Last season was a good one for several NFL rookies. Andrew Luck, Doug Martin, Robert Griffin, and Russell Wilson were all worth starting during the 2012 season on your fantasy football team.
The 2013 NFL Draft wasn’t loaded with offensive weapons, but there were a solid amount of players that have the potential to make an impact on your fantasy team. Here are the top 10 rookies to draft to your team for the 2013 season.
#10. Matt Barkley QB – Philadelphia Eagles
Quarterback Matt Barkley has vowed to make all of the teams that didn’t draft him regret that decision. What Matt must realize is that even the Philadelphia Eagles passed on him three times. Barkley will have a chance to win the starting job, and in Chip Kelly’s offense he should have a great opportunity to put up fantasy worthy statistics. I do believe in Barkley’s skills and his ability to make an impact even in his rookie season if given the chance to lead the team.
#9. Cordarrelle Patterson WR – Minnesota Vikings
After trading talented wide receiver Percy Harvin, the Minnesota Vikings were in desperate need of a replacement. The Vikings selected wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson with the 29th pick in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft to fill that need. Patterson had limited production in his one year playing with the Tennessee Volunteers, but has the physical talents to be a successful wide receiver. Patterson ran a 4.42 40 yard dash at the combine and led all receivers with a 37 inch vertical jump. The Vikings are hoping that his raw skills will translate directly to a strong rookie performance. Look to pickup Patterson in the mid-rounds of your fantasy draft.
#8. DeAndre Hopkins WR – Houston Texans
DeAndre Hopkins is a short reliable receiver with breakout speed. In 2012, Hopkins averaged 17.1 yards per reception with 82 catches, 1,405 yards receiving, and an incredibly impressive 18 touchdowns. Hopkins is the missing piece to this offense and could put up statistics close to that of Tavon Austin. I do like Hopkins’ potential over Patterson due to stability at quarterback and an overall better offense in Houston.
#7. Robert Woods WR – Buffalo Bills
Robert Woods had a little less impact in 2012 with the USC Trojans than he did in 2011 and was completely outshined by Marqise Lee, who had over twice the receiving yards of Woods. Despite his status as the 2nd most productive USC receiver, Woods proved he is an NFL worthy talent with 26 touchdowns and 187 receptions in the past two seasons. Woods looks like an instant starter for the Bills, but his impact will rely on the arm of new quarterback Kevin Kolb.
#6. Zach Ertz TE – Philadelphia Eagles
The 6’6 Stanford standout had a solid year with the Cardinal in 2012 with 69 receptions and 6 touchdowns. Ertz still has a lot of room, but he looks like one of the few tight ends from this past draft class that can make an instant contribution. You should be able to grab Ertz with your last pick in your fantasy draft, but he could be a steal as most tight ends under-performed last season.
#5. Keenan Allen WR – San Diego Chargers
Every year there are a few extremely talented players that fall farther than expected in the NFL Draft for whatever reason. In 2013, Keenan Allen was one of those players. Allen fell into the third round where the San Diego Chargers couldn’t have been happier to grab him with the 76th overall pick. He is a tall target at 6’3 and could also help out with punt returns if needed. His draft stock may have been higher if he would have played for a better offense in college. The California passing offense was 95th in passing yards and Allen had only 737 yards receiving in 2012.
#4. Montee Ball RB – Denver Broncos
Montee Ball had video game like statistics for the Wisconsin Badgers with 83 total touchdowns and over 5,000 rushing yards in his four year career. Ball’s style fits the Denver Broncos very well and he should start to share time with Willis McGahee this season and take over the starting role completely in 2014. Although he is a somewhat speculative draft pick in 2013, I would still recommend picking him up late in your fantasy draft. If McGahee starts off slow or if Ball starts off strong, he could immediately get the bulk of the carries and become a must-start on your fantasy team.
#3. Le’veon Bell RB – Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers did not take Le’Veon Bell early in the 2nd round to have him ride the bench for a few years. It is clear that the Steelers feel he can be a starter right away, and his college statistics back that opinion up as well. In 2012, Bell was a workhorse with 382 carries for 1,793 yards and 12 touchdowns. Bell is a perfect fit for the Steelers tough offense and will carry the load on the ground. Take Bell in the 4th-5th round of you fantasy draft.
#2. Eddie Lacy RB – Green Bay Packers
Eddie Lacy and the Green Bay Packers benefited from his fall in the 2013 NFL Draft. Falling towards the end of the 2nd round allowed Lacy to be in position for a starting running back spot for one of the best teams in the NFL. The Packers desperately needed help at the position and should be able to use Lacy early in the season if not as a starter in the first week. Lacy could go as high as the 2nd round in your NFL draft. Don’t jump on him before dependable starting running backs in your fantasy draft, but look to steal him in the 3rd or 4th round.
#1. Tavon Austin WR – St. Louis Rams
Tavon Austin is a dynamic playmaker and will make for a dangerous weapon for Sam Bradford and the St. Louis Rams’ offense. Austin can rush out of the backfield, catch screen passes, play the slot, and go deep. If there is one player from this draft class that you want on your fantasy team, it is Tavon Austin. Austin could go as high as the 3rd round in your draft, and he may just be worth it.
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