We are near the end of the 2017 fantasy season. One of the big storylines in fantasy this season was the rookies. We saw Ezekiel Elliott dominate as a rookie the year before, and this year we saw multiple rookies such as Kareem Hunt, Alvin Kamara and Deshaun Watson shine in 2017.
This year’s draft class should be no different with the amount of talent there is. Here are the top rookie prospects for fantasy football in 2018.
No.5 Bryce Love, Running BAck, Stanford
Once again, another Stanford running back has been a beast. This year it was Bryce Love.
Love was the best running back in 2017. The Doak Walker winner and Heisman runner-up averaged a staggering 8.3 yards per carry and finished with 1,973 yards with 17 touchdowns. He was an absolute beast this season, rushing for over 100 yards in all but one game. That’s scary good. Compare that to the most talked about running back prospect Saquon Barkley, who only topped 100 yards in four games.
Love also had outstanding back-to-back games with 263 yards against UCLA and 301 yards against Arizona State. Love isn’t a big back, but is incredibly fast. He also has great vision, balance, underrated strength to get through tackles, is shifty in the open field and a home-run hitter.
Love is projected to go from late in the first round to early in the third round due to his size, but he will gain attention after the season he had. He won’t be ignored in fantasy drafts. Love right now would be an RB3 in fantasy.
No.4 Calvin Ridley, Wide Receiver, Alabama
One of the top receivers in the draft this year comes from the Alabama Crimson Tide. Calvin Ridley is a first-round lock and projected to go in the top 15.
He finished his junior year with 55 catches for 896 yards and three touchdowns. While his stats aren’t over the top, he still is an effective receiver. He is almost comparable to Julio Jones since he lacks touchdowns, but still gets his catches and yards. That’s mostly because of the run heavy offense and a quarterback that has passing limitations.
Ridley has good but not great size, with a slender build and long arms, giving him an above-average catch radius with his good hands. Where Ridley really excels is as a route runner, especially with his speed. That will transition well in the NFL.
Ridley will be a starter right away in the NFL, but possibly as a slot receiver with his great route-running ability. He will line up anywhere the coaches want, and that’s what makes him an effective receiver. He ranks as an WR3 but has WR2 potential.
No.3 Courtland Sutton, Wide Receiver, SMU
This Southern Methodist University receiver is a freak of nature at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds. Courtland Sutton is a potential top-10 pick.
In 2017, Sutton had 62 catches for 1,017 yards with 12 touchdowns. He has played well for SMU and continued to be a dynamic point-scoring threat. Ever since 2015, he has been the big name and improving every season. He plays to his height and uses it all to his advantage.
Besides his size and strength, he also has good speed. He has the quickness and burst needed to outpace defensive angles. This combined with his size makes him a major big-play threat. He is someone capable of both winning in contested situations and stretching the field. He may need some work, but his size, strength and quickness to run routes make him an effective fantasy player, especially in the red zone.
Sutton could be the first receiver off the board and will be a major player down in the red zone in his rookie year. As he progresses, he will be used anywhere to create easy matchups. He ranks as a WR3 like Ridley with WR2 potential.
No.2 Derrius Guice, Running back, LSU
He may not be Leonard Fournette, but he is another LSU running back with some potential.
Derrius Guice battled with injuries, but managed to finish the season with 1,153 yards, 11 touchdowns and 5.3 yards per carry. He had 15 receptions for 100 yards as well.
Late in the regular season, Guice was looking better and seemed to regain some of his speed as he got healthier. He rushed for 276 yards against Ole Miss, becoming the first player in SEC history with three career games of at least 250 rushing yards. He’s an explosive runner with excellent balance and a tenacious style. He isn’t quite as powerful as Fournette, but he has a little more wiggle and elusiveness. He isn’t used often in the passing game, but he does have capable hands and the potential to be more of a weapon in that department.
Guice is ranging from middle to late in the first round. He should start as a RB3, but if his draft stock improves, he could be a RB2 depending on which team he is on.
No.1 Saquon Barkley, Running BAck, Penn State
Without of doubt, the consensus No. 1 offensive-skilled player in this year’s draft is Saquon Barkley. He will be at least a top-10 pick, if not a guarantee in the top five.
He had over 1,000 rushing yards in each of his three seasons. This year wasn’t as good as his 2016 season, but he still managed to rush over 1,100 yards and 16 touchdowns while adding over 500 receiving yards. He even threw a touchdown pass this year.
His dynamic ability is the big reason why he will be the top rookie picked in drafts this year. A highlight of his true dominance is the game against Iowa. He ran for 211 yards on 28 carries with one touchdown. He also caught 12 passes for 94 yards to lead Penn State in receiving.
Barkley is a true game changer with his devastating quickness to hit the hole and accelerate downfield as well as great speed, tremendous balance, vision, cutting ability, elusiveness and power.
Some people say he will be better than Ezekiel Elliott. We hope he lives up to the hype. No matter what team he goes to, he will start as a RB2 in fantasy with RB1 potential, especially in PPR leagues.
Featured image from cbssports.com.
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