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Rookies to Draft in 2018 – NFC Edition

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Most redraft drafts launch in August and all of your league-mates are researching and prepping to win that elusive title. Knowing where to draft rookies and what rookies to draft is a critical aspect heading into your draft and training camps are now in full swing. Some battles are still too early to decide, I want to dive into each team for a quick look at what rookies to draft and which to avoid as well as projected stat lines for 2018.

NFC East

The defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles do not feature any draft picks that should be considered in redraft unless Zach Ertz is injured, then Dallas Goedert would be a waiver wire addition to attempt to grab. The Dallas Cowboys drafted Michael Gallup in the third round and Gallup could be a part in the offense and is worth a draft pick, definitely in the later rounds. If you are drafting closer to the season, keep an eye on the tight end situation as Dalton Schultz has a chance be the starter yet I don’t see him as being massively productive. He is talented but a long shot to be an asset to your team. The Washington Redskins drafted Derrius Guice in the second round and he will likely be a starter from the first snap of the season. Guice should be drafted in the 5th or 6th round, he will get the opportunity and is talented but possibly limited by Chris Thompson. Guice may be more of a first and second round ‘thumper’. Trey Quinn is a talented wide receiver with a chance to crack the starting lineup, but I doubt he will be productive enough to draft in his first season. The New York Giants selected Saquon Barkley at second overall and is ultra-talented, Barkley should be a first round pick in your draft. Barkley has the potential to anchor your team, I don’t see any scenario that he fails if he stays healthy.

Projections:

Michael Gallup     55 catches for 675 yards and 5 TDs

Derrius Guice     215 carries for 985 yards and 6 TDs, 15 catches for 90 yards

Saquon Barkley     255 carries for 1,240 yards and 8 TDs, 55 catches for 460 yards and 3 TDs

NFC North

The Minnesota Vikings‘ only draft pick worth consideration here is Daniel Carlson, the kicker drafted in the fifth round but he will have to beat out Kai Forbath. If your league uses kickers, Carlson is an option in the last round if he wins the job. The Detroit Lions moved up in the second round to draft Kerryon Johnson and he will get an opportunity to establish a run game in the Motor City that has been pedestrian for seasons. I love Kerryon, I highly advocate grabbing him in the 8th or 9th round – the Lions have a potent air assault and a mauling offensive line(ranked 8th overall by PFF), the situation is ripe for Kerryon to succeed. The Green Bay Packers drafted a trio of wide receivers in rounds 4 thru 6, all are talented and bring different strengths to the table but I recommend not taking a chance on any unless one truly excels in training camp. The Chicago Bears capped off a busy offseason by selecting Anthony Miller in the second round of the NFL draft. Miller was insanely productive in college out of the slot and has been destroying at camp thus far, I like him in the later rounds, he is a dark horse rookie of the year candidate. Mitchell Trubisky favored slot receivers in college and Chicago brought in a good one.

Projections:

Kerryon Johnson     230 carries for 1,190 yards and 7 TDs, 25 catches for 230 yards and 1 TD

Anthony Miller     85 catches for 1,100 yards and 5 TDs

NFC South

The New Orleans Saints selected Tre’Quan Smith in the third round and he has looked great so far in camp, he has a shot at being a starter for the Saints and the situation should be monitored. Smith is talented and a starting spot should have you considering him in the later rounds of your draft – right before your team defense and kicker. The Carolina Panthers drafted one of the most complete wideouts in the first round, D.J. Moore from Maryland. Moore will give Cam Newton a reliable target and should be in the mix to lead the pass catchers in catches and yards. Moore is a proficient route runner and overall polished receiver, something Newton hasn’t had since Steve Smith. The Atlanta Falcons surprised many by grabbing the talented Calvin Ridley in the first round. Ridley is another good route runner and will slide into the slot, providing Matt Ryan with a reliable option and will likely put up low-end WR2 numbers from day one. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers snapped up Ronald Jones II from USC in the second round and he will challenge for the starting role, I do not recommend selecting him as early as he has been going. Peyton Barber has looked much more talented thus far in camp and I foresee a timeshare in the Bucs backfield. If he slides into the later rounds, 10th or later, he is worth a flier but he is being drafted much earlier.

Projections: 

Tre’Quan Smith     60 catches for 725 yards and 5 TDs

D.J. Moore     80 catches for 1,010 yards and 6 TDs

Calvin Ridley     70 catches for 820 yards and 5 TDs

Ronald Jones     120 carries for 555 yards and 3 TDs, 30 catches for 330 yards and 3 TDs

NFC West

The Los Angeles Rams have one of the most complete teams and added depth in the draft, there are not any rookies worth drafting on the Rams roster at this time. The Seattle Seahawks reached early on running back and drafted Rashaad Penny at the tail end of the first round. Penny is a polarizing prospect, highly productive in his only season as a starter in college. The reports at camp are confounding – Pete Carroll states that Chris Carson is the starter, then says Penny looks great and is picking up pass protection well, one of his biggest weaknesses at San Diego State. I am personally avoiding the backfield at the draft position Rashaad Penny is going but if he emerges as a starter, he should be drafted in the range he is going now. The Arizona Cardinals took new franchise quarterback Josh Rosen at the tenth spot – if you are in a league that starts more than one quarterback he would be worth a late flier, all signs point to him starting in the desert. Christian Kirk is interesting for the Cards as well, drafted in the second round after a highly productive college career running mostly from the slot. Kirk will start right away and will figure prominently in the Cardinals’ aerial attack. Lastly, the San Francisco 49ers drafted Dante Pettis in the second round to strengthen their wide receiving options and also added Richie James in the seventh round. Pettis should be a late round target as he will get a chance to crack the starting lineup and should be on the field early in the season. James is a dart throw late in deep leagues, he has a path to the slot starting position and was super productive in college.

Projections:

Rashaad Penny     120 carries for 535 yards and 3 TDs, 25 catches for 220 yards and 2 TDs

Josh Rosen     260 completions, 3,500 yards, 19 TDs and 13 INTs

Christian Kirk     7o catches for 760 yards and 3 TDs

Dante Pettis    55 catches for 680 yards and 4 TDs

 

Please check back in later this week at The Fantasy Authority for the AFC rookie breakdown!

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