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The Art of Drafting Rookies

In this edition of the Brew Crew Corner we look at the 2008 rookies and how you should go about drafting these players in this year’s Fantasy Draft. Now, I usually don’t focus just on rookies but since the NFL Draft has passed, it’s still fresh on everyone’s mind and I want people to start thinking about how you should tier them. During the season, check out

Paul Agruso’s

weekly article

on rookies.

 

The real NFL teams focus on every position in football when going about their draft. The Fantasy Football owner needs to focus on four positions, the QB, RB, WR & TE. If you play in an IDP league then you would look at the rookie defensive players. You can count on

Doug Gaskell

for that.

We are going to focus on drafting rookies on offense.

 

 

Rookie QBs

 

If you’re looking for some immediate Fantasy Football impact at the QB position, you’re not likely to find it in the 2008 rookie class. While

Matt Ryan,

Joe Flacco and maybe even

Chad Henne might see the field, none should be on your roster during your draft unless you’re in a dynasty draft or a deep keeper league. Leave these guys for the waiver wire. Last year I saw

JaMarcus Russell and

Brady Quinn drafted towards the end of some drafts only to provide owners little help. Use that late draft on another RB, WR or back-up TE.

 

Don’t believe me? Let’s take a closer look at the rookies who have started in the NFL since 2000.

 

Here are the

Top 10 Rookie QBs since 2000. Rookies are in order of Fantasy Points.

 

QB

YR

CMP

ATT

PYD

PTD

INT

FTS/PTS

QB Rank

1

Vince Young

2006

184

357

2199

12

13

242

12

2

Chris Weinke

2001

293

540

2931

11

19

220

19

3

Ben Roethlisberger

2004

196

295

2621

17

11

208

21

4

Byron Leftwich

2003

239

418

2819

14

16

204

17

5

David Carr

2002

233

444

2592

9

15

197

24

6

Matt Leinart

2006

214

377

2547

11

12

176

24

7

Joey Harrington

2002

215

429

2294

12

16

147

28

8

Marc Bulger

2002

138

214

1826

14

6

146

29

9

Aaron Brooks

2000

113

194

1514

9

6

135

29

10

Bruce Gradkowski

2006

177

328

1661

9

9

126

30

 

 

Since 2000 73 rookie QBs attempted at least one pass during the regular season.

Vince Young has had the best rookie season of those 73. He finished the season as the 12th best QB in 2006.

Chris Weinke threw the most yards of any rookie QB with 2931 in 2001.

Ben Roethlisberger threw the most TDs with 17 in 2004, while

Bryan Leftwich threw the most INTs with 16 in 2003.

 

Notice the only QB to rank in the top 15 among QBs in the league the year their rookie year was

Vince Young. He finished 17th in his sophomore season. The bottom line is rookie QBs over the last 8 seasons have been average at best. If you draft a rookie QB, your expectations should be 1500-2500 yds passing with 10-15 TDs and 10-15 INTs to match. In 2008, 13 QBs were drafted.

 

 

Rookie RBs

 

Rookie RBs are going to be your best option in terms of making an impact for your Fantasy team. It is the one position where a rookie can come in right away and produce. Unlike the QB & WR position that require more time to develop, the rookie RB has had success in their 1st year. We saw this last season where

Adrian Peterson stepped in and made some noise. This has owners eyeing RB’s like

Darren McFadden,

Felix Jones and

Rashard Mendenhall.

 

Here are the

Top Rookie RBs since 2000. Rookies are in order of Fantasy Points

 

 

RB

YR

RSH

RSHYD

RSHTD

RECYD

RECTD

FANT PT

RB Rank

1

Clinton

Portis

2002

273

1508

15

364

2

289

4

2

Mike Anderson

2000

297

1487

15

169

0

256

4

3

Adrian Peterson

2007

238

1341

12

268

1

239

3

4

Maurice Jones-Drew

2006

166

941

13

436

2

228

8

5

LaDainian Tomlinson

2001

339

1236

10

367

0

220

7

6

Willis McGahee

2004

284

1128

13

169

0

208

9

7

Jamal Lewis

2000

309

1364

6

296

0

202

16

8

Joseph Addai

2006

226

1081

7

325

1

189

11

9

Dominic Rhodes

2001

233

1104

9

224

0

187

11

10

Domanick (Davis) Williams

2003

238

1031

8

351

0

186

14

 

Unlike the rookie QBs, 6 of the top 10 rookies finished in the top ten among RBs their 1st year in the league. Only

Jamal Lewis finished outside of the top 15 among RB for their respective rookie year. The 2008 rookie class is said to be deep at the RB position. Four RBs went in the 1st round and 27 total RBs were drafted with more to be signed as free agents.

 

File this note for draft day. RBs one and two are from

Denver. Not making the top 10 was

Mike Bell who ran for 677 yds and 8TDs in 2006,

Selvin Young 729 yds rushing and 1 TD in 2007 and

Tatum Bell 396 yds and 3TDs in 2004.

Denver’s rookie this year is

Ryan Torain. Keep his name handy.

 

When looking at these RBs for your draft you must identify which RBs have the best opportunity to start and get the bulk of the carries. While owners may know a RB will come in and produce as a starter, other RBs like

Maurice Jones-Drew,

Mike Anderson and

Domanick (Davis) Williams were a surprise. I’ve been fortunate over the past couple of seasons to grab the hot rookie off the waiver wire and ride them into the playoffs. Players like

Samkon Gado and

Earnest Graham who were not thought about on draft day but produced well after getting an opportunity to play.

 

Rookie WRs

 

Most people know that a rookie WR doesn’t produce until his 3rd year in the league. This is known as the YR 3 rule (more on the 3rd year WR after the rookies). This doesn’t mean that a rookie WR can’t come in and produce. We have seen rookie surprises in

Anquan Boldin,

Marques Colston and recently

Dwayne Bowe. Proceed with caution as high expectations for rookie WR sometimes fall short as in

Charles Rogers,

Mike Williams and

Mark Bradley. Drafting these rookies too high is a big risk. Some owners are willing to take that risk, however if your in a redraft league, you might want to wait a few rounds to grab that rookie wide out.

 

Here are the

Top Rookie WRs since 2000. Rookies are in order of Fantasy Points.

 

 

WR

YR

REC

RECYD

RECTD

FANT PT

WR Rank

1

Anquan Boldin

2003

101

1377

8

189

4

2

Michael Clayton

2004

80

1193

7

164

13

3

Marques Colston

2006

70

1038

8

152

14

4

Lee Evans

2004

48

843

9

147

24

5

Roy Williams

2004

54

817

8

130

29

6

Dwayne Bowe

2007

70

995

5

130

24

7

Chris Chambers

2001

48

883

7

129

30

8

Larry Fitzgerald

2004

58

780

8

127

30

9

Andre Johnson

2003

66

976

4

121

23

10

Antonio Bryant

2002

44

733

6

113

32

 

 

Since 2000 only 3 rookies have passed the 1,000 yard mark and finished in the top 15 among WRs for their respective rookie year.

Anquan Boldin was the only rookie to finish in the top 5. This tells us that the majority of rookie WRs that had a productive year still finished outside the top 20.

 

According the My Fantasy League ADP, the 20th WR was drafted towards the end of round 5 or 5.08 to be exact. This means you should wait until round 6 or later to grab any rookie WR. Pay close attention to where these rookies are falling and decide if it is worth the risk to draft them. It is noted that the 2008 draft class is weak at WR but there could be some potential prospects if given the opportunity to start.

 

There were 35 WRs drafted this year. None were drafted in the 1st round. That should tell you something.

 

Now back to the 3 YR rule for WR’s. Many owners look to find the 3rd year WR because it is the year they finally start to show improvement or breakout.

 

Below is the list of

3rd Year WRs For 2008 and how they produced in 2007.

 

 

WR

YR

REC

RECYD

RECTD

FANT PT

1

Marques Colston

2007

98

1202

11

186

2

Brandon Marshall

2007

102

1325

7

180

3

Greg Jennings

2007

53

920

12

164

4

Santonio Holmes

2007

52

942

8

144

5

Derek Hagan

2007

29

373

2

49

6

Brad Smith

2007

32

325

2

49

7

Ruvell Martin

2007

16

242

4

48

8

Devin Hester

2007

20

299

2

41

9

Jason Avant

2007

23

267

2

39

10

Jeff Webb

2007

28

313

1

38

11

Sam Hurd

2007

19

314

1

37

12

Demetrius Williams

2007

20

290

0

29

13

Greg Camarillo

2007

8

160

2

28

14

Ben Obomanu

2007

12

180

1

24

15

Sinorice Moss

2007

21

225

0

23

16

Glenn Holt

2007

16

143

1

21

17

Hank Baskett

2007

16

142

1

20

18

David Anderson

2007

12

131

1

19

19

John Broussard

2007

4

126

1

19

20

Maurice Stovall

2007

10

86

1

15

21

Adam Jennings

2007

6

62

1

12

22

Marques Hagans

2007

8

101

0

10

23

Devin Aromashodu

2007

7

96

0

10

24

Wallace Wright

2007

6

87

0

9

25

Anthony Mix

2007

6

78

0

8

26

Miles Austin

2007

5

76

0

8

27

Willie Reid

2007

4

54

0

5

28

Brian Clark

2007

8

46

0

5

29

Skyler Green

2007

4

40

0

4

30

Shaun Bodiford

2007

1

13

0

1

31

Chris Francies

2007

DNP

32

Mike Hass

2007

DNP

33

Chad

Jackson

2007

DNP

34

Jamaica

Rector

2007

DNP

35

Michael Spurlock

2007

DNP

36

Brandon Williams

2007

DNP

 

 

As you can see

Marques Colston

,

Brandon Marshall,

Greg Jennings

and

Santonio Holmes have already shown they can produce which will have owners looking for them early in drafts.

 

Other WRs to consider are

Derek Hagan,

Brad Smith,

Ruvell Martin,

Devin Hester,

Jason Avant and 

Sam Hurd. It should be noted that the Dolphins and the Cowboys did not draft any WRs.

 

Rookie TEs

Lastly, we look at the rookie TE position.

Here are the

Top Rookie TEs since 2000. Rookies are in order of Fantasy Points.

 

 

TE

YR

REC

RECYD

RECTD

FANT PT

TE Rank

1

Jeremy Shockey

2002

74

894

2

101

3

2

Heath Miller

2005

39

459

6

82

11

3

Randy McMichael

2002

39

485

4

73

9

4

Chris Cooley

2004

37

314

6

67

14

5

Owen Daniels

2006

34

352

5

65

14

6

Zach Miller

2007

44

444

3

62

16

7

Eric Johnson

2001

40

362

3

54

15

8

Tony Scheffler

2006

18

286

4

53

20

9

Doug Jolley

2002

32

409

2

53

17

10

Greg Olsen

2007

39

391

2

51

23

 

 

The TE position is a hard position to draft, especially when it comes to TEs because they must learn how to block as well as produce on offense.

Jeremy Shockey’s 2002 season was the best among rookie TEs since 2000. It ranks 36th overall for all TEs from 2000-2007. Recently owners have gotten excited about TEs such as

Antonio Gates, who didn’t produce until year 2 and

Vernon Davis who has been a bust thus far.

 

My strategy would be to draft a veteran with your 1st TE selection and if you want to grab a rookie TE then take him as your back up or pick him off the waiver wire sometime during the season.

 

There was only one TE drafted in the 1st round,

Dustin Keller, who joins a Jets team that already has

Chris Baker and signed

Bubba Franks this off season.

 

Keep an eye on

John Carlson who

Seattle drafted in the second round. He has only

Jeb Putzier for competition now that Marcus Pollard is not on the roster.

 

There were 16 TEs taken in this year’s draft.

 

They say it takes at least 3 years to evaluate an NFL draft but for Fantasy owners it’s pretty clear by midseason whether you are up the creek with out a paddle or if you are ready to make a run at the play-offs. In either situation you have to look for trades and waiver pick ups all season long. No matter how well you think your draft went, you can always make your team better.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

 

 

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