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2006 Fantasy Football Rookies

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2006 Fantasy Football Rookies

Unread postby swerb » Sat Jun 10, 2006 11:35 pm

One writers take on how the rookies will shape up in 2006 ...

http://football.about.com/od/fantasyfoo ... rookie.htm

Fantasy Footballs Top Rookies

Generally, as a rule, I don’t rely too much, if at all, on rookies to make a significant contribution on my fantasy football teams. Sure, I’ll take a chance on a guy I really like in the proper scenario, but usually in a back-up roll. Then if he pans out, I look like a genius. If he doesn’t, my roster isn’t completely deflated.

This year, there are several players who I would consider taking a chance on. And while it might be too big of a risk to spend a high pick on a rookie, the reward could be substantial if you can get him in the mid-to-late rounds.

These are my top-ten rookies based on their fantasy football potential in 2006:

1. Reggie Bush, RB New Orleans - Bush's versatility and explosiveness make him your best bet as a rookie. He'll share carries with Deuce McAllister, but the Saints will try to get the ball in his hands as often as they can, including using him as a slot receiver.

2. LenDale White, RB Tennessee - After falling from a potential top-ten pick in the draft to an early second rounder, White has a lot of motivation to make teams regret passing on him. With the durability issues of current starter Chris Brown, White should see a lot of the field as a rookie.

3. Laurence Maroney, RB New England - Maroney could be a real sleeper this year should Corey Dillon continue to show signs of slowing. At the least, Maroney should take some carries away from Dillon, who turns 32 in October.

4. Vernon Davis, TE San Francisco - Davis has the potential to put up big numbers for a tight end if QB Alex Smith can get him the ball. Smith threw just one TD pass all of last season, so I wouldn't be looking at Davis as a starter. But on teams with larger rosters, it might be worth grabbing him as a backup.

5. DeAngelo Williams, RB Carolina - Williams will split carries with DeShaun Foster, but he is brittle. And with Eric Shelton on the roster, Williams may not get many opportunities near the goal line.

6. Vince Young, QB Tennessee - Obviously, this falls under the assumption that Steve McNair will not be back with the Titans in 2006. If Young is thrust into the starting role immediately, he will likely struggle as a passer. But he has the ability to rack up points with his legs as well.

7. Matt Leinart, QB Arizona - If Kurt Warner plays well, Leinart isn't likely to see much action. But Warner does have serious durability issues which could push Leinart into the starting role sooner than expected. With the weapons that would be at his disposal, it might be worth taking a flyer on him in the later rounds.

8. Joseph Addai, RB Indianapolis - Addai is a guy who is probably going to go a lot higher in your draft than he should. A lot of people are looking at him as an immediate replacement for Edgerrin James, and that's a little unrealistic in my opinion. Pass protection is a big factor for the running backs in Indy's offense, which means Dominic Rhodes will probably see a lot of time early on.

9. Marcedes Lewis, TE Jacksonville - With the retirement of Jimmy Smith, the Jaguars have a lot of inexperience at receiver. Lewis could become a favorite target of Leftwich's, especially in the red zone.

10. Maurice Drew, RB Jacksonville - Fred Taylor is now on the flip side of 30 and has had some trouble staying on the field the past couple years. At just 5'8", there are concerns about his size, but there's no denying his explosiveness.
Last edited by swerb on Sat Jun 10, 2006 11:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby swerb » Sat Jun 10, 2006 11:40 pm

GREAT column on the rookie RBs ...

http://www.footballdocs.com/rookie_rbs_2006.html

2006 Rookie Running Back Fantasy Analysis

Original release: May 6, 2006


We know exactly what you were thinking during the 2006 NFL Draft:

1) What were the Texans thinking?
2) Which one of these guys is going to help my fantasy football team in 2006?

While the first question is a complete mystery to us and we will discuss the player they passed on in this article, the second is right up our alley. When evaluating immediate impact fantasy football talent, we like to start with the top position in almost every fantasy football scoring system … yes, the running back. Rookie running backs are not only a position that you should consider drafting each year, but they are a position that you should highly consider...period. Why? Rookie running backs have a well established history of being significant contributors on fantasy squads. The transition and learning curve for a rookie RB is much less steep than that of a QB or WR, where timing and chemistry are critical to their success. Typically one of the hardest things a rookie RB must deal with is blocking; however, this is not detrimental to their immediate success as a savvy veteran can be substituted for these rookies on third down and long yardage situations. In the meantime, rookie RBs are still fed the ball on a regular basis, which gives them ample opportunity to rack up some gaudy fantasy numbers in only their first year of play. To provide some hard numbers to back-up this fact, check these out:


Player
Year
Pick
Rush Yards
Rush TDs
Rec. Yards
Rec. TDs

Carnell Williams
2005
5
1178
6
81
0
Ronnie Brown
2005
2
907
4
232
1
Kevin Jones
2004
30
1133
5
180
1
Julius Jones
2004
43
819
7
109
0
Domanick Davis
2003
101
1031
8
351
0
William Green
2002
16
887
6
113
0
Clinton Portis
2002
51
1508
15
364
2
LaDainian Tomlinson
2001
5
1236
10
367
0
Jamal Lewis
2000
5
1364
6
296
0
Edgerrin James
1999
4
1553
13
586
4
Ricky Williams
1999
5
884
2
172
0
Fred Taylor
1998
9
1223
14
421
3

As you can see, there is at least one rookie running back that breaks out with a great season every year. A selection like those listed above in the middle to late rounds of your fantasy football draft can make the difference between a championship caliber fantasy football team and a mediocre squad. While it is impossible to guarantee which rookie running back will emerge to have a breakout fantasy season in 2006, there are a couple of things you can do to help stack the odds in your favor:

First, pick a RB that has the talent to win the starting job. If a guy doesn’t have what it takes to be a top tier running back in the NFL, they just aren’t going to breakout. You can eliminate rookie running backs that were either drafted too late or that weren’t drafted at all. Given the recent history of the NFL draft presented above, it is safe to say that the rookie running back that will have a breakout season in 2006 will come from the first four rounds of the draft. The lowest picked running back to breakout in his rookie season since 1998 was Domanick Davis at the 101st pick. The thing you will note about this year’s rookie RB class is that it is much thinner in talent that the 2005 class. Other than Reggie Bush, this class has very few “super stars” coming into the 2006 season.

Second, select a RB in a favorable situation with ample opportunity. Some running backs that were selected in 2006 were selected as a backup or as a project that will help the team in the future. These are not the running backs that you want to draft in a 2006 fantasy football redraft league. You want the players that will have a hance to compete for the starting job right away.

Here is a list of the running backs drafted in the first four rounds of the 2006 NFL Draft:


Player
College
Round
Overall Pick
NFL team

Reggie Bush
Southern California
1
2
New Orleans
Laurence Maroney
Minnesota
1
21
New England
DeAngelo Williams
Memphis
1
27
Carolina
Joseph Addai
Louisiana State
1
30
Indianapolis
LenDale White
Southern California
2
45
Tennessee
Maurice Drew
UCLA
2
60
Jacksonville
Brian Calhoun
Wisconsin
3
74
Detroit
Jerious Norwood
Mississippi State
3
79
Atlanta
Leon Washington
Florida State
4
117
N.Y. Jets
P.J. Daniels
Georgia Tech
4
132
Baltimore

By only looking at the first four rounds, we have accommodated the talent requirement (more or less). The opportunities that are available to the rookie running backs in 2006 can be broken down into the following groups:

Rookie RBs that have a good chance of being the “go-to guy” in 2006:
1) Reggie Bush - Way too much talent here for Bush not to be considered a top contender for the best fantasy prospect of the rookie running back class of 2006. We wish that Deuce McAllister and Michael Bennett weren’t in New Orleans, but we still think Bush is the best bet to make a significant fantasy splash in 2006. McAllister is coming off an injury and Bennett has pretty much been a bust, so there is an opportunity there for this very explosive rookie.

2) Joseph Addai - The Colts let their franchise RB run to the desert, and that left the former backup, Dominic Rhodes, as the apparent RB of the 2006 season for the Colts. None of the other running back names on the Colts depth chart would even register a fantasy blip on the radar prior to the 2006 NFL Draft. That all changed when the Colts took Addai with their first round pick. Addai is no Edgerrin James, but he should be a threat to Rhodes because of his athletic ability. Rhodes filled in nicely for James in 2001 to the tune of 1328 total yards and 9 TDs, so he is a threat to keep the starting job. However, these numbers show some of the fantasy potential being the running back for the Colts explosive offense. You should keep a very close eye on this positional battle as the season approaches because Addai is the second best bet to keep the trend of rookie running back success going in 2006. The main thing that could keep Addai from reaching his rookie fantasy potential would be an inability to grasp the Colts blocking schemes. We have a feeling the Addai will be a name on everyone’s lips by the end of 2006.

Rookie RBs that could steal the starting job with a little injury help:

3) DeAngelo Williams - DeShaun Foster has had his season end with knee injuries in 3 of his 4 years at Carolina, and that makes us think that Williams will see significant time toting the rock for Carolina before season’s end. Make no mistake! Foster will be the primary ball carrier in Carolina while he is healthy, but we think Foster’s chances of finishing the season are not very good. Whoever ends up running the ball for the Panthers will be a fantasy threat because the Panthers are committed to the run. When a fullback carries the ball for over a 1000 total yards and 7 TDs, you know the coach will NOT give up on the run. Don't let this possible fantasy impact player pass you by because Williams is a fantasy explosion just waiting for Foster to suffer yet another setback.

4) Laurence Maroney - Corey Dillon has very high mileage and he is getting very old for the world of NFL running backs. We feel like Maroney will see carries even if Dillon is 100% healthy. The Patriots will want to keep Dillon healthy for their return to the playoffs in 2006, and they will need Dillon healthy to make that run a long one. In this capacity, Maroney will have little fantasy value on a week to week basis. Dillon has a solid nose for the goal line and we suspect that he would get the call at the stripe if all things are equal. However, if Dillon were to suffer another nagging injury, Maroney would be a fantasy force to be reckoned with in 2006. Maroney carried a very heavy load in college against some of the tougher defenses that college football has to offer. Even if Maroney becomes the primary ball carrier, he might be carrying a lighter load that he did in 2005 at the University of Minnesota. In 2005 Maroney’s 281 carries were outdone by only 11 NFL players (Shaun Alexander-370, Edgerrin James-360, Tiki Barber-357, Clinton Portis-352, LaDainian Tomlinson-339, Rudi Johnson-337, Larry Johnson-336, Willis McGahee-325, Thomas Jones-314, Reuben Droughns-309, and Carnell Williams-290). If you draft Dillon, you will want Maroney. You may even want Maroney if you don’t own Dillon in 2006.

Rookie RBs that could split time or see goal line duty:

5) LenDale White - White has had a lot of bad press lately and he is (by his own admission) a bit lazy. However, everyone should recall how White ran rampant on a very good University of Texas defense in the college national championship game. He has a nose for the goal line and he is a load. All this said, he does have several obstacles in his way in Tennessee. These obstacles are Chris Brown and Travis Henry. Brown is very brittle and Henry hasn’t been an example of health lately either. Neither of these RBs have played in all 16 games since 2002 (Brown has never played in all 16 games). We don’t know if enough pieces can fall into place for White to become the feature back, but he could see goal line duty in 2006 thanks to his girth.

Rookie RBs that will see little game time and only have handcuff value incase of injury:

6) Brian Calhoun - Well, Kevin Jones, Artose Pinner, and Shawn Bryson are all still in Detroit at the time this article was written. Jones is the only one of this crew that even gets our pulse to quicken. However, he was wildly unimpressive in 2005. Jones also has shown some propensity for nicks and bruises, so Calhoun would make a nice backup in 2006. We can’t envision a scenario that allows Calhoun to win the starting gig outright, so he is only recommended as a handcuff to Jones for the upcoming season. All this said, we think that some running back is going to get some decent fantasy stats running in Mike Martz’s offense this year, but we aren’t sure who that will be at this point.

7) Maurice Drew - Drew is an explosive back, but he is also very tiny and he has several people waiting in front of him to make an impact if (when) Fred Taylor gets hurt in 2006. Drew is an unknown and could be an explosive wild card if he is given the right situation. We don’t think his current situation is it. He should only be considered in keeper leagues or deep (DEEP) redraft leagues in 2006.

8) Jerious Norwood - Norwood could be exciting if TJ Duckett gets traded. Otherwise, Norwood will be making his mark on the special teams only. Until Duckett gets traded, leave Norwood off of your redraft league plans for 2006.

9) Leon Washington - Yes, Curtis Martin is nearing the end of the line, but we don’t see Washington approaching the Jets RB throne in 2006. Cedric Houston and Derrick Blaylock will likely take over if Martin cannot finish his 2006 campaign.

10) P.J. Daniels - Daniels is a very solid running back, but he is buried deep on the depth chart in Baltimore behind Jamal Lewis, Mike Anderson, and Musa Smith. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Daniels pass Smith on the depth chart, but we don’t see him making it any higher than that in 2006.
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