby Gerhardt, Vikings – Gerhardt is a must own if you are an Adrian Peterson owner, but other than that I don’t think he is ownable. Gerhardt isn’t much of a pass catcher so he won’t see much action on 3rd down and Peterson is a power back so Gerhardt won’t be getting the goal line carries, he may get 400 rushing yards, but unless Peterson goes down he won’t have much value in 2010.

Anthony Dixon, 49ers – Last year there was talk that Glen Coffee would eat into Frank Gore’s playing time after he had a great preseason, but when Gore went down Coffee was terrible at best, averaging just 2.7 ypc. Anthony Dixon is likely the backup to Frank Gore this season and that is why he has value to a Gore owner, but he’s not rosterable to anyone else.

Wide Receivers

Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, Broncos – Wide Receivers rarely have any fantasy value their first year and with the Broncos QB situation in question all signs should point to Thomas and Decker having no value this year, but each player is 6’3″ and there is currently no clear #1 WR in Denver. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these guys has value later in the season, but neither are worth drafting unless you’re in a deep league.

Arrelious Benn, Buccaneers – Benn is in a pretty unique position as a rookie WR, he looks like he could be a week 1 starter for his team. Benn definitely has big play potential, but with Josh Freeman as his quarterback it’s hard to justify spending a draft pick on him. Benn should have a game this year where he and Freeman connect on a couple long passes, but good luck picking out what week that is.

Dez Bryant, Cowboys – With so many good players on the Dallas offense it will be hard for everyone to live up to their potential this season. Bryant shouldn’t have any problem beating out Roy Williams for the WR2 position, but with Marion Barber and Felix Jones catching passes out of the backfield as well as TE Jason Witten catching 90+ balls, Bryant may become the 5th option on offense. With all the talent around him this could mean a big season for Bryant, 800 yards and 6 TDs is realistic, but it’s hard to imagine much more than that.

Dexter McCluster, Chiefs – Is McCluster a receiver or a running back? For McCluster’s to have any value this year he needs to play slot receiver in Todd Haley’s spread offense. McCluster’s speed should cause him to be a matchup nightmare for years to come, but he probably won’t produce consistently in 2010, although I would expect 4 or 5 big plays for him this season.

Golden Tate, Seahawks – Tate should be a day 1 starter for the Seahawks, but it’s hard to get excited for him this season with Matt Hasselbeck or Charlie Whitehurst throwing him the ball. In a dynasty league he’s a must own, but if you’re playing for this season only don’t expect more than 750 yards and 3 or 4 TDs

Emannuel Sanders, Steelers – Sanders could be an interesting player in 2010 if he can beat out Antwaan Randle El or Arnaz Battle in training camp. With the trade of Santonio Holmes, the Steelers need someone to step up as the 3rd WR this season. Limas Sweed had the potential to be that guy, but he tore his achilles this offseason and is out for the year. Sanders isn’t currently draftable in any format, but he’s a guy to keep an eye on this season.

Mardy Gilyard, Rams – The Rams don’t have a proven WR on their roster so if Gilyard can wow in the preseason he could earn a starting job week 1, but without a proven QB on their roster either Gilyard shouldn’t have much value this season.

Mike Williams, Buccaneers – Williams may have the most potential of any WR on their list, but he without a doubt also has the most maturing to do. He’s a freakish athlete who may have value at WR in the next couple, but it would surprising if he had any value this season.

Tight Ends

Note: Tight end is a position that is insanely deep this year, Heath Miller, Dustin Keller, Tony Scheffler and John Carlson are all being drafted out of the top 12 this year, so it is unlikely any of these players have any value this season.

Jermaine Gresham, Bengals – Gresham is known as a kid with great hands and terrific downfield skills, but aside from a few red zone looks he’ll see this season I wouldn’t expect much out of him.

Rob Gronowski and Aaron Hernandez, Patriots – Gronowski is a good blocker and with the Patriots drafting Aaron Hernandez in this year’s draft as well it is hard to envision much value for either player. Gronowski, however, is the player we would own if we had to own one of these two

Ed Dickson, Ravens – Dickson is a longball threat because of his 4.67 speed, but Todd Heap is still the starter in Baltimore meaning at best Dickson will split time, making his fantasy relevance for this season just above zero.