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The Year of the Rookie Wide Receiver

January 27, 2015 | by Josh Johnson | Comments Comments Off
Mike Evans proved a tough kid to shut down for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Was Mike Evans the real reason Johnny Manziel was a first round choice? (Melina Vastola, USA Today Sports)

If the 2014 Rookie WR class was a pop song it would a solid gold number one hit with a plethora of singles to follow! Like a catastrophic force with overflowing potential, they simply did not disappoint. See what we thought about them heading into the season in Part One and Part Two of our 2014 NFL Draft Fantasy Stock Report (note some omissions compared to the list below).

Without further ado, here are the rookie receivers that we believe made a significant Fantasy impact:

Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills: The pressure was firmly on the highest drafted WR and because of that, Watkins will always be the torch barer of this class. A couple of early injuries stunted him and he was still amazing. Speed is always an essential tool for WRs and Watkins is fast. But, it’s his acceleration while the play is underway that leaves us awestruck.

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: If the shoe fits, no shoehorn shall be purchased. Perhaps instead Tampa Bay can invest in a franchise QB. We see now why Johnny Manziel was a first round pick. Evans is simply one of those players that can make those around him better, and he thinks he owes a lot of his rookie success to Vincent Jackson (see video below).

Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants: Beckham’s Spider-Man abilities gained him national exposure on abysmal team. We believe Beckham could have won this award outright had he not been injured to start the season and if Victor Cruz could have stayed healthy. Obviously the sky is the limit here and the Giants have a foundation pillar for the future.

Brandin Cooks, New Orleans Saints: An injury ended Cooks’ season after 10 games, but he had already amassed 53 receptions for 550 yards and four totals TDs. This kid is a hard-nosed aggressive player, reminding us of a young Steve Smith Sr.

Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers: We had a doubts about Benjamin, but he uppercutted the rookie ceiling before it was even in place. We believe labeling him as the next Anquan Boldin is a fair yet modest assumption.

Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars: So maybe Lee didn’t do enough to warrant a position on this list. However, we believe when he was healthy he made a difference and his future is beaming.

Jordan Matthews, Philadelphia Eagles: The maturity of Matthews still remains impressive. Sure, he experienced normal rookie ups and downs but when he was good, he looked like a veteran in his prime. Going forward, we see Matthews as Terrell Owens without the extra baggage. Yes, Matthews can be that lethal.

Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers: Is Adams the second coming of James Jones? Well, Adams just may be far better. What helped and also hurt Adams’s numbers were his teammates Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. It may take some time but with Aaron Rodgers as his QB, Adams will be Fantasy worthy for years to come.

Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars: An injury befell Robinson in his 10th game as well, yet he still managed 48 catches for 548 yards and pair of TDs. The Jags trusted him enough to give him double-digit targets in four games.

Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins: “Juice” Landry proved to be a fighter. How else does one get targets with Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline on the same field? As the slot/third WR in Miami, Landry produced a stretch of three of four games with double-digit targets en route to 84 receptions and five TDs.

Donte Moncrief, Indianapolis Colts: At the beginning of this season, Moncrief was blocked by three quality veterans. But even as the seventh bullet in Andrew Luck’s six-shooter he made a difference.

John Brown, Arizona Cardinals: On paper, Brandin Cooks and Dri Archer are supposedly faster. Yet, with pads on and turning the corner, Brown looks like the fricking Bat-Mobile powered by hi-test. Brown becoming the next Santana Moss with the heart of Wayne Cherbet seems about spot on.

Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers: The Plaxico Burress comparison can not be understated. Toss the Burress off-field stigma aside and realize the thing Bryant is known for is ravaging DBs in the red zone. Playing with Antonio Brown can make almost any rookie be effective, but Bryant uses his size and ups like a veteran.

Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars: When the undrafted Hurns led the league in receiving during the preseason, some of you took notice. However, no serious investors were willing to drop more than a dime on him. That’s a shame as Hurns became the first player in NFL history to score two TDs in his first quarter of regular season action.

Taylor Gabriel, Cleveland Browns: Although he was very erratic, Gabriel still racked up over 600 yards receiving for the Dawg Pound. Now in the post-Brian Hoyer/current Josh Gordon era, the undrafted Gabriel may seem obsolete. However, this hungry franchise can’t afford to let him walk without squeezing out every ounce of production it so sorely needs.

All of the aforementioned rookies had at least 26 receptions and 422 yards receiving. While Bryant was the only player with less 30 receptions he led the pack in average per reception (21.1 yards). Beckham, Benjamin and Evans finished with at least 1,000 yards, while Watkins just missed (982). Other notables that we believe will contribute in the future included Paul Richardson (Seattle Seahawks), Cody Latimer (Denver Broncos) and Josh Huff (Philadelphia Eagles). What a class!

Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below which of the 2014 class of rookie wide receivers caught your attention.

RotoRob’s Fantasy Football Weekly Podcast

Crave more Fantasy football chatter? Then join us every Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. EST for RotoRob Fantasy Football Weekly Podcast on Blogtalkradio as we commit personal fouls and chop-blocks for 90 minutes or so each week. Check out this week’s Podcast here.

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2014-15 Top 10 Fantasy Basketball Rookies

December 1, 2014 | by Herija Green | Comments Comments Off
As we all know, Wiggins and his potential went first, and Parker went second to the Bucks. On paper, this looks like a perfect fit as Parker slides in as a starter and focal point of the offense from the get go. His offensive game is extremely polished, and he’s capable from scoring from anywhere on the floor. Parker is also an adept passer and capable rebounder, though he’s unlikely to play in the post all the time given Milwaukee’s collection of bigs that need minutes. Don’t go overboard with your expectations — he’s still a rookie after all — but 15 points and 7-to-8 boards a game seems doable.
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Rookie Relevance: Odds Are Rookies Are Worth a Pick Up in NFL’s Second Half

November 3, 2014 | by Brad Taningco | Comments Comments Off
It’s Fantasy football gut-check time, folks. With five weeks left on the regular season Fantasy football schedule, teams that are stuck at or around .500 can’t afford to rest on their laurels. In fact, this is an important point in the season to cut your losses on disappointing draft picks that aren’t producing, and find value in high-upside players that will make you a winning team the rest of the way.
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2014-15 RotoRob NHL Draft Kit: Top 10 Rookies

September 28, 2014 | by Dakota Case | Comments Comments Off
Oh yeah, Drouin then added 13 goals, 41 points and a plus-9 rating in 16 postseason games. But, you know, no big deal. We’re not advocating you take this guy in the draft, but odds are good someone in your league will. If he’s still on the board when you make your final pick, taking him could pay off big time.
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2014 NFL Draft Fantasy Stock Report: Tight Ends

June 18, 2014 | by Josh Johnson | Comments (2)
Fiedorowicz didn’t destroy the competition in college, but he delivered in times of need. His vacuum-like hands always seemed to cradle the ball just right. Fiedorowicz is not a dominant player like Ebron, but he can be a solid safety valve for any quarterback. As for this season we see Fiedorowicz as a suitable bye week replacement even if he doesn’t light it up early. The old Texan regime used the tight end well, but the new staff might be more exploratory early on before they realize what they have in their third rounder.
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