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Rookies to Avoid in Fantasy Football Drafts

Johnny Manziel in Kyle Field CC BY-SA 3.0 Shutterbug459 - Own work

We had previously looked at the impact coaching changes around the NFL might have on fantasy football players, here and here.  Now that the 2014 NFL draft has concluded, we're took a look at some of the NFL rookie sleepers for 2014 fantasy football who are in the best situations to succeed this year.  Now we'll look at some of the 2014 Rookies to avoid on Draft Day.


2014 Rookies To Avoid

Eric Ebron, TE, Lions - I’m not denying Ebron’s ability by any means.  He’s a superb athlete and an all around great tight end.  However, rookie tight ends never perform in fantasy football.  Outside of Rob Gronkowski’s 10 touchdown year, there aren’t any good examples of a tight end performing well.  The position requires a lot of adjusting to the pro game, and Ebron is not in a good situation to begin with, given that he is behind Brandon Pettigrew.  He may get some red zone looks, but he is not worth being drafted, let alone at the premium some believers may pay for him.

Johnny Manziel in Kyle Field CC BY-SA 3.0 Shutterbug459 - Own workJohnny Manziel, QB, Browns - I am completely buying the Johnny Manziel hype.  I love him as a prospect, and if he were 3 inches taller, it would be a no brainer that he would go first overall.  However, he is short, and went to the Browns.  Manziel should be a fantasy factor his rookie year in terms of rushing yards.  He is still very raw and will have to rely on his instincts while he transitions to the pro level.  His rushing stats alone will make him fantasy relevant, but not starter material, which is probably what he will be drafted as in most leagues given the hype. Cleveland has no weapons outside of Jordan Cameron (assuming Gordon is suspended for all 16 games), and the injury potential scares me off.  If Manziel falls into your lap as a high upside backup quarterback, he is worth the risk.  Just don’t draft him as a starter though.

Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers - Mike Evans is another prospect with a lot of long term appeal, however his short term value is minimal.  A monster on the outside who excels at deep balls has been compared to his new teammate, Vincent Jackson.  He goes into a decent situation as the number 2 option in a new offense that should breathe signs of life with new Coach Lovie Smith, healthy running back Doug Martin and new quarterback Josh McCown.  However, Evans probably won’t be given many opportunities to succeed in the offense, and he will almost certainly be overdrafted on hype alone.  He will have a more challenging transition period compared to other first rounders due to his lack of explosion and other skills besides winning jump balls (which he is amazing at).  Evans will eventually blossom as a receiver, but he will have to be more versatile before he becomes a true fantasy impact.  Vincent Jackson should teach him that.

Andre Williams, RB, Giants - Williams draft day slide to the 4th round was due to his his inability to catch the ball, a fact pointed out by every analyst in existence during the draft.  Outside of his lack of receiving abilities, Williams has the look of the best power back in the draft. Weighing 230 lbs, possessing great speed for his size, and showing excellent tackle breaking ability throughout his college career, Williams would be a lock for a starter job if he showed more passing game prowess.  He also landed in New York behind Rashad Jennings and possibly David Wilson.  If Wilson isn’t healthy, and Jennings misses a game or more due to injury, Williams becomes a must add.  Other than that, he will probably not be seeing the field very often.

Odell Beckham Jr, WR, Giants - It took me a while to come around on Beckham as a prospect.  I don't believe he will have the separation ability to become a productive NFL receiver given his size, and he also had very inconsistent hands.  While his hands still aren’t anything special, he quieted some talk about his speed with a good 40 at the combine.  I’m not the biggest believer in measurables, but the 40 shows that with NFL training he can up his speed.  He’s elusive in the open field, and is just plain fun to watch.  He will have to compete with the likes of Reuben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan for outside duties.  He may beat out Randle because the coaching staff doesn’t seem to think too highly of him, but it’s still too early to tell.  If Beckham can’t earn a starting spot by your draft, he’s probably not worth the slot you’d be forced to reach for him at.

Any Quarterback - Even if the likes of Teddy Bridgewater or Blake Bortles starts, they probably won’t even be worth drafting as QB2’s in fantasy.