To early for bed? Not for these 2018 fantasy football rookie sleepers.
There’s always rookies that break out of the herd and burst onto the scene. They might not have stellar WR1 stats. Yet, they are consistent and make for beautiful back end WR2s.
Last year it was Pittsburgh’s JuJu Smith-Schuster. The fun-having youngster burst onto the scene when he torched the Lions for a 97 yard touchdown. He quickly became overwhelmingly loved because of his social media accounts and clever but down right outstanding celebrations.
There’s the rare, but not-so rare, rookie running back that’s drafted in the later rounds who breaks out, too.
For instance, our favorite running back from last season, Alvin Kamara. Along with the gentleman who made the NFL world cringe early but smile after, Kareem Hunt.
This year will be just like years past, as the NFL loves to repeat itself. However, admitting it is just the first step.
The true work begins once you’ve come to the conclusion that this is inevitable so who’s it going to be. Could be some 5th or 6th round player that becomes the WWPOTY (Waiver Wire Player of the Year).
So here, I’ll throw my hat into the ring by picking a fantasy team based on solely rookies drafted in the third round or later. Just like baseball, I’ll have a representative from every round, excluding the top two rounds. So let the fun begin!
QB – Mason Rudolph – Pittsburgh Steelers
Rudolph learned what it was like to be in the media as an NFL quarterback early in his professional career. Immediately following the selection of Rudolph in the third round, current start, Ben Roethlisberger, fired off a statement questioning the immediate impact of the selection.
As much as Roethlisberger may question the pick, I’m not here to argue the front office’s decision. I’m here to state that Rudolph is one hell of a quarterback and has all the talent to take over Landry jones for the backup role. Thus, giving him the best chance to see the field of all the quarterbacks drafted later in the rounds.
Rudolph, if given the chance, has what it takes to be successful and a talented heir to Big Ben, plus an impactful Quarterback down the stretch for your fantasy team.
RB – Royce Freeman – Denver Broncos
Remember back in the day, when Mike Shanahan was head coach of the Broncos and it was as sure fire as it gets when they drafted a running back late, that he’d be a phenomenal fantasy star.
There’s an eerily similar scent amongst us. Freeman is already being considered the top guy on a team that has true Super Bowl aspirations.
This couldn’t have worked out better for Freeman. He has a quarterback who’s trying to prove something, two veteran receivers, a defense that consists of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. The only thing Freeman doesn’t have is proven competition in the backfield.
This has the smell of 2017 Kareem Hunt, all over it. Don’t let Booker scare you away, draft Freeman in your drafts and don’t expect Montee Ball stats, but instead expect Clinton Portis stats.
RB – Mark Walton – Cincinnati Bengals
The 5’9, 205 pound, Hurricane alum has been put into a spot to thrive. The Bengals spent high on Mixon last year, and he’s set in stone as their primere back. But, entering his sophomore year the thought of him holding up for 16 games gets a little more nerve racking.
If Mixon goes down, it won’t be Gio shouldering the brut of the carries. It’ll be the fourth rounder, Mark Walton. He was a beast in Miami and has faced top-level competition. If Mixon or Gio get bit by the injury bug, watch for Walton to make a name for himself.
WR – Braxton Berrios – New England Patriots
I am starting the Berrios hype train right… now! Berrios is about to be the PPR master entering the 2018 season. Edelman will be suspended for the first four games of the year and Chris Hogan will be stretching the field out.
Then here comes little Braxton Berrios across the middle. His name sounds like he should have been on Fresh Prince, yet he looks like the prototypical Patriots gold mine. If he catches an early groove during the absence of Edelman, we could see a huge Cooper Kupp-esque season.
WR – Equanimeous St. Brown – Green Bay Packers
Mark my words. One rookie Green Bay Packers receiver will be a top 25 PPR wide receiver.
Most experts think it’ll be J’Mon Moore out of Missouri, who’s an exceptional talent and will be a great asset. Yet, I’m still in love with this kid I saw on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
After watching this segment on the LaVar Ball of the NFL, I noticed the eldest of the three brothers was a freak on the field and a smart, funny human off the field. Once I saw him speak fluent German and saw what his dad was putting into his head, I knew this kid was going to be good.
It was St. Brown (not even his real last name, his dad changed it, so his sons would stand out more, and it worked. Look it up). If he develops a groove with Rodgers, it’ll be all over.
WR – Michael Gallup – Dallas Cowboys
I saved the best for last when it comes to rookie fantasy wide receivers.
Gallup, who was an intimidating presence in college, just so happened to be drafted by a team in desperate need of someone to step up and be ‘The Guy’. As much as Dak says it’ll be nice to not have a WR1, he’ll appreciate the work and dedication of someone who deserves to be a WR1.
Allen Hurns is primed to be that guy and let loose what we saw glimpses of in Jacksonville. However, it’s Gallup who could really make a name for himself and join the Dak and Zeke to unite the modern Cowboys trifecta.
FLEX – Jordan Wilkins – Indianapolis Colts
You may be asking yourself, who the hell is Jordan Wilkins? That’s a great question, but you’ll soon hear his name a little more.
He’s a talented power back from Ole Miss who has maybe the best chance of all the backs drafted in the 5th round or later, to be an immediate starter. The Colts backfield is in shambles right now and they seem to be hanging their hat on Marlon Mack. I’ve heard he could even be a three down back.
Obviously this was reported by The Onion, because there’s no way Mack can be a successful three down back in the NFL. The Colts drafted Nyheim Hines in the 4th round and Wilkins in the 5th round. All three backs will be competing for a starting role and I won’t be surprised to see Wilkins trump everyone.
TE – Jordan Akins – Houston Texans
A gentleman I had the pleasure of interviewing at the Senior Bowl, easily takes top spot on tight ends drafted in the third round or later with the best chance to be a fantasy impact player his rookie season.
The Texans will be looking for a reliable target over the middle when there’s hard coverage on the outside. Akins was a successful baseball player and now embarks on his new adventure to become a successful NFL player. I think he’ll turn a lot of fantasy football heads for a majority of the season.
Like other fantasy football sleeper rookies more for 2018? Let me hear all about your favorites in the comments below!