Top Rookie Landing Spots
It’s easy to speculate which fantasy football rookies will take the world by storm after the combine, but until the chips fall into place on Draft Day the fantasy picture doesn’t quite come into focus. Many labeled the 2016 draft class weak overall, but I’m starting to see more and more talent over the last few months.
Five guys in particular hit the jackpot with their landing spots. Here are the five fantasy football rookies that landed on the perfect team for 2016.
5) C.J. Prosise
Running Back | Seattle Seahawks (3.27)
Thomas Rawls owners aren’t going to be happy, but I really like the fit for C.J. Prosise in Seattle. Since arriving on the scene in South Bend, C.J. was converted from a safety to a wide receiver, before ultimately transitioning to running back. He’s as raw as they come at the position, but there’s a lot to love from the limited action we’ve seen from him. He has elite speed for his size. At 6’0″ 220 lbs. he still managed to run a 4.48 40 yard-dash, which is extraordinary for his size and weight class. As a converted receiver he has excellent hands for the position and picks up yards in big chunks, averaging 11.8 yards per catch out of the backfield. His experience as a wide receiver makes him extremely versatile. Seattle can split him out wide and get creative with his usage. At the very least his receiving background should help him see the field as a third-down back right away.[the_ad id=”58837″]In the backfield, he’s extremely patient, showing great understanding of when its time to hit the hole. He has a quick burst through the hole and breakaway speed off the edge and at the second level. He’s a tough tackle in the open field with a great cutback and spin move. He needs to work on his ball security, but given the fact he’s only played one year at the position, it’s amazing how productive he was last year.
Reports about Thomas Rawls ankle haven’t been great, further supported by Seattle’s desire to draft three running backs last weekend. Pete Carroll encourages open competition for starting spots. It’s hard to imagine Prosise doesn’t emerge as the best back in due time.
Another View: Pete Carroll and his history of play-calling
4) Michael Thomas
Wide Receiver | New Orleans Saints (2.16)
Michael Thomas‘ fantasy worth was hotly debated prior to the draft, but nobody seems to be debating it anymore. New Orleans is a phenomenal fit. I was one of the guys on the Thomas bandwagon, ranking him third in my pre-draft rookie WR category. Thomas is young (age 21), with great size (6’3″, 212 lbs.) and an above average ability to run routes, particularly against zone coverage, where he was able to get open on 82% of his routes. He also put Kendall Fuller on skates on a stop-and-go, that nearly broke Fuller’s ankles in a one-on-one match-up.
Paired with Drew Brees, Thomas is an immediate fit to fill the Marques Colston role for the Saints. He complements Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead nicely; two smaller, speedy receivers that can really stretch the field. Thomas gives the Saints the big target they have been lacking on late downs and in the red zone, since Jimmy Graham’s departure.
3) Josh Doctson
Wide Receiver | Washington Redskins (1.22)
Josh Doctson has some competition at receiver in the short-term, but given Pierre Garcon’s drop off in production the last two years and Desean Jackson’s one-dimensional nature, it may not be long before we see him take the lead role in Washington. Paired with Kirk Cousins, a highly efficient and productive quarterback, Doctson has a chance to quickly emerge as one of the league’s best. He’s not the fastest receiver, but he’s a savvy route runner that was highly successful against man, press and zone coverage. He also led the rookie class in contested catch rate (83%), which is evidenced by all of his jaw dropping catches on tape.
With a quarterback as accurate as Cousins in a division with extremely weak play in the secondary, Doctson has a real opportunity here. He’s a little old for a rookie (23), but it shouldn’t deter you from taking him 1.03 in dynasty drafts. His athletic profile, combined with his production at TCU and his draft landing spot, make him well-deserving of a top-3 pick.
2) Corey Coleman
Wide Receiver | Cleveland Browns (1.15)
Corey Coleman’s athletic profile is off the charts. At 5’11” 194 lbs. he actually comps to a more athletic version of Odell Beckham, Jr. He doesn’t have the freakish hands Beckham possesses and the jury is still out on Coleman’s competitive fire and work ethic, but you can’t complain about that player comparison. As the first wide receiver off the board, Cleveland obviously felt Coleman was the best wide receiver in this class.
Many see Cleveland and think it might be an unfortunate fit with question marks at quarterback, but it actually feels like one of the best possible landing spots for Corey. With Josh Gordon’s return delayed through at least the summer, the WR1 role is there for the taking in Cleveland. Given the fact the Browns drafted four wide receivers I think it is pretty safe to say Cleveland isn’t holding its breath for Josh’s return either. At only 20 years old, Coleman is a dynasty treasure. Naysayers will point to his limited route tree and his lack of effort when blocking as a reason for concern, but an athlete of his caliber can easily learn those skills. At the end of the day, Coleman accounted for close to 45% of Baylor’s offensive production. For an offense that averaged 46.6 points per game, that’s a TON of production. Look for Coleman to burst onto the scene as a rookie.
1) Ezekiel Elliott
Dallas Cowboys (1.04)
#1 goes without saying as the supposed best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson will be running behind the best offensive line in football, the Dallas Cowboys. At 6’0’ 225 lbs, Ezekiel Elliott possesses a rare combination of vision and instinctiveness. He has an exceptional first cut and great speed (4.47 40-yard dash). He is excellent at following and setting up blocks and has the hands to be an immediate three-down back in the NFL. Factor in his balance and ability to shed tackles and it is easy to see why Jerry Jones insisted the Cowboys take “Zeke” at #4.
Elliott will need to improve his pass blocking at the next level, but there’s no reason why he shouldn’t take over the lead back role in Big D. Dallas has been open about its plans to revert back to its 2014 ground first mentality, in hopes of keeping Tony Romo off the injury report. At 20 years old, Elliott has a bright future in the NFL and is the clear-cut first pick in all dynasty drafts. He’s likely to be one of the first running backs off the board in redraft leagues as well, with strong RB1 potential.