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2015 Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings

RotoExperts Staff May 4, 2015 12:05AM EDT
The NFL Draft is over and excitement is at an all time high for every NFL team. The excitement doesn’t end with the teams though, as Fantasy owners are excited about finding the “next big thing” … or really, just the next Odell Beckham. What better way to get an idea of which rookies could be the next great Fantasy star than with the 2015 Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings?

Let’s get one thing out of the way. All of these rookies will be overdrafted, especially the receivers. What we saw last year is far from typical. Rookie receivers have a hard time finishing as WR3s, let alone have a Top 5 receiver who played 12 games and another four inside the Top 25. The receiver with the best outlook for 2015 is Amari Cooper, and he’s a borderline WR2. I know, it stings, but just let this be a word of warning come draft time. Don’t overdraft rookies this year. Stick to the Fantasy Football rookie rankings I provide so you don’t lose potential value elsewhere. Granted, some ranks could change a bit come August, but that’s normal and doesn’t discount the fact that overdrafting rookies is a mistake.

These rookie rankings will be more concise than my predraft breakdowns and NFL Draft updates. Just click on those links and bookmark them to reference any needed info on these players. You’ll come out better prepared than anyone else in your league will.

2015 Quarterback Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings

1 Marcus Mariota TEN
2 Jameis Winston TB

 

That’s it. That’s all you need to worry about when it comes to quarterbacks. Mariota has the rushing ability, and rookie quarterbacks who run have more value than strictly passing quarterbacks. Both are mid-level QB2s, where Winston could near 4,000 yards and pass for 20-plus touchdowns – especially with three 6′-5″ giants – and Mariota will finish in the lower 3,000 range but have 500-plus rushing yards.

2015 Running Back Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings

1 Melvin Gordon SD 7 Jay Ajayi MIA
2 Tevin Coleman ATL 8 Ameer Abdullah DET
3 Todd Gurley STL 9 Duke Johnson CLE
4 T.J. Yeldon JAX 10 Cameron Artis-Payne CAR
5 David Cobb TEN 11 Javorius Allen BAL
6 David Johnson ARI 12 Mike Davis SF

 

There are four tiers here. In the first, we have Gordon, Coleman, Gurley and Yeldon, all of which are RB2s for 2015. Gordon is the top pick as of today. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of Gordon (see predraft write-up), he lands in one of the best spots and should be the Chargers early-down back. However, I will be watching him intently in the preseason because if he’s running into his offensive lineman a la Trent Richardson, we could have a T-Rich like rookie disappointment. Coleman lands in a great situation too, but he will frustrate you with his

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Cooper will be the best rookie receiver; just don’t expect Odell Beckham numbers. Photo Credit: The Crimson White

lack of consistency. I love Coleman as a prospective DFS play this year. Gurley was in a tier of his own predraft, but the Rams’ selection was confounding. If he’s the lead option and getting 20-plus touches, Gurley moves to No. 1 as a borderline RB1. But we just don’t know what the Rams’ plans are and/or if they want to ease him in given his health. Yeldon will take over in Jacksonville, but that offense is the weakest of the four, and Toby Gerhart and Denard Robinson won’t disappear (but hopefully, Yeldon’s fumbling woes do).

The two David’s fill the next tier. As of today – and I stress those three words – I’m putting Cobb fifth. We know Bishop Sankey isn’t good, and Cobb has a clear path to grab the lead role in Tennessee. However, Ken Whisenhunt often makes no sense and may stick with Sankey anyway or even give Shonn Greene some run. I expect Johnson to be the lead back for the Cardinals with Andre Ellington turning into a Gio Bernard type. That would be ideal and what I would do, but I’m not in charge of the Cardinals, and they may actually see Johnson as an H-back. This is another situation to watch closely in the preseason.

For all of the concern with Ajayi, he doesn’t need to be healthy for a decade. Even so, Lamar Miller was quite good for the Dolphins, and while I like Ajayi a bit more, he’ll need to severely outplay Miller or an injury to have serious value. That said, he’s one of the few rookies with an extremely clear path to the job if something happens without being in a timeshare or committee. Abdullah is the new Reggie Bush for the Lions. Not much more to it, and the weekly (in)consistency will madden you. As much as I love Duke Johnson’s talent, I don’t think this puts him in the lead for the Browns. I still think it’s Isaiah Crowell, but the Browns never made much sense with the running backs last year, and I’d avoid this backfield wherever I could. Too much talent, too much uncertainty.

CAP is directly in line to have some major value if (when) Jonathan Stewart is hurt. The same goes for Allen, who could be Justin Forsett‘s heir apparent. Carlos Hyde is safe for his new lead role, but Davis could be next in line if Hyde falters or is hurt.

2015 Wide Receiver Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings

1 Amari Cooper OAK 10 Chris Conley KC
2 Kevin White CHI 11 Phillip Dorsett IND
3 DeVante Parker MIA 12 Devin Smith NYJ
4 Nelson Agholor PHI 13 DeAndre Smelter SF
5 Breshad Perriman BAL 14 Rashad Greene JAX
6 Dorial Green-Beckham TEN 15 Justin Hardy ATL
7 Jaelen Strong HOU 16 Jamison Crowder WSH
8 Devin Funchess CAR 17 Ty Montgomery GB
9 Tyler Lockett SEA 18 Kenny Bell TB

We have four bigger tiers for the receivers, although the top one is smaller than with the running backs. As said, this is where people will overdraft the most. Cooper and White have WR2 potential, but they are safer bets as mid-high WR3s than low-end WR2s. Cooper is the most talented receiver in Oakland, and he should put up nice numbers, but the touchdowns (or lack of) could keep him from WR2 status. The same goes for White. He’s actually the most talented receiver in the rookie class, and both Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery finished as WR1s two years ago, but Martellus Bennett and Marquess Wilson are still there, and they added Eddie Royal. I expect White to be the No. 2 and the Bears have proven there is plenty of production available, but White might be third, or even fourth, on the red zone pecking order.

The next four all have WR3 upside with varying concerns. Parker heads to the new-look, strong offense Dolphins, but his end numbers might look better than his weekly consistency. Agholor is actually a bit safer, as Chip Kelly will use his ability to line up in multiple spots to its fullest, but the Eagles will be transitioning to yet another new quarterback, and Sam Bradford has no allegiances or rapport with anyone yet. Perriman will frustrate you just as much as Torrey Smith did – solid year-end numbers, annoying inconsistency – and I like him for DFS play as the big-game option. DGB has a high ceiling, but the questions of rawness, time away from the game and off-field concerns make him the biggest potential bust.

Strong is not a favorite of mine… by far. However, that landing spot is great. Strong can push to start opposite DeAndre Hopkins with Cecil Shorts moving to the slot, and then Strong would be a good red zone threat as a rookie. There is a bit of Kelvin Benjamin-like rookie value here. Speaking of Benjamin, the Panthers brought in another raw receiver with questionable hands, but who can be a red zone threat. He’ll be intriguing as a touchdown dependent/DFS play. Lockett could be a nice slot weapon for the Seahawks and low-end Fantasy play, or he could be best served on your league’s waivers. Watch how the Seahawks use him in August.

Conley was way down my draft rankings and for good reason. Still, the Chiefs are a good spot for opportunity, although, their being the Chiefs counteracts that upside because… well… they’re the Chiefs. Dorsett is a T.Y. Hilton redundancy. Smith is loaded with talent but another DFS upside option given the Jets newfound receiver depth. Smelter could be a nice sleeper if he’s healthy. Big if. Greene, Hardy, Crowder, Montgomery and Bell all have particular skills but low-appeal opportunity (unless you use return yards, and then Montgomery gets a huge boost).

2015 Tight End Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings

None. I wrote about it last year, have said it time and again and will repeat it one more time. Rookie tight ends don’t have Fantasy value. Heath Miller was the last to hit TE1 status as a rookie, and he barely did so thanks to touchdowns. Maybe… maaaybe… Maxx Williams can see touchdown success, but that would mean Dennis Pitta was done and Crockett Gillmore didn’t develop any more.

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