Welcome to 2016 fantasy football. I waited as long as possible to write this because I had a hunch that we would have a lot of late breaking news, and boy did we. During the final week of the preseason we lost not one, but two starting quarterbacks, one was traded, allowing another rookie a chance to start. With all of the latest news taken into consideration, here are my rookie rankings from a fantasy perspective for 2016.
1) Ezekiel Elliott – RB, Dallas Cowboys – This should come as no surprise to anybody. Elliott was fantastic for Ohio State and was drafted fourth overall for a big reason. “Zeke” is a beast at running and now will be running behind maybe the best offensive line in football. Add on the injury to QB Tony Romo and that could mean more carries for the fierce running back. He was number one on everyone’s list for a reason.
2) Sterling Shepard – WR, New York Giants – There is a large gap between number 1 and number 2. This is purely due to the fact that Elliott has nobody threatening his touches. However, Shepard is stepping into a golden situation in the Big Apple. Nobody is quite sure what to make of Victor Cruz and his comeback from injury. If he does come back, he seems much more natural out of the slot. Shepard will see one-on-one coverage because of ODB and he should feast. The Giant defense isn’t all that great nor does the NFC East have great defenses which should lead to plenty of shootouts. That means more targets and chances for Shepard. Don’t sleep on him and he will produce.
3) Michael Thomas – WR, New Orleans Saints – This may be a surprise to some of you, but I expect a big bounce back by New Orleans. Last year they lost a great tight end (Jimmy Graham) and suffered through a tough year with Marques Colston as their No. 1 WR. Yet Drew Brees STILL had a great year. This year they have a new #1 WR in Brandin Cooks and replaced Jimmy Graham with TE Coby Fleener. Michael Thomas should be open often in a prolific offense and will surprise many of us this year.
4) Corey Coleman – WR, Cleveland Browns – It was a slight surprise that Coleman was the number one wide receiver picked in the draft, and the Cleveland Browns had an obvious need. Corey has all the skills needed to excel at the NFL level. Sure, Josh Gordon is coming back after a 4-game suspension, but how long will he last? Coleman should be the #1 wide receiver in this offense now and for years to come. He has the skills to succeed.
5) Laquon Treadwell – WR, Minnesota Vikings – I am a die-hard Minnesota Vikings fan. When Teddy Bridgewater was hurt, my heart sank. Within days, the Vikings addressed the issue by trading for QB Sam Bradford. While he has been hurt quite often during his career, Bradford continues to have all kinds of potential. To be honest, I think he gives Treadwell MORE upside the Bridgewater. Laquon is set to be a red-zone target because of his
size, but don’t be surprised if he provides much more.