With preseason underway, there are lots of questions about rookies this week. A solid pick on a rookie can bring years of fantasy goodness to those owners in dynasty leagues. If you're looking for redraft rankings, look for these guys on our fantasy football rankings. If you're looking for rookie rankings from a dynasty or keeper perspective, here's our Top 10 fantasy football rookies for 2015.
1. Melvin Gordon, RB - San Diego Chargers
He's big, fast, and just what the Chargers need. Gordon is the kind of workhorse back that will contribute to a fantasy team over the next few years. He may even be the best candidate to win Rookie of the Year, but temper your expectations this year. Plenty of reports from camp suggest that like most rookies, Gordon has some work to do on pass protection. After giving Philip Rivers a major contract extension, the Chargers need to take care of #17. Expect a good dose of Danny Woodhead particularly in passing situations.
2. Amari Cooper, WR - Oakland Raiders
As the 4th overall pick in the NFL draft, Cooper brings great talent to a team that sorely needs it. He was a reception machine at Alabama and could fill that same role in Oakland assuming that QB Derek Carr can get him the ball. The good news is that Carr and Cooper seem to have developed an early rapport. If the first preseason game is any indication (3 passes for 22 yards), we expect Carr to throw early and often to Cooper.
3. Todd Gurley, RB - St Louis Rams
In redraft leagues, Gurley is less exciting and would fall further down the list, but in dynasty formats, he's a back to target. He's not likely to play Week 1 and could miss a few weeks as he continues to heal from a torn ACL. The Rams have indicated that they're not going to rush him onto the field so his redraft value takes a hit. Once he's healthy, Gurley remains one of the better fantasy prospects. If he doesn't pay off this season, he certainly will in years 2 and 3.
4. T.J. Yeldon, RB - Jacksonville Jaguars
It's no secret that the Jaguars have been looking for a replacement for MJD. Here's hoping that Yeldon is that guy. Denard Robinson, Toby Gerhart, and Storm Johnson are going to compete for time, but this is really Yeldon's job to lose. The only immediate concern for this season is what kind of workload OC Greg Olson will give the rookie. If he eases him into the NFL, which is the expectation, Yeldon's year 1 contributions will be smaller, but as he establishes himself, Yeldon could be a solidly-producing back down the road. High upside here.
5. Ameer Abdullah, RB - Detroit Lions
We're not going to praise Abdullah's talents and preseason performance here. Plenty of other folks have sung his praises. Instead, we're going to look at his potential to flourish in the NFL. With Joique Bell in the rotation, Abdullah's workload will be less, but his size, speed, and acceleration have all the hallmarks of another famous Lions' RB (too soon for any more of a comparison). Bell's injury concerns leave question marks, but at some point down the road, the starting gig will belong to Abdullah.
6. Marcus Mariota, QB - Tennessee Titans
We learned a lot watching Mariota in his first preseason game. He got rattled early against Atlanta, but composed himself and led his team down the field. That poise will serve him well. The Titans took Mariota with the 2nd overall draft pick and have every intention of starting him Week 1. That means that he's a QB with the potential to contribute. Given the tenure of most Tier 1 and 2 fantasy QB's, we're generally not apt to reach on rookie QB's, but Mariota should serve as a decent backup fantasy QB today with upside.
7. Nelson Agholor, WR - Philadelphia Eagles
It's easy to see how Philly fans are already comparing Agholor to Jeremy Maclin. Speed, size, and agility are comparable. The Eagles didn't spend a first round pick on him to watch him sit on the sidelines, so we're expecting a healthy workload out of him right away. He could be a great rookie target - particularly in PPR formats.
8. Jameis Winston, QB - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The first overall pick in the draft will be under center for Week 1. Winston has some great weapons at his disposal including Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and Doug Martin, but the real question is whether or not he'll be comfortable enough in the pocket to really use them out of the gate. That's perhaps our biggest concern with Winston. Whether in practice or during the preseason opener, Winston seems to struggle. It's too early to label someone with that kind of tag as he will obviously get more comfortable with time, but if we had to draft today and choose between Winston or Mariota, we'd give the edge to Mariota.
9. Breshard Perriman, WR - Baltimore Ravens
This will be Steve Smith's last year, and Baltimore has already lost Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. The rest of the receivers in Baltimore are not worth mentioning from a fantasy perspective, so Perriman will have a legitimate shot for a decent number of targets every game. In PPR formats, he could outperform where you're going to draft him.
10. Tevin Coleman, RB - Atlanta Falcons
With Steven Jackson gone, the running back competition in the Peach State is between Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman. Depending on how this battle shakes out, it wouldn't be surprising to see a 60-40 split in workload. Both backs have returned from hamstring injuries but should see plenty of playing time this season.
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