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Fantasy Impact: Rating the Rookies

Mike Doria

NFL Editor for RotoWire. Roots for the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins, Celtics and the underdog. Plus the McGill Redmen.

While plenty can change between now and Week 1, here's a preliminary rankings list of the Class of 2014's key skill players, from a fantasy perspective.


Johnny Manziel, Browns: As soon as he gets the starting assignment, Manziel's rushing ability will allow him to make an immediate fantasy splash.

Teddy Bridgewater, Vikings: Will eventually overtake Matt Cassel and the Vikings do have some solid receiving weapons.

Blake Bortles, Jaguars: May have to work behind Chad Henne for a spell before he gets to run the offense.

Derek Carr, Raiders: Behind Matt Schaub for now, but gives the Raiders some long-term upside at what has been a trouble spot for the team.

Tom Savage, Texans: Has to contend with Ryan Fitzpatrick, T.J. Yates and Case Keenum, but could see action as the season progresses.

Jimmy Garoppolo, Patriots: Will be groomed as Tom Brady's potential successor, but destined for third-string duties as long as Ryan Mallett remains on the team.


Bishop Sankey, Titans: Likely to seize control of the team's backfield before long, with only Shonn Greene (who has knee issues) in the way.

Terrance West, Browns: Given Ben Tate's injury history, he's a break away from making an impact.

Jeremy Hill, Bengals: Destined to work in tandem with Giovani Bernard, but for now the Bengals still roster BenJarvus Green-Ellis.

Tre Mason, Rams: Hampered by the presence of Zac Stacy, but figures to emerge as the team's No. 2 back out of the gate.

Ka'Deem Carey, Bears: Meet your Matt Forte insurance policy.

Carlos Hyde, 49ers: A nice blend of power and speed, but his value is hurt by joining a crowded backfield headed by the reliable Frank Gore.

Charles Sims, Buccaneers: He'll work behind Doug Martin, but should catch enough passes to help out in PPR formats.

Jerick McKinnon, Vikings: Still has to beat out Matt Asiata to earn the Vikings' top backup job behind Adrian Peterson.

Andre Williams, Giants: Behind the likes of Rashad Jennings and David Wilson (if healthy) for the time being, but could end up being a decent in-season add.

Dri Archer, Steelers: He can fly, but will probably make his biggest initial impact in the return game.

Devonta Freeman, Falcons: Has a chance to slot in as Steven Jackson's long-term replacement, but initial value hinges on his ability to overtake Jacquizz Rodgers and thus provide insurance value for Jackson.

James White, Patriots: Figures to carve out a change-of-pace role behind Shane Vereen, while Stevan Ridley does the heavy lifting, which puts him an injury or two away from fantasy utility.

Lorenzo Taliaferro, Ravens: Works behind Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce, but if Rice misses time through injury or NFL discipline, bump him up a notch or two.

Alfred Blue, Texans: Behind Arian Foster and Andre Brown, who have both dealt with injuries in the past.


Mike Evans, Buccaneers: Set to start alongside Vincent Jackson; has the size and skill to make an immediate impact in the red zone.

Sammy Watkins, Bills: Has a chance to immediately serve as the Bills' top wideout, but his value hinges on the development of EJ Manuel.

Brandin Cooks, Saints: Though Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and Kenny Stills are still around, the speedy Cooks will have a playmaking role in the wake of the departures of Darren Sproles and Lance Moore.

Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers: Carolina has an immediate need for a top wideout target, a role Benjamin could fill right away.

Jordan Matthews, Eagles: While Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper man the outside, he figures to work the slot in Chip Kelly's offense.

Odell Beckham, Giants: Bump him up if he overtakes Rueben Randle as the preseason rolls along.

Marqise Lee, Jaguars: With not much set behind Cecil Shorts in the Jags' receiving corps, the door is open for Lee or Allen Robinson to emerge as fantasy sleepers.

Allen Robinson, Jaguars: Along with Marqise Lee, he has a chance to see looks out of the gate, but the Jags' offense remains a work in progress.

Martavis Bryant, Steelers: At 6-4, he could make noise as a red zone weapon, with someone needing to make up for the loss of Jerricho Cotchery's 10 touchdowns.

Cody Latimer, Broncos: Slots behind Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker and Emmanuel Sanders, but a player to keep an eye on if injuries hit, given Denver's prolific passing offense.

Donte Moncrief, Colts: Could emerge as a rookie if injuries hamper Reggie Wayne and/or Hakeem Nicks.

Davante Adams, Packers: A Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb or Jarrett Boykin injury away from fantasy relevance.

Shaq Evans, Jets: Has a chance, with Eric Decker the only sure thing the Jets have on the outside.

Jarvis Landry, Dolphins: Behind Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline, but could work his way into the team's No. 3 WR gig.

De'Anthony Thomas, Chiefs: Has a chance to fill the slot receiver/returner void created by the departure of Dexter McCluster in free agency.

Josh Huff, Eagles: Less likely to make an initial impact than Jordan Matthews, but still worth tracking.

Paul Richardson, Seahawks: Can stretch the field to be sure, but no lock to see consistent playing time to begin with.


Eric Ebron, Lions: Provides enough of a red-zone receiving threat to go along with Calvin Johnson to carve out value in deeper formats despite the continued presence of Brandon Pettigrew.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Buccaneers: Joins big wideouts Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans to give the Bucs an imposing trio of red zone options.

Jace Amaro, Jets: Should emerge as the Jets' top TE option over Jeff Cumberland and has a chance to make an impact if he develops chemistry with the team's TBD quarterback.

Troy Niklas, Cardinals: Can block, but hindered by the presence of Rob Housler.

C.J. Fiedorowicz, Texans: A strong blocker, who figures to slot behind Garrett Graham and Ryan Griffin in the pass-catching department.

Richard Rodgers/Colt Lyerla, Packers: Either could factor into a possible Jermichael Finley replacement committee.