Putting together a lineup with nothing but rookies might be a marvelous idea if you’re drafting in a keeper league and have no aspirations to take home any hardware this season. That said, there are some high projected offensive rookies who may have an impact on the 2017 fantasy leader board. Here’s how four first round rookies stack up, if they were to fall into their best fantasy fit for next season.
Roll Tide Tight End to Tennessee
At the top of this list is Alabama tight end O.J. Howard. Quality tight ends in fantasy football are hard to come by. Most educated fantasy football fanatics know it’s Gronk, then everyone else. Howard has the raw speed and freak talent to push Rob Gronkowski type numbers. Right now Buffalo has their eye on Howard, and that might be a decent fit, eventually.
However, there is also rumor of a quick trade down to Tennessee, where O.J. would immediately pair up with Marcus Mariota. Of course, we can’t forget the 65 catches Delanie Walker had last season Nashville, but he’s 32 years old.
There is also some whisper of him ending up in Jacksonville. Signing with the Jags would mirror the eventual impact he might have with the Titans, but with the Jaguars Howard could start on day one.1
A Thoroughbred Fit if Cook is a Colt
Most of the first round priorities are leaning towards defensive or offensive, so the early fantasy pickings for potentially standout fantasy numbers next season, are sketchy at best. One nice fit for a rookie to step into a prominent production role, would be if the Colts tag Dalvin Cook with the 15th pick. When it comes to fantasy football, Cook may have the most upside out of all the top running backs.
A handful of mock draft predictions have him staying in the Sunshine State with the Buccaneers. However, Indy is hurting for something that resembles an NFL rushing attack and the former FSU Seminole might work his way into the feature back role sooner than later in Indianapolis.
A Titanium Target in Tennessee
Oddly enough, navigating down the draft board finds maybe the next hottest offensive commodity possibly also headed for Nashville. Football minds think that with the right tools around him Mariota, is Russell Wilson-like, full of potential.
With the tight end tied for the team lead in receptions, the fleet-footed Husky John Ross could get a bunch of targets as a rookie wide receiver. The former Washington superstar would certainly drive up the work ethic of the current Titan receivers and use his 4.22 40-yard Flash Gordon speed to blow right by NFL defensive backs.
The Ravens Put a Tiger in Their Tank
Everyone who has been paying attention knows well that big-bodied wide receivers with glue for hands have been making an immediate impact in the NFL. Clue in on BCS National Champion Mike Williams and the league may be ready for the second coming of Odell Beckham Jr. Williams is a beast with a nose for the ball. Only problem is, for him to make a strong impact in 2017 he needs to land with a team that provides the best fit.
Some think the Chiefs will maneuver their way up the ladder to secure Williams, but the Chiefs controlled passing game doesn’t light a fire under any fantasy football wide receiver stats. However, a spot on the Baltimore Ravens roster – a team who just lost Kamar Aiken to the “other original Baltimore franchise” – would be a place where William’s skills would shine.
Rookie draft picks often do not make a huge immediate impact in the fantasy world, and patience is truly a virtue if you draft one. Keep in mind that some don’t begin to get steady snaps until well into the season and it helps to temper expectations. But these four members of the 2017 draft class have a good chance to post worthy fantasy numbers right out of the gate, if they end up with the right fit.