Last year’s NFL rookie class was exceptional when it came to fantasy football production. However, not all of those rookies panned out the way fantasy owners would have liked. Like last year, there are rookies to take, and rookies to avoid in this year’s draft. We don’t want you wasting draft picks on the Bishop Sankey’s and the Marqise Lee’s of the world again!
So here are my top picks for NFL rookies to avoid this fantasy season:
Todd Gurley, RB, St. Louis Rams
I’m not saying Gurley is incapable of being a good fantasy player. What I’m saying is that Gurley will not be a good fantasy player this season (especially early on). When the league kicks off in September, Gurley will only be 10 months removed from ACL surgery, and is currently on the Rams non-football injury list. The Rams have Tre Mason to start ahead of Gurley, and if Mason’s high level of play from the end of last season continues it could be a long time before Gurley gets any shot at being a consistent contributor to the Rams offense. Expect Gurley to get more reps on the field after the Rams week 6 bye, but until then I wouldn’t expect any fantasy production out of the rookie.
Conclusion: Gurley could be a good RB4 to keep on your bench in case Tre Mason goes down, or in case his role increases in the back half of the season.
Dorial Green-Beckham, WR, Tennessee Titans
DGB has been getting lots of high praise coming into the 2015 season. People have even compared him to Calvin Johnson and Kelvin Benjamin. I’m here to pump the brakes on these comparisons, and say that it is WAY too early to be giving DGB that much respect. DGB is entering the NFL as an extremely green player who has a lot to learn on route to becoming a consistent NFL wide receiver. At 6’5”, 235, with a 4.49-40, he certainly has the potential to be a great NFL receiver. But with all the off-field issues, a rookie quarterback tossing him the ball, and a stable of experienced wide receivers already on the Titans roster, I definitely don’t think DGB will live up to his potential this year.
Conclusion: DGB could be a valuable pick with lots of upside in a deeper dynasty league, or he could be worth consideration as the last wide receiver/running back you take in a standard league.
Matt Jones, RB, Washington Redskins
Jones could be a potential rookie standout on another team, but Washington poses a number of issues for this rookie runner. The first of which is the fact that one of the most consistent backs in the league over the last three years (Alfred Morris) is ahead of him on the depth chart. Jones will see the majority of his work on third down as a pass-catching back, since the Redskins will be using Jones to fill the gap left behind by Roy Helu. In future seasons Jones may have the potential to be a three down back, but this year he will be used as a compliment to Morris.
Conclusion: If you have Alfred Morris then Matt Jones is a great late round pick as a handcuff, because if Morris goes down then Jones is undoubtedly the next man up. However, Morris has not missed a single game in his three year NFL career so far, and I wouldn’t hold my breath that this year will be any different.
Sammie Coates, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
If you are hoping that Sammie Coates will be this season’s Martavis Bryant then you are sure to be disappointed. The Steelers are stacked with talent at wide receiver, and Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley has a notoriously difficult system to pick up. Couple those facts with consistency issues in terms of catching the football and route running on Coates end; we can be sure that Coates is a year away from being a producer in Pittsburgh’s offense.
Conclusion: The only way Coates is getting on the field this year is if there are two injuries at wide receiver for the Steelers. While that is not impossible by any means, I wouldn’t count on it to happen. However Coates could be a crafty pick late in dynasty leagues as injuries can happen, and if injuries do occur the Steelers throw the ball as much as anyone, so Coates would definitely get balls tossed his way.
Mike Davis, RB, San Francisco 49ers
People that are low on Carlos Hyde think that Mike Davis is the answer that the 49ers are looking for at running back. I’m here to debunk that theory. Davis looked like he was sure to be an NFL star after his sophomore season at South Carolina racking up 1,183 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. But in his junior season the wheels came off as Davis regressed and only managed to rush for 982 yards and nine touchdowns. Davis has the potential to be a two down back in the NFL, but with Hyde firmly ahead of him on the depth chart, and Colin Kaepernick getting a lot of the red zone rushes, it’s hard to see Davis getting any chances to be fantasy option in 2015.
Conclusion: In deeper league formats you could get Davis very late in the draft if you have Hyde. But you would be getting him purely as a handcuff. Even if Hyde goes down, Reggie Bush and Kendall Hunter could still be the beneficiaries ahead of Davis.