The NFL draft is in the books. Now it’s time to talk some fantasy. Let’s look at the impact some of the rookies could make on their new teams this year and beyond:
Sam Bradford (STL) – The No. 1 overall pick will see plenty of snaps as a rookie and could prove to be a decent QB2 in deeper leagues. Steven Jackson will be a nice weapon for Bradford to build modest numbers and the Rams are building a nice corps of young receivers.
Tim Tebow (DEN) – Josh McDaniels insists Tebow is only going to play quarterback and even if he changes his made Tebow will have little to no value in 2010. The Broncos may choose to build their team around character, but don’t let it be a factor in a way you run your fantasy squad.
Jimmy Claussen (CAR) – Claussen enters the best situation as any rookie signal caller. Though he will sit behind Marty Moore for now, he will get a crack sooner or later. Very appealing in dynasty formats on the cheap.
C.J. Spiller (BUF) – The first back off the board went to the Bills at No. 9. Not only is the team awful, but the backfield is crowded with Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch already on the roster (at least for now). Buffalo aren’t going to pay him to sit. Spiller has big play ability and should be considered a solid RB3 right out of the gate.
Ryan Matthews (SD) – The Chargers moved up to grab LaDainian Tomlinson’s heir apparent. The Fresno State bruiser is going to take over the every down carries while Darren Sproles continues to get the third round work. The rookie is going to go off the board in the first few rounds easily in that role.
Jahvid Best (DET) – Like San Diego, Detroit moved up to select Best. While injury concerns and durability issues surround the Cal runner, he found a perfect home in the Motor City. Best is a homerun hitter and will benefit greatly from opposing defenses focusing too much attention on Calvin Johnson. He will be a steal in the mid-rounds as a rookie.
Ben Tate (HOU) – Gary Kubiak takes another stab and finding a No. 1 running back. Tate will likely split carries with Steve Slaton and stave off Arian Foster, who finished strong in ’09. He is the Texans’ RB to own and could prove to be worth weekly looks, but is far from a lock.
Montario Hardesty (CLE) – The former Tennessee running back keeps the orange on his uniform as he suits up as a Brown. Cleveland moved up to grab him and they didn’t get to keep him on the bench. He will be worked into the mix with Jerome Harrison right off the bat and could take over as the team’s top back by season’s end.
Dez Bryant (DAL) – Dallas stole Dez Bryant with the No. 22 pick. It was a dream come true Bryant and fantasy owners alike. He’s NFL ready and finds himself in an explosive offense. The sooner he takes over Roy Williams’ starting job will tell how good of a rookie campaign he’ll have. Bryant hands down is the first rookie wideout to consider.
Demaryius Thomas (DEN) – Thomas has the intangibles to be successful in the NFL and will get a chance right out off the gate for the Broncos. The team’s quarterback situation limits his value early on, but he’s still worth stashing in the mid-to-late rounds.
Arrelious Benn (TB) – Benn is a better choice than Thomas this year. Tampa Bay likes to air it out and often as too as the Bucs battle from behind. With little completion on the depth chart Benn is already penciled in as a starter. He makes for a great sleeper pick this season.
Jermaine Gresham (CIN) – He will need to overcome knee injuries and stay healthy, but Greshman is an amazing pass catcher that could develop into an Antonio Gates-type player. With so many good veteran tight ends Gresham shouldn’t be considered anything more than a late-round flyer in year-to-year leagues.
Rob Gronkowski (NE) – With Wes Welker injured the Patriots will likely get Gronkowski involved in the passing game early and often. The rookie is worth a stab late in leagues where you grab multiple tight ends.