Top Fantasy Football Storylines – Rookie Edition (Round 2) 2017
Zay Jones Buffalo Bills WR
With all the change that went on this off-season for the Bills organization from the “will or won’t we bring back QB Tyrod Taylor” to the hirings and firings of coaches, GM’s, and scouts you must wonder did they get it right? And with the Bills declining the 5th year option of stud (but injury ridden) WR Sammy Watkins, the Bills drafted Zay Jones and I can only assume this was a case of need and board meeting at intersecting paths. Zay Jones is a hell of a route runner and has hands of gold, catching damn near 400 balls in college. Personally, I think he is the heir apparent to Sammy Watkins and with names like WR Andre Holmes, Corey Brown, Walter Powell, Jeremy Butler, shall I continue… I can truly see a scenario where 65% to 70% of Buffalo’s offensive production is between 4 players, Taylor, Watkins, Jones, and McCoy. And at some point, Watkins will get hurt and that leaves the trio increasing all their loads. Oh, and in case you forgot or didn’t know, Jones caught 158 balls in his last season at ECU. Jones is someone you must target in every league imaginable.
Curtis Samuel Carolina Panthers WR
The Carolina Panthers had a plan going into this year’s draft: get Cam some help and take the load off of him. Insert weapon #1 Christian McCaffrey and weapon #2 Curtis Samuel. Although I question the hands of Samuel and that he and McCaffrey are somewhat similar, the Panthers have assembled something that will allow them to do many different things and be multifaceted within their offense. The Panthers now have two big bodies on the outside (Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess), a 3-time Pro Bowler (TE Greg Olsen), the most dynamic player in the draft (McCaffrey) and now Curtis Samuel who is dynamic in his own right. He can play a wide variety of positions from WR, RB, HB, in the slot AND add 4.31 speed to his resume, making him interchangeable and a chess piece that may not come off the field. He will get his touches from everywhere on the field but I don’t think it’ll be to the degree (volume) of McCaffrey.
Adam Shaheen Chicago Bears TE
Not a fan of this pick from a value standpoint but on the other hand, Zach Miller is 32 and has never played a full season. So, I understand the pick from a positional need standpoint. TE is a position that doesn’t return on your investment right away when talking rookies and although Shaheen is 6’6 280 lbs. he has a lot to learn coming from Ashland where he looked like a man amongst boys at times and lined up a plenty outside and in-line. I could see a scenario where he will be utilized in the redzone lined up on the outside against smaller CB and S to take advantage of that size as a true redzone threat. Don’t expect much more than that.
Joe Mixon Cincinnati Bengals RB
The Bengals went out and drafted arguably the most talented back in the draft in Joe Mixon, who is the best of both worlds when compared to Giovani Bernard (who can’t stay healthy) and Jeremy Hill (who might be getting traded according to the word on the street). Mixon will allow the Bengals to conceal more on offense in regard to what is coming and not tip their hand one way or another based on who is positioned in the backfield. This holds especially true on 3rd downs due to Mixon’s ability to run routes and catch the ball out the backfield like Gio and pound the ball like Hill. He is also a player that you can build an offense around. He is a RB1 make no mistake here folks and when you add Green, Ross, and Eifert who will open things up for him due to their talents I’m throwing my hat in the ring and predicting Mixon is going to be Rookie of the year. This should equate to fantasy points a plenty regardless of the league you are in.
DeShone Kizer Cleveland Browns QB
Word on the street is that Kizer was getting some first team reps in the mini camps these past couple of weeks. But let’s be real here; he’d have to beat out Kevin Hogan, Cody Kessler and Brock Osweiler. Now these names aren’t striking fear into the hearts of those defenders across the line from them. But I will firmly stand on what I said of Kizer, no matter who drafted him he is not ready and needs to sit and learn Aaron Rodgers’ style. I believe the Browns would have to go through at least 2 of those QB’s I previously named before Kizer is sent out onto the field. Strong arm and all don’t do it to yourself. This is a 2 year wait folks. So, if you are in a dynasty league and have a taxi squad in place (where you can hold players on your squad that don’t count against your roster) this may be a prime opportunity to take and HOLD him until the time comes.
Gerald Everett LA Rams TE
The Rams went from a boring, predictable, pedestrian offense to a fresh look and the innovative mind of 31-year-old Sean McVay who, in a surprise to me, drafted not a WR (which was needed in the worst way) but a TE who is said to be McVay’s Jordan Reed, who he had while he was the OC at Washington. If this is how they plan to use him then they may have something here. Everett’s skill set is something comparable to that of Reed and the way he was used at South Alabama was exclusively that of a receiving threat and looked dominate at times. There are a couple of issues that make me pause on Everett. First Jared Goff is going into his second year and second offense with a bad OL in front of him. That combination sounds like a recipe for disaster. Hell, a superstar in Todd Gurley struggled behind that line. But always remember garbage time is a fantasy owner’s dream and Everett may be able to shine in those moments.
JuJu Smith Schuster Pittsburgh Steelers WR
We all know that when some players are drafted (despite where they go) their talents will shine through the darkness of ineptitude that surrounds them. And then there are those who are picked to a place that has talent oozing from all orifices and can cultivate the incoming talent(s) with time. Ju Ju Smith-Schuster falls under the latter. Here is a player who never reached his true potential while at USC and is in prime position to do just that. What Smith-Schuster brings to the table is some physicality and that trait the Steelers seem to look for when drafting a WR, the damage after the catch. Buyer beware here for leagues that aren’t dynasty. I don’t believe Smith-Schuster will have an instant impact with all that there is in Pittsburgh unless Martavis Bryant plans on missing plenty more games with the recurring failed drug test and Sammie Coates’ inconsistent hands.
Dalvin Cook Minnesota Vikings RB
The Vikings are equipped with the talents of WR Stefon Diggs, rising star Adam Thielen, Laquon Treadwell, and the self-proclaimed best TE Kyle Rudolph. And then you mean to tell me that the Vikings went from Adrian Peterson to Dalvin Cook in one offseason. Is this not like when the Colts went from Manning to Luck? Either way there is not enough words that I can say to describe how lucky the Vikings are to get a talent like Cook. If my words aren’t enough to help you understand what Cook is click here and here and don’t forget ya popcorn. From Cook’s burst, route running, power to speed, wiggle, ability to turn the corner and go the distance the only true issue I see from a fantasy perspective is Cook’s ability to stay healthy and the planned usage. Remember the Vikings did acquire Latavius Murray via free agency… In all honesty though, who cares that Murray is on the squad. Cook is one of the special ones; don’t miss your shot to take him. He is RB1 all day.