With fantasy football drafts starting soon, I thought I’d have some fun and look at an All-Rookie team. These are guys that I think will be the best from this year’s draft class on the field, specifically for fantasy purposes. Did your favorite rookie make my starting lineup?
Quarterback: Trevor Lawrence, Jacksonville Jaguars
Lawrence is my quarterback for a few reasons. First, he seems like the most likely to start Week 1 of all rookie QBs. Consistency on a weekly basis is needed for a fantasy team, and you can’t rely on a QB who won’t start till later in the season. Aside from that, Lawrence has proven to be mobile. Over the past 2 seasons, Lawrence has rushed for 776 yards and 17TDs. A mobile quarterback does not only lead to points for potential QB sneaks on the 1yd line, but for more points for each rush.
I also like his supporting cast for the air attack. He has a group of weapons with the likes of DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault Jr., and a newly acquired Marvin Jones Jr. from Detroit. Lawrence also has Travis Etienne and James Robinson to help out in the backfield, so there’s balance all around him. From a longterm perspective, Lawrence has a high ceiling for years to come and not just a 1-year-wonder.
Running Backs: Najee Harris (Steelers), Travis Etienne (Jaguars)
For this team, we’ll be running 2 backs and 3 receivers (1 extra for my FLEX position).
Najee Harris brings incredible catching skills to the table. For PPR leagues, a RB who can catch is the gold at the end of the rainbow. Despite him not being a flashy and speedy back, his receiving ability and elusiveness give him upside. Unless something happens, Harris will be Pittsburgh’s lead back. A guy like this with volume touches-wise is not something to pass up on. I like him as my RB1.
Travis Etienne is going to be my RB2. I do believe he will get enough touches to produce RB2 numbers, but being behind James Robinson will affect his production. Robinson was my “steal of the fantasy draft” last year, so even more reason for me to be a little skeptical.
But I do believe in Etienne for one reason: his explosiveness. Etienne is a very quick back. His speed gives me the comfort of knowing he will having big runs. Etienne also brings a solid catching ability out of the backfield, with 85 receptions over his last 2 seasons at Clemson. As I said, he’s going to be behind Robinson in early-down/goal-line situations, but his quickness and catching ability make up for it. You’re also not looking for big numbers from a RB2. His production this season should fit expectations.
Wide Receivers: Ja’Marr Chase (Bengals), Jaylen Waddle (Dolphins), DeVonta Smith (Eagles)
Both Chase and Waddle are in great positions for production in my opinion. Chase is going into a Bengals offense that ranked 2nd with having three receivers on the field. Chase will likely be behind Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, but that stat only benefits him. He also brings to the table speed, great hands, and the ability to break tackles. All these are positives for fantasy production. Chase is a WR1/WR2, but he and Waddle can be flipped.
Waddle has elite speed and has unbelievable playmaking abilities. His speed makes up for his short stature, standing at 5′ 10″. Waddle can lineup in the slot or the perimeter, playing most snaps at Alabama in the slot. With Will Fuller V and Davante Parker on the outside, Waddle will likely be in the slot for Miami. Things might start a little slow for him, but I am a true believer in Tua to lead the Dolphins and to spread the ball around.
I’m plugging Smith into the FLEX option because that’s the value I put him at heading into this season. His potential in the league is very high and he will be an elite player down the line. However, having Jaylen Hurts at QB is what makes Smith a FLEX play. Until Hurts proves himself to be a starter in the NFL, I’m keeping Smith here. But, if Hurts produces and proves to be a legitimate starter, then Smith’s value will go up and make him a weekly lock.
Tight End: Kyle Pitts (Falcons)
This is a no-brainer move. Pitts is arguably one of the best TE prospects the NFL has ever seen, so to not have him as my starting TE would be very questionable. No doubt in my mind the production will be there for the new Falcon. Pitts might not be a solid blocker, but tight ends don’t get points for blocking (a controversial topic). His blocking ability is thrown under the rug with his incredible pass-catching ability taking the spotlight. He’ll likely be targeted the most right under Calvin Ridley, but I would not be shocked if those roles are reversed. With Julio Jones moving on to the Titans, do not be shocked for Pitts to get even more attention and produce even more than what is expected.