With many NFL football fans preparing for their fantasy football drafts this month I thought it would be a great time to begin to provide my analysis on the upcoming season. In this piece I want to talk about the 2012 NFL rookies that I think have value being selected during the draft in standard fantasy football leagues.
There are a number of other rookies I would add to my keeper teams, but I’ll save that for another time. In this article I’m going to be using the average draft position data from two resources including MyFantasyLeague (MFL) and MockDraftCentral (MDC).
• RB Trent Richardson (MFL ADP – 17.86 & MDC ADP – 11.27)
Trent Richardson is the #1 rookie in 2012 based on fantasy projections. Richardson is being overly hyped though and players will need to draft Richardson as a #1-#2 RB depending upon your draft strategy based on his current ADP. Richardson is a workhorse and last season he had 283 rushing attempts for 1679 rushing yards and 21 TD’s. Trent can also catch the ball out of the backfield.
Cleveland is notoriously known for trying to grind out low scoring victories due to their poor QB play in recent years and that’s great news for fantasy football players looking to take a shot on Richardson. Hillis ended his season early in 2011 due to an ACL injury, but in 2010 Hillis played all 16 games with the Browns (270 rushing attempts, 1177 rushing yards & 11 TD’s).
If Richardson can put up a similar stat line to Hillis in 2010 he’s going to be great value in fantasy football as a #1 RB, but at the same time players are taking a huge risk drafting a rookie so early and it could hurt. This is a high risk – high reward situation and you may only want to draft Richardson in one of your fantasy football leagues to low the overall risk on your fantasy season.
• RB Doug Martin (MFL ADP – 44.98 & MDC ADP – 22.69)
Doug Martin is being drafted early at the moment, but once more real money league data is available that will change. His ADP is going to increase in my opinion and if it does I think there is value drafting him as your RB2 or Rb3 if you’re lucky to get him. The Buccaneers aren’t happy with Blount after last season and it wouldn’t surprise me if Martin took over most duties by mid-season.
Martin should be implemented into the game plan for 3rd downs from the start of the year and if he performs well he may even get more carries on early downs. Blount is a big powerful back though and that means he may get the goal line carries. That isn’t a good thing because Martin’s TD production will be limited and that makes him another high risk – high reward rookie in 2012.
• WR Brian Quick (MFL ADP – 130.43 & MDC ADP – 162.83)
Once your starters are selected value drafting becomes imperative. You don’t want to draft the “popular” names that you see a lot because there is often no value. Rookie WR Brian Quick of the Rams looks poised to breakout in his rookie season although it isn’t the first time we’ve thought that recently of a Rams rookie WR and usually it doesn’t work out.
Quick has excellent speed, size and athletic ability, which will help him jump right into the NFL. Quick has the potential to be the biggest sleeper in the entire draft at his current ADP as long as Bradford can get him the ball. Protection for Bradford so he has time to look downfield for Quick is imperative, but taking a risk this late in the draft on a high potential WR is definitely worth it.
I think if you can pick-up one of the RB’s above past their current ADP there is value, but I’d also solidify the RB position early in the draft by picking a running back that you know is consistent week in and week out. Brian Quick is the WR I have my eye on, but if you miss out on him there are several other great options at around the same ADP right now.
Michael Floyd (MFL ADP 120.64), Kendall Wright (MFL ADP 134.72) and Alshon Jeffery (MFL ADP 154.06) are three more rookie wide receivers that I think will have great rookie campaigns. Alshon Jeffery is the best of the bunch because he should have a lot of playing time in Chicago this season and he should be open often due to Brandon Marshall drawing most of the coverage.
The only QB I would consider in this draft is Robert Griffin III, but I wouldn’t risk drafting him as my QB1. If he drops in your draft for some reason and you can safely acquire him as a QB2 without neglecting other positions go for it, but if you can’t I wouldn’t reach for him because with QB’s you just never know what’s going to happen in their rookie season.