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2014 Fantasy Football Rookie Rankings

NFL rookies ranked by their potential to help you win your fantasy football league.

1. Sammy Watkins (BUF)

  Receiving Stats Rushing Stats
Year Rec Yds TD Avg Att Yds TD Avg
2014 Projections View Sammy Watkins's 2014 projected stats.

Taken with the fourth overall pick, Watkins should be the Bills’ top target right away now that Steve Johnson’s gone. Watkins’ prospects will hinge in large part on the development of second-year quarterback EJ Manuel who struggled through an injury-riddled rookie year. Moreover, rookie receivers rarely make significant impacts – when Keenan Allen broke 1,000 yards last year, he became only the fifth to do so this millennium. And 1,000 yards is not a particularly high bar to clear in the modern NFL – 23 receivers hit that mark in 2013. That said, few rookie receivers are their teams’ likely No. 1’s out of the gate, and few have Watkins’ combination of decent size (6-1, 205), toughness and blazing speed; Watkins’ official NFL Combine time was 4.43, but he unofficially ran a 4.33 and 4.37. The Bills brought in Mike Williams this offseason from Tampa Bay, and Robert Woods makes for a nice possession option, but both profile as complementary pieces.

2. Mike Evans (TB)

  Receiving Stats Rushing Stats
Year Rec Yds TD Avg Att Yds TD Avg
2014 Projections View Mike Evans's 2014 projected stats.

While Sammy Watkins has the flash, it’s Evans who fits the profile of the modern No. 1 receiver in today’s NFL. He might have to wait a year or two with Vincent Jackson around, but there’s little doubt about his physical skills. At 6-5, 231, and running a 4.53 40 at the NFL Combine, Evans is enormous and fast enough to do damage down the field given his size. (His best unofficial time was actually 4.48). Think a younger Brandon Marshall with a little more height. He’ll make an ideal red-zone target, so even as second fiddle to Jackson, he should be a source of touchdowns from the outset. The quality of the offense remains to be seen, but it’s likely to improve over last year’s with new offensive coordinator Mike Tedford brought in from Cal and new quarterback Josh McCown.

3. Carlos Hyde (SF)

  Receiving Stats Rushing Stats
Year Rec Yds TD Avg Att Yds TD Avg
2014 Projections View Carlos Hyde's 2014 projected stats.

Even with no need at running back, San Francisco spent a second-round pick on Hyde, a 6-foot, 230-pound bull who rushed for 1,521 yards on just 208 carries (7.3 YPC) at Ohio State last year. Hyde doesn't have home-run speed and isn't a very good receiver, but he's very fast for a big back and should immediately find some role in the Niners' rotation as they spend this season figuring out who's going to be the successor to Frank Gore. Hyde is currently slated to be the primary backup behind Gore with the potential to earn goal line carries.

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2014 Positional Rankings

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