Rookie Fantasy Football Landing Spots by Utter-Fantasy writer & illustrator Doug Bowles
The “Landing Spots” for NFL rookies can often mean the difference from being early fantasy football gold or fantasy football fool’s gold. Take for example the 2nd-round selection of WR Cody Latimer by Denver in 2014. He was the 10th receiver taken off the board that year, and has had basically no impact in the NFL so far, because he’s been buried on the Bronco’s depth chart behind WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. In Round Two of that same draft, WR Allen Robinson was selected after Latimer, and was immediately thrusted into the starting line-up, because he had little or no competition. WR Jarvis Landry was selected by the Miami Dolphins after Latimer and Robinson, the 12th wide out taken in the draft, and who also found himself in a great situation. Dynasty owners in particular have been forced to wait to see just how valuable WR Cody Latimer can be. I imagine it’s even harder for Cody Latimer to be patient, as he watches other wide receivers excel in the NFL, because they landed in more favorable “rookie fantasy football landing spots.”
In the order of the draft, here is a list of some of the offensive rookie stars from the 2016 NFL Draft, and the teams that they landed on. See if you agree if it was a good landing spot or a bad spot for them. ( unlike previous years, I believe the majority of the rookie players in 2016 can be happy about where they landed.)
QB Jared Goff – Los Angeles Rams (Good Place) – Goff will have little or no competition for the starting job, and he can ease into the role by handing off to perhaps the best running back in the NFL.
QB Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles (Good/ OK Place) – This landing spot borders on “Bad Place.” The Eagles have been described as “a dysfunctional mess” by some, and former #1 draft pick QB Sam Bradford isn’t going to give up the starting role without a fight.
RB Ezekiel Elliott – Dallas Cowboys (Good/ Great Place) – A three-down back that should take over #1 duties immediately, and he has to be thrilled where he landed with the best O-Line in the NFL in front of him. I even wrote a poem about it….http://utter-fantasy.com/zeke-zeke-physical-freak/
WR Corey Coleman – Cleveland Browns (Good Place) – Coleman is already being projected to get 100+ targets in 2016. I believe Robert Griffin III has something to prove, and that he’ll be surprisingly successful in 2016. Coleman’s competition in Cleveland is Brian Hartline and under-achieving Andrew Hawkins, which means he practically doesn’t have any competition. The variable we don’t know yet, and this is important, is chemistry with RG3. It isn’t automatic.
WR Will Fuller – Houston Texans (Good Place) – A speedster who will have to fight DeAndre Hopkins for targets, but QB Brock Osweiler has a huge arm and Fuller should be able to get deep down-field and fend off Cecil Shorts and Jaelen Strong for the #2 WR spot.
WR Josh Doctson – Washington (Good/ Great Place) – The downside for Doctson is that he will immediately start behind DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and target-monster TE Jordan Reed. Pierre Garcon is in the last year of his contract, so the long-term outlook for Doctson is exceptional.
WR Laquon Treadwell – Minnesota Vikings- (Good/ OK Place) – A possession receiver who’s landing spot was the easiest to predict. QB Bridgewater doesn’t have the arm for the speedy receivers previously selected. In 2015, QB Bridgewater only threw 14 touchdown passes in 16 games, and with a run-first offense, this likely won’t change much.
QB Paxton Lynch – Denver Broncos (Good/ OK Place) – Denver’s quarterback of the future will have sit behind starting QB Mark Sanchez for part of the season at least. Sanchez’s success is unpredictable….as he may thrive with great surrounding players and the #1 defense in the league, or he may flounder like he’s been known to do. The long-term outlook for Lynch could be very good.
WR Sterling Shepard – New York Giants (Good Place) – Worried about WR Victor Cruz ( and they should be), the Giants selected a speedy weapon for Eli. Shepard is a small, shifty slot receiver with quickness. Victor Cruz (calf, knee) said he is “100 percent’, but it is very unlikely that he ever has success in the NFL like he once did. For Shepard, it is always a good landing spot when you arrive on a team with a prolific and established quarterback like Eli Manning.
WR Michael Thomas – New Orleans Saints (Good Place) – Big target at 6’3′ and 212 pounds, Thomas was drafted to replace WR Marques Colston. Thomas hurts the fantasy football value of the other Saint receivers.
WR Tyler Boyd – Cincinnati Bengals (Good/ OK Place) – Cincinnati had to replace WR free agent Marvin Jones during free agency, and they lost Mohamed Sanu as well. QB Andy Dalton has plenty of other weapons in WR A.J. Green, newly acquired WR Brandon LaFell, TE Tyler Eifert and running backs Jeremy Hill and Gio Bernard, so Boyd will battle for targets. (Established receiver Marvin Jones only had 4 TDs in 2015.) I like Boyd’s long-term outlook more than his short-term.
TE Hunter Henry – San Diego Chargers (Bad Place) – Antonio Gates is 36 years old and TE Ladarius Green went to Pittsburgh, so Henry should have opportunities early. My reservations on Henry are…1) he is not a dynamic athlete 2) Ladarius Green came into the same situation and failed, so one has to at least consider that the result could be the same for another rookie tight end in San Diego.
RB Derrick Henry – Tennessee Titans (Bad Place) – Let’s admit it, the Titan’s do not have a successful history of drafting running backs. Bishop Sankey and David Cobb have not been sensational additions to their offense. I thought Henry was also an odd choice by the Titan’s because the Alabama Alum runs like DeMarco Murray does…..quick thru holes but nothing spectacular. Tennessee signed Murray to be the starter, so Henry’s role will be as a back-up and change-of-pace for now.
QB Christian Hackenberg – New York Jets (Bad Place) – Here is the Jets QB Depth Chart…Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and we are waiting to see if Ryan Fitzpatrick ends up re-signing. Hackenberg becomes the 11th quarterback the Jets have picked since 2000 and is a long shot to become the Jet’s quarterback in the future.
RB Kenyan Drake – Miami Dolphins (Bad Place) – Drake landed behind 2015 fifth-rounder RB Jay Ajayi, who for now, the Dolphins are calling a a “three-down back.” Miami is expected to “ride with the hot hand” at running back, so neither Ajayi nor Drake may be a huge fantasy asset in 2016. Drake is a quality receiver, and may be more valuable to fantasy football owners in PPR leagues.
TE Austin Hooper – Atlanta Falcons (Good Place)– WR Braxton Miller – Houston Texans (Good Place)– WR Leonte Carroo – Miami Dolphins (Bad Place)– RB C.J. Prosise – Seatle Seahawks (Bad Place)– QB Jacoby Brisett – New England Patriots (Bad Place)– QB Cody Kessler – Cleveland Browns (Bad Place)– TE Nick Vannett – Seattle Seahawks (Bad Place)– RB Jordan Howard – Chicago Bears (Good/ OK Place)– RB Devontae Booker –Denver Broncos (Good Place)–