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Dynasty Rookie Watch: Morgan, Nelson, Royal and Johnson

Dynasty owners – listen up! There are a few rookies not named McFadden, Mendenhall, Stewart, Ryan, Forte or Thomas with whom you need to get a little familiar before you pick up that case of beer and aim for that League Championship this dynasty season.    

Josh Morgan, WR,

San Francisco


As highlighted in this week’s

Fantasy News, Morgan is quickly rising up the 49ers’ depth chart and could become one of the starters at receiver by the time the season commences. The rookie sixth-round pick from Virginia Tech has been one of lone bright spots on offense for the Niners and should continue to be as the preseason drags on, especially if Bryant Johnson, Arnaz Battle and Ashley Lelie continue to miss time due to injuries. To date, Morgan leads the team in all receiving categories. 

Now I know what you’re thinking – it’s the 49ers – however they will have offensive mastermind Mike Martz leading them in to battle this season, and we’ve seen what he can do with wide receivers that play well within his offensive scheme.  What about the quarterback position?  What about it?!  Morgan could excel no matter who is under center; just look at Saturday’s game against the Packers.  Starting quarterback JT O’Sullivan targeted Morgan five times in the first half, connecting on three for 84 yards, including a 59-yard touchdown pass. When Alex Smith came on to the field in the second half Morgan was still lined up at receiver and was targeted three times in the offense’s opening possession; most notably one on a third down and seven for which he hauled in a 27-yard pass that helped Smith establish confidence and rhythm, which ultimately led to the 49ers scoring three points to start the second half.  After that drive Morgan was sent to the bench. 

I think the message is clear here: Josh Morgan is a playmaker. Yes, it’s preseason, but Morgan is clearly the spark that makes the 49ers offense blaze. When is the last time you could confidently say that about a 49ers wide receiver?  Morgan could be a nice sleeper, but is no more than a number five or six receiver in dynasty formats. 

Jordy Nelson, WR,

Green Bay:

“We feel pretty good about our group at wide receiver,”

Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson said. “We also feel very good about the contributions Jordy has made and the anticipated contributions he’s going to make. Our coaching staff will figure out a way to get him in the game. I think he’s doing pretty good.”–  If only Jordy was in

New York … one can only dream.  At any rate, Jordy Nelson will be one of most talented rookie wide receivers who won’t start the season at least in the slot. With so many veterans ahead of him on the depth chart, including the headache known as Ruvell Martin – who by the way is Aaron Rodgers’ preferred target – Nelson presents little value for fantasy owners in 2008. However, he may be a good long-term fix at wide receiver. Right now he’s the Packers’ special teams star and will just have to wait his turn to make an impact at receiver. 

When Nelson does get his shot you can bet he will produce, and he will produce big. Keep him on your developmental radar and snatch him up when you feel the time is right. 

Eddie Royal, WR, Denver:

As highlighted in last week’s

Fantasy News

, Royal has quickly moved up the Broncos’ depth chart, and according to the

Rocky Mountain News, Royal’s latest performance against the Cowboys may indicate that he’s there to stay. “Certain people just have it. They have ‘it’ and he has it,” Broncos wide receiver Brandon Stokley said. “It’s been fun to watch him get better every day. And he just brings it over to the game from practice, which is hard for a rookie to do.”

“His hands stay steady,” wide receiver Brandon Marshall said. “He knows his plays. He knows his position and makes plays. And you can’t ask for a better teammate. This year’s going to be a great year for him.”   Yes, Royal has a lot of learning to do yet, such as “getting off the jam” as Adam “Pacman” Jones put it after the game Saturday. However, with Brandon Marshall being out the first two regular season games, the Broncos will have to heavily depend on Royal, who, even with less experience remains, as the Broncos most reliable big-play target aside from Marshall himself. Eddie Royal won’t be Brandon Marshall, but he won’t be Ashley Lelie either. Grab him and store him away until he proves to be a good every week starter.

Chris Johnson, RB,



I have a confession to make. During the 2008 NFL Draft I turned to my buddy with a sour look when the Titans drafted the rookie out of

East Carolina and said, “Why?” Over the past 112 days that question has slowly been answered, and it’s the answer I was hoping for. Johnson has been one of few rookie surprises at running back this offseason, from his unbelievable burst through the hole leading to long runs and a lot of “Wows,” to his confidence and drive to be the best in the face of adversity. He’s been labeled as a one-dimensional speed only player since draft day, but since has shown that he possesses much more than speed and, when he does use his speed, he uses it like no other running back or player for that matter. If Johnson continues to work hard and play well he will be the feature back in no time on a team that loves to run the football. 

So if you have a hole at running back and don’t have a top three pick in your league’s rookie draft, don’t get over excited and trade away half your team. Instead, take a deep breath, calmly trade up if you have to, and select Chris Johnson with the number four or five overall pick. Who knows, maybe you’ll even get the last laugh and a workhorse speed running back who has Marshall Faulk-like


Other offensive rookies to keep a close eye on:

QB Brian Brohm/Matt Flynn

If Packers starter Aaron Rodgers struggles or can’t stay healthy, look for one of these two to step in and take the reigns. GM Ted Thompson insists that the team will not sign a veteran before the season begins.

RB Timothy Hightower – He’s in line to be Edgerrin James‘ successor some day and may even see some goal-line carries in 2008.

RB Ray Rice

Rice is currently starting in place of the injured Willis McGahee and has looked good.  

WR William Franklin – He could be a starter for the Chiefs at some point this season as he has just Jeff Webb and Devard Darling to contend with.   

If you have any questions, comments or criticisms, feel free to e-mail me at

. And don’t forget to visit the

Dynasty and Keepers

Forum in the Shark Tank for more insight on any of the players listed above! 

Thanks for reading!


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