Everybody loves picking a rookie in their new fantasy football leagues. No matter whether it’s a dynasty league, a redraft, it really doesn’t matter, the rookies are the new shiny toys that everybody wants to put into their fantasy teams for eternal glory. Now, this is absolutely okay to do so. Looking at last season, just a few examples, Jonathan Taylor was unbelievable, and drafted in the SECOND round for the Colts, Ceedee Lamb had a quietly productive season with over 900 yards and 5 touchdowns, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire came steaming out of the gates before tailing off a little. Not to mention James Robinson for the Jags who of course, was an undrafted free agent, turned fantasy STEAL when he clipped 1000 yards and 7 touchdowns this past season.
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So, that being said, who are going to be the top 5 guys this year, despite the position you’d need to draft them at…
1. Najee Harris RB – Pittsburgh
Najee Harris is the epitome of what a rookie fantasy football pick up should look like. He was drafted by the Steelers to fill a desperate need, and with the departure of James Conner, lack of production from Bennie Snell, and likely back up support from Anthony McFarland, Najee is going to be the guy from day 1 in this Pittsburgh backfield.
The Steelers got figured out by the time the season was drawing to a close, and it became extremely uncomfortable to watch as their non existent run game resulted in embarrassing drives and teams exposing them in a major way. Let’s not even mention the Browns game…
Najee Harris is a workhorse, with good hands, who will feature out of the backfield in the passing game too. He’s the closest thing we’ve seen to Saquon Barkley coming out of the draft since Saquon Barkley. I would rank him right there at number two, above Zeke, and anybody else, as a prospect. His ability to run somebody over, as well as stiff arm, but then also hurdle, juke, and get to the sideline and straight up outrun someone, means he should be the first rookie on your draft board this season.
2. Kyle Pitts TE – Atlanta
Kyle Pitts is going to be a top 3 tight end in 2021 as a rookie. That’s a bold statement, it’s also 95% likely. The reason being, is that he’s probably the number one tight end in all of football for snaps outside the hashes. I am putting my chips in this basket and saying that Kyle Pitts will be lining up in Julio Jones spot plenty this season. The Falcons, if they have any sort of sense, will move Pitts around all over the place and cause total match up nightmares for linebackers, corners and safeties, all season long. it will be a crime if this man doesn’t exceed 1000 yards, and something will have gone tremendously wrong.
I’d have Pitts at second over any of the early round running backs due to split carries, and I’d have him over any of the top wide receivers because he’s just going to be that good right out of the gate, and Julio Jones moving on only opens up more opportunity for him to be targeted, and to succeed.
3. Trevor Lawrence QB – Jacksonville
You just can’t leave the guy off this list. There will be vets who are safer picks at the QB position, there’s at least 8 I would understand taking ahead of him, but there is no harm in taking a punt on T Law this season. The Jags defence still has a ways to go, but the weapons on the offence are underrated.
I expect Trevor Lawrence to 1, play week one, it’ll make zero sense if he doesn’t, and 2, elevate the game of everybody around him. Now that means we see the best DJ Chark we’ve ever seen, who’s not exactly had elite QBs to play with since he was drafted. It also means Laviska Shenault is going to be even better this year, despite an impressive rookie season… and they’ve added Marvin Jones and Travis Etienne into the mix. There are certainly worse receiving cores and backfields to work alongside as a rookie, and with Urban Meyer at the helm, i’m expecting the Jags to let Trevor Lawrence grip it and rip it all season long. He might throw a few picks, but the guys grit and determination is second to none, and that won’t phase him at all. He could easily be a top 10 yardage QB in 2021, 100% worth a punt.
4. Amari Rodgers WR – Green Bay
Amari Rodgers is what the Green Bay Packers have been missing. Allan Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling can certainly contribute on their day, but I was screaming out for the Packers to select a dynamic slot receiver in this years draft, and kept banging the drum that this was the perfect landing spot for Kadarius Toney.
However, what the Packers did, in adding Amari Rodgers in the third round, is extremely good value. Aaron Rodgers (if he’s still there of course), is going to be able to unleash this man, and I can genuinely see him becoming the 2nd most targeted Packer this year behind Davante Adams. Amari Rodgers is going to be extremely good value late on in your drafts, and is a name you should certainly have on your boards. Amari Rodgers had over 1000 yards and 7 touchdowns in 2020 during his final year at Clemson, while lining up 86% of the time in the slot. This guys a stud and paired with Aaron Rodgers he could go off big time…
5. Elijah Moore WR – New York Jets
The most criminally underrated wide receiver in this class, if he builds a relationship with Zach Wilson in pre season the way I’m hoping he does (as a football fan, not a Dolphins fan), then we could be looking at him in 3 or 4 years time as the AJ Brown in this years draft class. He could easily shake out to be the best receiver in the class, AND easily the number 1 receiver for the Jets.
Moore should have been a first round pick in my humblest of opinions and while this selection for your fantasy team is somewhat of a dice roll, he should also be available late…
This guy had nearly 1200 yards in 8 games this past season… 8 games. He had over 200 yards THREE times, against Florida, Vanderbilt and South Carolina, all of which are SEC opponents. Elijah Moore is a stud, and that number 1 receiver spot on the Jets belongs to him…
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